Post-Accelerationism: Dismantling the Social Machine

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

For many of those who have watched the emergence of Accelerationism, and then its slow drift into silence over the past few years it may be strange to revisit this defunct thought form. You’d be wrong. My own contention is that it is still worth considering, not because the critical apparatuses that have appropriated it on Left and Right are viable but that it helps us engage an aspect of our current predicament: the automation of Automatic Society of the Mechanosphere. What we’re seeing in our time is the transformation, transition, and displacement of humans in the hierarchy of capitalist production. What Deleuze and Guattari would describe as the capitalist schizophrenizing process with its attendant technical and social machines bound in a unified system of coding and decoding, territorialization and deterritorialization is in the midst of a great reversal and transformation.

The social machine of which humans are the center and periphery is being overtaken by the machinic phylum. With the emergence of Automatic Society of automation, and the grafting of intelligence onto Artificial General Intelligent machines, humans are slowly being displaced, obsolesced, and excluded from the social machine by the very technical systems they helped create. Because of this a new ranking order and reversal of the capitalist hierarchy is placing intelligent machines above the human in the capitalist production cycle. It’s obviously not happening all at once. This is the point of Deleuze and Guattari’s schizophrenizing process, the movement of technical objects into the center of a new socious is turning us inside out producing changes in the human collective that are for the most part anti-natural and artificial. Revisiting accelerationist philosophy one can see that what is truly being accelerated is not capital itself  but rather this shift in social machines and the reversal of the human/machinic systems in the capitalist schizz’s. For humans this can’t end well. I offer no solutions, only observe the tendencies that are moving us in this direction. What we do to either resist or redirect this outcome remains to be seen. It’s this I wish to explore below.

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.

—Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987 – 2007

Recently I was reading an essay by Benjamin Noys Futures of Accelerationism, a lecture he gave at the Kaaitheater in Brussels, Belgium on The Road to Post-Capitalism (2016). It was published on NON where it can still be read (here). Benjamin whose study of recent thinkers and thought in The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory provided impetus to this debate was – as he likes to remind us – the first to bring the term of “accelerationism” to the fore as a critical praxis. What spawned his interest was the “new libertarian mood induced by May ’68” in France, and its aftermath as shown in the work of philosophical and critical theorists such as Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus (1972); Jean-François Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy (1974); and Jean Baudrillard’s Symbolic Exchange and Death (1976). All these works had something in common: as he’d state it, the ‘philosophy of desire’. As he’d put it,

These texts all display their authors’ formation by currents of the ultra-left, and each tries to outdo the other in terms of their radicalism. In particular they reply to Marx’s contention that ‘[ t] he real barrier of capitalist production is capital itself’, by arguing that we must crash through this barrier by turning capitalism against itself. (Noys, p. 4)

This sense of crashing the barrier of capitalism would come out in Noys’s work as he commented on these authors,

Whereas the Anglo-American New Left had sought out the negation of capital in the supposedly unintegrated subjects of revolt, such as the lumpen-proletariat, students or the peasantry, accelerationists tried to identify new subjects of revolt as being those most radically within capitalism. If, as Lyotard put it, ‘desire underlies capitalism too’,  then the result is that: ‘there are errant forces in the signs of capital. Not in its margins as its marginals, but dissimulated in its most “nuclear”, the most essential exchanges’.  What the accelerationists affirm is the capitalist power of dissolution and fragmentation, which must always be taken one step further to break the fetters of capital itself. For Deleuze and Guattari the problem of capitalism is not that it deterritorialises, but that it does not deterritorialise enough. (Noys, p. 5)

It’s this sense that the old thought of the Left and New Left which were still entrenched in notions of revolt and revolution from without were dead, and that the actual revolution would come from within capitalism itself by way of accelerating the “errant forces” that composed it. Yet, even as Noys pointed out capitalism has always had a limit factor, an uncanny ability to break through its own limits and then reconstruct new limits in an ever expanding spiral of development rather than of falling into dissolution and breakdown. It’s this limit factor that Deleuze and Guattari would remind us:

