“Let us not forget that philosophy is also primate psychology; that our loftiest speculations are merely picking through a minuscule region of the variegated slime encrusting a speck of dust.”
– Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987 – 2007
“How does thought think the death of thinking?”
– Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound Enlightenment and Extinction
Is there something beyond this meaningless void of internal and external degradation, this nihilistic dance of temporality, this decadent history of ruins named for no other reason than for its sheer unfathomability – late capitalism? Even Janus that Roman god of transitions, beginnings and endings, change and time once broke time’s sway on those bone days opening his gates wide: a gatekeeper holding the keys to the present, past and future, for whom the dog days of war once revealed the future situated on the knife’s edge like some temptation to a virulent annihilation? Even he could not fathom this alien force accelerating toward us from an unbounded future.
Samuel Beckett would bring those imponderables Estragon and Pozzo together to ambush language and silence, noise and sound. Godot like that big Other that seems to forever hold “our future in his hands” never appears, and in fact vanished from the scene long ago; or, like all twisted myths, became the face of our own desires rather than some dark progenitor of our wants and needs. Estragon would remark: “We are all born mad. But some remain so.” But what happens after madness? Do we all wake up and become happy consumers?
We’ve become the precarious migrants of an informational global economy that knows no borders and seeks to control not the material, but rather the immaterial goods of this new native realm, the infosphere, where the virtual elite put on the happy face of hypercynicism and nihilism and migrate right along with the multitude into the dark fiberous worlds of the net like cybernaifs rather than troubadours of some sonic rave or retromania. The corporate mesh begins to weave its dark threads through the tunnels of the net seeking ways of coercing its denizens into the fold of its economic clutches. Unlike the good old days of fictional cyber cowboys – roaming the lightlanes of a virtual or libidinal economy like so many escape artists – in search of the ultimate prize of a hacker’s paradise beyond control, our late capitalist worlds seem less colorful yet more dangerous as both governments and corporations reappropriate in advanced intelligence systems to do their bidding as AI extras in some accelerating retro-reel from the future. These new cognitariats look more like staid corporate climbers rather than the lock-and-load jacket boys of former cyberpunk machine dreams from the likes of Gibson, Sterling, or Cadigan. We of the minor proletariat, service workers in a lost rodeo, live in a zombieland of stagflation where slow time meets time-famines and the future is a no way exit toward noman’s land rather than expeditionary force of some socialist revolt.
In an age when software code and the inherent algorithms within its confines can datablast trillions of bits in mere seconds, while “high-frequency trading programmers” construct the next systems for corporate snooping and hacking, shading off millions of trades a millisecond ahead of their human counterparts who blink an eye and lose the market in a financial meltdown of fabricated black swans.1 Our techno-futurists on the Left and Right advance theories of acceleration and speed to set the information age adrift in the simultaneous light of tremendous forces that seem to be imploding toward us out of some inhuman future we neither expected nor imagined in our wildest nightmares. Like infonauts in some mathematical virtual ride we inhabit artificial realms of the infosphere as inforgs – informational organisms – like wind-up toys from some vision of the Jetsons CIRCA. 3232. Those scholars who would bind us to the straightjackets of Marx and Freud, Lacan or Heidegger, or any number of other flavors of the month pomo blather or speculative realism that comes to mind, find themselves in the nostalgic tempo of their philosophical forbears rhythmically wishing that it was all as simple as Marx once said it was: class warfare. But Marx never met a transhumanist, nor his alternate – an AI robot wandering the corporate headquarters of Google, or some Japanese executive’s dreamsuit serving cocktails to the elite oligarchs of a new technocapitalism.
