Timothy Morton

British Wisdom Lover

*1968

BEYOND SEXISM, RACISM, SPECIESISM, WE ARE ALL THE SAME

“It’s ironic that we can imagine the collapse of the Antarctic ice shelves more readily than we can the collapse of the banking system-and despite this, amazingly, as this book was written, the banking system did collapse.” 
― Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought

“Am I a nihilistic postmodernist or a New Ager in academig drag?” 
― Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects

 

What do global warming, styrofoam, and radioactive plutonium have in common? That’s right, they are all Hyperobjects as defined by Timothy Morton.

A powerful philosopher, thinker and prolific writer in the OOO (Object-Oriented Ontology) movement and its intersection with ecology. Coined the term “HYPEROBJECT” to describe large local and non-local objects distributed in time and space that influence our existence. For more info on OOO also check out Graham Harman.

Another interesting hyperobjectified example is that of the British East India Company, which existed as an entity on several continents over 2 centuries exercising immense influence of all kinds on a range of stakeholders…It is (was) no doubt an object, even a localised, material one with their offices, sales people, and pretty letterheads – but it existed (and still exists – as an idea, in memories or fictional accounts, as objects in museums etc.) on so many more levels than those – that it makes sense to call the BEIC a hyperobject.

As Tim says himself:It’s good to have a word for something.” 

Since coming across the concept a few years ago it has stayed with me throughout my research. Every now and then I have paused and thought ah, wait, that might be a hyperobject…for example, I have begun thinking of archetypes as hyperobjects, as well as “religion”, “education” and “the economy.” More on that on the dedicated Hyperobject entry.

tim is a fascinating scholar because he is well-versed in spiritual topics surrounding Buddhism, and his series on “New Metaphysics” includes mentation on causality and ecology, birth, life, death, and meaning. Tim has collaborated with Bjork (whose song hyperballad inspired his coining of the Hyperobject term which had been around in IT) and other artists. I really really really love the fact that he is only in his early fifties. Not that I’m ageist, of course, just good to see some fresh wisdom lover’s blood!

Timothy is one of those amazing academics who makes much of his work available online. 

Timothy Morton’s website & Twitter

Thank you for your contribution, Timothy!

Quotes by Tim

“Personhood then is also in the mesh– it may look solid from a distance, but as we approach it we discover that it is full of holes” 
― Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects

“When you realize that everything is interconnected, you can’t hold on to a concept of a single, solid, present-at-hand thing “over there” called Nature.” 
― Timothy Morton, Humankind – Solidarity with non-human people

“We are all burnt by ultraviolet rays. We all contain water in about the same ratio as Earth does, and salt water in the same ratio that the oceans do. We are poems about the hyperobject Earth.” 
― Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects

“A certain degree of audiovisual hallucination happens when we read poetry.” 
― Timothy Morton, Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics

Excellent review of Tim’s book Being Ecological. A book about ecology without information dumping, guilt inducing, or preaching to the choir.

Quotes from Realist Magic (2013)

(I can’t wait to find the time to read this!)

“Doesn’t this tell us something about the aesthetic dimension, why philosophers have often found it to be a realm of evil? The aesthetic dimension is a place of illusions, yet they are real illusions.”

“This study regards the realness of things as bound up with a certain mystery, in these multiple senses: unspeakability, enclosure, withdrawal, secrecy. In this book I shall be using these terms to convey something essential about things. Things are encrypted. But the difference between standard encryption and the encryption of objects is that this is an unbreakable encryption. “Nature loves to hide” (Heraclitus).”

 

“The title Realist Magic is also meant to provoke thoughts about philosophical realism, the idea that there are real things. Realism is often considered a rather dull affair, with all the panache and weirdness on the antirealist side of the debate. We shall see that this is far from the case. The trouble with many theories of causality is that they edit out a quintessential element of mystery. Moreover, this might be a defining feature of theories of causality. It seems elementary that a theory of causality should put “understanding” in the place of mystery. Causality theories are preoccupied with explaining things away, with demystification. A theory of cause and effect shows you how the magic trick is done. But what if something crucial about causality resided at the level of the magic trick itself?”

The mysterious quality of artworks is a signal of the mysterious quality of objects in general. Beauty is a secret that we know exists but whose content we don’t know. When we share it with other, it’s as if we are in on the same secret. We look at each other in amazement or with knowing look. But it’s impossible to specify what this secret is. Only the fact that there is a secret is of any importance. Beauty is based on the raw fact of the secret as such.” 
― Timothy Morton, 
Realist Magic (2013)

Timothy Morton

British Wisdom Lover

*1968