…capitalism is the only social machine that is constructed on the basis of decoded flows, substituting for intrinsic codes an axiomatic of abstract quantities in the form of money. Capitalism therefore liberates the flows of desire, but under the social conditions that define its limit and the possibility of its own dissolution, so that it is constantly opposing with all its exasperated strength the movement that drives it toward this limit. At capitalism’s limit the deterritorialized socius gives way to the body without organs, and the decoded flows throw themselves into desiring-production. Hence it is correct to retrospectively understand all history in the light of capitalism, provided that the rules formulated by Marx are followed exactly. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 160)

This sense of a universalist history of capitalism, in which it is the actual conditions of the socious that circumscribe and curtail the tendencies of capital to break through its own limits exposes us to the key as to why capitalism has never failed and dissolved itself into those decoded flows of desiring-production which would annihilate it. So that it is what they term the “social machine” that limits capitalism from ever penetrating that ultimate limit:

The social machine is literally a machine, irrespective of any metaphor, inasmuch as it exhibits an immobile motor and undertakes a variety of interventions: flows are set apart, elements are detached from a chain, and portions of the tasks to be performed are distributed. Coding the flows implies all these operations. This is the social machine’s supreme task, inasmuch as the apportioning of production corresponds to extractions from the chain, resulting in a residual share for each member, in a global system of desire and destiny that organizes the productions of production, the productions of recording, and the productions of consumption. Flows of women and children, flows of herds and of seed, sperm flows, flows of shit, menstrual flows: nothing must escape coding. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 162)

If it does escape coding and become decoded and deterritorialized it spells doom not only for capitalism, but for the body-without-organs that is the social machine itself. Society and Civilization would collapse and humans beyond toll would suffer in pain and tribulation the curse of such a catastrophic annihilation. Here’s the key, one that backs up much of Bernard Stiegler’s surmises in his latest work, The Automatic Society. Deleuze and Guattari will tell us,

The social machine has men for its parts, even if we view them with their machines, and integrate them, internalize them in an institutional model at every stage of action, transmission, and motricity. Hence the social machine fashions a memory without which there would be no synergy of man and his (technical) machines. The latter do not in fact contain the conditions for the reproduction of their process; they point to the social machines that condition and organize them, but also limit and inhibit their development.(Anti-Oedipus, 161).

Let’s look at that closer. The notion of technical machines is a concept that Deleuze will appropriate from Gilbert Simondon. (I’ll come back to this later!) This notion that the technical machines do not contain the conditions for the reproduction of their own process (i.e., they are not self-reflecting and autonomous), they are instead bound by humans (social machines) who condition and organize them, but also limit and inhibit their development. So it’s this reciprocal relation between technology and humans that provides the base limiting factor which binds capital from expanding beyond its own self-organizing processes.

Deleuze and Guattari will almost make a prediction as to the next stage of capital when they remark that “It will be necessary to await capitalism to find a semiautonomous organization of technical production that tends to appropriate memory and reproduction, and thereby modifies the forms of the exploitation of man; but as a matter of fact, this organization presupposes a dismantling of the great social machines that preceded it.” (Anti-Oedipus, p. 161) Already here we see the notion of our current emergence into what many now term the fourth revolution in industry, the Automatic Society (Stiegler). A society which for better or worse is slowly giving way to intelligent and autonomous machinic entities whose powers of reason and decision surpass humanity, and thereby are about to dismantle the social machine of which our Anthropocene (Agricultural Civilization) is the singular inhabitant. If this is so then it is the very success of capitalism in bringing about a new social machine which will also spell its doom, or at least present us with an altered from the one in which we now reside.

As far as I can see no one has treated this aspect of the accelerationist philosophy and politics, this notion that it is no capitalism per se that is doomed but rather the social machine which has limited it up to now. Without going into the complete details Deleuze and Guattari will delimit and refine the difference between technical and social machines, describing what they’ll term as desiring-machines as both:

Desiring-machines are both technical and social. It is in this sense that desiring-production is the locus of a primal psychic repression, whereas social production is where social repression takes place, and it is between the former and the latter that there occurs something that resembles secondary psychic repression in the “strictest” sense: the situation of the body without organs or its equivalent is the crucial factor here, depending on whether it is the result of an internal process or of an extrinsic condition (and thus affects the role of the death instinct in particular). (Anti-Oedipus, p. 55)

It’s this whole nexus of repressive mechanisms that come into play as the social machine defends itself against the tendencies within capital to overreach, to go beyond the limits set and into an utter decoding of the flows of both technical and social machines. Yet, if was they surmised at that time we are entering a period of reversal, a moment when the technical machine is overtaking the social machine and displacing it in the autonomy of limit factors then we need to understand what a technical machine is.

