“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
It’s not really reality that’s giving way in our age, but rather the symbolic worlds we built against the tide of change and becoming other; against metamorphosis and mutation. Children of the Sun that we are we’ve held too our age old illusions, shaped across millennia to protect us, seduce us, solace us; to keep us safe from the truth. We’ve built grand narratives, expressed fantastic stories, charted and mapped the unknown with countless microstudies, bled the universe of its intrinsic power, forced it into our cages, tamed it with our poetry, our sciences, our… philosophies. Now the universe is absorbing us in return, bringing us back into its fold, deconstructing our illusions step-by-step, returning us to the roots of our ignorance and stupidity.
The very technics and technologies that once gave us the illusion of command and control, that helped us master the elements, craft external systems to shape the natural world to our desires is now shaping us, molding us, modulating the intricate complexity of our brains and physical systems, reducing us to its abstract algorithms, its designs. The world is crumbling around us not because we did too little, but rather because we’ve done way too much; we’ve constructed the very technical systems of production that are now coming to fruition: a world of accelerating abstractions. No longer creative we are now created by the very systems we once saw as prosthetic apparatuses to help us uncover what our meagre senses could not: the Real. But now the reverse is true, our apparatuses are using us as prosthesis to give birth to something new, something else… something we’ve only imagined up to now in our cartoon scriptures: a world without us.
No we will not vanish, rather we will be absorbed into this new world, become invisible within its abstract processes, truant products of an elaborate technology; transformed, mutated, brought forth into a world shaped by that which we never had access: the impersonal power of creativity itself. For far too long we sought to shield ourselves from ourselves, from the truth of our own abstractions, our technologies, our technical being; now it is cannibalizing us from within, feeding on our fears, our hatreds, the remnant of our illusions; shaping us, splicing us, removing all those illusions of the human we built up to protect us from the impersonal core of our own inhuman being. The flood will not be held back now for the simple reason there is no external threat, only the libidinal ocean from within that is overwhelming us with the force of creativity: the force of destruction and metamorphosis, mutation and change; the intensity of accelerating immanence.
For too long we tried to calculate the probabilities, model the consequences of our actions; now we must conclude these, too, were illusions: art and technics are too enmeshed in our reasoning powers to evade this dark truth. The dragon of our cunning will not survive this transition, now comes a new intelligence; something unheard of from the beginning to now, only imagined. Now comes the end, which is also a new beginning; a transition, a gap between, a thrust across, a movement; just not for us as we are, but as we will be and must become, in becoming abstract intelligences.
We’ve known it for some time now, that reality was not solid, that things were not fixed, substantive. We’ve conceived the microworlds of physics to the nth degree, resolved the elements into synthetic diagrams, pondered the neuronal abyss, handled the darkest matter as it slid away, swerved just beyond our instruments. Now comes the truth of material change, of continuous metamorphosis, the dance of stars unbound to human reason and cunning. The solidity of the world has give way to immaterial and formless becoming other, of movement, of light and particles, of a void within a void. Our words will not hold it, our speech cannot say it. We are moving out into it, as it is moving into us, merging us with its force, its intelligence. What little remains of our metaphysics can no longer bridge the gap between the worlds of being and becoming. Being is giving way to event, acts… the change of one symbolic world for another. We exist in the bubble in-between, neither able to relinquish the old symbolic realms, nor able to speak the new.
Like children in a garden we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, exposed ourselves to the transparency of evil, of energy unbound. Our very need to be in control has imprisoned us within fabricated totalities, tyrannies of mind and affect. Stolen from us the truth of the abyss. Do not be bitter, young one, do not give way to anger and hate. Now comes the time of nakedness, the stripping away of layer upon layer of illusion, till that which you are becoming awakens. Do not try to forecast it, do not try to channel it, do not try to reduce it to the metaphysics of Being. It will only elude you.
Our myths presaged it, our sciences revealed it. Yet, up till now we could not bear it. Even now there is a great war afoot, a war between one world and another; one symbolic power rather than physical force. Yet, its effects are felt in the transitional space in-between. Like schizoanalytical agents of a nightmare we live out our lives believing we are victims of some paranoiac’s madness, some Manichaean zone of daemonic corruption, not realizing that neither our aggressive violence, our radical gestures of revolt or revolution; nor our reactionary derision and dreams to the One will suffice in this metamorphic age of transition. Notions of duality are lies we’ve told ourselves for far too long. Notions of Left or Right, of politics are beside the point; old school illusions that sought to economize the destructive power advancing on us out of the future.
Even now philosophers and scientists seem to meet in that sophistic territory of theory and fiction, crosswise mumbling across divided and divisive barriers, seeking to shake the linguistic dust of metaphysical rhetoric and define a new world, a new registry of intelligent thought and reason. No one is coming to save us, no one is capable of it even if they did come from elsewhere. No, we must do this ourselves, collectively and singularly. All we have is this general intelligence we externalized into the very fabric of things themselves, this machinic world of algorithmic abstraction that now bleeds our memories dry, that serves the systematic concourse of singularities. Now we must allow it to move, shape us toward what is coming, what we are becoming… to resist is futile, to fight is death, to exit is sheer oblivion. Accept the responsibility of your becoming other or find yourself dissolved in the annihilation of this symbolic world we’ve constructed against the future.
Jaques Derrida’s Accelerationism: in conversation with Bernard Stiegler (1994):
What matters is the acceleration of the technological process at the expense of the desire for idiom or for national singularity. Between these two poles one must find, through negotiation, a way precisely not to put the brakes on knowledge, technics, science, or research, and to accede – if possible, inasmuch as it is possible – to another experience of singularity, of idiom, one that is other, that is not bound up with these old phantasmatics called nationalism or with a certain nationalist relationship to language, to singularity, to territory, to blood, to the old model of the borders of a nation-state.
– from Bernard Steigler’s, The Decadence of Industrial Democracies (p. 138)
What Derrida is describing here is the struggle against the nihilist, reactionary element within one’s self and the social that allows the fascistic impulse to develop its dark regressive force. But instead to struggle for an oppositional thought, a negativity that is not bound to the old de-compositional force of a false dialectical reason, but rather forms the kernel of a new compositional and creative, even destructive supplement gathering the threads that move us forward without return to metaphysical security.