“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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Morton on Buddhism (interview)

This was such an honor an really fun to do for Lion's Roar. Take home line: Buddhism is not about suffering at all.

Monday, August 28, 2017

My Reply to Dipesh Chakrabarty

Dipesh wrote yesterday to the anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer, and me, about the Houston events. Dipesh, if you don't know him, is the author of a very very powerful essay called “The Climate of History,” one of the very first texts to deal full on with the Anthropocene from a humanities perspective.

There's a lot of emotion here in Houston, mostly it's a toxic cocktail of boredom and fear. There's a lot to say, so expect more. But I thought this might work well for the blog:

[Dear Dipesh]

For me this situation is a great example of how my ability to understand things massively outstrips my ability to cope with them …

One of the less pleasant aspects is the way the situation engages people’s narcissistic sadism (“look at the stupid fools over there”), magnified by cynical reason (“they are so ideologically deluded compared with me”). It has been spectacularized on the TV as Cymene and Dominic and I were discussing yesterday, in a podcast, and this means people find it hard to see the event as ongoing (some people are asking “how was the hurricane?” as if “it” was over already), and in particular, the more leftish intellectually inclined ones are making sure to press the guilt button rather than the thought button (“now you know what it’s like for non-white non-Texan non-stupid-idiots…”).

We intellectuals are not stupid: we know the phenomenology of guilt is a bad photocopy of the phenomenology of thought, so it’s much cheaper to press that button. Unfortunately of course, guilt is an artifact of agricultural age religion, and is designed specifically to prevent humans from thinking and operating on a collective level.

So that’s pretty unpleasant. On Twitter, a white Norwegian literary theory teacher just Nordsplained things for me (new word!), somewhat forgetful of Statoil’s funding of his job.

But it’s nowhere near as unpleasant as not having a house, which I still have, by virtue of living at high altitude for Houston, aka 1 meter above sea level (joke estimate)!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Humankind: A Dialogue with Federico Campagna of Verso at the Tate Modern

This was so good because Federico is so good. We did it on August 21; the book was published on August 22.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Humankind Is Out! And a Review in the Guardian

Stuart Jeffries does such a lovely job here.

Isn't the cover just so good? Look how it seems like the designer used real bubbles on real cut paper...

The design has to do with maybe the deepest concept in the book, the set-theoretical one.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dark Ecology Interview (mp3)

This is not embed-able...click instead. Very good interviewer, Leonard Schwartz. We did it in February of this year.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Everything Dark Ecology, on One YouTube Channel

Thanks Sonic Acts! What a great archive of the adventures of the sound artists creating things with Tim's concept in Arctic Russia over three years...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jesus H Christ:

“Black demonstrators protesting the murder of teen-agers are met with tanks and riot gear; white demonstrators protesting the unpopularity of Nazi and Confederate ideology are met with politesse.” The New Yorker

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Another Juicy Bit of My Penguin Book

“It’s not just true that there is a time for everything, as it says in Ecclesiastes (‘a time to reap and a time to sow . . .’); it’s the case that from grasses to gorillas to gargantuan black holes, everything has its own time, its own temporality.”

Comedy versus Tragedy

When you watch one person on stage trying to surmount their fate only in that very action to embody it, it's called a tragedy.

When you see a lot of people doing it on stage, it's called Fawlty Towers. 


Here's a Tiny Bit of My Penguin Book to Give You the Level

“Kant described beauty as a feeling of ungraspability: this is why the beauty experience is beyond concept. You don’t eat a painting of an apple; you don’t find it morally good; instead, it tells you something strange about apples in them- selves. Beauty doesn’t have to be in accord with prefabricated concepts of ‘pretty’. It’s strange, this feeling. It’s like the feel- ing of having a thought, without actually having one. In food marketing there is a category that developed in the last two decades or so called mouthfeel. It’s a rather disgusting term for the texture of food, how it interacts with your teeth and your palate and your tongue. In a way, Kantian beauty is thinkfeel. It’s the sensation of having an idea…”

Morton on The Future on the Radio

Houston Matters has some very interesting aspects and one of them is that Craig Cohen, the host, is so reflective.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

At the Tate Modern Bookshop in London, August 21

...in dialogue with Federico Campagna on the subject of my book Humankind. At 7pm.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Very recently I found out The Ecological Thought will be in Chinese by next year. There's also a Chinese translation of an essay I wrote coming, "Art in the Age of Asymmetry."

Dark Ecology will be in Dutch and Croatian soon.

