Mel as Hyperobject
viscosity | nonlocality | temporal undulation | phasing | interobjective
When encountering new texts, I use a technique of distant reading to read “through the text, looking for [my] unit of analysis”; I replace select words as I read with variations of the word self or Mel. This helps me use the words of the author to reframe self-identity. By manipulating Timothy Morton’s book Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World in this way, I found a manifesto.
In Hyperobjects, Morton theorizes the existence of objects “of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place.” He describes them through five characteristics—viscosity, nonlocality, temporal undulation, phasing, and interobjective. In many ways, he reframes systems as singular objects, or conversely, objects as systems.
By thinking about self-identity in this way—as a system spread over time and space, gridded with outside objects and people—the strange incongruities that arise from an identity averaged over decades through a myriad of different situations seem like a laughable miscalculation.