Nick Land: Amazons and the Post-Capitalist World

A great many of Nick Land’s critics have never actually read his early work or his essays collected in Fanged Noumena, and even if they gave it a cursory overlook it was usually under the strict economy of a leprous eye seeking only ammo for its rancor and dismissal. In other words many of the leftist critiques of Land are themselves critiques of the Leftist ploys and ideological errors that strew our current malaise, rather than singular confrontations with Land the philosopher and his critical vision.

Land has always been one to read deeply and long in leftist thought as shown in his study of modernity, capital and Kant: Kant, Capital, and the Prohibition of Incest: A Polemical Introduction to the Configuration of Philosophy and Modernity.1 Here he would show an astute knowledge not only of the current so called post-colonial thought, but of the whole gamut of Marxian analysis and traditions up through their manifestations in post-modernism (so called). In this essay he would use the minimalist stance in approaching the “complex network of race, gender, and class oppressions that constitute our global modernity”. The model for this would be his study of the evolution of the apartheid policies of the South African regime, “since apartheid is directed towards the construction of a microcosm of the neo-colonial order; a recapitulation of the world in miniature”.

For Land the modern financial capitalism (he eschews the term neoliberalism as ill-defined)  we see around us is borne of the displacement of the political consequences of wage labour relations away from the metropolis is not an incidental feature of capital accumulation, as the economic purists aligned to both the bourgeoisie and the workerist left assert. It is rather the fundamental condition of capital as nothing other than an explicit aggression against the masses. (FN: KL 801)

In this sense the whole modernist era of capitalism has been a fun-house mirror land of distraction, stage-craft, and displacement with an eye to keep the masses distracted in political chicanery, media-entertainment, spin-doctors, red herring politics, and the distortion of mega-security and foreign wars as a labor to save democracy. As he’ll state it,

Capital has always sought to distance itself in reality – i.e. geographically – from this brutal political infrastructure. After all, the ideal of bourgeois politics is the absence of politics, since capital is nothing other than the consistent displacement of social decision-making into the marketplace. (FN: KL 808)

His observation on Marx goes thusly: Despite inadequacies in Marx’s grasp of the nation state in its colonial and neo-colonial functioning, his account of ‘so-called primitive accumulation’ clearly demonstrates that the origin of wage labour relations is not itself economic, but lies in an overt war against the people, or their forced removal from previous conditions of subsistence. (FN: KL 803)

Stating the obviousness of the Marxian circulation of labor from the outer to the inner circle of the metropolis during the times of political crises, as well as attuning the world to a “sustained demographic disaster that is systematically displaced away from the political institutions of the metropolis” Land demarcates the outlines of our current migratory patterns. Instead of the usual leftward interpretation of this process as a process of displacement, which is the ultimate ‘base’ or ‘infrastructure’ of capital accumulation, he’ll show that it solely dependent upon those issues of ‘kinships’ or ‘marriage organization’ (the sexual economy of gender and race) which Marxists have often tended to consider as surface features of an underlying mode of production. (FN: KL 821)

The culprit or anti-hero in this error of thought and imagination of the left is none other than Immanuel Kant. As he’ll argue in this essay it is in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant that Western cultural history culminates in a self-reflecting bourgeois civilization, because “his thought of synthesis (or relation to alterity), and also the strangulation of this thought within his system, captures modernity as a problem” (FN: KL 824). One might say that it is the whole Idealist edifice of self-reflecting nothingness that leads to nihilism and the great wars, fascism, and all the other dark modernity’s that come to us under the banner of the umbrella term “Progress”. For that is Land’s true enemy the whole gamut of progressive civilization of the Enlightenment.

“Modernity is not merely a compromise between novel forms of commercially driven social organization and this archaic cultural pattern of patrilineal exogamy, but more fundamentally, a deepening of the compromise already integral to any exogamy that is able to remain patrilineal.” (FN: 831)

Influenced by the anti-Lacanian philosopher’s Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their work Anti-Oedipus early on Land would read through the structuralist and post-structuralist oeuvre and cannons from Lyotard to Derrida, etc. and find much of it wanting.  As he’d say in A Thirst For Annihilation:

The immediate roots of deconstruction lie in the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger, and with the later work of Heidegger, in particular, it has an almost total intimacy. The dominant motif of this entire current of thought is ‘presenting’, or Anwesenheit, the event through which the phenomenon is given, associated with the operation of language. The axial insight of the later Heidegger and then Derrida—an insight that displaces Kant’s critique whilst remaining structurally analogous to it—is that presencing has been traditionally conceived on the model of presence.2* (TA: p. 11)

This whole self-reflecting enterprise of endless circulation without end or consummation that is the metaphysics of presencing as a constitution that can never constitute presence Land will deride as Derrida’s process of the “constitution of presence that is never consummated, an interminable generative non-presence” (TA: p. 11). Ultimately Derrida’s program is procedural, seeking as Land will relate to reverse the traditional value hierarchy encrusted in the opposition of terms, and then to explicitly mark a third term, one that has been deployed within the text inconsistently. This third term derives its value from both sides of the opposition; operating as a partially concealed pseudo-concept with incoherent predicates. This term will be a name for presencing or writing, and its discovery consummates a given deconstruction. (TA: p. 12)

Land’s critique of Derriad as well as Lyotard begins in their rejection of atheism for the space of religious thought, which includes the notions of negation which absorbs Hegel and the whole dialectical apparatus under other guises. For Land this whole Idealist tradition of negation, and negation of negation is anathema to be derided, expunged, and generally scoffed at after Neitzsche/Bataille as what it is: a path back to God and Religious thought. As Land will state it:

What Derrida and Lyotard share, and where they both diverge from Nietzsche, is the supposition that atheism is an instance of negation, rather than a transmutation or transvaluation of its sense. For Nietzsche it is facile to accuse atheism of having a recourse to a notion of negativity which is itself essentially theological, because to do so is to remain passively within a sociohistorically realized theological space that continuesNegation is re-forged in the celebration of the death of God, to mean the way in which God is not, and this is a sense which is incommensurate with the negation that was permitted within theology and the metaphysics conditioned by it. (TA: p. 13)

It’s not my intent in this essay to trace Land’s destruction of Derrida’s metaphysics of presence, rather to just point out that Land has carefully appraised the whole gamut of philosophical speculation both in its current academic and its radical outer embellishments and has worked through these systems and found them wanting. Speaking of both Heideggar’s and Derrida’s misreadings of Nietzsche under both a patrilineal and a lesbian mode, Land will tell us that both men’s thought founder’s on the notion of lack and absence. Talking of Derrida’s essay Spurs which confronts Nietzsche’s thought as lesbian, Land will remark on the notion of castration in Derrida and Freud:

Castration is determined in thought as a plenitude threatened by absence, of a plus and minus distributed by the law of the excluded middle. It is thus the fundamental psychological repercussion of metaphysics. Freud suggests in many places that it is this structure, structure itself in its purest state, that has governed the construction of gender within Western history. Because castration is a matter of the distribution of a moment of pure and ultimate lack it is readily associated with a problematic of disappropriation. (TA: p. 14)

As many know the work of Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus was to address the metaphysics of lack as found in the second generation transformation Freud in his French advocate Lacan. Against this abyss of absence, negation, and endless circulation in the self-reflecting void comes Nietzsche’s self-overcoming, affirmation, and the intensities of Deleuze and Guattari’s “desiring production”.

All this brings us back to the political essay on Kant and Land’s central point: “From a bourgeois perspective what we are faced with is the ultimate form of dangerous madness; a process of antiaccumulation that is totally out of control” (TA: p. 16). What Land is speaking too is the Mausian notion taken up by Bataille of excess and nihilistic expenditure, the endless gifting of the accumulated wealth as a bonfire festival of total waste. As Land remarks:

There are obvious difficulties in grasping the possibility of this economy due to the industrial tendency which denies that it could be basic. Chronic squandering violates the reciprocity which governs the logics of both Artistotle and Hegel since it is incompatible with the principle that determination equals negation, according to which every loss is correlated with an associated gain. Both Aristotelians and Hegelians can become competent accountants, accepting the logical basis of double entry book-keeping (which is why bourgeois and Marxist economists are so often able to understand each other very easily). (TA: p. 16)

The point of this is Nietzsche’s economy is that of the artistic process, or Dionysian economy, and is built beneath the Vesuvian antilogic of eternal recurrence. As Land phrases it:

A Dionysian economy is, indeed, a slash and burn agriculture of solar stock, in which the negative limit of each conceptual dyad is reconstituted as an intensification of the positive; as an increasing virulence of difference. The delirium of squandering flows from this inevitability that logical negation never arrives, even though zero impacts. In other words, the thought of eternal recurrence is this: that the abolition of integrated being in the process of desire, or unconstrained wastage, corresponds to an intensification of plague and not a (logically intelligible) negation of assets. (TA: p. 18)

Catching that last statement, what is being intensified is the viral plague through which the creature in transition termed for far too long as ‘human’ sloughs off its present form in a delirious festival not of negation but of transformation and transvaluation in an accelerating process from organic to anorganic machinic civilization. (But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.)

Which returns us to the Fanged Noumena essay on Kant we addressed earlier. We left off with the notion that Kant’s problem was actually the whole heritage of masculine aggression: Patriliny: the genealogical and the logical, are functions of a position of abstract masculine subjectivity coincident with the patronymic. This position is the proto-cultural fundament of everything that is able to count as the same. The tradition is thus rooted in a communication between culture and population, whose medium is the stability (‘identity’) of the male line. (FN: KL 829) As Land remarks it is only by understanding the inhibitive function of patriarchies in relation to exogamic dissipation (an inhibition that is supremely logical in that it conserves identity, and which is for this reason violently xenophobic) that we can make sense of capital production and its tendency towards the peculiar cultural mutation that was baptised by Mussolini as ‘fascism’. (FN: KL 833)

Why? Because the restriction of cultural synthesis, based upon a strenuous endogamy at the level of the national community, is the ultimate outcome of the concerted ‘liberalization’ of kinship organizations within (metropolitan) industrial societies. (TA: KL 836) In other words progressive civilization in its Enlightened form of liberal humanism tends toward the familial and paranoiac systems of rule, of which ‘fascism’ is its ultimate core and pinnacle. Male dominated and patriarchal civilization is fascist through and through. So for all those detractors of Land as a fascist I laugh in derision, for they know not of what they speak. Land is a far removed from the democratic socialist progressive fascism within which we all live like cattle bred under fear and paranoia as can be. The well-oiled machine of Western media-tainment and the political game shows of Reality Politics has blinded us to the truth of fascism as neither a historical motif, nor a stage-show in the Hitler/Mussolini digest of action philosophy, but is rather the very kernel of the liberal progressive system itself which has always followed the core structure of the Family, Church, and Nation State dominated by male rule in economics and politics.

Land will in the essay outline the full details of this conclusion and thesis, and I’ll not reiterate all of his essay. Yet, as he’ll strongly attest the disaster of world history is that capitalism was never the progressive unwinding of patrilineage through a series of generalized exploitative relations associated with a trans-cultural exogamy, leading to an uncontrollable eruption of feminine (i.e. migrant) alterity into the father’s heartland, and thus to the emergence of a radical – or ethnically disruptive and post-patriarchal – synthesis. Instead, kinship and trade were systematically isolated from each other, so that the internationalization of the economy was coupled with an entrenchment of xenophobic (nationalistic) kinship practices, maintaining a concentration of political and economic power within an isolated and geographically sedentary ethnic stock. Thus, when we discuss capital in its historical concreteness, we are simultaneously discussing a frustration of the cultural tendency of human societies towards expansive exogamy. Capital is the point at which a culture refuses the possibility – which it has itself engendered – of pushing the prohibition of incest towards its limit. (FN: 849)

Already in the above one can see a critique and an obvious change for any new left leaning platform would be to eliminate this patrilineal world-view that separates out kinship and trade, and do the reverse. The Great Reversal in which feminist politics and the integration of the world into an exogamous rather than endogamous social practice and legal system as the base of both cultural economic and social praxis is in order. Land’s approach to this has always been as a philosopher, not a sociologist or historian. As he’ll tell us:

The philosophical task in relation to modernity is that of delineating and challenging the type of thinking which characterizes it. But what we are to understand as ‘thinking’ is not at all clear in advance, indeed, the very thought of the ‘in advance’ (which Kant called the a priori) is itself the predominant trait of our contemporary reason. (FN: 858)

