“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

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hyperobject Allergies

It has without doubt been the worst allergy season of my entire life. Twice in one week I've had the worst asthma attacks I've ever experienced, including the ones I had at 19, 500 feet on Mount Kailash.

I'm afraid it's common knowledge that global warming is to blame. There seems to be about ten times the normal amount of pollen in the air. If Time and my almost bleeding eyes are to be believed. Wet winter, plants growing in soil, pollen bursting early from young flowers.


Michael- said...

I wonder Tim, if your intense bodily reaction to that particular hyperobject might suggest to you just how 'deep' objects can affect each other? I mean how can we say that the object called Tim Morton and the hyperobject (assemblage) called ‘global warming’ don’t actually ‘touch’? Isn’t your ‘real essence’, in some sense, exposed and augmented by a direct but partial interaction (partial as in not all aspects of global warming are impacting you personally and completely) with that particular hyperobject?

Or, simply stated: what about allergies allows us to posit them as merely sensual and not an aspect of your integral or ‘real’ beingness in the world?

Timothy Morton said...

Michael, sensual causality is much more intimate than you assume...

Michael- said...

Depends on who's "sensual causality" we're talking about here Tim.

If we're talking about Tom Sparrow's idea of sensuality 'all the way down', then yes, I agree.

I happen to agree with Tom (if I read him correctly) that all interactions can be understood as sensual - only that I posit sensuality as ontologically continuous with all the other actual properties that objects (assemblages) intrinsically are.

For me the sensual is not as a cognitive or metaphysical fire-wall sheltering an object's 'real' essence, but an immanent and emanating feature of its actual constitution.

I grant you that I tend to read Harman in ways that he suggests are inaccurate to some extent, but I would defend myself by noting that it is the rhetorical strength on objectological discourse that concerns me most.

If “real objects” are completely withdrawn then the ‘real’ Tim Morton wouldn’t be so affected by the hyperobject of global warming, correct? Where is the vicar in being allergic?