After reading this wonderful interpretation of cyclonopedia I felt compelled to highlight further connections upon the shrewd readings by Doin' the Lambeth Warp A.K.A. "O". The anti-anthropocentric aspects of both Reza Negarestani and H. P. Lovecraft are well observed, the 'otherness' the 'exteriorites' that loom as modes of horror are intrinsic to both paradigms and praxis within Lovecraft and the wonderfully discombobulating theory-fiction of Negarestani's Cyclonopedia. O highlights many similarities in Lovecraft's fiction and Negarestani's theory-fiction, body horror, extra-materialism, materialistic nihilisms and the primal fear of an indifferent other orchestrating our universe. All these notions emerge from an essential de-centering of ourselves. O summarises this as "anti-anthropocentric" however anti is essentially against, and to say an entity is against oneself is essentially anthropocentric. The old ones of Lovecraft's fictions and the oil of Cyclonopedian narratives do not work against our centering - because, as is so petrifying - we simply are not at a center, in fact we do not feature on any scale, we are not part of the currency of the universe, however important and in control our world presents itself to be, we are not significant, from behind our eyes the importance of our existence is a fallacy. Perhaps a slightly more appropriate term for this ultra-nihilist materialism/cosmicism would be inanthropocentric, the prefix 'in' meaning 'not' or 'lacking' rather than "anti-anthropocentric" which presupposes we matter enough for something to be in conflict with us, which is simply not the ramification of the myriad avenues O pursues across these texts in Lovecraft, Cyclonopedia and Materialist Horror. Rather than hang my assertions upon a mere etymological in-discrepancy within the essay I will re-examine various facets that O highlights, and re-inforce the intrinsic inanthropicism as the genesis of horrific trauma. Let us commence with the many facets of body horror in Lovecraft's work which are brought to our attention by O here:
"But we should not get distracted. Metaphysical terrors take a back seat to sheer physical horror in all of Lovecraft’s best writing. In many of his most celebrated passages the emotion that is evoked most strongly is not even fear per se but revulsion. There is always a hideous miasmic stench, there are always gruesome bioluminescent fungi and nameless slithering invertebrates; traditional horror tropes such as blood and bones are generally eschewed in favour of the ubiquitous slime. The very quantity of ectoplasm, mucus and miscellaneous snot in these stories is startling, before we even consider the stream of adjectives describing them, which gush from the author’s pen like the issue of a gangrenous sore. Perhaps the most evocative description of fleshly mortification is that suffered by the unfortunate Gardner family in The Colour out of Space(1927), who are not so much bodily consumed or even possessed by the sinister entity as they are parasitized and drained by it, reminding one of a hapless insect falling victim to an ichneumon wasp or predatory fungus. This is supreme science-fiction body-horror to rival even the psychosexual nightmare of the Alien films – the entomo-reptilian monster that stars therein having been created, of course, by the Swiss visionary artist and Lovecraft devotee, H. R. Giger."
Horreur de corps in Negarestani's Cyclonopedia are also referenced here:
"A comparable fate seems to befall Hamid Parsani, the fictional Iranian archaeologist in Cyclonopedia. After coming into possession of a mediaeval relic associated with an obscure pre-Islamic Persian cult, he begins to suffer from a leprous skin condition and a concurrent worsening of his already somewhat febrile mental state. Shortly before his final disappearance, one of his friends evocatively describes him as “a bulging syphilitic brain with a pink leech dangling at the root of it”."
There is certainly a physicality present in both texts, there is revulsion, viscerality and the grotesque all pouring forth in a fantastically loquacious dexterity of prose. These are engrossing deliveries but my interest lies in questioning why their presence is so horrific on an ontological premise. Where O presumes that "Metaphysical terrors take a back seat to sheer physical horror" I am inclined to disagree, the physicality, the revulsion is a constant ( in many well described horror tales, detailing the gruesome will always lead towards an effect of repulsion ) but the astonishing depth of terror evoked is not solely a consequence of description or bodily revulsions, they are present but not the cause of such devastating metaphysical rupturing, the cause of these horrors in both Lovecraft and Negarestani's Cyclonopedia is still inanthropicism! Rather than study the wonderfully descriptive language of such penetrating trauma it is vital to examine and frame the acts being conveyed in detail and to question if these acts within the narratives are anthropocentric or inanthropocentric. O exclaims "Perhaps the most evocative description of fleshly mortification is that suffered by the unfortunate Gardner family in The Colour out of Space(1927), who are not so much bodily consumed or even possessed by the sinister entity as they are parasitized and drained by it". Here the essentially inanthropicentric ( I say inanthropic and not cosmicist due to such traumas, within the narrative, occurring on a micro, personal and bodily level ) is unearthed. Consumption and possession are anthropocentric, to be consumed one is the predators meal, the focus, to be possessed by another entity one is again the focus - despite being devoured or owned by are an evil predator or foe one is still the center of the world, the universe hinging around ones existence. To be parasitized is to be positioned upon ( not 'within' or 'in' ) a chronically inanthropocentric context, the host is not the focus, the parasite is indifferent to hosts existence, one is a means to an end for another being, a habitat.... We don't look at the dirt we roam, we stare at the sun - as does the wondrous Cordyceps Unilateralis.
In Cyclonopedia O observes how "A comparable fate seems to befall Hamid Parsani...a leprous skin condition and a concurrent worsening of his already somewhat febrile mental state." most likely the symptom of the "bulging syphilitic brain with a pink leech dangling at the root of it". The parasitic emphasis within this body horror imagery is apparent, Parsani is perhaps infested and hosting, a curse of inanthropocentric connotations. However, this aspect of gruesome decentering via parasitic modes is not dissimilar to another fascinating enquiry Negarestani has embarked upon. The traumatic inanthropocentric horror, the madness, the slip of reality, the experience of de-centering is perhaps operating along similar ontological consequence vectors as Nupta Contagioso/Cadevera....the morbid realisation of ones self as a part of something, and not being the heart and soul of a body/world. This must be torturous ( ontologically and psychologically ) like the Mezentian punishment described in The Aeneid. The ontological trauma is not wholly symmetrical, but facets of interior implications share formal similarities I feel with the psychological woes of parasitism and existential pains of uncovering an inanthropocentric galaxy. The Mezentian torture, the excruciating writhing of the mind in such ( putrefaction / necrosmosis ) context, grappling with the reality(ies) of being(s) amidst the whirlpools of ontological ramifications shares the same inanthropocentric praxial vectors ( modes ) as hosting ( parasitism woes ) and Lovecraftian Cosmicism and inanthropocentric body horrors. The further implications that Negarestani hunts in Corpse Bride: Thinking with Nigredo do not, I feel, offer much scope for highlighting such vivid inanthropocentric parallels with despite their ( the later themes in Corpse Bride ) Mezentian genesis. I do not wish to digress, but rather thought that the inanthropocentricisms implicit ( in and orbiting ) this trio of trauma ( 1- Mezentian Torture in Corpse Bride: Thinking with Nigredo, 2 - Parasitic body horrors in Cyclonopedia and 3 - Lovecraftian Cosmicism both subjective/micro and objectively/macro animated ) are quite a pertinent and haunting theme across the texts.