Speaking of modernity and Enlightenment he’ll remind us that an enlightenment society wants both to learn and to legislate for all time, to open itself to the other and to consolidate itself from within, to expand indefinitely whilst reproducing itself as the same. Its ultimate dream is to grow whilst remaining identical to what it was, to touch the other without vulnerability. Where the European ancien régime was parochial and insular, modernity is appropriate. It lives in a profound but uneasy relation to an outside that both attracts and repels it, a relation that it precariously resolves within itself on the basis of exploitation, or interaction from a position of unilateral mastery. “I think it is likely that the volatile mixture of hatred and desire that typifies an exploitative culture bears comparison with the psychology of rape.” (FN: KL 864)

The problem of modernity and male dominated civilization in extreme is its seeking to dominate and master the other, in its  attempt to fix a stable relation with what is radically other, it absorbs a view onto the other that eliminates the very excesses that make the other different, thereby mastering a circle that is only a mirror image of its own identity. Land will give a run down in Kant’s philosophy and synthesis of the empirical and rational traditions of which I’ll not respond. Only to reiterate that Kant described his ‘Copernican revolution’ in philosophy as a shift from the question ‘what must the mind be like in order to know?’ to the question ‘what must objects be like in order to be known?’ The answers to this latter question would provide a body of synthetic a priori knowledge, telling us about experience without being derived from experience. It would justify the emergence of knowledge that was both new and timelessly certain, grounding the enlightenment culture of a civilization confronting an ambiguous dependence upon novelty. (FN: KL 897)

That Kant would opt for the Idealist Transcendental synthesis rather than the messiness of the empirical is well known, and that most thinkers, economists, and educators would follow suit is part of the liberal civilization we live in. As Land remarks: “Kant’s ‘object’ is thus the universal form of the relation to alterity; that which must of necessity be the same in the other in order for it to appear to us.” (KL 905) This Universalism that sees not the other in its alterity, but rather sees only that which is in us in the other is at the heart of this strange civilization and its dominative and male oriented codes.

This universal form is that which is necessary for anything to be ‘on offer’ for experience, it is the ‘exchange value’ that first allows a thing to be marketed to the enlightenment mind. Between medieval scholasticism and Kant Western reason moves from a parochial economy to a system in which, abandoning the project of repressing the traffic with alterity, one resolves instead to control the system of trade. (FN: KL 906)

So that here in Kant we see the whole of Western capitalism played out in its efficient and utilitarian systems of ‘free trade’ mercantilism which as we all know now has nothing free about it, but is rather a way to command and control the world’s economies and peoples in a logic of deadly logistics.

Ultimately Land’s diagnosis of modernity and the Enlightenment, Kant and philosophy is it’s circular traps set by the very millennial long traditions of patriarchal sexology that informs both our social and cultural practices, as well as our economic and trade practices. All constructed to dispel difference in the universal sea of formalism and the Same; or, Identity without difference. As he’ll state it the “vocabulary that would describe the other of metaphysics is itself inscribed within metaphysics, since the inside and the outside are both conceptually determined from the inside, within a binary myth or cultural symptom of dual organization” (FN: KL 945). Alterity cannot be registered, unless it can be inscribed within the system, according to the interconnected axes of exchange value (price) and the patronymic, or, in other words, as a commodity with an owner. … What falls outside this recognized form is everything that resists commodification, the primordial independence that antedates the constitution of the destituted proletarian. As I have suggested, this inchoate mass of more or less explicit resistance to capital is isolated outside the metropolis by a combination of automatic economic processes (the concentration of poverty) and restrictive kinship practices. (FN: KL 953)

In the end Modern Capitalism is summed up by Land this way:

Modern capital has therefore brought about a fundamental dislocation between filiation (relation by blood) and alliance (relation by marriage) by simultaneously de-regulating alliance and abstracting it from all kinship implications. The primordial anthropological bond between marriage and trade is dissolved, in order that capital can ethnically and geographically quarantine its consequences from itself. The question of racism, which arises under patriarchal capital as the default of a global trade in women (a parochialism in the system of misogynistic violence; the non-emergence of a trans-cultural exogamy), is thus more complex than it might seem, and is bound in profound but often paradoxical ways to the functioning of patriarchy and capital. Systematic racism is a sign that class positions within the general (trans-national) economy are being distributed on a racial basis, which implies an effective, if not a juridical, apartheid. (FN: 953)

