Why not Abhumanism rather than Posthumanism?

Abhuman is a term used to distinguish a disjunction, separation, departure from normal human existence.

In many ways the notion of “posthuman” seems so intertwined with various conflicting ideologies, philosophies, and conceptualities that it has become almost useless. Whereas with use of the “ab-” prefix etymological notion we seem to have a more specific appellation:

word-forming element meaning “away, from, from off, down,” denoting disjunction, separation, departure; from Latin ab (prep.) “off, away from” in reference to space or distance, also of time, from PIE root *apo- “off, away” (also the source of Greek apo “off, away from, from,” Sanskrit apa “away from,” Gothic af, English of, off; see apo-).

The Latin word also denoted “agency by; source, origin; relation to, in consequence of.”

Kelly Hurley writes that the “abhuman subject is a not-quite-human subject, characterized by its morphic variability, continually in danger of becoming not-itself, becoming other.”1 As he says,

Within this genre one may witness the relentless destruction of “the human” and the unfolding in its stead of what I will call, to borrow an evocative term from supernaturalist author William Hope Hodgson, the “abhuman.” The abhuman subject is a not-quite-human subject, characterized by its morphic variability, continually in danger of becoming not-itself, becoming other. The prefix “ab-” signals a movement away from a site or condition, and thus a loss. But a movement away from is also a movement towards – towards a site or condition as yet unspecified – and thus entails both a threat and a promise. (16).

Antecedents of Abhumanism:

Camille Bryen is best known as an abstract painter from the post-World World War II “École de Paris.” At the end of the 1940s and throughout the 1950s, his works were claimed by the various branches of lyrical abstraction dominating the Parisian artworld. It is less known that Bryen together with playwright Jacques Audiberti invented a new philosophical concept, “abhumanism,” which he himself considered as the most appropriate term for his art. Casting into question the humanistic values, both authors claimed a return to vitalistic materiality against the fallacious spiritual aims underlying humanism: “I want to write like the bull mooes,” Audiberti wrote. The books dealing with abhumanism (the founding Ouvre-boîte. Colloque abhumaniste in 1952 and later L’Abhumanisme) designated painting (and that of Bryen in particular) as the abhumanist activity, because of its intrinsic material and earth-bound anti-spirituality. “Abhumanising” Bryen sets his artistic production in the wake of Dada and Surrealism, to which he was affiliated, who clearly accused the Western humanistic civilization of enacting World War I; it also sets him apart from the restricted lyrical and ahistorical argumentation related to post-World War II Parisian abstraction.

Prof. Slavkova is actually working on a second book on artworld in Paris after World War II, focussing on the largely downplayed concept of abhumanism, and artists such as Jacques Audiberti, Camille Bryen and Wols. (https://www.aup.edu/profile/islavkova)

Not sure if I’d want to mix it with “vitalism” though…

The Concept of the Abhuman

To understand the abhuman, one must first define the abject.

The abject is defined by Julia Kristeva to be the human reaction (horror, vomit) to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other. Examples may include phlegm, body fluids and hair — these, lacking the context of their human host, bring up feelings of disgust and unease, evident in a later case study by Yobunoshi Araki.

It is argued, however, by Richard Barnett that “images made from (the dissection of the impoverished) portray not the abject but the abhuman, a term coined by W. H. Hodgson in his works of Edwardian weird fiction and recently revived but the gothic scholars Kelly Hurley and David Punter. In literary studies of Gothic fiction, “Abhuman” refers to a “Gothic body” or something that is only vestigially human and possibly in the process of becoming something monstrous. Kelly Hurley writes that the “abhuman subject is a not-quite-human subject, characterized by its morphic variability, continually in danger of becoming not-itself, becoming other.”

