META-NOMAD

Death Happens

This is an essay which has basically been a long time coming, not that I ever actually planned to write it, only, it has always been in the background and a recent experience solidified it as perhaps one of the most important ideas which structures my thought.

I don’t think about death and suffering all the time and it’s certainly not infiltrating my thought all that regularly, at least as far as I’m aware. But recently I had the – supposedly – unfortunate experience of seeing a loved one in those true last moments, the last few hours where the human body has quite literally nothing to do but clutch at an attempt of existence, and once a person hits this point, the reality of that ‘person’, their ego, their I, anything that can be considered to be of their character completely fades away and you’re left with mere flesh.

For the majority of people and for modernity in general this is, a priori,  a bad moment, there is quite simply no framing wherein this can ever be considered a possible/potential good etc. However, that’s not really what people mean when they think like this, is it? When people say things like ‘Oh it was awful’ what they’re really addressing is their own begrudging acknowledgement of a state which is perpetually hidden by them and for them. That is to say, death and suffering are always hidden, reconfigured and reworked in such a way that they are seen not as definite parts of life, but mistakes of civilization. Ok, so far this is a slight repetition of my previous essay on immortality, however, that essay dealt with what modernity does with death with respect to your will, the rest of this essay will be on what you can do with death and suffering in the face of modernity’s cold hard calculating machinic unconscious.

It pains my younger-self to say this, but I’m certainly heading towards a more vitalist philosophy (reading the work of Ludwig Klages acted as the catalyst), and yet, I don’t think that vitalism has to be of any cliché form, or of any stereotypical hippie-love-of-live vector, in fact, I’d argue that one can be a ‘machinic-vitalist’ or a ‘cosmic-vitalist’. That is – and forgive me is there’s already theorizations closer to this idea – a vitalism which is accepting of death and suffering as part of its own vivid ecstasy. Georges Bataille gets close with his philosophy of limit experience, Nick Land strays towards machines and neglects our reality, Deleuze & Guattari are too focused on economics, Cioran and Ligotti get caught up in their own bleaker-than-thou bias; we need a reversion of vitalism in which it eats itself. That is, death and suffering become a force for good.

Hold up, I’m not promoting death and suffering for their own sake, I’m not saying that one should get pleasure, comfort or positivity from the pain of another, I’m not endorsing any form of violence or torture here. What I am doing however is becoming accepting of the cosmos in a way which doesn’t succumb to the pitfalls of Lovecraftian-bellowing from the madhouse, nor become so utterly positive it stinks of ignorance; I am theorizing of a vitalism which accepts its own return to Zero. Death and suffering as part of the whole system. Sure, this is absolutely nothing new…but then, there’s nothing new under the sun, right?

This is an immanentization of death and suffering into modernity. Modernity is here to stay, and utilizing one’s finite energy trying to get rid of it or destroy is a serious waste of life, you’ll understand very little if you spend your entire life destroying X so you can arrive at some abstract Y; the grass is always greener etc. Death happens. Death happens and spending your energy trying to stop both its material and mental reality is not only an exhaustion, but it’s a maddening exhaustion which will lead you nowhere. The underlying idea of modernity is that everything can be fixed either by some form of technological innovation or by some form of societal tolerance, and guess what, death is the thing which can never be stopped. Modernity finds in death an idea so abhorrent that it ignores its existence all-together, and what is it that modernity finds? Modernity finds within death something which truly does what modernity wants to do, control everything. The only thing outside the constraint of death is nothingness, and once death has come, the concept of nothingness can no longer be.

What can we learn from death? When one is ill, or when one is hurt, or when one is falling apart, these experiences teach us just how much we’ve become accustomed to a certain way of thinking and being. One’s first thought when they have a fever, or when a new ailment alters their course of life is to attempt, with all their might, a return to a presupposed state or normalcy. This is how I should feel and how my body should be and any alteration from that is a mistake of cosmic programming, well guess what? Heraclitus’ river isn’t just something you step into every second of every day, but it’s also the current and circuitry of your own blood. You can’t avoid change because you’re of change.

When I looked at my loved one, I saw the loved one had gone, I didn’t know where, but it didn’t feel awful. What was awful was seeing some-thing plugged into the life-support machine that is modernity, existence for its own sake; modernity disallows existence its right to pass into the next stage both willingly and in a contently manner, modernity clings to life as if it always belonged solely to modernity itself. I saw blood, gasping, unconsciousness, entropy, croaking, struggling and mortality all within a single moment, and yet I saw nothing of the vitalism which had once possessed them, for such a vitalism would have nothing to do with such modernistic and civilizational ignorance of cosmic reality.

And yet, what can one think when they find themselves within such an event in time? Modern man would bleat, pray, whine, ignore, repress, suppress, suffocate and reason everything in front of him, he would make a leap of faith towards the idea that modernity would eventually save him from such a fate, even if his might be more pleasant. But what if one sits and looks and senses. What if one takes their time, accepts the reality, acknowledges this as part of the cycle, as part of the river, and goes about their day with that in mind? I’m not saying do not feel or mourn, I’m not saying ignore the event that is death; I am saying that the way in which one understands and reacts to death will ultimately affect how they react and enact their life; if death is denied, then life is too.

‘Everything you’re currently experiencing will die’ is another way of saying that ‘everything you’re currently experiencing is still here’, enjoy it, partake in it, and experience it with everything you’ve got.


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Immortality is More Profitable

“People, like civilizations, are mortal, and no matter how much money and technology gets poured into the task of keeping either one alive, sooner or later it won’t be enough.” – John Michael Greer, The Strategy of Salvage.