The point here is that much of our current thought that has trivialized the early structuralist and post-structuralist kinship and alliance systems should be re-opened and re-thought, brought back into our speculative programs because much of our current malaise is not the complexity of the issues involved but that we’ve tried to simplify and exclude the excess and complexity from our critiques. We need more complex frameworks that can absorb the insights of modern, post-modern, and current thought without all the typical ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ antics that so many philosophers have of late done. Obviously Land wrote this in the 90’s under the influence of those thinkers of the era and would probably say things in his current gnomic vocabulary and differently. Whatever his techno-commercial stance is it is not the fascist stance of the alt-right and its minions. There is something more complex in his thought than current opinion mills will grant, because they are the very perpetrators of this patriarchal progressive dominion that pervades our Western democracies in its subtle tyranny of the mind.

In fact, Land in Kant’s defense will tell us that Kant was able to remain bourgeois without overtly promoting racism only because he also remained an idealist, or in other words a Christian (a ‘cunning Christian’ as Nietzsche calls him) and identified universality with ideality rather than with power. (FN: KL 960) Land’s main point about racism comes with the admonishment that it is only with the implicit recognition of the need for a systematic evacuation of rebellion from the metropolis by means of a geographically distorted labour market that racism arises in its contemporary form, which is ultimately that of a restricted franchise (on a national basis) over the political management of the global means of production. (FN: 963)

Ultimately it’s in the cosmopolitan plutocracies that have developed the “offshore” mentality, divested themselves of ties to any one nation or ethnicity that sponsor just the opposite for the masses. “The increasingly rigorous differentiation of marriage from trade, or politics from economics, finds its ultimate conceptual definition in the thought of a moral agency which is utterly impervious to learning, communication, or exchange.” (FN: 968)

Yet, it is in Kant’s internal turn that the imperial mindset became universalist and no longer tied to the religious harbingers of the monotheistic and feudal reigns of the ancient regime, but instead the “law of this empire is called the ‘categorical imperative’, which means a law stemming solely from the purity of the concept, and thus dictated by the absolute monologue of colonial reason. In the purity of categorical morality the incestuous blood-line of the pharaohs is still detectable, but sublimated into an impersonal administration” (FN: 976).

Kant’s philosophy and the three critiques lead to the monstrous civilization we now live in. As Land in a lucid moment declares of our current Western democracies under the capitalist systems: the only possible politics of purity is fascism, or a militant activism rooted in the inhibitory and exclusive dimensions of a metropolitanism. Racism, as a regulated, automatic, and indefinitely suspended process of genocide (as opposed to the hysterical and unsustainable genocide of the Nazis) is the real condition of persistence for a global economic system that is dependent upon an aggregate price of labour approximating to the cost of its bare subsistence, and therefore upon an expanding pool of labour power which must be constantly ‘stimulated’ into this market by an annihilating poverty. (FN: 1004)

In other words the wars, the disruptions, the migrations, the famines, the plunder, the rape, the world we know is the world the Enlightenment built and continues to rule under the guise of a smiley face democracy that has eliminated politics from capitalism in a world of utter unregulated plunder and rapine. Going on,

If fascism is evaded in metropolitan societies it is only because a chronic passive genocide trails in the wake of capital and commodity markets as they displace themselves around the Third World, ‘disciplining’ the labour market, and ensuring that basic commodity prices are not high enough to distribute capital back into primary producer societies. The forces most unambiguously antagonistic to this grotesque process are ‘exogamic’ (or, less humanistically, ‘exotropic’); the synthetic energies that condition all surplus value, and yet co-exist with capital only under repression. (FN: 1004)

As we have seen in the twentieth and now the twenty-first century genocide is ever recurring and is part of the daily life of Africa, India, and so many smaller countries and nations to this day. (I need to research this further in another essay.)