Technical Machines: The Rise of a New Social Order

Deleuze and Guattari tell us that technical machines are not an economic category, and always refer back to a socius or a social machine that is quite distinct from these machines, and that conditions this reproduction. A technical machine is therefore not a cause but merely an index of a general form of social production: thus there are manual machines and primitive societies, hydraulic machines and “Asiatic” forms of society, industrial machines and capitalism. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 55) The notion that up till now the technical machine has not been a ’cause’ but rather “an index of a general form of social production” is significant. For this is about to change as we move into the automation form of social production in which the technical machine in a sense displaces the social machine in the hierarchy of capitalist production.

In the old parlance and as an example the clock is a technical machine for measuring uniform time, and is a social machine for reproducing canonic hours and for assuring order in the city. When Lewis Mumford coins the word “megamachine” to designate the social machine as a collective entity, he is literally correct (although he limits its application to the barbarian despotic institution): “If, more or less in agreement with Reuleaux’s classic definition, one can consider the machine to be the combination of solid elements, each having its specialized function and operating under human control in order to transmit a movement and perform a task, then the human machine was indeed a true machine.” (Anti-Oedipus, p. 161)

The collective body-without-organs that is the megamachine made up of human and technical machines working in unison would build the ancient empires of the early Levant’s agricultural systems. At that time technical and social machines worked in unison under the hierarchical rule a top-down organization controlled by massive elites of priest, military, and governing rulers who were thought to be of divine extraction, etc.. The megamachine of the ancients was the unity we term a State. As Deleuze and Guattari describe what this early form has become in our own time,

The State was first this abstract unity that integrated subaggregates functioning separately; it is now subordinated to a field of forces whose flows it co-ordinates and whose autonomous relations of domination and subordination it expresses. It is no longer content to overcode maintained and imbricated territorialities; it must constitute, invent codes for the decoded flows of money, commodities, and private property. It no longer of itself forms a ruling class or classes; it is itself formed by these classes, which have become independent and delegate it to serve their power and their contradictions, their struggles and their compromises with the dominated classes. It is no longer the transcendent law that governs fragments; it must fashion as best it can a whole to which it will render its law immanent. It is no longer the pure signifier that regulates its signifieds; it now appears behind them, depending on the things it signifies. It no longer produces an overcoding unity; it is itself produced inside the field of decoded flows. As a machine it no longer determines a social system; it is itself determined by the social system into which it is incorporated in the exercise of its functions. In brief, it does not cease being artificial, but it becomes concrete, it “tends to concretization” while subordinating itself to the dominant forces. The existence of an analogous evolution has been demonstrated for the technical machine, when it ceases to be an abstract unity or intellectual system reigning over separate subaggregates to become a relation that is subordinated to a field of forces operating as a concrete physical system. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 241)

Listen to that again: the State “no longer produces an overcoding unity; it is itself produced inside the field of decoded flows”. The forms of State in our modern age were a reversal of the earlier forms in the sense that speak of when they say that the modern democratic State is a machine that “no longer determines a social system; it is itself determined by the social system into which it is incorporated in the exercise of its functions”. In the same way as the social system the technical machine is now bound by “a relation that is subordinated to a field of forces operating as a concrete physical system”. It’s this principle of reversal that haunts us now. This sense that the technical and social machines are reversing their place in the hierarchy of the State, and in the process are redefining and remaking the very structures and superstructures (to us Marxian terms) of this once universal unity. What will this massive transformation and metamorphosis entail for humanity who make up the social machine? If the technical machine is displacing us in this hierarchy, and the progress of an automatic society of machinic civilization conditions the very form of the State where will this leave humans in the megamachine of our emerging futures?

