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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Guest Post: Dark Matter: Notes on the Origins of Cosmic Horror by David Peak

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Dark Matter: Notes on the Origins of Cosmic Horror
David Peak

Nothing can be larger than that which is imagined.

The largest thing that can be imagined is the universe.

The universe was created when space and time emerged together.

A concentration of energy and matter became less dense as the universe expanded.

As a result of the continued expansion of the universe, everything will eventually collapse.

The threat of total collapse is the origin of horror.

Horror is concurrently that which is and that which should not be.

In horror, that which is is the self and that which should not be is the other.

The other is an extension of the self, which does not exist.

That which does not exist cannot be known; therefore the reality of the self is impossible.

The only way to define the self is to look inward—to collapse the inside into the outside—and, once more on the outside, the other cannot be known.

Reality of the other is impossible.

Reality itself is impossible.

Only in understanding that reality is impossible can we fathom the depthlessness of nonexistence.

After the birth of existence, as the universe cooled, subatomic particles formed, then atoms.

Giant clouds then merged to form galaxies and stars.

The majority of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy, both of which are invisible to the electromagnetic spectrum.

While dark energy affects the universe’s expansion, the nature of dark matter remains unknown, and in this sense dark matter is the origin of ruins.

All life dwells in the age of ruin—in which the nature of life is unknown.

We do not see reality for what it is—we see it for what it once was and will never be again.
Much like the schizophrenic who cannot differentiate between the voices in his head and the voices of others, we remain haunted by our memories—of the past, of unrealized futures—visited by that which is uninvited.
Our visitors—these uninvited voices—are ghosts from beyond the age of ruin.
The ghost is a representation of humankind’s one true desire: life beyond death.
The ghost can never be separate from wishful thinking of an afterlife.
Wishful thinking—or naively wanting to believe that what has happened cannot have happened, that what cannot be must be—is the origin of trauma.
Trauma tethers—or grounds—our memories to the floating ruins of the world.
We embody trauma until we give into death—and only then are we released.
We do not know where consciousness slips away to when we die.
Only material evidence limits the powers of imagination, and our own death is beyond our experience.
That which is beyond our experience is understood through speculation.
We can only speculate as to how planets are formed.
Scientific theories of how planets are formed differ from the myths that have passed down from one generation to the next.
Conditions on our planet allow for the sustainability of life as we know it.
It is statistically unlikely that life on our planet should exist, yet the human species has evolved over the course of tens of millions of years.
The living organism, exposed to the outer world, serves as an organ for receiving stimuli.
Consciousness was raised by the effects of external stimulation.
A heightened level of consciousness is the origin of language.
As evolved creatures, we have been gifted with speech.
In thought, there is only language.
Reality is consciousness—it is not what is—and language forms consciousness.
The world, in its entirety, is an expression of our language.
Out in the world, we are tasked only with survival.
Our sensory organs evolved as a means of increasing the odds of our survival.
Our ability to survive resulted in our continued evolution.
We understand the world by interpreting our senses.
Our senses are translated as language—our innermost thoughts, secrets, and fantasies—and in this way, we are deceived by our senses.
The world is not what it is—what we believe it to be—the world is a fiction—what we hope it to be.
Fiction is illusion created by language.
Fiction is a representation of the way we would like things to be, rather than the way things are.
We cannot ever understand the way things are because reality is beyond experience.
Reality is impossible; only the image is pure.
Once the image has been translated into language it ceases to exist in its pure form—and once the image has been translated it has been corrupted.
Fiction can only show us the knowable, including that which can be imagined.
Only the unknowable is what is real—that which is outside illusion, beyond corruption.
Only in moments of experiencing what is real can we transcend the utter corruption of language.
Over time we have learned to rely on a shared languagethe binding of a social contract—a means of engaging in coexistence with others.
In sharing language we constructed our own mythology.
Our mythology is an attempt to explain to ourselves how we got here and why we exist.
These things we tell ourselves—our innermost thoughts, secrets, and fantasies—are material evidence—the so-called proof of our existence—the limits of imagination.
The need to prove our existence is the origin of anxiety.
Anxiety is found hiding in the space we occupy—rather than within ourselves.
We cannot escape the space we occupy; only the collapse can set us free.
After the collapse—and here we must speculate—dark matter will emerge as what is real.
We know only what dark matter is not—rather than what it might be—and therefore the shape of dark matter is defined by its shadow.
It is the shadow of the beyond that gives shape to the world.
It is the abyss that lies in wait beneath the world that gives meaning to the fall.
As the abyss encroaches upon all life—when we are expelled into the dark—then, and only then, can we experience what must be referred to as true cosmic horror.

Further reading:
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle
ren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Oriented Deliberation in View of the Dogmatic Problem of Hereditary Sin
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency
Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Presentation Volume II
Dylan Trigg, Topophobia: A Phenomenology of Anxiety
Roberto Trotta, “Dark Matter: Probing the Arche-Fossil,” in Collapse Volume II