Electric word life, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you there’s somethin’ else… the afterworld. - Prince, then formerly known as Prince, now Prince again
EUGENE THACKER, AFTER LIFE, UCHICAGO, 2010
Life. There’s no shortage of it. It cuts across any number of fields and sits uncomfortably between debates ranging from the moment it appears to the pandemic threat of its end; from all the industries that can extend it through drugs and assorted topical creams, to the industries that offer the pleasure of shortening it incrementally through drugs and assorted ingestible cremes. Then there are the broader notions of “life itself” that inform life with a more universal scope. This will bring about the distinction between Life and the living for Thacker’s work, but that comes later.
For now Thacker is scanning the range of life, offering a brief outline of what is to come, and his aims in writing this book. By the end, he promises the beginnings of a critique of life, rather than an alternative theory that makes up for the sins of past philosophers. He begins his critique by proposing “every ontology of ‘life’ thinks of life in terms of something-other-than-life.”