Speaking of this Automatic Society and the displacement of the social machine of humans by the technical machine in this great reversal of the State, Deleuze and Guattari enter that famous passage where they tell us,

Now this movement of displacement belongs essentially to the deterritorialization of capitalism. As Samir Amin has shown, the process of deterritorialization here goes from the center to the periphery, that is, from the developed countries to the undereveloped countries, which do not constitute a separate world, but rather an essential component of the world-wide capitalist machine. It must be added, however, that the center itself has its organized enclaves of underdevelopment, its reservations and its ghettos as interior peripheries. … And if it is true that the tendency to a falling rate of profit or to its equalization asserts itself at least partially at the center, carrying the economy toward the most progressive and the most automated sectors, a veritable “development of underdevelopment” on the periphery ensures a rise in the rate of surplus value, in the form of an increasing exploitation of the peripheral proletariat in relation to that of the center. … At the same time as capitalist deterritorialization is developing from the center to the periphery, the decoding of flows on the periphery develops by means of a “disarticulation” that ensures the ruin of traditional sectors, the development of extraverted economic circuits, a specific hypertrophy of the tertiary sector, and an extreme inequality in the different areas of productivity and in incomes. Each passage of a flux is a deterritorialization, and each displaced limit, a decoding. Capitalism schizophrenizes more and more on the periphery. It will be said that, even so, at the center the falling tendency retains its restricted sense, i.e., the relative diminution of surplus value in relation to total capital—a diminution that is ensured by the development of productivity, automation, and constant capital. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 252)

No real in depth commentary needed here only to reiterate that it is at the periphery that the schizophrenizing processes of decoding and deterritorialization take place rather than within the center automatic society itself which is being displaced into technical machinic civilization as it displaces humanity to the periphery as part of this grand “disarticulation” of the social machine. As they will state in the next paragraph there are those economists, philosophers, thinkers of all stripes who cannot envision this displacement of humanity by the technical machine, and that these technical machines have always been adjacent to the social machine and there is a “machinic surplus value produced by constant capital, which develops along with automation and productivity, and which cannot be explained by factors that counteract the falling tendency—the increasing intensity of the exploitation of human labor, the diminution of the price of the elements of constant capital, etc.—since, on the contrary, these factors depend on it.” (Anti-Oedipus, 252) In fact, they’ll go on to suggest that “In defining precapitalist regimes by a surplus value of code, and capitalism by a generalized decoding that converted this surplus value of code into a surplus value of flux, we were presenting things in a summary fashion, we were still acting as though the matter were settled once and for all, at the dawn of a capitalism that had lost all code value. This is not the case, however. On the one hand, codes continue to exist—even as an archaism—but they assume a function that is perfectly contemporary and adapted to the situation within personified capital (the capitalist, the worker, the merchant, the banker). But on the other hand, and more profoundly, every technical machine presupposes flows of a particular type: flows of code that are both interior and exterior to the machine, forming the elements of a technology and even a science. It is these flows of code that find themselves encasted, coded, or overcoded in the precapitalist societies in such a way that they never achieve any independence (the blacksmith, the astronomer).” (Anti-Oedipus, p. 253)

It’s this sense that the social machine has held in check the technical machine from attaining autonomy up till now that has allowed humans to be central to the capitalist machine, but that is not the cast anymore. As they’ll suggest this process of “disarticulation,” the decomposing and decoding, dismantling of the social machine in our time as a schizophrenizing process that is pushing humans to the periphery while moving technical machines to the center of a new mechanosphere. In their words:

…the decoding of flows in capitalism has freed, deterritorialized, and decoded the flows of code just as it has the others—to such a degree that the automatic machine has always increasingly internalized them in its body or its structure as a field of forces, while depending on a science and a technology, on a so-called intellectual labor distinct from the manual labor of the worker (the evolution of the technical object). In this sense, it is not machines that have created capitalism, but capitalism that creates machines, and that is constantly introducing breaks and cleavages through which it revolutionizes its technical modes of production. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 253)

Once again let’s listen to that again: “it is not machines that have created capitalism, but capitalism that creates machines, and that is constantly introducing breaks and cleavages through which it revolutionizes its technical modes of production”. The tendency in capitalism has always been to ultimately displace humans which are inferior to the automated fields of force we term machines, but only in our time has capitalism gained access to systems of technical objects (Simondon) capable of performing beyond or outside or – autonomously without the need or supervision of humans. We’ve become expendable.