Once again, I’m going to alter the Greerean civilization angle towards one of personal sovereignty. Mortality is our reality, in all things. This is the truth that even the most Rousseau-hardened optimists have trouble accepting. People, states, families, heritages, traditions, fads and ideas are all mortal, they will all end. Unfortunately, we live within a system which finds this truth abhorrent for the fact it goes against everything it stands for. Ending, stagnation and stopping, there is nothing more troublesome to modernity and runaway capitalism than this. And so, wherever you look, you will find pitiful attempts at immortality…whatever the cost.

At risk of acting like modernity itself, I actually see this as an argument and reality regarding energy. There comes a point within all existences in which the energy ceases in its ability to be converted into life by the existence itself, the requirement henceforth then – if one wishes to keep that existence ‘alive’ – is an external source of energy, which acts as a life-line, or existence support machine. I am thoroughly of the opinion that if an existence can no longer support itself, it should be left to peacefully fade away…for modernity, this is the wrong opinion.

We see these life/existence-support-machines everywhere, but we’re just taught to understand them as ‘the way things are’, the underlying message we are taught is that death is the worst of all outcomes, worse, in fact, than suffering. And that life should be maintained, even to the detriment of its own quality, even if by keeping it going it has a net-negative regarding quality.

Dying businesses get personal credit injections, dying trades get government subsidies, dying ideas get infected with nostalgic wills, dying traditions get riddled with parasitic clones, dying fads get their ironic rebirth and dying people are disallowed their reality entirely. We simply cannot allow death. We cannot allow it to appear, we cannot allow it to be seen and most of all, we cannot allow it to become a reality. Within modernity, death and suffering are not seen as outcomes of an unjust cosmos, but as accidents of a failed civilization; civilization as an idea has become synonymous with the eradication of pain and conclusion, there’s no money to be made from something which ceases to have an output.

But this idea of death is reliant on one’s definition of life, for there to be an antagonist or opposite, one needs the affirmation, the protagonist. The main character here is life, the idea of life. How ‘life’ is defined differs from person to person, and yet I imagine that there is a relatively accepted opinion that life is still living when one can actually do it; to live is an action. Modernity doesn’t see it this way. To modernity the subjective reality of ‘being alive’ is a matter of chemistry, politics and economics.

Modernity strips life of all its vitality and essence, one is reduced to chemistry in the manner of being monitored via various medication and intakes and blood tests, one is reduced to politics by way of being understood as a statistic in relation to various micro and macro political spaces, and, of course, one is reduced to an economic being by way of understanding that once one dies, they can no longer produce or consume, or more importantly, pay. 

Say what you like about the Deleuzoguattarian notion of machination, that we’re all just units which produce and consume, but it’s certainly the correct reading with regard to civilizational systems and underlying control mechanisms. One is understood, societally, simply as potential for economic input or output. The reason one is kept alive far beyond the point wherein all real life has left, is because if one is still chemically alive, then one is still economically life, and has the potential to create profit for some or other societal abstraction.

Unfortunately, the reason why these life-support systems seem so abhorrent to us, to the extent of causing a gut reaction of disgust, is because the living human finally seen to exist on the plane of existence they always existed upon, the plane of entropy and negentropy. When resource shortages interact with rising maintenance costs what one gets is a form of collapse. Now, we’re talking about a shortage of life itself, a shortage of pure being, which in turn is replaced by machinic appendages and tools, external aesthetic machinations of life which stand in for natural organs. This process is usually slow and steady, until one day, one is faced with their beloved all but gone, except for the process of breathing, maintained by various branded medical apparatus.

This is because immortality is more profitable; dying? How dare you! A dignified death is the gift of a dignified society. One where the definitions of life, death and suffering remain with those who truly partake in them and have not fallen into the hands of abstractions which don’t. There is nothing modernity is more hates more than something which not only wants to end, but wishes to choose when to do so. When something or someone says ‘I’ve had enough, I no longer want the drugs, I’ve had a good run…’, that isn’t seen by modernity as a separate agency making its will conscious, but is seen as a potential loss of control.

In Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, Judge Holden – who for lack of a thorough analysis represents death, the devil and unforgivable entropy – states this: “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” Of course, for the Judge, as with modernity, the reverse is also true, that which dies without my knowledge dies without my consent. Modernity is Judge Holden forcefully cramming pills, splints and needles into you until the last iota of your life force has been drained.

It is a crime to die of one’s own choice, whether or not your life is over is not your choice, but the choice of that which defines what both life and death are, and for that we rely on something entirely undead.


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The Myth of Progress

There have been thousands of essays just like this one, but I never got around to writing my own, so here it is. Guess what, progress is…strange. The very concept of progress now is – as mentioned in my Free Floating Power essay – a signifier without a true object or concept of signification. Let’s look at some definitions:

Progress:
1. Forward or onward movement towards a destination.
2. Development towards an improved or more advanced condition.

So if we’re to take the first definition here as our starting point, then we first need to question our destination. If we’re progressing then we must be progressing somewhere, right? Well, I can’t say for sure whether we’re going anywhere because it’s relatively difficult to see who or what it is that’s actually pulling our strings. With that said, without any clear destination progress, advancement and improvement are pretty much impossible. If you have no quantifiable metric to go off of (within the socio-industrial framework) then you can be doing practically anything and call it progress. If we tell ourselves that we need to get to a state of X, or we need to invent or build Y, then we have enough data to correctly assess whether or not we’re progressing. But once the entire concept of progressing is understood in relation to a rather loose assemblage of sociological and political tolerances and statements, well then we’re at the whim of conjecture, and whoever can askew the facts in the most innovative way is the winner.