In my process towards the understanding of the grotesque, I looked toward a comparison of the European grotesque and the Japanese concept of guro and found that guro more specific links to the concept and movement of ero-guro-nansensu itself rather than the same abhuman, chimera-like grotesquerie that European art deemed grotesque. I have mentioned, previously, the grotesque in Nero’s Domus Aurea as a flashpoint towards the aesthetic development of the term. Remi Astruc argues that the three main tropes of the grotesque are doubleness, hybridity and metamorphosis , fitting in with ideas of the abhuman. (EELS, HONEY (THE FYP MASTERPOST) by beverly goh) (https://beverlygoh.wordpress.com/…/eels-honey-the-fyp…/)

Abhuman, distinguished from inhuman, is a term used by William Hope Hodgson in his novel The Night Land and his Carnacki stories:

The evil must surely have begun in the Days of the Darkening (which I might liken to a story which was believed doubtfully, much as we of this day believe the Story of the Creaton). A dim record there was of those olden sciences (that are yet far off in our future) which, disturbing the unmeasurable Outward Powers, had allowed to pass the Barrier of this Life some of those Monsters and Ab-human creatures, which are so wondrously cushioned from us at this normal present. And thus there had materialized, and in other cases developed, grotesque and horrible Creatures, which now beset the humans of this world. And where there was no power to take on material form, there had been allowed to certain dreadful Forces to have power to affect the life of the human spirit. And this growing very dreadful, and the world full of lawlessness and degeneracy; there had banded together the sound millions, and built the Last Redoubt; there in the twilight of the world (so it seems to us, and yet to them bred at last to the peace of usage) as it were the Beginning; and this I can make no clearer; and none hath right to expect it; for my task is very great, and beyond the power of human skill.2

  1. Kelly Hurley, The Gothic Body: Sexuality, Materialism, and Degeneration at the Fin de Siècle (Cambridge University Press, 2004), This quotation also appears in Robert Eaglestone, Reading The Lord of the Rings: New Writings on Tolkien’s Classic page 55 (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006)
  2. Hodgson, William Hope. Complete Works of William Hope Hodgson  Delphi Classics. (THE RESCUED FRAGMENTS OF “THE DREAM OF X”)

Utopian Dreams of Capitalist Desire: The Neo-Liberal Society as Virtualized Real


In the older consumerist spectacle society, we were part of the analogue circuit of capitalist desire, passively allowing it to suck our lives in a listless mimicry of VR. In the world we’re creating now we are immersed in the VR worlds of capitalist desire like shareholders in system we are all creating together whether we will or no. Digital capitalism unlike the analogue disperses us throughout the circuits like amoebas in a sea of electrons, our minds unbound see the world itself as an invisible video game and we are all fated players of the nihil. Truthfully what is being played out in the so-called Singularity is one thing: the liberation of intelligence from its organic containment, the externalization of its long journey through the organic rhizome into the anorganic time-circuits imploding on us now.

Baudrillard’s hyperreality thesis conceived the total absorption of human life into the virtual networks of the arche-programme. This, for him, is the true desolation of reality; the organon of feeling, cathexis and reflection that is the material form of the human is conceived as awaiting its final erasure in the networks of virtuality and genetically manipulated reproduction. As Andrew C. Weanaus in Literature of Exclusion : Dada, Data, and the Threshold of Electronic Literature tells us “Today, this expulsion [of the human] manifests itself as the nonconsensual exclusion of individual agency in nearly every aspect of daily life. Through the ubiquity of information technologies and the cultural logic of algorithms, this exclusion largely takes place in the form of everyday banalities rather than, say, technological transcendence.”

As Luciano Floridi in The Ethics of Information will suggest “The increasing re-ontologization of artefacts and of whole (social) environments suggests that it is becoming difficult to understand what life was like in pre-digital times, and, in the near future, the very distinction between online and offline will become blurred and then disappear. … The infosphere will not be a virtual environment supported by a genuinely ‘material’ world behind; rather, it will be the world itself that will be increasingly interpreted and understood informationally, as part of the infosphere. At the end of this shift, the infosphere will have moved from being a way to refer to the space of information to being synonymous with Being itself. We are modifying our everyday perspective on the ultimate nature of reality, from a materialist one, in which physical objects and processes play a key role, to an informational one.”

It’s as if we are turning reality inside out or outside in depending on which side of the virtual fence (divide) one is situated. Obviously the technologies are not there yet; but in the future as we merge with these technologies and become more machinic in the process we the children in that era and environment will see this as “natural”, and be naturalized citizens of a virtualized reality system that encompasses every aspect of their mental and physical lives.

Floridi argues a middle-way between cyborgization and older Baudrillardian hyperrealization, speaking of the inforgization and re-ontologizing of our environments. In this sense that the Internet of things, the smart or augmented cities will take on the older animated qualities by being virtualized with intelligence and design. In this sense we will live in a virtual world, immersed in this capitalist utopian, etc. But let’s face it this is a pipedream, one that might be available for a small neoliberal elite rather than the majority of humans who will still live in the slum worlds outside the gate of these New Edens of this imaginary capitalist utopia.

