I’ve been kicked in the biosphere: Tim Morton on agrilogistics

Tim Morton (Rice University) has a new piece up entitled “I’ve been kicked in the biosphere.” As with a fair bit of Morton’s writing, it has his particular cadence, and is enjoyable to read.

What I found interesting in the piece is that Morton, like so many others – from the French philosophes to American naturalists – is returning to the “land question” and what to do with agriculture. Morton’s take is that there is a whole set of industrial and logistical programs in place that are built upon, and entwined with, agriculture. Or what he calls agrilogistics. I think, but am not positive, that Morton is the first of the new realists to look at the agricultural question. I don’t see a lot that is new on this front just yet, but will look forward to seeing how he develops this strain of thought in future works. I listened to some of his Wellek Lectures, where he talked a little about agrilogistics. I tend not to think of lectures as the sorts of things one should cite, since very often people follow something that occurs to them in the moment – as they think something through publicly – that they don’t pursue later. And since I think that is precisely what makes lectures fascinating, I’ll wait to see what more comes out in print from Morton with respect to his take on the land question.

Tim Morton on Hyperobjects: new book from U Minn Press

Tim Morton has a new book coming out with the University of Minnesota Press. The cover really caught my eye; here it is with a draft blurb, for the back cover, I believe, that I scooped from Tim’s blog.



The world as we know it has already come to an end.

Having set global warming in irreversible motion, we are facing the possibility of ecological catastrophe. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us as it does with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding. Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”—entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and what they mean for how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how approach and understand our politics, ethics, and art.

Moving fluidly between philosophy, science, literature, visual and conceptual art, and popular culture, the book argues that hyperobjects mean that the end of the world has already occurred in the sense that concepts such as world, nature, and even environment are no longer a meaningful horizon against which human events take place. Instead of inhabiting a world, we find ourselves inside a number of hyperobjects, whether climate, nuclear weapons, evolution, or relativity. Such objects put unbearable strains on our normal ways of thinking.

Insisting that we have to reinvent how we think to even begin to understand the world we now live in, Hyperobjects takes the first steps, outlining a genuinely postmodern ecological approach to thought and action.

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He is the author of many books, including The Ecological Thought and Ecology without Nature. He blogs frequently at Ecology without Nature.