The modern conceives of death beginning at death, unlike the others who understand that death begins before death.
Death as a “discovery” of modernity, specific to the modern mind where death begins at death, generates within the mind the incapablity of believing that life goes on after death. As a movement that derives within the evolutionist thought which presumes a momentum from life to death, the determinant is of one term over the other. Life/Death: a dualist system, where death is subsumed under a productivist life (equated as a surplus-value of the machine). Death is then considered an absolute negative, which is to say, an extermination, which tunes life into its inverse – a matter of enhance and extension under a total functionality.
Under the Enlightenment and Reason, the rationality of death is fixed as a “natural” process. Life is reduced to the mere function of genetic code, just as the mind becomes a matter of a conscious “illusion” residing within the brain. It is localized up against an individuated body, where death has become fully biological. Life becomes a will to power, that is, through an enhancing of itself it attempts to push back the limits of its own functionality. The modernist mind then conjures up its view of an individuated, atomized identity disciplined by science and by its axioms and techniques. The functional, productivist life, which includes both the body and the mind, becomes a matter for programming.
The liberal-humanist dispensation engendered this condition. Through its neutralizing of truth, it is the condition of possibility for the Age of the Enlightenment that eventually conveys life as a matter of a materialist and determinist definition, that is, as a functional surplus value. Death then enters into sharp distinction and contradiction to the principle of accumulation – the unlimited “progress” of science, and the bourgeois rationality.
After modern science invents tools which eliminate disease and epidemics, the entire system of sickness also comes into affect. In this scene, where life becomes a matter for accumulation, technology and science begin to play a role in the strategy for capital. Death is transformed into an exterminist principle to be remedied if only the moderns can achieve full technical mastery of nature. This is the underlining presupposition of the political economy, which is the modern nihilististic Revolution.
All of life then passes into the sieve of a technocratic drive. Headed under the impositions of the machine that plays a role as a symbolic buffer specific to the quantitative strategy of accumulation, the desire of the modern is for the rationalized, functional surplus-value of a life that utilizes the machine to ‘live as long as possible,’ which is to say, to distract death and hold it at bay through its attempted technical mastery of nature. A condition giving rise to the notion of biomedical science, biomechanics, and eventually, transhumanist ideology, the mentality is as follows: death as a “natural” death subjected to science, or to a biological determinism that signifies death within the reason, becomes an untamed or irrational thing which therein ought to be overcome by total technological manipulation.
The functionalist doctrine is the white heat of the modernist ideology when it passes fully into a quantitative strategy of accumulation – where the biomechanics conceives of the human being as a “raw material” with the aim to prolong a functionalized life.
It is only within modernity that death becomes an extermination, meaning that with the modern mind there is the consideration of death as nothing. Nihilism reaches its full scope, owing to the modern thought that presupposes death begins at death. Death as extermination also suggests that life – its meaning, laws, mores, ideals – is rendered meaningless.
The modern who feels the need to go on living (imagining themselves retaining a value to the human, which is only ever a holdover from a Christian exegesis that their liberal-humanism had already neutralized, has no choice but to invent a pragmatism – to approach a life under functionalist doctrine as a pragmatic affect. ‘We moderns no longer believe in anything, but we should act as if the illusions mean something.’ Nietzsche saw this succinctly. And at the far end, beyond the pale when all of the implications come home to roost, Dostoevsky’s possessed awaits.
The pragmatic intention is proportional only to a psychological need at one side – the side of the atomized identity – since on the other side resides the determining factor, which is accumulation for the sake of the machine. It is the machine that presages the will to life now, and not really the will to life that presages the machine. The machines animate the entire political economy, and life is a matter of functional-fit. It is inconceivable for the modernist to live without them, dependent as they are on all their logistics (bodily, perspective, etc).
The death regime goes digital. The machines will “push” life forward through their control of surveillance (of the body and the mind) and attendant synthetic perceptions. All of this is already presaged with the automation of perception, or the innovation of artificial vision. The machines, which are an invention of the instrumental reason of modernity, are already an extermination of memory. In its formation of optics with no permanency, no apparent base, there is no sense in retaining anything any long when the information can be accessed in real-time. But beyond the logistics, the end game is direct download and instantaneous interpretation produced by a sightless vision – artificial intelligence is already becoming an “expert” system as a machine by a machine. The neurophysiology of microchip implants aside (which the technocrats already envision), what will occur is an extermination of all mental images and their replacement by perceptive prosthesis. The result will be a reality affect that meets the instant obsolescence of all human vantages.
