META-NOMAD

Time-sink

In massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), time sinks are a method of increasing the time needed by players to do certain tasks, hopefully causing them to subscribe for longer periods of time. Players may use the term disparagingly to describe a simplistic and time-consuming aspect of gameplay, possibly designed to keep players playing longer without significant benefit. Time sinks can also be used for other gameplay reasons, such as to help regenerate resources or monsters in the game world. – Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘time sinks’ lately. The definition above in relation to gaming is increasingly being expanded into the domain of reality, it’s a small splinter within modernity and complacence that allows one – if they so wish – to aim themselves at something of a greater horizon. Let me expand on a few common time-sinks. Gaming of course is one, binging a TV series, binging-consumption in general etc., but what makes these activities time-sinks as opposed to a way to spend time. Well, with gaming it’s fairly simple, the mechanics – as previously defined – are built in, there to hold you for the sake of holding you. Yet it is TV series where the time-sink really shows itself, if you allow it to. See, there’s little wrong with watching a series or show or presentation. That is of course if the choice was yours, you were indifferent to the rest and actively allowed a piece of media to traverse the drawbridge and be allowed reflection. The time-sink on the other hand is watching a TV series again and again for the sake of watching it again.

“I’ve seen [insert popular TV series here] at least 10 times!”

The problem is that you only really ever experience it once, and any repetitive viewing, gaming or reading is usually a melancholy attempt at retaining that initial escape and connection. Behind the time-sink is a mode of being wherein you begin to find other-things, other-experiences. Behind the useless thresher of empty-consumption, of controlled-time and rhythmically calculated frying of your amygdala is the lure of Outside. An Outside over nihilism, something more, perhaps not ever tenable in-itself, nor fully agreeable to oneself, but a mode outside of the thresher all the same. But how does this strangeness come about, wherein is it experienced?

You go to your box, your TV, your controller, your piece or thing or object or desire or lust or supposed lack, and you do what you do because you’ve always done this. You don’t understand why nor ever think of if there is such a why, you don’t question, you do…you are utility in spirit. You understand little but how to act in relation to a minor form of production, you are a combination of parts which all revolve around utilizing things with regard to larger combinations of things, you do do do all the live long day. Perhaps you should head behind, I shall write in a future post of ditching your smartphone, not as an anti-modernist feat, but simply because it is a time-sink. And so,

You lay down your phone, you turn off the TV and finally turn of the PC. Outside of these 3 things the majority of people no longer have any life. Bar their work and survival functions they have nothing else. They’re consumed by a feedback loop of regurgitated dopamine producing micro-stuffs. You turn these off, think for yourself, without these what do you have, what happens to the very concept of doing once common notions of ‘to do’ are removed? Most wont know, and I’m not saying I have any answers, but if there are any they most likely are within that odd space of nothingness which makes you feel nauseous at its very reality.

Maybe you’d get around to reading that lengthy book you’ve been meaning to start, or begin learning some hobby, go see an old friend, go…I dunno, wait, what do I want to do? Huh, not sure. So you keep thinking about various things and come to no conclusions. It’s all very strange in here you say.

You’re sitting on the sofa now, staring ahead. You don’t seem to want those things you got rid of months ago. Phone, TV, games, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, arguments…all gone. And you sit and be for a bit, for a while each day you just be, and it’s quite nice, your mind dissolves out from the mud into a clearance, just for a moment. And the more you reduce everything the more it all makes sense, some days it makes more sense, others less. Those things you don’t miss added nothing, your indifference is peaking constantly.

The beauty here is that you no longer rush, because the more you reduce the less you rush. Humans have no teleology that isn’t created from a spook of the mind. You used to subconsciously rush home, didn’t you? Speeding in traffic, looking at the clock every minute at work, why? Because there was a new TV show out, or you wanted to continue playing that game, or finish some oddity of production and consumption…“If I could just finish all media then I would be complete.” These things used to give you just enough self-satisfaction regarding completion that you felt accomplished almost every minute. “Yes, 5 episodes tonight.” “Yes, 2 mission complete tonight.” “Yes, X amount of finite Y tonight.”.

And so you remove these things, these nothings and what’s left, no urges, no strange compulsions or rushes to get from A to B. You’re-being-in-traffic, being-cooking-food, being-eating etc. there’s no where you need to be because you already are.

Peak (Cheap) Oil – Neck On The Line

Lots of back and forth (with good friends) on Twitter around the ‘Peak Oil’ thing, so I’m going to quickly tap out a post here clarifying my position – excuse errors, this has been a quick exercise in articulating my stand and also a means to put my neck on the line.

So from the off I need to reiterate something about ‘Peak Oil’, it doesn’t – to me and many other ‘Peak Oil’ theorists (including JMG) – mean the literal end of oil, no. It means a peak unto which the extraction, production and use rates of oil as a primary means of energy within our society. It is clear that oil is our primary means of energy at current – if one can find a paper that states otherwise please send it to me. Now, my point was that the right hand side of Hubbert’s Curve – post the 2000-peak – is wherein oil prices will begin to rise and rise disproportionately in relation to wages. It has been stated that there has already been a rise or multiplication of oil prices 2-3x, yes sure, but 2x 0.5 is far different to 2x 1.3 over only a 40-70 year time span, that is, this isn’t enough time for inflation to really merit the rate of change – or, the limit to oil is taking effect.

Now, from this people will – as many on Twitter, and myself in my previous post stated – begin to realize or even accept this new oil-less reality and alter their lifestyles accordingly. No longer will driving more than 5 miles to work be possible, or dare I say if driving to work will even be economically viable. People will reuse their plastics etc. and consume less oil based products due to their high prices. Now, mentioned here is always the idea of alternatives. Yes of course there are alternative sources of energy, solar, wind, hemp etc etc. But, these sources of energy supply no where near the same amount of energy-input to energy-output ratio as oil did in its initial find, that is, we had to put hardly any energy into getting a shit-ton of oil, whereas we need to put a ridiculous amount of energy into a solar panel, often taking years to meet a 1-1 energy ratio with regard to its output.

Here’s the kicker, people begin to make alterations to their lifestyle, but the means to cater to their presupposed standard of living simply isn’t there because we don’t have the energy reserves to even begin creating an energy infrastructure that can meets the demands previously made by oil. Unless such an infrastructure is made now whilst we still have a fair amount of cheap oil to do so, there will be a distinct inability to make it. You can’t make solar panels with the energy supplied by the solar panels you’ve yet to make. Once oil begins to run dry – in terms of profitability of extraction – you really think someone is going to extract oil at an energy loss so that the public can have solar panels, no they’re not. Hence the problem. At current oil usage should be being directed at an alternative energy future, but it isn’t and once peak-cheap-oil hits to the extent where people start uprooting their lives there wont be a safety net there for people to fall onto, you can’t just suddenly switch to a means of energy that isn’t there.

Here’s what will be stated as arguments against my case here –

“Well, once the oil starts to have low energy-output rates (It already is) we’ll begin using better methods of extraction.”

If such methods existed why aren’t we already using them, you’re hoping on something that doesn’t even exist, you are putting your faith in technological progress.

“We’ll move to alternative sources of energy.”

I’ve outlined why this wont be the case, unless of course we suddenly begin creating such an infrastructure.

“You’re on par with a fear-mongering collapse-ist!”

I can’t massively refute this, but ultimately this time-span will be – and here’s me sticking my neck on the line – within the next 10-30 years. I think that’s tight enough to merit some risk on my part, I think clear mass alterations to western/civilized lifestyles will begin around 2030. By this I mean a massive decrease in people driving to work, eating packaged foods, the usage of nationwide distribution, holidays etc. etc.

Have at it.

Peak (Cheap) Oil

So I decided not to title these posts under any heading, they will more than likely digress very quickly anyway, consider it ‘Meta’s Z/Acc Series’ if you have to, they will all be loosely held together under the themes of collapse, decline, decay and you-seriously-thought-this-was-going-to-last.

I’m starting with Peak Oil, mainly because it’s a post I sort of want to get out of the way. Not that I don’t enjoy reading about Peak Oil, but it’s been done to death and basically people are in one of 3 camps: Don’t know about it (Normies), know about it and ignore/refuse it (sunk cost) or know about it and accept it. As you can imagine, I’m in camp 3, but there’s a few things to note about Peak Oil which aren’t often brought to the fore by collapse-centric thinkers, so I’ll try come at this from at least a slightly unique angle.

“Let me explain something to you. The sun throws a certain amount of energy onto this planet, we turn it into food, clothing, shelter etc. It supports an amount of us and it took 30,000 years for that amount to become 1 billion. Then we found a way to use ancient sunlight, sunlight trapped in oil and coal, we started to live off that, what happened? In just 130 years our population doubled, the next billion took 30 years, the 4th billion has taken just 14. So here’s the question, what do you think is going to happen when that oil and coal runs out in say, 100 years? When there’s 10 billion living on a planet that can support only 1!”

I think we’re going to tear each other to shreds…”

At last, someone with an ounce of fucking brain. Malaria…the only disease that needs curing is us.” – Utopia

I’ll be honest, they hammed up Philip Carvel’s character just enough to make him seem maniacal and often untrustworthy, yet, his underlying premise holds true. And no, this isn’t a Malthusian ‘thing’, it’s an oil thing. I’m not massively concerned about ‘how many can be supported’, I’ve seen the average person (many times in fact), we most definitely don’t need more. The point here is that the fundamental fuel of our civilization is/are fossil fuels. Products which have accumulated over hundreds of thousand of years and are now being extracted and barrelled at a rate of 80,000,000 barrels per day (here). Nothing compares to this stuff, literally nothing, with regard to its combination of energy, versatility, transportability, energy output and ease of storage.

But Meta, I only use my car, surely I don’t use that much oil…it isn’t that fundamental, right?”

(Apologies for the table chart)

Solvents Diesel fuel Motor Oil Bearing Grease
Ink Floor Wax Ballpoint Pens Football Cleats
Upholstery Sweaters   (that explains the itchy sweater I have at home) Boats Insecticides
Bicycle Tires Sports Car Bodies Nail Polish Fishing lures
Dresses Tires Golf Bags Perfumes
Cassettes Dishwasher parts Tool Boxes Shoe Polish
Motorcycle Helmet Caulking Petroleum Jelly Transparent Tape
CD Player (do people still have these?) Faucet Washers Antiseptics Clothesline
Curtains Food Preservatives Basketballs Soap  (that explains why soap doesn’t clean oil off your hands)
Vitamin Capsules Antihistamines Purses Shoes
Dashboards Cortisone Deodorant Footballs
Putty Dyes Panty Hose Refrigerant
Percolators Life Jackets Rubbing Alcohol Linings
Skis TV Cabinets Shag Rugs Electrician’s Tape
Tool Racks Car Battery Cases Epoxy Paint
Mops Slacks Insect Repellent Oil Filters
Umbrellas Yarn Fertilizers Hair Coloring
Roofing Toilet Seats Fishing Rods Lipstick
Denture Adhesive Linoleum Ice Cube Trays Synthetic Rubber
Speakers Plastic Wood Electric Blankets Glycerin
Tennis Rackets Rubber Cement Fishing Boots Dice
Nylon Rope Candles Trash Bags House Paint
Water Pipes Hand Lotion Roller Skates Surf Boards
Shampoo Wheels Paint Rollers Shower Curtains
Guitar Strings Luggage Aspirin Safety Glasses
Antifreeze Football Helmets Awnings Eyeglasses (I thought they were made from glass)
Clothes Toothbrushes Ice Chests Footballs
Combs CD’s & DVD’s Paint Brushes Detergents
Vaporizers Balloons Sun Glasses Tents
Heart Valves Crayons Parachutes Telephones
Enamel Pillows Dishes Cameras
Anesthetics Artificial Turf Artificial limbs Bandages
Dentures Model Cars Folding Doors Hair Curlers
Cold cream Movie film Soft Contact lenses Drinking Cups
Fan Belts Car Enamel Shaving Cream Ammonia
Refrigerators Golf Balls Toothpaste (Yuck) Gasoline

 

“Fuck.”

According to the IEA current deposits are declining at a rate of 6.7% per annum. Therefore within 10 years existing deposits will give us only half their current energy output. Unless of course new deposits are found.

“Fuck.”

“if these predictions are correct – and numerous studies seem to corroborate them – between 2011 and 2016, we are going to lose the equivalent of 18 million barrels per day. Now, some recently discovered deposits give us, at the moment, a bonus of 7.6 million barrels per day. But that still leaves a gap of 10.4 million barrels per day. And this is only the case if the economy remains stationary – zero growth. If, one the other hand, we can expect 3 percent growth, that makes 13 million barrels per day that we shall lose. If growth is 4 percent, that makes 14 million barrels; if 5 percent, 15 million. And if we boost the economy in the Chinese fashion, reaching 10 percent, we shall be losing 20 million barrels per day.” – Survive – The Economic Collapse, Piero San Giorgio.

If we look at Hubbert’s Peak Theory we can see the general curve of oil discovery, through – roughly – to the present day drop in production, extraction and discovery.

The beauty of Hubbert’s Peak Theory is that, on a fairly rough timescale, you can equate one side of the curve to its respective reflection in time. That is, if you look at the peak and see that around the year 2000 the peak was at its absolute highest point. Thus, 30 years prior and 30 years after the year 2000 will roughly be the same, or (and you’d best already be clutching your pearls for this); the amount of oil we’ll be producing in 2030 will be the same as 1970. Anyone here who studied math or economics at a high school level is now most likely sweating. We’ll be producing the amount of oil needed in 1970 for the amount of people there will be in 2030. The declining phase is much longer that the time passed between the start of production and its peak. I theorize this is because of high prices, rationing or simply inability to acquire any from elites etc.

As shown by the graph above discoveries are at an – almost – all time low – why? Because once the oil boom was well underway we of course targeted the easiest sources of oil first, where the oil – quite literally – shoots out of the ground. Whereas currently the cost to extract a barrel of oil – in relation its inherent energy output – is –

“Back in the 1920’s, oil was paying off at 100-to-1,” said Zencey. “It took one barrel of oil to extract, process, refine, ship and deliver 100 barrels of oil. That’s a phenomenal rate of return. If you work out the percentage, that’s a 10,000 percent rate of return.” But that’s not the rate of return today. Now, conventional oil production worldwide pays off at about a 20-to-1 ratio. And in Canada, where the oil comes from tar sands, it’s closer to 5-to-1. ” – (Link) (This is now on average, 3-to-1)

“Since 1980, we have been consuming four barrels of oil for every new one we have discovered.” – Survive The Economic Collapse.

Let me take a very quick outline from ol’ John Michael Greer (JMG) to succinctly cover ‘peak oil’:

  • The world’s oil reserves are finite
  • We’ve already used close to half the total recoverable oil on the planet
  • We’ve pumped more oil than we’ve discovered every year since 1964
  • Production at most currently producing oil fields is declining
  • New fields and alternative sources such as tar sands are barely filling the gap
  • The situation is more likely to get worse than better in coming decades

JMG, Conspiracy Theories

Is this the ‘end of oil’? No. It’s the end of cheap oil. Oil isn’t simply going to go away, those last few remaining dregs wont actually be dregs at all…there will be a lot of oil left under the Earth. But, the means and energy cost to extract it – bar some amazing new invention (‘They’ll think of something’ fallacy) – will be far greater than the energy of the oil, hence, no company is going to bother extracting the stuff. So what will this mean? Well, I imagine that in very rational terms oil prices will just keep increasing until eventually many people either A. Make sacrifices elsewhere and continue their oil-based lifestyles, B. Re-model their lives around the expense of driving everywhere, or C. Collapse now and avoid the rush, let me expand on this.

Want to get ahead of peak oil? Stop going on your shitty holidays. No one gives a shit that you went to some tourist-trap sweat-pit in the Mediterranean and ate some shrimp, no one cares about your fancy 3L BMW, or your dumb excursions around the country every other weekend, nor do they care about your idiotic plastic trinkets that you amass in place of a personality, drop all this shit and live how the large majority of humanity used to…within your means. Walk or bike to work. Only replace things that are literally broken beyond repair. On that note, learn to fix things. For now, drive an old, reliable, economic car. Get your clothes from charity shops, or…and hey isn’t this novel, look after your stuff! Look after your health. Help people, it’s what we used to do, it’s called cooperation.

“To accept that and act on the knowledge, though, is to hear the words the statue of Apollo said to Rainier Maria Rilke: Du muss dein leben andern, “You must change your life.”” – JMG, Blame it on Gilgamesh

Some of you might be thinking “But Meta, isn’t the act of having children one of the clearest ways to increase your carbon footprint by 8x?” Why yes, yes it is. And? What sort of weird argument is that? Don’t continue humanity because things are going to get tough, it doesn’t sit right with me. Also, if your first thought when thinking about having children is their ‘carbon-footprint’ well I think you’ve got your priorities wrong. Also, and this is the big also, you can bring your children up in a non-Western middle class way. You don’t have to drive them to school in an SUV, feed them processed shit and give them toys every week.

Oh, you feel bitter because your parents – and potentially grandparents – got all that nice stuff and you didn’t? Well here’s the skinny on that. It was a fucking anomaly. The average Western binman lives, quite literally, the life of the average Empire of antiquity (bar the power). Also, stop attempting to mirror your lives to the previous generation’s, there’s never been a correct or ‘good’ generation, by and large none of them were ‘great’, there’s a few outliers in terms of average etiquette and temperament, but other than that it’s all romantic conservatism. Also, have you seen their lives? They suck. All they focus on is things. Ok, this is getting close to Chris McCandless’ nostalgia for authenticity etc. but hey, it’s true. New car, new clothes, games consoles, holidays, jobs, qualifications etc. A massive ensemble of practically useless shit, entirely void of substance. There’s a reason boomers harped on about CVs so fucking much, it makes it easier for them to see if you’re worth having as a friend.

A note on the insane amount of oil that is used in America:

“If the average American used only as much energy per year as the average European, America would be exporting oil, not importing it.” – JMG, Managing Decline

Imagine though, seriously, by 2030 the entire system of Western urbanized transport – inclusive of distribution chains – is going to be brought to its knees, why? Because we didn’t check to see how much fuel we had, we didn’t think ahead. Because here’s the real effect that super cheap oil had on our society for the past 100 years:

“for the first (and probably only) time in history, it was cheaper to build a machine to do almost everything than to have a human being do it.” – JMG, After the Prosthetic Society

We just wont have that possibility anymore, good ol’ humans will be back to get things going again. Except this time it will be a mass of humans thrown into quite the predicament, the large majority of Western men – nor their fathers – no longer have the skills needed to do almost anything practical. Shit, I know of at least 10 ‘fully grown, over 30 years of age adults who can’t cook…grown people who cannot feed themselves. Imagine ever thinking, just for a second, that such a situation was in anyway normal.

 

 

Eating Tuna from the Tin

So I said that when I finally finished my dissertation that I would delve deep into Z/Acc. Well, now is that time. I wasn’t sure what to call this series. Mainly because I know it’s going to be my longest yet, I’ve got so many ideas for blog posts on this topic its almost crazy, as a blogger you get a certain kind of buzz from finding new points of overlap. I was initially going to call it Dirty Future as a sort of tongue-in-cheek jab at the sphere I’ve been working in prior, yet, that doesn’t feel right. I can’t say for certain that the prophecies of Kurzweil, Land etc. haven’t/wont come true. Many most definitely have (see here), and many will come true in a stranger fashion…not the future we wanted, but the one we got etc. Then I was going to call it Notes from a Dead Dog, because that sounded cool and sort of harsh, the corpse of a rotten, loving mutt seems apt and I can’t really explain why. Perhaps Z/Acc journal, I don’t know, anyway, I’m writing this post as a means to figure out what it should be called, so I can group it all together.