In Spirit and Teeth Nick Land would give us a history of the world left out of your history books. A history that lives below the threshold of all those civilized barbarians that haunt our postmodern landscapes of late capitalism. Instead his history wakens the nightmares, the energies of blood and tribal wisdom, of the mythic underbelly that all those positivist scientists and philosophers tried to escape through their ever so subtle purification of the bittersweet linguistic web of lies that bind us all across the Vulcan codes of our dark arcologies. “The migrant blocks of tension summarized in the Freudian unconscious are much less a matter of Oedipus than of the mongols; of those who feed the world of spirit to their horses as they inundate civilization like a flood. If the unconscious is structured like a language it is only because language has the pattern of a plague.”2 We are the plague, the zombie extinction pact, the apocalyptic core of that inhuman kernel of the code/space that keeps returning from its repressive distance in the living cells of those genetic monstrosities of our becoming futures, our habitations among the feral citizens of some lapidary nightworld.
Like those characters in a J.G. Ballard story or novel we’ve become voyeurs of our own desires rather than participants, devoid of emotion we walk the lightworlds of our cities like imitations of false desires in search of death rather than love. Apathetic, alienated, distrustful of an other’s gaze, we’d rather slit their throats than make love to them. Our children imitate our false desires and literally enact them in all their murderous purity, traveling to those sites of their betrayed memories that seek to obliterate every trace of the horror of their existence, gathering the black metal nightmares from their victims hearts like so many skulls from a head hunter in the Amazonian forests to appease neither their god nor death itself, but rather to show off like so many trophies in honor of their father – the Promethean, whose fire branded them so long ago. Yet, we are wrong, this is not some powerful sky god but rather a god of rats and sewers, of plagues and toxic amphitheaters, nightspawn of a terrible force that bores its way into civilization from an inhuman future, itself leaving nothing behind but the tattered bloodsheaves of a forgotten order of chaos in its wake.
Yet, there are those of late who have invoked that old liberator of the human animal, Prometheus, at once Titan and Trickster, master of fire and industry the true progenitor of commerce and the dark forethought, the cunning man’s guide to the sun and life’s force in the magic of fire and intelligence. In those great myths from ancient Greece in Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, and Pythagoras we learn that this trickster god survived the great generational battles between the Titans and the Sky Gods their children. Prometheus would trick the great Zeus in a simple but effective match of wits based on the appeal of the eye and stomach, forcing mighty Zeus to choose between two offerings in celebration of his victory over the Titans: one offering encompassed by bones hiding within a delicacy of meats, the other a sumptuous exterior feast of fats hiding within bones. Zeus blinded by his lust for appetitive pleasures chose the latter, while Prometheus reserved the former for his new creation: humanity. Besides giving humans fire he would also teach them the arts of civilization, such as writing, mathematics, agriculture, medicine, science, and commerce.
From Aeschylus down to the Renaissance and on to Goethe, Shelley and his sister, Mary, Prometheus would serve as a figure of light bearing truth and power for humanity. Yet, it would be in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein A Modern Prometheus that the myth would take on its darker hues for an emerging industrial society. In her version of the Promethean mythos it would be science and technology that would supervene rather than mythical gods in the creation of the first artificial life-form, giving us for the first time the central mythos of the technological sublime that would encompass the new era of a mechanized society based on Capitalism. Neither deterministic nor complete the sciences would infiltrate every aspect of modernity from the Enlightenment onward, its combination of technicity and an impersonal objectivity devoid of personal bias would inform the rational views of many; yet, underneath its rational exterior would be those hidden monsters, the humans themselves who wielded these new instruments of power as they dissected and constructed their new worlds of technology for an Industrial Elite.
Throughout history there have been a few misfits, vagabonds, visionaries, and intellectual outsiders who have penetrated to the core of the noumenal and brought back tales of this strange realm. For the most part these creatures have been misplaced, forgotten, castigated, and even pronounced insane by a society that conforms to a notion of security and safety that disallows heretical thought and opinion. From time to time such individuals arise in our midst and perturb the smooth waters of civilized life with their extreme visions of excess, transposing from those impenetrable realms signs and portents of other modes of being that we dare attempt in our self-inflicted slavery to an ideological reality that binds us all in its dark power. Once in a while certain individuals attempt the impossible and in their experiments with reality they discover long lost truths that shatter our conceptions of what it means to be human. What happens after is the need to put such visions to pen and paper, to somehow convey the richness of these felt worlds in words that might if not describe then at least transpose their figural limits through the medium of print.