This leads me to the second definition – development towards an improved or more advanced condition – firstly one has to ask, an improved or more advanced condition for whom? And within what context is advancement understood. The first word there, ‘improved’, is the most precarious in this context. Improved means entirely different things for different people, this much is obvious. But another difficulty with ‘improved’ is that for many improvement isn’t synonymous with advancement in technological culture or abstract social freedoms. For some people a return to tradition would be an improvement, for some people the singularity would be an improvement and for others the levelling of all industry would be improvement, and once all these viewpoints are all flattened onto the plane of progress one understands that it’s nothing but impossible to have a unified conception of progress. The same applies for the idea of an ‘advanced condition’, one assumes that this is theorized in relation to an advancement in technology and potential for social freedoms once again, that there is, in the oh-so mystical future, an abstract state of society which we’re lunging towards.

If this is the case, that we’re heading towards a sort of collective subconscious future which we all apparently implicitly understand is the correct thing to head towards, then what we’re venturing into is a fiction, and as such, will be – more or less – extremely alike the past, if not a mirror image with a different aesthetic. For whatever is understood as our future can only be understood in terms relative to what has been, the entire notion of progress rests on a linearity of thought which excludes and actively shuns innovation. Innovation is the greatest enemy of progress, because it could potentially allow us to move away from the notion of progress altogether.

It’s a case of questioning once again, and because progress implies some form of action (advancement, progressing, moving-towards etc.) then further questions arise. Where are we progressing to? What are we progressing towards? Who is progressing? Why do we want to progress? And on and on they go, questions which will never find an answer because the concept of progression is so malleable and plastic that it exists solely as a form to be used by the highest bidder. So, my own definition of progress: Progress means whatever those with power want it to mean; progress means whatever those in control of history want it to mean. The victors write the history books, but they do so in such a way as to define progress, and unfortunately, our history books are rife with unbridled technological and industrial optimism, unquestioned notions of freedom and abhorrence of exit. Which ties one into an unforgiving abstraction, the target of which is whatever is happens to be that day.

How can we call it a myth then? Well, let’s go back to good ol’ definitions:

Myth:

1. A traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.

Now, progress is far from traditional, in fact, it has basically nothing to do with tradition in the sense that it only uses tradition to reach its own aim, as opposed to being tradition itself. It is most definitely a story, perhaps the earliest of stories, the one we’ve always told ourselves. Progress is the story in which the narrator is always correct, and everything the narrator has done is correct, and – most importantly – where the narrator is going is definitely the correct direction. It is the story with regards to one handing over their responsibility and action to an elusive abstraction. Sure, we tell ourselves lots and lots of stories in everyday life “I’ll do it later because X”, “I can’t do that now because Y”, “I always wanted to do Z but…” and on and on they go, but the overarching story which trumps all of these is the story of progress, the unconscious idea that even if individual things don’t get done, it doesn’t matter because we’re chugging along nicely anyway, a few mistakes, lacunae and occlusions don’t matter, because we’re always progressing.

What’s left to say of progress other than nothing, it doesn’t exist, except in extremely limited cases where there’s a clear metric and secure personal or collective context, but even then it can become flimsy quite quickly. Handing over your ideals to progress is giving up all personal sovereignty for the comfort of a controlled abstraction, and it’s not always easy to see who or what is doing the controlling.


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What Are You Waiting For?

As a culture, in fact, as a species, we have one clear obsession which we all share, the future. We’re absolutely obsessed with it, aesthetically, ideologically, politically, physically and – primarily – technologically. We can’t wait to see and use the latest car or latest phone, we’re enthralled with trailers for upcoming TV shows and movies, even the latest burger release warrants multiple prime-time advert slots, which is enough social proof to garner that we adore even the immediate future as opposed to any past or any present.

We like to think we’re no longer utopian, that we no longer lust after any of the – seemingly – archaic visions we did way back when, we believe we’ve gone beyond the World of Tomorrow ideals, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. The problem is the utopias we now subconsciously believe in are ones in which no change is enacted. There’s nothing different about new cars or new technologies, they’re simply previous technologies with aesthetic alterations. You could argue an electric car is something different, but ultimately it still runs on the same premise of an engine, fuel etc. It’s still reliant on a massive disruptive system of roads and networks which are ghastly to look at and dull to partake in.

We don’t want change, we just want the illusion of change. Aesthetic progression is apparently enough for us to not demand anything different, anything new. Except, even the aesthetic progressions of our ‘future’ aren’t anything new, if one is to look back at films made in the 60’s and 70’s which predict the future we have today, you’ll find that much of what is being built today is simply a creation of a past fantasy. Star Trek told us what phones and communication would be like, so that’s what we turned it into. Futuristic sci-fi films gave everything round edges and curved design styles, so that’s the way we’ve designed things. This is a shoddy example of hyperstition if there ever was one, those kitsch, lame ideas of what the past thought the future would be like, actually becoming the real future.

When you look at this from afar it becomes quite clear that we don’t really want change, the onboarding process for any drastic change is far too sharp. Everything is built and constructed from pre-defined parameters we’re all comfortable with. KFC have released a new burger which is a chicken burger between 2 donuts. It’s as if the whole thing has reached its end and no longer has anything left in the burner, we have a limited amount of options and our future is simply the reiteration of different mixtures of these items. Actual innovation, difference-in-itself…genius, is thrown out in favor of complacency and acceptability.