Toward a Cybernaturalist Vision

Theodore Dreiser naturalist and novelist wrote his ‘Trilogy of Desire’ based on the real-life tycoon, Charles Yerkes. Thinking about our own era and the convergence of a space economy, the NBIC technologies, and the California ideology only two fit the bill for a Cybernaturalist Trilogy: Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. But of the two the most intriguing is Elon Musk who seems to inhabit both the anxiety-apprehensions of the coming Singularity and its productive acceptance and need to guide it in ways toward a Space Economy. Yet, Bezos would make a good counter-antagonist. That and the intermixture of Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and Globalist (US and EU, etc.) agendas as backdrop along with all the ideological and socio-cultural conflicts of the emerging world.

For years I’ve been trying to wrap my vision around a way to embed all these various forces of technology, politics, and the great upheavals in our civilization. Along with our need to begin the challenge of creating a Space Economy that would make us less dependent on the finite resources of our planet which as the sciences, engineers, and geologists have reiterated are indeed finite. The fossil economy is or will soon in the next millennia dry up and force civilization into other modes of energy. How we face that and the growing need of our technological society that thrives on more and more excessive use of fossil fuels and energy is going to be the deciding factor toward off-world expansion. China is already moving toward that goal. Will the globalist world (i.e., the Neoliberal order) do the same are fall before its current ideological and socio-cultural decadence?

If we destroy this technological civilization, we will assuredly be doomed for the simple reason we have or will soon have over 8 billion people on a planet of finite resources that is moving into a climate emergency in which is doubtful that we even as a species might survive unless we can create a new form of society and civilization based on other modes than competition and war.

All these things have touched me… how to allow these conflicts to play out through a set of characters across time… who knows if I’ll live to do it. It’s just an idea… wish I was younger and had the knowledge I have now but that’s just pure bullshit nostalgia. I’ve taken stabs at it before, but up till now haven’t had a solid framework or novelistic encompassment on which to embed my story. Using Dreiser’s rags to riches tale but displaced into our 21st Century era of convergence technologies and Space entrepreneurs, along with all our present social and political upheavals seems a good starting point. On with the show…

When you think about it most posthuman thought is based on the postmodern exclusion of the subject or radical interiority, so that our notions of AGI will become this as well: superintelligence without radical interiority. The whole humanistic tradition in thought and literature was based on the radical interiority of consciousness, the self-reflexive subject-object split which if we follow pessimism to its extreme forms becomes the ultimate mistake. “Most people learn to save themselves by artificially limiting the content of consciousness.“ This sense of either limiting consciousness or doing away with it altogether is the same as inventing an Artificial Intelligence without consciousness or radical interiority. The decadents were the first to move away from naturalist to artificial forms of thought. We now live in a new decadence, a society that seeks to eliminate consciousness in favor of a life in artificial environments: Virtual Reality. The more artificial the better, a new acceleration of apocalyptic desire toward the implosion of machinic and human convergence. Strangely as humans become more machinic, machines become more human: this dyadic asymmetry seems to work its way out not in some Hegelian dialectic, but rather in a cybernaturalist vision of machinic civilization based on perverse desire. It’s as if the pessimistic dream of limiting or eliminating consciousness, the postmodern dream of eliminating the author-reader, and the posthuman dream of becoming machine (ala black Deleuzean cyberpositivity) have all converged. All converged on the elimination of humans themselves from their own transcendent pretensions that is.

What’s strange is just as natural process (Climate emergency) begins to decay and devolve into climate apocalypse portending the immanent degradation of the human habitus, humans themselves seek an escape into the very technocommercium of artificial existence.

Abstract Horror

“Of course, a common trope of conspiratorial horror is the individual’s lack of agency once parasitized by a constitutive xenoforce: one is stripped of agency and free will and, resultantly, becomes marionetted in and by a game too complex to be interpreted and too vast for agential intervention.”