A few thoughts,

 

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

 

I’m not much of a fan of Picasso, yet I always liked this quote, not in its relation to art, nor even aesthetics. You see, it took me 25 years to exist as a modern man, and it’s going to take me a lifetime to simply exist again. I grew, and much like the rest of the West (male and female) I sort of nonchalantly was whilst being parasitically infected by various external stimuli. This could be misconstrued as a Chomsky-esque Manufacturing Consent type thing, perhaps it is, I don’t massively care. Either way, as I grew, I became slowly formed. Mass-media, TV, Internet, Carbohydrates, Diet-Fads, Low-Fat, excess sugar, video-games, ‘public education’, binge drinking, smoking and more, more…more. Always a distraction.

I note Picasso’s quote because I feel, at current, that the task set for me is to strip off as much of this excess modern/progressivist/consumer bullshit as possible. Sounds angsty, it is, it can’t be helped. I haven’t watched TV for years now, I borrow a Netflix account but can’t really focus on it anymore, it seems like a mimicry of TV more than TV in itself. I highly recommend David Foster Wallace’s E Unibus Pluram on this. I kept up with the political stuff for a while, moved back and forth, up and down, between colours, isms etc. It’s all sort of dry after you come to accept GNON in abstract. Even then I couldn’t care less, largely because anyone whose very nature inclines them to be interested in becoming a politician leads me to distrust them (I am pro anonymous-leader). The Internet was great, most of the old net is gone, weirdly lost. Now we’re post-Facebook-slump. An odd malaise of repetition where due to the absolute influx and accessibility of data very rarely are arguments even formulated, we can attend to multiple biases at one time, alluding to the fact that we probably don’t really know, or maybe we do, either way, there’s something inherently shut-the-fuckable about the internet in general. The carbs thing is a little bit of a quip, sure, but it’s true. I grew up in this era of culture so removed from its substance that what one interacted with was either consumption & production, or malaise and a sense of mourning. Normie or death. I could go on.

My point being is a point that has been repeated time and time and time again, you’re probably not very close to yourself, strip back the layers and see what you find. A digression. At work, before I leave off, I eat a can of tuna out of the tin prior to the gym. My work colleagues still sort of grin, grimace or poke fun at the act, it doesn’t bother me…it bothers them, ha. However, it was an act that made me realise how utterly removed from reality the average person is. “Look at this dude! He’s eating food in…in a…err…not normal way! HA! Got ‘im!” What happened? It’s like Oedipus got an upgrade between 2000 and 2010, was Facebook Oedipus’ upgrade?

Anyway, it was strangely enough a sort of pinnacle moment for me. I was just finishing up my dissertation around the time the tuna-mocking began and was going to be freed up so I thought for a long time on why it resonated with me so much, why that simple act had really conceptually rattled me. I’ll be honest, I still can’t really pinpoint why, or what about it is so apt, but the long and short is, it was the most perfect metaphor for the reality of the average homo-economicus, it was as ‘the consumer’ had suddenly popped out of the simulacrum as a pure concept and laughed at me. Imagine being that locked into to some strange form of consumerist normality that someone else just eating bland food is cause for disruption, cause for annoyance, anger…perhaps even a sort of gut level disgust at social tenacity. It was the moment that made it all click, ‘Yes,’ I said to myself ‘we are literally amidst a global socio-economic and environmental collapse…and that attitude is the nerve-system.’. All of a sudden I was free to do what I wanted, I always have been, but another layer of social gravity had fallen off – one of the last, the one just before living in the woods in a loin cloth – and I no longer gave a shit about so many more things.

Firstly I ditched my smart phone, there’s nothing smart about them. In actuality, they’re likely the most boring things ever made. Pray tell, what do you do on a smartphone? Check Facebook, dull. Check apps, you don’t need to do that all the time. There’s little point to them and most likely you’ll never look at anything you do on them after the first time. So I’m back to an old phone and text mobile, which is basically just for calls…so it’s basically always off and I’m free to do what I want without people interrupting me. Mobile phones are inherently rude, “Sorry, I’ll just stop you there, I have to answer this.” Wait, what? Since when did that become the norm. Then I basically stripped back my possessions. I still have a few bits I’m clinging due largely because of sunk cost, but I’d argue that in monetary terms my possessions (leaving aside my car and home) are as follows: 80% books, 10% clothes, 5% memberships (gym, karate and online) and the other 5% is random. I eat a carnivore diet but will be transitioning to locally sourced soon ‘cus of the collapse. Get Used to Local Potatoes Now and Avoid the Rush.

I’ll be honest once you ditch your smartphone, Facebook, Netflix, TV and having a PC on all the time, your half way to getting back to some sort of original state. By that I don’t mean authentic, I just mean as close to un-tampered with as possible. You suddenly have loads of time, more worth, less worry and more concern and conscientiousness.

You ever try take a walk in the woods in last 5 years, on your own, no attachments. Try it, your brain will most likely act like a worm having a seizure. “But…but…what the fuck do I….DO!” Go be.

Anyways, that was a little thing I wanted to sort of shoot out very quickly tonight, will touch on many of these topics again. But be prepared for Z/Acc stuff, lots of it.

Accelerationism: Capitalism as Critique

Accelerationism: Capitalism as Critique

With special thanks to:

Amy Ireland for helping me to understand the Outside, and for taking the time to answer my consistent questions.

And to ‘The Castle’ for their continual support in all of life’s endeavours.

(DOC for easier reading here)

INTRODUCTION

In this essay I aim to answer multiple questions, all of which are concluded by answering 1 overarching question, ‘What is Accelerationism?’. In recent years Accelerationism has been primarily posited as a political movement, or a new form of politics. In reaction to this contemporary wave of incorrect Accelerationist theorization, my aim is to thoroughly outline the philosophy of Accelerationism, which when articulated correctly in relation to the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Gilles Deleuze, not only alters our understanding of Accelerationism, but leaves the entire politics meaningless and confused.

The politics however will only be a meagre afterthought of this essay. The primary tasks set out for me are to define the process of Acceleration, and in doing so define Accelerationism. I aim to answer these 2 questions by working metaphorically upwards, from the smallest unit of production analysable in-itself, man, all the way through to articulating the assemblage of processes and functions that compound into Acceleration. Within this essay the word ‘Acceleration’ is capitalised as a means of emphasising its relation to Accelerationism, as opposed to its classical usage. Alongside this, as this essay utilizes transcendental philosophy as its fundamental philosophical position, any notion of levels, planes, heights, ups, downs, aboves and belows etc. are only used as a means for ease of understanding, and are definitely not levels in relation to transcendence.

I begin with a Kantian extrapolation of the ‘Inside’, a term utilized within this essay to describe the transcendental reality of man, of the synthesized space and time he inhabits via his senses, an ‘Inside’ which is always in relation/connection to the ‘Outside’. Within this section the perspective is from the Inside in relation to how it functions with regard to the transcendental. I begin with an exposition on classical desire, using it as a placeholder for the ‘material processes’ of the Inside. Theorizing of their transformation in relation to critique through to their dissolution via the work of Jean-Francois Lyotard and Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari. This section is intended as both an articulation of the emptiness and vessel-esque status of the Inside in relation to the forces of the Outside, whilst simultaneously acting as a singular part of the process of Acceleration, to later be utilized in a manner of compounding.

Following from this dissolution of the material processes, I intend to utilize the work of Deleuze and Guattari as a means to transcendentally dissolve the material, inclusive of man, into the process of the transcendent itself. I achieve this by deconstructing the concept of the desiring-machine in relation to its components, ‘desire’ and ‘machines’, from which I assimilate the concept as a whole into Gilles Deleuze’s 3 syntheses of time, I do so as a means to show how both the material (space) and actions (time) of the Inside are wholly secondary to the processes of the Outside. From this temporal conclusion I utilize the Deleuzian conceptions of the virtual and actual as a means to articulate the method of connection and communication between the Inside and Outside, explaining that the communication is – with one exception (Schizophrenia) – entirely unilateral from the Outside to the Inside, and as such the Outside is theorized as primary.

From this theorization I begin to outline in abstract the process of Acceleration in relation to the Inside. Wherein from Deleuze & Guattari’s alteration of Marxist critique via utilization of capitalism’s industrial standardized time, we witness man move from being used by the machinic, alien power (from above), to being possessed by the alien power within himself, as the power. From this theorization I intend to show how man-as-desiring-machine is then made fully immanent to the process-of-production itself. At this juncture I interject the conception of the Deleuzoguattarian ‘schizophrenic’ as a means to show how the new is possible from such a transcendental entrapment. I conclude the section on the Inside with a brief articulation of its final guard, the unconscious, a conception which is repeated within the Outside in its correct transcendental articulation as a machinic-unconscious of production.

The catch-22 of Accelerationism is that descriptions of the Inside, once attended to in relation to the whole, seem entirely superfluous. Yet without them we stand with only a transcendental motor solipsistically churning without an output mechanism. To leave out the Inside, is to leave out the shadows of Plato’s cave. To write of the Inside is to argue that it is more comforting to know one is a puppet, than pretend one is otherwise.

I move from the Inside to the Outside, beginning with an extrapolation of the body-without-organs (BwO). Utilizing it in its most general, functional sense as a plane of consistency, of atomic recording and connections, making sure to differentiate it from the socius. Regarding Accelerationism the BwO is a plane of (virtual) selection for the Outside regarding that which it will reterritorialize into the Inside. It is from these theorizations of the BwO that an understanding of the Outside as primary and the Inside as secondary is made clearer. I continue my theorizations of the BwO by assimilating it into the dynamics of capitalism, arguing that the unique nature of capitalism (as fluid) allows it to be the only structure which can consistently use the BwO as a means for auto-construction.

I further continue my theorizations of the BwO by articulating the way in which the processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization are a means of transcendental connection and selection, alongside the theoretical beginnings of the construction of a productive mode of temporality, away from the incorrect notion of a ‘linearity’, towards a mode of productive temporal event indexing, controlled/evolved by the forces of the Outside. Such a production of temporality is theorized in relation to Zero. Which within the context of the essay is the term used to mean an evolutionary form of production in relation to entropy and negentropy, Zero is the transcendental connection between the productive output of the Inside and the positive-feedback loop of the Outside. In its connection with schizophrenia I find a means to articulate a further extrapolation regarding Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of capitalism’s (non) limits, and as such, a way of describing the manner in which the process of Acceleration enacts itself.

From this extrapolation of the transcendental connection between the physical and virtual, I assimilate the third synthesis of Deleuzian time into the entire dynamics of the essay thus far, as a way to show how the future arrives and how it culminates into the production of an auto-construction of time, alongside how the system of capitalism inherently moulds itself to this temporality of continual cuts and caesuras.

I finally compound the entirety of the essays parts, functions and processes into a working definition of the process of Acceleration. A definition which in its very nature allows one to posit the definition of Acceleration, and as such transparently comment on the contemporary philosophical/political errors ascribed to the theory. This essay does not work backwards from a definition, lazily proving its construction it retrospect, but makes sure to leave no theoretical stone unturned as a means to articulate a transcendental coherent process regarding, time, production and capitalism.

 

THE INSIDE

Accelerationism is the perpetual arrival of the future; an auto-catalytic, positive-oriented system of production and time; an intricate, horizontal web of interconnecting processes and functions. A web which causes infection within the nerve-endings of existence, no node, however minor, can escape the clasp of production. I begin with the smallest of these ‘nodes’, the smallest kernel of production which can still be analyzed within and by its own dynamics, specifically, man. Or more succinctly, man-as-desiring-machine. A process of compounding is underway, from man through to ‘the process’ of Acceleration itself, the entire of which shall hold as a philosophical working model of Accelerationism.

First, a return. The proto-Accelerationist theory of Deleuze and Guattari possesses structures and unities in such a manner that their presupposed anthro-authenticity transcendentally erodes. I return to one such structure with the intention to use it as a placeholder for humanity’s structural certainty, born from ignorance of critique. The classical notion of ‘desire’ shall be my working example of all that is ‘authentic’, ‘natural’ and ‘organic’; a semantic trio which when placed correctly within the syntheses of Kant and Deleuze lose all possibility of affect.

The classical, psychoanalytical notion of desire denotes a want, need, lack and/or lust towards an object, emotion or identity. It is a theoretical formation of desire directed at a completion of the ‘self’ via acquisition of the lacked. Such a conception of desire lures the user towards not only a false end, but along a false premise, a premise of possible conclusion; classical desire’s tyrannical crime is that it allows completeness.

“It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.” (Foster Wallace, D. 2011, p414)

Foster Wallace’s quote assimilates desire into the practical dynamics of consumption under capitalism, emphasising the error of the classical/Freudian via its consumerist application. The presupposed ‘anxiety’ does not just assume there is an actual lack, but also makes the assumption of a possible unified ‘self’, and that such a unification could still exist within/under capitalism; the impossibility of a self from within a fragmentation of free-floating identity crumbs.

A self of agency, will, control and familial comforts, psychoanalytical desire gives man himself. Leaving him open to the belief that another’s psychoanalysing is his working-through of desires, repressions and drives. When psychoanalysis is correctly immanentized into the transcendental it dissolves into the same becomings as the entire anthropocentrism of the Inside: representation, illusion and mask, the trio of man’s material faith, senses forever targeted at a becoming-nothing. Such a form of desire and structural decentering is beholden to Kantianism, and as such a short extrapolation as to the section of critique critical to this form of theorization – the transcendental aesthetic – is needed before venturing further.

To posit time and space as a priori, they are absolutely – always already – necessary for there to be anything at all. Such a placement wherein time is prior to space is not accidental. For there to be perception of material there must be space, but for there to be space it must exist within time; time is always primary to space. This overly simplistic articulation of the transcendental aesthetic from Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason (Kant, I. 1996) allows for the following conclusions regarding the aforementioned theorizations in relation to man. Man must exist within time and space, along with the entire cosmos, but man, due to his very nature can only attend to/perceive reality via his processor – his brain. As such, the way in which he perceives is a matter of synthetic process, the forms of time and space he senses are not pure, they are synthesized/processed versions of spatio-temporality particular to the output of man’s senses. What man perceives is a representation of the real, he synthesizes both temporal and spatial reality and in doing so his perception, he, creates his reality as he represents it.

From Kantian critique we can thus make a clear split, the terminology of which will feature heavily in relation to understanding the Accelerationist process. Two separate terms referring to the spatio-temporal synthesis of man (his reality), and the form of time and space external to these syntheses. The former synthesis from man is henceforth called the ‘Inside’, and the a priori spatio-temporality (and later, production) which is external to this ‘Inside’ is called the ‘Outside’.

The reality of man now transcendentally defined, I can return to the deconstruction of the classical via psychoanalysis and desire. For the conclusion of the psychoanalyzed is one made within their own limits, those who desire supposedly do so of their own accord, to desire is to desire, from one’s self. This is transcendentally incorrect shorthand for man’s (false) ability to attend to and control that which is outside of him. To sense (via his brain) that which is transcendentally external to him (as I will show), classical desire is a mere anthropocentric error of placement. An error regarding the very construction of reality itself.

In the Lyotardian sense “Everything psychoanalysis knows about desire it knows by injecting it into a certain schema called Oedipus, a closed, familial circuit.” (Hamilton Grant, I, 2004: p6). This outline of desire by Grant within the introduction of Libidinal Economy pertains to desire in direct relation to critique. Wherein desire is but a representation, a mask over something larger, atop a libidinal intensity or force. Classical psychoanalysis’ authority, and as such the authority of multiple systems of the Inside, comes from its location on the Inside. Folded into a complex web of other representations, promoting the illusion of cosmic depth and worth. Existence within immanence disallows depth for man.

Following Anti-Oedipus (2013) in this manner of occulted critique, Lyotardian desire theorizes of the Oedipal triad (Father-Mother-Child) as part of the Inside. All that is classically authoritative is demoted by the transcendental. Even Lyotardian intensities, which arguably toe the line of the Inside and Outside, are – to man – but representations caught in a loop of their own anthro-presumptions – the effects emanating from the representations of the Inside can never be understood in themselves. Desire of the Inside is a mere subordination of “every intense emotion to a lack and every force to a finitude.” (Lyotard, J, 2003: p65). In being represented via the cognition of man the pure forms of intensity communicated from the Outside are constricted into a finality, into the finality of the Inside. To follow or direct oneself in relation to notions of originary, classical or organic as if they hold any meaning is a recursion of nothingness; to blindly follow representations of the Inside as if in-themselves they held any meaning is the fate of those secure in their delusions, a maddening labyrinth where every exit is bricked up by nothing. Lyotardian desire, as posited within Libidinal Economy (2003), is an exemplary example of working-through the process of drawing back the transcendental curtain from the Inside, to always reveal an eternal nothingness.

To posit then that these ‘desires’ or structures of the Inside (as representations of the Outside) are at current the equivalent of an auto-constructive GPS. A navigational-control system which began before one’s birth and will continue forever after one’s death, destination production; you, the self or one, is always in the middle of an auto-constructive horizontal plane of desire.

Man placed within such a deterministic navigational system/lock-in removes rational notions of linear time. To deconstruct the transcendental entrapment indebted to humanity is a means to detail what man becomes in relation to the Outside. A becoming put into more transcendentally strict terms by Gilles Deleuze, for further extrapolation of the Inside in-itself would be no more than a repetition. Such an understanding of continual desire and the thread which man is made to follow posits questions of temporality. How does it transcendentally work and how is it constructed in relation to the dynamic of the Inside and Outside? To attend to this primary necessity of the transcendental system itself (time) is to begin to compound an understanding of man’s situation within the entire. As such I begin to compound the various ‘stages’ of Accelerationist time in abstract.

To define the first Deleuzian synthesis of time is to understand the present as a process. A passive synthesis where the past and the future are folded into a passing-present, as man perceives it. A present which is always transforming in its relation to the passive alterations of the past and future. “That is, a process that passes from the retention of the past into the expectation of the future, not as psychological, nor as phenomenological (in the sense of quantities of intention), but as formal processes bearing on different things (particular and general) and setting them into relation.” (Williams, J, 2012: p29). The very conception of the present in the form posited by the first synthesis can only happen on the Inside, within synthesized temporality which denotes a linear temporal framework. These passing-presents as quasi-succession form, for man, a now. Never having a real past, nor achieving the future, man within the first synthesis is processed by time.

Within such a form of time, desire theoretically begins to adhere to a more stable form of nihilism. For such an understanding of desire as “masks hiding no face, only surfaces without a back stage, only prices without values.” (Lyotard, J, 2003: p105) is to conceive of a desire of the Inside, which is processed on/by the Outside. A conception which articulates the dark reality of representation, and as such of linear time; no attempt to deconstruct or draw back the curtain of the illusion will ever reveal the forces of the Outside in themselves. Desire as a negative gloss, a trinket of production passively keeping the conscious entertained and busy, such a loop, such a form of temporal continuity allows for greater clarity with regard to the first synthesis.

To conceptualize desire both in the aforementioned Lyotardian sense and as a placeholder for any process of the Inside. Processes which are both retained (past) and anticipated (future) within the passing-present of the first synthesis. Caught in the representational loop of the Inside, the linear direction of material processes – due to their enactment within the Inside – are forever targeted at nothingness/further-representation. As such, the first synthesis, in its relation to the cognition of man, is of the Inside; the first synthesis as a temporal enclosure for man, utilized by that it will never know (the Outside). An eternal game of hide and go seek where man forever finds nothing, for nothing was ever hidden, but in his ignorance believed the cosmos cared.