We’re focusing on the future to make sure it doesn’t stray too far from the present. Buddhists and Taoists have been telling us for years to be more present and to be mindful of the now, I don’t think they meant for us to stretch the general present as far as it will go until it breaks. In fact, this is the antithesis of ‘living in the present’. If your idea of living in the now is simply attempting to stretch the now on forever, you’ve missed the point. The ‘now’, the ‘present’, is ever-changing, it’s something you have to accept will change and alter whether you like it or not. Being mindful, being present is a way of being which is averse to ignorant ideas of control and authority. You can’t tame the river, but it seems like we’re trying really hard to.

Once again, the things of primary and secondary importance have switched places. We believe that regarding the future what’s going on physically is of the most importance, whether or not things appear new and progress continues in the stereotypical manner, these are what seem to be important and we’ve relegated our mental state to the sidelines. But we need to turn back to how we think about the future, how we feel about it, how we are going to act towards it. But also we need to revert to a more personable and local form of thinking, the way we think is global, hegemonic and downright authoritarian.

Our thoughts regarding the future are gargantuan; we’ve allowed the realm of abstraction to become so commonplace that the general public has an understanding of relatively niche subjects. We talk about global and national debt, dopamine fasts, min-maxed lifestyles and diets, foreign policy, meta-levels of society and behavioral psychology to name just a few, we’re mentally tied up with a bunch of abstract assessments, arrangements and arguments regarding the future that we have no say and no real feelings about. Whereas we should be targeting our energy and our analysis to that which can directly effect: ourselves and our immediate surroundings. (There are of course the Musks, Gates and Thiels of this world, but they’re rare, not everyone can be a genius or a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, that’s not how things work.)

Begin to ask yourself ‘Is this actually how I want my future to look?’ Well, is it? Did you ever agree to this consensus, that this is how the future has to be?  The general consensus is that the future has to be futuristic, and yet, the word ‘futuristic’ already has inherent connotations relating to technology, social arrangements and speed. When you hear ‘futuristic’ you think of Neuromancer or Blade Runner, you think of the information and attention economy running wild and immanentizing themselves into a cyberpunk aesthetic. But is that even close to the future most people are going to get? I don’t think so, I think most people’s future is one of complacency and acceptance, complacent in the fact that nothing will change in its essence, and acceptant of the comfortableness of stagnancy.

Your ‘futuristic’, your future can mean whatever you want it to mean, it can feel how you want it to feel. Within the general consensus of the term ‘futuristic’ there’s no space for leisurely strolls through the woods, day-dreaming or taking-your-time, but there can be, if you simply alter your perception. Are you simply waiting for what is going to be given to you? Are you simply waiting for whatever happens to become your future, or are you actively creating the future you want, both personally and locally?


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Quarantined: Freedom From Limitation

In December John Michael Greer posted “Wind is Changing!”, in which he recounts the passage from The Lord of the Rings in which:

the cavalry of the kingdom of Rohan hurry to the rescue of their allies in the city of Minas Tirith. Hostile armies block the way and all seems lost, but in the nick of time Ghân-buri-Ghân, chief of the tribespeople of the White Mountains, comes to their aid, showing the king of Rohan a hidden route that gets them past the enemy and into striking range of the battle that matters. All the while vast clouds of volcanic smoke have blotted out the sun. As the riders of Rohan and their guides reach the edge of the battlefield, however, something shifts:

“Ghân-buri-Ghân squatted down and touched the earth with his brow in token of farewell. Then he got up as if to depart. But suddenly he stood looking up like some startled woodland animal snuffling a strange air. A light came in his eyes.

“‘Wind is changing!’ he cried, and with that, in a twinkling as it seemed, he and his fellows had vanished into the glooms, never to be seen by any Rider of Rohan again.”

As it turned out, Ghân-buri-Ghân was correct; the wind was changing, and with it a tide of events that was shaping the history of Middle-earth turned and began to flow the other way.”

Now I’m fairly sympathetic towards Greer’s philosophy and work as you all know, and I have a fair knowledge of the Occult. I don’t think Greer had Coronavirus in mind when he realized the winds were changing, but he most definitely intuited something large. The reason I use Greer’s piece as a springboard here is because it’s very much a ‘Greerean’ future we’re heading into. Well, with a few odd anomalies and peculiarities thrown in.

Recently I spoke to Greer about Coronavirus and Collapse, we ended up treading much the same avenues we always do, but doing so juxtaposed with recent Corona news. I mentioned to Greer a cartoon I’d seen a while back in which there’s an image of two people holding farming tools, tending to their veg patch. One of them is saying “We have everything we need and we’re happy with that.” and below them the caption reads ‘Capitalism’s worst enemy.’. I foresaw a few things coming from Coronavirus which seemed inevitable – at least to someone such as myself who is rightward leaning – namely, distrust of governments due to bad handling of a transparent X-risk situation or; the government aint got yo’ back! Increased fragmentation within hegemonic bureaucratic structures such as the EU and a slight increase in personal sovereignty. I am however largely a pessimist, or realist, or whatever they call someone who doesn’t bow to giddy normalcy these days. So I was surprised to find that people are…thinking once again.

So what happened to cause people to think? They were forced into isolation or quarantine. They were forced into a physical limitation that made itself clear in a multitude of ways, and this limitation began to strip back desire quite quickly.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Pascal, Pensées

Well what if that man or woman was forced to sit in a room? Albeit not alone and I imagine not quietly, but for once in their entertainment and vitally saturated life they were forced to stop and adhere to a form of solitude. What would happen if such an event happened? And also what would happen if the clear risks of leaving said room were possible death, suffering and/or the causation of suffering to another or loved one? What would happen is what’s currently happening. A strange, stripping back of modernity and Western life in which is revealed its predatory and malicious roots.