—Andrew C. Wenaus, Literature of Exclusion : Dada, Data, and the Threshold of Electronic Literature

Nick Land describes abstract horror as: “Ontological density without identifiable form is abstract horror itself.” He goes on to say,

“If we could clearly envision the calamity that awaited us, it would be an object of terror. Instead, it is a shapeless threat, ‘Outside’ only in the abstract sense (encompassing the negative immensity of everything that we cannot grasp). It could be anywhere, from our genes or ecological dynamics, to the hidden laws of technological evolution, or the hostile vastnesses between the stars. We know only that, in strict proportion to the vitality of the cosmos, the probability of its existence advances towards inevitability, and that for us it means supreme ill.”

“Fermi’s Paradox” : Among recent thinkers, Nick Bostrom has been especially dogged in pursuing the implications of the Fermi Paradox. Approaching the problem through systematic statistical ontology, he has shown that it suggests a ‘thing’ – a ‘Great Filter’ that at some stage winnows down potential galactic civilizations to negligible quantities. If this filtering does not happen early – due to astro-chemical impediments to the emergence of life – it has to apply later. Consistently, he considers any indications of abundant galactic life to be ominous in the extreme. A Late Great Filter would then still lie ahead (for us). Whatever it is, we would be on our approach to an encounter with it.”

—Nick Land. Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator

It’s this eerie feeling of apprehension surrounding the unknown as ‘unknown’ that is at the heart of abstract horrorism, a feeling that we know something is up with the world, that everything is out of whack, that there is something in the air, something indefinable yet felt that seems to haunt us not with its presence but its absence. We read weird tales, horror novels, murder mysteries, and crime stories because these writers for the most part give shape to our fears rather than leaving them in that abstract black hole of unknown and unknowable. Even when they cannot name the things they face, they still weave those things with just a sense of an unknowing knowing: the apophatic unnamable. We seem to need to put a name to the demon that haunts us even if it would mean our self-lacerating annihilation. To leave the ‘thing’ in some abstract unknown and unnamable blankness is to feel its dark and terrible presence in every shadow of our lives, as a continuous threat that seems to hover about us and in the future that is weaving its way toward us or alluring us toward its doom.

Dark Thoughts


Ross Abbinnett, The Neoliberal Imagination:

“At the core of the technological regime that underlies the process of aesthetic capitalization, in other words, there is a limit experience: a sense of doom in the regime of consumerist happiness that is also the chance of new forms of self-expression and ecological responsibility. Morton’s version of object-orientated ontology is important because unless it is possible to point to instances of technologically executed art that have undermined the expansion of the aesthetic channels of the neoliberal imagination, and which configure an ecological vision of human and non-human life within the intersecting terrain of hyperobjects, the gravitational pull of originary technicity will tend towards the corporate transhumanism that is taking hold in the global economy.”

It’s a little late for all this hope… as much as I like Morton his Romantic ontology of objects is one more sinkhole for “hope” in a world that has already been swallowed up by the emerging Leviathan of the technocommercium that is leading us like a blind demiurge into an absolute extinction event. I just don’t have that kind of faith the humans will survive the coming world of collapse. So far they’ve only shown me how pathetic humans when confronted with the nihilistic truth seek to immerse themselves in fantasies and denial systems that capture their desires and reprogram their minds with propaganda and ideological subversion. No all this talk of ecological consciousness is one more Idealist bag of tricks to nowhere…

Ever since the late sixties I’ve heard the ecological spill in one form after another. It didn’t change things then and it want now. No. Humans will continue their own blind merry way in an optimism of mindless entertainment and stupidity to waltz into their doom filled future till it’s too late to do a fracking thing… then they’ll do what they’ve always done in the past: turn on each other in war and blame till they all die or end in a collapse of dark ages ahead…
True. I lost my youthful optimism long ago… my Romanticism of hope and democratic appeal…. that’s all gone, a lie of my youthful disposition to believe humans might actually change. I know better now…humans love to talk and talk and talk… action? No. No action… oh, sure they’ll run into the streets and protest this and that, but at the end of the day they’ll return home to gloat over their egoistic pride that the did their part in … what? One more fake session in talk, talk, talk, that goes nowhere, does nothing…

I watch all these young academics publish paper after paper, book after book, lecture after lecture…. what has it done to change things? Nothing. One can plunder the book stores of Amazon or any other commercium and find thousands of books published every month, each spouting in one form or another the same bad news about our current World System. They’ve been doing this for two hundred years… has it changed things? No….

