By Miran Bozovic, Slavoj Zizek
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Extra info for An utterly dark spot : gaze and body in early modern philosophy
In the Leibnizian life cycle, where every generation is always preceded by a prior generation and every corruption is followed by a subsequent corruption, there is only the living body; there are no fetuses and corpses. In contrast, in the reversed life cycle where death precedes birth there are only fetuses and corpses; there is no living body. While Leibniz's "insect," or a part thereof, is already alive before birth and remains alive after death,29 the paradoxical insect dies even before it has lived.
Whereas the mind's union with God can be strengthened through knowledge of truth, the modifications occasioned in the mind by the body it animates weaken this union. l According to Malebranche, God, with his will, not only creates bodies, but also continues to "conserve" them in their existence from the moment that they pass from nothing into being. 2 Every body is in its place solely by the will of God: "only the one who gives being to bodies can put them in the places they occupy" (231). A body cannot be moved from its place unless God moves it.
Thus, what Aristotle actually witnessed when observing the butterfly bursting out of the chrysalis, was the soul literally leaving the dead body. The metamorphosis of a chrysalis into a butterfly thus came to be understood as an allegory of resurrection. According to Malebranche, through the metamorphosis of insects, God wanted to represent the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. 13 Just as a caterpillar envelops itself in its tomb, apparently dies, and comes alive after a certain period of time "without being corrupted," so Christ died and was resurrected "without his body having been subject to corruption" (213).
An utterly dark spot : gaze and body in early modern philosophy by Miran Bozovic, Slavoj Zizek