There are a lot more things on the go, but it's hard to keep track! I'll make some inquiries.

Things I'm Doing

I've been sending this to some people and I thought you might like to see it as well. There's a bunch of things I'm doing, hard for me to keep up with all of them, and I forget to tell people about them!

Here's the link to the Guardian piece about me:


And here's Abasi Rosoborough the fashion designer. They've made a range of suits based on my hyperobjects concept and they're going to show at New York Fashion week this year:


Here's Newsnight, the flagship BBC news and current affairs show. They're having me on later this month:


Here's Ballroom Marfa where I'm curating an exhibition about Hyperobjects:


Here's the movie database page for Susan Kucera, who is directing me and Jeff Bridges in an ecology documentary:


And here's the webpage of Jennifer Walshe, a genius composer with whom I'm composing an opera about time:


Last year she premiered Everything Is Important, a piece for voice, string quartet and film based on my hyperobjects idea.

There's a whole lot of other things too like I'm designing the next Voyager type message to extraterrestrials with Pharrell Williams. And may do a radio show with Björk, another one with Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, and may have a radio series of my own on the BBC.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

First Paragraph of Another Essay

Gosh there are so many proofs this weekend. Four essays and the Penguin book. I haven't had a bunch like this for a while and it's nice to get stuck in to the laundry folding level of work. I love folding laundry. Do you have any? I'm very good at it. No really.

Look at this. It's for Jeffrey Cohen and Lowell Duckert's Veer Ecology. It sounds good! The thing is, if you've written 185 essays, sometimes you surprise yourself with what you say or how you say it:

Since a thing cannot be known directly or totally, one can only attune to it, with greater or lesser degrees of intimacy. This is not a “merely” aesthetic approach to a basically blank extensional substance. Since appearance can't be peeled decisively from the reality of a thing, attunement is a living, dynamic relation with another being.

I'll Be Talking Remotely in Berlin on August 9

I'll be "in" (via Skype) Emilija Skarnulyte's new installation at Decad. Not quite sure of the time, I think 7pm Berlin time. If you haven't looked her up already, do so immediately. Everything she does embodies why I think art is beyond important and in particular articulates an incredibly beautiful and powerful ecological feminist post-humanism. But that's just the conceptual aspect. Skarnulyte is committed to making unbelievably precise and gorgeous objects (visual, sonic...) and is a true powerful film maker, the kind who is ready to climb into a gigantic radio telescope dish or become a mermaid and swim in freezing arctic water with a nuclear sub.

I was just at this incredible film symposium in Lithuania and it convinced me that  I totally love film and filmmaking for this and many other reasons. Just days of liquid light pouring out of a gigantic screen and people ready to put their bodies in jeopardy in acts of solidarity with human and nonhuman beings.

I'm going to see if I can livestream at least my part of the event.

Look what You Can Do with Marx if You Deploy OOO

(At least it sounds really nice lol) (this is also from the Naess essay proofs)

Time isn’t nice and neat either. Because of what I’ve just argued, time itself is not a line of reified atomic now-points, but a spooky shifting that haunts itself, slightly in front or behind itself, the rippling play of light and shadow in the pond water reflected on the underside of a sundial on a late summer afternoon, a vibrant stillness that is far from static. The present is haunted by the X-present. I call this manifold of present and X-present nowness, a shifting, haunted region like evaporating mist, a region can’t be tied to a specific timescale.

Nowness is a dynamic relation between the past and the future. According to the spectral logic I’m outlining, the present isn’t present! It doesn’t exist, at least not like that. The belief that “animals” are superior or inferior to humans because they live in an eternal now is untrue, because no being lives in a now. Furthermore, past and future are artefacts of the structure of entities as such, and are to be found nowhere outside of them. The form of a thing, its appearance, is the past. My face is a map of everything that happened to my face. A beehive is a story about what happened when some bees chewed some wax. There is a contextual abyss about appearance: we can’t draw the line decisively as to when the face stops and its explanatory context—all the things that happened to give it this exact appearance—begins. This provides the basis for the “nightmare” quality of past states of humankind that weigh on us: there might be no end to the “weight of dead traditions.”