People are being knocked out of their unconscious slumber and being forced to think, an act which in itself causes a positive feedback loop thinking, anxiety, worry and crisis the average Joe simply wasn’t ready for. But given the time and freedom to do so many people seem to be realizing that they’re not exactly where they want to be. A large percentage of the population have begun to realize they can do their job from home and that’s a possibility which is difficult to reverse, I mean, why would you now need to come back into the office? This has a knock-on effect of making people notice that they don’t really use or even see their homes and that the 6-10 hours a day they’re at work strips them of their health and energy. The limitations put on shopping, leisure, commuting and paid activities has been much like Wendy and co meeting the real Wizard of Oz. Those activities were just gimmicks, and much like work, simply filled the time and space that I can occupy. People are noticing that what they really miss is freedom, and what they really want is freedom. Freedom to choose and not choose.

So the winds are changing, but not necessarily in the way you might think. It’s not going to be some clear-cut overnight change, much in the same way that collapse is a long process. Greer calls collapse ‘the long descent’ and Kunstler calls it ‘the long emergency’, so perhaps it would be apt to call what we’re currently going through ‘the long exit’, or ‘the long revelation’, or even ‘the long revolution’. In much the same way that Fascism, Communism or Democracy don’t just suddenly show up one day, there isn’t sudden jackboots, red flags or committees, it’s a long, slow, drawn out process where little things are altered bit-by-bit, until eventually enough bits have been changed to alter the whole. That’s the parasitic nature of ideology, on personal, national and global scale. In much the same vein, the way in which Coronavirus will change our lives will not come all at once.

Already we’re seeing a lot more people than usual begin to understand that governments are just corporations, and the corporations they happened to be born within are run very badly by incompetent ‘leaders’ (CEOs). From this grows an understanding that perhaps complexity and unification is a bad thing and thermodynamically, sociologically and culturally unsound. We’re seeing forced critiques of consumption I never thought would see the light of day, people are being made to stay home and think about what they’ve bought, they’ve been given a limit to what they can do, repair, create and build, and from that we’re seeing many people realize they don’t need all that much stuff.

The economy’s worst nightmare is a momentary halt. Not because it will cause the economy itself to fail in its numeric and abstract existence, but because the halt allows for a chasm wherein a new cultural formation can take place. I’m not stating this will kill or end capitalism, anyone who thinks this way simply doesn’t understand capitalism; more than likely this halt will only make capitalism stronger. It will now have to find a way to commodify one’s existence at home and blank space in general. But this momentary halt and stopped the cycle of cultural consumption. Sure, people can still order things on Amazon etc., but the act of doing so is now so transparently attached to boredom that many are beginning to understand the purchase wont fulfill their desire. Not only this, but the secondary factor of having/wanting to save money for security purposes at the moment is making many question why they’d purchase what they ‘want’ to in the first place. ‘If we can get by without buying that thing now, why should we buy it at all?’ A sentence which sends shivers up the spines of many a stockbroker.

I like putting my neck on the line, so I’ll make a few predictions for the coming years:

– Religion – of all kinds – will make a clear comeback. People have had to deal with death and suffering firsthand again and they’re scared.

– There will be a momentous push/promotion of gardening, veg growing and homesteading.

– People will begin to shun government advice more regularly. Common sense returns!

– Van-dwelling, nomadism and communes begin a new era. More folk living in alternative means.

– More people will begin to demand to work from home. Atomization reaches its peak in the next 2 years and then slowly peters out into increased socialization.

– Less people will to get into debt and begin to understand what credit actually is.

– An even bigger movement of alternative and holistic health care, which is no longer deemed alternative, but simply sovereign.

– Nationalism is bolstered, but largely in relation to personal freedom, the competence of everyday living and useful traditions.

– Immigration policies are tightened under the guise of care, but ultimately the reasons are still the same ones as forever.

 

My Alcohol Problem and the West

Richard Billingham – Untitled

I have a drinking problem. Many of you probably already know that, or perhaps there’s even been some form of assumption that I may have some form of such problem, I mean hell, I am part of the Acceleratosphere, I can see why you’d assume I drink a lot. Anyway, I don’t drink anymore, I haven’t drunk alcohol for just over 3 years, except for a brief relapse of 3 weeks around 4 months ago, I haven’t had a drop. For those saying “Well, that’s not exactly over 3 years then is it?”. Take it as you will, it’s best to just take it one day at a time and count up the ones you were successful on.

Why am I writing this? 1. Writers should stop asking themselves this question, because of course, I already know the answer…at least the one I wish it to be, the one I wish you to see, which leads me to… 2. It’s cathartic. And someone of Twitter once said to me ‘A great reason to write, tweet and interject in conversation, to stand your ground and stake your claim is that those who may also be pondering, in-silent-agreement or struggling with that which you bring to the fore will all of a sudden feel more at ease in the world, all because you took a little time to say ‘Yeah I think X’, ‘I disagree with that’ or ‘Hey, I struggled with this shit.’ There’s a lot to be said for admitting to failures with a staunch acceptance that they are, and more importantly can be of the past.

So, yes, I have a drinking problem. It never really goes. Supposedly it’s actually progressive, that is, I used to drink on average 12-20 pints on a night out, and if I was to go back to drinking full-time again I would – apparently – still, psychologically, need that amount if not more. So going back is not only going back to a demon who despises your being, but each re-visit is an exercise in runaway-self-hatred.