Transhumanist ideology, which is full nihilism, achieves scope or comes to fruition only when the death had first became a mere end, that is, a mere exterminism of the mind and the body. This exterminism works on both poles of the life and the death simultaneously. It remains also the condition of possibility for life to become fully functionalized. The origin of the political economy: the social demand of accumulation at the point where death had already become to the modernist sentiment an extinction, and as such, on the reverse pole, where life becomes a “lifespan” prolonged by technology. There is a formal logic here that proceeds from the political economy into virtuality with an underlining factor of “conquering” death through the proliferation of technology. The technocratic drive is not only a repressive jurisdiction – repressing the human as it implants its strategies for the full industrialization of life – since the impetus is a “metaphysical” will to power, a will to accumulate capital as it passes into a phase of a will to virtuality, where the entire system becomes a maximalization of forces of production. First, there was the extensive system of labor-power, and only after, the extensive system of bio-power to regulate and socialize life under the regime of cybernetics. All of this is already an extermination of the human.
“Ye will become like gods,” if you only eat of the fruit of the tree – the Enemy’s impulse to achieve immortality without the help of God.
The society that worships the idea of youth, invents “anti-aging” creams for the face, and shuttles off the old age and the sick into cordoned zones, is only the visible manifestation of an underlining current of ghettoizing. The ghetto of the sick and the old – who are seemingly near death – are in proportion to a social momentum that attempts to win over and against death. In other words, to win over and against death, death must first be ghettoized.
The old are no longer elders, and especially they are not ancestors. The modernist views that years no longer constitute a wealth exchanged for wisdom or authority. The invention of retirement homes (the elderly no longer live with us) is only a visible manifestation of this currently. The apologetic goes like this: in order to simply “survive,” atomized individuals of the modern society do not have the time to take care of their elderly. Of course, what this really means is that any appearance that may remind the modernist psyche of death which could therein break the veil of illusory accumulation in the political economy must be shuttled away.
Hence the crucial functional of the modernist cult of the youth, which does not merely discriminate against the elderly, any more than the cult of the healthy discriminates against the sick, who are also ghettoized. The point of the enclosure is the discrimination against death itself.
In this respect the elderly and the sick share the same fate, since the ghetto is a mechanism to recede death entirely, i.e. to push it out of the way under the prerogative of a new social territory. That territory is the total exaltation of production (otherwise, the technological mastery over nature).
After death is ghettoized, corresponding to the calculable accumulation of the modernist subjectivity, all sorts of structures of death can then operate. The gas chambers and the gulag archipelago are inconceivable except in modernity. Something similar can be said of the abortion mills, which are also like gas chambers, given their accordance to an immanent “progress” that is now technologically driven.
Abortion as an industry only makes its appearance once life has become a total investment (with all of the liberal tropes of culture, ideas, knowledge, etc.) and once death, already become a mere “natural” biological extinction, is rendered meaningless. Those who are not granted life (the aborted) are conceived as absolutely nothing – as meaningless as the death which has become itself meaningless. There are no more children, no more “those” to speak of – no more agency, no more personalizing whatsoever: only a shuffling of atoms or a mere “lump of cells.” Of course, this has the inverse affect (with the death regimes, everything has an inverse affect): the “choice” to exterminate is in exchange for some social “rights” granted to them by the State, where the underlining presupposition is that the State that will now get to decide who is a human being and who is not; beyond this, the inverse affect is that even the living, now rendered into an entirely materialist universe, are also merely a shuffling of atoms. Up against the demarcation line (between who is a human being and who is not) an entire process unfolds: because life has already become political economy, already functionalist, already productivist and given over entirely to biomechanics in a scene of a total technological manipulation, the site of the demarcation (of who is a human being and who is not) is allowed to become a calculated, technical matter, and surely this is the underlining point.