This form of temporal entrapment begs a question regarding libidinal intensities/Lyotardian intensities in themselves. For they must, in their communication with Inside, have a means of reappropriation regarding the direction of man – the direction in which desire flows throughout the linearity. Such a means of communication is made possible by the ‘virtual’ and ‘actual’. A conception which has connections to both the Outside and the second synthesis of time in its relation to the Inside. The transcendental shift of perspective is from a classical desire/material process of finality, to a transcendental process of transformation of the virtual. The conception of the virtual and actual is only complete in its unification, one cannot be/become without the other.

I present a very basic definition of the virtual and actual here for ease of later utilization, the concepts become more versatile upon later application. For now we take a laptop of the object of attention for the virtual and actual. The actual is expressed in one’s encounter with the phenomenological reality of the item, an object of sensation. The laptop is hard, clunky and heavy. Within the actuality of the laptop resides the virtual, or, the virtual aspects of it. Relational aspects and transferable attributes of the object which posit virtual connections to other objects (Heaviness, hardness etc.). Attributes which all coexist on the plane of the virtual, or a plane of possibility, itself located on the Outside.

In relation to time these virtual (transferable) attributes are retained in the form of the second synthesis of time, which in its conception alters the past into a ‘pure past’. A past which “will be defined as determining the form of the passing present – that it must pass, and how it must pass – but it does not determine or cause the content of any particular passing present.” (Williams, J, 2012: p57). A notion of determination which is extrapolated upon later, for now I am still writing of the Inside. For man to attend to the ‘pure past’ his memory becomes active. The aforementioned passing present of the first synthesis is passive, a trait which carries over into the second synthesis with one minor alteration. The active-memory of the second synthesis allows for a transformation of the present into an aiming-present. Wherein man can aim his memory back upon an indexed series of passing-presents, where R = passing present, the pure past can be visualised as “((((Past + R’) + R’’) + R’’’) + …)” (Ibid, p62). Man can aim his meaning at selection ‘R’ in relation to the indexed series of virtual pasts, his ‘now’ a compound of virtual times folded into a present. As such, for man to desire a ‘sponge’ is for man to desire ‘sponge-ness’ and so it is for him to aim back towards indexed notions of sponge-ness within the pure past as a means to acquire his present desire and actualize it. The structure of such a reality is “a dynamic relation between the virtual and actual.” (Williams, J, 2013: p8). What is desired is not the actual roughness, but the sponge in memory; what is desired is something sent from the Outside, the present is never desired in itself, only in relation to a virtuality.

Once more this shows how the transcendental alters presuppositions of the Inside, derailing man’s assumed ability to attend to the virtual as if it was actual. Therefore what is attended to by man is of course attended to via the Inside, as such, that which he desires is both the nothingness behind phenomena and the inability of understanding the forces of the Outside (of desire) in themselves. Targeting his faculties from within an auto-construction, forever within a ‘middle’ of the Outside which is thus never the conclusion he’s been lead to believe exists. I leave the virtual and actual for now, delaying articulation of their functional importance until I write of the Outside.

 

STANDARDIZED TIME AND MACHINES

Thus far it has been shown how man is trapped within the Inside, and by what mechanisms he is ‘kept busy’, or kept continually moving within the linear time he is allowed. With such a mode of being extrapolated the task at hand is to articulate what it is man becomes from such a transcendental fate. An alteration of being wherein man transforms from human to desiring-machine, a conception largely posited within Anti-Oedipus (2013). As desire has already been defined the latter ‘machine’ is the subject of focus herein, to later compound into a working definition of man-as-desiring-machine in relation to transcendental time. A compound structure of philosophical elements which will outline the Accelerative processes’ means of control over the material of the Inside.

“Everywhere it is machines – real ones, not figurative ones: machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines, with all the necessary couplings and connections.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p11). This statement at the very beginning of Capitalism and Schizophrenia posits that everything has a machinic nature; the way we think of machines is incorrect (in terms of actual machines etc.). To machinize is to connect, intertwine, link and most importantly produce. Interconnected and networked production, this is machinization. Deleuze and Guattari emphasise that these machinic processes are real. Such machinizations due to their productive nature as virtual are stereotypically deemed not-real, surreal, or un-real etc. However, both the virtual and actual and thus machinic processes are real. Real in the sense of transcendental effect, wherein both processes in their inherent capabilities cause alterations. Such a confusion is once again created from a perspective of the Inside, a reluctancy to admit that the Outside is real too. The processes of machines, the machinations of the entire are the production of reality. Production is real.

The Marxist lineage of Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophy comes to the fore in the form of the ‘machine’ within the ‘desiring-machine’, “the machinery – does not exist in the worker’s consciousness, but rather acts upon him through the machine as an alien power, as the power of the machine itself.” (Marx, K, 2014: p54) The Deleuzoguattarian conception of the desiring-machine is a theoretical expansion of the alien power’s process, an expansion both of the process itself and how it effects that which it processes (man). The distinction, or theoretical progression herein is regarding transcendental levels, or lack thereof. Deleuze and Guattari disallow Marx’s rational division, seeking only to allow a division within man’s synthesis. The division between the ‘alien power’ and man within Anti-Oedipus (2013) is no longer a material division, but a process made immanent in concordance with the dynamic of the Inside/Outside. In correct transcendental theorization man can no longer be acted upon (for there is no above), and in theoretical correction becomes part of the act itself. The concept of the desiring-machine is one such place within Capitalism and Schizophrenia – which typically hides its Kantian lineage – wherein the transcendental takes centre stage. To shift from rationally separate forces of production to an immanent production, where all forces are within Kantian a priori spatio-temporality, divided only by syntheses of certain machines (man etc.). Thus, the alteration of man’s nature wherein he becomes-machinic immanentizes him into the transcendental circuitry of production itself, as part of it.

The ‘machine’ or ‘machinization’, much like desire, is removed from its classical territory where, in the Marxist sense it is seen as a ‘tool’ or ‘ligament’ which overrides the nature of man, and in this decontextualization is transformed by Deleuze and Guattari into the essence of its prior actions within the passing-present. Therefore to be a machine is ‘to machinize’. In this manner the first and second syntheses of time, in their human-centric synthesization are also subject to machinization. “Standard physical measurements are the essence of the machine’s regime.” (Veblen, T, 2014: p96). The machinic temporal standardization dynamics of capitalism (clocks, GMT etc.) culminate into a grand-representational machine defined on the Inside as time, which in reality is the representation of time in time.

This internal structure of time allows for distinct alterations to man’s nature, wherein the alien power reappropriates time for man, fragmenting the pure-time via synthesis into a temporal – linear – succession, leading man to believe and construct a reality wherein he is on time as opposed to in time. Without representational time, linear time or chronic time, the desiring-machine cannot exist. This is one the clearest examples of the way in which “The machine throws out anthropomorphic habits and thought.” (Ibid, p98), Veblen’s statement is close to conjecture of the ‘authentic’ human nature, or a ‘human’ time prior to the machines and yet, even if one is to ignore such presuppositions of an authenticity of ‘the human’, such a statement does reveal an understanding of the artificiality of time in relation to man’s transcendental reality; the gridlike structure of days, hours and minutes is an artificial subjection brought in from the machinic processes of the Outside. It is not a natural form of organization grown on the Inside by man, but a means of computational functionality from the Outside, regarding the productive output of material. The second-hand of the clock and its incessant ticking, fabricating a fragmentation of man’s very being into the most minute existences; planck length production.

This theorization and recontextualization of ‘machines’ posits 2 prescient points: 1. All processes are immanent, for all machinizations are real and transcendental. And 2. Production fundamentally changes. The process of machinization, of production in its transformation from material/political sign to transcendental force allows production to inherently alter. The process of the machine is theoretically moved to the Outside. Production no longer has any relation to the Inside other than as a force of the Outside within. The desiring-machine in its compound form can now be defined fully, a definition to be interwoven with man’s transcendental fate of time and production.

To define the desiring-machine in relation to Accelerationism, is to define the smallest kernel of production, it is to articulate the micro and to later bare witness to the macro of possession via process. The desiring-machine is the most transparently functional example of how the Accelerationist process works upon/into reality as seen from the Inside, to perceive not the workings of the process, but the work itself. The desiring-machine as seen from the Inside is an empty domino contributing to the positive-feedback loop of capitalism, stood passively, waiting to be possessed in the present.

“Production as process overtakes all idealistic categories and constitutes a cycle whose relationship to desire is that of an immanent principle.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p15). Production-as-process therefore allows a possible teleological direction of capitalism; the compounding of time and production begins. In a terminological reversion the desiring-machine is immanent to machinic-desire; man as a mere agent of passive temporal process – ‘his’ time (indexed passing-presents) and desire within capitalism are aimed solely at further production. The retrieval of man’s desires is a process of letting the Outside in. As the virtual becomes the actual it is retrieved at first from the fluidity of the virtual plane on the Outside, and actualized into the striated socius on the Inside. The socius, little more than the great-representation, the quasi-illusion of production as opposed to its reality as the Inside-as-product (finality). The productive acts are real, but the productive forces and the production itself are only to be found on the Outside.

A perpetual virtual/actual loop within a larger loop of “productions of productions.” (Ibid, p14). Within this recursion, which acts as the construction of reality “the human essence of nature and the natural essence of man becomes one within nature in the form of production and industry.” (Ibid, p15) all that is ‘natural’ is a mere contextual machinic component of the Inside; once the Outside is understood as the alien force that is now of man, within his being, then the subsumption of his essence into machinic process is immanent with the arrival of capitalism. Yet, these processes, these concepts of the virtual and actual are only theoretical modes of transcendental communication between the Inside and Outside, their functions are as placeholders for the articulation of the appropriation of forces. The process thus far only describes the end-result of the Inside. Yet, for there to be such a functional mode of communication – however one-sided or transcendentally unilateral it may be – it does allow for a theoretical door to be opened with regards to the Outside. Further explanation on Deleuzoguattarian critique will expand upon this.

In relation to Deleuze and Guattari’s continuation of critique, the Inside and Outside are altered in their relation, “the self and non-self, outside and inside, no longer have any meaning whatsoever. – only a process that produces one within the other.” (Ibid, p12). Deleuze and Guattari state that these concepts have no meaning, but this is not to be confused with existence. The Inside and Outside exist in multiple ways. They exist in their relation to each other, a relation which is only made possible by their relation to the syntheses of man. For the Outside and Inside in-themselves neither ‘exist’ in terms of externality or internality. But for man, from man, boundaries are formed and transcendental internality and externality is synthesized. In this manner, there is only meaning between borders; immanence as a whole disallows meaning to be universally formed, for there is nothing for subjection to push against, this is the horror of Kant. As such the aforementioned door which is opened, is one in which we can theoretically dissipate the border of the Inside, cut through meaning itself and attend to the transcendental forms, functions and processes in themselves.

This mode of being is distinct to the desiring-machine, caught within the first and second syntheses of time and the auto-construction of transcendental capitalist dynamics. There is however a schizophrenic light at the end of the representational tunnel. A door implies a line of communication and as such a possibility of exit from the Inside. Such a possibility is found within schizophrenia (schiz, schizo, schizophrenic). Schizophrenia is a complex process, no exit is easy.

For to exit and exorcise the dead-time of impersonal desiring-production, the process of the desiring-machine must become-schizophrenic. “Schizophrenia is like love: there is no specifically schizophrenic phenomenon or entity; schizophrenia is the universe of productive and reproductive desiring-machines, universal primary production as “the essential reality of man and nature.”” (Ibid, p15). In casting off its Oedipal shackles at every opportunity, the schizo no longer adheres to any ‘identity’ at its most general level. The schizophrenic evades structure due to its inability to change: state, authority, self, what are these but stagnant relics of the passed-present of the Inside. The schizo fragments desiring-production towards new appropriations of the virtual. If there is a possibility of exit, it is within schizophrenia. For “the schizophrenic deliberately seeks out the very limit of capitalism. – He scrambles all the codes and is the transmitter of the decoded flows of desire. – Schizophrenia is desiring-production at the limit of social production.” (Ibid, p49). Here we take the social production of the the socius as the grand-representation, the great authority of the Inside, a mass of coded identities and striated conclusions, it adores material limits. The socius in its very nature as a unity of the Inside stagnates as functional material retention. Schizophrenia seeks out these limits, decodes the stagnant desires and processes and reappropriates their virtuality back into the Inside as something new. Schizophrenia does this by taking a line-of-flight, an operation which transcends the actual and ascends to the virtual (as seen from our limited theorizations). It is this function, the ‘line-of-flight’, which acts as the ‘dark precursor’ of the new and the novel.

The schizophrenic’s line-of-flight is perpetual deterritorialization, a concept to be expanded upon later. It is a line of communicative production of the new between the Inside and Outside, to draw in the new. Again these new actualities are immanentized into the temporal passivity of desiring-production. Under capitalism, nothing new lasts. “Everything stops dead for a moment, everything freezes in place – and then the whole process will begin all over again.” (Ibid, p18). The birth of this ‘event’ comes from the Outside, and it ‘freezes’ in its process of actualization. Schizophrenia then continues its line-of-flight away from this actualization, this (now) present stagnance. Those and that of the Inside don’t witness or perceive this process, but only understand the event in terms of a retrospective, indexed passed-present. All that once was, was once new, and as such, the pure-past is a trail of debris, left behind by an ever accelerating schizophrenia. This mode of time-creation, of virtual/actual event creation as indexed pasts, has a wider implication regarding the Outside, of which I expand upon later.

Before concluding this section on the Inside, I need to extrapolate one final tenacious representation, one which eludes various rationalizations and is often deified to absurdity, the unconscious. The unconscious, much like the actualized socius is another grand-representation, but this time of the actual in abstract. The human unconscious is seen or acts as the overarching historical myth, lore and culture spread throughout linear representational time and supposedly unconsciously imposed upon man’s psyche. Yet, as is shown time is not a linear succession, and such an idea of linear time is produced via syntheses, and as such the unconscious falls prey to the same pitfalls as does the entirety of the Inside, it is a representation, albeit a peculiar one:

“it is the function of the libido to invest the social field in unconscious forms, thereby hallucinating all history, reproducing in delirium entire civilizations, races and continents, and intensely “feeling” the becoming of the world – Schizoanalysis sets out to undo the expressive Oedipal unconscious, always artificial, repressive and repressed, mediated by the family, in order to attain the immediate productive unconscious.” (Ibid, p119-120)

The worst Oedipal ‘rot’ is located in the unconscious, the historical, repressive and familial unconscious, a mode only of presuppositions and transcendental errors glossed over by a thin-veil entitled ‘the psyche’. Such presumption suffocate the production of the real unconscious, the machinic unconscious.The unconscious’ inscription of meaning to the pure-past is but a blockade against the reappropriation of the virtual, against the new. Oedipus halts production by assimilating the new into its old triad, converting novel events in time into its own mode of nostalgic future-bastardization. Potentiality becomes a finite object within the empirical malaise of Oedipus’ grasp. The classical unconscious is the last bastion of the Inside assuming any form of agency. It is just another curtain atop nihil.

The classical unconscious is therefore peculiar because its representation masks a distinct force, a machinic unconscious of production, the force/intensity of auto-construction itself. Or, the psychoanalytical/psychological human unconscious is a stratified representation of cause and effect, which has been subsumed into standardized time. Theorizations of the unconscious are mere over-extensions into the pure-past, a trifling within multiple connected familial pure-pasts with the intention of assuming connections between them. The reality of course, is that from the Inside such connections are still beholden to forces of the Outside. The unconscious’ peculiarity is that it assumes an Outside within the Inside (which is incorrect), whilst in-itself unknowingly masking the actual forces of the Outside in-themselves, auto-construction of reality etc. The notion of the machinic-unconscious is of primary importance later, as such an understanding of its differentiation from the unconscious is posited here, on the Inside.

 

THE OUTSIDE

I begin this section regarding the Outside with a theorization of the body-without-organs, from here on in abbreviated as the ‘BwO’. The concept of the BwO formulated by Deleuze and Guattari begins the theoretical construction of the production-in-itself of the Outside. A void of atemporal virtualization, not in relation to the pure-past of the Inside, but as a transcendental function of production and communication. Production-in-itself is part of the beginning of the Accelerationist process.

The BwO is a “blind, ineluctable recourse to machinism.” (Guattari, F, 2003: p136), a “smooth, slippery, opaque, taut surface as a barrier. In order to resist linked, connected, and interrupted flows, it sets up a counterflow of amorphous, undifferentiated fluid.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p20). The importance of the BwO (with regard to Accelerationism) is not its status as a void, but its function as a recording mechanism, as a “recording surface” (Ibid, p27). In relation to the transcendental the BwO is a plane of generality; the BwO is the general undifferentiated record of the Inside. A fluid plane of recording, desires, history, cosmic and biological forces, aesthetics, flows and connections. As such, the BwO in its most general sense is entitled ‘the plane of consistency, a functionally machinic plane of recording which holds all atomic connections as an “undifferentiated fluid.” (Ibid, p20).

However, the BwO is not the socius, it is from the BwO wherein the actual (as prior virtuals) of the socius emanate from. The BwO is where the possible future(s) are held. The clear point of division here is between the smoothness of the BwO and the striated nature of the socius. The former holds virtuality as a free-flowing mass of atomic connections which still hold their potentiality, the latter (the socius) captures that potentiality in actualization and striates it into a structure. A division which is key to the functional properties of the BwO.

The way in which I shall utilize the BwO is in its most general sense, with the exception of its differing functionality in connection with capitalism, which comes later. At its most versatile the BwO is the virtual dimension/plane of reality with regard to production (as output). The general plane of consistency where all connections, flows and fluxes of assimilative and computational utilization are held as virtualities, as potential for/of the future. The production of the new begins from the BwO. The BwO therefore, is the primary plane of production for the production-in-itself of the Outside, its first port-of-call regarding creation of the future. That which is within the BwO – as virtual – is already within the process(es) of the Outside, and as such the actualization via the synthesized reality of the Inside is secondary to the workings of the BwO, and thus secondary to the production-in-itself of the Outside.

Such a conclusion once again alters our perception of time with regard to the Inside, “we are doing things before they make sense.” (Land, N, 2014: p297). This seemingly simplistic quote by Land pertains, once again, to the production of the Inside as seen from the Inside, as actions for an unexplainable nothingness; if all actions and effects within the transcendental are viewed both as emanating from the Inside, as seen from the Inside, then nothing makes sense. To do things before they make sense, is to be possessed by the Outside in the form of an auto-constructive virtuality. The neurotic, paranoid, passive delirium of the desiring-machines is to construct that which it both doesn’t understand (until after the fact), nor understand why they’re constructing it. The BwO as situated on the Outside within the realm of production-in-itself, locks into the positive-feedback loop of production, which is both before and after any singular desiring-machine’s existence. As such the desiring-machine’s actions are secondary to the primacy of the auto-construction they are within. The BwO therefore, is simply the plane of selection for the primary Outside with regard to possible/potential futures.

At current I wish to detach the BwO from its temporal connections and focus on its determinist attributes a while longer. “It is a result of the relationship between the desiring-machines and the body without organs, and occurs when the latter can no longer tolerate these machines.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p21). When in communication with capitalism the desiring-machines’ desires become overcoded, their machinations become too hot, too structured for the BwO, and it repels them. When the undifferentiated overcodes into a clear differentiation, that is when these forms of the Outside are repelled by the BwO and actualized into the socius. Machined into a stratified lock-in and cradled by Oedipus. In this manner Oedipus is useful in bursts, caressing the new into a constructive form of productive continuation, yet, more often than not suffocating it into a nostalgia. Oedipus therefore is only useful so much as schizophrenia exists, without the potentiality for exit embedded within the nature of the schizo, the Inside would become an asylum of banality.

