The thing has been associated with a malevolent “biological materiality that is or may be the result of our unknowing (usually atomic or nuclear) intervention into nature, the revenge of the blob . . . which imperils man.” These two components of dependence and dependency, positive and negative, produce and constrain human action and lead humans into entanglements from which it becomes difficult to become detached. Because humans rely on things that have to be maintained so that they can be relied on, humans are caught in the lives and temporalities of things, their uncertain vicissitudes and their insatiable needs. Things appear as hydra-like, requiring Herculean skill to stop them multiplying and entrapping, and yet the entrapment is enticing and productive. Entanglement can thus be redefined as the dialectic of dependence and dependency between humans and things. The term “entanglement” seeks to capture the ways in which humans and things entrap each other. But it also seeks to recognize the ways in which a continual and exponentially increasing dynamism lies at the heart of the human experience.
Ian Hodder, The Entanglements of Humans and Things: A Long Term View