The woman’s body has already become subject to exposure of the technics. Popular culture and entertainment gives over this ideological coordinate. In the sphere of the culture, feminism becomes about disrupting or effacing the body of the woman as a nurturing, birth-giving body, and this goes in the direction of technological disembodiment coded as “liberating” the woman. What do men love? They love machines. And what do machines do? They engender practically what is the ideology of the technocrat who wishes to make the body obsolete. The popular fantasy unfolds everywhere – in favor of outer space, the earth will be abandoned; in favor of the machine, the body will be abandoned; in favor of asexual reproduction, the body of women will be abandoned. The underlining ideology is that death is seen as a challenge to the body that is considered as a flawed artifact. Woman’s body has to go, then, hence the need for the code of liberation. Ironically, some feminists sense as a problem inherent in the end game of transgenderism to render the body of sex obsolete – to “give birth” to oneself without involving any women. The heresy of Gnosticism is not too far from this drive to exposure by technics, since there is a dualist, pseudo-Platonic metaphysics that separates ideas from appearances, of the ghost from the body, which views the flesh as a kind of a “prison” for the soul.
Abortion serves a function for the misogynistic regime: the murderous contempt for the site of birth itself, which conceals within its “right to choose” the negation of the body feminine. The death regime works specifically against child birth. In movies like Terminator there is the robot whose mission is to kill the pregnant woman. Even more recently is the movie Mad Max, where a death-culture is out to capture and eliminate a group of women who are unmutated and capable of birth, the women carry along with them on their journey to escape all sorts of plant seeds (symbolic of a fecund earth not fully subsumed by the “security” of industry).
The abortion mills serve as a symbolic token for the living – already on its way of functionalization through the machine – and their superiority over the dead. The entire political economy works off of this symbolic destruction of death. Abortion is a point of contention for the very reason that it grounds the tyrannical regime of modern life, its concern for economic “progress.” Capital accumulation can “choose” its “rights” in the sphere of a sham politics, meanwhile life itself is subsumed into a system that is buffered on all sides by the domination of an instrumental rationality. If abortion is contentious in the sphere of politics – “my body, my choice” – then it has very little to do with the women holding signs on the street corner, since nothing in politics is ever fully realized by the stooges on the streets. All of that is mobilized by a deeper, more vicious apparatus, and “rights” are only ever a secondary aesthetic effect. It is only for the means of marketing that the death regime is described in terms of a choice (of what happens to the body), since the entire system has already determined the body, already rendered their bodies the property of another momentum entirely, which is not their own at all.
Funeral Parlor Games
At the funeral parlor, the dead person is given a new representation. Death is concealed from the living that mourn. This representation – an aesthetic effect – is the waxing, the powdering, the embalming, the painting of the face that seeks like a detergent to ward off the abjection of death. It is the makeup effect already a deterrence in favor of the virtual.
Of course, every society has a sarcophagi practice and in that respect modernist society is no different. However, it is only within modernity that the dead are rendered asocial, and hence the practice of the funeral parlor as its own kind of ghetto. The detergent process is crucial not to the dead themselves but to the living. What is made remote or willed-to-disappear under the makeup is the transition, the phase of ambiguity between the living and the dead (decomposition). This is the fake death that is given by the modern psyche’s fear of death which attempts to create through representation some kind of signification – to signify yet again a certain kind of superiority over the dead.
The funeral parlor is like the retirement home: the dying loose their rights to death in the territory of the living, which is to say, they become cordoned in an extraterritorial space. The living who have yet come to the inevitable conclusion that accumulation is trivial must be kept away from the sight of the aging and the ill. To a certain ilk, even the funeral parlor with its makeup theatrics becomes an undesirable experience and discrete elimination is desirable (cremation). In any case, the dead are no longer able to become partners: they are no longer a symbolic partners with the living.
Death is also “naturalized” to look like life. Through the wax and makeup the living can see themselves like in a mirror, which not only effaces the rite of the dead but also creates an alibi for the continuation of imperative the functionalized life. To the modernist that fears death the dying must be hidden for the sake of well-being of all those others who are still busy producing.
Sick persons are dangerous and their danger is precisely why they are shuttled away. The modernist must bar the sick just like they have the elderly, who are presumed to die soon, and the dead themselves at the funeral parlor.
Practical notes of contagion aside, the hospitals regard a space where the sick can be properly handled by a class of doctors. Just like the dead who are made up to give back the mirror of life to an already-functionalized imperative, the sick are symbolically forbidden to exist in the larger social field without extruding the signs of the functional: they are given speech only if they resign themselves to technical mastery. The destiny of the sick is to be given over to the technocratic drive and to clinical techniques that arise under the signs of a functional survival, a technological cure.