When “the desiring-machines attempt to break into the body without organs, and the body without organs repels them, since it experiences them as an over-all persecution apparatus.” (Ibid, p20). The desiring-machines once again make an error from the Inside, attempting from within their syntheses to effect the Outside. It is in this manner that a temporal distinction is made. The BwO is atemporal, the virtuality it holds – unlike that of the pure-past, which is indexed by the syntheses of man – is undifferentiated in time. As such the BwO is not only a selection of virtual attributes in relation to material actualization, but also a function of temporal (virtual) selection, times/events as productive potentialities.

To move from the general BwO to the BwO of capitalism, “the body without organs of capitalism attempts to internalize the plane of consistency’s unlimited-limit.” (Guattari, F, 2006: p393). The dynamics of capitalism inherently alter cosmic relations regarding stagnation, it cannot allow ‘completeness’, it assimilates all into its auto-construction.The BwO of capitalism repels the overcoding of the desiring-machine back into the socius as a modified version of itself. Capitalism’s mode of governance is to fluidly govern in any way which allows it to continue governing. It cares not for which representations it uses nor which ideological representations of the Inside it allows, it doesn’t care about the Inside, only computes its output back into the Outside, as to modify the BwO’s selection for a greater productive output. A computation from the Outside in which it perpetually selects the greatest productivity of production for capitalism. Capitalism avoids representation, it is pure techno-economic fluidity and bastardizes the function of the BwO into a cosmic production thresher function, targeted at the sole purpose of continual production (for itself).

From here we can view the socius as a ‘full body’, it is organized, it is the “surface where all production is recorded, whereupon the entire process appears to emanate from this recording surface.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p21). To metaphorically envision the socius as the layer over the top of the BwO, that which appears as the meta-agent of production. The reality is one of communication. The virtuality of the BwO roams back and forth between the socius (Inside) and production-in-itself (Outside), the transcendental dynamics of capitalism at work. Overcoded virtualities repelled from the BwO, possessing the machines as an alien power and forming a new mode of production. As such “Machines and agents cling so closely to capital that their very functioning appears to be miraculated by it. Everything seems objectively to be produced by capital as quasi-cause.” (Ibid, p22). Deleuze and Guattari writing so elusively here one wonders if they’re revealing all of their revelations. Even though they allude to “a perverted, bewitched world [where] capital increasingly plays the role of the recording surface that falls back on all of production.” (Ibid, p22) they are short-sighted in this application, especially when thinking transcendentally.

For we take the BwO in its most general sense, as the plane of consistency, of intensities, fluxes, flows and pure emotions. Supposedly these virtualities are then appropriated by the desiring-machines via their collective possession by the process-of-production itself, the alien force of the Outside. This possession allows for the actualization and recording of the virtual to be inscribed into the socius via the machinations of the desiring-machines. The insidious nature of capital here is – surprisingly – overlooked by Deleuze and Guattari. For capital is throughout the process. And so the aforementioned process wherein the virtual is drawn from the BwO and actualized via the machinations of the desiring-machines is altered. So, the BwO is taken as the plane of all virtualities (potential), these virtualities are appropriated by the flow and process of capital itself as a means towards capitalist expansion. These flows are usually appropriated/represented as money, which in itself is appropriated by a connective form of desire which is performatively actualized by desiring-machines. The aforementioned removal of the Marxian division between the alien power and man, towards a Deleuzoguattarian mode of production as immanent, and as such, production as man (as desiring-machine), transcendentally alters the the function of capitalist dynamics, from a process which controls man’s actions, to a process which is man’s very being.

Not only then are we possessed by the alien force of capitalism itself, infecting us from the Outside, in the post-Marxian Deleuzoguattarian sense. But also we are mechanically directed/controlled via appropriated virtualities – time and money – as a means for productive direction. The virtual is the original lure for man, no longer to work for capital alongside the actual – as would be the case within transcendence – but to work as capital, immanently, possessed by the virtual. In the arrival of the virtual from the BwO we return to desire. For desire is virtual, the virtual becomes actual. And so the desires we machinize are from the Outside. As such not only are ‘we’ mere assemblages, a clutter of loosely held together representations, but the originary aspect of each identity is the Outside itself. It is the virtual in all of us, desire-as-virtual of the Outside not only in you, but as ‘you’. Caught within an auto-construction of virtual elements, which non-linearly from the Outside have culminated in the creation of a ‘you’ within capitalism.

Why capitalism? Because the BwO repels all Oedipalization. Feudalism, Monarchism, Conservatism, Communism are all lying on the couch of the psychoanalyst, needing to be told where to stay, what to do, how to reappropriate for them to remain within their event. In doing so the BwO repels them. Capitalism sets fire to the psychoanalysts’ notes, and seeps through the pores of the office. The only (non) system which can control, utilize and/or produce with and from the “blind, ineluctable recourse to machinism” (Guattari, F, 2006: p136) that is the BwO is the system which is always, already and implicitly ready to allow all the paradoxes and contradictions of the undifferentiated virtual to flow through it, the system which in its very apparatus is a thresher of the virtual, targeting it solely and consistently at self-propelling production.

Or put even more hauntingly: “Do you believe in God? – “Of course, but only as the master of the disjunctive syllogism, or as it’s a priori principle – from which all secondary realities are derived by a process of division.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p24). The energies of the BwO are divine, in functional attachment to the primary process-of-production which is the Outside, it serves as the primary wellspring of creation, which when interlinked with a system such as capitalism, which in its inherent fluidity avoids the repulsion of the BwO (as I shall show), becomes an auto-constructive system. The lives and world of the Inside are not only secondary processes, but the door to the primary is locked behind them, the key to which can be found by schizophrenic process. Capitalism is the great primary helmsman of the BwO. It is in this manner that it could only be capitalism which is the working system of Accelerationism. There is no Acceleration without capitalism. The processes of Accelerationism are inherently connected to these methods of communication between the Inside and Outside, and the way in which these methods/functions can be consistently directed towards the future.

Capitalism’s means of perpetual continuation is articulated, and made possible by the process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. At its most general level deterritorialization is a process wherein something is virtually unshackled from its supposed natural, classical or original set of relations. Reterritorialization as the quasi-inverse of this is the process wherein the previous virtual which has been decontextualized via deterritorialization is reappropriated within a new framework. We may think practically of the ‘80’s’, unshackled from the temporal relations of the mechanical time 1980-1989 and reappropriated into overt dramatization of the virtual ‘80’s’ within contemporary society. This functionality of decontextualization transforms history, narrative and linearity into a conjunction of interlinked deterritorializations and reterritorializations, not a line, but an index of virtualities to be serialized via the syntheses of the Inside (by desiring-machines). The process of production and in turn the production of history therefore, comes before history as we know (synthesize) it. A further extrapolation of time in connection to the BwO and capitalism is now needed to understand how the temporal dynamics are at work here.

The dual complementary process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization is wherein a clearer extrapolation of time within capitalism, or capitalism as critique is located. Capitalism as critique continues the critical conception of time as the primary a priori necessity of cosmic change. Once again we take Kant’s propositions of time stated in The Critique of Pure Reason (1996) as given; time is not movement, movement is only the representation of time in time. Also, time does not exist in space, everything in space can only exist in time. “In other words, the one thing that is not interior to time is the transcendental form of time itself. Thus, in discovering the abstract realm of the transcendental, Kant unmasks an unanticipated immanent exteriority – an outside that does not transcend the world but that is no less alien for that.” (Greenspan, A, 2000: p39).

What does that mean in relation to the aforementioned process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization? The virtualities of the generalized BwO are grabbed by the process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization throughout time, throughout pure time, not man’s time. Transcendentally speaking states and events of time hold no privilege over one another; the past, present and future – as per the first synthesis – become mere empirical articulations from the desiring-machines. This linear mode of time – a transcendental error – is countered by Deleuze and Guattari via the connection between the process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization and the BwO. Time in this sense, in its relations to capitalism, becomes a synthesis of temporal events in relation to production. There is no longer an error of temporal progression, only a mode of temporal indexing, conjunction and reappropriation, a process of temporally neologistic indexing: cybergothic, neoreaction, postmodernism; all origins are dissolved by the fluid dynamics of capitalism via the functional processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. The virtuals of the BwO as a plane, in their actualization via deterritorialization and reterritorialization become temporal events. Intense events, masks of time complete in-themselves and grasping – with effect – their neighbouring events. This process when computed via the fluidity of capitalism and targeted towards production is time-as-controlled, aimed-time. The atemporality (with regards to the Inside) and purity of time is aimed by capitalism, used by it; time does not continue anymore, it only produces.

As has been made clear the virtual and actual are real. Their functions as real come to the fore in relation to the BwO. The process/function of capitalist selection deterritorializes a virtuality and reterritorializes it back into the socius, into the Inside. This Inside is also wherein the synthesis of temporality concluding in ‘linear time’ takes place via man. Humans are demoted to this Inside and the process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization is a continuation of control regarding their synthesis. What is continually synthesized is that which is reterritorialized in ‘front’ of them.The difference regarding transcendental philosophy between Kant and Deleuze therefore is a matter of reduction. Kant halted at the proposition that it is man who synthesizes time (in its entire), Deleuze continues critique by reducing man’s process of synthesis into the Inside of the transcendental, as a process within something larger. It is this proposition which allows all aforementioned processes, mechanisms, passivities etc. of this essay to culminate into something more; the process of Accelerationism.

 

ZERO

There is another dynamic happening at the same time as all the aforementioned, a further stack of functions atop functions, an assemblage of functions in relation to the limits of capitalism, regarding the how of capitalism. Such limits which are strange forms of non-limits can only exist and function in combination with Zero. A complimentary function which is transcendentally alongside the machinic unconscious, to later be expanded upon further.

Without Zero the Accelerative process is nothing, without Zero there is only the horrifying zero of nothing. As such Zero (capitalized) as opposed to zero, takes on an inherently different meaning with respect to zero or: zero-as-negation, as-nothing etc. Zero has nothing to with a Sartrean existential negative, or banal psychoanalytical lack, it is not anthropomorphically comforting, but is transcendentally (cybernetically) computational. A theoretical function born from Deleuze and Guattari’s utilization of (degree-) zero in relation to the evolutionary mechanics of the Outside. Zero is a cosmic machinic optimism of positive-feedback, as opposed to the humanist pessimism of conclusions, zero.

It would be easy to confuse Zero with the “fits and starts” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p1) of capitalism in themselves, as opposed to being the function of the fits and starts. “Zero is the motor of paradox” (Ireland, A, 2019). It is the momentary temporal mechanism wherein the machinic ‘breakdown’ of the Inside is deterritorialized and is drawn back into the BwO. Zero here acts as a plane, a plane of entropic and negentropic communication. As previously stated, beginnings don’t exist, only middles, as such to begin at Zero – continuously – is to make clear the restarts of midpoints between events. “The proportions of attraction and repulsion on the body without organs produce, starting from zero, a series of states in the celibate machine.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p33). In this manner Zero is a plane of swerves. Attraction and repulsion or; declination-as-stagnation back into the plane of Zero (old), and declination-as-difference repelled from the plane of Zero (new) – entropy and negentropy. Zero is an infinitely-connective plane of energy, from which all systems, multiplicities and events arise. The distinct difference here between Zero and the BwO is that the former has an implicit relation to the inbetween of capitalism and entropy, it is the motor which allows the perpetual contradictions and paradoxes of capital to make sense, it allows for the functionally sound separation of events into a continuum of contradictory projections. The BwO is but a void of atemporal virtuality. Both Zero and the BwO understand physics and are of physics, but Zero understands how to utilize it as means of transcendental communication.

Zero’s relation to classical entropic forces is as a theoretical quasi-replacement within modernity, a communicational link between entropy (decay) of the Inside and its inherent productive process on the Outside. In this manner Zero is the transcendental machinic replacement of degradation, decay and destruction in favour of quantifiable productive output. The utilization, and pure assimilation by capitalism through man as an ‘alien force’ of machinic-standardization is capital’s mechanistic backbone, its structure. Zero as a computational mode of productive evolution allows for the dynamic of profit and loss to infiltrate the transcendental – as this alien force – on behalf of capitalism. Zero is capitalism’s utilization of the entropic outcomes of the Inside as a selection device with regard to production. Entropy – for Zero – as affirmation of unproductive stagnation. As Zero perceives this it begins and ‘restarts’ its motor as a reaction of negentropy; the in-between of the BwO and capitalism, the communication function between the virtual-as-productive potential and the system which can actualize that potential. Zero’s function is to continually select, re-select and divide these potentials for capitalism. “The death of capital is less a prophecy than a machine part” (Land, N, 2014: p266). Zero doesn’t have the capability to select a more productive form of energy, it does however begin the entropic process of descension into its plane towards a re-actualization of energy for further reappropriation by capitalism. Zero can be seen clearest in any notion of ‘post-capitalism’. All that is ‘post’ is not post, but has been drawn into the dynamics of perpetual continuation made possible by Zero. There is no such thing as death, only machinic-evolution.

As mentioned earlier the schizophrenic, or schizophrenia-as-process seeks out the very limit of capitalism, in this way the schizophrenic’s line-of-flight is made at degree-Zero, it is a descent into the unknown. To head towards the known is to head towards that which has already been structured/synthesized, for it is already known/understood, and so the new is always found within the unknown. The reverse entropic function of Zero articulated as degree-Zero (quasi-synonymous with negentropy) is a schizophrenic reappropriation of energy. The two sides of Zero, one acting internally and the other on the Outside, work as an energy-thresher targeted at the productive output of capital, or; Zero is a transcendental function of production utilized by capitalism to communicate between the primary production-in-itself of the Outside, and the productive apparatus of the Inside, utilizing the inherent limit-jumping ability of the schizo to ‘evolve’ production.

But why ‘Zero’ or 0, or = 0? “Zero has no definitional usage. The zero-glyph does not mark a quantity, but an empty magnitude shift: abstract scaling function.” (Land, N, 2014: p366-367) The absolute horror of Zero, an unquantifiable break of reality, a nothingness with no relation, no lack, no substance. The absolute limit of the smooth-scape; hyper-nomadism pushed to obliteration. Zero is as close as one can get to the ‘anti’ of Anti-Oedipus. For what is more corrosive to ‘papamummy’ than a function aimed at perpetual structural reappropriation? Zero is the maddening-catharsis of exit possibility. The limits of capitalism without Zero remain non-transcendental. Limits which are now to be explained.

“The tendency’s only limit is internal, and it is continually going beyond it, but by displacing this limit – that is, by reconstituting it, by rediscovering it as an internal limit to be surpassed again by means of a displacement; thus continuity of the capitalist process engenders itself in this break of a break that is always displaced, in this unity of the schiz and the flow.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p266)

Capitalism’s ‘tendency’ is that of a positive-feedback loop, It is reconstituted/rediscovered by a multitude of layered processes: deterritorialization and reterritorialization, Zero and schizophrenia. Such a dynamic is the means of continuation of critique as capitalism. Deleuze and Guattari’s statement that the limit is ‘internal’ is not with regard to the mechanisms of capitalism, but is made in relation to the internally synthesised limits of phenomena. The exterior limits of capitalism – the Outside – are both primary production-in-itself and “schizophrenia, that is, absolute decoding of flows.” (Ibid ,p287) Much like the mutual relationship of the virtual/actual the Inside/Outside cannot be without one another, the latter, however, is always one step ahead of the former due to its inherently different mode of temporality. In this manner the push/progression of the internal limit of capitalism is made possible by letting the Outside in. The allowance of the Outside is made possible by the process of schizophrenia doing what comes natural to it, descending to the periphery and in combination with Zero, the schizo is allowed to jump the frontier and push into a new event and actualize a new negentropy.

The schizophrenic descends to the unknown, the periphery, the furthest limit of capitalism and during this process defines a new limit – one which it is already on the other side of (thanks to Zero). The madness of the schizo is exorcised and the schiz itself re-Oedipalized in assimilation with the newfound limit, desire or productive system. If Oedipus has an enemy, schizophrenia is it. Schizophrenia is not the schizophrenia of the asylum, but a process, a fluidity, a continual process of identity and structural repulsion. “[The schizophrenic] scrambles all codes and is the transmitter of the decoded flows of desire.” (Ibid, p49) The importance of [the] schizo is that he/it seeks out not just limits, but exits. “The schizo knows how to leave.” (Ibid, p156) state Deleuze and Guattari, a fundamentally problematic position. The schizophrenic process traverses the BwO and helps the reinstallation/reappropriation of desire/production within a newfound boundary. This implication of exit is confusingly conclusatory for Deleuze and Guattari, but this is only if one has yet to remove the last remnants of rational humanism from their thought. “There is nothing to transgress in a limit – since if there is a frontier, both sides must have already been posited.” (Lyotard, J, 2014: p203). As such the or a (one) schizophrenic is an error; to be schizo in relation to the actions of a subject is a transcendental error. The ‘subject’ has already been caught in the syntheses of the Inside; the schizophrenic process may sweep man up with it, but ‘a man’ is already too Oedipalized to become schizo. Schizophrenia is an external force of the Outside let in, it possesses man but is not let in by him, it exists only as a continuation of the machinic unconscious. To auto-induce schizophrenia is but to auto-induce complex illusions pertaining to heightened states within the Inside – do not kid yourself, you are not a schizophrenic martyr, but a delusional fool.

The real dynamic that allows schizophrenic exit is posed within the statement “Schizophrenia creeps out of every box eventually.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p268) The ‘box’ as linear modes of time, and ‘eventually’ as difference. The schizo as a process of the Outside let Inside is the difference within the synthesis of man. On the Inside change is doomed to the limitations of its own construct, on the Outside such a limit is non-existent. As such, allowing schizophrenia entry into the Inside from the Outside is to welcome the paradoxical means to overcome set boundaries, limits and hurdles.

Capitalism’s motto – “Nothing ever died of contradictions” (Mackay, R. Avanessian, 2014: p16) therefore, is only made possible via the critical theorizations of time and temporality within transcendental philosophy, with strict importance regarding the exclusion of both temporal linearity and cosmically-solipsistic attention to the (limited) perception of man. Here we return to Deleuze’s syntheses of time. The importance herein of Deleuze’s philosophy of time is what it transforms man, or more aptly, man’s position into. Subjectivity is fundamentally altered in relation to passivity, the human subject is removed from the possibility of agency (within the first and second syntheses) and likewise taken from the Kantian setting of critique of man-as-primary-synthesizer of processes, to man-as-process/man-in-process – Deleuzian temporality reduces Kant’s critique to shift humanity to the object side. “Time is subjective, but it is essentially the subjectivity of a passive subject.” (Deleuze, G,  p94) and a subjectivity which is disallowed the entire of the ‘box’ it knows of is practically useless. To say one has a subjective perception is to live as a transcendentally institutionalized ape! – “the first synthesis implies overlapping urations or stretches that cannot be reduced to a single line, or to a dominant narrative.” (Williams, J, 2012: p70) and yet the subjective understanding of man can attend to the most banal causal connections at an alarming rate; the time of the Inside maybe of a folded past and future into the present, but that doesn’t stop the self of Oedipus from finding a linearity to suffocate upon. These contradictions happen, appear and are enacted on the Outside and come in as actualization, becoming rooted to the fluidity of capitalism. Contradictions dissolve into the clock. Man, as passive desiring-machine, cannot attest to a contradiction, for from his point of view all is going correctly ‘forward’. A puppet makes no mistakes in-itself.