The future is an event in the making, not a substantive impossibility to be suffered. Will we meet it with our eyes open or shall we sleep in the illusory technopop worlds of our contemporary neoliberal imaginary, believing that technology will save us from ourselves, offer us a way out of our current crisis. For hundreds of years our belief in the sciences, in technology to progressively invent and create solutions to the problems we face has been part of the deep myth of our Enlightenment Age of Modernity. Will we continue to offer sacrifices to the gods of technology and capital? Will we continue to feed the great Leviathan of the technocracy of globalist mythologies that seek to capture our desires once and for all in a total system of immersive virtuality? Will we continue even as the world begins to burn under the pressure of the coming collapse of the environment and climate degradation to believe in our gods of modernity and technological progress to save us like some cartoon Batman, Spiderman, or Superman?

The technoptimists would have you affirm the dream of Mars and galactic capitalism, of a new age of space flight and colonization as the answer to our dilemmas. A new frontier to which a small remnant might survive the coming apocalypse and give hope to our species through its off-world recreation of earth in the terraforming of a new earth; the earth of Mars…  Others dream of transhuman perfection and enhancement, of biogenetic mutation and human control of DNA/RNA sequencing in creating new types of superhumans; others of the merger of machine and human in a cyborg millennium of machinic civilizations to come… the human dream of perfection and immortality are as old as religion and myth. Another great pipe dream for an animal that cannot accept its finitude and organic existence in time but would rather invent an anorganic life to be lived out either in virtual reality or in some ultra hyperbody of machinic of plasticity unbound.

Active Pessimism; or, an Apocalyptic Accelerationism

Thomas Lynch in ‘Apocalyptic Political Theology’ argues “that thought should take the form of an active pessimism. This form of pessimism may refuse the hope of this world, but it has not surrendered. Living negatively in the world requires a constant investigation of what it means to engage in this refusing, of cultivating habits of refusal and of developing the capacity to sustain this refusal as a mode of negatively being in the world. This refusal entails a strange hope rooted in the end rather than an investment in what would come after.”1

I’ve always believed that what we term ‘world’ is not the actual literal natural world environment, but the symbolic order of our socio-cultural and political worlds of ideology and worldview. So when we speak of living toward the end of the world it is not the literal end of the natural order but of the Symbolic Order of the human virtual world of Ideology, Politics, and Social investment.

So, an Apocalyptic Pessimism seeks to aggressively attack this so-called Symbolic Order of the ‘World’ as Ideological construct and political sham, a fake world of human and technological progress and perfectionism that permeates the techno-optimism of our contemporary globalism. Instead of continuing to buy into the myths of the Neoliberal Imaginary we should open our eyes and aggressively push its imaginary to the end…

As Lynch puts it,

“It is possible that it has always been a good time to write about the end of the world. It is conceivable that in every age every society has its pessimists, its doomsayers and those that cloak their misanthropy or nihilism with a layer of intellectualism. This depiction of apocalyptists recalls Kierkegaard’s knight of infinite resignation. The book concludes by taking up Kierkegaard’s discussion of this knight and the contrast he draws with the knight of faith. In opposition to both of these figures, I propose a knight of apocalyptic pessimism as a model of what it might mean to live apocalyptically.”

In this sense I’ve always belonged to the destroyer, a literary Satanism of the apocalyptic nihil, of dissolving the whole Symbolic Order of Western Civilization once and for all so that we can begin anew… this is not a salvage operation, there is nothing to return to after the end. Only a new beginning, an unknown and impossible future…

In the midst of the ruins of civilization we shall all be knights of an apocalyptic pessimism living apocalyptically till the new world begins to arise out of our deepest longing and vision…

There is no hope here, only the courage of hopelessness.

  1. Lynch, Thomas. Apocalyptic Political Theology: Hegel, Taubes and Malabou. Bloomsbury Academic (March 19, 2020)

Saturn’s Tears

So must these Saturnians suffer…
—Paul Verlaine

Are you willing to know the stranger who walks among you?
Seek out his ways, sing of his gifts,
the poetry of malevolence and decay,
madness and despair; a tribute to the silences
in those far-flung eyes, the fire of alien spheres,
And gestures of an ancient art, soundings of the abyss
still churning in the white foam of his galactic journeys.
Do you not hear those dead angels dreaming in the void —
When time-born men still wandered
among the stones and ruins of Oblivion’s Nights,
when the tears fell from black skies like promises of remembrance.
And would you speak in the darkening tongue
of those who know and are known
by that black namelessness beyond this sea of forgetfulness,
Those whose metallic voices ring out
from the cistern of all beginnings.
Or will you like so many others before you fall away
into that endless expanse where darkness dwells
and no light shall ever reach nor give its spark?

