Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Concept Horror

Citing another case of the investigation of Horror. Check out the Collapse series at Urbanomic.

Collapse Vol. IV: Concept Horror

Editorial Introduction [pdf]
Robin Mackay

Surveying a century in which experience has taught us that man is capable of inventing ever more atrocious forms of violence and horror, is it necessary to remark that much of modern thought offers little to soothe, and much to exacerbate our disquiet? Nietzsche famously observed that the psychic well-being of the human organism is predicated, minimally, upon a drastically partial perspective, and ultimately upon untruth. Human cognitive defaults continue to cry out against the insights which modern physics, cosmology, genetics, neuroscience, psychoanalysis and the rest seem to require us to integrate into our worldview. As for philosophy, it has largely replaced wonder, awe, and the drive to certainty with dread, anxiety and finitude. Moreover, despite the diverse technological wonders they have made possible, the modern sciences offer little existential respite: There is no consolation in the claim that (for instance) I am the contingent product of evolution, or a chance formation of elementary particles, or that my ‘self’ is nothing but the correlate of the activation of neurobiological phase-spaces. Yet mundane thought, whether through obstinacy or inertia, maintains its stubborn course regardless, as if oblivious to their consequences, or at most allowing them to subsist at a safely delimited, solely theoretical level.

What if, prising the more disturbing elements of modern thought loose from their comfortable framing as part of an intellectual canon, we were to become fully attentive to their most harrowing consequences? What if, impatient with a consideration of their claims solely from the point of view of their explanatory power and formal consistency, we yielded to the (perhaps ‘unphilosophical’) temptation to experiment with their potentially corrosive effects upon lived experience? If the overriding affect connected with what we ‘know’ – but still do not really know – about the universe and our place in it, would be one of horror, then, inversely, how might the existing literature of horror inform a reading of these tendencies of contemporary thought?

via:wood s lot

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