One such vision came from a particular individual who dared to look chaos in the face and return with a few tattered stories. His name was Nick Land.
Nick Land – Fire and Ice: From Acceleration to Neoreaction
The story goes like this: Earth is captured by a technocapital singularity as renaissance rationalization and oceanic navigation lock into commoditization take-off. Logistically accelerating techno-economic interactivity crumbles social order in auto-sophisticating machine runaway. As markets learn to manufacture intelligence, politics modernizes, upgrades paranoia, and tries to get a grip.3
We shall call this the Myth of Accelerationism. It’s lineage would be sought among economics of Karl Marx, satires of Samuel Butler, cosmist cosmologies of Nikolai Fedorov, dynamo writings of Henry Adams, and the sociology of leisure class Americans in Thorstein Veblen. Yet, it would be in the philosophical and schizo-analytical work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari Anti-Oedipus, along with its complicit critique and satirization in Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy, we’d discover the Promethean desires revealed most prominently bearing strange signs from the future, machinic dreams and chaosophy cartographies full of diagrams and magical sigils, forcasting chromatic time-famines and massive disruptions of the technospheric worlds fragmenting and merging with ours as neoliberalism became the guiding mythos of the economic death plot guiding our post-modern age. Land would remark in Meltdown parenthetically: “Machinic Synthesis. Deleuzoguattarian schizoanalysis comes from the future.” (KL 6052) These future historians return with news of meltdowns and accelerated heat phases as we move toward the bindu point of some singularity in which “Nothing human makes it out of the near-future.”(KL 6063) We’ll come to these new prophets of the accelerating future soon enough.1
In that Deleuzoguattarian fold Land would discover what he needed when they asked the question Where is the revolutionary path?:
Is there one? – To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World countries to do, in a curious reversal of the fascist ‘economic solution’? Or might it go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to ‘accelerate the process,’ as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet.3
As Land would remark on this acceleration of deterritorialization: “Hyper-fluid capital deterritorializing to the planetary level divests the first world of geographic privilege; resulting in Euro-American neo-mercantilist panic reactions, welfare state deterioration, cancerizing enclaves of domestic underdevelopment, political collapse, and the release of cultural toxins that speed-up the process of disintegration in a vicious circle” (KL 6127). Do we see the eternal return as process running its dark Nietzschean core into ever smaller circles of collapsing density, an anti-authoritarian meltdown that Land himself would label by such tags as “cyberian invasion, schizotechnics, K-tactics, bottom-up bacterial warfare, efficient neo-nihilism, voodoo antihumanism, synthetic feminization, rhizomatics, connectionism, Kuang contagion, viral amnesia, micro-insurgency, wintermutation, neotropy, dissipator proliferation, and lesbian vampirism, amongst other designations (frequently pornographic, abusive, or terroristic in nature)” (KL 6130-6134). The Future was never more friendly than this.
Land himself after the explosion of the 90’s, the cyberdelia of a career darkening as late capitalism darkened toward some mythical beast, would renounce his last affiliations with the left’s ‘transcendental miserabilism’, and would bore his way through the shizoscapes and into a new sense of mission, riding the waves of a neoreactionary positing of annihilation toward the neo-liberal Cathedral instead. As Mackay and Brassier tell us “the apparent degeneration of his once scalpel-sharp dissection of the body of capitalism into schizophrenizing and repressive tendencies, may seem to dissolve the complexities of his work into a superlative cosmic version of the familiar neo-liberal narrative according to which ‘there is no alternative’, and the wholesale identification of capital with life, growth, and history”(KL 719-723), but they’d be wrong for Land would rise among the ashes and ruins of his former self and into the neoreactionary pluriverse where he’d find a “time-crisis, manifested through paradox” that (following Anomaly UK) Land would explicate as:
Ultimately, however, if after all these centuries of trying to improve society based on abstract ideas of justice have only made life worse than it would have been under pre-Enlightenment social systems, the time has come to simply give up the whole project and revert to traditional forms whose basis we might not be able to establish rationally, but which have the evidence of history to support them.
