Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Sunday, April 8, 2018

My New Bio

It's really hard to get these things write and there are different ones for different occasions but this is what I like to say about myself these days:

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He has collaborated with Björk, Jennifer Walshe, Olafur Eliasson, Haim Steinbach, Emilija Škarnulytė and Pharrell Williams. He is the author of Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018), Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (Verso, 2017), Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), eight other books and 200 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design and food. In 2014 Morton gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory. Blog: http://www.ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com. Twitter: @the_eco_thought

Thursday, April 5, 2018

I Want to Write this on the Back of the Next Edition of Ian Bogost's Play Everything

"I wonder why the graybeards make it look so difficult. Ian Bogost shows you how to change your world in a few easy steps you learned when you were five or less."

Friday, March 30, 2018

My friend Rune with some great words on dark ecology and VanderMeer

...in Danish, scuse the translation:

The film operates here both psychologically and biologically and physically in a form of 'dark ecology', as the ecophilosopher Timothy Morton has called it. Because according to dark ecology, everything is constantly changing, including the subject, it's unwise to try to distinguish between the hidden one on one side and the world out there on the other side.

As Morton points out, "we" should not, as in earlier and more traditional ecological purposes, elevate "the natural" (plants, animals, moles and rocks) to a noble design as something pure and unchangeable. Instead, we should completely drop the idea of "the natural" and instead look at the world as one big and always variable size, which is not only in constant motion, but also always is "us" and vice versa.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

New Translation of Charbonneau

...into English! Coming out with Bloomsbury. Here's my endorsement:

The ecological emergency is so systemic and so vast that the human imagination—the feel of our thinking powers—is frozen like someone afraid of heights, terrified of her capacity to visualize what seems to be a tragedy or a nightmare. One response is to freeze the future, the idea that things could be different, as around the world people consent to fascist-paranoid politics that relieve them of the burden of thinking and visualizing. Christian Roy’s lovely translation of Charbonneau’s masterpiece is like allergy medicine that allows us to un-freeze, and for the sake of all lifeforms on Earth, staying fluid in the struggle is now exactly what William Blake meant by “mental fight.”

Hyperobjects Exhibition in Marfa, Texas starts in two weeks!

Here's what I've written for the guide:

Will All Artists Please Come to a White Courtesy Telephone
Timothy Morton

Art has one foot in the past, and one foot in the future. All the decisions, deliberate and not deliberate, that a host of things made--we could call this host the author or the artist (historical era, economic system—these two are often included, ecosystem not so much quite yet). Then again, just what exactly is this work of art? What is it “saying” (and so on). Such questions trail off into a kind of quietness we might call the future. Threateningly gentle, it haunts the machinations that brought us to wherever we’re calling “here” at the moment.
And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? (As my old Oxford tutor Terry Eagleton was fond of saying.) At whatever scale we zoom out to, we aren’t in control as humans at all—not even on the ones we inhabit, not in control as much anyway, because the whole point of inhabiting is that it’s unstable, it’s in motion (hint: it has to do with time). There is at every scale not a smooth transition but a dizzying whirlpool of spinning disco ball lights illuminated by lasers, that feeling of uneasy relative motion, moving while still, stillness in movement.

Ecological awareness just means being aware that things happen on a bewildering variety of scales all at once, and that what that looks like on one scale is very different on another scale. What looks like a boiling kettle to my human eyes looks very different from an electron’s point of view: suddenly finding that you’ve teleported to a higher orbit isn’t the same as the smooth, chattery-sounding phenomenon we call boiling.

And once you become aware of the idea that there are all these extra scales, you begin to notice that some scales are so big or so small (that also includes “long lasting” or “fleeting” too) that all we can mostly do is report and observe—or, if you like, undergo or endure. Perhaps things we call fate or chance or destiny or karma are just effects of entities that happen on scales we can’t do much with right now except report and observe. And maybe sometimes undergoing such things, scary and passive as that sounds, might help open up the possibility that things could be different—the future. Assuming, that is, that the way things are right now doesn’t work so great—for instance we are now aware, because we have the recording apparatus to help us (such as supercomputers) of global warming and the mass extinction that it’s causing.

