la mort éternelle

What is death?

Termination?

Extinction?

Eternal nothingness?

Transcendence?

Death is not just our fate…

The extinction of knowledge (absolute dismemberment; death?) is not just what Spirit is going towards…

Death is something else.

Death is not the other, though society may try to exclude it (like Baudrillard argues), it will always come to haunt (seep into) the unstable order (which appears stable). It may not even be haunting our current order, one could argue that it is already within but not subsumed by the current order. Is death the base matter which causes all systems to be unstable? Is death that heterogenous base matter which destabilizes our homogenous society of production (which in reality is a society of consumption (see my first article on solar economics)?

All things return to zero… even God dies.

If we can’t cognize death is it then noumenal? If all we can know is phenomenal (like some Kantians say and argue Kant says, though who says what I’m not here to argue, for it is nothing to me) can we not know death?

Is death a disease that slowly breaks down life into zero, until only death remains? Are we then becoming-death? No, not becoming-death because the mode of becoming would point towards death just being a rearticulation of matter.

Do life and death form a duality? Death and life “holding hands, walking side by side”. One could argue that life is within death.

Is death just “ceasing to be,” void, eternal nothingness, darkness, etc. Is death just nothingness (non-being)?

How gentle and soothing, if death were really nothing but ceasing to be, but is there such a thing as ‘mere death’? Were there to be we would never learn of it, for it is only in over-reaching itself that death leaves a script. What greater mistake than confusing our death with non-being? Is it because we want to believe in the loyalty of our substance that we make this peculiar equation? If so, we should be ashamed of our dishonesty. The facts are blatant: it is not the case that death leaves matter satisfied. At most it is a temporary refreshment, a cool black wave for matter to bask in like a reptile, a phase of dormancy, before the rush back into the convulsive dissipation of life. Perhaps we feel that our deaths should be more fulfilling, that they should be important enough to quench the most insensate thirst. It is almost as if we still believe in the faithful resurrection of the flesh. How humiliating then that matter remains itchy after shaking us from it, that it is still eager, that even before our mourners have forgotten us it is flirting with the worms… Across the aeons our mass of hydro-carbon enjoys a veritable harem of souls. — Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation Pg. 180.

Is death the Real? Land (with Bataille) would argue that “Death is the reality of the impossible” (The Thirst for Annihilation Pg. 199), which is NOTHING (which is also sovereignty(?)).

I would forward that death follows the logic of base materialism. Death is that which life (life is the elevated/ideal) tries to repel and get rid of death (death is the base matter), but life is built off of death, it is built off its relation to death. I am to forward Alexandre Kojève’s interpretation of Hegel here. Kojève makes “death the centre of Hegel’s system”. For Kojève, death “structures everything else”. “Death is the negativity par excellence… Negativity pervades everything” (Paul Hegarty, Georges Bataille: Core Cultural Theorist Pg. 20).

Death is the foundation (base matter) that life builds itself upon. Our attempt to banish death is what is, ironically, killing us.

Jean Baudrillard furthers our analysis in his great work Symbolic Exchange and Death (he also, surprisingly furthers Kojève’s latter point about death and its structuring of life). He says, furthering both our and Kojève’s analysis, “In survival, death is repressed; life itself, in accordance with that well known ebbing away, would be nothing more than a survival determined by death” (Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Exchange and Death Pg. 148).

For Baudrillard, capitalism and communism are systems which can be critiqued based on their attempted run from death. Why do all these systems of political economy attempt infinite accumulation? To try to and run from death. Little do these systems know that symbolic exchange is not the only thing haunting the code… death is too. Even those who at first seem to oppose us, such as Jean-Françoi sLyotard and his remarks on death in Libidinal Economy, actually, after close inspection, are with us: “But destruction is dissimulated in the most peaceful production, death in the accumulation of wealth” (227) and “Death is not an alternative to it, it is a part of it, it attests to the fact that there is jousissance in it [it is referring to structurally coerced labor; this is my own note]” (111).

Thus, following Kojève, death is the basis (base matter) of phenomenological experience. We can not repel death, it subsumes us.

I can hear, ringing in my ears, death.

I can see puterfying corposes who have entered into death.

I can feel the coldness of death.

I can smell the rotten core of death.

I can taste the repulsive corroding liquid of death.

Remember this is all speculative, so just like one does with life, take this with a grain of salt.

“Life will dissolve itself in death, rivers in the sea, and the known in the unknown” (Georges Bataille, Oeuvres Complétes Volume V Pg. 119).

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Evan Jack

Evan Jack

How sweet terror is, not a single line, or a ray of morning sunlight fails to contain the sweetness of anguish. - Georges Bataille