This understanding of neoreaction – undoubtedly capturing its predominant sentiment – equates it with a radicalized Burkean conservatism, designed for an age in which almost everything has been lost. Since the progressive destruction of traditional society has been broadly accomplished, hanging on to what remains is no longer enough. It is necessary to go back, beyond the origin of Enlightenment, because Reason has failed the test of history. (Neoreaction for dummies).
But we have to ask the simple question: Did Reason fail us, or did we fail Reason? How can nostalgia for a pre-Enlightenment world begin to assuage the complexities of this market world of late capitalism? What moral drift from the other ends of time will salvage us from this lethal and toxic system that is itself a product of the very pre-Enlightenment traditionalism? Oh, yes, we think we’re progressive but under the hood is the same old conservative smile parading in its hidden lair like old gentrified denizens of a Dicken’s novel. Nostalgia? More like white men in wigs sporting princely ambitions of sovereignty. In the end Land steered his ship to farther shores (literally in this case since he now lives in Shanghai) where he’d sing of the dark enlightenment, where for “hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative. The subterranean current that propels such anti-politics is recognizably Hobbesian, a coherent dark enlightenment, devoid from its beginning of any Rousseauistic enthusiasm for popular expression.”
The dark embers still burn in this Promethean but within another universe of power where like some shamanic infonaut he prognosticates his dithyrambs on urban culture and the xenonomic ramblings for the new hotspurs of the neoreaction. As Mackey and Brassier – speaking of his philosophical divigations will tell us of his older pre-neoreactionary world visions: “…what we retain of Land’s expeditions are diverse and scattered remnants… These are also tools or weapons; arrows that deserve to be taken up again and sharpened further.” (KL 747-749) I’d rather think of Land as an alien psychonaut whose explorations or investigations from the outside in bring tidings from an even more alien future, one where humans have become if anything irrelevant. For Land we live in a transitional space in which time-famines rule the day, where humans are transmigrating by way escape velocities they neither control nor understand while an imploding future accelerates toward them like so many thoughts of death and annihilation.
A Short History of the Future Perfect
Benjamin Noys would be one of the first to rediscover or resuscitate accelerationism, “a term I’ve coined (unless someone out there proposed it w/o my knowledge) to describe the kind of strategy beautifully conveyed here. In a sense it has a fairly impeccable pedigree as one of the “spirits” of Marx, especially the oft-quoted passage from the Manifesto on “all that’s solid melts into air”. He’d go on to say: “this is “an exotic variant of la politique du pire: if capitalism generates its own forces of dissolution then the necessity is to radicalise capitalism itself: the worse the better. We can call these positions accelerationist.” 5 Instead of Deleuze and Guattari, or even Land, Noys would find his version of accelerationism in Brecht and Lyotard. Saying of Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy “the book of accelerationism, puts it: “in the immense and vicious circuit of capitalist exchanges, whether of commodities or ‘services’, it appears that all the modalities of jouissance are possible and that none is ostracized.”
Yet, for Noys this was all a piece of a mythical cultural complex that grew out of a misguided non-history. Recently he tells us that there is a vacation – in the sense of vacating the building, of accelerationism by those within the camp:
“The rejection of the term “accelerationism” from within accelerationism is a result of it being freighted with modernist and futurist baggage, too associated with the notion of accelerating capitalism, and linked to the toxic politics of, take your pick, fascism or Nick Land’s embrace of the neo-reactionary. The implication is that instead of acceleration we might think in terms of cartography, redesign, cunning, or various other descriptions of retooling and reinvention.6
It appears that accelerationism may have already seen its 15 minutes of fame. For Noys it was always more about the moment, the present moment: “The embrace of the present is the only route to saving the future and the only true exit from our present moment.”(ibid. 2014) He is “or to be rather vague on how and when they will be repurposed.” (ibid. 2014) Noys himself admits that he’s done with accelerationism as formulated and opts for a return to “the necessity of class struggle emerging out of the negativity of this process of the incorporation (and abandonment) of living labour in capital.” (ibid. 2014) But this is to get ahead of ourselves. Noys leaves off where the others begin.