Medicine, of course, is a good thing. Of course, the sick would like to be healed but to the sick themselves the need for healing goes beyond a mere functional enclosure, or a functional healing. Similar to what is eliminated with the elderly, or even with the long-term unemployed, what the sick loose is a place in the social order. Funeral parlor, retirement home, hospital ward: the same extraterritorial occasion engendered to create an alterity to the functionalized society with its imperative of capital accumulation. All the sick ever want is to be recognized as such – all they demand is to be recognized as sick, and perhaps, as nearing the occasion of their deaths – but this is inadmissible in modernity, or even aberrant, because the sick cannot produce.
Utopias, or Empires of Death
In accordance to feeding off of death as a negative pole where on the opposite side – on the side of a functionalized, technocratic “lifespan” – the modernist system demands a suspension of death under the interests of accumulation, the end game of all such accumulation is utopia. The aim of the Revolution is utopia, meaning a total technological transformation that stands over and against death.
Already when life is functionalized, which is to say, brought under the probability of a calculus of statistical representations and productivist imperatives, there can only be a neutralization of all difference under the imperative of a total social production. Utopia, even within all of its double-speak of “progressive” ideological tropes feigning otherness and inclusion, is about a tactical monopoly.
This is the underlining presupposition of all utopianism which is not only the conveyance for the rational administration of things but of all things exposed to their finalities.
When the liberal speaks of “progress” one ought to ask what one is progressing into – it is clear that everyone ought to be “liberated” into utopia, which also means, in its finality, that everyone ought to surrender everything. Alterity evaporates through a “spirit of reform” that markets difference, markets otherness, which means that alterity is only ever reduced into a strategy for regulated opposition.
The “Chinese model” is trending in the West. Such is the insinuation of competition in conformity – compete to conform! Everything must be neturalized under the signs of “co-existence” and “equality.” Again, when speaking on the death regimes there is the imposition of the inverse, the reverse. “Equality” in utopia is dependent upon a pervasive normalizing of confinement. Liberation plays out in this, but only to increase the lunatics, and hence there is the necessity for an increasing (total) surveillance – surveillance becomes a matter of functionalist survival. This is not an aberration of utopia: it is its immediate regulation.
The terror of the utopians is fundamental to utopia. All of the empires of death have functioned off of a power over death. Consider the USSR. Not only are all utopias terror-driven – stacking up corpses in the name of the “People” – they also insinuate the power of the secular state itself set up as an obligatory mediation. The power of the secularized State works through terror and tyranny and this is only possible when death is a frightening experience – when death is made into an anthropological nightmare. This fear serves a functional role to a repressive socialization. The ideologues have never been good at convincing people that the terror is somehow an embarrassing mishap, somehow a deviation in their “theory,” because the common sense knows better. Crack the eggs to make an omelet. The archetype for this operation is the administration over death: as long as the modernist mind is made to fear death it can be controlled.
Consider the metaphysical implications of the utopian death regime. Of course it works off of an appeal to materialism that corresponds equally to the disappearance of the religious afterlife. That continues to be the victory of the secular State’s political rationality – the afterlife ought to fade in the face of all the advances of materialist reason. However, religion has not gone away. What we are observing here is an Albegesian heresy. The power of the management of life by such tyranny is based off of the management of life as already an afterlife, meaning that it wants to generalize the revelation as a process of accumulation for “this world.” The death regimes set up an earthly power through which the regimes alone may now jealous guard over the demarcation or partition (between the life and the death). The terror is immediately the beholding of the State’s abstract metaphysics: the impetus for the immediate realization of the Kingdom of God. A monstrosity of the Christian exegesis (that lives the hope of parousia), utopianism wishes to ape the religious vision for itself. To establish a total community in “this world” utopians ferociously wish to immanetize the Last Judgment. All of this is the result of the Revolution’s de-Christianization, not only of a disintegration of the traditional Christian community through bourgeois reason and the nascent operation of the (materialist) political economy, but prior – as its condition of possibility – the result of Catholic power and Jesuitism. If the modernist employs terror then this is not an aberration to their management of the social – it is crucial to the operation (as crucial as the Inquisition was to the Roman Church, which heretically declared the Papacy as a supreme earthly power).
Within the death regimes there is still a sacrificial passion, but it has been rendered artificial. Death has become an effect, which is to say, it has achieved an aesthetic doubling. The entire modern system revolves around this aesthetic effect of death when it doubles itself in the imagination.
