Nick Land: The Sponge that absorbed God

The labyrinth is the unconscious of God, or the repressed of monotheism. … What God really was is something incompatible with anything ‘being’ at all. Real composition is not extrinsically created nature, but if this is a Spinozism, it is one in which substance itself is sacrificed to the scales. So that atheism is in the end (and end without end) an immense sponge, a mega-sponge, the dissolution of boundaries in all of its positive complexity.

– Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation

The darkness shines like the terror of an angel, the clipped wings trailing bloody suns through the labyrinths of time, where the consuming flames like a tortured love are inextricably linked to the death of everything. “Agony alone has the power to seduce us, and it is to our most savage torments that we most ardently cling. We know that a life that was not torched into charcoal by desire would be an unendurable insipidity” (175).1  An ancient music of howls and screams purges this deadly angel, subtracting him from the torpor of a twisted thought, melding his mind to the core heat sink of a black hole where the zero point of eternity and time fold into the labyrinthine scales.

Only those isolates who partake of this anti-logos understand the unbounded freedom of oblivion, they know that it too serves a god. The density between the stars is almost too much for such creatures, they need the silences of immanence rather than the transcendent specters of  those angelic hierarchies to absolve all those crimes of eternity. Its only in the gaps, absences, discontinuities; in the fragments, juxtapositions, and abandoned plans of feral utopias; in the flows of quantum spinal cores collapsing toward the center of an intoxicated dementia that we discover the savage gods of our blasted inheritance. In this wraith-realm the virological horrors begin. Here is Bataille’s community of the disjecta: a scattered remnant, fallen revenants of the Void. “Bataille is less an ‘interesting writer’ than a loathsome vice, and to be influenced by him is less a cultural achievement than a virological horror; far closer to the spasmodic rot of untreated syphilis than to the enrichment of an intellect” (178).

Even as you read these words the fragmented text of your own being is being annihilated moment by moment. The illusions of your habitual mind, the small repetitions of others influences, the traces of fabricated imbrications of thought that mark your psyche undo the very fibers of your own empty reflective nothingness.

“Confronting the absolute posed by our inevitable extinction, we feel brave, proud of ourselves, we permit ourselves a little indulgence, swooning in the delectations of morbidity. To face up to death is more than the others do, our haunted grimace becomes a complacent smile, we run our hands lovingly over the lichen-spattered graves.” (180)

Even the angels envy our infinity of death. “Across the aeons our mass hydro-carbon enjoys a veritable harem of souls” (180). And here you thought Life was for the living, much more the dead. Death feeds on us each second of our lives, the cells you have now do not belong to the creature you were at entry into this labyrinth. “Matter is in flight from the possibility of essence as if from an original pertinency of ontology, and life is merely the most aberrant and virological variant of this flight” (181). Adventurers in the art of death, we travel in a dimension of confusion seeking out the threads of an impossible externality. Quarantined in this compositional ghetto on the edge of a void we sift the slums of creation for signs of God’s body only to find that it is immanent to the  virological madness of our own reasoning minds. Ariadne’s threads are none other than the filaments of our own neuronal tentacles tallying the fragments of an unbounded infinity.

1. Nick Land. The Thirst for Annihilation. (Routledge 1992)

Nick Land: Mandelbrot and the gibberings of the Lobotomy Ward

Academic prose has the remarkable capacity to plunge one into a sublime dystopian nightmare…

– Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation

Nick Land once remarked that just one of Cioran’s casual jokes is of inestimably greater value in making contact with Nietzsche than the full corpus of Heidegger’s ponderously irrelevant Nietzsche.1 In the same light he said the Deleuze’s early work on Nietzsche was saved because he was one of the few academics who could actually think! Even Klossowski’s work was worth reading although as Land remarked it “stinks of transcendental philosophy” (155).  Otherwise, Land tells us, everything else everything else written by academics is nothing but the “mystical vacuity, the gibberings of a lobotomy ward” (155).

Only one book fulfilled this scholar of the night’s vision of an approach to Nietzsche, that was the work of Georges Bataille’s, Sur Nietzsche. Upon encountering this work Land remarked on his mounting excitement:

…no sign of scholarship or servility, prose that burns like an ember in the void, precision, profundity, exprit. The shock is almost lethal. The euphoria blazes painfully for weeks. At last! A book whose aberration is on the scale of Nietzsche’s own; a sick and lonely book. The fact that such a book could be published even dampens one’s enthusiasm for the universal eradication of the species. (156)

Continue reading

Nick Land: The Master of the Infernal Wisdom

True poetry is hideous, because it is base communication… Poetry does not strut logically amongst convictions, it seeps through the crevices; a magmic flux resuscitated amongst vermin.