“Capital has run away from human and natural barriers; human beings have been domesticated: this is their decadence. The revolutionary solution cannot be found in the context of a dialectic of productive forces where the individual would be an element of the contradiction. Present day scientific analyses of capital proclaim a complete disregard for human beings who, for some, are nothing but a residue without consistency. This means that the discourse of science is the discourse of capital, or that science is possible only after the destruction of human beings; it is a discourse on the pathology of the human being. And on this we agree: the human being is dead. The only possibility for another human being to appear is our struggle against our domestication, our emergence from it. Humanism and scientism … are two expressions of the domestication of humanity. All those who nurse the illusion of the decadence of capital revive ancient humanist conceptions or give birth to new scientific myths. They remain impermeable to the revolutionary phenomenon running through our world.” So says Jaques Camatti in ‘The Decline of Humanity’, a work which would turn the tables on its master, Marx, and understand the revolutionary moment as a revolt not against capital in itself but rather against the very product of capitalism: the domesticated animal at its heart, the human as a product of humanism and science; the very truth of an animal as decaying agent of its own self-enslavement and passivity in the face of accelerating forces it neither understands nor could ever master nor tame, but rather is forced to abide by its onslaught like the automatons of some machinic unconscious out of control. It would seem that there is no exit. Capital holds us all in serial thrall. Yet, Camatte would like Kafka’s mole bid us with a truth: “Lying in my heap of Earth I can naturally dream of all sorts of things, even of an understanding with the beast, though I know well enough that no such thing can happen, and at the moment when we see each other, more, at that instant we merely guess at each other’s presence, we shall both blindly bare our claws and teeth, neither of us a second before or after the other, both of us filled with a new and different hunger, even if we should already be gorged to bursting.” One cannot escape the circle one can only radicalize it.
The neoliberal agent is the marker of what Jean Baudrillard would once term the perfect crime, a crime that would go unnoticed by all those sleepers dead and dying within its precincts. For we are those dead, we are the ghosts of humanism and science, the fallen ones, the zombies of capital who wander the streets like sheep seeking hedonistic pleasures to stay ourselves against the disturbances of an eternal night. Baudrillard in his fable of mirrors would tell it: “We dreamed of passing through the looking-glass, but it is the mirror peoples themselves who will burst in upon our world. And ‘this time will not be defeated'” (JB: The Perfect Crime, 150).
The Manifesto Kids: The Future Is No More, Long Live The Future
“Modernity invented the future, but that’s all over. In the current version ‘progressive history’ camouflages phylogenetic death-drive tactics, Kali-wave: logistically accelerating condensation of virtual species extinction. Welcome to the matricide laboratory. You want it so badly it’s a slow scream in your head, deleting itself into bliss.”
– Nick Land, Fanged Noumena
“A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Compensation
Instead of asking what accelerationism is we begin by asking: What does accelerationism want? What hides under the mask of accelerationism? Mark Fisher in Terminator vs Avatar begins his essay with a quote from Lyotard which attacks bourgeois intellectuals (of which he cannot be excluded) for inclining toward the proletariat as if they could speak truth to them or offer them a program or alternative beyond what the capitalists have already put into play. Most of all Lyotard reminds those political intellectuals with a truth from the proletariat: “…don’t wait for our spontaneity to rise up in revolt either” (#Accelerationism, 357).
