Published in  
September 13, 2023

Anthropy / Entropy

Could happily-ever-afters be getting in the way of something more exquisite than a good ending?

I often speak about falling apart, about disability, about disintegration, about losing our way, about being composted, and about failure. No sooner would I finish writing these words than many immediately seek to resignify these unruly sentiments in positive light. You know, to put an optimistic spin on it. As if the caterpillar's melting into an imaginal goop always carries the promise that it will emerge on the other side of its decomposition, safe and sound and flutteringly butterfly-like. As if darkness were a vassal to light, only there to serve its constant suzerainty. As if the gist of failure is that it ends with popular ideations of success. As if a throughline shoots its imperial way through the flow and tide and tussle and tumble and mumbling messiness of things, a beam-me-up-scotty deus ex machina that always arrives at the full stop of the gilded script. As if the monster - that prop in the vaunted saga of the hero's journey - doesn't have it's own stories to tell.

Disintegration is not 'positive'; "love and light" do not necessarily attend to the occult practices of seeds buried in the earth or the subaltern parties zombie bacteria throw in the heat of the dark. And disability is not a lounge in the terminus of the neurotypical.

In an open-ended world, the anthropocentrism of positivity obscures the pressingly urgent ways things fall apart - not to get back up again, but to be apart. The undulating waves of becoming do not carry any guarantees with them. And "healing" is not the final end of all things or rights we are entitled to. Much in the same way the neologism of "failing forward" has come to concretize corporate commitments to certitude in times of chaos, the expectation that we are entitled to confident futures and convenient closures diminishes our capacities to welcome the strange.

The world is too rich, too promiscuous, too generative to host hope and stability alone. Indeed, it would seem that the universe is more prolific at generating loss than it is at keeping things together. In the selfsame moment it manufactures the membrane, it summons the conditions of its decay.

Perhaps, in these posthumanist times, we'd have to meander a little, stray a little more, stutter even more, and cultivate the capacities to relinquish the tyranny of Happily-Ever-After, if only to listen to elsewheres between the lines.

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