Friday 16 February 2018

anonymous tangle of bodies

However great the revulsion that can be felt in contact with a single corpse, especially when it is in an advanced state of decomposition, or marked with the traces of an ignoble extremity of agony (torture in particular), this is massively augmented—and not merely quantitatively—when one is confronted by heaps or mounds of corpses; the stacked remains of an ossuary, the human remnants from an extermination camp, piles of skulls, anonymous tangles of bodies in the Ugandan bush or at the edge of a Kampuchean paddy field. The corpse not as a lost person, but as a disintegrating clot in the depersonalized refuse of death. Sade’s writings are not without such images, but nor are the mass media of twentieth-century societies. It is only at the lip of such abysmal indignities, when bodies are vomited as faceless masses of Herakleitean dung, that one glimpses the filthy and senseless death one craves. 

Spawned by unilateral difference, the human animal is a hybrid of sentience and pathology; or of differentiated consistency with matter. Knowing that its community with nature sucks it into psychosis and death mankind valorizes its autonomy, whilst cursing the tidal desires that tug it down towards fusional dissolution. Morality is thus the distilled imperative to autonomous integrity, which brands as evil the impulse to skinless contact and the merging of bodies.