“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Temple Talk Synopsis

This is for my talk on 4.7.

Ecology and Philosophy in the Time of Hyperobjects
Timothy Morton

In this talk I shall be exploring hyperobjects: entities such as radioactive materials and global warming. Hyperobjects are massively distributed in time and space, subject to temporal distortion, nonlocal, phased and “interobjective.” I've explored most of these aspects in a number of talks recently and I'll offer a summary here; “interobjectivity” is new and I'll be introducing it in my talk. I'll use the example of cities as a way to think about hyperobjects.

Hyperobjects appear in the human world as a product of our thinking through the ecological crisis we have entered. The ecological crisis is best thought as the time of hyperobjects. Why? Because this is the moment at which massive nonhuman, nonsentient entities make decisive contact with humans, ending various human concepts such as “world,” “horizon,” Nature and even “environment.”

The existence of hyperobjects poses a number of problems for ecology and philosophy, from theories of self-interest to deep ontological questions. My talk will explore several of these.

1 comment:

Bill Benzon said...

If you've got a chance, you should take a look at the 1954 Japanese film, Gojira, which was butchered into English as Godzilla. It's available on DVD. The Japanese film is quite superior, with deep overtones of ritual and the unconscious. And, no doubt, of hyperobjects. I've written an essay on it (w/ screenshots).