It's hard to believe it's been four years since Mark left. What a day to talk about the meaninglessness of death. If there's one thing Meillassoux is right about, it's that nothing less than the complete and total resurrection of the restless dead could make death meaningful.
Who wouldn't want to hear what he had to say about the absolute fucking state of this place (Earth)? That excuse to hear his insights might be a reason to hate this state just a little less. But we can't, and so it doesn't. How I wish it were otherwise.
Mark's death wasn't uniquely his own. There was nothing authentic about it. It was the same desperately sad story that you will hear over and over again throughout your life as unquenchable misery pulls meaningful people into an indifferent void.
Death is the enemy. Give it no ground, until you must make your own peace with it. That's what's yours alone, not the onrushing edge of your horizon of possible action. That edge is everyone's and no one's, and it takes the vast majority of us before we ever face up to it.
So rage against the dying of every fucking light. Don't go gently, unless that's your chosen style. I'll go kicking, screaming, and clawing at the edges of the maw as I'm dragged into it. Carve that on my tombstone. Here lies a man who would like you to know none of us is ready.
Celebrate the all too vain struggle against the pull of the abyss if you must, that's each person's legacy, but never celebrate the abyss, which is as impersonal as anything in this twisted fucking manifold we call a universe. To the mighty dead, and a fuck you to all apologists!
I'm not sure I'm ready to articulate my thoughts on the difficulty of turning death into something meaningful, be it your own or another's. It's one of the few things I can only think about in short bursts before the tears come and I need to stop. But today is a day to speak.
I've talked about a lot art recently, by which I mean the varied and rich aesthetic products of our culture that have no place inside the specialised (and sterilised) white cube of the artworld: TV, Webcomics, RPGs, and science fiction. But I've not said much about music.
On the one hand, I feel like my musical opinions are my least interesting ones, no matter how much they mean to me. On the other, depression has severed me from the source of their significance too many times over the last decade, sapping the joy from my favourite music.
But Mark's musical opinions were so intricately woven into his ideas that it seems right to offer a few thoughts, even if my tastes diverge quite significantly from his. So I offer a few reflections on death in musical form that have stuck with me, and which I keep returning to.
1. Let's begin with the big one: A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie. An album about the meaninglessness of death that struggles as hard against the paradox of conveying this message without giving it meaning as anything I have ever encountered. It is, in a word, relentless.
Here is the first track (). Its final lines are:

"It's dumb
And I don't want to learn anything from this
I love you"

These words crush me every time I hear them.
Here is @theneedledrop's review (), which is better than anything I could write here. My goal this year is to make it through the entire album without blubbering. So far, I can make it to track 3.
2. 'Homeless' by Loudan Wainwright III (). Say what you want about Wainwright, but he is a master of sincerity, who works through his pains, joys, triumphs, and failures in his songs. This song works through the death of his mother. It is literally uncanny.
3. 'You Want it Darker' by Leonard Cohen (). If anyone ever managed the task of carefully and skilfully transforming their own onrushing death into a piece of breathtaking poetry meant to condense every last lesson they had to tell us, Leonard Cohen did.
4. 'Pale Green Things' by The Mountain Goats (). The album is incredible, slowly unfolding the shadow of his abusive alcoholic stepfather; culminating in an ode to forgiveness, resurrecting some sliver of decency in those whose deaths it's hard to mourn.
5. 'Ma Bonny Lad' by The Unthanks (). The first piece of somber North East English folk I'll recommend. Not so much conceptually deep as aesthetically quintessential in the way it captures the drama of meaningless loss.
6. 'Scarecrow' by Bridie Jackson and The Arbour (). The second piece of somber folk, cut with some blues influences to create a bitter reflection on mortality's cruel ironies, which imitate meaning:

"Of all the seasons Winter always tells the fewest lies."
7. 'Heart Emoji' by Richard Dawson (). I love all Dawson's work, but his new album remains conceptually folk music even if it no longer sounds like the folk you're familiar with. Here is a vignette about the mundane will to take a life, left unrealised.
8. 'Close the Coalhouse Door' by Alex Glasgow (). The archetypical work not merely of NE sombre folk, but real pitmatic folk:

"Bairns that had no time to hide,
Bairns who saw the blackness slide,
Oh, there's bairns beneath the mountainside."
9. I'll finish with a song that closes the circle of this musical reflection on death: 'Ghost' by Neutral Milk Hotel ().

