Published in  
September 13, 2015

Death is life touching herself

Where does life come from? The scientific/cultural imaginary of matter presents it as lifeless, inert and mute – until something shocking happens.

An invasion of alien lightning disturbing the primordial ooze; a deity breathing ‘life’ into the nostrils of clay mannequins; a writer contorting reality with inspired words. In all instances, life comes from ‘outside’, from an exteriority that is essential. The material world is passive and dead, a mere container – and a fragile one at that – for the ‘force of life’ that indwells its vacuous veins. But what if matter is alive already?

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What if the innocuous waltz of chemicals and entangled particles is no less austere, no less interesting (and interested) than human experience? What if life is what happens when things touch each other? What if mountains are subjects of justice? What if when a tree falls in the forest, there is always someone around to hear it? What if there is no outside? And what if death is not the withdrawal of life – Prometheus taking away his fire – but how life explores herself, how life gasps and becomes even finer? Like an exploding pollen tree. Like a heartbroken quasar. Like falling in love and knowing you are nothing without a cherished other.