Requiem for the Abyss

Society—an inferno of saviors!

—Emile Cioran

No one reads the decadents much anymore, maybe it is because we have moved the world into a deeper, more intense age of decadence and decline. Never before have so many artists and writers been so obsessed with various processes and manifestations of decay and drawn so much life, so much creative energy, from the very decadence they decry. In this trope, civilization itself is the corpse upon which the decadent sensibility feeds, nourished by the prospect of its own annihilation.

Isn’t this the dark truth of our age, the fetid resilience of murderous critique, the endless vision and revision describing the various charnel house delights of climacteric disaster, the small apocalypses of the human into the post-human drift. Are we not salacious vampires feeding off the dying corpse of Western Civilization, helping it along with our never-ending display of anathemas and academic disquisitions.

As we ponder the demise of humanity before its own stupidity, the political circus of decay, the slow and methodical unraveling of the human in its own excessive intensity to escape the evil of its own inherent need to survive; or we not accumulating the wealth of the planet only to fire it up in a bon fire and auto-de-fé. Yet, the only heretics of this hour who will be punished are the remnants of our inability to act, the revenants of a cold world of intellect and purity, a tribe of knowledge bearers become shamans and prophets of the inhuman. As we erase two-thousand years of Christian civilization in the last fires of disenchantment, folding the concept of the human(ist) in its flames what will come next? Shall we enter the fires and be purified, strip the deadly thoughts of priests and the mad prophets from our secular memory? As we expulse the remnants of our civilization and our heritage will this artificial blank negate the possibility of a future along with its past?

What are we seeking in this turn to the inhuman? Are we not part of the negation of negation, a severance and cutting of the umbilical cord that ties us to the human. Isn’t something new and strange seeking emergence out of this cess pool of flesh and blood, a creature of intensity beyond all thought and mind. As the forces of entropy and negentropy vie for the earth and its environs we who have no clue grasp for meaning in a meaningless world of decay, seeking even in this unbounded nihil a slim chance of redemption from corruption. Delusion. Delirium. Despair: the triune gods of our late age… there is no solace for such as us, self-condemed we will end as all self-deluded minions end by our own self-lacerating apathy. Our inability to act, our indifference to the truth, our acceptance of the lies of our age: self-condemed to our own deathly soverignty we will erase the very basis of life on earth.

There can be no redemption for such as us.

Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.

—Walter Benjamin

5 thoughts on “Requiem for the Abyss

  1. THIS. I actually teared up, Steve.

    When can we be done with that kind of self-loathing sad-bastardism and begin anew – in a move from supposed “unconditional nihilism” [deterritorialization] to postnihil mutation [reterritorialization without stasis]?


    • That’s the big question isn’t it? Maybe the trauma of actuality will be the only thing that can wake us up. But then the question will be: At the moment of annihilation humans awaken to the truth, but will it be too late, will the momentum of our unnatural history pull us into that vastation even against our acknowledgement of these deathly atrocities? I do not know. In some ways I’ve always seen the true singularity as a dimension of the Real, one in which two doors will be presented to us: one that opens onto the realm of pure possibility; the other onto the impossible truth of our erasure and final end game. What door will we choose?

      Either way we both know we have a limited time to open the door onto possibility, the other door will automatically open without us and our human illusions or delusions. So will enough of humanity awaken to act as a strange attractor of negentropy and pull the rest toward that door or not? I wish I had an answer, but being neither a prophet nor assassin I’m as perplexed as you.

      Yet, as we look back upon the major crises of human kind we both know that it was the veritable power of religious conversion that awakened humans from their apathy and into affective movement to change. There has never been a culture of logic and intellect that moved anyone to change. Our secular culture notwithstanding is in its death throes and is playing out its own twisted end game. For me it is the irrational impulse of annihilation itself that will push us to that edge of chance (Singularity?), that will either open us up to a more profound existence in harmony with the negentropy seeking to revise our civilization into a global world without war and mayhem; else we will begin soon to cannibalize what remains of our earthly life in a war of absolute death.

      Liked by 2 people

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