Rod Reynolds: The Dark Inside

Smoke swirled around the room, and the gritty smell of gunpowder cloyed in my nose and throat.

—Reynolds, Rod. The Dark Inside

Just finished The Dark Inside by a Londoner Rod Reynolds, with a “successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, who decided to get serious about writing”. Looking for a new crime novel, and originally hailing from Louisiana and Texas I began tracing various venues for something different. I found it in this noirish work set in that in-between city, Texarkana. A city drifting between Texas and Arkansas that seems to sit on the border between hell and paradise. It’s the sort of place you’d love to visit, but not if there is a murderer on the loose.

I’d decided to go in blind on this one, only acknowledging that Rod had received some good reviews. I was pleasantly surprised that he’d set this novel in the late 1940’s post-war era. East Texas is home to the likes of Joe R. Lansdale whose crime fiction has garnered praise for years. Works like The Bottoms, Leather Maiden, Freeze Burn and the like have honed into the edgy world of dark, along with his series of Hap and Leonard. So I was already quickly enchanted to enter this local having lived outside Shreveport, LA as a child on my grandparents old depression era farm.

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Ron Rash: Burning Bright – A Review

Jacob closed his eyes but did not sleep. Instead, he imagined towns where hungry men hung on boxcars looking for work that couldn’t be found, shacks where families lived who didn’t even have one swaybacked milk cow. He imagined cities where blood stained the sidewalks beneath buildings tall as ridges. He tried to imagine a place worse than where he was.
—Ron Rash, Hard Times

Finished reading Ron Rash’s first collection of short stories Burning Bright tonight. In an interview on the Daily Beast he says he lives in  Cullowhee, North Carolina where he teaches at Western Carolina University. His family is from there, and his stories arise out of that region. He’s a hard hitter, though, whose sparse prose juts up in the thick of the natural surroundings of his characters like a force of darkness. He’s able in a few observational strokes to awaken in the reader a sense of the solitude and emptiness at the core of things and of ourselves. His stories that take you down that dark road where nothing goes well in the end, and he leaves you neither calloused nor whimpering, but shocked into that knowledge of existence that makes you feel like you’d been hit with a two-by-four repeatedly. What I felt through all of the stories was a sense of pervasive fatalism, which as many know has always been a part of noirish territory; and, to be honest, these tales, though not explicitly noirs, belong to that subgenre that many are terming Country noir —a mixture of region, style, and naturalism that strips humans of their divine right, their exceptionalism and places them on equal footing with all other organic life on this predatory planet. There’s always a fine line between sentimentalism and the hard realities of life, and Rash is able to walk it without tipping the balance either way. His observations are keen and enter into the darkness with a lightness of being and tempo that belies the fierce stillness at the heart of these stories. And, I mean stillness, in the sense of emptiness — allowing things to speak for themselves, to let the gaze weave the natural and the human in a mesh without fusing the one in the other, but leaving those gaps and cracks that remain obstacles in our search to know and understand the meaning that cannot be brought into stories, yet seems to leave its aura between the lines like dark pebbles on a river bank…

Maybe this pursuit of meaning will always be illusive or even delusional if you accept the nihilistic framework of valuelessness as I do, yet even in the midst of all this emptiness one want’s answers, one needs answers to the dilemma of one’s being here. Jeff Vandemeer in one of his essays or posts about Derek Raymond — the well known writer of English noir Factory series — reminded him of a “question I had once read on a country gravestone erected to a child of six: “Since I was so early done for, I wonder what I was begun for.”” Deep down there’s something that drives us to want to know the answer to such questions, too seek out those fantastic and impossible shores of the metaphysical that we already know are pure fantasy; and, yet, it’s in this darkness and ignorance, more than knowledge of things known that existence gives us meaning —not truth, per se, but that meaning that thrives of the impossible in us.

We alone of creatures invent stories to keep the wolves at bay, to give our lives meaning and purpose that is not there to begin with. Meaning is an addition, something added to life; not in built, but constructed out of our lack, out of that hollow center of the void in our darkness and our ignorance. It’s not the clear bright trail of things visible, but those dark silences and disturbances in things that want come clean, want reveal themselves; those things that we hide from ourselves, those fragmentations and torn parts of our own being that seem to waver in the very world like shadows in a moat. Our attraction to such dark literature is this need to uncover ourselves, our own terror of the truth at the core of our own murderous heart — that, we, too, are like these monstrous prodigies of fear, hate, bigotry, spite, loneliness, and self-corrupting victimage.

We are truly our own worst enemies. It’s Rash and others like him that strip the optimistic veneer off our eyes, all the joyous festival of subterfuge that we buy into that keeps from our eyes the bittersweet knowledge below us and around us; a knowledge that at once reveals a world much more strange and frightening than we like to admit to ourselves without such means.  Our little lies of metaphysical safety nets, all our religious and secular comfort tales, our parables of bright suburbia and happiness of social and comic delights that inform our lives and keep us getting up everyday as if this was all going to last forever. In the pages of such stories as Rash and other’s we come face to face with the naked soul stripped of its uncanny valences, a world laid bare as on an operating table, where our lives are unfolded and the inner world revealed at last, with the uncharted and hidden diseases of the soul scorched from their lair, the hidden wounds of our spiritual body revealed in minute detail so that we have no place to hide anymore.

