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HYPEROBJECTS and other words that would be in all caps if we lived in a world where yelling like a madman was acceptable and long, uncapitalized titles were still the norm; also I went somewhere (sort of) far away

July 15, 2017

 

I just finished Tim Morton's Hyperobjects in the middle of a roadtrip, which I feel is somewhat appropriate. The book is, after all, about the "sudden" (scare quotes because the main premise of Morton's book does not feel as fresh as he claims it to be) realization that Man (Morton uses the somewhat dated but politically correct "she" as his pronoun of choice, but it still feels like he's addressing huMANity most of the time) is not constrained by borders, something I feel is also expressed by the ideals most people hold about the quintessential American road trip (ours is definitely a Vacation-esque pilgrimage to America's greatest simulacra). But borders have not simply vanished like the signs telling you that you've entered sunny Florida (hello state of wtf just happened on that video you made me watch) they've "withdrawn" like words in scare quotes (or parentheses within parentheses down into forever). Oh, and every border is an object too. Everything is an object. Except for when it's not

 

Hyperobjects are viscous. They flatten time, which is something fun to think about as entropy goes on and on. Most importantly, they're so big we can't understand them. Morton's main focus in the book is GLOBAL WARMING (he hates calling it climate change, and for good reasons) as a hyperobject and how science has led us to an understanding of hyperobjects by failing to properly examine similarly large objects in interesting ways (critiques of science that seek to know instead of just to point, which mainly come down to a shaded critique of empiricism and a tender reliance on some interesting but equally shady, not to mention deterministic in a way that sets him apart from Karen Barad, ideas about quantum physics, follow—although not as strongly as the critiques of people, who seem to be the "real" center of this book, that just don't get the pointed science), but as Morton tells his readers near the end of the book, anything can be a hyperobject.

 

The book itself is a hyperobject (just think about it in the framework of all the books it communicates with without addressing, like basically Derrida's whole discography). Hypertext is obviously a hyperobject (even if Morton tries to put it in the frame of constructivism). (Morton has a bone to pick with the Kantian sublime.) A single letter, the use of which has evolved over centuries, is a hyperobject we cannot fully comprehend. And as much as I've probably mucked this little post up, it's ok: part of coming to terms with hyperobjects is learning to fail (as emphasized by Morton's triforce-like conception of hypocrisy, weakness, and lameness). In the end, this book is a philosophical coffee-table conversation starter that's already got people talking. Or it feels like it has. (At least we talked about it in a class I took last year). And Morton, along with his other OOO philosophers (theorists?) is onto something (even if they agree that they don't quite know what they're onto). 

 

6.28318/10 withdrawn claps.

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Poet With No Face

Poetry / Engineering / Art

 

I'm an electrical engineer with a passion for poetry who is constantly looking for ways to entangle the two and create artistic spaces that challenge the ways we normally interact with the world. If you have any related ideas or want to get in contact with me, send me a message below! 

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