Let me get down to definitions, to the how it was of way back when. What do I mean by a problem? I imagine many of you are imagining a Bukowski-esque stumbling mess with ragged hair, dirty clothes and no life-structure simply existing on alcohol in the gutter. The Hollywood image of ‘the alcoholic’, in all its romance, has done nothing but ignore the reality of minor to moderate alcoholism. Make no mistake, I was not that kind of alcoholic. I did not need a drink everyday, not every 2-3 days (though I did get a little exhausted and tetchy), I wasn’t vomiting loads, getting in fights, or ruining everything (at least not in any ‘exciting/dramatic’ sense). See, I was pretty high-functioning. Let me step back a bit –

I’m British, which means I have a culturally inherent awful relationship with alcohol. I started regularly drinking (2-3 times a week, 4-6+ beers each session) at 15, with the prior 2 years revolving slightly around alcohol. Between the years of 16-22 there was not one week where I didn’t utterly fucked. Which technically means that was 6 years of my life alcohol simply did not leave my system. How did all this progress? Not pleasantly, not unpleasantly. The point of this post is that – like most things in life – the journey was banal and the conclusions didn’t come until too late, and at that point I was already invested in the finale. What was this all like? Well, from 15-18 it looked like this. Do the bare minimum in school/college to get by and wait for the weekend, incessantly planning how we’d get booze, who was buying it for us and where we were drinking it. The weekend would come, we would drink from around 5-7pm through to 3-4am, or pass out before. Turns out it was only really me who was drinking a lot at this point, the others were just having a few. So the university turns up on your doorstep with all its ‘culture’. As you can imagine, I hit it fucking hard, put on a lot of weight, culminated friendships which didn’t last, half-arsed my life and orbited around alcohol.

21-22. Yeesh. Ended up in a dead-end job, as most university leavers do. Still drinking (and smoking) at this point…of course, it was still, for me…an inevitability. I would drink on Friday nights. Then Friday and Tuesday nights. Then Friday, Tuesday and Saturday nights. Then Friday, Tuesday, Saturday nights and Sunday daytime. And finally it was Friday, Tuesday and Saturday nights, Sunday daytime and the occasional 4-pack in bed after work. That was when I realized, laying in bed at 11pm after some shitty late-shift, necking cheap lager for the sake of it. I began to think about my drinking, looking up the questionnaires:

  • How often do you drink alcohol? – 3-4/4 times+ a week (worst answer)
  • How many units of alcohol do you drink on a typical day of drinking? – 10+ (worst)
  • How often do you have 8 units or more? – Weekly (second worst)
  • How often did you find you were not able to stop drinking once you’d started? – Every time I ever drank – 1 is too few, 2 is too many…as the saying goes – weekly (second worst)
  • How many times in the last year have you failed to do what is normally expected of you due to drinking? (Dependent on what one expects of oneself – at the time I was failing to do anything but go out at the weekends)
  • How often do you get a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking? (Every time – worst – we call it ‘The Fear’)
  • How often have you not been able to remember what happened the night before due to drinking? (Twice a week. At my absolute worst I was getting black out drunk once or twice a week. – worst)

I didn’t think ‘Oh shit, I’m fucked up breh’, nor was anything about it cool, romantic, nostalgic, poetic, exciting etc. You know what it fucking was? Exhausting and boring. Anyway, that’s the biographical stuff out of the way. I mean, I guess many of you know that I sorted my shit out.

Anyone struggling with alcohol can always DM me.

 

Onto the cultural ‘West’ part of the title. See, I was never really taught that not drinking alcohol was an option. Everyone around me did, everyone around them either did and there was very few people (no one I can remember) actively didn’t drink, and there was most certainly no one who was anti-alcohol. Not that I am anti-alcohol, but I do believe it really isn’t a good idea for the majority of people to consume it, for they are dumb, boring and aggressively incorrect already, why give them a drink on top of all of that, I jest, but they are a bore.

All those systems never budged an inch towards any idea that excess, progress and to-continue may not be a good thing. Even teachers smirked at the knowledge of my beer-fueled weekends and life – ‘I remember how I was at that age’, but no one keeps an eye and many get sucked into the orbit of the demonic, soul-crushing, enchantment killing possession of alcohol. What is it about that substance which brings out the very worst of opinion and personality?

It is, once again, one of ‘those’ things which one believes – due to the way in which they are instilled within culture – that one cannot be without them. They are presented not as optional parts of life, but as its very nerve system. Another short essay from Meta on how to slightly think for oneself, how original. I don’t care.

You must strip yourselves bare of all these fucking spooks! Take a goddamn look at your being, feel it vibrate in all its nakedness and vulnerability! Be more that you can be. Overcome every molecule of indiscriminate matter, atmosphere and ideology that surrounds you, think not of the third person, the external or the forces unto you, but become truly-conscious! Decide upon all. Make clear each and everything that exists now for you.

When I quit drinking I lost 95% of my friends within 2 weeks. I don’t hold it against them, nor do I want sympathy. We were drinking buddies who reveled in each other’s repetitions. The same lager, the same jokes, the same people, the same place, the same comfort and the comfort of the same, that is what alcohol has to offer you. Not one of my friends supported my efforts of betterment. Largely because I was one of, if not the key drinker of the group, I started earlier and heavier than them, I could out-drink basically anyone and had a tenacity for going until the bitterest of ends (5-6am on a park bench, routinely). And so, I guess to them it was an entirely alien experience, or perhaps they were worried I don’t know, all I know is the repulsion against my quitting.

‘So what…you’re never drinking again?’

‘…ahhh you’ll be back down the pub soon.’

‘You can have just one though mate!’

No, I can’t. No I can’t.

“Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.” – David Foster Wallace

And that’s what I did. I accepted that there is a thing in life that I simply cannot do, for if I do it, I do not become, but only undo, my being is not aligned to the strength it could be, and the goodness dissolves into nothing. I cannot do that, I never could, and the systems that are lied and I got caught in a the alluring web of destruction.