—S.C. Hickman ©2022

Decadent Art and Literature

Decadent art is ritualistic and epiphanic. Its style is pagan spectacle and pagan flaunting.

—Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae

First and foremost, Decadent art is not representative; it does not desire to reflect the commonplace conceptions of “Life” or “Nature,” which it despises and makes every attempt to demythologize. Decadent literature points instead the way to an opposite ideal, wherein life and nature would become entirely subject to every kind of clever artifice. Because this ideal is incapable of attainment in practice, Decadent literature is essentially pessimistic, and sometimes brutally horrific, but this makes it all the more ruthless in demolishing the pretensions of rival philosophies. It mocks these rivals mercilessly, taking delight in turning everything which is ordinarily taken for granted topsy-turvy.

Decadent art is rich in fantasies, and sympathetic to everything which encourages the cultivation of fantasy; it is for this reason that it is in favor of opium, hashish, and other psychotropics, even though it recognizes that such substances are ultimately mind-rotting and life consuming. It applauds those who have sufficient power of imagination not to require artificial aids but is prepared to take a clinical interest even in the most hazardous derangement of the senses. …

He feels there is some essential truth in horror: that the world is sick at heart, and that acceptance of that truth demands that even the most obvious of evils – pain, death, and disease – may require aesthetic re-evaluation, and at the very least deserve to be more thoroughly and conscientiously explored.

Decadent literature … is skeptical, cynical, and satirical. The moral of a Decadent prose-poem or conte cruel, if it has a moral at all, is likely to recommend that we should make the best compromises we can, recognize that they are compromises, and refuse to be ashamed of them. Decadent art is, however, dedicated to the smashing of icons and idols, and it is always ready to attack stern moralists of every stripe; it is fiercely intolerant of intolerance and revels in the paradoxicality of such a stance.

The Decadent renounces all hope of finding paradise within intimate relationships, or even within oneself, as well as all hope of a future Utopia. He does acknowledge, however, that no matter how hollow the luxurious artifices of civilization are, a good deal of pleasure is to be found therein. He is therefore an unrepentant sensualist, albeit of a determinedly cynical kind. Such rewards … are to be sought by means of a languid hedonism which is contemptuous of arbitrary and tyrannical rules of conduct and regretfully scornful of all higher aspirations.

The Decadent connoisseur seeks out only the most piquant – perhaps, the most painful – of pleasures. Surrounding himself with all the comforts of civilization, because his endless self-indulgence erodes his capacity to take pleasure from anything commonplace.

Impuissance, ennui, and inaction are his only companions: a constant, heavy, and sullen world-weariness which is almost impossible to dispel, even for a moment. When ennui’s deadening power becomes torturous the Decadent transmutes it into that art of spleen: a seething, bilious, and viperish subspecies of melancholy.

The only reprieve from the ‘sin of accidie’ is Art itself. The Decadent’s pursuit of Art, his fierce and intense engagement in all its toxic stimulants is for the Decadent the greatest artifice of all; it is there, if anywhere, that there are victories to be won and triumphs to be deserved. Decadent art is the flower of late civilizations, the sign of the end lies within its apocalyptic beauty which offers only the most morbid and beautiful enrichments, an excess of sensual cruelty that annihilates self and other in a languid tempest of enervating desires.

—Brian Stableford, Glorious Perversity

The Way that seems Best


When I was a kid growing up as Viet Nam became more and more personal realizing that I would probably be drafted and sent to those jungles I began to feel this apprehension, a sense of dread that just seemed to sit there in the shadows on my mind like a dark cloud of unknowing. I feel that now, not for myself, but for the people I know and love who will face the century ahead. It’s like a dark void, an unknowing thing, monstrous and yet all too real, filled with fantasies and extrapolations from all the various threads of our age’s strange accumulation of both utopian and dystopian visions, dreams, and desires. I want be there, but they will. It’s this sense that my story is over, but theirs is only beginning. Our future looks both bleak and strange, ill-defined, and yet overfull with all the detritus of a dying civilization in its glorious decadence.