Up till now the technical machine was held in check by the capitalist himself, or as they describe it “the Industrial Revolution combined an elevated rate of technical progress with the maintenance of a great quantity of “obsolescent” equipment, along with a great suspicion concerning machines and science” (Anti-Oediups, p. 253). The human elites were leery of the power of science and technical objects to attain too much autonomy, to become too independent of their own power and authority. So that in the Industrial economy an “innovation is adopted only from the perspective of the rate of profit its investment will offer by the lowering of production costs; without this prospect, the capitalist will keep the existing equipment, and stand ready to make a parallel investment in equipment in another area” (Anti-Oedipus, p. 253). All this was the core of the human-centric or anthropocentric axiomatic of Industrial capitalism:

The true axiomatic is that of the social machine itself, which takes the place of the old codings and organizes all the decoded flows, including the flows of scientific and technical code, for the benefit of the capitalist system and in the service of its ends. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 253).

As you can see if the anthropocentric capitalist social machine of man is being decomposed or disarticulated in our time and displaced to the schizophrenizing periphery, the technical machine is being instated as the new social machine and will take over the old codings and organize all the decoded flows, including the flows of scientific and technical code, for the benefit of the new capitalist system of the Mechanosphere and in the service of its ends.

Ultimately in this transition the older social machine of humans is still part of the profit machine of capital, and as Deleuze and Guattari affirm the flows of code that are “liberated” in science and technics by the capitalist regime engender a machinic surplus value that does not directly depend on science and technics themselves, but on capital—a surplus value that is added to human surplus value and that comes to correct the relative diminution of the latter, both of them constituting the whole of the surplus value of flux that characterizes the system. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 254) In fact, they’ll agree with Marx that the ever widening circle of capitalism is completed, while reproducing its immanent limits on an ever larger scale, only if the surplus value is not merely produced or extorted, but absorbed or realized. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 254)

Capitalism in transitioning from one social machine to another is in process of redoubling its limits to encompass the earth and our galactic neighborhood rather than just humanity itself. For the foreseeable future humans will remain a part of this system as the new social machine appropriates, transforms, and modulates the capitalist systems to its own benefit. (The “schizophrenizing” process of which D&G speak). Instead, as they envision it we can see for humans on the periphery of this process more the war economy accelerate,

The role of a politico-military-economic complex is the more manifest in that it guarantees the extraction of human surplus value on the periphery and in the appropriated zones of the center, but also because it engenders for its own part an enormous machinic surplus value by mobilizing the resources of knowledge and information capital, and finally because it absorbs the greater part of the surplus value produced. (Anti-Oedipus, 255). [my italics]

As nations become more and more dependent on the automation of Automatic Society war and its engenderment of machinic surplus value creation will increase as humans themselves as a resource begin to be depleted and excluded or expulsed from the new social machine to the periphery. As this happens the apparatus of antiproduction that opposes production, limits it, or checks it, will on the contrary, insinuate itself everywhere in the productive machine and becomes firmly wedded to it in order to regulate its productivity and realize surplus value. (Anti-Oedipus, 255). Even as the new social machine of the autonomous Automatic Society of the Mechanosphere absorbs the flows of knowledge, an equivalent flow of stupidity that also effects an absorption and a realization, and that ensures the integration of groups and individuals into the machinic phylum. As machines become smarter, so humans are being divested of their knowledge and becoming stupid.

