2014-09-09

The Death of Man

We tend to think that religion and science are opposed. But as always, the conflict has been rather a staging masking a much deeper consensus between the two apparent rivals. Thus, both forms of knowledge and power are fundamentally based on the death of man, and on the knowledge that a body of initiates obtains, records and transmits from this death. "Science, technics and production assume this rupture of the living and the non-living, privileging the non-living on which alone science in all its rigour is based... Even the 'reality' of science and technics is also the separation of the living and the dead. The very finality of science as pulsion, as the death drive (the desire to know), is inscribed in this disjunction, so that an object is only real insofar as it is dead, that is, relegated to inert and indifferent objectivity, as were initially, above everything else, the dead and the living" (Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Exchange and Death, 1976).

In addition, this death is not only, in most of the cases, a single death but a violent one. Religious sacrifices in almost all cultures consist precisely in putting to death, in transforming earthly life into eternal life. But the scientific sacrifices are no less violent. It would be useless to base the scientific rituals on an already accomplished death. Science, like religion, needs to produce this death as a prerequisite to its spiritual knowledge. And this is the body in which any progress in science must be obtained.

Image after Giuseppe Enrie's Shroud of Turin (1931) [pd] and Ötzi the Iceman [ua-fu/fd].