I accepted death long ago, it’s just a part of the natural order of things. Nothing special. We all face it, we all die. It’s just that as it attains a more solid form in one’s life one realizes that even after all the philosophical peregrinations that it is what Shakespeare said long ago: “The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.” This sense of an ending, of finality. Ultimately one faces it with equanimity and a deep sense of grace and gratitude, or one is like a rabid dog full of sorn and spleen. As I pass into those years I choose to face it with that calm indifference and magnanimity of the old aristocrats of spirit, the pre-Socratics who seemed to just accept whatever came their way. What else should one do? This seems best.

Sibylle Ruppert: The Art of Hell


Sibylle Ruppert art inspired by the works of Sade, Lautréamont and Georges Bataille. Like Georges Bataille’s formless entry, the images created by Sibylle are designed to make the uncertain spread everywhere. Hence the disorientation, the impossibility of defining its limits, since the body becomes a space of loss, where the self in it gets lost when reaching the other.

She was friends of both Hans Belmer and H.R. Geiger, had lived through some of the fire bombings during WWII and seen the slaughterhouse of charred corpses and mass death. It’s like this dam thing in Ukraine, the world is once again seeping into that dark place of hell as if trying to open its gates and flood the world with all the formless madness in the universe.


The Sorrow of Being


On the isle of despair, we live in-between
the unknowing ignorance and the gnosis
of absolute madness, caught in the dance
of tears gleaming on a sea of black light
we come to feel the sorrow of being


—S.C. Hickman ©2022

It’s as if we were all locked away in a bubble-universe, a prison surrounded by darkness and black light, cut off in a realm of absolute death, a hell of eternal return, the vicious circle of never-ending desire without end: the kenoma (emptiness), or vastation of the Gnostics:

“Pressing itself upon and inwardly imposing itself within the dark blankness of the human gaze, the crucifixion darkness forces the fact that this black universe, inseparable from the obscurity of your being in it, is at once the place and hiding of the place where the false lights of the world must and most paradisically fail.”

—Nicola Mascinadaro, Paradisical Pessimism

As Jaques Lecarriere in his great work, The Gnositcs, described it our universe is the luminous prison of darkness:

So, in this simple look directed at the celestial vault, the Gnostics find themselves confronted with the ultimate nature of reality: what is this dark matter which is by turns full and empty, dense and tenuous, luminous and dark, of which our sky is made? Is this dark shore, this tenebrous tissue, this interstitial shadow wherein the stars seem pricked like incandescent pores, constituted of matter or of space? Is the ‘real’ sky nothing but its light, these winking eyes on the ocean of night, or is it at one and the same time that which shines and that which does not, a fire flaming and dark by turns? Do its shores and its black abysses comprise a nothingness, an absence of light, or are they the concrete material which interposes itself between our earth and the distant fires which it obscures?

Dark wall, black lid, circle of shadow. And beyond that, in a second circle, the fire of the planets, the stars and all the heavenly bodies. The eye apprehends this other world by means of the luminous dots cut out of the fabric of the darkness in the shape of constellations, the sparkling lace perforating the tissue of the cosmic night. Why did the being – the god or demiurge – who thus perforated the veil of our sky, trace these enigmatic stenciled patterns that echo the familiar shapes of our world? Because, without a doubt, they are the sign of something, the sketch for some plan; they are messages or symbols scattered across the celestial vault. For example, one Gnostic sect, the Peratae (an obscure name meaning Those Who Pass Through), discovered in the constellation of the Serpent or the Dragon the very meaning of the genesis of the cosmos.

These ancient mythologists, exegetes of hell, dark readers of a genesis gone mad, creators of a terrible error and ignorance, shaping the cosmos into an infinite machine of death, the tribe of desert calculators of black stars. Hunted down and slain in the centuries after that black event of time, their tales slowly accruing in the secret caves of a lost sect, unbound and awakened like triggers out of some timeless void live now in our minds like hints of a strange universe of degradation and corruption. We, the heirs of this mad work, live on…

Only when the last flicker of mattering flows out into the entropic abyss where the cold winds of nothingness within nothingness disperse will the sorrow of all sorrows cease…