Unreal Nature

December 2, 2016

What I Will Call Death

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:35 am

… It is the necessary finitude that gives us our oneness, but that also makes us non-finitely equivalent to every other one who has been born and died.

Continuing through In Defence of Quantity: Living by Numbers by Steven Connor (2016):

… To be a living entity is to have some kind of here and now, to occupy some particular portion of time and space. What we call life is perhaps no more or less than this quality of thisness, or itselfness. It is this thisness that number disperses. flattening it out into equivalence. Number gives control, because number requires and supplies distinctness, the possibility of series and finitude (distinguishability and countability).

[line break added] But it does so at the cost of the drastically asymmetrical, nonreversible world in which my meaning and value is never simply commutable into yours or hers. This absolute equivalence is what I will call death: death, not as nonbeing, but as absolute equivalence, the absence of any difference that would make any real difference between one mode of being and another.

… And yet, it is not one’s death that is unique, one’s own-most, in Heidegger’s terms, but one’s being-towards-death, or dying into death. Death is in fact always the swallowing of the singular by the multiple, the process by which a unique person concurs with the general ‘one’ of ‘one dies.’ It is the necessary finitude that gives us our oneness, but that also makes us non-finitely equivalent to every other one who has been born and died.

[ … ]

… The fact that numbers can never properly add up to anything, that number can never fully come to an end, is what makes number so deathly and yet allies it with a kind of craving agitation that can come close to rapture. This is the delirious horror of number.

My most recent previous post from Connor’s book is here.

-Julie

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