The Art of Extinction

“On rare occasions he even spoke to me,’ the doctor said, ‘about the uncreation of his whole life.'”

“Idiots, they mourn the extinction of their beauties and their loves— their pitiful vices— as if these were anything but futile illusions. And such illusions only breed other, more horrible, fantasies: pain, isolation, and ultimate annihilation.”

– Thomas Ligotti

If as Braidotti in an essay on the Deleuzian Century puts it that philosophy should celebrate “the forces of creation (making things happen), practice an activism through art, through an art of living”, then what would a philosophy that celebrated the forces of decreation or uncreation, that practices a deactivation of all affirmation and positivity by way of an absolute negation, through an art of extinction look like? As a character in one of Thomas Ligotti’s tales puts it:

“I cannot help remaining wide awake with visions of that deformed specter of Ascrobius and pondering upon what unimaginable planes of contemplation it dreams of another act of uncreation, a new and far-reaching effort of great power and more certain permanence.”

What if rather than some less than adequate mass suicide or futurial event of mass extinction (natural or otherwise), we instead activate the decreation of history itself, disturb the black waters of human origins and unmake the very substance of our own beginnings? Isn’t this the core of all inhuman, posthuman, and transhuman philosophies: to become otherings? Why not instead just unmake this transient mobility, distill from the traces of its stain a final thread that like all horror realities unbinds it to the Outside – the Unknown. A great unravelling of the human into something non-human, an uncreation into elsewhere?

May that which is low in us go downwards so that what is high can go upwards. For we are wrong side upward. We are born thus. To re-establish order is to undo the creature in us.

– Simon Weil, Gravity and Grace

Unmaking, decreating, is the only task man may take upon himself, if he aspires, as everything suggests, to distinguish himself from the Creator.

– E. M. Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born

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