Arthur Kroker: The “Trans-Subjective” Mind: Process vs. Traversal

Arthur Kroker: The “Trans-Subjective” Mind: Process vs. Traversal

What might be called the subjectivity or, more precisely, the “trans-subjectivity” of digital inhabitants seems to be in the process of abandoning its temporary habitat in human flesh in favor of a permanent orbit of high-intensity connectivity. The splitting of the body of flesh, bone, and blood from the network body of light-space and light-time does not take place by means of a physical separation of this doubled form of being, but by a method that is precisely the opposite. If contemporary technological discourse in favor of “big data” and “distant reading” is to believed, bodily subjectivity is about to be colonized by a form of digital trans-subjectivity where consciousness is radically split. On the one side, consciousness under the sign of the regime of computation: distributive, remote, a relational matrix with perception shaped by algorithms, understanding mediated by digital connectivity, memory installed in all the waiting data archives, personal history recorded in permanent electronic traces. Process minds in the data storm. On the other, the emergence of a new form of technological consciousness as the name given to a form of thought that, having no existence apart from the shock of the (data) real, traverses the entire field of technology, thriving at the folded edges of biology and digitality, articulating itself in the language of the dispersed, the fragment, the wandering particle, formed by the soft materiality of the intersection, the mediation, just that point where computational consciousness actually begins to reverse itself into a universe of unexpected discoveries and unanticipated minoritarian thought. The fateful meeting of process mind and traversal mind, this conjunction of distributive consciousness and a new form of manifestly folded, open-source thought, is properly the key epistemological exit to the posthuman future. Signs of pitched struggle between these two opposing trajectories of posthuman consciousness are everywhere.

– Arthur Kroker, Exits to the Posthuman Future (pp. 24-25

The Occult Revival – Literature, Hermeticism, Magic and Philosophy

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In the night, in solitude, tears,
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck’d in by the sand,
Tears, not a star shining, all dark and desolate…
………. – Walt Whitman, Sea-Drift

ISIDORE DUCASSE, who wrote the Chants de Maldoror under the pseudonym ‘Comte de Lautréamont’, considered by many the progenitor of Surrealism – a connoisseur of evil and death, a decadent with a penchant for vitriol and numbers; a flamboyant self-indulgent and excessive delight in the necrophilic and erotic affiliation of late romantic death and decadence, the bizarre, and the black comedy of revolt and disgust. Writing under the guise of a “sublime literature that sings of despair” he strove only to awaken in the dead reader a remembrance of the Good is itself a part of the gallows humor he was prone too, a devilish mixture of rage and despair brought to a high pitch of fierce and virulent nihilism: one that brokered the complete annihilation of progressive enlightenment values and politics.

I hail you, old ocean!
……– Comte de Lautréamont, Maldoror

Lautréamont’s great Hymn to the Ocean is still a strange and disquieting paean to the power of Nature over man, to his subservience; a late romantic motif and parodic satire of Romantic Nature and the Sublime. He sought to convey a counter-sublime and a religious inversion of the Romantic poets into perverse decadence, whose dark measure of sex and violence would conclude in the pages of Maldoror. Against the implacable majesty of the Ocean as Romantic Nature he offered us a beautiful and deadly Vampire Queen, a cannibal mistress of deserts and the abyss, against the fetid progeny of a landlocked hollow ape whose demented civilizations were mediocre and deliquescent at best: “The great universal family of men is a utopia worthy of the most mediocre logic”.1

Like those decadent Satanists from Baudelaire to Huysmans (convert to Catholicism) Lautréamont’s dabbling in this downward mythos would be more titillation and symbolic than real. A master of the parodic sublime he would offer a perverse entry into an aesthetic appreciation of the gothic and its dark cousin, the macabre: “Tell me, then, if you are the abode of the Prince of Darkness. Tell me… tell me, ocean (only me, so as to cause no grief to those who till now have known only illusions), tell me if it is the breath of Satan that creates the tempests which whip your salt-water cloud-high. You must tell me, for I would rejoice to know that hell is so near to man.” (KL 629-631). He would like many follow the song of opiates: “The magic poppies of an ineffable drowsiness envelop, like a veil filtering the light of day, the active power of my senses and the tenacious strength of my imagination.” (KL 1124-1125). What Lautréamont’s work sought above all was a Lucretian cosmos, an atheistic return of the pregnant cosmos of vital matter where the natural in man would once again be attuned to the immanent powers of the universe in all its monstrous glory.

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Deleuze & Guattari & Braidotti: On Nomadic vs. Classical Image of Thought

Friends Playing on the Beach Trinidad and Tobago

Thought is like the Vampire, it has no image, either to constitute a model of or to copy.

– Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, War-Machines

Gilles Deleuze was always in search of a new image of thought, a creation that would displace the classical image founded by Plato and Aristotle. As they will tell us the classical image of thought, and the “striating mental space it effects, aspires to universality” (p. 48).1 Continuing to describe it they will tell us in “Nomadology: The War Machine” that it operates under the aegis of two “universals” – that of the Whole “as the final ground of being or all encompassing horizon,” and the Subject as the “principle that converts being into being-for-us” (p. 48). This image will ultimately come to its conclusion in the philosophies of Kant and Hegel’s theories of the State. As they explicate:

Imperium and Republic. Between the two, all of the varieties of the real and the true find their place as a striated mental space, from the double point of view of Being and the Subject, under the direction of a “universal method”. (p. 48)

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