the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

hamlin on meditating on the grave

Posted by rigorousm on August 10, 2015

“As a religious discourse about nature, these meditations on self as filth are a far cry from argumentative natural theology. Unrelentingly, these writers deny us the satisfaction not only of material achievement, but also of body, health, and even of self. These meditations are often (though not invariably) sad, but it is a preutilitarian sadness, a fully valid response to the world implying no problem in need of resolution and reflecting an outlook in which happiness is not the benchmark against which all social and natural phenomena are to be measured .The meditations are full of contradiction. The grave is both a place of peace where nothing happens but a form of “sleep” and a place of incessant chemical and biological activity. The desire to merge into something vaster coexists with the terror of losing self. Absolute dignity, with its maintenance of boundaries, is exchanged for absolute indignity. …”

“Good and Intimate Filth” by Christopher Hamlin in Filth: dirt, disgust, and modern life, ed. William A. Cohen and Ryan Johnson, p 13.

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