Blanchot on suicide

The anguish which opens with such assurance upon nothingness is not essential; it has drawn back before the essential; it does not yet seek anything other than to make of nothingness the road to salvation. Whoever dwells with negation cannot use it. Whoever belongs to it can no longer, in this belonging, take leave of himself, for he belongs to the neutrality of absence in which already he is not himself anymore.


I go to meet the death which is in the world, at my disposal, and I think that thereby I can reach the other death, over which I have no power – which has none over me either, for it has nothing to do with me, and if I know nothing of it, it knows no more of me.


Whoever wants to die can only want the borders of death, the utilitarian death which is in the world and which one reaches through the precision of a workman’s tools.


It is the fact of dying that includes a radical reversal, through which the death that was the extreme form of my power not only becomes what loosens my hold upon myself by casting me out of my power to begin and even to finish, but also becomes that which is without any relation to me, without power over me.


The expression “I kill myself” suggests the doubling which is not taken into account. For “I” is a self in the plenitude of its action and resolution, capable of acting sovereignly upon itself, always strong enough to reach itself with its blow. And yet the one who is thus struck is no longer I, but another, so that when I kill myself, perhaps it is “I” who does the killing, but it is not done to me.

— Blanchot, The Space of Literature (trans. A. Smock)

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