Hyperobjects May Be Nearer Than They Appear

hyperobjects

Dick Fassino, an excellent and perceptive patron of The Community Library, offered this interesting commentary on a recent addition to our stacks, Hyperobjects:  Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World by Timothy Morton.  The review is cautionary and thoughtful, and an interesting counterpoint to the publisher’s description.

“Not often I get flummoxed by a book, but this one “did me in”! Timothy Morton’s “Hyperobjects: philosophy and ecology after the end of the world”. Even my three years in a Benedictine Monastery did not equip me to handle this.

If that is what the end of the world is going to be like, I shall concentrate even more on living every second to the hilt!

Recommend you sample it – worth just seeing what it is. Here is just one paragraph as an example – p22:

“Humans have entered an age of hypocrisy, weakness, and lameness, terms that have a specific valence and definition that I elucidate in part 2. The overall aesthetic “feel” of the time of hyperobjects is a sense of asymmetry between the infinite poser of cognition and the infinite being of things. There occurs a crazy arms race between what we know and what is, in which the technology of what we know is turned against itself. The arms race sets new parameters for aesthetic experience and action, which I take in the widest possible sense to mean the ways in which relations between beings play out. Very significant consequences for art emerge, and the book ends by outlining some of them. “

It gets even better. Perhaps you know someone who cannot sleep – perhaps this would help!
Would be interested to know why this one got picked for the Library.”

In all transparency, I picked the book on the strength of an indie review and the publisher’s description–it still sounds fascinating, but I have not yet read it.  Also, I like to sneak some modern philosophy books into the stacks every few months when no one is looking.  It adds fiber.  When I communicated this to our guest reviewer, he responded, just as thoughtfully:

“I felt the same way just by looking at the cover and reviews. The reality upon reading it (or trying to), was a bit different. Will be interesting to see if other readers find it very interesting.  Keep up the great work. This one definitely “stretched my mind” in some ways it hadn’t done before. Perhaps I’ll try it in the future and see if it grows on me!”

If you are interested in reading further observations about Hyperobjects, the LA Times put forth a review that was almost as flummoxy.  Or take the measure of your philosophical fiber and check out the book @The Community Library.

Published in: on July 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell–a guest book review by Richard Fassino

Thank you very much to one of our most widely read and erudite patrons, Richard Fassino, for this timely review of a newly released book on our shelves, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch by Lewis Darnell.  The Denizens blog at The Community Library welcomes a wide range of contributions from our patrons, board and staff that relate to our multifarious library collections.

the knowledge

With all the stories around about the destruction of the world as we know it – pick your poison – atomic war, terrorism, virulent flu gone wild, climate change cooking us, God’s revenge, etc, etc, etc – what happens after that? What happens if some of our human race survives? Are the folks with the guns and tons of food stored in their cellars going to rule? Will they wander around as in Cormac McCarthy’s book – The Road?  Really, what happens then?

Lewis Dartnell has taken a shot at it in his new book – The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. This goes way beyond the basic survival books that have become popular over the last few Xmases. When the electricity goes off, when the food stores are depleted – how might the survivors be able to make it? Our human brains, our accumulated knowledge, our documented technological advances – how can we identify what will be useful? How can we preserve that knowledge in a way to retrieve it so it can be used in that kind of future?

It is an amazing book in many ways – one of the best ways is that it gives the reader a look into the basics of life – much of which is so far removed from our daily, technologically advanced life that we don’t even know about many of those basics anymore. The food part is great – perhaps there are some good, old-fashioned farmers that still know about some of those basics, but I’ll bet even some of them will get a few surprises.

It reads easily. It’s informative.
Try it.
Dick

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notes from the internet

Other related reads at The Community Library on post-apocalyptic scenarios: Wayne Gladstone’s fiction satire Notes from the Internet Apocalypse the FoxFire series on folklore, country living and survival, and The Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney.

An open question: What books would you squirrel away against technofailure? What would you keep around to read and consult by candlelight if an EMP hit and the power grid and internet went down?