The term ‘heresy’ is used here in the context in which it is used by the Polish philosopher, Kolakowski. He argues that all realms of culture, philosophy, as much as art and customs, exemplify a fundamental antagonism, whereby everything that is new grows out of the permanent need to question all existing absolutes, with every current of thought that tries to break away from ‘existing finalites coming in turn to establish other ones of its own,” so that though “every rebellion is therefore metamorphosed into a conservative state,” nevertheless “each of these movements makes room for the next phase where its own absolutes will, in return, be the target of criticism.” This movement can therefore be defined as a dynamic one in which the Jester’s role in the pursuit of human knowledge alternates with the Priest’s role – transforming heresies into new orthodoxies, the contingent into modes of the Absolute.

– Sylvia Wynter, “The Ceremony Must Be Found: After Humanism,” 21.

Sasquatch, Godzilla, King Kong, Lochness
Goblin, ghoul, a zombie with no conscience
Question, what do these things all have in common?
Everybody knows I’m a motherfuckin’ monster
Conquer, stomp ya, stop your silly nonsense
Nonsense, none of you niggas know where the swamp is
None of you niggas have seen the carnage that I’ve seen
I still here fiends scream in my dreams
Murder, murder in black convertibles
I kill a block I murder avenues, ah
Rape and pillage a village, women and children
Everybody wanna know what my Achilles heel is
Love, I don’t get enough of it
All I get is these vampires and blood suckers
All I see is these niggas I made millionaires
Millin’ about, spillin’ they feelings in the air
All I see is these fake fucks with no fangs
Tryna draw blood from my ice-cold veins
I smell a massacre
Seems to be the only way to back you bastards up

– Jay Z, “Monster,”

I don’t remember when I became a monster. In fact, I don’t even know if becoming would constitute the kind of way in which monstrosity enveloped me. We all know that Hegel says that “Becoming is the unseparatedness of being and nothing,” (Hegel, Science of Logic, 80) and yet, I am being and nothing’s elaboration of demarcation, the tensor in the abstraction of becoming, the origin of the ontology of segregation. One day, I woke up in the world and there I was, a nightmare among the living. You’d be hard-pressed to think that someone in this positionality would warrant some empathetic identification. In all honestly, I’d call you a fool. The kind of fool that knows nothing about what it means to be a monster. First and foremost, the monster lives outside the bounds of the ethical. Which is to say, if I am a monster, it is because good and evil exist beyond me. Good and evil sit on my shoulders like a cross too heavy to carry. Writing in his book entitled, After Life, Eugene Thacker states that, “There is, then, an indeterminacy that is central to the concept of the creature in Medieval philosophy. In this ‘creaturely indeterminacy,’ the twofold nature of the creature situates it between seemingly incom-mensurate attributes (infinite-finite, simple-complex, unity-multiplicity).” (106) There is a harmony between the creaturely indeterminacy of the creature in general and the indeterminate creatureliness of the monster in particular. But we should be hesitant to conflate the two. For in doing so one runs the risk of missing something pivotal in the distinction between what is incommensurate and what is antagonistic. Or rather, one misconstrues what is divine with that which is heretical. Thacker continues, “The creature is thus not only a theological entity—a testimony to the fundamental relation between creature and Creator, and the passage be-tween the natural and supernatural—but the creature is also, let us say, a biological entity, having its sole existence within nature and the Aris-totelian temporality of growth, decay, and finitude.” (106)

When I woke up to the world as a monster, I remembered what it meant to be nothing. There’s nothing under your bed… but me because whoever says Black says monster. Its only rational. In the same way that every discussion of the Law’s rationality, its inner sense of logical completeness, revolves around a passion for the Law. It is this passion for the Law which prelogically orients its reason. It is the unconscious presumption that Law is ethical that foreshadows its passions. This is my “reading” of Kant with Sade. Or rather, this is the way in which, every philosophy of law is but a philosophy in the bedroom and every philosophy in the bedroom is but a philosophy of law. Whoever says God, says desire. Whoever says desire, says Oh God! As a monster, I know this well, since I am nothing. I am the nothing which creeps into every bedroom. The spook next door. Proof that nothingness is – an ontological terror indeed. Calvin Warren puts it this way:

To be, according to Heidegger, is to become, to emerge and move within Being-as-event. But what happens when such becoming does not occur? When the event of Being does not stimulative a productive anxiety of actualization, but gets caught in a repetition of event-less demise and nothingness? To inhabit such a condition is to exist as perpetual falling, without standing-forth, without Being. This, then, is the devastation of metaphysical holocaust: black being never becomes, or stands forth, but exist in concealment, falling, and inconsistency.

(Calvin Warren, Ontological Terror, 13)

There’s nothing to me. Nothing but an abyss. A withdrawal. A falling-into the hyper-chaos of the antiblack world. The ocean of violence – the water, the blood, the horror. In this way, a monster is not necessarily “a biological entity, having its sole existence within nature,” the monster is not a reduction to biochemistry; it is rather the revelation of its withdrawal. Between monster and man is the corpse. Thus, in this way, the monster is to flesh as creature is to spirit. For this reason: there is no grammar of suffering abstract enough to speak to the monster’s hieroglyphic suffering. The monster calls into question the category of creature itself and in raising this question it necessarily questions the divinity of honor through which this category comes to be übernatural. It is setting of a scene of this sort that makes coherent the cries of that German antiphilosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who with the rise of the Enlightenment science and rationality spoke to the anxiety of the disenchanted world born out of Man’s order and Man’s science. “Could it be possible?” Niezsche states in the voice of his philosopher-protagonist, Zarathustra, “… that God is dead!” Man is a kind of creature that kills their creator. Monsters are the kinds of creatures created to be killed.

When I woke up to the world as a monster, I knew I’d die a heretic. As such this nothingness that therefore I was made to be denoted more than incommensurable attributes. The radical incommensurability of the attributes to which I bear buttresses my metaphysical horror. Indeed, I am where horror metaphysicus sets in.

Heresy was only a question to be resolved as soon as it was asked, and in a sense before even being asked, by violence of the most material and spiritual kinds at the same time.

(Francois Laurelle, Future Christ: Lessons in Heresy, 33)

I know this violence well, in the most material and spiritual sense. For in being the antagonist of the human creature, and “its twofold nature, at once partaking of the earthly and the divine, the material and the spiritual, the natural and supernatural,” (Thacker, 105) I find myself in a very different positionality in relationship to the indeterminate. This is an indeterminacy of an antagonistic nature. It cannot kill God for its monstrous cry is unreal. In this sense, there is no true theodicy for the monster – there is no problem of evil. There is scarcely a death of God. Rather the monster is memory of the crime, nightmare in the flesh – God’s heretical creature.

Has the situation changed much between the crime and our memory of the crime? That memory is not fundamentally different from that of the criminal who retains the reality of his crime [forfait] in the ether of ideality and the fluctuations of meaning. Have we done something other than add bad conscience to the archive of crime, other than stretch, dilute and idealize this? Here it is no longer about wanting the past in order to cultivate it or transform it; not even of keeping alive the memory which makes us hostage to history. Precisely there is a past so radical, we will say so outside-memory, the crime has affected man so profoundly that he has become an evident unconscious or better still an unlearned knowledge of modern man and which he defines perhaps more profoundly than the exercise of memory.

(Francois Laurelle, Future Christ: Lessons in Heresy, 33)

A monster is a profound heresy of the creature. A nothing at odds with memory itself. The monster is an evident unconscious, so outside-memory so as to be in oblivion. The monsters exist by graveyards next to gravestones full of names no one will ever know, coffins that will never know the light of day. The monster exists next to the never-known. Like millions of heretics and their meta-aporetic literatures. Like philosophies that exist out-there yet unlearned. Forever unlearned. Forever unheard. Yet around like a shadow in a dream or a nightmare in the morning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s