This anti-Leninist notion that social revolution can and should occur spontaneously from below, without the aid or guidance of a vanguard party, and that it cannot and should not be brought about by the actions of individuals or parties who might attempt to foment such a revolution was at the heart of Lenin’s own attack against Rosa Luxemberg and others in What is to be done? Lyotard is of course parodying this whole tradition to make a point of his own: “Let me open a parenthesis of hatred, here, a word will suffice against the great cesspool of consolations called spontaneity and creativity…”.7 Of course he was attacking Cornelius Castoriadis for his installation of spontaneity as creativity: “…we broke with Castoriadis who, rightly bored with reassessing historical, dialectic and diarrhoetic materialism, nevertheless proposed to put in its place the abominable super-male thing of generalized creativity” (Lyotard, 116). Castoriadis for his own part would offer later on his own view of capitalist accelerationism (although not by that name), saying:
Far from having the “freedom” naively presupposed by the apologists of neoliberal ideology, the unchecked consumer is plunged into a world of unbridled conformism and actually ends up thinking and acting in strict accordance with what the institution calls for. Heteronomy thereby establishes its hegemony in the heart of the supposed freedom of unlimited consumerism. Moreover, the dominant imaginary signiﬁcation of unlimited expansion becomes a vortex in which other signiﬁcations disappear, leading to an overall atrophy of the imagination and a retreat of creativity in all ﬁelds (philosophy, art, science, etc.). Insigniﬁcance comes to saturate almost everything in a determined world of blind narcissism and hedonism orchestrated by the Eleatic fatalities of neoliberalism.8
In the above we notice the acceleration of consumerism in a void, a void that produces as its product the emptied consumer, the insignificant blank in a commoditized solipsistic circuit of revolving doors going nowhere, a conformity or adaptation to the market rather than the market to the free and creative, autonomous individual. The touted individual has long ago vanished and in his place is the Cipher almost in collusion with Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We: “All ciphers walked in measured rows, by fours, rapturously keeping step. Hundreds and thousands of ciphers, in pale bluish uniforms, with gold badges on their chests, indicating the state-given digits of each male and female.”9 Of course this Maoist sort of conformism in the West is replaced with the conformity of Wal-mart with its standardized duplications of goods and services to the lowest common denominator: cheap. Let’s keep the folk happy: a market populism that allows the consumer freedom at the lowest price, bargain basement specials and a life at the bottom assured for all. The human as cipher, insignificant except as a commoditized product and producer of insignificance: a market scion in a circular economy of expansion and contraction, acceleration and deceleration without end. No longer the affective creature of humanism who supports an autonomous identity and morality, rather a mindless zombie given to narcissistic and hedonistic pulsations at the mercy of the market elite who feed his pleasure zones with instant gratification and incentives.
Lyotard of course would have his own notion of accelerationism. He’d play it off the old industrial worlds of reproduction as “cosmic slow time”, the time of the “seed and its fruit, of the chicken and the egg, of gestation, and of dripping honey”(240). Against this he would offer the immaterial monetization of ‘signs’: “We go crazy in signs: they allow several times, many times, they are accelerators or brakes, just because they are not constrained to (re)production, that is to say to consumption, to nihilism” (240). Instead as he remarks:
Their multiplication issues not from their fertility, from the translation of their face-value into productive commodities, that is, from their investment; this is only a concentration of wealth on one pole of circulation, stolen from the other pole; these are only sweeping movements which exhaust the surfaces. These movements are free of the constraints of all productive consumption; they make possible the dissipation of the surfaces they cross.” (240)
It’s this threshold dissipation into chaos, into complexity beyond the requirements of even surplus value, a value beyond consumption that leads toward an unknown and unknowable future as maximal efficiency of the market economy itself that is accelerationism. As Lyotard suggests and questions: “Isn’t it also a call loan, a speculation without intention, an incandescence of the surfaces swept away with no concern either to reproduce them or to augment them, a jealous zeal and not a conquest of power? Certainly. The utterly immortal duplicity and dissimulation of all capitalization?” (241)
Against this backdrop Mark Fisher will revisit what Lyotard considered his “evil book”. As Fisher will point out Libidinal Economy along with Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, Luci Irigaray’s Speculum: Of the Other Woman, and Baudrillard’s Symbolic Exchange and Death would all inhabit that space of resistance that seemed outside the prevalent channels of Marxist thought in its age. Each in their own way would renew a Nietzschean heritage marked out by Freud and/or against his influx and mediation of the Enlightenment project and its aftermath.