For the sake of the obvious, the aesthetic affect of death is conveyed through the gothic sentiment. When we speak of the “gothic” we are not referring to the actual Medieval Gothic. The Goth is a modern invention which only ever looks back into the past to retrieve a pastiche of style. It is here that death receives an artistic rendering and functions as exchange and as a sign, which is to say, as a fashion.
For death to begin to function as aesthetically doubling, nihilism is presupposed. Death had already become to the modernist a meaningless extinction. Not only does this operate to make life totally functional: in order to reinforce this functionality a doubling of death must occur through which it can be placed into the imagination, i.e. set in play, rendered into an aesthetic effect for the sake of market forces. This is the passive nihilism mobilized by Goth to ward off what it sees as meaningless through the channels of conspicuous consumption. The gothic as a style where death is secularized in material production engenders the consumption of death (its reproduction).
Another way of describing the style is a doubling where the human being contemplates itself in a kind of Baroque, post-Reformation mix that signifies decay and ruination for the sake of its own entertainment. This is the ideology of fascism – the motivation that jubilates at a culture of death.
Gothic style is only a simplistic, even “innocent” form purchased at the shopping mall, however, it remains an example of a generalized aesthetic that constitutes the modern itself in its delirious mode of production. The modern is a death regime that works off of the death. As a consumer niche, it is only ever employed to conceal in the realm of the imagination that the death regimes and their perverse enjoyment are everywhere.
At the end game of the “progress” of the modernist economy – which will be total de-Christianization – there is an invention to put an end to death but ironically since the death regimes function off of death. This is a very obvious point: not only a feeding-off of death in its structural variation where death becomes a negative to a functionalized life become an absolute surplus-value, but also in the interests of materialism set-upon all living things to consume them. What is crucial here is the political economy functioning almost like a kind of rotting-flesh that continually eats more rotting-flesh: it eats decay and makes things to decay to eat evermore. The consumption of living beings transformed into serialized products, the throw-away-culture, the trash-heap of throw-away-culture, is only the outward manifestation of the deeper momentum of the death regime.
Consuming death is the dominant form of the production imperative. Already there is a kind of miniature death of things and their context as they are subsumed into a generalized exchange. Of this culture of death collage is the artistic form par excellence, since it serves as its referential dimension: it is instituted upon the death of every reference, i.e. where all referential value is annihilated. This is the underlining factor of consumerism, which must occur before the modernist world can structurally organize all things in accordance to the designation of commodities: all things must loose their contexts, their original significations, effects, history and substance, in order to be “collaged” into the new territory of combination and equivalence.
The death of all context is presupposed. To the modernist and his economy, all things ought to be exchanged against each other in a neutralized space, meaning that they no longer designate themselves at all – they only refer to an exchange, a speculative commutability. Capital, of course, abolishes these divisions between things in order to make way for a generalized accumulation. Fashion, or what Saint Paul called the things of this world that are always “passing,” is only the surface feature. The underlining strategy put in place everywhere there is consumption is the abolishing of context – the very principle of neutralization. Call it the jubilation of deferral working through the death, the thantos of the trace!
It is not surprising therefore that politics, art and even sexuality function along the same lines as under the determination of total consumption. In politics there is a commutation of the left/right where the media-machines function to “collage” both into a bipartite system. All of the modern “rights” and the mobilizing therein of varying interest groups work off of this neutralization. In art, there was already Duchamp’s Readymade which engendered a triviality, indifference and neutralization of the aesthetic sphere as it evaporated into the banality of modern life. In sexuality, we can increasingly observe the so-called “collage” effect when male and female are substituted for one another – commutable – and when their original contexts and substances are stripped bare to produce a general sexual confusion; also, crucial to sexualization in the functional doctrine, the commutation engenders itself as a market choice – another principle of neutralization.
Total consumption is the death regime working at every level: the death of context, the death of significations, the death of original effects, traditions, histories, etc. In other words, what occurs within modernism is the imperative of floating variables – a totally functional or operational field. Abstraction reigns. That all things under the political economy ought to become variable means that there ought to no longer be any “natural laws.” All natural laws must be liquidated: this is the Devil’s hand at total de-Christization, which simply is the Revolution. It is only ever attributed to capital on this plane of existence as it crystallizes itself through technology’s wish to conquer death. Total consumption is the impetus for accumulation to desire an immortality without God. The transhumanist ideology is already this fusion of death into a total dead labor.
