Thomas Ligotti: The Order of Illusion

It seemed to him that the old mysteries had been made for another universe, and not the one he came to know. Yet there was no doubt that they had once deeply impressed him.
………– Thomas Ligotti, Noctuary

Most of Thomas Ligotti’s characters are forgettable, anonymous and seem to wander through the haze of things like jack rabbits that have just been caught out by the high amp lights of some devilish crew bent on mayhem and annihilation. The Order of Illusion like many of his other tales ambles from contortion to utter degradation in less time than it takes to blink one’s eye. “Intoxicated by their wonder, by raw wonder itself, he might never have turned away from the golden blade held aloft by crimson hands, from the mask with seven eyes, the idol of moons, from the ceremony called the Night of the Night, along with other rites of illumination and all the ageless doctrines which derived from their frenzies.”1

So it goes. Our celebrant celebrates the “night of the world” as Hegel once called it. The gnosis of some dark knowledge so secretive that even the cult members themselves must never speak of it. Instead they in orgiastic jouissance, in excess wring the last dregs of pain beyond pleasure, steeped as they are in the heritage of illusions. Like members of some last pittance of the human corruption they seek not a god beyond things, but rather the truth within the realm of daemonic energy that is matter itself. There is no beyond, only the testament of blood and flesh, the scorched delights of cruelty and pain, the sacred dance of entropy the rides the swirling abyss like a tiger after its prey. No. These are the monks not of some abstention or ascesis, but rather the cenobites of pleasures so difficult that few would dare to enter the path much less realize its dark turn into being’s final event. This is no apocalypse, there is no escape; only the endless night of chaos and temporal distortion and contortion. The twisted fated loops of a derision that has sought for far too long a consummation in an immortal death without end. The (in)existence of that which has no name but is everywhere worshiped under the guise of rebellion and emancipation of evil.

Life as the endless formlessness of death.

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Quote of the Day: Alphonso Lingis

Material things do not just lie naked about us; they engender perspectival deformations, halos, mirages, scattering their colors in the light and casting their images on surrounding things. Living bodies rest rumbling and move rustling, striking up echoes; they push on leaving traces and stains, projecting telescoping images of themselves in the transparent air and into translucent substances, casting profiles of themselves and shadows on opaque surfaces. They do not occupy their spot in space and time, filling it to capacity. The names, the classifications, and the concepts with which we recognize them does not grip on to some inner coherence; they only skim over streams of departing images. Living bodies decompose whatever nature they were given and whatever form culture put on them, leaving in the streets and the fields the lines their fingers or feet dance, leaving their warmth in the hands of others and in the winds, their fluids on tools and chairs, their visions in the night. They abandon these fragmentary surfaces, images, mirages, shadows as they move, but these interact with other surfaces and mirages and also with eyes that are moved and shocked and delighted by them. Living bodies that can see do not for the most part look at themselves or see the images they scatter as they go, and do not turn back to gather them up.

 – Alphonso Lingis, Wonders Seen in Forsaken Places (p. 126). 

Alphonso Lingis: Poet Philosopher of our dark days…

“Those who find ecstasy do so not by visiting the shrines of civilization but by trudging in the swamps of human destitution and misery. Our literature of ecstasy recounts the dark nights of the soul and encounters with mystics in the slums and in the refugee camps of genocidal wars.”
—from Abuses, Alphonso Lingis

Alphonso Lingis, a professor of philosophy at Penn State University has been portrayed as “a spectral presence, posed as an otherworldly griot, his voice phasing in and out of sync with peppery Brazilian music that boomed from a pair of formidable speakers. Silhouettes of dancers moved behind an opaque screen, writhing with a shadowed eroticism, as Lingis read a page, then tossed it in air.”[1]

Guerrilla Metaphysics by Graham Harman shows a Lingis – as Tom Sparrow states it, that “toes the line between himself and the whole phenomenological tradition by affirming the autonomy of objects.”[2] Tom Sparrow tells us in an interesting aside that “Lingis is a wanderer and a cosmopolitan philosopher par excellence, perpetually in search of sensations and constantly giving expression, or the closest thing to it, to the sensualities he encounters. This sensuality is not only sought out in each of Lingis’ travels, it operates as a condition of possibility in his philosophy. Speaking boldly, we might call him a transcendental
phenomenologist of sensuality.” (ibid. p. 101)

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Alphonso Lingis: The Carnality of Objects

“To actually name an object is to suppress three-quarters of the sense of enjoyment of a poem, which consists in the delight of guessing one stage at a time: to suggest the object, that is the poet’s dream… There must always be a sense of the enigmatic in poetry, and that is the aim of literature.”     

       – Stephen Mallarme

“The buried shrine shows at its sewer-mouth’s Sepulchral slobber of mud and rubies Some abominable statue of Anubis, The muzzle lit like a ferocious snout…”     

               – Mallarme at the Tomb of Baudelaire

“Let the cold flow with its silence of scythes, I’ll not ululate here in a ‘no’ that’s empty…”    

        – Mallarme, My Books

Mallarme tells us that “to suggest the object, that is the poet’s dream”, and, one might add – the philosopher’s too. Could there be a carnal aesthetics of objects, and if so – What would would be its guiding principles? Theories of art and theories of aesthetics have their own convoluted histories, but what about the carnality of objects as art? What would a theory of the deanthropomorphizing of art theory and aesthetics look like? How could such a thing affectively shape itself within our current discourse? Shifting the center of art appreciation from the human self beyond the self-world gap and into the world of objects would entail turning the human consciousness inside out, exteriorizing its force into the carnality of existence. And rather than sitting back in passive delight of some beautiful sublime artifact to be contemplated in a private, withdrawn state, one would need to move outward into the world of objects, participate in their very emergence and creation. But is such a thing possible? Can we think the impossible – think the outside, discover the face of faces that exist not for us, but in their own carnality, in their own sensuous realm of allure?

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