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Old 12-22-2013   #1
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The Body Trap

One of the characters in my Cathrian novel says:

"But a human body, like my own body, is something you can’t get off. I'm trapped inside it and there is nothing I can do to escape it. To escape it is certain death. I wonder how we ended up like this in such a nightmare. Knowing it’s all going to end with a blank while incapable of waking up from the nightmare. I remember many dreams I thought were real at the time I was dreaming them, terrifying situations I thought I could never escape – until, with great relief, I wake up and leave it all behind in a quickly forgotten dream. Life’s problems, by comparison, are as nothing compared to those one sometimes meet in dreams. But this waking nightmare of the bodytrap, all our bodytraps, is not a dream you can wake up from. It’s relentlessly and terrifyingly inescapable. Who the devil landed me in this body? They have a lot to answer for. And I can’t really imagine the devastating effect of complete and utter non-existence when this consciousness within my body finally vanishes. A paradox – that I hate being trapped in my body but I’d give anything to stay trapped there forever, because I can’t face the outright blankness…”

I wrote most of this novel in 2005, although it wasn't published until 2011.
Does anyone else feel this dilemma of such a paradox? It relates to my earlier thoughts regarding the problem of judging life from within the same life. Similar to the philosophical dilemma of judging the human mind from within the human mind.

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Old 12-22-2013   #2
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Re: The Body Trap

On dreams, I thought of Lovecraft's Polaris where the relevant narrator concluded that life is but a dream which we cannot awake from. On entrapment It also brought to mind the fiction (and cartoons) on brain disembodiment and the philosophical theory of "Brain in a vat".

A popular topic for philosophers since the ancients. A quote from Plato (Phaido): "….a veritable prisoner fast bound within his body..and that instead of investigating reality by itself and in itself it is compelled to peer through the bars of its prison."
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Old 12-22-2013   #3
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Re: The Body Trap

Quote Originally Posted by Uitarii View Post
On dreams, I thought of Lovecraft's Polaris where the relevant narrator concluded that life is but a dream which we cannot awake from. On entrapment It also brought to mind the fiction (and cartoons) on brain disembodiment and the philosophical theory of "Brain in a vat".

A popular topic for philosophers since the ancients. A quote from Plato (Phaido): "….a veritable prisoner fast bound within his body..and that instead of investigating reality by itself and in itself it is compelled to peer through the bars of its prison."
Thanks. That's a great quote from Plato.

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Old 12-22-2013   #4
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Re: The Body Trap

Rats fleeing a sinking ship. The remaining motivation I have for creating things is the feeling that my works are the rats and my body is the ship. Some kind of partial, distributed, escape from myself. Whatever fragments that can fit through the bars are free to skitter about to who-knows-where. I am entertained by the possible Rat King scenario, wherein, welcome or not, the rats take up residence in another skull and seize command. Of course, this leads to questions regarding the captaining of my own vessel (and the limits of the metaphor, haha)...

Once an idea has been realized and I subsequently forget about it, it has escaped. Repeat ad absurdum. These tend to be the pieces I prize the most (if only temporarily), devil take the hindmost.
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Old 12-23-2013   #5
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Re: The Body Trap

Quote Originally Posted by silence View Post
Rats fleeing a sinking ship. The remaining motivation I have for creating things is the feeling that my works are the rats and my body is the ship. Some kind of partial, distributed, escape from myself. Whatever fragments that can fit through the bars are free to skitter about to who-knows-where. I am entertained by the possible Rat King scenario, wherein, welcome or not, the rats take up residence in another skull and seize command. Of course, this leads to questions regarding the captaining of my own vessel (and the limits of the metaphor, haha)...

Once an idea has been realized and I subsequently forget about it, it has escaped. Repeat ad absurdum. These tend to be the pieces I prize the most (if only temporarily), devil take the hindmost.
That makes me think that the stark concept of the body trap is one possible dovetailing of both sides of Ligotti. His weird fiction dolls, puppets and mannequins - and his CATHR philosophy.

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Old 12-23-2013   #6
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Re: The Body Trap

From Ligotti's SEVERINI – “There is no way out of the nightmare once you have gone so far into its depths.”
“deliver the self that knows the sickness from the self that does not know”
The story that really deals with 'the nightmare of the organism' and possibly an interesting companion/ comparison piece with the recent controversial thread on TLO in these last few weeks before Christmas.


==========================

My Christmas 2008 review of his TEATRO GROTTESCO:
Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti my sixth real-time review (Christmas 2008) | Real Books Rock

My July 2010 review of his CATHR:
The Conspiracy Against The Human Race by Thomas Ligotti my review | Real Books Rock

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Old 12-24-2013   #7
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Re: The Body Trap

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
That makes me think that the stark concept of the body trap is one possible dovetailing of both sides of Ligotti. His weird fiction dolls, puppets and mannequins - and his CATHR philosophy.
I found Ligotti while hunting for commentary on Thomas Metzinger's Being No One, which is referenced in CATHR. Diving right into the fiction, I couldn't help but notice (or possibly, force) analogies between the stories and the idea of the mechanistic no-self described by Metzinger. The strings on a puppet are a pretty straightforward encapsulation of what it means to be a piece of material in of a deterministic universe.

> “deliver the self that knows the sickness from the self that does not know”

That quote resonates deeply, I need to pick up that book.

When key elements of self are negated by some existential horror, how does the remainder react to the instability? Every thought that can in a person's head can be negated. It's easy to shut down a thought and label it pointless, impossible, dead, or wrong. The horror is a fire that burns all thoughts to the ground. If left unchecked, there will indeed be nothing to do, no one to see, and nowhere to be.

It's also possible to withhold judgement or feeling towards a thought and let it grow untouched by the horror consuming all else. To let it grow into it's own. To let it influence your movements. Seeing yourself as a monolithic entity precludes this. It needs to be natural to view yourself as a collection of separate things. There needs to be distance between the parts set aside and the parts consigned to the fire.

I have a mantra: the best reason to do anything is no reason at all. Any thought brought into being by a knowable chain of causality inevitably comes in contact with the fire.

Yellow Jester, in that other thread, described writing in a frenzy, as if the story was fighting to get out, which it did. Escape from the prison is possible, just not for the whole.
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Old 12-25-2013   #8
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Re: The Body Trap

Quote Originally Posted by silence View Post
Yellow Jester, in that other thread, described writing in a frenzy, as if the story was fighting to get out, which it did. Escape from the prison is possible, just not for the whole.
Revelatory, thanks.

The other quote you make above I use on the 'Severini' thread in the last few days: “deliver the self that knows the sickness from the self that does not know”

And I'd also like to repeat the quote from the 'My Case For Retributive Action' thread:
"I've even come to believe that the world itself, by its very nature, is unendurable. It's only our responses to this fact that deviate:..."

The 'Teatro Grottesco' book in which both those stories appeared was published as a mainstream paperback a few years ago so should be available readily.

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Old 12-25-2013   #9
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Re: The Body Trap

Oh cool, I have TG, thought I've been saving the last 5 or so stories. There's only one 1st time, you know? It's becoming a terrible habit, I have so many books with only the last chapter left to be read...
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Old 12-26-2013   #10
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Re: The Body Trap

Quote Originally Posted by silence View Post
Oh cool, I have TG, thought I've been saving the last 5 or so stories. There's only one 1st time, you know? It's becoming a terrible habit, I have so many books with only the last chapter left to be read...
Like everyone's ever-lasting life?

"Death is the only memory but then you have no need of it." -- Rachel Mildeyes.

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