The fantasy: a dream of “living forever” inside the machines which will somersault over the meaty body and replace its inward parts and will do so off of the living world. In order to achieve its Nietzschean ambitions to become superman – a new, digitalized blonde beast of prey – it must appropriate all living labor into functionality, and whatever will not function (whatever refuses the technocratic drive of the death regimes) will be met with a process of exclusion and liquidation. Soon the machines will expunge the unwanted “traditionalists” or anyone else that will get in the way of the accelerationist ideologues becoming “gods.”
In order for this dissolution of the human to go forward total consumption is a presupposition: all of reality must become commutable, exchangeable according to the same specularity. Consumerism is only the outward appearance of this general momentum. Already with materialism there was a kind of determinism as all things were brought into the historical determination as raw material, and when everything is merely raw material the modernist is already beyond all sacrality – everything is now open to manipulation. Now it is the human being that will be “worked” upon as a raw material, just as Trotsky predicted. The Revolution is the dream of the political economy of modernity to extend itself beyond death, to attempt to abolish it entirely, but in order to give birth to the New Man mannequins it must first employ death itself as a process.
The Devil’s pact devised to overturn God’s creation: the apes want to ape God, engender the abolition of death by means of a generalized superstructure oriented to make everything disappear. Death feeds off death in a cycle of cannibalization – this is the underlining imperative of the death regime.
Postscript: Christ is Risen from the Dead
“Death has become a tyrant who has been completely conquered by the legitimate monarch; bound hand and foot the passers-by sneer at him, hitting him and abusing him, no longer afraid of his cruelty and rage, because of the king who has conquered him. So has death been conquered and branded for what it is by the Savoir on the cross. It is bound hand and foot, all who are in Christ trample it as they pass and as witnesses to Him deride it, scoffing and saying, ‘O death, where is thy victory? O Grace, where is thy sting?
In this a slender proof of the impotence of death, do you think? Of is it a slight indication of the Savior’s victory over it, when boys and young girls who are in Christ look beyond this present life and train themselves to die? Every one is by nature afraid of death and of bodily dissolution: the marvel of marvels is that he who is enfolded in the faith of the cross despises this natural fear and for the sake of the cross is no longer cowardly in the face of it.”
– Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation, p39
The modern society fears death. To the modernist, death is a terrible thing because they only die once.
The fear of death deriving from that presupposing of the death regimes that death begins at death, that there is a linearity of the evolutionist thought of life to death, and that death is exterminism, generates the conditions that correspond on the opposite pole to the totalizing functionalization of “lifespan.”
The Christian does not fear death. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is the obvious one: the Christian has faith in Christ who has already overcome death and thrown open the gates of hell. Saint Athanasius makes this point clear in his text. Everyone is, of course, afraid of bodily dissolution, but for they who have faith in what Christ has accomplished there is a peace and a faith that unfolds which overtakes this fear. The Christian is invited by Christ to “take up the cross” and follow Him and, as Saint Paul elaborates, to die daily. Authentic Christianity (Orthodoxy) teaches us to die daily.
Orthodoxy was never brought into the fold of the Latin/Roman Church’s legalism, which already began to worship its own idea of God (through scholasticism and Thomism) while rejecting the truth of hesychastic theosis. The unfolding of the Roman Church made the condition of liberalism possible, and in turn the Enlightenment Reason and the modernist enterprise. Because Orthodoxy remained estranged from the deviations of the West, it has never gone through modernity.
The modern created the operational imperative, the chornometric cutting up of time, the productivist finality of a “lifespan” under the abstract dualisms (the State versus the formal status of the individual, or else, the sign of the public versus the sign of private property). The modern socialization works out an entire structure of personalization off of this abstraction, where in the political economy objects and signs are intended to compensate through “revolutions” of styles and fashions. Modern “customs” (read: fashions) are invented to the tune of private interests. Fashion (even political fashions of “rights”) are set against the backdrop of a hegemonic secular State that administers everything in terms of a process of economic and political rationalization. Death in this scheme becomes something fearful only because life has been turned into a functional “lifespan” with its ideological drive of reason and progress, and because liberty – a consumer “choice” – has first been invented as a formality. Orthodoxy has no concept of such modernism. There is no productivist finality within proper Christianity (the argument from the Protestant work ethic, a proto-Weberian model for capital accumulation, is already a heresy). Of course, a society under Orthodoxy still produces the goods and services needed for the continuing of a life, but it is not determinate: the central factor is not a political economy or an imposition for economic and political rationalization.