These scales are where the hyperobjects live: entities that are so massively distributed in time and space that we humans can only see or deal with little pieces of them at a time—they might not even look as if they’re present or real, especially if we find that we’re inside them or are parts of them (such as being a part of the biosphere).

They’re almost invisible precisely because they’re so huge and powerful and immersive (we have them inside us, radiation for example). They’re scarily to-be-observed or to-be-endured. They require very special kinds of awareness and handling, the kind that we’re not well socialized to cope with, but which, in the case of global warming, we must cope with.

Sounds like a job for art to me.

Friday, February 23, 2018

I Am Disabled

Mark Fisher was my friend. He was and I am disabled, only on the inside. I scored 96% on the depression test, and the psychiatrist said, “I can’t believe you made it this far,” aka in my life, alive. 

The amount of negativity I’m receiving is an indication of how unacceptable mental illness still is. I will never stop speaking up for the importance of taking care of oneself. 

The kind of disability we have/had requires pills, not wheelchairs. I am on the maximum dose of a drug called Wellbutrin. The pills have limits. Like everything else. One thing they do is, they make sure you don’t die.

I love Mark’s sentences. They’re amazing. I wrote him fan letters about them. We need more amazing sentences. 

I yearn for more of Mark’s. What he wrote about Joy Division is utterly unsurpassable. I think about it a lot. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Antidepressants

Ever so sorry to have written a tweet that is causing upset. I’ve deleted it.

You’re welcome to suggest ways I can repair anything I’ve damaged if you wish. It’s an issue that is very close to my heart, and the last time I spoke with Mark it was about all this, and it included an exchange on Twitter where we discussed what had then just been released to the media, namely a report that claimed these sorts of medicine were no better than placebo.

One problem for me is, I’m still going through grief processes about Mark myself, and when someone I care about commits suicide I tend to go straight from shock to anger. But this doesn’t make it easy for others to receive my communications about it.

I’m very out about my own depression (same intensity level as Mark’s), and am determined to help people know they can get help, in various different ways.

The Lancet just published something that confirmed that antidepressants do work much better than placebo, and I think it’s important to talk about that. I’ll see if I can find ways of doing it that are less personal.

Monday, February 19, 2018

New Bio

Just in case--sorry, but I do so much stuff that my bio keeps going out of date! And I just heard an old one that must have been copied and pasted from this site. Here's the official one:

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He has collaborated with Björk, Jennifer Walshe, Olafur Eliasson, Haim Steinbach, Emilija Skarnulyte and Pharrell Williams. He is the author of Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018), Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (Verso, 2017), Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), eight other books and 200 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design and food. In 2014 Morton gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory. Blog: http://www.ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com. Twitter: @the_eco_thought

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Guardian Review of My Penguin Book

For USA people this will be published soon by MIT Press. It's called Being Ecological. I'm launching it at the London Review of Books bookshop next week! Details soon.

Here's a nice review of it in The Guardian

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

After the End of the World: 30 000 People Can't Be Wrong

If you're anywhere near Barcelona do go to the CCCB and see After the End of the World, an exhibition I helped to design with five rooms designed by me with mini lectures about time, hyperobjects, waiting...things to do with ecological awareness. They just passed thirty thousand visitors!

Next Up: London and Iceland

So London is for one of the Being Ecological launch events, at the LRB bookshop. They told me they were sold out weeks ago but you might get lucky...

Then Reykjavik at the very beginning of February.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Being Ecological Tours

It's pretty much time to start talking about what I'll be up to promoting Being Ecological (Penguin, soon). I'll be talking at the LRB bookshop in London a bit later this month. I'll be in the Netherlands. I'll be in Iceland. I'll be in Madrid. And various other things! Hopefully Laurie Anderson and I will figure out some mad things too. Philosophy shouldn't be mansplaining art but I don't mind being Lauriesplained as I pointed out to her last week lol...

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Ecological Thought

Happy new year! I just saw that The Ecological Thought, which I always think of as ET, just surpassed 1000 citations. Thanks people. You really should read it. It's the philosophical backbone of the way I like to think. It's my shortest book (even Realist Magic is a bit longer). I wrote it in 3 pages and just kept adding to those pages over about eight weeks in Chelsea, in 2008...