Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World by Timothy Morton

There are many books about the environment as there are about philosophy. To some this statement may be false. To others, it may be redundant- is not ecology philosophy if one only thinks about it in a different light? For Timothy Morton this is exactly the case: the two are one in the same; his quest, then, is to try and re-vision how global warming is an ever present threat to humanity and the Earth while framing the concept in what he dubs a “Hyperobject.”

Without becoming bogged down in specifics, it is sufficient to say that a Hyperobject is something whose longevity and spatial dimensions render only parts of it accessible to human perception at any given time. This object casts a “shadow” over the Earth which precipitate manifold effects upon which require collective human action to resolve. It is a powerful thesis, one which is grossly condensed in the above explanation. Truly, one must read the book to really comprehend the totality of the Hyperobject concept.

Though the book is dense with philosophical allusions taken from many fields this does not stop the read from being completely inaccessible to the new reader or student. Morton makes the utmost attempt to explain each concept he utilizes and how it fits into his argument. When in doubt he is not above flatly stating his intent; clearly his mission here is to make his book as accessible as possible. However, this should not be mistaken for ease- the theory can be hard to grasp and at many points in the supporting examples I simply had to collapse the complex reasoning into the mental equivalent of a sound bite so I would be able to proceed with the chapter. Sometimes his rationale for bringing in quantum theory and pop culture examples can be suspect. So be forewarned, his prose is a bit eccentric.

Nonetheless, any person with an interest in philosophy, environmental sciences, or the social sciences should pick this read up. Though I do not agree with him on many points, on many others, I full heartedly concur with his conclusions. What Morton is touching on is a vitally important concept and so I believe his end-goal should be widely read by those in the humanities, post-humanities, and anyone with a vested interest in promoting a sustainable world far beyond your own life.


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