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Vomit.Greek.VaseA specter is haunting Western Culture—the specter of nihilism. Pulled between the nails of fundamentalist dogma and liberal tolerance, extremist asceticism and capitalist excess, total violence and passive peace, Truth is stretched, ripped apart like Jesus on the cross, Damiens on the quartering table, or Oprah in the pilates machine. But the tearing of the limbs and flesh reveals nothing human inside—organs, heart, a soul—only abyss. The Last Man reigns.

A suicide bomber blows herself up in the market. The negation of the body, hers and the bodies of others, an affirmation of the idea. Something. Some “thing.” No thing. Through the nothing-ness, the absolute emerges. But as what? Just that—Death and Nothing-ness.

At the same moment, the actress vomits into the toilet so that she may fit into the dress and exemplify Beauty. She too is at war, facing the explosions of the camera bulbs as she walks down the red carpet, trying to affirm her self in and through these negatives. As her image expands, her body withers, until all that’s left is the simulacra. Death and Nothing-ness.

A recovering addict, having stood, toes hanging, over the canyon of annihilation, decides to live, finding solace and recovery in meditation. He foregoes all that is Dionysian and begins to worship at the altar of Apollo. A simple diet of juice (flesh ripped apart, pulp squeezed) and breathing (the nourishment of ether). He turns away from the world, toward the oceanic “AUM” of the Cosmos. He travels to Tibet, climbs the Himalayas to the sacred temple, and is never seen or heard again. Ascension. Enlightenment. Departure. Gone. Death and Nothing-ness.
Execution of Damiens
The Wall St. wizard, making billions from hedges that become topiary and fences that surround his mansion, turning it into a fortress, cutting off sightlines from the neighbors—they cannot see he, he cannot see me. Profit from predicting the cycles of scarcity and surplus, increasingly, betting on scarcity. Poverty, famine, drought, melting, melting, melting—he sees the increasing warmth only as the medium of alchemy, that turns all that is natural into coin. He transcends luxury and the cycle of exchange itself, and only lives on his cloud in his Xanadu with his seventy-two virgins. Allahu Akbar. “The point, is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” The Platonic “Good.” The God of Abraham. The Gold of Gordon Gekko. All transmuted into the Good-God-Gold. Melting. Melting. Melting. Death and Nothing-ness.

Nihilism lives. The human chooses this nothing, and it becomes the τέλος, an ἐντελής that guides the self to its own destruction. Inside the code of survival is its own negation, which is to say, its own truth. We pull back the veil of Sophia, and see that her face is the most radiant Beauty precisely because it is not there.

© anthamatten 2015

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