“There is a doubling, a divergence between two vital forces: the centripetal force of the progressive, unidirectional existence of finite-being (that which, even today, lasts only from birth to death), and a centrifugal force that drives the multidirectional currents of the social world-those frameworks of signs that inscribe the individual within a non-oriented time and space that reaches out beyond them.” – After Death, p8
Cryptically, After Death can be titled Before Schizophrenia. In-between progress and assembly is a transcendental decision, one which Bonnet reconfigures in relation to sacrifice and the sacred. The line of the schizophrenic is always communicating with limitation at its absolute terminus. Via its inherent hyper-nomadism, the schizophrenic’s elusive modus operandi is the avoidance of death, and thus, to become infinite. As Bonnet muses on the sacrificial element of the suicide bomber who becomes-mortal for the sake of his country, or the factory worker who sacrifices their finite energy for the increased output of a corporation far greater than they, the schizo, and the process of schiz itself, is the closest one can get to a formulation of the present. Hidden within Bonnet’s work is the admittance of temporal mutation, whereby what we are within is never itself, and as such, abides by the method of the schizophrenic. Simultaneous attendance to everything and nothing, allowing the artificial force residing in-between to seek out your own life for you.
As autism defines the inability to communicate effectively with language systems, contemporary schizophrenic bastardizations of time alter the subject’s relationship with the present in such a way that one’s passion deteriorates in the face of death-avoidance, whilst simultaneously possessing the subject with an assemblage of signification so dense they beg for the most meager scrap of correlation. Exchange overtakes all faculties; the smell of a rose cannot be inputted, the view of a tranquil horizon is not computed, and the tears of mourning are simply consumed. Society, for Bonnet, is a Beckerian hastening of death-anxiety assimilated into the motor of production. For each desire has a further desire, to be further ignorant of death, ascending to the great purity of productively nomadic immortality. That is, to wish not only to not know classical death, but to disallow it in all endeavors; each iteration of progressive existence fleeting, mutating or disappearing before even the most abstract of decays is given entry.
An infant Heraclitus appears on stage, slotted into a reality system of his own creation, mechanical tendrils shooting off in all directions. Each ligament, each sense, each emotion, each movement and each attempt preconfigured to he rhythm of an artificial river. For Bonnet, the subject can step into the same river, for both the subject and the flow forget themselves; in reverence of repetition contemporary society worships idols of structural dementia.
Bonnet theorizes on the relationship between zero and the hyperpresent, the positive-oriented homogenization of chronic time as simply smaller and smaller increments of ‘the present’. Bonnet’s zero gets no time. Zero folds into zero at an increasing rate, a series of sensible and emotional detachments apprehending reality as a matter of miniature context. Unfortunately for humans, outside of the artificial apparatus of Dharma-based thought systems, to notice the ever-present presentness of reality is merely a tyranny of existence. For as you notice, you cease to notice, have noticed that which is already gone, and, thus, noticed nothing at all.
Attending to our offices we see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing, want nothing and apprehend nothing. And yet, it is not nothing which communes with her, but, in the words of Bonnet, the shadow of the present. What has been never was, there was not time enough for even space to outline the reality of our realities. For space used to be the plaything of time, that which all tortures and pleasures were drawn from. Space in the time of the hyperpresent exists as an afterthought of existence, the objects which are found, the representations we face and the relations of matter are all symptoms of cosmically apathetic acceleration of allotted existences. As one’s attention is pulled back and forth between various empty expanses of abstraction, all affect is scattered to the abyss; we no longer apprehend, but are apprehended by all which can be considered to ‘external’, long before we have a chance to reason with it.
After Death seeks not to answer the classic question of death-anxiety, for it understands that it can never be answered without elucidation of post-death itself. Yet, it does seek to rip open the horizon of contemporaneous apathy, self-neglect, avoidance, ignorance, attention-deficit, amnesia and anesthesia, revealing an abstraction tethered to cyclic-zero, touching upon tighter recursions of somnambulant consumptive possession evermore. If one is seeking extrapolation as to why nothing in modernity adheres, then Bonnet’s text is a dark-antidote, a caustic liqueur which makes the non-feeling of contemporary existence more apparent; to read Bonnet is to enter into the intensification of paradox.
Existing upon a tightrope of schizophrenia and autism, man is consistently torn apart by his inability to attend to reality in any meaningful sense. On one end he enters into a confusion of untranslatable strings of data, erupting chaos and causing defeat via over-stimulation; on the other he is drawn down into the depressive attitude of an archaic forgetfulness, withering at the edges of ever-innovating time as a being alienated a priori.