The Moral Landscape (in progress)

extinction porn2

The watery medium approximates a life, a medusa. Don’t get too comfortable. It is a solvent and the Gorgon is just a catalyst. There is never ‘a family.’ There is the only one and it is yours. That is something the worst pain can only symbolize. It is submerged and, naturally, greater than me. It is a convincing pretext that takes the form of a generic succession of names. History in fragments: reminiscence of a colonial birthplace, night raids on a forgotten coast, angels from the planisphere roared above your burning cities[i]  In the end, the Pilot can only recede into the zero promise of the crash victim. This bleak puppet ties us, then, into a kind of equality by default.

His traversal of the island becomes the synthesis of disparate encounters, binding sectioned bodies and blood-spattered safety glass into some coded Moloch.[ii] It makes sense to lie in Ground Zero, seek the limit of the blast radius. And that was ok. A panic reflex, sure, but understandable. When the Angel spiked, it instilled everything.  ‘Not a gram of pure death would be allowed to us there, not a single entity without relation to that living and open Whole would be offered to us…’[iii] Formerly rendered tractable by death and loss, but things are no longer dead enough or comfortable for our kind. We who are redacted, spacings between graphein. Have we even survived these losses? These rendezvous he recognized too well.  ‘How irrelevant or disappointing we became,’ he said during a long walk to the Monument Area.

This is the predicament of Breaking. Retconned by futures not ideals of a rational intellect.

[i] J G Ballard, ‘The Terminal Beach’, in The Complete Short Stories Volume II, London: Fourth Estate: 2014, (Kindle Locations 663-669).

[ii] ‘The system of megaliths now provided a complete substitute for those functions of his mind which gave to it its sense of the sustained rational order of time and space’ Ballard, ‘The Terminal Beach’, 40.

[iii] Quentin Meillassoux, ‘Iteration, Reiteration, Repetition: A Speculative Materialist Analysis of the Sign Devoid of Meaning’, in Genealogies of Speculation: Materialism and Subjectivity since Structuralism (Kindle Locations 3563-3565). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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