Synechepedia

Mortality

Non-existence as annihilation is neither the negation nor the dual of our singular, subjective existence.

The dual of being singular is being in common: being in community.

The negation of our singular being is the collective being, which subordinates our inherently incomplete singularity to the totalitarian monomania of an absolute subject.

In death, neither the being nor having-been of a subject is annihilated even though the continued presence of the dead is terminated. The non-existence of the subject entailed by mortality is only a determinate negation of the persistence of the subject in time. It is determinate in that something entirely new is created in the passing away: a distinct, aching absence. In the experience of losing companions it is absolutely clear that death is not an annihilation, because the weight and extraordinary, horrible novelty of their absence is utterly imposing and inescapable. Whatever else may or may not happen to the dead, for the living, their former presence is transmuted into a sui generis absence.

Instead of fulfilling itself in a work of death and in the immanence of a subject, community communicates itself through the repetition of the contagion of births: each birth exposes another singularity, a supplementary limit, and therefore another communication. This is not the opposite of death, for the death of this singular being who has just been born is also inscribed and communicated by its limit. It is already exposed to its death, and it exposes us to it as well. Which means, essentially, that this death as well as this birth are removed from us, are neither our work nor the work of the collectivity. (peter01, 60)

Nietzsche’s experiment of thought dubbed “eternal return” can be read as an analysis of Spinoza’s sub specie aeternitatis. It uses subjective imagination to bootstrap our myopic self-concern and infantile repetition compulsion into a glimpse of the eternality of existence qua structure.

In the Spinozistic view, mind and body are but two out of the infinite modes that express the absolute infinitude of substance. In this system, the being of a singular subject must also find expression in infinite other modes.

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