The limit or non-limit of darkness is its terrifying feature – if  the darkness is expansive and not invasive (oil or plague like, creeping inside organisms) then it is its formalized bound that must be decided which also allows for the possibility of a darkness within darkness. Take the following from Ligotti’s “Flowers of the Abyss”:

“With the darkness I saw the darkness. And it was immensity without end around me, and I believe within me. It was unbroken expansion, dark horizon meeting dark horizon. But there were also things within the darkness, within me and outside of me, so that if I reached out to touch them across a universe of darkness, I also reached deep inside of this body.”

The most common bound darkness would be that of the used; the ashen, the rotten, etc.  This dead darkness is the pools of dark putrescence in science fictive and ancient horror.  This can quickly lead to alchemical nigredo.  Deleuze’s dark precursor or the distant past and absolute of Schelling.

Potentiated darkness (shadows and abysses) such as the well known slander against Schelling’s absolute as the night in which all the cows are black which attempts to turn the potentiated darkness back into cold, sterile darkness.  This full but indiscernable darkness is perhaps the clotted darkness of Ligotti’s “Night School”:

“an undiluted darkness, a darkness far greater than the night itself, a consolidated darkness, something clotted with its own density.”

Darknesses within darknesses signals two significant points of engagement within dark vitalism: the darkness in the relation of ontology and epistemology, and the object (or subject) versus flow issue – or the plasma/polyp problem.  In process philosophies the latter issue is only addressed through a de facto anthrocentricism which allows for eternal objects, quasi objects, multiplicities and the like. A strong understanding of space-time (or what we call space-time) will hopefully allow for deeper understanding of formal distinctions in the darkness.  Dark vitalism is the name for this fundamental problem/avenue.  From Ligotti’s “The Shadow, The Darkness”:

“This activating force is something like a shadow that is not on the outside of all the bodies of this world but is inside of everything and thoroughly pervades everything–an all-moving darkness that has no substance in itself but that moves all the objects of this world, including those objects which we call our bodies.”


One Response to “Darknesses”

  1. 1 kvond

    “With the darkness I saw the darkness. ”

    Kvond: I like this. It reminds one of Plotinus’s analogy to light. Looking not “at things” but rather “with the light”:

    “One thing is an object of vision for it, the form of the sensible object, another is that by which [i.e. the light] it sees the form of it [the sensible object], which [the medium] is also an object of sensation for it, while being other than the form [of the sensible object] and the cause for the form of being seen and is concomitantly seen both in the form and with the form; for this reason the light does not yield a clear sensation of itself, because the eye is turned toward the illuminated object; but whever it [i.e. the light] is nothing but itself, it sees in an immediate intuition…”

    Instead one is imagined to “look WITH darkness”, not at dark things (the “night”), but THROUGH darkness itself. Personally I find that if one looks “with darkness” or “with light” we are speaking of the same processes if one pushes it to its limit, but thanks for the post.

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