There’s a great speech in the film Smashed. A film I really like – for obvious reasons – though as films go it’s mediocre, but it hit home with me. Anyway, the protagonist Kate is an alcoholic…and they actually do a fairly good job of not romanticizing it. Her speech is the usual alcoholic-to-sober story but with the addition of one crucial thing, she explicitly mentions her – now – boring life. I simultaneously agreed and disagreed. At first I agreed. I could be down the pub I thought, having all that ‘fun’. Instead I’m in reading a book, searching the web, watching TV (back then) or whatever, and the days and weeks and months go by, and the serum seeps from your system more and more, and your energy comes back and you take up the gym. You begin to feel ok, and your self-confidence comes back. And you start eating well again. You lose 3 stone in a few months. You date some cute girls. You read some more good books. And for many blissful moments you’ve forgotten entirely of that place, that sodden pit of a pub which was sucking your time away from you.

Alcohol is the primary material alternative for being an interesting person, having an interesting life or even having anything interesting to do. If you even somewhat content, entertained, loved or spiritually tuned-in would you need a ‘few beers’, would you? That malaise which I know a little too well is nothing but an anesthetic for use against personal confidence, overcoming, discipline, motivation and being.

My boring life is mine. I like drinking herbal tea in my dressing gown or Gi. I like reading old books. I like sitting sometimes and just being. I like taking my time with a meal. I quite like the slow pace of existence once it’s stripped of all the embroidery of progress, decadence and Western-malaise.

My favourite herbal teas are (in order of greatness – greatest to great):

1. Peppermint Tea

2. Elderflower and Echinacea

3. Lemon and Ginger

4. Lemon

Blog: Further, TSPDT etc.

Neural Shroud’s latest which covers the increase politicization of communication is succinct. I believe there’s an undercurrent of cybernetics running through this piece – can’t quite place it – that said, the increase of politics within the everyday sphere is generally just exhausting, nigh impossible to comment on the ‘merit’ of anything without first addressing its political backdrop, affiliations…these are becoming unavoidable however e.g. Star Wars. Intriguing as these protocols are, there are at least 2 things heading our way which are (to a certain extent apolitical), the first being the rise of AI and the second being Bitcoin, or digitalized cryptographic currency as our primary means of exchange, the latter here of course having political considerations, however even those are decentralized and disconnected from state, and thus we enter in a realm of micro-protocols adhering to that which small groups, or individuals wish to do.

 

I’ve decided to venture into the depths of film this year, my trajectory is from a fairly formal standpoint, that of the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They 1000 Greatest Films List, which I shall be tackling in chronological order as a means to comment on the history of film as a whole, also as a means for lovely digressions into all manner of haphazard opinions etc. As such I began with L’arrivee d’un train a la Ciotat from 1895, little to comment other than that my mind insta-clicked of, I’ve become so used to high-definition media that the origins of film are apparently beneath me…fucking K-Addiction. And onto Georges Méliès’ Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon, 1902):

There’s this odd sentiment of wonder and awe towards not only the moon itself, but the moon as the possibility of future, as opposed to simply continuation of the present. Wherein the ‘scientists’ above are seen as wizards, temporal-magicians who are the guiding force for man’s ability to transcend and overcome.

This short scene, wherein our scientists descend into a cave upon the moon, is an exemplary comment on the current climate, e.g. “What happened to the future…” we have become scared, as such these visionaries in 1902 vision the moon as this incredible place full of wonder. Our empirical abilities aside, we’ve lost our love for Mars even though the possibility of getting there grows ever nearer. It shall be a dull day when Musk lands upon Mars and the majority of TVs are tuned to some kitsch-celeb-shit-show.

D.W. Griffiths The Birth of a Nation (1915) is a masterpiece of cinema, the unavoidable racism and revisitionist history aside, technically Griffith’s magnum opus acts as a true game-changer. I must admit, I still find it difficult to engross myself in the clunky flow of these earlier works. I’m avoiding Feuillade’s Les Vampires for a while until I can find both the time and a good quality version.

Surprisingly I’d yet to watch The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and wasn’t as blown away as I thought I might be, that said, I’ve never been a fan of expressionism in general, however, on a little digging the book From Caligari to Hitler extrapolates as to some interesting temporal ideas:

“…in which he claimed that many of the elements of the expressionist film style, as well as Caligari’s overall story of a madman hypnotist who uses a mindless sleepwalker to carry out murders, were “a premonition of Hitler.” – link

“It was a bright jungle, more hell than paradise, but a paradise to those who had exchanged the horror of war for the terror of want.

It stood out lonely like a monolith.” – From Caligari to Hitler – PDF

And in my opinion, still does, the story of the sane turned insane, and of the absurdity/insanity of unquestioned authority is a continuing source of maddening loneliness (Kafka etc.). I must add that the removal of these film’s narratives from my contemporary perceptions is growing more difficult with each new watch, to appreciate their place in history, their place as creators and especially innovators is stifled immensely by K-Addiction and the awful explosion-loving programming of modern film-making. Michael Bay extends his arm into the past and rips away subtlety…

Blog: Neocon etc.

 

I am, according to Max Castle, a neoconservative. I disagree. But the thread offered some interesting conversation, between me, Castle and Edmund Berger. My premise here is that someone can hold, for lack of a better description, a practical, non-abstract, political position (mine is…), whilst simultaneously support abstract underlying theories such as accelerationism. I comment that the origination of Deleuze & Guattari’s “accelerate the process” (Anti-Oedipus) is from Nietzsche’s The Will to Power, and is written of in relation to the levelling of European man, hierarchy and justification (in the grand sense). Berger notes the depoliticization and anti-politicization that results from a Deleuzoguattarian deterritorialization and decoding of flows.