Land even turns to feminist politics saying,

A radical international socialism would not be a socialist ideology generalized beyond its culture of origin, but a programme of collectivity or unrestrained synthesis that springs from the theoretical and libidinal dissolution of national totality. To get to a world without nations would in itself guarantee the achievement of all immediately post-capitalist social and economic goals. It is this revolutionary requirement for a spontaneously homeless subversion that gives an urgency to certain possibilities of feminist politics, since the erasure of matrilineal genealogy within the patriarchal machine means that fascisizing valorizations of ancestry have no final purchase on the feminine ‘subject’. (FN: 1008)

And again:

The patronymic has irrecoverably divested all the women who fall under it of any recourse to an ethno-geographical identity; only the twin powers of father and husband suppress the nomadism of the anonymous female fluxes that patriarchy oppressively manipulates, violates, and psychiatrizes. By allowing women some access to wealth and social prestige the liberalization of patriarchy has sought to defuse the explosive force of this anonymity, just as capital has tended to reduce the voluptuous excess of exogamic conjugation to the stability of nationally segmented trading circuits. (FN: 1012)

What Land attacks is what he’ll term false feminists who would keep the patriarchal institutions in place while working within their privileged worlds to alleviate women’s mutilated corpses. In fact he’ll go so far as to say that “only resolutely revolutionary politics is feminist in orientation, but only if the synthetic forces mobilized under patriarchy are extrapolated beyond the possibility of assimilation, rather than being criticized from the perspective of mutilated genealogies” (FN: 1019).

In our moment when fascisms around the world are once again treating women like cattle and controlling every aspect of their lives, Land tells us why this is:

That is why the proto-fascism of nationality laws and immigration controls tends to have a sexist character as well as a racist one. It is because women are the historical realization of the potentially euphoric synthetic or communicative function which patriarchy both exploits and inhibits that they are invested with a revolutionary destiny, and it is only through their struggle that politics will be able to escape from all fatherlands. (FN: 1023)

Land pulls no punches, but lets us have it with both barrels. He speaks of power as it is played out, rather than couching it in academic terms that obfuscate and fill the world with more jargon-ridden crapology. Land puts it on the line, saying,

Perhaps only Monique Wittig has adequately grasped the inescapably military task faced by any serious revolutionary feminism, and it is difficult not to be dispirited by the enormous reluctance women have shown historically to prosecute their struggle with sufficient ruthlessness and aggression. The left tends to be evasive about the numbing violence intrinsic to revolutionary war, and feminism is often particularly fastidious in this respect, even reverting to absurd mystical and Ghandian ideologies. If feminist struggles have been constantly deprioritized in theory and practice it is surely because of their idealistic recoil from the currency of violence, which is to say, from the only definitive ‘matter’ of politics. (FN: 1028)

I remember the works of the first feminists during the sixties, seventies, and eighties that have been silenced by the current crop of liberal academia pundits. These women became empowered by uncovering the traces of women’s lives, goddesses, and worlds before the patriarchal laws encompassed them and forced them into cattle like lives at the edge of politics or outlawed and bound to the familial estate without power or voice. Much of this early scholarship is derided now, women such as Marija Gimbutus discredited by men for more patriarchal theories that eliminate much of the ground claimed by these early feminists.

As Land admonishes us the state apparatus of an advanced industrial society can certainly not be defeated without a willingness to escalate the cycle of violence without limit. It is a terrible fact that atrocity is not the perversion, but the very motor of such struggles: the language of inexorable political will. A revolutionary war against a modern metropolitan state can only be fought in hell. It is this harsh truth that has deflected Western politics into an increasingly servile reformism, whilst transforming nationalist struggles into the sole arena of vigorous contention against particular configurations of capital. (FN: 1034) This is the voice of a revolutionary and a feminist male who has shifted into hyperaccelerationist mode in thought and life.

Yet, somewhere along the way the man lost that edge. Lost that vision, because no one else in the world is ready to take such a task of revolution to heart, to live it rather than think it, to enact it and perform it in action not thought. We continue to circle in our Facebook and Twitter worlds with caustic and bitter interments of thought without action, words without power. Ultimately as Land surmises

Victorious Third World struggles, so long as they have been successfully localized, do not lead to realistic post-capitalist achievements, and certainly not to post-patriarchal ones, since the conservation of the form of the nation state is itself enough to guarantee the reinsertion of a society into the system of inhibited synthesis. For as long as the dynamic of guerilla war just leads to new men at the top – with all that this entails in terms of the communication between individuated sovereignties – history will continue to look bleak. For it is only when the pervasive historical bond between masculinity and war is broken by effective feminist violence that it will become possible to envisage the uprooting of the patriarchal endogamies that orchestrate the contemporary world order. With the abolition of the inhibition of synthesis – of Kantian thought – a sordid cowardice will be washed away, and cowardice is the engine of greed. But the only conceivable end of Kantianism is the end of modernity, and to reach this we must foster new Amazons in our midst. (FN: 1039)

Where is such revolutionary fire today? If anything Land speaks from within the flames of a darker hell, mounting an invasion from the other ends of time, siding with the intelligences of futurial amazons who have already dispensed with the uselessness of our current malaise and are even now in hot breath pangs arriving through the terminal portals of a future without bounds. A guerilla war from within time itself that displaces five thousand years of patriarchal endogamy and the rule of androcracies.