On the other hand, the essence of a thing, its being, is the future. few are not entirely caught like algorithms in the gravitational pull of the past. There is also levity: the lightness of futurality. The future is also an abyss. What will happen to my face next? I’m unsure, not just because it’s hard to predict at least somewhat far into the measureable future, but for the deeper reason that the measurable future depends on an infinite (uncountable) futurality, the withdrawal-quality of a thing, so that whatever access mode I use (thinking-about, dabbing-lotion-on, photographing-a-selfie-of), my face slips away like a liquid. The one place our ultra-utilitarian culture has cordoned off as a zone in which this kind of thing is barely tolerated is called art. But in truth everything behaves like that. Everything is a railway junction where past and future are sliding over one another, not touching.

Appearance is the past; being is the future; nowness is the relative motion of future over past, not touching. A thing is a junction of two abyssal movements. Solidarity is the noise the symbiotic real makes in its floating, spectral nowness, conditioned by the past (otherwise known as trauma), yet open to the future. Creativity and enjoyment are a “disabled,” malfunctioning relative motion between past and future, appearance and being.

X-existence happens in the symbiotic real because the ontological structure of a thing allows it. To exist is to X-exist. You can’t be counted as one. But you also can’t be counted as two. Your spectral double is your spectral double, not some frog’s. But it isn’t proper to you. It’s highly improper, in fact; it violates every notion of property and propriety. It’s indecent of fish to breathe air. The manifold of species and X-species is fractal: it lies somewhere between one and two, and the logic of this in-between area must be modal: it must violate strict versions of the Law of the Excluded Middle, so that things can be sort of true, kind of real, slightly wrong. It is as if every indicative sentence is shadowed by its subjunctive double, the sentence in “perhaps” mode. The sentence is open. It isn’t nothing, and it isn’t exactly something. Meaning as such is its spectral shadow. Who knows what a poem is really saying? But this poem is this poem, not that poem.

Tim versus Deep Ecology Master Arne Naess

The basic question is, how deep do you want? Because I think you could go at least a level deeper than Naess. In order to do so, however, you have to realize something about systems theory. Here's a quotation from some proofs I'm reading for an essay collection on Naess:

I need to part company with Naess a little bit, the aspects of his thought that seem to want to reduce the paradoxes I am hinting at, by reducing the lifeform to an underlying field of relations:

Organisms and milieux are not two things—if a mouse were lifted into absolute vacuum, it would no longer be a mouse. Organisms presuppose milieux. Similarly, a person is a part of nature to the extent that he or she is a relational junction within the total field. The process of identification is a process in which the relations which define the junction expand to comprise more and more. The “self” grows towards the “Self.”

But the mouse would still be a mouse in a vacuum, albeit a dead mouse. There is nothing about this fact that means we have to make the mouse less real than “the total field” of which it is “a relational junction.” Care for this specific mouse, whom I don’t wish to die in a vacuum, would ironically be precluded by cleaving to this blend of systems theory and Hinduism. Systems theory is a derivative of very advanced industrial society, while Hinduism is one way in which agricultural society explains itself to itself. To the extent that industrial society is an accelerated upgrade of the inner logics of agricultural “civilization,” systems theory is indeed in part a re-imagination of an ecologically violent set of beliefs, hardwired into agricultural social space. Both depend upon a widely accepted, but never rigorously proved, form of holism in which the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Space prevents me from delving into another way of thinking holism here, but I want to take this opportunity to say how urgent it is for ecological thinking to reconceptualize what we mean by holism. If the parts are always subservient to the whole, less real and less important, there is no way to care about the mouse as a mouse.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Humankind: Dialogue between Me and the Genius Artist Paul Johnson

This was so good. Paul had the idea of making a fire instead of the usual living room on stage set up for these things. What a great thing. I got to be the person who stokes the fire, which is great, because I'm a total pyromaniac!

I think this is one of the best live things I ever did so I hope you like it too.

Human-kind: A talk between Paul Johnson & Timothy Morton, 2017 from Camden Arts Centre on Vimeo.


Sorry for all the delays. My life got very busy after the Guardian piece came out.

So I'll be on the BBC's flagship news and current affairs show Newsnight on August 22.

Soon I'll be in Mexico City.

I've managed to persuade Yoko Ono to put some of her work in my Penguin book!

I did a lovely dialogue with Paul Johnson: I'll embed it here.

And last week was Cinema Camp in Lithuania with some unbelievable film makers. More on all that soonest.

Right now I'm proofreading my Penguin book. You should be able to order my Verso book by now. It's like $13 for the hardback in the USA, which is a total steal.

I'm so excited for my Verso book coming out. I tried to think of the most offensive thing I could say, according to humanities scholars, and I say it:

We're all human beings, in the end, despite our differences.