Not sure how I missed this in January, but genuinely saddened to hear that Mark Fisher has died. Very open about his struggles with mental health, he took his own life.
There’s a fantastic summary of his huge influence on cultural theory here, and also here. On a more personal level, I was hugely impressed by his seminal work Capitalist Realism, which, in his profoundly honest writing on his work as a teacher as well as theorist and music-lover, opened up new connections and permissions for me as a writer and thinker.
I had been mulling the last few days about how depression is in many ways a completely rational response to the environmental, political and socio-economic times we now live in. When things are this messed up in so many varied dimensions, it seems entirely appropriate to experience an existential gloom; it’s only on going back through Fisher’s book that I’m reminded that this is his own thought: capitalism creates the very conditions in which the pathogens of depression thrive. Suicide is always a very particular kind of tragedy. To have not survived a powerful, virulent strain of the necrotic dis-ease of our times brings no shame. Like many whose work it is to study these things closely, they run high risk of exposure, and often suffer infection.
One of the core themes of Fisher’s work was the idea that so many of the young people he taught considered the future to be exhausted. The opposite of exhaustion is inspiration, and as I think about a great thinker breathing his last, unable able to see any future, I want to move air and say too late to him that he did inspire so many, breathed breath into so many, and though these are doubtless dark times, while there is still oxygen to respire, I want to hold on to hope for life, and thank you for yours.
You lived refusing to say ‘peace, peace,’ when there was no peace. Sincerely, I hope you have now found your rest.
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