The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Would you offer violence to a well intentioned virus on its slow road to symbiosis?
William S. Burroughs, 'Electronic Revolution'
She could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her… . “What is it, dearest boy?” … “I want you to come and see me.” “But I can see you!” she exclaimed. “What more do you want?” … “I can see something like you … but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this phone, but I do not hear you.” The imponderable bloom, declared by discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was ignored by the machine.
E. M. Forster, 'The Machine Stops'
There is no need to fear or hope, but only look for new weapons.
Gilles Deleuze, 'Post-Script on Societies of Control'
From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.
Is it possible in this world to be without teeth and claws?
…everything happens as if, in our culture, life were what cannot be defined, yet, precisely for this reason, must be ceaselessly articulated and divided.
Giorgio Agamben, 'The Open'
Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night.
William Blake (fragment)
To think against “values” is not to maintain that everything interpreted as “a value” — “culture,” “art,” “science,” “human dignity,” “world,” and “God” — is valueless. Rather, it is important finally to realize that precisely through the characterization of something as “a value” what is so valued is robbed of its worth. That is to say, by assessment of something as a value what is valued is admitted only as an object for man’s estimation. But what a thing is in its Being is not exhausted by its being an object, particularly when objectivity takes the form of value. Every valuing, even where it values positively, is a subjectivizing. It does not let beings: be. Rather, valuing lets beings: be valid — solely as the objects of its doing. The bizarre effort to prove the objectivity of values does not know what it is doing. When one proclaims “God” the altogether “highest value,” this is a degradation of God’s essence. Here as elsewhere thinking in values is the greatest blasphemy imaginable against Being.
Martin Heidegger, 'Letter on Humanism”
The world circumscribing us [the “circumverse”] aims to have stable circuits, equal cycles, the expected repetitions, and trouble-free compatibility. It intends to eliminate all partial impulses and immobilize bodies. Parallel to this, Borges discussed the anxiety of the emperor who wanted to have such an exact map of the empire that he would have to go back over his territory at all its points and bring it up to scale, so much so that the monarch’s subjects spent as much time and energy detailing it and maintaining it that the empire ‘itself’ fell into ruins to the exact extent that its cartographical overview was perfected — such is the madness of the great central Zero, its desire to immobilize bodies that can only ever ‘be’ as representation.
Jean-Francois Lyotard, ‘Libidinal Economy’