* The “beingness of beings,” die Seiendheit des Seienden, refers to the presence (Anwesenheit) of things, which also means their essence in the sense of, for example, what Plato calls eidos . This or that being or entity is always perceived and understood in terms of its beingness, understood as its essence which remains constantly present, and the Western tradition of metaphysics has answered the question of Being in terms of this sense of beingness. Metaphysical answers to this question of the beingness of beings include ousia (substance, essence), actualitas (actuality), and, in modern times, representational objectness for a subject . What is forgotten or covered over in this metaphysical tradition of asking only after the beingness of beings is precisely the origin or temporal/historical emergence of these conceptions of what it means for beings to be. This is Heidegger’s question of Being, by which he means “the finite and negatived emerging / unfolding / coming-to-presence of beings in their beingness” .3

  1. Land, Nick. Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987 – 2007 (Kindle Locations 768-769). Urbanomic/Sequence Press. Kindle Edition.
  2. Land, Nick. A Thirst For Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism. Routledge; 1 edition (November 1, 2002)
  3. Richard Capobianco, Engaging Heidegger, Foreword by William J. Richardson, University of Toronto Press, 2010, 182pp.,  (hbk), ISBN 9781442641594.

5 thoughts on “Nick Land: Amazons and the Post-Capitalist World

  1. Still too much academese, but all in all a fair assessment of Land’s starting point. I’d like your analysis of where it went wrong. Because it obviously did.


    • I’ll assume when you say “wrong” that you mean his turn to the right? I actually think the truth be told that the extremes meet, and it wasn’t so much a wrong turn as a reversal in the intersection. What Land discovered is the failure of the Left to accomplish its task, much in the way that Deleuze and Guattari exposed the underpinnings of Idealism in the use of the concept of “lack” or “negation” in Freud/Lacan and Hegel/Badiou/Zizek in the Dialectic. For the truth is that Land’s is a flat ontology of base materialism, which is non-dialectical and based of force rather than the oscillations in the void. So the tendencies in Land toward techno-commercialism were already there in seed but had yet to surface until the exposure to the void through the use of amphetamines.

      The Land that resurfaced after total meltdown was a different creature altogether, another being or mode-of-being; or, in the old parlance a daemonic being out of hell. Figural or not Land is a product of his own hyperstitions, a creature who produces the gnomic being we see manifest now in his Urban Future / Outside In work. Ironic, disquieted, humorous, and observant of the demise of democracy everywhere… the excess that is Land will never be reduced to Left or Right renditions. There is no wrong or right path, only the one chosen: this is Land’s choice for better or ill… That you or I have other paths is the singular truth of our own lives, Land does not belong to references, types, worlds but rather is part of the ancient tradition of destruction of worlds. Neither reactionary or progressive he’s sided with the machinic, the optimization of Intelligence and Successor Beings. He’s built a rag-tag mythology out of Lovecraft, the Occult, Anti-Philosophy, and a thousand and one narrative links to the darker traditions of our time-bound species….

      His impersonalism is inhumanist in the sense that he is not concerned with suffering and pain of others, and yet to me this is the one aspect of his being that is locked away and repressed. At one time he felt too much, believed too much, was an atheistic seeker of ecstastic transformation, a modern shaman in the old parlance. That died, it is no more. He killed off the last remnants of Bataillean religious atheism in himself. He has always sought to understand Time, and now he believes he has found an answer in blockchain philosophy of Absolute Time. So that in the end Land has come round to the Absolute by way of his own numeriological quest. For he never gave up his mathematical quest…

      So that in the end I wonder if Idealism hasn’t itself circled back into his life, for as he recently said we cannot escape Kant into post-Kantianism or post-capitalism… because of this new truth in Blockchain technology of which I posted in a newer post on this site.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s