The Stuff of Life // Timothy Morton
2023, Bloomsbury, 192 pages
#narrative #philosophy #things
'An old teapot, used daily, can tell me more of my past than anything I recorded of it.'
Sylvia Townsend Warner
There are many ways of telling the story of a life and how we've got to where we are. The questions of why and how we think the way we do continues to preoccupy philosophers. In The Stuff of Life, Timothy Morton chooses the objects that have shaped and punctuated their life to tell the story of who they are and why they might think the way they do. These objects are 'things' in the richest sense. They are beings, non-human beings, that have a presence and a force of their own. From the looming expanse of Battersea Power Station to a packet of anti-depressants and a cowboy suit, Morton explores why 'stuff' matters and the life of these things have so powerfully impinged upon their own. Their realization, through a concealer stick, that they identify as non-binary reveals the strange and wonderful ways that objects can form our worlds.
Part memoir, part philosophical exploration of the meaning of a life lived alongside and through other things, Morton asks us to think about the stuff, things, objects and buildings that have formed our realities and who we are and might be.
at·las | ˈatləs |
a book of maps or charts: a road atlas
a book of illustrations or diagrams on any subject
Anatomy the topmost vertebra of the backbone, articulating with the occipital bone of the skull.
Architecture a stone carving of a male figure, used as a column to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.