Negativity and the Ideology of Existence: Thinking Futures through Extinction
Keywords:economic telos, Naturphilosophie, negativity, unprethinkable, vitalism
In her recent Deleuzian forays into the paradox of immanent life, Claire Colebrook (2014) takes issue with a theory of vitalism that interprets life as an organic, self-sustaining whole. Colebrook proposes a variation of the Deleuzian approach that advances a concept of life involving instead a complicated orientation toward organic potentials that are, in fact, non-self-maintaining to the extent that they approach the eternal, the beyond-human, destructive of the anthropocentrism of organized bodies. To the same end, the idea of an extainment set that I.H. Grant (2013), for instance, described in his annotation of Schelling's nature concept, echoes a similar Deleuzian inflection concerning a counter-intuitive challenge to a life-sustaining world, more specifically, the notion of inexistent nature. This form of extainment is impervious to reason and the time-systems human rationality has created to comprehend nature's deep geologic past. Arguably, this oblique correspondence between a particular strand of Deleuzianism and Schelling's Naturphilosophie reveals a shared critique of Hegel's approach towards the 'externality' notion characteristic of a mono-vitalistic framework. At stake in this criticism of vitalism is the future of thinking a world other than its potentials to sustain a human-ordered system, a rational order of economic telos that Schelling warned about in the early 18th century in light of the tendencies of Kant's Copernican turn. The essay concludes with Andrew Culp's Dark Deleuze, which systematically recapitulates this paper's discussions on ‘the organism has no future but a mindless futurality' concept (Colebrook) and that of 'inexistent nature' (Grant).
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