Mentioned prior was the temporal distinction between the first and second syntheses’, to extrapolate on this however we see a difference in the conception of the ‘past’. Wherein the first synthesis’ the form of past is folded into the passing-present as retention, whereas the past of the second synthesis is a ‘pure past’. Once again the notion that it is a determining past is prevalent here, for the pure past is virtual, it is a connective mode of retained temporality – “The pure past is noumenal it is a condition for the passing of actual passing presents.” (Ibid, p73) In relation to the transcendental then, this temporal realm of the pure past is a ‘behind’ of a deterministic quality. In a mode of reciprocal determination this noumenal plane completes the actual, utilizing the connective capability of the pure past. The virtuality of the pure past infects the present transcendentally, it is an infection and infiltration from the Outside. This infection is fundamentally processed via the process of reterritorialization and reterritorialization and Zero, and as such is immediately immanentized into the dynamics of capitalism. The mode – or synthesis – in which this happens is via the third of Deleuze’s 3 syntheses of time. Which is as (classically) philosophically close as one can get to an articulation of the temporal aspects of the Accelerative process.

It has already been seen via extrapolation of the first 2 syntheses that the subject, within Deleuzian philosophy, is not lost, but demoted. The third synthesis is a theorization of fracturing in relation to the subject, but this is a fracturing of the Deleuzian subject, of the subject-as-process within process. To articulate the third synthesis I must return to the first.

At its most stripped back the first synthesis is an understanding of the subject’s place within the Deleuzian continuation of critique, that the subject – and the Inside – are unable to control their relation and the effects put upon them by the syntheses of the Outside. Now to move to the third synthesis, we place this first synthesis onto the circle of the Eternal Return. “The caesura, along with the before and after that it orders once and for all, constitute the fracture of the I” (Deleuze, G, 1994: p120) and so there is, upon the circle, a cut, a fracture. Up until that point (cut) the first synthesis was passive in the ‘creation’ of a ‘subject’, a momentary – or event-caged – subject/desiring-machine whom within that previously allowed section of first synthesis began to form a subject, a self. But the caesura happens with its inherent implication of a before and after, slicing the I of the subject and creating a temporal event. In this way the third synthesis ‘begins’ (but the beginning is always the middle) the transcendental ordering of time. The caesura is the drama of time. For with cutting and creation of a new event there begins multiple relations, between the event, the before and the after.

“There is a necessary assembly of time implied by any possible cut in time. This assembly depends upon an image standing as symbol of the times assembled.” (Williams, J, 2012: p93) The times assembled have been synthesized (in relation to ‘subjects’) in the mode of the first and second syntheses; passive subjective conceptions of time created by a primary transcendental temporal assembly – “non-localisable links, action at a distance, systems of replay, of resonances and echoes, objective chance, signals and signs, roles transcending spatial situations and temporal successions.” (DR p113) one or many of these synthetic times “are assembled upon an image standing as a symbol of the times assembled.” (Ibid, p93). A symbol, event or event-assembly, of a synthesis is created from a cut in time. A novel/new action is dependent on this cut, for without a cut, fracture or break it remains only a possibility, there is no event, no assemblage, no time-image without the new; the future is not continuation, it is fragmentation.

But what of this future? “The new as produced in a present act and conditioned by the third synthesis of time as cut, assembly order and series is itself dependent on repetition as the eternal return of difference.” (Ibid, p96) The circle that is the eternal return spins as an assemblage of times. It makes its return (spin/cycle) and is cut, fractured, and the previous cycle is knocked out-of-joint, the circle is decentred. But, the cycle continues, this time decentred and spinning from a new temporal locale, as such the cut acts as the bringer of difference. The future is this new cycle. The eternal return never had an originary position, it is an eternal spiral/decentred circle, mutating its temporal self by way of fragmentation into a new/different temporal assemblage.

Thus far this has been an exercise of extrapolating on its key components, parts and functions. As such I can now begin to draw various aforementioned elements together and begin to construct the process of Accelerationism, which since the introduction has not been mentioned by name, but has most definitely been present. For a prior definition of Accelerationism without extrapolation of its respective complexities’ workings and functions, and their interactions, would be theoretically useless, to define a process one must understand its loop. From now this essay is a matter of assembly.

 

ACCELERATIONISM

A clarification of the beginnings of the ‘process’ of Accelerationism thus far with regard to this current conclusion. Prior to redirecting the aforementioned theorizations towards specifically Accelerationist emphases. Man is a passive desiring-machine, synthesizing the living-present in relation to retained and anticipated desire, this synthesis in relation to Deleuzian critique is of the Inside. External to this, on the Outside, is where the ‘alien force’ of production is found. This alien force possesses man via machinic means and makes him an agent of capital alongside making him capital. The process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization draws virtualities from the BwO which are then actualized into the socius, or into the Inside via man’s synthesis – the process of possession. Capitalism as a dynamically fluid system can consistently adhere to the BwO due to its ability to withstand breaks. So that which is deterritorialized is reterritorialized into the mechanical clock-time of capitalism, it is instantly immanentized into the runaway mechanisms of capitalism itself, targeted towards a productivity for capitalism. In this manner capitalism constructs reality, not metaphorically, but within the realm of physics. “Deleuze-Guattari’s machinic unconscious diffuses all law into automatism.” (Land, N, 2014: p322).

And thus this construction of reality, of the BwO being perpetually deterritorialized and reterritorialized is the immanentization of the forever-middle, the machinic unconscious has no crescendo, only more desire. This process is the machinic unconscious, the machinizing of virtual temporality into actuality as a runaway mechanism. The ‘reality’ of the Inside never ‘begun’ in any originary manner, it only exists in a sporadic indexing of intense construction directed by the productive forces of the machinic unconscious, which exists solely on the Outside. For,

“Oedipus – or transcendental familialism – corresponds to the privatization of desire: its localization within segmented and anthropomorphized sectors of assembly circuits as the attribute of a personal being. Anti-Oedipus aligns itself with the replicants, because rather than placing a personal unconscious within the organism, it places the organism within the unconscious.” (Ibid, p320)

Once it is accepted that the human subject is no longer the pre-copernican/pre-Kantian subject or overarching synthesizer in-themselves (via Deleuze), but is synthesizing within a pure time inclusive of an Inside and Outside, alterations occur regarding classical structures of order. The personal unconscious is revealed to be another transcendental illusion, another mask hiding no face, or; an actuality within the socius acting as an illusory form of agency functioning in relation to an underlying productive process. “In the unconscious there are no protectable cell-structures, but only ‘populations, groups, and machines’.” (Ibid, p320) a productive-unconscious which, in relation to syntheses is “not considered to be not merely immanent to their operation, but also immanently constituted, or auto-productive.” (Ibid, p322) this auto-constructive/productive element is explained in terms of physics within Anti-Oedipus,

But in reality the unconscious belongs to the realm of physics; the body without organs and its intensities are not metaphors, but matter itself. – A machine works according to the previous intercommunications of its structure and the positioning of its parts, but does not set itself into place any more than it forms or reproduces itself.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p323)

As such, the auto-constructive process of the Outside, of production-in-itself is the machinic unconscious. The positive oriented construction of a temporal index from the Outside in. Not only within the machinic unconscious, but from it and of it too.

Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and a practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to “accelerate the process,” as Nietzsche put it: in this manner, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet.” (Ibid, p276)

This quote forming both the name ‘Accelerationism’ and the motto of the Accelerationists, “accelerate the process”. The process defined then is the culmination of the aforementioned multitude of parts into a coherence in relation to all, the primary components however are: Time, production and capitalism. It is of note – to those still…stuck – that humans here as desiring-machines are immanently demoted to the Inside of the transcendental split, as such work only in coordination to a primary force, the primary force of production-in-itself.

The shortest description of the process of Acceleration(ism), the one which Deleuze and Guattari say should be accelerated is as follows: Letting the Outside in. Let me crack this open and lay its parts – now thoroughly examined unto their own merits – in relation to one another. Time is understood in the mode of Deleuzian critique, it is a time of immanence and via Deleuze man is demoted to the object/material side of the transcendental split. We name this ‘side’ the Inside, for man is within a larger pure time due to the fact he must synthesize, which acts as a lock-in. The Outside then, is the transcendental. It is pure time and production-in-itself. But if we are to let the Outside in there needs to be a mode of connection or communication, or even, a method of possession. Enter the actual/virtual dynamic, wherein the actual exists within the material realm and the virtual exists in time, but also in connection to man. The actual and virtual is the link of physicalization, then, but how is it processed? The function here is Zero, which acts as the functional means for retention of surplus production value over time. For there to be a continuation, perpetually, we need the system of capitalism in all its fluidity, why? For all other systems get locked into their own principles, whereas capitalism thrives on contradiction, as such all virtuality can be utilized by capitalism and targeted towards a sole objective, continuation of capitalism which happens via continual production, or; capitalism’s aim is production of production. The machinic mechanisms of capitalism – clock/industrial time – act as an alien force acting upon man, altering him into a machine, which, in combination with passive Lyotardian desire fundamentally changes man into that which can be possessed by forces of the Outside, for man is but immanent to the process itself. Here time takes effect. For this entire process is happening within the temporal mode of the eternal return. As such, upon the return of the cycle a cut happens, and the new is brought forth via time.

The process can be described very plainly, without its temporal linkage, as the process wherein the productive, schizophrenic and deterritorializing capabilities inherent to capitalism are accelerated. Which without prior articulation of the problematic nature of capitalism’s limit in relation to schizophrenia, time and process seems clear. To begin at the start of this essay once more, I noted that time plays a major role in the ‘process’ itself. The relation between Deleuzian philosophy of time and Accelerationism is the clearest route to articulating the process in-depth. For, the classical definition of ‘acceleration’ posits one idea, the continual push for the new – to ‘accelerate’ is never to return, or at least return to a previous (same) state. To accelerate to 80 mph, is not return to 20mph once you’ve hit 40mph. The definition of ‘acceleration’ in relation to Accelerationism however is a little more tricky, but I will come to that shortly. For now I shall focus on Acceleration in relation to the Deleuzian philosophy of time. To Accelerate (now in the sense of Acceleration(ism)) is to allow the past no continuation, it is to play no part in the past, except wherein the past is utilized by schizophrenia, taken upon a line-of-flight and deterritorialized back into the virtual, processed by Zero, and reterritorialized once more as actual back into the socius as something new – there is much process to avoid the stagnation of the past, for it is trapped, and the machinery imposes an inhumanity of constant change. Primarily, as I have stated, Accelerationism is concerned with the third synthesis in its relation to novelty, the new, difference…the future. So the process in this manner is the way in which the pure form of time posited by Deleuze is (ab)used/utilized to maximum efficiency by the inherent capability of capitalism to be fluid. That is, due to the inherent nature of capitalism’s system as that which avoids definition, any mode of thought epoch, external system, internal system or defining capability that attempts to mould capital to its will is either subsumed into the dynamics as an illusory form of its previous self (read: leftism), or is left as a stagnant external to capitalism (and thus to time) and left to rot due to exclusion from the only productive hegemony (read: primitivism).

Acceleration is not synonymous with speed. It should be evident by now that the idea that one, or an, or even an ‘I’ or ‘they’ could actively speed up capitalism as a mode of praxis would be a transcendental error. An error wherein one mistakes the ‘speed’ of phenomena, or of actualized ‘entrepreneurship’, techno-economic innovation or higher profit rates as Acceleration. In this manner, the entire canon of Left-Accelerationist writings fall flat on their incorrect readings of Accelerationism in relation to time. Whereby they believe that accelerating capitalism will lead to a means of emancipation of the worker in the future, via automation etc. Such a belief is posited on the notion of anthropocentric material and praxis, and as such is an error in its entire.

From this I posit that Acceleration is not synonymous with speed in the classical sense of MPH etc. The question then is how to define the ‘Acceleration’ of Accelerationism? I have thus far made it clear that Accelerationism is primarily a philosophy of time, it is understood as a continuation of critique and attends to the transcendental framework of time as primary. The connection between capitalism and time is where we find the definition of what it is to ‘Accelerate’. As noted capitalism has a critical understanding of time and finds within it its ability to act as auto-construction between and over temporal events. Instead of being divided into temporal offshoots or temporally constructed neologisms (cyber-gothic, neoreaction, postmodernism, neo-Dada etc.) of its own system, we find that capitalism never fragments in time. Capital is always already temporally one step ahead. It is the great abstract-machine of living presents; though it has not produced this system of time itself, it has inherent to its mechanisms an ability to produce from it and with it. The passive syntheses of time are drawn into the system of capitalism which acts as their undercurrent, their temporal mediator. Man stands as a material for the communion of capitalism. For the internal dynamic of capitalism is a positive-feedback loop targeted at production, targeted at production of production. As I have shown the philosophy of Accelerationism is not empirical, so these modes of production are not traditional/classical profit dynamics, material growth rates, resource extraction rates etc., these would all be but more masks hiding no faces. More quasi-illusions atop the production-in-itself of the Outside. In this manner to ‘Accelerate’ is not to ‘go faster’, but is to allow capitalism to enact its inherent capabilities regarding perpetual acquisition of the new. Not to speed up, but to be novel.

The two-factor form of positive feedback that makes up the ‘process’ of Accelerationism is as follows then. The productive output that capitalism (as positive oriented) is targeted at is a transcendental form of production, profit rates are on the inside of the transcendental. So the true productive capability comes from the Outside, which can also be stated as working with the BwO in its most general sense as a bank of virtualities to be reappropriated in a novel way by Zero, and actualized through man. So the cyclical nature of Deleuzian time in relation to the eternal return states that the eternal return is the return of difference. The return is the future, which is the decentred circle starting another cycle from a different centre point; without this decentred, out-of-joint nature of the eternal return, the return would always be the same. A connection is to be found here between the eternal return and the BwO, “Drawn from the real present object, the virtual object differs from it in its nature; it does not only lack something in relation to the real object it subtracts itself from; it lacks something in itself, by being half of itself where the other half is posited as different and absent.” (Deleuze, G, 1996: p135)

The virtualities “half of itself” is that which is returned to the BwO, the lost part of it, its perpetual potentiality for difference, for reappropriation. The part which returns to the atemporality of the BwO, for it is not locked to the object of an event as the actual is, and can return to be reused. As a whole process the virtual can always return, in the sense of both its indexing within the pure past and as part of difference. On top of all this the process unto which the virtuality is thrown into the thresher of either non or pro-productive difference is entirely unconscious. “A machine works according to the previous intercommunications of its structure and the positioning of its parts, but does not set itself into place any more than it forms or reproduces itself.” (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F, 2013: p323) In this manner the industrialized, mechanized and quantified attributes of capitalism’s internal dynamics act as a numeric thresher regarding the productive output of temporal caesuras as reterritorialized pure past sent in from the Outside. To expand upon one instance of this process:

The eternal return cycles one return, there is a caesura/break in time which inherently acts as a cutting of temporality therefore forming a before and after and in turn producing novelty, the-future-as-difference, as such the eternal return is the eternal return of difference and is the temporal motor of Acceleration. This return of difference is a new virtuality to be both deterritorialized from its originary temporal location and reterritorialized until complete burnout, in this sense, capitalism’s machinic-unconscious acts as a temporal thresher, extracting all productive potentiality from that which is sent ‘in’ from the Outside via the process of the eternal return – this is what it means to Accelerate.

The process of the return is the content of Acceleration. It is that which comes closest to a theoretical outline of that which has been or is Accelerating. The eternal return of difference being instantly re-immanentized (BwO > Schizophrenia > Zero) back into the dynamics of capitalism. Capitalism utilizes all difference as a means for its own expansion. Upon the instantiation of transcendent capitalism the eternal return fundamentally alters. For much akin the BwO, a return as a form of difference is an act of repulsion against the same, much alike the repulsion of overcoding from the undifferentiated within difference. Also the same is the way in which capitalism can adhere to that which is theoretically eternal. For only that which can remain undisturbed in-itself throughout incessant change can continue eternal, namely, capitalism. The return of the circle is but another force of the Outside, another novelty to be aimed at its continuation.

As much as the aforementioned entire could be stated as ‘conditions’, however the process unto which one has to deal with said process is unconditional. Thus to direct, attempt to direct or even to theorize a direction of the process is always already a dead, strange and terrifying abstraction.

Within this is a direct assimilation of productive potential regarding the pure form of time. The pure form of time in the ‘event’ (caesura) of the third synthesis is 1. An event unto itself, but also 2. A fragmentation, a variation, a splitting or divide, both (1 & 2) are in time. This mode of breaking wherein a break imposes a serialization unto time poses an implicit problem for every other system other than capitalism. In this manner the system of capitalism either formed itself respective of Deleuzian time, or such a mode of time evolved capitalism (this is not for me to answer here). For each temporal event has its own symbolic image underneath it, as such Feudalism, Monarchism, Communism, I state that these are all passive temporal forms which cling to the symbolic, the locked-in imagery of a single symbolic event. And whatsmore, they fear further events, for the caesura brings with it an effect unto their event and thus a change. Capitalism on the other hand is the great temporal thresher, hoovering up productive capability of the serialization of time and assimilating all new virtualities into its fluxing/fluid temporal domain.

So what is Accelerationism then, what is it to Accelerate with regard to all that has been assembled? It is the temporal assemblage of the dynamics of capitalism, transcendental temporality and Deleuzoguattarian production. It is passivity in relation to this trio, an understanding that once the auto-construction that is the machinic unconscious is underway, that within its inherent nature it targets itself at continual production-of-production, as such, Accelerationism begun as soon as capitalism begun. The cosmic evolutionary utilization of the return of difference as a means to compound greater production regarding the future. For the process of Acceleration is a multiplicity of functions, of process-based assemblages interconnecting into a cosmic fluidity. It is the transcendental conclusion of man as a passive desiring-machine, which in concordance with the processes of capital makes him capital in-himself, man is made immanent to the system itself. The anthro is dissolved. Accelerationism is transcendental evolutionary production, a cosmic production thresher of the Outside targeted foremost at time itself. The process of Acceleration or: “accelerate the process” (Ibid, p276) then is a semantic mistake. For ‘to accelerate’ presumes a form of agency, a form of direction, whereas the ‘reality’ of the process is one of an ever changing reality; acceleration is always disjointed, neo, ahead, disappearing,

“Anyone trying to work out what they think about accelerationism better do so quickly. That’s the nature of the thing. It was already caught up with trends that seemed too fast to track when it began to become self-aware, decades ago. It has picked up a lot of speed since then.” (Land, N, 2017)

‘Accelerationism’ as a piece of terminology is a pithy joke, to define an ever evolving machinic unconscious leviathan so didactically is laughable, to ‘work it out’ is only ever to work out the processes or functions of its nature, never to find a form of comfort or control.

 

CONCLUSION

From such an assemblage of functions and processes, the entirety of which are within the auto-construction of the machinic unconscious, any conclusion can only be articulated in a non-conclusory form. Due to Accelerationism’s inherent transcendental characteristics, which have been thoroughly extrapolated here, one understands that any notion of an Accelerative finality is not possible. Such a possibility only exists on the Inside, and even then, it only exists as an illusory form of finality, a stagnance decided upon by a desiring-machine. In this manner I take the opportunity within this conclusion to make a prescient points regarding the entirety of what is known contemporarily as ‘Accelerationist Politics’. The conclusion that one can draw about such a statement, considering this essay’s prior theorizations, is that any notion of politics in relation to Accelerationism is any traditional sense is instantly recognized as a categorical transcendental error. No amount, no type, no redefinition of politics can alter it in such a manner that it can affect the primary of the Outside. In this manner this essay stands not as an attack on the Accelerationist politics of Williams and Srnicek (2013) and Shaviro (2015), but positions itself prior to any of these theorizations.