Berger notes that any political organization, organ being the problematic here, is ultimately going to stop the decoding of flows, and that via D&G man’s existence is in relation to techno-industrial production as opposed to political process, and such is subordinated by the process; or Land’s ‘means-end’:

“Like for Marx capital turns the capitalist into an agent of itself, and for D&G in the historical epoch of capitalism the state loses power and is transformed into a mechanism for assisting in realizing capitalist axiomatics. So there can’t be a political autonomy or a distinctive set of values, because capital rises up and becomes the driver.” – Edmund Berger.

Berger makes it clear, and such should be obvious to anyone involved within the sphere: “Saying that we can get at deterritorializing/decoding through the majoritarian political process reminds me of many horrid hours wasted in my more activisty-lefty days” – Berger

Arguments of identity & praxis aside (as they’re getting dull, fast), my point still stands that deterritorialization and the decoding of flows are and exist and whatever pace, man may interact and counter a flow any time or place, it is only that doing so via any political institution negates the entire process entirely. That is, unless one does so as an agent of acceleration, that is, a will accelerator of capitalism. Utilizing capitalism’s inherent economically emancipative functions as a means to accelerate the system out of itself. We end on a polite note, referencing Marx’s call to vote for free trade.

That said, the problem here, which should be plain as day by now, is said vote, already there is the implication of a system. This is of course where Land’s Exit comes in. My point being, cannot one utilize the escalator that is capitalism to speed up their process of heading towards the exit, as opposed to slowly using the stairs. As long as one is doing so knowingly…

Pleasant convo, Berger.

I’d love for your opinion on this in regards to our convo: Experiment.

 

Now, the Neoconservative thing…I read a lot of Hitchens when I was younger, some of it must still be lingering in the back of my mind…

 

Also, check out Neural Shroud. This was a nice little piece, I can’t help but feel that it falls under the ambiguous R/Acc abstraction of everything as a form of capital, in that not only is your avacado toast capital, but the process unto which you decided to even consider avacado is capital, a never-ending consumption/production cycle…

Blog: New

As a means to avoiding confusion between classical blog-type musings and offical MN posts a la what has come prior, the system I’ve devised is to date the blog stuff and leave the posts as titles; also, the blog stuff wont get as much traction…I wont be beaconing to the micro-masses as I do with the other stuff. With that out of the way, what’s to come: a lot, seriously. For those that don’t know, I’ve left my position as a neither a butcher or candlestickmaker and will be entering a career which shall allow me more free time to concentrate on my blog.

I started this year with some rather stereotypical resolutions, the likes of which I shall not bore you with here, however, I did attend to the idea of consuming one piece of ‘media’ a day, something of substance which I can draw from and which shall accumulate in the caverns of my memory. Thus far I’ve been semi-successful, yet little has stuck really, it’s a fairly depressing announcement with regards to the state of contemporary film and music, with that in mind, some musings:

Blade Runner: 2049. What can I say, the visuals were incredible, I mean, it was everything I wanted…there could have been more however, BR49 primarily focused on the macro-aesthetics of cyberpunk cities; these vast sprawling de(ad)serts, concrete waves and sprawling towers assimilating into a tech-mesh. Yet, other than K’s apartment, the contents of which I wish to purchase (especially the pans). This said, the micro is left alone in BR49, bar one scene with the wooden horse, the insane artifact identifier surrounded by a wire chaos, plugged…in. It stuck, a little, but the micro leads me to the film that really stuck, like a malignant adhesive eroding my circuitry, and I haven’t been able to shift this tech-nausea since, a nausea spawned from a viewing of Akira. My first ever viewing, and from the get go I was drawn in, like a rat to 2-dimensional, abstract, cyberpunk cocaine. I could gush ove the aesthetics of this film for days, the atmosphere spirals in and out constantly, the dinge bars set down so well one knows they’re underground, and that this absence of light is real and this city could fuck you up. As for the plot and characters, they deserve a secon viewing, I was too enraptured by the setting: this striving political cyber-scape, incessant in its cries of life, K, wiring, circuitry, concrete, creation, fragmentation; a diverging chaotic pulsing assemblage wherein humans become a viral microsm shifting and nibbling, never a trace that isn’t ‘natural’ – in the Nietzschean duality of man & nature for the betterment of both – sense.

Continuing from cinema: A Tale of Two Cinemas: We’re seeing a clear cultural divergence between the East and West, I mean, the divergence between the two is obvious in multiple ways, but the way in which contemporary cinema has caused a fracture is certainly interesting. China’s reaction to the new Star Wars has been albeit comical in relation to the films content:

This raises the question of how bad for business the SJW takeover of the entertainment industry is going to be. American movies, for example, have been an extremely successful export industry over the years.” (Link above)

Well, the SJW takeover is going to be big business in West, in fact it already is, yet it’s moving its way over to Great Britain. This Guardian review of Aardman’s latest film Early Man is rife with oddities pertaining to an influx of unnatural language:

That could be an overzealous interpretation, admittedly, in a climate in which everything seems to be about Brexit, but the evidence is difficult to ignore. Early Man focuses on an insular, small-minded tribe who live in a giant crater, cut off from the outside world (the prologue identifies their location as “near Manchester”). They’re surprisingly diverse for such a small group, with varying skin colours and accents,”

That last bit makes as a little sense as a rabbit and a fox being friends and attends to accelerated a priori egalitarianism like nothing else.

“These people have invented bronze, not to mention wheels, machines and sliced bread. ”

Really…perhaps I’m a caveman.