Saturday, October 1, 2011

Remember what life was like in 1510: Global Warming and Hyperobjects

Bar Harbor officials ponder  Spanish conquistador congestion    
Jean Stimmell ©2011
Timothy Morton calls global warming a prime example of what he calls a hyperobject: something that affects us all intimately in the here-and-now yet, at the same time "an object that is massively distributed in space-time... [covering] the entire surface of Earth and...extend[ing] up to 500 years into the future. Remember what life was like in 1510?"

"You are walking on top of lifeforms. Your car drove here on lifeforms. The iron in Earth's crust is distributed bacterial excrement. The oxygen in our lungs is bacterial out-gassing. Oil is the result of some dark secret collusion between rocks and algae and plankton millions and millions of years in the past. When you are looking at oil you're looking at the past. Hyperobjects are time-stretched to such a vast extent that they become almost impossible to hold in mind. [Yet] they are intricately bound up with lifeforms.

"The spooky thing is, we discover global warming precisely when it's already here. It is like realizing that for some time you have been conducting your business in the expanding sphere of a slow motion nuclear bomb." 

The above quotes are from Peak Nature by Timothy Morton in the current Adbusters Magazine- Vol. 19 No. 6
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