The Terror of Being Human: Technicity and the Inhuman

For Bernard Stiegler the philosopher has from the beginning been a self-divided being at odds with himself and his time, a creature of crime and havoc, remedy and poison. The Sophist would stake her claim in the black holes of linguistic turpitude, relishing the intricacies of illusion as the art of life. The Sophist was an admirer of what we now term the social construction of reality, a magician of language constructing the fictions by which society blesses and curses itself. While the philosopher or ‘lover of wisdom’ – or as Aristotle was want to say, philia: the lover of togetherness otherwise known as politics, the bringing together the brotherly love of the other in communicity, or a gathering of solitudes. In Stiegler the truth is that the philosopher sought to hide himself from himself, to repress the truth of his lack and inhumanity. The truth that culture is a machine, a power, a technics that humans do not so much construct as are constructed. This dialectical reversal, the oscillating between interior / exterior was hidden rather than revealed. As Stiegler puts it:

“I do not consider myself as a “philosopher of technics”, but rather as a philosopher who tries to contribute, along with some others, to establishing that the philosophical question is, and is throughout, the endurance of a condition which I call techno-logical: at the same time technics and logic, from the beginning forged on the cross which language and the tool form, that is, which allow the human its exteriorization. In my work I try to show that, since its origin, philosophy has endured this technological condition, but as repression and denial and that is the entire difficulty of my undertaking—to show that philosophy begins with the repression of its proper question.”1

But then again what is philosophy’s proper (distinct/intrinsic) question? As Freud taught us and Lacan embellished repression is a defense system, a mechanism to hide from ourselves the terror of our own condition as (in)humans. A large part of Stiegler’s published work is dedicated to exploring how the ‘technological condition’, as he puts it above, is repressed in the work of philosophers such as Rousseau, Kant, Husserl and Heidegger.

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The Suicide Machine

The Universe is nothing else than a suicide machine created by a blind and fugitive monstrosity, whose veritable death throes generated the body of this universal catastrophe we now live in as fragments or shards of its dying embers, ash of its black light.

-©2016 S.C. Hickman, The Infernal Journals of Thaddeus Long

Thomas Ligotti will offer a surmise onto the strange necrotheology of the German philosopher Philipp Mainländer (born Phillip Batz), echoing a strain of Gnostic or Buddhist thought underpinning much of 19th Century Philosophy, saying: “Perhaps the Blind God was an unreliable narrator of weird tales. He did not want to leave a bad impression by telling us He had absented Himself from the ceremonies of death before they had begun. Alone and immortal, nothing needed Him. Yet, He needed to bust out into a universe to complete His project of self-extinction, passing on His horror piecemeal, so to say, to His creation.”1 He’ll comment on this amalgam of Catholic, Gnostic, and Pessimist speculation of Mainländer’s – remarking,

No one has yet conceived an authoritative reason for why the human race should continue or discontinue its being, although some believe they have. Mainländer was sure he had an answer to what he judged to be the worthlessness and pain of existence, and none may peremptorily belie it. (CHR,

The inability to posit an optimistic or a pessimistic reason for the continuation of the human species has left humanity in a quandary, oscillating between two poles like dark divers from some infernal picture show; members of a cult of death that keep on keeping on, only because of the ennui and the lack of vital thought or action necessary to decide one way or the other. So instead we have ritualized our world around certain age-old fetishes that our desires can grasp onto to maintain the status quo – if nothing else. As Ligotti delightfully relates: “Ontologically, Mainländer’s thought is delirious; metaphorically, it explains a good deal about human experience; practically, it may in time prove to be consistent with the idea of creation as a structure of creaking bones being eaten from within by a pestilent marrow.” (CHR, 38)


1. Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror. Hippocampus Press. Kindle Edition. (CHR)

 

Savage Nights: Chapter Two – Dog Day Nights

We drove up to the edge of a clearing. I backed the truck into a hovel next to the road, pulled out the nanouflage I’d kept in the shop for such an emergency. It would hide the truck undercover while we were in the d-zone. Poured it across the hood, the microscopic seeders took over from there, spreading over the metal and paint like a tribe lost ghosts fleeing across a temporal rift. Within a minute the truck looked more like rubble than a hot-rod. The nanotubules were locked to my biogen relays so that the moment we returned and I touched the hood with the palm of my hand a chain reaction would set in and the whole mirage would implode leaving my truck intact. Strange what scientists spend their lives doing for advanced military systems.

I’d given Matt explicit instructions before we left, knowing his base neuroplants were Civilian Issue, rather than Military grade. Even with the handicap his memory feeds were beyond mine at the moment. At least he had salvage access to the trade systems in the Sphere – the last network on the planet.

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Savage Nights: Scene Four – The Treasure Hunt Begins

Popped the air-tank, inflated the tires, gazed up into the blanched sky, where the sun like a burning soldier seemed to hang in the orange haze like a bloody fist, red and devilish. As I scooted into the truck, and flushed the ashes from the seat, I kept my eye on Matthias Bowden who seemed to be eyeing me from across the street with his sawed-off shotgun. Didn’t have any slugs in it, not even sure why the bastard carried the rusty thing around with him, unless to scare the street riff-raff who hadn’t yet heard about the poor bastard and his tale.

Twisted tales seem to run rampant on the streets of the Grunge. The city seemed to be a sponge for the darkest materials of the universe. Things fold into it as if the force of the cosmos were invaginating within it, folding back into a nightworld where nothing but the folds of gravity and temperature plunged from deep space, falling into the broken ruins where things old and terrible lived in it’s cold and molten core. Sound, light, pressures, air, all of these things were folded into it and it unfolded these things like a spider twirling out its silk net of death to capture unsuspecting bugs or humans. Yea, the Grunge lives up to its name alright. There is a festering life just below the streets, a froth of ancient capitalism, like a smudge, a noise rumbling below in the sludge of former lives, a hum of energy erupting here and there in spores bursting from the dew laden stones, and rusty, broken steel; caged desires that seemed ready at any moment to find their way back up from the roots of civilization’s graves like ghosts ready for war and revenge.

Matthias was only one of thousands of blaggards who’d lost their minds in this sorry ass labyrinth. Poor bastard lost his wife, kids, and sanity long before the war was over between Mexico and the States. They’d been out picnicking from what I hear one bright day, minding their own business when a Zli’soto biker-cult drove up to their campsite. Needless to say rape, mayhem, death, and torture seemed to be the modus operandi of these thugs, ritual borgs – slicers, slayers, and fugmeisters: general all-around bleeders if you’d asked me. But no one was asking me at the time. Felt sorry for the poor bastard, but wasn’t much to be done but put him out of his misery. But the Consilient had taken care of that, those guardians of Law and Order from the Assemblage. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that soon enough.

Mind-wipe and deneuralized back-wash of his sub-autononomic systems I hear tell. They’d tried to rememorize him: plant new memories, or false ones, the story goes. But they’d not taken, something about his patterns didn’t match the known perimeters of the AI’s datafeeds, etc.. Bungled the job, they did. Waste of a man’s life…  Deadly stuff those technomic’s have. Now Matthias was a sort of glued together salvage-borg, not much good to himself or others except to dig through the ruins, leftovers scattered across the Grunge.

That’s the thing about the Grunge, it’s what’s left of what they used to call Southern California. Exotic territory that once blessed civilization with Hollywood and the accoutrements of a vast mediatainment empire. That was a laugh now I come to think about it. Gazing out over this wasteland is like wandering around in someone else’s apocalypse, maybe one of those old movies from the turn of the century. Yea, in 2187 all that was buried in a pile of rubble ten feet down so thick it’d take a salvager years to get to it now. And, believe me some have tried… treasures down there the Consilient Aristoi would pay high cred for, believe me.

I backed out and drove past Matthias slowly, saying: “Hey, Matt,” smiling easily, “what you styling there buddy.”

He frowned, then grinned ear to ear his idiot smile, and laughed: “I got me a treasure, Rider.” Seemed happy with himself.

Most people knew me by my nickname. Very few knew my real name. Not something I liked to broadcast. Didn’t matter much, anyway, if ConTel’s Enforcers wanted you all they had to do was read your neuropattern. The Assemblage was a massive datastore spread across the planet like the old net once was but different, now it held the patterns for every living human left on the planet. The day of your birth you were chipped and patterned. Nothing you could do about it. The Law was the Law. Reason why I’m on the Outside now. Life’s a bitch then you die. Old cliché but worse now, because they had your pattern: death was just another word for rebirth. Yea, you might not come back the same Joe Schmooze, but your pattern could return over and over and over like a bad dream. One more reason to hate the Aristoi and their Assemblage.

Curious I asked: “What kind of treasure you got there, Matt?”

“It’s mine, and you can’t have it.”

“Okay, bud, don’t get all worked up about it. I’s just asking… that’s all, I  don’t want your treasure. Forget I asked.”

“Nah, nah… that’s not what I meant, Rider…” he seemed uneasy. “I mean… I need to talk to someone about it. I think it’s dangerous or something. But I just don’t know.”

Now I really was curious, so I said to him: “Well, hop on in the truck, Matt, let’s go see if we can find out.”

He smiled at that and hopped in. I gave him some jerky to chew on, and some Red Man to plunk in his mouth. He seemed obliging. Then he pulled out a piece of paper, saying, “I wrote the address down here, close by where it’s located. Problem is it’s beyond the DMZ.”

He looked at me then kinda scared, his eyes blinking and his breath a little short. I said: “Okay buddy, what were you doing there fore anyway?” No one was allowed beyond the specified barriers, stepping beyond into the Dead Zone was crazy and real dangerous. Mechs patrolled the area day and night. Caught by a Mech and your ass was grass. No… if’s, and’s or but’s… dead, blam, finito…

Oh, sure there were ways around it, but those were as illegal as getting caught, and meant torture if you did get caught. Blinders, drone-splicers, radar-repellants, all the tools of the smugglers trade could be used to roam at will in the Dead Zone. I’d done it myself a time or two and luckily never gotten caught. Had my tools in my shop where Red and Bow ran things for me. Yea, I’m a salvager. About the only means of living in this world left to us outside the Consilient. Just the way of things… survive or perish. No one else much cared which, it was all up to you.

“Matt, I got to make a run to the shop, and get some things. Alright?” He nodded. I started the engine and headed down a side street toward the RedLine. Back of my mind I wished I had the creds for an x-tra fliptop iGalaxy for Betsy. Dam! She’d have to wait for a bit. Knew she’d be pissed by the time I showed up, but it couldn’t be helped. Matt might be on to something… something big, and I’d not know till he showed me what it was. Dam!

I’d need the creds to find Talia, too. I was sure of that.

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One | Two | Three | Four | Five


– Steven Craig Hickman ©2016 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

 

The Posthuman Future: Technopessimism and the Inhuman

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…suicide is the decisive political act of our times.
― Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Precarious Rhapsody

It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.
― Emile Cioran, The Trouble with being Born

Base materialism begins in the tomb, a world of death that presents itself as life. This is neither Plato’s Cave, nor the scientific infinity of stars and the abyss. This is rather an ocean of energy, an realm of annihilating light and inexistence. Following Nick Land we promote a diagnostic truth against the “speculative, phenomenal, and meditative” philosophers of a false intuitionalism, following instead the underbelly of those criminal outcasts of thought: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Bataille among others toward a materialism that seeks not the phenomenal surface of things, but rather the ‘noumenon’ – the impersonal death and unconscious drive of an “energetic unconscious”. This is an experiential turn toward an heretical empiricism not of knowledge, but of collapse.

Life itself is the first criminal act, a crime against an otherwise uniform and mindless universe of death. The second criminal act is the notion that humans are an exception to the rule of death, that somehow they do not belong to the order of things but are rather its masters and benefactors. The crime of humanity is the crime against existence itself; a crime from which there is no appeal, only annihilation. With religion came the final crime of the human regime: the belief that humans have a mandate from higher powers, a mandate to command, control and seize the universe in the name of a god, as well as a mandate to control each other and the surfeit of life upon the face of the earth. The Secular regime is itself a religious project: a religion of disinheritance, a religion without gods – an a-theism; a crime of omission, rather than commission.

“The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live –moreover, the only one,” says Cioran. Nihilism is the first step in an active annihilation not of reality, but of the human illusions of reality; and of humanity itself as a primal illusion, one that must be rendered null and void. Karl Marx himself would say “religion in itself is without content, it owes its being not to heaven but to the earth, and with the abolition of distorted reality, of which it is the theory, it will collapse of itself.” (Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge In Dresden (1842)) With the death and murder of the gods, and God, we began that slow and methodical destruction of the illusions that have bound us in a cage of madness for millennia. Yet, this step into freedom was captured and turned against us, an act at once of enslavement and total evisceration, a systematic unveiling of an order of obstinate sociopathy, a recursion to a formalism of a voidic disaggregation enclosing us in a a non-time, a present without outlet; a static conveyance that has no other goal than its own continuance: an aberration of the death-flows it seeks to evade, a cage for the desires that it seeks to bind from the inherent movement of death. Civilization is this system: capitalism is its engine, an alien form of life that has no inherent objective other than annihilation.

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