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death

Death

According to Vilém Flusser, death only offers two possibilities: “to deny it and continue to act or to accept it and fall silent” (Da Religiosidade, 2002, pp. 98–99; translated from the Portuguese). Even if we ponder its necessity, the relationship we have developed with death is based on giving meaning to its absurdity. Ultimately, it is not the fear of death that paralyzes us, but the vision of the emptiness after our death (O Universo das Imagens Técnicas, 2010, pp. 87–88)*. That is why denying death is related to authenticity, and supposedly accepting it conceals a lie (Da Religiosidade, pp. 100–101). Each and every person has to die alone and on his or her own (O Mundo Codicado, 2007, pp. 90–91). Saying death does not exist is the same as saying life does not exist (Da Religiosidade, p. 103). “‘Living’ means moving towards death. […] ‘Living’ means solving problems to be able to die.” (O Mundo Codi- cado, p. 53; translated from the Portuguese) One of the main aspects regarding death in Flusser’s thinking refers to cybernetics and is related to the second law of thermodynamics. Because of entropy, we have been walking towards the thermal death of the universe ever since the Big Bang. Entropy is the exhaustion of “virtualities,” which means death. Controlling the future means translating improbable situations into probable situations, and the unnatural intent to ght death is negentropic (Into the Universe of Technical Images, 2011, pp. 17–18). Information is the attempt to reverse the entropic vectors of the universe’s ultimate heat death. This fixation of matter is an act of the mind, but also of technologies, such as writing.

“His answer to ‘heat death’ and to death per se is to ‘inform.’” (ibid., p. 18). The loss of this negating dimension would integrate humankind into natural processes. A domesticated humanity, just like a herd, would simply graze and run through the cycle of birth, consumption, rumination, production, leisure, reproduction, and death. From a processual point of view, everything goes through formation at birth and ends with the leveler of death (Natural:mente, 1979, p. 53). The execution of thermal death is the final entropic dominance of probability over improbability. To ght entropy, we store information and build a memory – through communication, which is a form of negentropy (O Mundo Codicado, pp.94–95).

* Editorial note: This passage does not exist in the English edition.

Original article by Rodrigo Petronio in Flusseriana

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death.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 (external edit)