"All drenched in milk and holy water pouring from the sky
I know that she will live forever
She won't ever die"
'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea' is an amazing album, in part dedicated to the redemption of what Meillassoux would call an 'essential spectre' (Anne Frank) whose death has already been made into so much meaningless meaning. 'Ghost' and 'Holland 1945' are exercises in hauntology.
Whereas Meillassoux asks us to perform such acts of redemption as rituals encoding little more than a symbolic bridge to a hoped for future of true Justice, Federov enjoins us to extend these acts into nothing less than the technological resurrection of the restless dead.
I like to think that somewhere in the mood-sized diamond supercomputers of @hannu's Sobernost sits a girl given a new, if entirely inadequate life by the archeologists of the mind (the Hsien Kus). An essential spectre ready to escape that living prison and forge her destiny anew.
I had to bring it back to science fiction in the end, but at least I've given you a sound track to accompany your thinking about death. Solidarity against mortality, my friends.

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More from @deontologistics

15 Jan
So, here’s a way of reframing this question: which societies enabled coexistence and collaboration between people with divergent social styles, rather than imposing a dominant social style? Such social pluralism is very important indeed.
I suspect that the vast majority of the answers to the original question will fall foul of the tendency to project ideal social arrangements that reflect our own style of social understanding and engagement, and that this will lead them to talk past one another.
Consider the perspective of someone far away from you on in the neurological map, who doesn’t overlap with your socially calibrated genetic resources for social intelligence: the social heaven of an autist introvert may be the social hell of a bipolar extrovert, and vice versa.
Read 25 tweets
14 Jan
This is what happens when you train neural networks largely on tone and its stylistic relics. They pick up formal features of arguments (not so much fallacies as tics) that have almost nothing to do with semantic content (focus on connotation over implication).
This is a secular problem in the discipline. It's got nothing to do with the Analytic/Continental split in the anglophone world. They've both got the same ramifying signal/noise problem, it's just that the styles (tics and connotations) are different in each pedagogical context.
And this is before we start talking about tone policing and topic policing, which are both rife and essentially make the peer review journal system completely unfit for purpose, populated as it is by a random sampling of pedants selecting for syntactic noise over semantic signal.
Read 39 tweets
13 Jan
I know I'm being pretty harsh on Agamben, but I actually agree with him that we need a critique of healthcare provision (both physical and mental), because the systems established to gate access to diagnosis/treatment often diminish autonomy as much as they enable it.
But we need to be able to look at the concrete details of these institutions without giving ourselves a free pass to ignore the discourses of medicine, psychology, and psychiatry whenever we want. Bad critique is epistemically capricious where good critique is responsible.
This is as good at time as any to repost some unrolled threads from 2019 in which I talk about expanding Mark Fisher's work on the politics of mental health to healthcare more generally (…) and discuss bipolar disorder specifically (…).
Read 6 tweets
12 Jan
I'm strongly committed to the virtue of sincerity, but we are all put in positions in which we bend the truth to fit the shape of our discursive context, in ways that produce misunderstandings we can't anticipate. Sometimes (good) rules of thumb get read as (bad) iron laws.
Here's the most common white lie I tell students, friends, and strangers alike: there are no bad questions. I say this to disinhibit people, so they begin asking questions, and so the process of asking them will refine them and take us in an interesting dialectical direction.
This solicitation of thought in process, in which imperfections are encouraged as a way to draw out and develop ideas, is a crucial feature of the generosity required to perform Socratic midwifery properly, rather than 'own the [libs/trads/etc.]'. It's about sincerity, not irony.
Read 61 tweets
12 Jan
Here's a meta-thread organising the Laruelle thread ('Non-Laruelle') into chapters, which will be expanded as it continues to expand. Chapters will be subdivided into parts.
The beginning of the overall thread is here (), and chapter/part links will go to the first tweet in each section. There may be a few accidental forks her and there, but the thread is linear for the most part.
Read 8 tweets
11 Jan
Time to post a few more pieces of inspirational art in a final fit of procrastination.
I get pretty critical of certain strands of Marxism, and prefer to present myself as a left-accelerationist (in contexts where that's understood) or as a what @michaeljswalker 'class war social democrat' (in those where it isn't), but I try never to dismiss communism outright.
I may see myself as more an Owenite than a Marxist in some respects, but I cannot listen to this song without something stirring within me, and I recommend it to anyone quick to dismiss communists because of the historical arc of state communism in C20th:
Read 36 tweets

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