Environment and Planning D: Society and Space on Hyperobjects and "Morton's Wager"

By Cara Daggett
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Morton_hyperobjects coverTimothy Morton’s Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World is a queasily vertiginous quest to synthesize the still divergent fields of quantum theory (the weirdness of small objects) and relativity (the weirdness of big objects) and insert them into philosophy and art, which he notes are far behind ontologically speaking (page 150). Morton’s wager is that for the first time, we in the Anthropocene are able to see snapshots of hyperobjects, and that these intimations more or less will force us to undergo a radical reboot of our ontological toolkit and (finally) incorporate the weirdness of physics. You know that cozy hobbit world where people tend gardens and think stars are beautiful and flush their excrement into the ‘away’? Well, that world is a fantasy, and now that we can see hyperobjects, that world is at an end, hence Morton’s subtitle. Morton encourages us to adopt an object-oriented ontology (OOO), and OOO tells us that “thinking and art and political practice should simply relate directly to nonhumans” (page 109), which is actually not so simple. But more on that later.

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