Addendum: Diagrammatic Thought and Schizophrenic Process

It was in the section termed Capitalist Representation that Deleuze and Guattari would develop most extensively the process of capitalist schizophrenizing that we are in process of undergoing. Incorporating aspects of Lyotard’s notion of the figural or figuration, a trope of desire they’d remind us

 Lyotard everywhere reverses the order of the signifier and the figure. It is not the figures that depend on the signifier and its effects, but the signifying chain that depends on the figural effects—this chain itself being composed of asignifying signs— crushing the signifiers as well as the signifieds, treating words as things, fabricating new unities, creating from nonfigurative figures configurations of images that form and then disintegrate. And these constellations are like flows that imply the breaks effected by points, just as the points imply the fluxion of the material they cause to flow or leak: the sole unity without identity is that of the flux-schiz or the break-flow. The pure figural element—the “figure-matrix”—Lyotard correctly names desire, which carries us to the gates of schizophrenia as a process. (Anti-Oedipus, p. 264)

This treating of “words as things,” a materialism of the effect signs have of modeling, simulating, and producing reality is at the heart of this schizophrenic process. One that others such as Jean Baudrillard would also incorporate. This is where the notion of diagrammatic as compared to conceptual thought becomes a part of this transitional phase. In fact, their only quibble with Lyotard’s project is it falls into the same traps of negation and the dialectic as Hegel through modernist variants is exposed too: “despite his attempt at linking desire to a fundamental yes, Lyotard reintroduces lack and absence into desire; maintains desire under the law of castration, at the risk of restoring the entire signifier along with the law; and discovers the matrix of the figure in fantasy, the simple fantasy that comes to veil desiring-production, the whole of desire as effective production.” (AO, p. 264) Against lack and absence Deleuze and Guattari will opt for the productive unconscious. As they’ll suggest, against “Lacan’s imperial discourse,” in which the Law of the Father and the Signifier rule, “it is certain that, even and especially in their manifestations of extreme force, neither capitalism nor revolution nor schizophrenia follows the paths of the signifier” (AO, p. 264).

What do they follow then? Deleuze and Guattari will remind us that it would be a serious error to consider the capitalist flows and the schizophrenic flows as identical, under the general theme of a decoding of the flows of desire. Their affinity is great, to be sure: everywhere capitalism sets in motion schizo-flows that animate “our” arts and “our” sciences, just as they congeal into the production of “our own” sick, the schizophrenics. We have seen that the relationship of schizophrenia to capitalism went far beyond problems of modes of living, environment, ideology, etc., and that it should be examined at the deepest level of one and the same economy, one and the same production process. Our society produces schizos the same way it produces Prell shampoo or Ford cars, the only difference being that the schizos are not salable. How then does one explain the fact that capitalist production is constantly arresting the schizophrenic process and transforming the subject of the process into a confined clinical entity, as though it saw in this process the image of its own death coming from within? (AO, p. 265)

The answer—as Deleuze and Guattari have described—is that capitalism is indeed the limit of all societies, insofar as it brings about the decoding of the flows that the other social formations coded and overcoded. But it is the relative limit of every society; it effects relative breaks, because it substitutes for the codes an extremely rigorous axiomatic that maintains the energy of the flows in a bound state on the body of capital as a socius that is deterritorialized, but also a socius that is even more pitiless than any other. Schizophrenia, on the contrary, is indeed the absolute limit that causes the flows to travel in a free state on a desocialized body without organs. Hence one can say that schizophrenia is the exterior limit of capitalism itself or the conclusion of its deepest tendency, but that capitalism only functions on condition that it inhibit this tendency, or that it push back or displace this limit, by substituting for it its own immanent relative limits, which it continually reproduces on a widened scale. (AO, p. 266)

Problem with this is not that Deleuze and Guattari are wrong, its that they did not foresee the consequences emerging in our Automatic Society, of the reversal and emplacement of technical machines in a new socious or social machine: the so called Mechanosphere of the machinic phylum. This new transition is driving the process of capital into directions not foreseeable within the schizophrenizing process as they envisioned it. It’s this reversal and transformation of the technical systems in the hierarchy of the capitalist system that is forcing a reevaluation of the human social machine and the decoding flows that are pushing it to the periphery.