– Nick Land

There has always been a little of the stench of hell in Land’s infernal writings, a sort of theatre of blood wherein God is slaughtered over and over again for his crimes against creation – of which the greatest truth is that creation itself is the greatest crime: the ultimate catastrophe; neither designed nor fabricated, but born out of the marriage of two voids, the void that is more than something but less than nothing, arising from the dependent void that is the crack we call the universe. The Ruins of Time: the truth of god’s creation… “No profound exploration can be launched from the ruins of monotheism unless it draws its resources from damnation” (216).1 One would rather say: One is creative to the extent that she gathers her truths from the bloody lips of the damned. One must have an inferno within, be singed by the sulfurous flames of the pit, know the blindness of those dark precursors below the surface where the black hells lick the belly of the beast that is Time to speak of paradise. We all seek our infernal paradises like fallen angels of a lost thought, gathering within our minds the trajectories of insane wisdom, marshaling the secret vectors of a frozen insight into futurity. Land has been there before us, wandered the dank cavities of this bleak realm, gathered the flowers of death with glee, and brought back out of that shamanic realm truths that bleed.

The death of God is a religious event – a transgression, experiment in damnation, and stroke of antitheistic warfare – but this is not to say it is pre-eminently a crime. Hell has no interest in our debauched moral currency. To confuse reactive dabblings in sin with expeditions in damnation is Christian superficiality; the Dantean error of imagining that one could earn oneself an excursion in Hell, as if the infernal too was matter of justice. (216)

Continue reading

Nick Land: Death is Immense

 “Base matter is external and foreign to ideal human aspirations, and it refuses to allow itself to be reduced to the great ontological machines resulting from these aspirations…”

– Georges Bataille

What are those forces below the threshold that escape all those investigative reporters of our darkening humanity? There is an excess that escapes the light, that flows out of the zero sum nullity of a non-space and non-time of which our philosophical harbingers are unaware. What if everything was already contaminated, already part of the base slime of existence? What if it were the most vile, disgusting, sacrilegious, and profane excesses; the most foreign and degrading aspects of existence that reveal the truth we are in need of? “Bataille’s matter is that which must be repressed as the condition of articulation, whereby immanent continuity is vivisected in transcendence (122).” 1

E.M. Cioran whose excesses lead him to a gnostic inversion, one that touches not the a-Cosmic god beyond the cosmos but instead drifts with the slime of this degradation, this catastrophe of the kenoma: our universe of death. Cioran sides with all that is base, all that is excluded, ungrounded, cold, and inhuman. Like Cioran, Georges Bataille, followed the Discordia of Gnostic thought hoping to carry its black “germs of a bizzare but mortal subversion of the ideal” into our modern world. 2 As Benjamin Noys tells us: “Gnosticism is important to Bataille because it leads to ‘the most monstrous dualistic and therefore strangely abased cosmogonies” (502). As his ephebe Nick Land states it:

“Base materialism is the plague of unilateral difference, which is difference that only operates from out of the undifferentiated. … A unilateral difference is the simultaneity of a tendency to separation and a persistence of continuity, which is a thought that cannot be grasped, but only succumbed to in delirium. For any ardent materialism truth is madness” (TA 123-125).

 Following the ancient theurgy Bataille practices a new form of magical practice, he teaches us dip our hands in mud and shit, shape figures of monstrous proportion based on the ‘non-logical difference’ of this strange excess inscribed in the darkest particles and particulates of non-being within the void of the Void. Levi R. Bryant in a new post tell us “don’t track in abstractions”. Nick Land also taught that for Bataille, abstraction keeps us from the delirium of the real:

“The dominant tendencies in philosophy are complicit with ordinary language in their suppression of unilateral differences. Because separation is normally thought of as mutual discontinuity, the world is interpreted as an aggregate of isolated beings, which are extrinsically amalgamated into structures, systems, and societies. Such thinking precludes in principle all possibility of base contact or communion” (TA 124).

And, it is the need for an affective relation, a base contact and communion, an orgy of the senses in the theatre of mater materia that we seek. Base matter is external and foreign to ideal human aspirations, and it refuses to allow itself to be reduced to the great ontological machines resulting from these aspirations. But the psychological process brought to light by Gnosticism had the same impact: it was a question of disconcerting the human spirit and idealism before something base, to the extent that one recognized the helplessness of superior principles. Even becoming and time are contaminated, fractured and “subordinated to a transcendent law, allowing it to be judged, denigrated, and condemned” (TA 129). Lost among our memories, living our tributary deaths, we learn the harshest truth:

“Humanity is a petrified fiction hiding from zero, a purgatorial imprisonment of dissolution, but to be stricken with sanctity is to bask in death like a reptile in the sun. God is dead, but more importantly, God is Death. The beginning of the secret is that death is immense” (TA 131).

1. Nick Land. The Thirst for Annihilation. (Routledge 1992)
2. Benjamin Noys. Georges Bataille’s Base Materialism (Cultural Values Volumes 2 Number 4 1998 499-517) (pdf)