An Excerpt from Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s The Mark of The Sacred

“…[Guther] Anders recognized that on 6 August 1945, human history entered into a new phase, its last. Or, rather, that the sixth day of August was only a rehearsal for the ninth – what he called the ‘Nagasaki Syndrome.’ The atomic bombing of a civilian population, once it had occurred for the first time, once it had made the unthinkable real, inevitably invited more atrocities, in the same way that an earthquake is inevitably followed by a series of aftershocks. History, Anders said, became obsolete that day. ┬áNow that humanity was capable of destroying itself, nothing could ever cause it to lose this ‘negative all-powerfulness’ not even a general disarmament, not even a total denuclearization of the world’s arsenals. Apocalypse having been inscribed in our future as fate, henceforth the best we can do is to indefinitely postpone the final moment. We are now living under a suspended sentence, as it were, a stay of execution. In August 1945, humanity entered into an era of reprieve (die frist), the ‘second death’ of all that had existed: since the meaning of the past depends of future actions, it follows from the obsolescence of the future, from its programmed end, not that the past no longer has any meaning, but that it never had one.”

A Field In France

Vincent van Gogh, his face covered with fresh bruises and minor lacerations, sits in a field of wheat and smears the remnants of some stolen strawberries across his forehead, the bridge of his nose, his cheeks, his lips and his chin: “I stood up, Theo, and I announced to the entire cafe, which was filthy with painters like myself, that there was in all likelihood an improbable and unforeseen event that would cause the world to drown in fire before the end of the century. I then said that my final revelation was that in order to avoid this fate someone would be needed to sacrifice themselves so that the rest might be protected and preserved. I nominated myself. I told the room I would offer myself up as the victim. No one seemed to mind my display of magnanimity, until I reminded them that by sacrificing myself I would be granted not only symbolic immortality, but, at a later date in time, actual immortality as well. It was this particular sentiment that did not go over very well with the drunken mediocrities I was addressing. While I was not surprised at the violence visited upon my person, I was surprised at how long it took for it to occur. Before the blows rained down upon me there was a most delicious sort of pregnant pause, a breach from which they momentarily could not escape. The look on their faces told me that perhaps I had tapped into something elemental. This, more than anything else, Theo, filled me with what I can only describe as a sort of cosmic delight. Please send money at your earliest convenience. I am presently out of paint.”