Fisher will offer his own quotes from Deleuze and Guattari and Lyotard respectively for precursors of accelerationism. He will also respectfully disincline himself from the Rousseauist primitivism of Hollywood Marxism and its kitsch gaudiness and iconic Avatar dreams of a return to some primal tribalism within the womb of a protective natural world, a paradise of guardian trees and endless days of play amid the Gaian lapidary of emerald forests and rivers of pure bliss. Instead Fisher plays the circuit board of the future, an accelerationism that harbors no way home only a way forward under the sign of libido, but not just any formulation will do rather “politics as a means to greater libidinal intensification… it’s a question of instrumentalising libido for political purposes” (#Acclerationism, 340).
This transcription of Nietzsche’s ‘Will-to-power’ as force, as libido or base materialism, an intensified and driven if not to say thanatropic movement operative within Lyotard, Grant, Land would lead to that enfolding from progressivist tendencies toward a reactionary intensification of those pulsations that Fisher describes as “telegraphic tech-punk provocations replacing the conspicuous cogitation of so much post-structuralist continentalism, with its implication that the more laborious and agonized the writing the more thought must be going on” (#Accelerationism, 341).
As Fisher points out Land in his attack on the academic and entrenched left “took earnestly … the Spinozist-Nietzschean-Marxist injunction that a theory should not be taken seriously if it remains at the level of representation” (#Accelerationism, 342). Fisher that asks: What is Land’s philosophy all about? In a nutshell it’s an inverted version of the historical materialist dialectic: “Capital will not be ultimately unmasked as exploited labor power; rather, humans are the meat puppets of Capital, their identities and self-understanding are simulations that can and will be ultimately sloughed off” (#Accelerationism, 342). So for Fisher Land’s cyber-heuristics, his experimentalism or hypermodernism moves us toward that information processing or modeling trajectory in which the end game is none other than the inhuman core of thought itself. Fisher will give us a litany of cyberpunk lit 101 from music to films, all informing an anticipated influx of the machinic future as dystopian paradise.
Then he will ask: What does all this have to do with the Left? On the one hand he tells us that Land is the sort of antagonist the Left needs, but on the other he criticizes Land for his misprisioning of his masters, Deleuze and Guattari’s understanding of capitalism as a collapse into schizophrenic excess, rather what it truly masks is just the opposite: an anti-market, a realm where the promise a utopian speed of thought is inversely shown to be the controlled and constrained speed of business, and the touted innovation and creativity of the market economy hides instead its essential inertia and stasis (#Accelerationism, 345).
Ultimately, Fisher tells us its high time to leave the “logics of failed revolts, and to think ahead again” (346). What we need now more than ever he tells us is a combination of anti-capitalist strategies – of which, accelerationism is but a unique trajectory that can function as a “terroristic” core within Marxism against the stagflationism of current capitalist pressures: “What we are not talking about here is the kind of intensification of exploitation that a kneejerk socialist humanism might imagine when the specter of accelerationism is invoked” (345). Against any form of “cynicism and lawlessness” (Marx) we need to situate ourselves in the midst of Good and Evil that is this system, to radicalize it and intensify its pressure points and seek those gaps in its armor that will lead us toward a future that only we can construct out of the ruins of this present moment.
Part Two will continue…. here we’ll revisit Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s Manifesto for an Accelrationist Politics along with many other Prometheans in this new pantheon of philosophical speculation…
1. Lewis, Michael (2014-03-31). Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (p. 2). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
2. #Accelerate# the accelerationist reader. Editors Robin Mackay & Armen Avanessian (Urbanomic, 2014)
3. G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, tr. R. Hurley, M. Seem, H.R. Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 239-40.
4. Land, Nick (2013-07-01). Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987 – 2007 (Kindle Locations 2504-2506). Urbanomic/Sequence Press. Kindle Edition.
5. Benjamin Noys. Accelerationism. (No Useless Leniency blog, 2008)
6. Benjamin Noys. Abandoning Accelerationism? Two Exits.(Accelerationism Workshop, Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster (23 May 2014)
7. Jean Francois Lyotard. Libidinal Economy. (Indiana University Press, 1993)
8. Postscript on Insignificance: Dialogues with Cornelius Castoriadis (ed./trans. Gariel Rockhill and John V. Garner). Continuum, London 2011.
9. Zamyatin, Yevgeny (2007-12-18). We (Modern Library Classics) (pp. 6-7). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.