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Woodard

Ben Woodard at the leading edge of the post-nihilst turn:

“[P]essimism can provide a certain form of useful clarity (not unlike Justine’s comportment in von Trier’s Melancholia). We must pass through darkness, yet there are stages of darkness; some we cannot pass through and some that we must explore with a cold epistemological scalpel to test the limits of our travels. Or, to put it another way, the difference between the philosopher mortician and the philosopher king, as Morehouse poses it, is that the former knows she is rotting. Morehouse points to Justine’s statement that the Earth is evil in von Trier’s Melancholia but I would point out that she quickly revises her statement and says that “life is evil.” The dreary end of my book is an attempt to set a heavy affective weight on a certain utopianism. The result, I believe, is not fatalism or defeatism in the local future (if not far, far future) designations, but a form of pragmatism…

The crux of the matter, I believe, is how to avoid the Charybdis of philosophy being that which helps us feel like we are being political or make us and our lives meaningful as well as the Scylla of critique which leaves us in a state of inaction. That is, there is an assumption that political action requires heaping meaning upon ourselves and yet such meaning can easily bury political actions in self-aggrandizement. What may very well be viewed as a cold-hearted pragmatic view is the only one that I see as being politically viable in terms of maintaining the best and broadest capacity for life on the planet.” [source]

Ben Woodard is a PhD student in Theory and Criticism at Western University, Canada. His doctoral research is on the relation of speculative physics to models of thought in the work of FWJ von Schelling. Read his book On an Ungrounded Earth.

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