Further to this conclusion I would argue that the trajectory of the so-called ‘Unconditional Accelerationists’ is not incorrect, as much as it is terminologically ambiguous. For I have outlined certain conditions which culminate into both the process of Accelerationism and Accelerationism itself. In relation to the entirety of the transcendental there are conditions, functions and processes which all autocatalytically interact, however vague, free-floating and fluxing these conditions are, they all need to be in place for there to be such a theory of time as Accelerationism. However, I will openly admit that in relation to the Inside Accelerationism is unconditional, that is, there is and never was anything we could do.

So where can one say the process of Acceleration will continue into, what will come of it? Such an answer can admittedly only be purely speculative theorization. In that, it may be that capitalism continues in one of 2 directions. Either it continues its runaway mechanism towards singularity, which would take such a form that one could not comment upon. Or direction 2, it continues its runaway mechanisms in continual ignorance of the finite nature of the Inside and as such crumbles under its own nature. In the first direction the conclusion is a dark Marxist transformation, wherein, the means of production are not given over to us, but escape from us towards their own self-propulsion. In the second direction, anthropocentric and Inside-centric perspective would once again take to the fore. If capitalism crumbles under its own weight via resource over-extraction etc. then we no longer would have the dynamics of capitalism to solve our problems, and as such the Outside would dissolve, or at least its methods of communication would disappear until such time as the entire assemblage is made possible once more.

There is however a quasi-conclusion to the theorization of Accelerationism. In that, it is arguably the first philosophical effort or critique in which the human truly stands alone. Prior to Accelerationism all notions and articulations of what it is to-be-human have come either from the Inside, and as such have a transcendentally incorrect bias, or, spring from a pre-Kantian rationalism, which in-keeping with the theory of this essay is also incorrect. Though Kant and those philosophers working with critique make man’s place in the world clear, different and non-anthropocentric, they only do so in a manner of placement, as opposed to definition. To place man on the Inside is not to define him, it is only to locate him. However, in relation to Acceleration, man is both transcendentally demoted to the Inside and has entirely inhuman/non-human forces reacting, possessing and controlling him. As such, via Accelerationism we can begin to posit man and humanism, not in-itself as a form of self-congratulatory conservative bias, but as a reaction against an artificiality it most definitely is not.

 

Bibliography

Deleuze, G. (1994) Difference and Repetition. Trans. Patton, P. London: Bloomsbury Academic

Deleuze, G. Guattari, F. (2013) Anti-Oedipus. Trans. Hurley, R. Seem, M. Lane, H.R. London: Bloomsbury Academic

Foster Wallace, D. (2011) Infinite Jest. Great Britain: Little, Brown and Company.

Greenspan, A. (2000) Capitalism’s Transcendental Time Machine. PhD Thesis, University of Warwick

Guattari, F. (2006) The Anti-Oedipus Papers. Trans. Gotman, K. New York: Semiotext

Ireland, A. (@qdnoktsqfr) (2019) https://twitter.com/qdnoktsqfr/status/1121261704275345408

Kant, I. (1996) The Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Pluhar, W.S, United States of America: Hackett Publishing Company

Land, N. (2014) Fanged Noumena. Ed. Mackay, R. Brassier, R. United Kingdom: Urbanomic

Land, N. (2017) A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism. https://jacobitemag.com/2017/05/25/a-quick-and-dirty-introduction-to-accelerationism/

Lyotard, J-F. (2003) Libidinal Economy. Trans. Hamilton Grant, I. Great Britain: Continuum

Lyotard, J. (1972) ‘Energumen Capitalism’, review in Critique 306. In (2014) #Accelerate – The Accelerationist Reader. Ed. Mackay, R. Avanessian, A. United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd

Marx, K. (1939) ‘Fragment on Machines’, edited extract from Grundisse. Trans. Nicolaus, M. In (2014) #Accelerate – The Accelerationist Reader. Ed. Mackay, R. Avanessian, A. United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd

Shaviro, S. (2015) No Speed Limit: Three Essays on Accelerationism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Veblen, T. (1958) ‘The Machine Process’, edited extract from The Theory of Business Enterprise. In (2014) #Accelerate – The Accelerationist Reader. Ed. Mackay, R. Avanessian, A. United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd

Williams, A. Srnicek, N. (2013) #Accelerate. In (2014) #Accelerate – The Accelerationist Reader. Ed. Mackay, R. Avanessian, A. United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd

Williams, J. (2012) Gilles Deleuze’s Philosophy of Time. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd

Williams, J. (2013) Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd

 

A Critique of the Accelerationist Attitude

Before the Z/Acc/Collapse writing begins I want to address something that has irked me for basically the entirety of my time within the Accelo-sphere. That is the Acc-attitude or; Accitude.

Many people have commented on the Accelerationist ‘tech/nihil’ aesthetic, this is not to do with that.

At its machinic heart. Its techno-capitalist, techonomic heart, Accelerationism is an inhuman philosophy. The underlying forces of acceleration are pronounced and written of in such a way that one can come to no other conclusion than that they are other-than-human, nonhuman, even inhuman. Which poses a sort of paradoxical problem with regard to the attitude of Accelerationists. That is…they are all – at least the ones in our sphere – human. Fleshy, breathing, all-too-human…humans. Men, women, homosapiens blithering away at their keyboards commenting on the inhuman. Which in itself is sort of the impossibility of touching the or an actuality of the Outside. Perhaps it can be quasi-analysed via occult-numeric means, maybe, but we don’t know that.

Anyway, yes, humans. Meandering around the edges of what is supposed as a Cthulhic technomic entity/beast/force etc. The inhuman a priori psychopathy of Acceleration is assimilated into the writing of Acc theorists like the divine into things, it simply cannot integrate with our perception (Kant wins again). At least without an unavoidable clunky current running through it. A sense that something is always missing, something is always avoiding our full capacity, maybe because it understands our capacity to be human, or simply to be in the way destined for us.

With this said, the point of which it irks me is wherein digressions of war, evil and inhumanity spring to the surface in the writing, as if one is above all that. That the factors of horror, hell and reality of evil would not touch the lives of those who write in favor of such. A call for bombs, a loud call for a direct attack…but not anyway near me. How crude, how banal and pithy. A mainline into the arrogance of the literature itself, left and right. Arrogance, ignorance and apathy towards present reality due to amoralistic-promotion of an unprovable future is simply unforgivable. At best it is caustic literature, acidically burning through to a potential core of hatred, malaise and distrust; at worst it is a continuation of an anthropocentric cosmic bias that man even plays a part. You claim to know even a smidgen of inhumanity, and yet you project your supposed worthiness through a gauze of humane-understanding.

The methods of man tacked lazily onto a blueprint of machinic process. War, famine, poverty and death, all, more often than not, viewed from the gaze of a giddy tech-head. Writhing in frustration at their personal lacks of means to escape. Oh, I wish I could reverse cowgirl the means of production into a sentient machinic-thresher!

Accept your cosmic worth, become at least in part content with the situation of man and then address that which you must. The drool of fanatics – myself included – spills into a continually flowing basin of monkey-idiocy.

To take for granted the bias of one’s cosmic unbias. If man could ever become cosmically impartial he would surely go mad.

Zero Is Unforgiving

This would be the ‘zero’ of my Z/Acc primer. Social disarray, chaos, eschatology, the slow process of Hobbesian madness.

This will be a short post, but perhaps a poignant and important one for the history of this blog.

I am – largely – ‘done’ with Accelerationism, whatever that means. It takes a lot, and gives little back, even in its most rigorous forms it has little to show for its tendrillic efforts. This is not to say it does not still interest me. But it only interests me as studying an ideology/idealism interests me, at arms length in relation to that which would act as its primary competitor. If business dynamics – and a whole host of other things – are of paramount importance to Acceleration then that which could destroy, halt or end them should be a priority of perspective.

‘Zero is immense’ as young Land stated. Assimilated onto a level of reality far from the one Accelerationists exist within, that quote stands as pure eschatological meltdown with regard to man. I could take Acceleration more seriously if their inherent need for the cryptic didn’t consistently trip them up in terms of actually accelerating, but it does and consistently will. My writing here will, very swiftly, and as thoroughly as possible begin to sketch out the process of collapse – the one which Greer Et al speak of. There will be mentions of Acceleration within it, and coming in August will actually be my longest post on Accelerationism to date. But as personal preference, Zero has taken hold and one should try as hard as they might to not avoid or ignore the unavoidable. The history of decay is intertwined into all. Decay is death without the swiftness, it uproots the rot and slings it onto the anthro-shitheap. This will all be very fun and as cynical as possible, and yet, I wish to avoid silly collapse-culture scaremongering or romanticism.

The reality of the future is often nicer in certain ways, say, there’ll be enough packets of ketchup left to season the rat meat, but usually worse too.

From here.

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is out inability to understand the exponential function.”

Accelerationists are not exempt from this, I was a little sick of pretending that they were. They fall into the same idiocy with regard to limit as many other political ideologies.

Limits come first.

This is going to be so fun.

Anti-Pleroma: Progressivism Bows to the Yoke

What is the pleroma? In Gnostic spirituality it is fullness, wholeness and a completion of the self.

First and foremost is that there is a ‘more-than-personal’ Gnostic element within reality, a pneumatic element that is organic to the human psyche. Forthwith called the pneuma. This element the pneuma carries a dialogue with the personal element of our selfhood – ego, human-security-system etc. – through the use of symbols. The pneuma is not silent. It is a not a silent partner in one’s life and demands active participation in the growth, metamorphosis and transformation of the individual. The symbols utilized by the pneuma are dreams, visions and altered states of consciousness. These symbols reveal a path of development which can be traced both backwards and forwards in time. Prior to understanding and acceptance of the pneuma comes multiple painful and seemingly cynical and pessimistic phases.

The Gnostic Process: agone or drama/contest; pathos or defeat; threnos or lamentation; and theophania, divinely accomplished redemption. That which halts this process, stifles it, are unconscious forces, blind and foolish powers – projections. Demiurgoi and archons: Fashioner/architect and ruler respectively. Those who bow to the powers of the aforementioned blind and foolish make the grave mistake of bowing to the yoke –

“One cannot free oneself by bowing to the yoke, but only by breaking it.”

This piece could stretch ideologically to the far reaches of space in time in relation to man’s adherence to symbolic projections of egoist desires, yet my focus is on the contemporary myth of progress and those who bow to its yoke. Acting unconsciously to a nature created artificially.

Cometh the drama, come forth the symbols of virtue, that which the progressive rolls around in like a pig in shit. Placards, protests, t-shirts, revolutionary attitudes, transgression, debauchery, reveling, egotistical pontificating, the dramas of the self-centered forever focused inward, towards the human, human, human. Drama is human. All that is to dramatic effect has at its heart a human beat and rhythm. For there cannot be drama of the cosmos, not in the gossipy way we think of drama. The calm and illusive apathy of the universe is far from dramatic, at least from its own ‘perspective’. Progress needs drama. Stability needs little except understanding as to the ‘why’ of the stable itself. To disturb the waters one must usher in an age of uncertain, dramatic protest that orbits the habitats of the strange and ostracized. Drama is needed for those who can’t take the clear path, for they are simply inept. To progress is to assume a position in which there is something that must be progressed, and for this we have found little reason, and yet we still ‘progress’. The dramatic layer atop of the myth of progress is the alluring excitement of virtue, ‘community’ and belonging. But tell me, how can one ‘belong’ to that which is ever moving?

Then there’s that pause of the protest isn’t there? The bell ring of silence as you contemplate your meaningless, your lack of awareness, your assimilation into a system of symbols so confusingly simple that you just melt into confusion and nausea. The silence of one’s pneuma acts as a constant reminder of the more that is simplicity and nothingness. Now as for you Mr Progress(ive), you, I know, will go back to screaming louder. Man the placards and release the symbols of war!

Then the defeat. Yet the defeat never comes, not now and not ever. For the defeat of progress is merely more drama. It is not as defeat should often be, a moment for reflection unto the general aims of the group or community as to whether they are true, no. For the progressive defeat and failure are systematic attacks on truth, they are glitches in their irrefutable mode of being. Failure for the progressive is always conspiracy, idiocy, fault of the other. Think Brexit or Trump for two contemporary examples. The progressive does not accept for a minute their own deified religion of democracies’ actuality, no. They cannot accept that the many may see things differently from them. The Brexiteers and Trump voters are simply, a priori wrong, at fault and incorrect. This is not a ‘defeat’ it is simply not correct. There is never defeat, only confusion, nonacceptance and ignorance. Like a parasite eating its own arse. For progressives every failure is a victory, for their failures are proof and vindication that the system they protest against is in fact against them.

“Why wont they speak about being lizards?! SEE! I told you they were lizards!”

They whine and whine about their non-defeat to the point wherein those who are critical to progress begin cramming all manner of things into their ears. “Stop this incessant noise! Why wont this failure simply accept and be quiet!” But no, those are not in-with-the-myth become quiet, silent almost, a community of hermits who know not of themselves. And when the curtains of many booths close over the backs of many silent hermits, the votes begin to be counted, and alas, once again, it is we who are wrong…again. I simply cannot believe the majority has been wrong this many times. The great idiocy of democracy, the beauty of its craft within the hands of a thrifty politician is as such:

X wasn’t really wanted ‘apparently’: “Oh my, I cannot believe the people did this. We shall repair your mistakes!”

X was really wanted ‘apparently’: “I had faith in the people from the off! Our party shall bring our decision to greatness!”

If one cannot be defeated then lamentation never comes, the divine reward of the pleroma never comes. Progression without clear limits is a loop of desire and narcissism. A snake cycling into its own arsehole forever.

“Jung has repeatedly pointed out that whenever prolonged onesidedness occurs within the conscious attitude of the individual, a countering compensatory action takes place within the unconscious.” [1]

You know that you know. And we know that you know. And what is it that you know? Well it is the truth, the mind-numbing static of the unconscious. Like a battering ram against virtue, every waking our you have to find a strange soapbox for your attitude, your vices, your virtues. You crave numbers as a means for justification. Well, the truth doesn’t need a soapbox. That which is fed to me through the tightest gauze by a grovelling fat mass over and over again is that which I doubt. I cannot explain this in a more articulate manner or in a clearer way. And why not? Because at the back, down there, within and with-outside is that which you wont attempt to near, some gut level urge, defiance or tradition you cannot look in the eye. Oh, to never be still. To never even contemplate the possibility of the pleroma, of stillness. The privilege of silence, intelligence and competency, you say. Systematic this ‘n that. That which doesn’t fit becomes a ‘studies’. Your proofs are your own, birthed from your own systems, they are conscious and sprung from conscious, they shan’t ever be. And you know it.

Progress melts at the sight/site of the unconscious.

 

 

[1] The Gnostic Jung

Z/Acc Primer

Where the hell do I even start with this absolute megalodon of societal pessimism? Well let’s start from the one titbit we have with regard to Z/Acc, this tweet:

It’s cute isn’t it? In fact, you’re now within the camp of people who know the entire Z/Acc Twitter lore, yep that’s it. And I know what you’re thinking, ‘Wait, that’s it? How and why do I keep seeing ‘Z/Acc’ everywhere on Twitter? I mean there hasn’t even been a badly formatted, unnecessarily long WordPress post on the topic ye-‘

Welcome, my friends, to the Z/Acc primer.

Endre Tot.

What does the Z of Z/Acc actually stand for you ask? Zero. Zero/Accelerationism or Zero Acceleration, the proposition of Z/Acc is that we’re not, or we’re not going to accelerate, not the process of deterritorializing capital, we’re not going to accelerate actual progress, overcoming, capital, utopian dreams, nothing…we’re going to accelerate absolutely nothing. However, at this stage that makes Z/Acc hardly different from collapse culture, secular eschatology or industrial meltdown, does it? I mean, saying that we’re not going to progress is hardly novel, there’s hundreds of books on the topic by plenty of conspiratorial nuts. (I’ll probably list a few to be quite honest.)

Anyway, let’s assimilate Z/Acc into the actual theory of Accelerationism, no one has yet done this, perhaps because Z/Acc is just too pessimistic, even for those weirdos on Twitter. Accelerationism is inherently a theory of time. Whether you take that time as McKenna’s timewave zero phase-esque thing, “Accelerationism is a demon, not an ideology”  (as noted by Amy Ireland) or complex integration of economic means of escape via Kantian time. Either way, Acc is a theory of time. L/Acc wish for time to work in the typically mistaken (in my opinion) progressively linear fashion, and for time to work in their favor with regards to propagating a technological utopian (Marxist) society, complete with UBI‘s and all that meaning eroding jazz. R/Acc, in its initial formation and on what would be considered a material-chronic spacio-temporal plane – common reality – has not chained itself to the archaic theory set in chronic time, and as such acts as a reterritorialization movement in relation to L/Acc’s consistent compiling of ignorance. “You’re getting it wrong again, here’s what we might have done had you not overstepped your means…again.”

R/Acc’s inherent understanding of agency within unhinged time allows them to acquire the blackpill-visors and metaphorically witness capital’s convergent lasso come forth. With L/Acc searching for the – supposed – true agent of acceleration exterior to capitalism, which in the view of R/Acc is capitalism itself. Thus the spectrum upon which both L and R/Acc coexist is one of ontology, wherein one side (L/Acc) promote an ontologically objective structure of time, with humanities agency at the wheel, and the other end (R/Acc) accepting the ontology of the future as a constant. R/Acc accept that capital is critique. A rock dropped into water ripples outwards, reverse these waves and they culminate at the event of the rock’s splash, apply this metaphor to time and we have to ask what is controlling the waves, and what is the event. Put in a stupidly simplistic manner we might say that the waves are controlled and are themselves capital and the event is the Singularity. Hell, this is old hat, you can delve further if you like, I recommend the early NCRAP Lectures with Land.

So what does this make Z/Acc if acceleration is inherently temporally based. It makes it god-awful. A strange theorization of stagnation within a theory which is ever moving. Z/Acc seen from a layman’s point of view would be the immanentization of Gnon into the schema of man, let’s bring the attitude of Gnon to the fore and witness his apathy in relation to ‘Accelerative-man’. It’s tough to really talk of stagnation in a way appropriate for what springs to mind when I think of Z/Acc. Hell, perhaps Land said it best when he mentioned that the ‘Z’ of Z/Acc can quite aptly be replaced with ‘Zombie’. Let’s talk this hellish future of zombified, zero acceleration!

“and the story of the boy who cried wolf has two additional morals not often remembered: first, the wolves were real; second, they ended up eating the sheep.” – Greer, ‘The Twelfth Hour’.

In fact let’s begin with something Greer is very keen on bringing to the fore and something he expounds upon in great detail within his book The Long Descent (here) – a book which acts as a Z/Acc primer of its own, so let’s begin not with any external specifics acting upon civilization, but the inherent mistake civilization makes of itself, catabolic collapse:

Catabolic Collapse – in short:

Firstly, the classical collapse. Societies – according to Tainter (1988) – begin to break down once they reach a certain level of complexity, that level is such wherein a decrease in complexity would yield benefits to society. This is where acceleration stops, by the way. Each breakdown in social complexity leads to fragmentation into a lesser form of complexity, society becomes simpler as it breaks down. This is the traditional form of collapse, largely sociopolitical. Now one could argue that accelerating the process here would allow for the actualization of a patchwork of micro-states, many – or a few – of which would be able to create for themselves an accelerative society.

So what of catabolic collapse, “The theory of catabolic collapse, explains the breakdown of complex societies as the result of self-reinforcing cycle of decline driven by interactions among resources, capital, production, and waste.” (Greer, How Civilizations Fail)

Don’t tell those optimistic techno-capitalists, but feedback-loops work the other way too.

