Day 1337: Hyperobject

November 20, 2023 Covid Timothy Morton Jay Owens

Eco-philosopher Timothy Morton has argued global warming is a hyperobject”, something so massive and so widely distributed across time and space that it becomes too large to understand. The coronavirus pandemic was another hyperobject, so is capitalism: impossible to really perceive as wholes, in full totality, yet, nonetheless, we speak of them as things. We might try to get to grips with their effects and their impact through data and statistics or use a lot of big abstract nouns in order to try to gesture at the scale of the concepts we think were dealing with. But this doesn’t always succeed and so we are left anxious, struggling to situate ourselves — and, crucially, our capacity for action, for change-making — amid such monstrously vast challenges.

—Jay Owens

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