Infinite Resignation, by Eugene Thacker
Eugene Thacker is a professor of philosophy at the New School. He’s also a noted pessimist. This work is a collection of his own aphorisms, as well as miniature hagiographies of historical pessimists.
The aphorisms run the gamut for me: from the resonant:
Cosmic Pessimism. Beyond moral pessimism and metaphysical pessimism this is another kind, a pessimism that is neither subjective nor objective, that is neither about the world-for-us nor about the world-in-itself. A pessimism of the world-without-us. I could call this cosmic pessimism… but this sounds too majestic, too full of wonder, too much the bitter aftertaste of the Great Beyond. Words falter. As does thought. And so we are left with a weakened pessimism, a pessimism that is first and last about the cosmos, a suspicion towards the necessity and possibility of order. This pessimism entails a drastic scaling-up or scaling-down of the human point of view, the disorientation of deep space and deep time, all of this shadowed by an impasse, a primordial insignificance, the impossibility of ever adequately accounting for one’s happenstance existence…
… to the hilarious:
Schopenhauer: The world is tragic…
Nietzsche: The world is tragic!
… to the wince-inducing:
Woven from the sea moss, the slow swaying of time. In marrow-soaked dark and birchbark, we watch over what we fail to notice. The forests are not so closed, and our eyes are not so open, where we sorrowfully graze on luminous garlands hung high.
The hagiographies are the real highlight, however — snippets of the lives of the “saints of pessimism,” with Schopenhauer taking center stage.
This is a book quick to consume, and not worth the trouble — but what is? In other words, I recommend it.