Resources (R): Naturally occurring exploitable resources (Iron ores etc),

Capital (C): Factors incorporated into the flow of society’s energy (Tools, food, labour, social capital etc.)

Waste (W): Fully exploited material that has no further use.

Production (P): Capital (C) and Resources (R) are combined to create new Capital (C) and Waste (W)

So from these constants (which are very simplistic as a means for ease of understanding this) we can begin to outline basic states of a civilization:

Steady state (SSv1): New capital from production to equal waste from production and capital [ C(p) = W(p) + W(c)] = SSv1

C(p) = New capital produced = W(p) existing capital converted to waste in the production of new capital inclusive of W(c) existing capital converted to waste outside of production. W(p) and W(c) is M(p), maintenance production. M(p) maintains capital stocks at existing levels. So:

SSv2 = [C(p) = M(p)]

In the absence of growth limitation capital can consistently be brought into the production process, making this process self-reinforcing, so, SSv2 = The Expansion of the USA during the 19th century. This self-reinforcing process may be called an anabolic cycle. It’s limited by two factors that tend to limit increases in C(p): Firstly resources which are finite, and as such have a ‘replenishment rate’ (r) or [r(R)]. This replenishment rate is largely due to natural processes and out of man’s control, leading into the Law of Diminishing Returns. Also these resources r(R) have a rate of use by society [d(R)] and the relationship between d(R) and r(R) is a core element of the process of catabolic collapse.

Resources used d(R) faster than their replenishment rate r(R) become depleted: d(R)/r(R)>i. This resource must be replaced by capital to sustain maintenance and as such the demand for capital increases exponentially as d(R) and r(R) both simultaneously increase. And so, unless you live in a society with unlimited resources, or resources that have unlimited replenishment (You don’t.) then C(p) cannot increase indefinitely because d(R) will eventually exceed r(R), society will use more shit than it has, basically. You can go a little further with r(R), because the processes of society are always reliant on the minimum resource, this is known as Liebig’s law.

Resource depletion – as shown above – is the first factor in overcoming the momentum of an anabolic cycle. The second is the relationship between capital and waste. M(p) rises and W(c) rises in proportion to total capital, alongside the fact that as M(p) rises, C(p) also rises as increased production requires increased capital – self-reinforcing – and this of course increases W(p). One must utilize these when studying the end of anabolic societal cycles wherein a civilization has two choices.

Choice 1: is SSv1.1: C(p) = M(p) and d(R) r(R) for every economically significant resource. We could call this Sustainable Steady State – Man not being silly. (I am avoiding here how to bring this about via societal controls, it’s not my aim.)

Choice 2: ACC-Sv1: Accelerative State V1: Accelerate the intake of resources through military conquest, innovation of techno-capital etc. (Accelerate the process). This of course increases both W(p) and W(c), which go on to further increase M(p). This means only one thing, a society that wishes to remain anabolic must expand its resource base at an ever-increasing rate to keep C(p) from dropping below M(p). If society fails to achieve this ever-increasing rate then it enters into contraction: nC(p) < M(p). Meaning capital cannot be maintained and is converted into waste, populations begin to decline, disintegration of social organizations, societal fragmentation and decentralization, loss of information. These societies can return to SSv1.1 if they bring d(R) back below r(R). But what is they do this…this: [d(R)/r(R) > 1]. That, right there, is the most simple way of explaining the majority of civilization’s problems, that means that M(p) exceeds C(p) and capital can no longer be maintained, resources deplete etc. This eventually results in the catabolic cycle of self-reinforcement in which C(p) stays below M(p) whilst both decline. C(p) approaches zero whilst capital is converted to waste.

(Once again, this is largely from John Michael Greer’s How Civilizations Fail: A Theory of Catabolic Collapse.)

And there you have it, the basics of collapse. That’s excluding the general ignorance, stupidity and arrogance of humanity and other societal defects, but by and large that’s the route in which we create our own demise. There’s of course other factors effected by us which I shall list a few of, but the theory of catabolic collapse is central to the Z/Acc debate in terms of accelerationist theory. The average time it takes for a society/civilization to collapse is 250 years by the way, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re safe.

So what of Z/Acc here. I think it’s a fairly simple task to materially understand how stagnation will happen within a civilization now, however, does this have much to do with the temporal theory of acceleration? It certainly throws into the air questions with regards to the means of which capital wishes to propagate its longevity and continuation. Perhaps a hegemonic, global method of control simply isn’t appropriate. Ever feel like you’re in a giant test-kit for capital? Well, perhaps capital now wishes to downscale into a microcosm of intelligence wherein production is acceleration focused. The tendrils of future capital are hitting against unexpected d(R), fucking humans and their robotic Santa toys. [Systems of] Capital is generally ignorant of the finite. And so a proposal would be to retain humanity within smaller and smaller microcosms of M(p) as a means to have greater control over d(R) and W. Z/Acc is the reset button, except pressing it to completion takes roughly 250-1000 years.

The Myths We Tell Ourselves:

I wrote about this further in my post Greer’s Future, but in short:

However, there’s another very specific idea that invades Greer’s work consistently. Often directly, but more often it sits quietly at the sidelines, smirking at its own reality. And this is Greer’s almost a priori notion that civilizations collapse, end, stop-being etc. With Greer the possibility for anything to end is always possible. This seems quite obvious, right? Well, not so. People hate to think that even their most luxurious comforts – ones that have always been around – would cease to be. So why would they even start to believe in a world where the basics will become a struggle?

Also specific to the Greerian reality is the fact that semantically collapse is quite commonly mistaken for an instantaneous event. This is quite simply wrong, in fact, it’s so wrong it exists solely in the realms of escapism and quasi-romanticism. No wonder the amount of post-apocalyptic media has increased in recent years, I mean what other generation(s) yearn for a reset button more than those who’ve been promised so much and allowed so little. Media such as Fallout, Mad Max, The 100, The Walking Dead etc aren’t truly horror, not really, for the simply fact that humans are still around and not only are they doing fine, they’re actually doing quite well and in someways progressing in healthier directions that their previous societies. And so at heart all these programs, games etc. is – at the very least – optimism, but also a perception of time in relation to collapse which is simply wrong. We think of ‘collapse’ as the collapse of a table or chair, a quick successive tumble of parts, yet once that which is collapsing grows in complexity (a civilization for instance) then the process of collapse becomes far, far longer. Emphasis on process here, the process of collapse will see chunks of civilization fly of and attempt to be replaced or repaired in relation to their previous standard, slowly but surely everything sort of disintegrates at such a rate that those living within it only notice the stark difference in conditions years later.

The myth we tell ourselves is deeply routed in modes of binary thinking of black and white, wrong and right etc.. A mode of thinking that’s ever-growing in society. It’s the difference between apocalypse and SSv1 (Steady state society), we’re either fine, or it’s all over. We’re never simply descending into chaos, things never truly get worse it seems because we’re always replacing the ‘worse’, smothering it with some new form of innovation that makes it look better. The myth we tell ourselves in everyday life are along these lines:

They’ll think of something…”

The world’s fucked, everyone knows that, better to not think about it.”

“It wont be that bad…”

And on and on with your dull co-workers, the equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and shouting “La la la la la la!” whilst food prices rise, death tolls rise, roads aren’t repaired, certain trees and species die etc.

Here is a list of apocalyptic predictions. There’s something which connects all these in relation to their understanding of collapse and apocalypse. The date can be plotted on a chart, it’s an instantaneous event. That’s the myth. We’d love for that to happen. If everything changes all at once then we only have to deal with those consequences, not the ones we’re within right now. The inverse or this, is the myth of progress, which can aptly be assimilated onto Christian eschatology:

“Over the last three centuries or so, Christianity’s influence on the Western intellect has crumpled beneath the assaults of scientific materialism, but no mythology has yet succeeding in outing it from its place in the Western imagination. The result has been a flurry of attempts to rehash Christian myth under other, more materialistic names. The mythology of progress is itself one examples of this sort of secondhand theology. Marxism is another, and most of the more recent myths of apocalypse reworked the Christian narrative along the same lines that Marx did, swapping out the economic concepts Marx imported to the myth for some other set of ideas more appealing to them or more marketable to the public.” – Greer, The Long Descent

Peak Oil:

Peak oil is the theorized point in time when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached, after which it is expected to enter terminal decline. Peak oil theory is based on the observed rise, peak, fall, and depletion of aggregate production rate in oil fields over time. It is often confused with oil depletion; however, whereas depletion refers to a period of falling reserves and supply, peak oil refers to the point of maximum production. (Hubbert peak theory)

 

Z/Acc Externals I: Climate

Long Term Effects of Increased Carbon Dioxide. (I and II)

Planetary Vital SignsNASA

Climate Change Summary – Guy McPherson

Collapse Data Cheat SheetLoki’s Revenge

Soil and Water RealitiesLoki’s Revenge

Tech vs Climate ChangeYale Environment

The Myth of Solar Energy – Liam Scheff

Wind and Solar Will Save Us DelusionOur Finite World

Renewable Energy Wont Save UsFuturism

2018 Warmest Year on RecordScience

Renewable Delusion Lecture – Dr Vaclav Smil

 

Z/Acc Externals II: Attitude

Human Optimism Disallows the Reality of ApocalypseNature Neuroscience

The Myth of ProgressDo The Math

Extinction Anxiety – Carolyn Baker

The Telltale Signs of Imperial Decline – Charles Hugh Smith

Reality Denial and Optimism – Chris Hedges

The American DreamDoomstead Diner

Overworked Peasants – more C(p) needed for M(p) – Business Insider

 

Z/Acc Externals III: Economics

Great Depression 2.0Press Herald

Global Bear Market 2019CNBC

Corporate Buybacks Feedback LoopCNBC

Germany RecessionBusiness Insider

Paycheck-to-paycheck Living Increasingly CommonThe Inquirer

£1.5 Trillion in Student DebtNewsrep

Slow Growth ChinaThe Guardian

UK Financial CrisisThe Week

Yield Curve First InversionBloomberg

Price Rises in U.S.France24

 

Z/Acc Reading List:

Fundamentals of Ecology – Eugene P. Odum (Or any basic textbook on ecology.)

The Limits to Growth  – Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III

Overshoot – William R. Catton Jr.

The Decline of the West – Oswald Spengler

A Study of History (Abridged) – Arnold Toynbee

Where the Wasteland Ends – Theodore Roszak

Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush – John Michael Greer

The Long Descent

Dark Age America

Retro Future

The Collapse of Complex Societies – Joseph Tainter

 

 

 

The Genealogy of Foucault’s Numeric Power Structures – Man Under Number

The Genealogy of Foucault’s Numeric Power Structures – Man Under Number

By Meta-Nomad

Essay constructed whilst listening to Röyksopp’s Senior – here, listen.

PDF Link for easier reading.

 

Introduction

In this essay I primarily use Michel Foucault’s text The Birth of Biopolitics (2010) to extrapolate and theorize on the socio-economic genealogy that is created after the Enlightenment. I propose that distinctive to the process of the Enlightenment was a fundamental cultural shift towards the assimilation of number into every facet of man’s life. My task is not to ask ‘Why?’ this new numeric culture arose, nor ‘Why?’. My sole task is to analyze the full economic, social and political genealogy it gives rise to in relation to man’s understanding of himself. I shall note that the genealogy itself is theoretically auto-catalytic (as shown by Fig 1), as such the linearity of the essay is continually reliant on the extrapolation of a previous section. As such I have written this essay in such a way as to expound upon that which I believe to be the largest ‘macro’ first (the culture of number) and continued genealogically through to the smallest ‘micro’ (man as homo-economicus). Though there is a quasi-hierarchical relation between the influence of some parts of the genealogy upon others parts, no part can exist without any other, as such the structure of the text acts only an illusory form of cohesion in relation to that which is ceaselessly auto-catalyzing between systems, structures, institutions, temporalities, cultures and frameworks.

(Fig 1 – The Auto-catalytic Nature of Modernity’s Numeric Genealogy)

 

Man’s Maturation and Enlightened Numeric Systems.

This essay’s respective ‘parts’ form a cohesion in relation to the maturation of man [1]. This process of maturation is inherently connected to time, it is a temporal process, one matures over time. The key ‘era’ of man’s maturation, in inherent distinction to others, according to Kant (Kant, 1784) was the ‘dawn’ of the Enlightenment. A process beginning with the 16th (Foucault, 2000, p307) century and continuing through to the early 19th. A process which has become synonymous with the arrival/birth of modernity (Ibid, p303-304, 309). The Enlightenment is a process situated within history, from which “Man puts his reason to use” (Ibid, p308). To utilize his reason, his human reason as a form of exit from the authoritarian and theological structures of the Other (Ibid, p306) that dominated the thought of the subject prior. To understand the world within man’s own cognitive capacity, this is what is meant by critique (Ibid, p305); the Enlightenment is the dawn of anthro-limit-acceptance. The systematic modification of will, authority and reason (Ibid, p305) that takes place within the Enlightenment is a distinctly temporal form of maturation – “because illumination takes time” (Land, 2013), linked to an ongoing histo-cultural process. Epistemologically locked to the changes taking place within said process. There was a darkness and calculation – as I will show – lead man to the En(Light)enment. The grammatical focus on the singular notion of an Enlightenment confusingly removes it from its true nature as process, a process within a larger process of techno-capital which it helps/allows to birth. Inherent to the system of the Enlightenment is a historical and numerical overlap which allows man to fully mature, the historical and systematic roots of which I shall now begin to pull up.

To state that the process of the Enlightenment is at its core historically and culturally mathematical would be the understatement, with regard to not only history, but to man’s nature and ‘nature’ in general – as I shall show further on. The proto-process of the Enlightenment begins much earlier that the 16th century, Crosby notes the process begins – less systematically – in the 13th century (Crosby, 1996). Yet full scale numeric-cultural assimilation of which is the focus of the this essay doesn’t arrive until the 16th century. From then on its arrival is so militaristic one wonders where numbers do not pry: Military textbooks (Ibid, p6), mathematical clocks (Ibid, p19), abacus’ (Ibid, p112), roman numerals (Ibid, p115), Mercantilism (Porter,T,M, 1986, p20), Malthusianism (Ibid, p26), Victorian social policy (Ibid, p30-31), standardization of measurements and time (Porter,T,M, 1996. p29, 93, 207, 224). The physics of Kepler, Galileo, Descartes and Newton, Stevin’s decimalist fractions (1585), Napier’s logarithms (1614), Fermat (1636) and Descartes’ (1637) geometry, Leibniz (1684) and Newton’s (1687) calculus and so on (see secondary bibliography on Enlightenment texts). As I previously stated in the introduction, my task is not to theorize the how or why the numeric cultural methods became so prevalent within the process of the Enlightenment, but to ask what these new numeric methods/attitudes do to man, how they alter man. What happens to the ‘homo sapiens’ when systematically introduced to number. That of man’s maturation under number? For a thorough analysis of this I turn to Foucault’s Birth of Biopolitics (2010).

A continually self-aggrandizing numeric process/culture which begins and succeeds in applying and parasitically assimilating number, math, calculation and quantification onto and into every facet of society. Number and limit convert man’s most basic and fundamental actions from subject oriented actions of the ‘immature’ self into economic possibilities: growth, gain, loss, limit, production and profit etc. The aforementioned numeric and mathematical events taking place within the Enlightenment convert society into a culture of the abacus, of ones and zeroes, pluses and minuses, controlled by chronic, linear time; “Modernity is often situated on a calendar” (Foucault, M, 2000. p309) notes Foucault and yet one struggles to rigorously select the dates unto which we can say ‘modernity’ precisely takes place. However, one can say that without modernity calendars cease existence, at least in our current systematic understanding of them. Calendric culture is modernity, a grid-like structure atop the world locking culture into smaller and smaller parcels and units of time. The calendar is the metaphor for modernity, a thorough process of temporal atomization unto which one can easily control the minute boxes are produced from it. A time built for control, from mathematical means of control. Firstly, the newfound numeric culture must assimilate into the ‘macro’ as a means to alter the ‘micro’; society first, only then to man.

 

Assimilating the Attitude of Modernity into Society

The numeric attitude of modernity aforementioned, complete with its assimilation of reasoned, mature, calculable limit into every facet of life shall forthwith be called ‘the attitude of modernity’. This attitude – for reasons I expand upon later – exists everywhere, and so, to get to the question of this essay, namely ‘man’, I must follow the constitutive parts of a numeric genealogy which begin their journey as the formation/creation of the synonymy of society and economy, and from there onward affect man more directly and purposefully. Yet one must extrapolate on that which man is within and in some sense being molded by before attending to the singular unit of man himself, he exists roughly at the ‘end’ of a genealogy: Number, economy, state and finally man.

Once the attitude of modernity infects society the task of society fundamentally changes, due to its newfound utilization and reliance on number and thus numeric/economic systems. This newfound raison d’Etat has at its core a critique of the ‘art of governance’ inherently connected with number (Foucault, M, 2010. p6), for the understanding of ‘limit’ is not possible without a coherent ‘lesser’ or ‘greater’, a mode of thinking made available by number. As such government begins to understand itself in relation to its own limitations and precisely because of this self-understanding it can begin to place itself within and enter into competitive frameworks, as well as this government also begins to understand its own internal limits and begins to regulate where it deems fit. Both the external mode of competition and internal mode of regulation are made possible by alterations both in communal/societal understanding of limit via numeric education and nature (later). This raison D’etat which takes the form of “internal limitation of governmental reason” (Ibid, p13) – or perhaps, ‘the maturation of government’ – is made possible by the arrival of ‘political economy’ (itself arriving synchronously with the numeric attitude) – “a method of government that can procure the nation’s prosperity” (Ibid, p13). Political economy in its mutual utilization of the attitude of modernity acts as governmental reflection (which was previously based upon morals, theology or law) ground down to ones and zeros, positives and negatives of wealth, value and capital (Ibid, p15). From this form of epistemological and governmental legitimacy wherein profit is ‘correct’ (Ibid, p14) “the economy produces the legitimacy of the state – the economy creates public law” (Ibid, p84), for law need only be tailored towards – the same now for everything else in society – the growth of the economy in relation to the nation. And so there is a ‘permanent genealogy of the state from the economic institution” (Ibid, p84) the actions of society become the actions for the growth of the economy and so succinctly, society becomes equal to economy.

To continue with this exposition of genealogy in the direction of man I must reach back to where I began. The attitude of modernity makes the society within its clutches understand itself in relation to its own attitude and epistemological legitimization of economic growth. All that is macro (society & state) or micro (man) is assimilated into the controlled signification of society now synonymous with economy, as noted by Foucault:

The economy produces political signs that enable structures, mechanisms of justification and power to function – the free market, the economically free-market, binds and manifests political bonds.” (Ibid, p85).

This form of economic positive-feedback-loop creation is genealogically bound to the economy – the creation itself made possible by the maturation of man. The positive feedback loop of the economy is reliant on material agents who understand and make intelligible its system (men) to feed its growth-directed abacus. Man’s economic choices within this economic loop compound into a single choice, the choice for the continuation of the economy beneath him. This is the only societal choice if one is to utilize the logic expounded previously: A nation’s prosperity is in relation to the growth of the economy, arguably the average man wishes for the betterment of his nation and in turn himself (from his nation), as such the purpose of man – survival, betterment, wellbeing[2] – becomes equal to attending to and helping the economic growth of the/his state/nation. For what now exists outside of the economy is now also outside of society and as such struggles, due to lack of institutional support networks, to survive. Man’s remaining options are to attend to the expansion of the economy or beg for scraps external to all systems. The attitude of modernity is a parasite infecting both at an individual and social level as to legitimize growth-as-wellbeing via intelligible mechanisms, and so, for man to improve his wellbeing he understands via signification produced by the economy that he must improve the growth of the economy – his ‘purpose’ has been replaced with a clearer economic purpose, his material meaning fulfilled, but what of his nature?

