Frames /sing


Death, Bodies, Last

When a body dies, there is a change in the echo of external events. Perhaps that is all there is. And therefore a body does not truly die, which is not to say that there is no change, but that the very notion of change is negotiable, perceptual. A “change in the echo” is to say, it has been dulled, muted, mortified, but it has not ended. This perhaps is what Spinoza means by “God”. Past events continue in their echoeous life in other taken-to-be-living bodies, how Mozart lives across us, and our instruments, our material etchings; but the body itself, as it once was, opens itself up to other confabulation, other involvements. And we think of the first as “ghost” and the second as “decay”, when in fact this splitting is only a growing wide of, and a variant to, Donne’s Compass. Due to the former half, the persistence of the echo taken from its source, some people want to say that there is a fundamental alienation to these processes (poor Mozart can never get back to his “body”); and some people want to see in death a return to a wholeness from which conscious life poses some primary alienation. Instead of course, neither of these is correct. Death is not “lack” nor entropy, but best understood as an opening.

9 responses to “Death, Bodies, Last

  1. Michael July 19, 2009 at 12:06 am

    I don’t think I would quite say that “death is alienation” or “there is a fundamental alienation in death,” nor do I see it necessarily as lack. I would rather say that the the binary of life-death is inadequate to reality and that there are only degrees of existence, but since wholeness is impossible (as is absolute lack or void), every “thing” lacks in some way, but it exists as what it is through that lack.

    • kvond July 19, 2009 at 12:11 am

      Of course I have a very hard time tracking your use of other people’s ideas, and you cite Lacan and Zizek as exemplary here. When I referred to “other people” I was referring to principlely those two. I am not really sure what you yourself mean when you try to adapt their thought to your own.

      As to your latter thought here, Spinoza certainly has an answer, which is that any one thing might SEEM to lack wholeness, but since the separation which SEEMS to constitute any delimited part is an illusion of a kind, this lack simply does not exist.

      From my point of view you try to straddle both the Spinozist and the Hegelian/Lacanian versions. But really, this post was about much more than your position, rather, the kind of things I think about when I read your posts on ghosts and Death Drive.

  2. Pingback: Die and Dance in Spinozist Terms « Frames /sing

  3. Amarilla July 21, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Luminous images of dead beetles loosely related to post:

    I hope you enjoy them.

  4. kvond July 21, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Beautiful image. The gloss, not something easily spoken of.

  5. James August 3, 2009 at 2:38 am

    I wonder if you have read Collapse IV, which focuses on, amongst other things, horror and death? I found the following particularly striking, from the paper by Reza Negarestani:

    “…a moment in philosophy when both the philosophy of Ideas and the science of being qua being are fundamentally built upon putrefaction and act in accordance with the chemistry of decay… [a] moment when beings must undergo necrosis and decay in order to remain in being and the Ideas must be founded on an intensive necrosis and an extensive decay in order to remain in their essence and to synthesize with other Ideas. In other words, this moment
    marks a necessity for Ideas – even the Idea of ontology itself: in order to be active intensively and extensively, inwardly and outwardly, the Idea must first be fully necrotized and blackened on all levels, intensively and extensively.”

    This issue of the journal has sold out and is available for free on the Urbanomic website:


    • kvond August 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

      Thanks James. I have not yet read that essay, but Reza and I have had several back and forths on his website in the comments section. There is much that bridges his thought to mine, always tempered by my inevitable Spinizist resistance to “lack” (and its correlate iconic “death”).

  6. John August 25, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Please check out this extraordinary reference on death as an opening to life altogether–in each and every moment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: