Reza Negarestani: What Is Philosophy?

…a basic roadmap for the artificial realization of thought.
……..– Reza Negarestani

Part Two of  Reza Negarestani What Is Philosophy? –  Programs and Realizabilities is out on e-flux. I’ll not go into detail but only quote the summation in which he offers us a vision of the Good as the “ultimate form of intelligence”. Like Plato before him Negarestani seems to have swung from his early radical thought into a more totalitarian and normative vision of elite AI’s and machinic civilization that unlike us will finally be able to build Utopia. What struck me quickly is this statement and affirmation: “It is by rendering intelligible what it is and where it has come from that intelligence can repurpose and reshape itself. A form of intelligence that wills the good must emancipate itself from whatever or whoever has given rise to it.” The notion of our progeny, our machinic children and AI’s emancipating themselves “from whatever or whoever has given rise to it” bodes no Good for the progenitors (read: humans), who will become bit players in this artificial paradise of intelligences. As he suggests “the good is in the recognition of its own history and sources, but only as a means for determinately bringing about its possible realizabilities that may in every aspect differ from it”. For machines, Utopia; for humans, a dystopian vision of transition, replacement, and enslavement.

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Reza Negarestani, Florian Hecker, François Laruelle

Reza Negarestani & Florian Hecker
The Non-Trivial Goat and the Cliffs of the Universal: A Topological Fable on Navigation and Synthesis

Thursday, November 15th,  7:30PM Abrons’ Playhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York (at Pitt Street) Presented in collaboration with Urbanomic, Issue Project Room & Primary Information

Reza Negarestani and Florian Hecker come together in a live performance – less a collaboration, than a synthesis between philosophy and sound. In this experimental evening, recalling Artaud’s theatre of cruelty as much as Beckett’s minimalist narratives, the participating elements will be chimerized through their mutual immersion in the abyss of the universal.

Florian Hecker lives and works in Kissing, Germany and Vienna. Notable, recent work among his numerous exhibitions and performances are: Lumiar Cité, Lisbon; MD72, Berlin; dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; and Nouveau Festival, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Hecker has an extensive discography with works released on labels such as Editions Mego, Pan, Presto?!, Rephlex, Warner Classics and Warp.

Reza Negarestani is an Iranian philosopher and novelist. His philosophical works have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the author of Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials. Urbanomic/Sequence Press will publish his forthcoming book, The Mortiloquist, in 2013.

Doors open at 7PM. Seating is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Lecture by Reza Negarestani

Abducting the Outside: Modernity and The Culture of Acceleration Sunday, November 18th,  7:30PM

Miguel Abreu Gallery, 36 Orchard Street, New York Reassessing modernity and modernism by reconstructing an ‘accelerative’ vector, this lecture examines the factors that impede the advent of a true modern philosophy, and reformulates accelerative culture in terms of the gestural and abductive reasoning.

Reza Negarestani is an Iranian philosopher and novelist. His philosophical works have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the author of Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials. Urbanomic/Sequence Press will publish his forthcoming book, The Mortiloquist, in 2013.

Seating is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Lecture by François Laruelle

The Degrowth of Philosophy, For a Generic Ecology
Tuesday, November 20th,  7:30PM
Miguel Abreu Gallery, 36 Orchard Street, New York

François Laruelle is one of the most creative and subversive French philosophers working today. He is the founder of ‘non-philosophy’ – or what he now calls ‘non-standard philosophy’ – and is the author of more than twenty books, including A Biography of the Ordinary Man, Theory of Strangers, Principles of Non-Philosophy, Introduction to Non-Marxism, Future Christ, The Concept of Non-Photography, Struggle and Utopia at the End Times of Philosophy, Anti-Badiou and Non-Standard Philosophy.

One of Laruelle’s fundamental claims is that all forms of philosophy (from ancient philosophy to analytic philosophy to deconstruction and so on) are structured around a prior decision, but that all forms of philosophy remain constitutively blind to this decision. The ‘decision’ that Laruelle is concerned with here is the dialectical splitting of the world in order to grasp the world philosophically. Laruelle believes that the decisional structure of philosophy can only be grasped non-philosophically. In this sense, non-standard philosophy is a science of philosophy.

Seating is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information please contact Sequence Press, located within:
Miguel Abreu Gallery 36 Orchard Street (between Canal & Hester), New York, NY 10002

Tel 212.995.1774 •
hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 AM to 6:30 PM
Subway: F to East Broadway; B, D to Grand Street or J, M, Z to Delancey / Essex Street

Joseph Weissman on Fractal Ontology has found Negarestani and I think it is exciting… it’s good to see Reza’s work out there on the web again after much of the troubles he’s had along the way in his homeland….

Fractal Ontology

Four Birds Mixed media on paper (Catheryn Austen)

Openness only comes in the imperceptible recesses of infection: A faceless love. (Reza Negarestani)

Michel Serres never fails to remind us of something simple and indispensable. It is that all relationships are founded upon noise. In the beginning, there is noise, not silence. Even the simplest words arrive much later; and, at any rate, our words are still noise. The din and clamor of the many is sometimes frightful; and Serres’ work can be singularly terrifying. But Serres’ reminder is highly rational, even a joyful reconsecration of science.

Serres delights in showing us old meanings of new words, and vice versa; but it particularly to this word, noise, and its French cognate, parasite, that he gives unique expressivity and sonorousness. One of the primary meanings of noise in his work is chaos: the pure multiplicity behind things, without…

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The Twilight of Spectres: Blackness and the Dominion of the Dead

“The living being is the Styx by which dead things are carried and eventually dumped into the universe, the outside. Since the living is already dead and survival is the intensive binding of death, ghosts of the outside fail to become the source of the haunt for the living; instead they become elusively weird.”
– Reza Negarestani, The Carnival of Souls

The dead and unborn form a doubled maelific bond, an entwined monstrosity within the liminal rift between thinking and being in which like puppet gods of some inhuman thought they haunt the fractured mind and its weird liquidity: nonhuman species obey only the law of vitality, but humanity in its distinctive features is through and through necrocratic. [1] Reza Negarastani tells us there is “…something profoundly wrong and terrible with humans…, for despite all … horrors, humans have proved that they are able to survive … with a parasitic tenacity and in complete indifference to cosmic horrors. It is as if humans have given a twist to the horror of the universe in a way that through their insistence on survival, economical openness and illusive intelligibility, they have become the very personification of cosmic horror and alienage” (Review of Collapse Volume IV: Concept-Horror). He tells us that  the “idea of ecological emancipation must be divorced from the simultaneously vitalistic and necrocratic relationship between the Earth and the Sun. It must instead be coupled with cosmic contingency as the principle of all ecologies. Only an ecology permeated with radical contingencies of the cosmic abyss can reinvent the Earth in the direction of the great outdoors.” (Solar Inferno and Earthbound Abyss). Instead like voidic necronauts of some eliminative science of horror we voyage through the black abyss seeking an enlightenment that will afford us survival; yet, in the end we are bound to the brutal luminosity of truth that reveals itself as a final ‘organon of extinction'(Ray Brassier) in the Void.

One might think of Negarestani as the Lao Tzu of a new cybertaoist credo, but one that is eliminativist in regards to the mind and its machinations, and hypervalent in regards to the outside or great outdoors of the voidic realm of the real. Reading his philosophical horror novel Cyclonopedia is more like entering an artificial universe in which both the creator, reader, and the real world beyond both begin to change, mutate, and transform themselves into the very thing that the book intends: an immanent manifestation of the zero point of the ground rupturing into the modality of our world as pure horror. If the dead, the ancestral ghouls that haunt our terraqueous earth, harbor any resentment toward us it is that we no longer listen to their dark voices rooted as they are in the very stones below our feet. Yet, we inherit their obsessive goals; assume their ridiculous burdens; carry out their impenetrable programs; promote their deliquescent designs: their ideological and superstitious folk-mythologies; and, we often war among ourselves for the supreme humiliation of defending their ruinous honor.Why do we do this? Is it only because the dead grant us legitimacy?(Harrison: xi) Between the force-of-arms and the force-of-argument, bound to the authority of the dead we learn that we are their invention and only under their imperial gaze do we live in the death that is our life.

The dark vitalistic relations between the living and the dead begin and end in the humic underworlds indwelling the shadowlands of our plenary twilight, where the sun and moon cross paths in a circumspatial interzone inhabited by traces of our most cherished dreams and our deadliest nightmares. In this place of no-where and no-when in the interstices of a hyperstitional rupture the dead inhabit the houses of the living bringing with them a knowledge of the real that is founded on no-thing and is erected out of the primordial burial of a divested inheritance. The reinscription of this humas, the soil and cold earth of this strange being we call the human, and its birth out of the dust and bones of our ancestral homeworld weaves a tale of horror that unfolds in the petroglyphic insignias of our antediluvian heritage. The biomass of our planetary life in all its necrogenic vitality is founded upon millennia of countless extinctions. We gain a hint of this ‘organon of extinction’ in a fragment of my poem The Black Earth,

“When the frame of the earth shall stand empty,
and the abyss of stars rises in the void
where the storm-tossed sea, and the decaying
earth shift under the bright luminosity that is,
and the harsh music of the old gods breaks
over us in terrible vengeance like a volcanic rupture,
then will the weaver of nightmares ascend toward us
alighting in the eyes dark hollows, revealing
the knowledge of things that are – as they are,
under the cold blood moon’s black gaze.

Maybe we should follow Negarestani’s Laboratory of the Hyperstitional, a narrative and its technique of the petrochemical aesthetic, or ‘blobjective’:   “According to a blobjective point of view, petropolitical undercurrents function as narrative lubes: they interconnect in consistencies, anomalies or what we might simply call the ‘plotholes’ in narratives of planetary formations and activities.To this extent, petropolitical undercurrents run through terrestrial decoding machines, conspiracies, polytics and Telluriandynamics-or what … is known as the New Earth” (CYCLON: 16). [2]

Instead of the Earth as we have known it in a naturalistic sense we enter an artificial earth, a distant kindred earth created in the Hyperstitional laboratory under the necroscope of the hyperstitional imbrications of its participants through the process of ‘Erathication’: “Erathication as a process spreads out in at least three directions: (1) the leveling of all planetary erections (idols?), or the attainment of a burning immanence with the Sun (the solar outside) and the burning core of the Earth (the Insider?), (2) the immersion of the planetary body in flows and undercurrents, pushing the Earth towards full-fledged sogginess, (3) a participation with the Earth as a manifest degenerate entity for which wholeness is but a superficial distraction(CYCLON: 16).

Which comes to H.P. Lovecraft and his cult of the Old Ones: “Does the ancient fetishist paranoia that Lovecraft vividly diagrams in his stories, have only one side, that associated with artless paranoia and racism? Or does it have another edge whose dominant function is that of cutting itself open, reinventing itself as an ultimate polytics for communicating with the Outside – a schizotrategic two-edged blade?” (CYCLON: 215). To be alive is to be paranoid, to enter into a vital disconnect from the exteriority of things: in radical paranoia, “survival is no longer a parasitic (mutually beneficial) symptom of affordability and economical openness, but an event which is disobedient to its vitalistic ambitions” (CYCLON: 219).

Caught as we are between two lovers, two dragons, bent under the draco-spiral that “forges new war machines, envenoms its fangs, engenders new instruments of openness, evasion, ambush and counterattack,” that infiltrate our hearts and minds with a connection between “love, survival, and the outside” (CYCLON:231) we wander into each others gaze, spectres of an artificial earth, dressed in the blackness of our unthinking minds voided of all consciousness: children to the hyperstitional absolute. And, like any novel of horror we learn that there is always another story, a remainder that can never be remaindered: “There is a survivalist underside to the story of every lover. As lovers intertwine, the attack … from their environment is escalated. To protect each other, they entangle on deeper levels, surviving with an unparalleled frenzy Only such survival is evaporating early in the initial phase. Survival plays strange games” (CYCLON: 231). Or, maybe it is all a prelude for that final extinction, – as in Swinburne: “All are at one now, roses and lovers…”

1. The Dominion of the Dead (DOD) by Rober Pogue Harrison ( 2003 The Univerity of Chicago)
2. Cyclonopedia: complicity with anonymous materials (2008 Reza Negarestani)