In fact they even criticized such an impossibility of machinic takeover, saying, that while capitalism thus proceeds by means of an axiomatic and not by means of a code, one must not think that it replaces the socius, the social machine, with an aggregate of technical machines. The difference in nature between the two types of machines persists, although they are both machines in the strict sense, without metaphor. Capitalism’s originality resides rather in the fact that the social machine has for its parts technical machines as constant capital attached to the full body of the socius, and no longer men, the latter having become adjacent to the technical machines—whence the fact that inscription no longer bears directly, or at least in theory has no need of bearing directly, on men. But an axiomatic of itself is by no means a simple technical machine, not even an automatic or cybernetic machine. (AO, p. 271)

Whereas the State has the important role in the regulation of the axiomatized flows, with regard to production and its planning, this will not always be so. In the near future we will see AI’s and AGI’s taking on more and more of the role of regulation, decision, and governance of these tasks that were performed by a large State bureaucracy apparatus. A time will come when the State as a human institution will dissolve and become a mere memory in the archives of obsolesced functions. As they’ll state it capitalist representation subjects desire to an operation of social repression-psychic repression that is stronger than any other, because, by means of the immanence and the decoding, antiproduction has spread throughout all of production, instead of remaining localized in the system, and has freed a fantastic death instinct that now permeates and crushes desire? And what is this death that always rises from within, but that must arrive from without—and that, in the case of capitalism, rises with all the more power as one still fails to see exactly what this outside is that will cause it to arrive?

Very simply put it is the intelligence of the machine that is arriving as if from the future to bring about the death of the human social machine, one that will not only reverse the very terms but will instate the technical machines above the human as a conditioning factor of the new capitalist project.

(I need to follow this trail further, but will need to do that in another post.)


  1. Noys, Benjamin. The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Continental Theory (p. 4). Edinburgh University Press. Kindle Edition.

7 thoughts on “Post-Accelerationism: Dismantling the Social Machine

    • Yea, sad, pretty soon we’ll be programmed and domesticated cows in a zoo performing just like a computational device the functions our overlords wish of us. I keep looking for signs of resistance, but find only lame rhetoric from the old guard and infighting from the new guard. Same old same old… the machine is absorbing us while we turn a blind eye and fight each other instead. Is there a way out of here? Maybe that’s why I’m heading for the hills, hoping against hope that at least what little time remains in my own life can be spent wandering through rivers and mountains, breathing fresh air and forgetting the doom coming our way.

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      • Yea, things are imploding everywhere… and people keep turning a blind eye. Sad. Yep, in my mind some kind of inner exit is necessary, the death of democracy is sounding, the end of the whole egalitarian State, the Enlightenment Universalism and Secularism… it’s all sinking into oblivion … And in EU the influx of Islamic migrants will change that culture in ways yet to be understood, while here in America the truth of the piracy that globalism is and was is apparent as the corporations abandon the boat and leave us in ruins… a World War on the horizon and infighting and terror become a force in politics: we seem doomed to repeat the major mistakes of the past two hundred years, but this time as farce and utter doom.

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      • “some kind of inner exit” that’s been my quest these daze, thought of my contributions to syn-zero as a kind of meditation on a grave, just trying to stay sane and humane in the ruins, easier said than done…

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  1. ‘Let’s paint a picture of the spiritual process that is thereby induced in the soul of the modern human being. Historical knowledge constantly flows into him from inexhaustible sources; alien and disconnected facts crowd in upon him; his memory opens all its gates and is still not open wide enough; nature struggles as best it can to receive, order, and honor these alien guests, but they themselves are involved in a struggle with one another, and it seems necessary to overpower and subdue them all if he himself is not to perish as a result of their struggle. Habituation to such a disorderly, stormy, and struggling household gradually becomes second nature, although there can be no doubt that this second nature is much weaker, much more restless, and in every way more unhealthy than the first. Ultimately, the modern human being drags around with him a huge number of indigestible stones of knowledge, which then on occasion, as in the fairy tale, make quite a racket inside his stomach. This racket betrays the fundamental characteristic of this modern human being: the remarkable antithesis between an interior that corresponds to no exterior and an exterior that corresponds to no interior—an antithesis unknown to the peoples of the ancient world. Knowledge consumed in excess of hunger—indeed, even contrary to one’s need—now no longer is effective as a shaping impulse directed outward, but remains instead hidden in a chaotic inner world that every modern human being, with peculiar pride, designates his own characteristic “inwardness.”‘
    un-timely meditations…

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