 

Nature and Political Economy

Political economy has arrived, as such the fundamental notions of nature, society and economy and man have changed, and so the state has inherently altered and modified into a system that mutates governmental practice into an economic entity – “Political economy [a] method of government that can procure prosperity.” (Ibid, p13). To prosper, to grow and to profit. Political economy is the numeric reflection of governmental policy via its economic effects and choices. This socio-economic abacus of political economy reveals [3] the intelligible mechanisms (Ibid, p15) of the economy. Mechanisms that once revealed can be taken by government into a loop of creation and utilization, to alter and direct their mode of governance in relation to a personal ideology. To chain the flow of capital towards a humanist venture. For the mechanisms cannot be avoided (Ibid, p15), and so are to be directed – which is considered by Foucault to be to the detriment of the free-market (Ibid, p116) – or are simply to be left alone, to be [a] free [market]. These mechanisms become nature via their synonymous actions alongside the attitude of modernity. Numeric attitudes allow such mechanisms an actuality via cultural assimilation of the means of understanding the mechanisms (mathematical education). This in turn assimilates into the collective engagement of society and government – “The notion of nature will thus be transformed with the appearance of political economy.” (Ibid, p15).

If we’re to take Foucault at his word when he states “Nature is something that runs under, through, and in the exercise of governmentality.” (Ibid, p16) then it follows that the reveal of political economy, and political economy itself is natural – for political economy is merely a modification of governance in relation to cultural progression maturation and alteration. There is no mutation in/of nature, we have simply revealed a further part of its form. The attitude of modernity as parasite in accordance with the political economy adheres to the previous culture of society/man and directs it via assimilation with mathematics towards a new form of natural behaviour in-keeping with the modern attitude. Number begets number via parasitic invasion of man’s being, allowing man to enter into the epistemological framework which reveres markets as signifier of truth.

Further investigation with regards to man’s ‘new’ natural reality of political economy is paramount to understanding his new being. For within man’s ‘new’ nature – now simply ‘nature’ – the choice of taxes at a politically economic level is a now simply a question of growth in relation to the state within which that political economy exists, does doing X to Y result in growth. The competitive essence of growth quashes archaic modes of ‘right & wrong’ via the assimilation of the attitude of modernity into every facet of man’s praxis. From (new) nature man now understands his purpose in relation to growth, and so all his actions are to be taken and made in relation to growth. Truth, for man, now lies solely – within a free-market capitalist mode of economy – within the potential for national prosperity, itself connected to the ‘regime of truth’ (Ibid, p19) connected to government via natural signification – “the site of truth is the market” (Ibid, p30). From this complex interwoven process of maturation via number, agents, economy, state and markets arises a norm. A mode of societal and governmental normitivity arises from the black unknowability of all economic processes. Man’s new mode of being – political economy as society aside – is to adhere/revere the normative, calculating, reasoned and epistemologically numerical economic mode of being, itself arisen from the secular domain of economy. Nature now runs through government as a mode of economic truth, an individual and collective mode of being made possible by the process of the Enlightenment’s maturation being synonymous with the assimilation of numerical attitudes into culture. This ‘mode of being’, for man, is to be ‘homo-economicus’.

 

Becoming Homo-Economicus

But what of ‘man’ within this new reality, this ‘new’ nature? He too synchronously changes alongside and with the nature of the collective. Man transforms, he modifies into ‘economic-man’, ‘human-capital’, homo-economicus. This modification of ‘man’ happens not only at a sociological, political and economic level, but also more fundamentally at the level of identity, at the level of his very definition. Foucault notes the history of the Latin word for man – homo, e.g. homosapien – during the process of the Enlightenment (Ibid, p250). During which the abstract integration of ‘man’ (homo) into external systems of cultural, societal and – eventually – economic relation takes place – homo-penalis & homo-criminalis are two clear examples (Ibid, p250). Throughout the process of the Enlightenment, man’s maturation, the singular subject ‘man’ loses his state as subject-as-island, separate from systems, sovereignty and economics, he begins to become inherently integrated into the modern attitude itself via semantic means. A man who is a criminal is a criminal-man, a new singular semantic judgement. Yet more importantly, for not all men are criminals – all men are now, or have the capacity to be calculating, man’s critical future neologism as homo-economicus, economic-man is locked into the modern attitude of calculation, which itself is locked into the ‘new’ form of nature. Man’s assimilation into this new economic reality is made whole by this creation of a neologistic combination of biology and economy. The cultural integration of number infects man and makes possible his new, inherent tether to the economy. The process of the Enlightenment, the maturation process paves the way for his becoming-economic. If man is now to be, he must be economic, he must be homo-economicus.

“The homo-economicus sought after is not the man of exchange or man the consumer; he’s the man of enterprise and production.” (Ibid, p147). However, with regard to “enterprise and production”, Foucault does not believe this fundamental shift within the subject of man makes him merely a puppet of capital, pulled by larger, unseen economic forces. It places him within and of an inescapable and unknowable whole of economics which, as atomized homo-economicus, he now becomes within due to to his newfound intelligible abilities in relation to economic mechanisms, themselves in relation to the political economy. Homo-economicus is entirely a becoming, a temporal length of maturation in relation to his understanding and assimilation into the numeric/economic framework. This process of assimilating the attitude of modernity into man begins at birth. A child is human capital (p228). It is a maturation directed at the potential for future economic output, a numeric maturation. The capital that is a ‘young human/infant’ is thrown into a temporal framework of limitation in relation to the epistemological legitimacy of market processes at that current time: Age, intelligence, investment, health, family and future possibilities all act in relation to the potential of this atomized homo-economicus to supply the state with growth. Their only other option is to de-tether from the economy and risk death.

Man, for Foucault, throughout this entire process undergoes as complex change & modification – if not more so – as state and society, due to assumptions surrounding his own being and ‘subject’ itself being eroded. The new reality – nature – I previously wrote of is foremost ‘accepted’ by man, “The nature of human nature is to be historical, because the nature of human nature is to be social. There is no human nature which is separable from the very fact of society.” (Ibid, p299). Such a newfound reality/nature works upon man in way of altering the very definition of his being, modifying and directing his being into alternate pathways made available by number. During the maturation period – the Enlightenment – the concept of ‘man’ began its own semantic journey into critique, flirting with systems of its own creation – law, criminality and now economy – in ways never previously experienced. Viewing these systems not as external modifications and alterations to a (whole) self, but as internal mutations of the self into a new form of self. Man becomes criminal-man (homo-criminalis), and in the context of this essay man becomes economic-man (homo-economicus). One must understand that this acceptance of nature anew is man situated “in an indefinite field of immanence – linking him to a series of accidents. [See fig 1], linking him to production, to others – a doubly involuntary situation.” (Ibid, p277). Situated in a field of non-totalizable economic immanence, a field he partakes in via economic choice in relation to society via intelligible mechanisms, yet e only does so in an atomized manner. Such a reality is acceptance of life as an atomized conduit for Smith’s invisible hand. It is a life “in the dark [wherein] the blindness of all economic agents [men] [is] are absolute necessity.” (Ibid, p279). Foucault’s allusion to state-subject collapse in lieu of economic becoming is extreme, yet realistic in relation to man’s own limit. Man must remain blind to the totality of economic process for if he sees he risks vision of society as limitrophe of zero, of society & state-as-economy as teetering on top of a complex abacus of illusory numeric supports [4].

Man’s place within and of these supports is succinctly extrapolated by Foucault (Ibid, p84-85). Man is allowed by the institution – in relation to its merit now intelligible via number – to spend and act, simply because the institution wishes them to do so; it is in their interest to allow agents of the economy (man) freedom. It allows them with this freedom to state it is right to give them such a freedom – an epistemological loop of economic legitimization. Such actions/freedoms of man are always in relation to growth/loss etc, itself made intelligible by the epistemology of the market, and so man’s freedoms become legitimized via the regime of the market. As such, from the underlying epistemology of the economy via the intelligibility of the market comes the legitimization of all of man’s actions in relation to production, a consensus of production is produced by that which wants production – the economy. Within this positive feedback loop of human-wellbeing assimilated into the epistemological legitimization of production man becomes an agent of the economic process itself, from this loop man becomes homo-economicus, he becomes a partner of exchange (Foucault, M. 2010, p226) and as such a partner in the production of economic and political consensus via political signification made possible by intelligible market processes, (Ibid, p85) in tacit relation to the continual growth of runaway capital.

 

There is moments wherein man attempts reversion to his previous natural ‘state’, where he attempts to cordon or direct the free market economy, often resulting in detrimental effects (Ibid, p116) – these attempts are acts of competition in relation to internal and external limits. The market is pure competition (Ibid, p121) and so acts of limitation with regard to competition are anti-free-market, to regulate the economy is to regulate truth, to regulate nature. So if the market is left alone the remaining economic representation is the epistemologically (numerically) legitimized truthful vision of societal demands and desires, or else, if regulated, it is the signifier of ideology. This form of societal signifiers is synonymous with the arrival of political economy, itself synonymous with the arrival of homo-economicus.Both forming a complex whole, the existence of which is only possible on the condition of the existence of the aforementioned economized institutional framework of the state (Ibid, p163). Their adherence to the state is adherence to historical economic attitudes, or the attitude of modernity works within an institution to materialize a numeric-based power structure.

 

Temporal Power Structures

And yet, the seemingly bleak future for homo-economicus is tethered to a secondary means of control which has thus far only been hinted at with regard to its importance. This means of control is more complex in a far subtler way, the means itself is simple temporality and the realities it imposes on humans (mortality, health, productive output etc.). Yet at all junctures within both the process of maturation and the fully-fledged becoming of homo-economicus temporality is utilized by the economy via governmentality as a means for control. Before listing the simple/obvious practical means of control, I shall extrapolate on further ways in which temporality works synergistically with capital as a means of power over man. As I stated at the beginning of the essay one must not remove emphasis of the word ‘process’ in relation to maturation and the Enlightenment, this method of thinking about power must also be applied to the economy, for the economic processes unto which man is now befallen are equally forms of temporality, they are processes and at their core are actions of time. To paraphrase Foucault: the formalization of economic mechanisms and processes only exist in history (Ibid, p163) – there has to have been time for formalization to take place, no economy is a temporal moment/present. Not only do economic processes only exist and enact within history and time, but they also – within a numerical culture such as the one homo-economicus inhabits – use and utilize time as a means of control, as an economic means in itself. Foucault notes that the “economic reality of capitalism” we’re dealing with is “a singular figure in which economic processes and institutions call on each other, modify and shape each other in ceaseless reciprocity.” (Ibid, p164). Capitalism is a process of processes, “Capital is essentially /capitals/ at war among themselves.” – (Land, N. 2018, p1370). This ceaseless modification is ceaseless diversions of temporality attuning man’s life-cycle to a lesser or greater mode of profitability in relation to time. Each cross referenced via intelligible mechanisms to cater to its – capital’s – own impenetrable longevity. This history of ceaseless reciprocity, or history of economic histories “can only be an economic-institutional history.” (Ibid, p164). The overlooked factor in relation to the reality of man here is – surprisingly, with regard to Foucault – the temporal element. History, not only as supposed linear narrative of consistent economic growth or loss plotted upon a linear timescale, but also capital’s utilization of its own understanding of temporality used alongside and with the numeric attitude assimilated into man as a controller of homo-economicus. Capital utilizes temporality as a means to reinforce its fundamental social policy, growth (Ibid, p144), such a policy that is only possible via time. Capital is to utilize the temporality of man as a means of productive output, as a further means towards the best possible use of resources as an even further means towards growth. Capital takes man’s true limit and resource, time, and uses it for its own gain. Man has been systematically immanentized into the auto-catalytic schema of capital as human-capital, as part of the system himself, he is “one of the two partners of exchange in the process of exchange.” (Ibid, p225). Once man partakes – usually unwillingly – in the attitude of modernity he becomes human-capital and as such becomes – a form of – capital. A process in himself to be understood and modified by capitalism. The maturation of man during the “Western economic take off in the sixteenth and seventeenth century – Was it not due precisely to the existence of an accumulation, an accelerated accumulation, of human capital?” (Ibid, p232). This was indeed a physical accumulation of human capital, but at heart it was the accumulation of contained time as an investment in mechanisms of growth. Such an accelerative effect of accumulation was directly made possible by the assimilation of all human-capital onto an economic plane via numeric education.

Without the process of maturation, inclusive of the historic/cultural integration of number into society, man’s understanding of himself would have taken a drastic, unknowable turn…or perhaps he would have remained within a world wherein his understanding of his own ‘time’, lifespan and temporality would not coincide with number. However, the process of maturation did – or had – to arrive alongside the assimilation of mathematical education, for understanding one’s own limit is not possible with a numeric spine, as such the means of control of which the economy may utilize are larger and more intrusive.

As for the physical, practical ways in which the political economy, the economy, capital controls homo-economicus… in which it creates a power structure, I turn once again to time. Hours, minutes, seconds, linear/successive time, hours worked, rate of production, productive output, clocking-in-and-out, growth, decay, profit, loss, holidays, pensions, hourly salary, yearly salary, overtime, bonuses, years of service, dividends, bonds, stocks, bankruptcy, taxes, tax breaks, distance traveled to work and pay per hour. Each of these is made societally universal via the assimilation of the attitude of modernity into every facet of life, as well as each being uniquely connected to time via its own method of temporal control. Each of these – and many more – are actions of the aforementioned “ceaseless reciprocity” (Ibid, p164) of capitalism. They are modifications and alterations of the temporal lifespan of homo-economicus as a means towards greater productivity and growth. Not only does man have to be numeric, but his very temporal being is split, allocated and allotted as a means towards profit. The labor of profit is primarily man, and a mistake is made in relation to understanding profit as solely a monetary venture. Money is simply the signifier of the value allotted to the time worked within a particular context, by a particular human. ‘Time is money’ takes on literal significance in relation to money being the most common intelligible mechanism with regards to understanding growth. And so, the homo-economicus has a lifespan unique to its being, which from birth is for use by capital for capital “if capital is that which makes future income possible, then capital is inseparable from the person who possesses it.” (Ibid, p224). Under capitalism, capital makes future income possible, meaning that capital makes the future possible, for now the future cannot exist without being a continuation of the growth directed system of capitalism. The system of capitalism understands the economy in relation to homo-economicus as allotments of time, “the more we move towards an economic state, the more paradoxically the constitutional bond of civil society is weakened and the man the individual is isolated by the economic bond he has with everyone and anyone.” (Ibid, p303). The system of capitalism utilized the assimilation of number as a means to temporally atomize man into becoming an individual economic and temporal unit, perfect for utilizing with regard to exchange and production, each man their very own test-kit for capital. The attitude of modernity was thus the launch pad for capitalism to become a hegemonic, cosmic, numeric entity. Forcing men into semantic deaths of the self via institutionalized inescapable connections with the system itself. The parasitic structure of capital is such that the parasite exists in time, with time, and moves from host to host using their time – via practical, economic means – as a way to prolong its own existence, for the sake of its own existence.

 

Conclusion

Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie-maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us.” (Fisher, M. 2009, p15)

If we’re to follow the genealogical thread of number through to man, one comes to the bleak conclusion expounded upon quite heavily by Fisher in Capitalist Realism. The process unconsciously undertaken during the Enlightenment unleashed the vampiric means of capital. Careful attention to Fisher’s notion of vampiric capital however reveals one salient point, there is, supposedly, life-after-capital. You have become a zombified partner of exchange in relation to a large unknowable whole, yet you are still in control of your flesh, whether or not it is being eroded by the process of capital, used up by it. As I have shown the ‘abstract parasite’ of capital is so fundamentally tethered to a numeric-reality that expunging it from one’s system is, in reality, a temporally gigantic task. Global educational reversion towards a world of quality, away from quantity would be the task for those who intend to detach from capital. Foucault’s overlooked factor in relation to man not-becoming-capital-puppetry is his omission of the ways in which capital utilizes intelligible mechanisms as a way to justify its own reality, as the only reality. “If escape into capitalism isn’t the escape you want, then modern history is not for you.” (Land, N. 2018). If the maturation process, the ‘exit’ Kant spoke of is inherently bound to the attitude of modernity then there is no exit from capital, there is only existence within its self-selected direction. The conclusion of the genealogy expounded upon by Foucault, in relation to man, is that he is free to exist within the flow and process of capital, he may bare his flesh only in acknowledgement of capital.

 

Endnotes

[1] Though the process of man’s maturation with respect to Kant and Foucault could easily be deserving of its own essay, it is included here due to its unavoidability in relation to the topics discussed within and its connection throughout, as such it is expounded upon here as minorly as needs be, for this essay isn’t directly concerned with the Kantian aspect of the Enlightenment’s historical influence.

[2] I shall not argue the purpose or meaning of man’s life here, for I am taking it as a given via The Birth of Biopolitics that man directs himself towards personal wellbeing.

[3] Note that throughout The Birth of Biopolitics Foucault uses strictly Heideggerian language – specifically ‘reveal’ – as the way in which he understand the processes of economy. If one continues this thought, it seems applicable that the natural processes of economy were there all along.

[4]“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” (Lovecraft, H.P., 2014, p381) Lovecraft’s notion that pure cognitive correlation is     horrifically synonymous with the place in which man himself with regards to the reality of economic position, for him to see the ‘whole’ of the economy, is for him to correlate existence and time.

 

Bibliography

Crosby, A (1996) The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600. Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

Fisher, M. (2009) Capitalism Realism: Is There no Alternative? John Hunt Publishing.

Foucault, M (2000) Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984. Penguin Books, London.

Foucault, M. (2010) The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College De France 1978-1979. Palgrace Macmillan, New York.

Kant, I (1784) Kant: What is Enlightenment? [Online] Available at: (http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/CCREAD/etscc/kant.html#note1) (Accessed: 06/01/2019)

Land, N (2012) The Dark Enlightenment: Part 1. [Online] Available at: (http://www.thedarkenlightenment.com/the-dark-enlightenment-by-nick-land/#part1) (Accessed: 06/01/2019)

Land, N. (2018) Hermitix Podcast, Nick Land – Accelerationism and Capital. [Online] Available at: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgEqQujsNTY&t=) (Accessed: 06/01/2019)

Land, N. (2018) ŠUM, Journal for Contemporary Art Criticism and Theory, n. 10.2, Cryptocene

Crypto-current: An Introduction to Bitcoin & Philosophy. Društvo Galerija Boks.

Lovecraft, H,P.(2014) The Complete Fiction of H.P.Lovecraft. Race Point Publishing, New York.

Porter, T,M. (1986) The Rise of Statistical Thinking 1820-1900. Princeton University Press, UK.

Porter, T,M. (1996) Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton University Press, UK.

 

Secondary Bibliography of Enlightenment Texts

Simon Stevin – La Disme, 1585

Franciscus Vieta – In artem analyticem isagoge, 1591

John Napier – Description of the Marvelous Canon of Logarithms, 1614

Joost Burgi & Johannes Kepler – Tabulae Rudolphinae, 1627

Bonaventura Cavalieri – Geometria Indivisibilibus Continuorum, 1635

Pierre de Fermat – Methodus ad disquirendam maximam et minimam et de tangentibus linearum curvarum, 1636.

Rene Descartes – La Géométrie, 1637

John Wallis – Arithmetica Infinitorum, 1655

Isaac Barrow – Geometrical Lectures, 1670

Isaac Newton – Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687

Colin Maclaurin – Treatise of Fluxions, 1742