Human being, this insignificance
At Hypertiling (a blog I should check more frequently) Fabio mentions his ambivalence towards the Lovecraftian tendency amongst the speculative nihilists – a group I would argue includes myself, Reza, Eugene Thacker, Nicola, Evan Calder Williams, SC Hickman, and probably others I am forgetting.
My engagement with fictional forms of darkness my seem too hyperbolic (hyperstitional) but this is, as Brassier and others have pointed out, symptomatic of a larger positivity within philosophy – positivity is a far less questioned operative mode whereas negativity is anything but – the dark and the negative is the more attacked tactic, affect, and behavior. The speculative nihilist wager is that positivity is questionable – positivity may merely be another patina to be shorn by the blade of realism.
Negativity is more often than not shooed into the self-destructive circuit of the suicide solution (Dominic Fox addresses this via Xasthur in Cold World – suicide is capitulation). An alliance with the darker bits of culture (whatever that may be and whatever that means) may be pigeon-holing but negativity is already pigeon-holed (and we are of course attracted to thinkers and writers often due to gut feelings of agreement).
Certain darknesses are already relegated to genre fiction (ie not to be taken seriously) and the more negative thinkers (such as Schopenhauer) fair far better in the arts than in philosophy. In the fourth book of The World as Will and Representation (the serious book) Schopenhauer delves again and again into the brutish nature of life, of nature, of human existence. Where sadness is the result of internal characteristics (317) Schopenhauer also asserts that optimism is a wicked way of thinking (326) and that happiness is a short lived exception and not the norm of life. Yet it seems that the lack of a smile (in philosophy and in life) is immediate cause for concern.
To hyperbolically address Lovecraft et all may also seem too phenomenological or too Kantian – horror and, in particular, Lovecraftian horror, is concerned with the limits of experience but this limit says more about the complexity of the world, about the voidic cauldron that is the cosmos than about our living in the world. Melancholy (in the traditional sense) becomes inverted (or extroverted?) turned outward – the inability to lord over the world becomes the fact of being caught in a thinking and self-conscious existence.
But maybe I am just a malcontent!
Filed under: Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, ligotti, Speculative Realism | 4 Comments
Tags: lovecraft, Schopenhauer