By Timothy Morton
Hyperobjects, the idea-entities: those phenomena like climate change, black holes, biospheres, or capitalism, that are just too big for humans to truly grasp.
Hyperobjects, the book: a compelling and weird investigation of these massive scale phenomena that defy comprehension by dint of their vastness and complexity.
This book seems theory heavy, but accessible. It’s dense and wordy and exciting, more so that most philosophy. For example, it contains poems; and a section with eight pages of evocative color images.
I learned, in a recent profile of Morton, how he’s become a leading thinker of the Anthropocene, presiding over a field of study spanning literature, philosophy, ecology, and futurism. He has plenty of other “big ideas” like dark ecology, but so far this one interests me most.
Hyperobjects, a more formal definition: “entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place”.
The book comprises two parts: “What are Hyperobjects?” — five theoretical characteristics: viscosity, nonlocality, temporal undulation, phasing, interobjectivity — and “The Time of Hyperobjects” — three chapters on “human appropriation of hyperobjects”.
Hyperobjects, a final definition: “things that are massively distributed in time and space relative to humans”. Like, perhaps, our collective antilibrary?