Christian Orthodoxy rejects the modernist notion that dead only begins at death. The hesychasm is a thantopraxis where death begins before death. This makes it inadmissible to the modern society based off of a rationalized and productivist model. Never going through the funnel of technical, scientific and political upheavals of modernity, and therefore is also completely alien to the logic, structuralisms and abstractions of the secular modern political State, modernity’s death regimes are a foreign land. The imperative of true Christianity is living in order to properly learn how to die.
“Lazarus, come out!”
“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. It is because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” [Acts 23:6]
Because the modern mind believes death begins at death, and life inversely becomes a technological imperative, it becomes a subservient mind. As long as the human beings are made to fear death they can be controlled: this is the first presupposition of all modern utopianisms. This process of fear underlines the Revolution: the aim at total de-Christianization is also that of total control over the human body and mind. It is central to the entire programmatic enterprise of modernism.
It is not for anything that the modern utopians with their terrorist states destroyed the Christian priests en masse (they did the same thing to the Jews). This is because Jerusalem gives over transcendental morality, which is to say, a morality that is not situational – a morality that does not ebb and flow to the fashions of opinion. This is the circumcision, whether by the flesh or by the spirit.
Of course, the Jews also gave us the revelation of life after death and the resurrection of the dead (Paul makes this clear), and most of all the High Priest after the order of Malchezidek – Christ Himself who conquers death for all. This has always been scandalous, as was already witnessed in the Sanhedrin in the Book of Acts. Why did the Sadducees reject the resurrection of the dead? Because the Sadducees enjoyed all the benefits as the State power. Fast forwarding into the times of the modern terrors, the priest is still a visible sign of another relation to death, another order entirely. Modernity despises competition – it wants to monopolize death for itself (it must efface the evidence of the transcendent).
The resurrection of the dead is nothing less than rebellion. It confuses all of those who still believe in production, in the lunatic hope of capital to occupy every interstice of a functional life. All of modern culture, needs, functional idioms, information, “liberty” and “rights,” and now also sexualities, are based off of this development of an alternative strategy of a technocratic “lifespan” set against a death that is exterminist. Sadducees everywhere in accordance to the myth of a determinate mask of political economy: it is only when death is kept at bay, when the living aren’t allowed to die daily, to contemplate death or even be reminded of it – least of all, to conquer it in Christ – that the secularized system can then anticipate every determination of the life.
It is a fierce strategy of neutralization that attempts to eliminate both the life and the death simultaneously, which is to say, to make death into meaninglessness and to subsume “lifespan” as a persuasive economic strategy. The only real rebellion is the revelation in Christ. Dialectical Revolution is employed against it (de-Christianization) in order to silence its radicalism under economic and political infrastructures.
When Christ goes to raise Lazarus from the tomb what is presaged is a complete overthrow of existing conditions – it is not only those existing conditions of the evil one, who has hold over sin and death; it is those existing conditions based off of the terror of the Roman State, or of all such terrorist states which are the property and province of evil. In our day, Christ’s miracle forces the entire “reality” of the productivist system into question.
With Christ there no anarchic violence (the end game of all nihilism) because such violence only perpetuates the generalized violence, which is why it is so often encouraged! No, love is the most radical. Christ tramples death by death to break the monopoly of the evil. Within our resurrections there is no more summoned calculation; capital can only collapse within itself, which is to say, the entire modernist enterprise that works within the personality can only respond by collapsing upon itself. Faith in Christ, counting ourselves within the fold of His resurrected Body, gives no more possibility for the modernist system to negotiate with our functionalized lifespans. Such is real reason why the modernist secular states want to destroy Christianity.
It suffices that Christianity displaces everything symbolically, to overbid the laws of technocratic rationalization by a higher, more symbolic, more superior death to respond to the terrorism of the fear of death.
The fear of death at the inverse of a life made entirely productivist, entirely technocratic, is the exact opposite of relic rites, or the exhuming of the monastics which open a route of familiarity between the living and those who have passed. The entire Christian exegesis of Orthodoxy is outside the system of modernity and for this very reason is it a true difference: not only does it allow the living to acknowledge their dead, who may or may not be living in Christ – only God knows – but in the case of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist to go ahead a die, which is to say, to have a death that begins before death. This is absolutely scandalous to the modern mind that presupposes that death only beings at death.