Yet, there are a few stories where Rash plays us false, seeks hope where there is none, let’s characters filter out the truth and construct a tissue of lies to keep the darkness out. Sadly this marks his writing out as middle-tier academic triteness in my own register, as if with all his progressive education he’s allowed the intonations of sociality to outweigh the harsh world of solitude and silences. I think specifically of Burning Bright, a tale that allows the main character, a woman of age, to marry and man half her age which is neither a weakness nor a plus but a subtle remark on her needs, her loneliness, her desires and lacks, a metaphysical blindness to the stark realities she sees so clearly around her but will not face. She maries a young man who is already beyond hope, mired in his own phantasmagoria of redemption through sin (in the old parlance), a corrupted and stained individual, tainted by a history of arsonism. For whom the story reveals an inner logic that slowly but inexorably attenuates and reveals at the same time the truth of his sordid ways; and, yet, the main character, the woman, who will discover the truth, remains the blind optimist, hopeful, seeking blindness rather than insight, seeking a willful ignorance and will not let him go, will not allow the truth to prevail; hiding it from herself and the Sheriff to whom she could have sided, and instead sides in a fantasy of love, a fantasy of hope that things will change for the better if only it will rain… There are other tales in which such hope remains, but I’ll let the reader look into that; it is such hope for the better in some of the tales that reveals a weakness in Rash’s vision, a quality of the progressive academic spirit showing through of which he is a University Professor. His very wavering over the title of “Appalachian writer,” in the interview I cited from the Daily Beast tells us what we need to know about his hopes and dreams. When confronted by the interviewer with the question You’ve often been described as an “Appalachian writer.”  Is that a geographic or stylistic title, or a little of both? He says:

I have mixed feelings about any adjective in front of the word “writer.”  Chekhov has talked about this, that any designation besides writer (Russian writer, whatever) was a diminishment. I’m proud to be from the region. But sometimes it seems to me that there’s an implication of “just” an Appalachian writer or “just” a Southern writer. That kind of diminishment is bothersome. If a writer is any good, he or she has to both evoke and transcend the region. Faulkner is beloved worldwide because his region, as he himself noted, was “the region where the human heart is in conflict with itself.”

This sense that being —as he states it: just an Appalachian writer or “just” a Southern writer seems to him a diminishment, when it should be a badge of honor and distinguishing part of his life and career as a writer of the people. And, that’s it, one feels this is the key — as I was reading his stories I felt this sense of being at “one remove,” of not quite being present at the crime, the reality flowing in the gaps and cracks of the tale. It’s as if he is ashamed of his heritage, of these people, of this history in subtle ways that mark them out not in parody or the grotesque as in some writers, but rather in that more insidious since of decoupling and distancing himself from the pain and suffering possibly of his own past experience; as if he is using these tales to confront his own personal experience by way of fictionalizing the history of a fantasy Carolina that he can manage. A Carolinian heritage that is part of discourse and known in books, through the lens of writing in ways that keep his own hurt, his own past repressed while allowing it out through displacement and ironic distillation and infusing’s. There is always that point where a critic has to ask whether he is reading too much into a writer’s work, or whether what he is seeing there is there. Only the confirmation or discomfirmation of other reader’s and readings will allow such judgments to come forward. And, since all literary appreciation is personal and eccentric, who is to say if the reading is correct since I do not believe in the myth of correctness of some monolithic reading that will satisfy all readers alike. This is for better or worse my reading and take on Rash’s first collection.

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For those of you that don’t know Jon Padgett, he’s the progenitor of Thomas Ligotti Online a public forum for all those fans of that dark light of the grotesque and macabre, horror and weirdness. Jon a one time ventriloquist who now lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and two cats,  has been the first publisher for a number of Ligotti’s prose works, including My Work is Not Yet Done and Crampton. His first short story collection,  The Secret of Ventriloquism  with Introduction by Thomas Ligotti, is also forthcoming – very shortly, and you can pre-order it: here at Dynatox Ministries – or from Dunhams Manor Press, May 2016. Jon was once asked how he’d become involved with Dunhams and Dynatox Ministries:

I had heard about the excellent and unusual weird fiction published by Dunhams Manor Press for the past couple of years from such superb writers as Nicole Cushing, Clint Smith, Michael Griffin, Christopher Slatsky, Willum Pugmire, Jayaprakash Sathyamurthy, Joe Pulver and John Claude Smith among others.

How did I become associated with the press? I simply wandered onto the DMP website and queried editor Jordan Krall by email (or web form — I forget). Krall quickly replied that he’d be interested in reading my work, I sent several tales to him, and soon he accepted and offered to publish my long story, THE INFUSORIUM, as a chapbook.

As Matt Cardin tells us on Teeming Brain, another excellent site to wander through for those of the weirdness (a term I use to invoke the uncertainty between the marvelous and the uncanny, yet with a slightly more pessimistic blend of speculative insouciance), Jon’s new book of short stores and essays The Secret of Ventriloquism will keep you up at nights wanting more:

With themes reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ligotti, and Bruno Shulz, but with a strikingly unique vision, Jon Padgett’s The Secret of Ventriloquism heralds the arrival of a significant new literary talent. Padgett’s work explores the mystery of human suffering, the agony of personal existence, and the ghastly means by which someone might achieve salvation from both. A bullied child who seeks vengeance within a bed’s hollow box spring; a lucid dreamer haunted by an impossible house; a dummy that reveals its own anatomy in 20 simple steps; a stuttering librarian who holds the key to a mill town’s unspeakable secrets; a commuter whose worldview is shattered by two words printed on a cardboard sign; an aspiring ventriloquist who spends a little too much time looking at himself in a mirror. And the presence that speaks through them all.


  • Introduction by Matt Cardin
  • The Mindfulness of Horror Practice
  • Murmurs of a Voice Foreknown
  • The Indoor Swamp
  • Origami Dreams
  • 20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism
  • Infusorium
  • Organ Void
  • The Secret of Ventriloquism


Pre-Order Jon’s work The Secret of Ventriloquism


David Roden’s: Speculative Posthumanism & the Future of Humanity (Part 4.2)

The problem of interpretation arises because there are empirical and theoretical grounds for holding that some phenomenology is “dark”.
– David Roden,  Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human

Again I take up from my previous post David Roden’s Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human. In section 4.2 he will introduce us to the notion that not all phenomenology deals with the pure world of surfaces and light. There is a dark side, or should we say ‘A Dark Tale of Phenomenology’. It will be a tale of twined realms: one of perception, and one of time. It will be a tale in which we will never be sure whether what is alien and posthuman can ever be known or shared by our own mental states, or that we will even be able to control or forecast what the posthuman is or could be. We will be in the dark with that which is alien and alienating.

David Roden will give us a beginning to our tale: “Let’s call a feature of experience “dark” if it confers no explicit or implicit understanding of its nature on the experiencer (Roden, KL 1961)”.1 Unlike the phenomenology of Husserl or even Heidegger in which the surface detail that we can intuit and see within the realm of appearance and presence, dark phenomenology would deal with that which cannot directly be seen, touched, felt, smelled, etc., yet affects us and influences our dispositions, feelings, or actions in indirect and strange ways that we cannot describe with any precision. Our access to this dark side would be by indirect ways, much like scientist who uncover the truth of dark energy and dark matter which make up 99% of our universe and yet we never have direct access to such things except through a combination of mathematical theorems and instruments that measure aspects of these unknown unknowns indirectly through experimentation and analyses.

Reading Roden’s surmises about color theory, and of how there are millions of shadings of color that we cannot intuit or describe from a firs-person-singular perspective because we do not have access or it is a form of loss or neglect reminded my of what many in the neurosciences are suspecting. As I suggested from Bakker’s BBT theory in a previous post the brain only ever gives us the information we need to deal with the things evolution and survival have adapted us too in our understanding or ‘intuiting’ of the environment we are embedded within. Yet, as Roden is suggesting there is an amazing realm of experience we never have direct access to, and that in fact we are blind too not because we cannot intuit it, but because the brain only offers our ‘first-person’ of subjective self or temporary agency certain well-defined and filtered pieces of the puzzle. It filters out the rest accept as Roden said previously, there are times when we are affected by things we cannot perceive but are part of reality. Phenomenology is unable to discuss such things because it is not science, it lacks both the conceptual and instrumental technology to graze even a percent of this unknown or blind territory surrounding us. Philosophers like to talk of chaos, etc. When in fact it is a sea of information that the brain analyses at every moment, but delivers to us packaged in byte size representations that we can handle as its evolutionary agents of choice.

(A personal aside: I must admit I wish David would have sunk the philosophy for neuroscience and hard-sciences rather than wasting time with the philosophical community. It always seems reading such works that one must spend an exorbitant amount of time clarifying concepts, ideas, notions for other professional philosophers who will probably reject what your saying anyway. To me science is answering these sorts of questions in terms that leave the poor phenomenological philosopher in a quandary. Maybe its part of the academic game. I’ve never been sure. Yet, as we will see David himself will make much the same gesture later on.)

Either way as I read dark phenomenology is actually trying to deal not with appearance but with what Kant used to call the ‘noumenal’ realm. Which was closed off from philosophical speculation two-hundred years ago as something that could never be described or known. Yet, both philosophy and the sciences have been describing aspects of it ever since and doing it by indirect means without ever name it that. It’s as if we’ve closed our selves off from the truth of our own blindness, and told ourselves we’re not blind.

As Roden will affirm of all these representationalist philosophers in discussing the possibility that time may have a dark side: “For representationalist philosophers of mind who believe that the mind is an engine for forming and transforming mental representations there is good reason to be sceptical about the supposed transcendental role of time” (Rode, KL 2068). Then he will tells us why: “For where a phenomenological ontology transcends the plausible limits of intuition its interpretation would have to be arbitrated according to its instrumental efficacy, simplicity and explanatory potential as well as its descriptive content” (Roden, KL 2081).

 And as if he heard me he will tell us that phenomenology must provide an incomplete account of those dark structures that are not captured in appearance through other modes of inquiry, saying: “If phenomenology is incompletely characterized by the discipline of phenomenology, though, it seems proper that methods of enquiry such as those employed by cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and cognitive modellers should take up the interpretative slack. If phenomenologists want to understand what they are talking about , they should apply the natural attitude to their own discipline. (Roden, 2120)”

And, of course most practicing scientists in these fields would tell Roden and the others: Why don’t you just give it up and join us? Maybe philosophy is not suited to describe or even begin to analyze what we’re discovering, maybe you would be better off closing down philosophy of mind and becoming scientists.” But of course we know what these philosophers would probably say to that. Don’t we. 

Ultimately after surveying phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger and others Roden will come to the conclusion:

Dark phenomenology undermines the transcendental anthropologies of Heidegger and Husserl because it deprives them of the ability to distinguish transcendental conditions of possibility such as Dasein or Husserl’s temporal subject (which are not things in the world) from the manifestation of things that they make possible. They are deconstructed insofar as they become unable to interpret the formal structures with which they understand the fundamental conditions of possibility for worlds or things. … As bruited, this failure of transcendentalism is crucial for our understanding of SP. If there is no a priori theory of temporality, there is no a priori theory of worlds and we cannot appeal to phenomenology to exclude the possibility that posthuman modes of being could be structurally unlike our own in ways that we cannot currently comprehend. (Roden, KL 2194 – 2206)

 What we’re left with is an open and indescribable realm of possibility that is anyone’s guess. As he will sum it up there is no reason to be bound by a transcendental or anthropological posthumanism, instead SP will have no truck with constraints on the open-endedness of posthumanism (” This is not to say, of course, that there are no constraints on PPS”):

Posthuman minds may or may not be weirder than we can know. We cannot preclude maximum weirdness prior to their appearance. But what do we mean by such an advent? Given the extreme space of possible variation opened up by the collapse of the anthropological boundary, it seems that we can make few substantive assumptions about what posthumans would have to be like.  (Roden, 2378)

In the next post Roden takes up the formal analysis rather than an a priori or substantive account of posthuman life, suggesting that we will not be able to describe the posthuman till we see in in the wild. We will follow him into the wild.

1. Roden, David (2014-10-10). Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.


David Roden on Posthuman Life

 There evolved at length a very different kind of complex organism, in which material contact of parts was not necessary either to coordination of behaviour or unity of consciousness. . . .
—OLAF STAPLEDON, First and Last Men

When Stapledon wrote that book he was thinking of Martians, but in our time one might think he was studying the strangeness of what our posthuman progeny may evolve into.  In Last and First Men Stapledon presents a version of the future history of our species, reviewed by one of our descendants as stellar catastrophe is bringing our solar system to an end. Humanity rises and falls through a succession of mental and physical transformations, regenerating after natural and artificial disasters and emerging in the end into a polymorphous group intelligence, a telepathically linked community of ten million minds spanning the orbits of the outer planets and breaking the bounds of individual consciousness, yet still incapable of more than “a fledgling’s knowledge” of the whole.1

Modern humans (Homo sapiens or Homo sapiens sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies. We evolved according to Darwinian theory from early hominids, such as the australopithecines whose brains and anatomy in many ways more similar to non-human apes, are less often thought of or referred to as “human” than hominids of the genus Homo some of whom used fire, occupied much of Eurasia, and gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 200,000 years ago where they began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago and migrated out in successive waves to occupy all but the smallest, driest, and coldest lands. (see Human)

You begin to see a pattern that evolution moves through various changes and transformations. Yet, there is no end point, no progression, not teleological goal to it all. Instead evolutionary theory – and, more explicitly its modern synthesis, connected natural selection, mutation theory, and Mendelian inheritance into a unified theory that applied generally to any branch of biology. One thing that sticks out in this is that evolution deals with organic evolution. The modern synthesis doesn’t include other types of evolvement that might portend what the posthuman descendants of humans might become. If we follow the logic of evolutionary theory as it exists we could at best extrapolate only the continued organic evolution of humans or their eventual extinction. We know that extinction is a possibility since 99% of the species that have ever existed on earth are now extinct. Something will eventually replace us. But what that ‘something’ might be is open to question, an open ended speculative possibility rather than something a scientist could actually pin down and point to with confidence.


This is the basic premise of Dr. David Roden’s new work, Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human. We are living in a technological era in which a convergence of NBIC technologies (an acronym for Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information technology and Cognitive science), as well as certain well supported positions in cognitive science, biological theory and general metaphysics imply that a posthuman succession is possible in principle, even if the technological means for achieving it remain speculative (Roden, KL 157). Roden will term his version of this as “speculative posthumanism”:

Throughout this work I refer to the philosophical claim that such successors are possible as “speculative posthumanism ” (SP ) and distinguish it from positions which are commonly conflated with SP, like transhumanism. SP claims that there could be posthumans. It does not imply that posthumans would be better than humans or even that their lives would be compared from a single moral perspective.2

Roden will develop notions of “Critical Posthumanism” — which seeks to “deconstruct” the philosophical centrality of the human subject in epistemology, ethics and politics; and, Transhumanism — which proposes the technical enhancement of humans and their capacities. Yet, as Roden admits before we begin to speak of the posthuman we need to have some inkling of exactly what we mean by ‘human’: any philosophical theory of posthumanism owes us an account of what it means to be human such that it is conceivable that there could be nonhuman successors to humans (Roden, KL 174).

One thought that Roden brings out is the notion of subjectivity:

Some philosophers claim that there are features of human moral life and human subjectivity that are not just local to certain gregarious primates but are necessary conditions of agency and subjectivity everywhere. This “transcendental approach” to philosophy does not imply that posthumans are impossible but that – contrary to expectations – they might not be all that different from us. Thus a theory of posthumanity should consider both empirical and transcendental constraints on posthuman possibility. (Roden, KL 180)

Yet, such premises of an anti-intentional or non-intentional materialism as stem from Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bataille, and Nick Land would opt that we need no theory of subjectivity, that this is a prejudice of the Idealist tradition and dialectics that are in themselves of little worth. Obviously philosophers such as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, Quentin Meillassoux, and Adrian Johnson stand for this whole Idealist tradition in materialism in one form or another. Against the Idealist traditions is a materialism grounded in chaos and composition, in desire: Nick Land’s sense of libidinal materialism begins and ends in ‘desire’ which opposes the notion of lack: instead his is a theory of unconditional (non-teleological) desire (Land, 37).3 Unlike many materialisms that start with the concept of Being, or an ontology, Libidinal Materialism begins by acknowledging thermodynamics, chaos, and the pre-ontological dimension of energy: “libidinal materialism accepts only chaos and composition” (43). Being is an effect of composition: “being as an effect of the composition of chaos”:

With the libidinal reformulation of being as composition ‘one acquires degrees of being, one loses that which has being’. The effect of ‘being’ is derivative from process, ‘because we have to be stable in our beliefs… one has a general energetics of compositions… of types, varieties, species, regularities. The power to conserve, transmit, circulate, and enhance compositions, the power that is assimilated in the marking, reserving, and appropriation of compositions, and the power released in the disinhibition, dissipation, and … unleashing of compositions (Land, 44) … [even Freud is a libidinal materialist] in that he does not conceive desire as lack, representation, or intention, but as dissipative energetic flow, inhibited by the damming and channeling apparatus of the secondary process (Land, 45).

R. Scott Bakker author of the fantasy series The Second Apocalypse is also the theoretician of what he terms Blind Brain Theory (BBT). Very briefly, the theory rests on the observation that out of the vast amount of information processed by the brain every nanosecond, only a meagre trickle makes it through to consciousness; and crucially that includes information about the processing itself. We have virtually no idea of the massive and complex processes churning away in all the unconscious functions that really make things work and the result is that consciousness is not at all what it seems to be. Even what we term subjectivity is but a temporary process and effect of these brain processes and has no stable identity to speak of, but is rather a temporary focal point of consciousness. (see The Last Magic Show)

So to come back to Roden’s statement that some “philosophers claim that there are features of human moral life and human subjectivity that are not just local to certain gregarious primates but are necessary conditions of agency and subjectivity everywhere (Roden, KL 180)”. We can with BBT and Libidinal Materialism, or what might be better termed an anti-intentional philosophy based on non-theophilosophical concepts throw out the need to base our sense of what comes after the human on either ‘agency’ or ‘subjectivity’ as conditions, for both are in fact effects of the brain not substance based entities. So Roden need not worry about such conditions and constraints. And, as he tells us weakly constrained SP suggests that our current technical practice could precipitate a nonhuman world that we cannot yet understand, in which “our” values may have no place (Roden KL 187). Which is this sense that our human epistemologies, ontologies and normative or ethical practices and values cannot tell us anything about what the posthuman might entail: it is all speculative and without qualification.

But if this is true he will ask:

Does this mean that talk of “posthumans” is self-vitiating nonsense ? Does speaking of “weird” worlds or values commit one to a conceptual relativism that is incompatible with the commitment to realism? (Roden, KL 191)

If posthuman talk is not self-vitiating nonsense, the ethical problems it raises are very challenging indeed. If our current technological trajectories might result in the world turning posthuman, how should we view this prospect and respond to it? Should we apply a conservative , precautionary approach to technology that favours “human” values over any possible posthuman ones? Can conservatism be justified under weakly constrained SP and, if not, then what kind of ethical or political alternatives are justifiable? (Roden, 193)

David comes out of the Idealist traditions which I must admit I oppose with the alternate materialist traditions. As he tells us:

As I mentioned, an appreciation of the scope of SP requires that we consider empirically informed speculations about posthumans and also engage with the tradition of transcendental thought that derives from the work of Kant, Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger. (Rode, KL 200)

These are the questions his book raises and tries to offer tentative answers too:

Table of contents:

Introduction: Churchland’s Centipede
1. Humanism,Transhumanism and Posthumanism
2. A Defence of Pre‐Critical Posthumanism
3. The Edge of the Human
4. Weird Tales: Anthropologically Unbounded Posthumanism
5. The Disconnection Thesis
6. Functional Autonomy and Assemblage Theory
7. New Substantivism: A Theory of Technology
8. The Ethics of Becoming Posthuman.

I’ve only begun reading his new work so will need to hold off and come back to it in a future post. Knowing that his philosophical proclivities bend toward the German Idealist traditions I’m sure I’ll have plenty to argue with, yet it is always interesting to see how the current philosophies are viewing such things as posthumanism. So I looked forward to digging in. So far the book offers so far a clear and energetic, and informative look at the issues involved. After I finish reading it completely I’ll give a more informed summation. Definitely a work to make you think about what may be coming our way at some point in the future if the technologists, scientists, DARPA, and capitalist machine are any sign. Stay tuned… 

David Roden has a blog, Enemy Industry which is always informed and worth pondering.

For others in this series look here.

1. Dyson, George B. (2012-09-04). Darwin Among The Machines (p. 199). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.
2. Roden, David (2014-10-10). Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (Kindle Locations 165-168). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
3. Nick Land. A Thirst for Annihilation. (Routledge, 1992)

John Michael Greer: Decline and Fall of the Global Empire

An empire is an arrangement among nations, backed and usually imposed by military force, which extracts wealth from a periphery of subject nations and concentrates it in the imperial core. Put more simply, an empire is a wealth pump, a device to enrich one nation at the expense of others.
– John Michael Greer

John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report’s new book is worth reading, Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America. The basic ploy is as old as Rome: the globalist nations are running out of both territory, resources, and what he terms the costs between the periphery and the core. Because of this we’re headed for a crunch, or as he terms it, a catabolic collapse:

To understand how empires collapse, two things have to be kept in mind. The first is the core concept of catabolic collapse … — the mismatch between maintenance costs and available resources. The second is the definition of empire … — that an empire is a wealth pump, a system of economic arrangements backed by military force that extracts wealth from subject nations and concentrates it in the imperial core.1

He suggests that the American Empire and Western Civilization are slowly moving toward decline and fall, and that it is due to the a catabolic collapse as defined above. As Arthur Herman will tell us in The Idea of Decline in Western History, decline is actually a “theory about the nature and meaning of time”.2 That Western democracies and globalism are being eroded from competitive and aggressive forces and nations such as Russian and China is part of the reason, yet more than that is the West’s mythical inheritance in the ‘Myth of Progress’: every theory of progress also contains a theory of decline, since “inevitable” historical laws can just as easily shift in reverse as move forward. Likewise, whenever we meet a theory about the decline of Western civilization, we can probably find lurking underneath a theory of progress.(Herman, 2)

Yet, we’ve seen this surmise before in the works of such grand narrations as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. Spengler would at the beginning of his classic history of decline ask:

Is there a logic of history? Is there, beyond all the casual and incalculable elements of the separate events, something that we may call a metaphysical structure of historic humanity, something that is essentially independent of the outward forms — social, spiritual and political — which we see so clearly? Are not these actualities indeed secondary or derived from that something? Does world-history present to the seeing eye certain grand traits, again and again, with sufficient constancy to justify certain conclusions? And if so, what are the limits to which reasoning from such premises may be pushed? 3

Reinhold Niebuhr in his own time would state that the lower middle class was often attracted to a politics of envy and resentment, and that the progressive tradition never grappled with the difficult questions but continually battled over false ideological quandaries of life – anti-intellectualism , xenophobia, racism.4 When it came down to it as Niebuhr would ask: If social cohesion is impossible without coercion, and coercion is impossible without the creation of social injustice, and the destruction of injustice is impossible without the use of further coercion, are we not in an endless cycle of social conflict? (Lasch, 532)

Christopher Lasch himself felt the progressive tradition in American History was on decline, and even in its final death throws. For him the options were few and far between:

The need for a more equitable distribution of wealth ought to be obvious, both on moral and on economic grounds, and it ought to be equally obvious that economic equality cannot be achieved under an advanced system of capitalist production. What is not so obvious is that equality now implies a more modest standard of living for all, not an extension of the lavish standards enjoyed by the favored classes in the industrial nations to the rest of the world. In the twenty-first century, equality implies a recognition of limits, both moral and material, that finds little support in the progressive tradition. (Lasch, 532)

This last published in 1991. Yet, the rich or top 1% of the global world, and especially in America are not about to lay down their riches for the masses. That last sentence is telling as we watch nightly the austerity measures earmarked for working people while the rich live in hyper-luxury that even the ancient Romans would have envied. So what does John Michael Greer see ahead? “

Over the decades ahead, the people of the United States and the rest of the industrial world are going to have to deal with the unraveling of an already declining American global empire, the end of a global economic order dominated by the dollar and thus by America’s version of the imperial wealth pump, the accelerating depletion of a long list of nonrenewable resources, and the shattering impact of rapid climate change , just for starters. If history is any guide, the impact of those crises will likely be compounded by wars, revolutions, economic crises, and all the other discontinuities that tend to crop up when one global order gives way to another. (Greer, 264-266)

Of course there is nothing new there, more of the doom and gloom forecasting we’ve seen in many books over the past few years that offer us differing views of the coming collapse of civilization on a planetary wide scale. The accumulated effect is almost mind numbing. Michael C. Ruppert in his Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World would offer his own sobering conclusion:

At question here is not just the planet’s ability to sustain new growth, which is obviously a thing of the past, but its ability to support those who are already here. We must power down. There were only about two billion of us here before oil. There are almost seven billion of us today. Failing to address this single, overriding issue may result in the extinction of the entire species because, if we do not address this as a whole, it will be addressed for us by chaos, war, famine, disease, societal breakdown, collapse and very possibly nuclear war. This challenge may be addressed by those with vast money and resources in secret. It may be addressed by genocide, biological warfare or some other means.5

 Another more scholarly or academic treatment on collapse came from Joseph A. Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies, wherein he demarcates four basic concepts that lead to collapse: first, human societies are problem-solving organizations; second, sociopolitical systems require energy for their maintenance; third, increased complexity carries with it increased costs per capita; and fourth, investment in sociopolitical complexity as a problem-solving response often reaches a point of declining marginal returns. (Tainter, 194) The combination of the first three into the fourth align well with Greer’s notion of the mismatch between maintenance costs and available resources.

Once a complex society enters the stage of declining marginal returns according to Tainter, collapse becomes a mathematical likelihood, requiring little more than sufficient passage of time to make probable an insurmountable calamity. (195) Yet, unlike Spengler, Toynbee, or even the notion of progressive decline as pointed out in both Arther Herman and Christopher Lasch, Tainter will tell us:

Collapse … is not a fall to some primordial chaos, but a return to the normal human condition of lower complexity. The notion that collapse is uniformly a catastrophe is contradicted, moreover, by the present theory. To the extent that collapse is due to declining marginal returns on investment in complexity, it is an economizing process. It occurs when it becomes necessary to restore the marginal return on organizational investment to a more favorable level. To a population that is receiving little return on the cost of supporting complexity, the loss of that complexity brings economic, and perhaps administrative, gains.(198)

What he describes sounds much like Freud discussing the ‘Death drive’ which ultimately leads to a degree zero or annihilation into as Tainter would have it: “a lower complexity”. Problem with Tainter is that he speaks of the collapse of societies as if it were a mathematical abstraction devoid of human pain and suffering, as if it were just a matter of theorems and economic measures based on chaos theory, etc., where its all about loss or gains of complexity that can easily be handled by a top/down administrative tier of intellectual bureaucrats.  Yet, he admits that his approach is neither dramatic nor romantic, and that they would never make a movie of it but that in the end it speaks the truth of societies as clearly as all those grand narratives without the emotional baggage, just the plain facts of the case.

Another rock star of collapse theory is Dmitry Orlov who tells us he has no qualifications other than experiencing the collapse of the Soviet Union:

Collapse can be conceived of as an orderly, organized retreat rather than a rout. It may even be useful to think of collapse as a transition: a transition that has already been planned for us (so no further transition planning activities are needed) and will consist of the collapse of finance, consumerism and politics-as-usual, along with the collapse of the societies and cultures that are entirely dependent on them. (Orlov, 14) 7

In fact as he began studying collapse he discovered over and over certain basic patterns that turned up time and time again, which he ultimately laid down as the five stages of collapse:

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost. The future is no longer assumed to resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out and access to capital is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost. Money is devalued and/ or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost, as local social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush in to fill the power vacuum, run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for “kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality , compassion, charity.” Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes “May you die today so that I can die tomorrow.” (Orlov, 14-15)

Stage five almost reminds me of my abusive father who used to pound into me literally the motto: “It’s a dog eat dog world kid. If you don’t learn to eat them, they’ll eat you for sure. Learn to fight.” Have we truly come to that? Are we entering the stage of becoming our inhuman core? Sad. Yet, if one wanders through a few cities here in America that are now in financial ruins:  Stockton, California; Mammoth Lakes, California; West Fall, Pennsylvania; Jefferson County, Alabama; Falls, Rhode Island; Vallejo, California; Moffett, Oklahoma; Pritchard, Alabama, etc. and the list could go on… (see Broken America) would we discover aspects of stage five’s cultural collapse?

That we are living in the twilight years of America is becoming obvious for many of us as we watch things fall apart. We can see many of the aspects in Orlov’s five stages already with us in differing parts of this country, and I’m sure other nations in Europe or elsewhere around the world would have their own tales. As Greer sums it up for us here in America:

One of the central tasks before Americans today, as our nation’s imperial age stumbles blindly toward its end, is that of reinventing America: of finding new ideals that can provide a sense of collective purpose and meaning in an age of deindustrialization and of economic and technological decline. We need, if you will, a new American dream, one that doesn’t require promises of limitless material abundance, one that doesn’t depend on the profits of empire or the temporary rush of affluence we got by stripping a continent of its irreplaceable natural resources in a few short centuries. I think it can be done, if only because it’s been done three times already. For that matter, the United States is far from the only nation that’s had to find a new meaning for itself in the midst of crisis, and a fair number of other nations have had to do it, as we will, in the face of decline and the failure of some extravagant dream. Nor will the United States be the only nation facing such a challenge in the years immediately ahead. Between the tectonic shifts in geopolitics that will inevitably follow the fall of America’s empire, and the far greater transformations already being set in motion by the imminent end of the industrial age, many of the world’s nations will have to deal with a similar work of revisioning. That said, nothing guarantees that America will find the new vision it needs, just because it happens to need one, and it’s already very late in the day. Those of us who see the potential, and hope to help fill it, have to get a move on. (Greer, 276)

As a poet in what Harold Bloom once termed The Evening Land of America it’s time for us to both envision and revision what it means to be America. Walt Whitman once said in a poem, America:

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.


Let that be our motto going forward! Yet, it’s worth reemphasizing Greer’s last sentence: “…nothing guarantees that America will find the new vision it needs, just because it happens to need one, and it’s already very late in the day. Those of us who see the potential, and hope to help fill it, have to get a move on.


1. Greer, John Michael (2014-03-17). Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America (pp. 14-15). New Society Publishers. Kindle Edition.
2. Herman, Arthur (2010-05-29). The Idea of Decline in Western History (p. 1). Free Press. Kindle Edition.
3. Spengler, Oswald (2014-06-11). The Decline of the West: The Complete Edition (Kindle Locations 225-229).  . Kindle Edition.
4. Lasch, Christopher (1991-09-17). The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics (p. 531). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
5. Michael C. Ruppert. Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World (Kindle Locations 2275-2279). Kindle Edition.
6. Joseph A. Tainter. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Kindle Edition.
7. Orlov, Dmitry (2013-05-10). The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit (p. 14). New Society Publishers. Kindle Edition.




Benjamin Noys on Accelerationism & Counter-Accelerationism

I want to suggest that the starting point for any political sensibility, by which I mean the sensibility from the left, is to break with the fantasies of Real forces of acceleration.
– Benjamin Noys, Malign Velocities

Just finished reading Benjamin Noys’ new book Malign Velocities. It’s a work one could finish in an afternoon, yet it is packed with some interesting and insightful historical and critical nuggets. His blog No Useless Leniency has been a mainstay for lively thought for a while now, and his earlier work The Persistence of the Negative is an excellent critique of Continental philosophy.

The notion of Accelerationism has a distinctive history, which of late do to Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics (here) has revived certain tendencies within leftist theory concerning its investment in Marxist ideology and practice. A good book that incorporated many of the historical texts as well as later commentary from both left and right is the #Accelerate# the accelerate reader (here) edited by Robin Mackay, Armen Avanessian. I’ve published several essays on this and other aspects of Accelerationism in my Speculations on Philosophy page (here). Nick Land has the majority of links to most web related information (here).

Noys work does something worthwhile in that he gives a nice history and summation of current thought concerning accelerationism, as well as offering his own counter-accelerationism critique and positive thought on what is to be done in our current moment. If you know nothing of accelerationism this would be a good place to start. If your a non-philosopher, but would like to get your hands dirty and understand some of the current controversies and aspects of political and social philosophy as it is being touted by some on the left or right this would be a good introduction.

Noys makes no qualms, he’s politically on the left and his discourse stays within the perimeters of Marxist ideology and economic thought. Yet, he also sees accelerationism as part of something greater and perplexing, perverse. As part of that tradition steaming from Nietzsche, Bataille, Italian Futurism, Surrealism, Deleuze & Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy, Baudrillard’s Symbolic Exchange and Death, and finally given a new formulation within the work of Nick Land and the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) at University of Warwick in the 1990’s. It would be the work of Land that influenced his decision to write this work, that and the notion that Land and the CCRU crew abandoned the humanistic traditions in favor of a new “post-human state beyond any form of subject, excepting the delirious processes of capital itself.” Land’s sense of a full blown Deleuzeguattarian accelerationism along with an investment in neo-reactionary thought would force Noys to term their work as “Deleuzian Thatcherism”.

What I enjoyed is that he kept the polemic to a minimal, and delved into the history and commentary with both an equitable and even handedness, never falling into personal attacks nor castigating what he in fact finds a little distasteful. He seems to utilize the old ironic stance of placing accelerationism within a realm of “fantasy” which is opposed to the Real of production. One might assume he was formulating the Real as part of the Lacanian Real, but instead as he states it “the Real is capitalized to indicate this is not the ‘real’ qua reality, but rather the excessive force of production that is that is only ever cooled-off to form the apparently ‘real’. I would have like to see him actually go into more details in a critique of Land’s only book, A Thirst for Annhilation and his recently published essays in Fanged Noumena, but for better or worse he adds a small appraisal in chapter four of this work.

A better way to understand this production of the real is to realize it is fundamentally incongruent with Freudian and Lacanian models of the unconscious. Freud and Lacan see the unconscious as symbolic, fantasy laden, and dramatic ­­ filled with semiotic puzzles and ancient Greek theater. Hence, for both authors desire is associated with lack. That is to say, desire desires that which is fantasized, repressed, wished for, or absent. Desire is engaged entirely with that which is lacking and needs to be represented. Hence, “desire gives way to a representation” of that which is lacking ­­ the phallus, the Oedipal escapade, the ideal “I”, etc.. But for Deleuze and Guattari in their Anti-Oedipus the schizoid, as a figure of nomadic thought and life is incapable of experiencing lack. For him or her the unconscious is always productive and never fantastical. Desire itself produces the real and creates new worlds. So instead of desire as ‘lack’ we have desire as a positive force or power that is creative or libidinal (i.e., a drive without intention or goal).

In some ways this agon over concepts of desire as lack or productive fullness; as an absence seeking the big Other, the represented One: Freud, Lacan, Badiou, Zizek, etc.; and, the other tradition from Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bataille, Deleuze and Guattari, and Nick Land is central to our era. This battle over desire and its force is at the heart of accelerations as well. As Nick Land will tell us in A Thirst for Annihilation we should return to Schopenhauer, not Hegel for our understanding of Desire:

“It is not Hegel or Schelling who provide… it is Schopenhauer. With Schopenhauer the approach to the ‘noumenon’ as a energetic unconscious begins to be assembled, and interpreting the noumenon as will generates a discourse that is not speculative, phenomenological, or meditative, but diagnostic. It is this type of thinking that resources Nietzsche’s genealogy of inhuman desire, which feeds in turn into Bataille’s base materialism, for which ‘noumenon’ is addressed as impersonal death and as unconscious drive” (8). 

I’ll not go into detail of Noys confrontation with Bataille, which is part of his section on Terminal Acceleration in which he confronts Jean-Luc Goddar’d films and Bataille’s ‘excremental vision’ as he terms it after certain remarks in Bataille’s works such as The Literature of Evil, etc. If there is one fault in Noys book it is this inability to tease out the conceptual frameworks of the various accelerationisms. He does a great job of skimming the surface layers, but because of his investment in Marxist ideology his mind seems blinkered to read everything toward some counter-accelerationist teleology or resistance without ever truly lifting and separating out the various forces of the Right and Left Accelerationisms except as history and economics, politics and cultural critique – not as philosophies vying for the mind of our current era. 

Yet, as Noys will tell us in his preface his plan “is not to offer an exhaustive account of accelerationism, but rather to choose certain moments when it emerges as a political and cultural strategy”. So we have to accept that this is more of political and cultural critique, rather than a philosophical critique of the conceptual frameworks of the various accelerationisms. I’m not going to give a full reading since much of the material has been covered by many parties. I just want to highlight a few nuggets here and there. Over and over he reiterates that at the core of accelerationism and an ideology is this sense of the merger of the human and machine, whether in economics, politics, social, or cultural life. Noys believes we should stay with the economic realm rather than the fantasies of hyper-accelerated capitalism, understanding how our own machinic nature intersects and links us to the realms of labor and production. He argues that even in the cyberpunk phuturism of fiction and music and economics of High-Frequency Trading (HFT) we see a postmodernism with a ‘passion for the real’. He sees that the aesthetic appeal of accelerationism lies in its sense of jouissance – a sense of perverse enjoyment that seeks a fusion of pleasure/pain or masochistic immolation. At the heart of this sensibility is desire and death, flux and flow – the need to accelerate faster and faster to the point of annihilation. At least this would be the classic form of it found partially in Land and others.

Noys will not take on the task of a critique of his left compeers except to say a few words about Williams and Srnicek’s manifesto, except as baring on the dromological effect of speed (Virilio) they see in traditional accelerationism. His main critique of them is their inability to ‘ground’ their critique of Landian or other forms of accelerationism. He’ll call their move to ‘open a space of possibilities’, or as Brassier and Negarestani later (and they are never mentioned) following Sellars/Brandom in a normative turn toward notions of ‘navigating the space of reasons’ and offering negotiations of ‘give’ and ‘take’ between various strata of society, politics, culture, etc.  He says with it we could speak of an “accelerationist critique of accelerationism”.

Yet, he doesn’t go into any depth into their actual program. Even the work of Land is not fully explored, but is rather caricatured. I felt the early part of the book, the historical reflections and distillation were excellent. His knowledge of Marx seemed basic and flowed with the usual scholarship of labor and labor-power and dead labor, etc. He uses examples extensively from Marx and others to bolster his critiques. Most of his critiques were of early ancestors of the concept of acceleration, teasing out the threads of the concept in discussions of various forms of acceleration: Futurist, Communist, Cyberpunk, Apocalyptic, and Terminal. Each of the various strands weaves a tale of a runaway capitalism that seems bent of merging either with the cyborg posthuman worlds, or allowing some H.P. Lovecraft fantasy of Shoggothic monstrous minds  merging out of the future-past into our moment. This interplay of fantasy and the Real is like a dialectical leitmotif running the gamut of the essay. Each of his historical moments and commentary were spot on and handled with finesse. He is well read and has a good grasp of the material. But in the end I wanted to know beyond the negative critique what he might offer as part of his positive program, his counter-accelerationist agenda.

What he discovers is that tracing this heritage of accelerationist and anti-accelerationist discourse we discover a “strange convergence on nostalgia: nostalgia for a vanishing possibility for socialists slow-down, itself a terminal slide away from socialism, versus capitalist ostalgie that can only fill our absent future with past dreams of acceleration.” He tells us accelerationists see the problem but not the solution, that they opt for an integration with the machine, with capitalism as an accelerating process in which humans are to be integrated. That this is a ‘moving contradiction’, yet it is not a solution. Instead accelerationism seeks to integrate and ultimately move toward oblivion and extinction, which “bypasses the problem of consciousness, awareness, struggle in a logic of immersion.”

Against nostalgia and a revitalization of past accelerationism in whatever form, modern or postmodern, he tells us we need to begin by recognizing the basic contradiction at the heart of the accelerationist agenda. Caught between a terminal future or a nostalgic return to an impossible Fordist past we seem bound to a runaway train. Noys tells us we need to act now, and rethink the traditional problems that workers and labor face in their lives daily. He would have us struggle for the ‘decommodification’ of our lives, fight against the privatization that seems to be forcing the burden of health-care and other public services onto the individual as if this is what they wanted, when in fact it is what the larger capitalist entities want. If they force the individual to pay for their own services then the cost is off their shoulders. He tells us we need to protect public services, benefits, and social support systems that help sustain them.

A counter-accelerationist move he informs us would begin in disruption of acceleration itself and all its capitalist machinery. I kept thinking of the my favorite environmentalist book The Monkey-Wrench Gang and Aldo Leopold for some reason. The notion of gumming up the works and slowing the system down using various tactics came to mind. Yet, he doesn’t suggest we decelerate, or withdraw, instead what he says is our task is to “collectively sustain forms of struggle and negation that do not offer false consolation, either of inbuilt hope or cynicism and absolute despair.” Instead of falling into Land’s trap of “Transcendental Miserablism” we need to track it, understand its failings, and seek ways to obviate its effects.  Ultimately we need to face the fact that we are in the midst of integrations, immersions, and extractions. Capitalism is already seeking to merge us into new forms of posthuman and trans-human machinic worlds. What we need is to realize:

The tension of these moments requires a collective sense of past struggles and of struggles to come, a recognition of that possibility of work as it has been shaped not only by capitalism but by resistance.

Whether you agree or disagree Benjamin Noys needs to be read by those who value current struggles and resistances. His work is clear, incisive, rigorous, and has that measure of intellectual honesty that we need in this time between times.


1. Benjamin Noys. Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism (Zero Books, 2014)