Discover more from Raids on the Unspeakable
Where are we to begin?
> We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death.
Lenin began: what is to be done—we must set the bar lower. Today good and evil seem alike fruit of a single root, what is happening here? The trouble seems that men no longer know themselves, since the Enlightenment have warred against an enemy never understood. We never understood, of course, because we denied our darkness.
The problem is not men but the means employed, that we seek Paradise by way of public transport. Modern man takes his many advantages from acting in concert. Yet our systems so complex now dwarf entire the individual, no longer do we travel by foot nor are we self-sufficient. Morally speaking our responsibility is entirely unclear, ought be presumed on the heavier side—equally unclear is the actual relevance of this.
Here we must quite seriously consider suicide as an intellectual and political position, as a moral position. What can we say against these? Euthanasia, for instance, and all such ways of checking out. If hedonism is all we have, then suicide is surely the right answer. You have a moral duty to kill yourself if that’s the best you can come up with.
The point here isn’t practical but rather existential; it concerns sloth and the desire for death. We are fearful of any definite end yet still wish escape the anxiety of our alienated condition. Suicide in slow-motion is the same as any other, only continuous rather than categorical. This is the inverted counterfeit, dignified resignation isn’t a bullet but a lifestyle; it is the inertia of an indecisive escape.
This anxiety is said to arise from some fundamental alienation. There are variations on this, some few thought particular to our age—Marx, Ellul, etc. But there is further the Fall, therein alienation in a much more basic sense. This is to be alienated from God, to be somehow separate and peculiar compared to the remainder of creation:
Truly, We did offer al-amaanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results). [al-Ahzaab 33:72]
This trust is the conscience we cannot stifle; it is the voice that makes of us excess demands. Excess because particular, how much better the universal law; to pretend telos but a foreign word. Yet there is an end beyond all this to which the voice calls incessant. We call ourselves inward from the future, thus it moves through us.
Where to? I cannot say for you, and for myself can only walk. All I know is death waits well regardless and much remains meanwhile. We must first be brave in the smallest things, the most mundane; simple foremost as being seen—shadow and self alike.