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:

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:


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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Free Floating Power

Within semiotics there is the concept of the ‘floating signifier’ or ‘free floating signifier’. The concept designates a signifier which doesn’t have a referent, or, in simple terms, in designates a word which doesn’t point towards any clear object, structure or form. It’s a little tricky to explain exactly how they come across in day-to-day life, but it’s my belief that we use them more and more, both as a way to quickly explain something, but more importantly as a way to abstain from understanding and responsibility.

Postmodernism is a clear one, we’re not entirely sure what the ‘hell’ postmodernism means anymore and it seems pretty clear that no one actually wants to go read the postmodernists to find out, hell, who even are the postmodernists anymore. The meaning of that word, ‘postmodernism’, has such a floating meaning that it can – and has – been used to explain and describe the most drifting symptoms of culture and society. Usually used in a derogatory manner, postmodernism means everything from the death of idealism to the reason there’s TikTok, and yet, such a vision is so vast and fleeting that it deems the signifier itself almost useless. Yet, it does retain a use; it becomes a word of pure power.

We hear these floating signifiers almost daily without ever questioning them, the recent Coronavirus pandemic has been rife with them, and yet, no one pays a moment’s notice to what it is they’re agreeing or disagreeing with. An empty, floating signifier takes over their potential for authentic opinion.  ‘Scientist’ or ‘science’ is the clearest one being thrown around at the moment. “The scientists have said X” or “The scientists have agreed upon Y.” We hear these sentences almost daily on the news, in the papers and on social media, and people trust them just because of their inclusion of a certain signifier, and yet no one ever takes a moment to think if there’s anything behind the signifier.

What are we buying into when we accept these terms without ever thinking about them? Let’s take ‘scientist’ as a clear example. Someone states that “The scientists agree on X”. What we’re accepting here is a free-floating signifier deciding what is correct or incorrect with regards to our health and our lives. No one asks which scientists, or what these scientists’ aims are, or whether or not we actually asked them in the first place, everyone simply agrees, subconsciously, that a decision has been made.

What we’re looking at then is a complete abstraction, we’re looking at people handing over all possible agencies and responsibility to a floating abstraction which can mean anything anyone wants. For some ‘scientist’ might mean security, others authority and others it might mean intelligence, either way, we’re handing over our own decision and opinion to an empty signifier. Simple steps can be made by news outlets and mainstream media to rectify this semiotic atrocity, by adding in where the scientists work and who they work for would direct the signifier towards something more solid, and yet they don’t, why is this?

These floating signifiers are useful for when wants to insert their opinion about something without having to own up to any consequences, or even explain why they have that opinion. Blaming everything on X is an age-old human trait and this is its latest form. What if the ‘scientists’ are wrong? It doesn’t matter because we never knew who they were anyway. The signifier was free-floating, it never latched onto anything stable, so there’s nothing there to agree or disagree with, only a nothingness to soak up resentment, bitterness and an irresponsible nature. My direction here is once again towards personal responsibility. I don’t care about mainstream media abstaining from responsibility; in fact, I don’t massively care about mainstream media at all. But one’s own thoughts, beliefs and attitudes are something to be consistently kept in check – ‘Do I actually believe that?’, ‘Do I actually agree with that?’ or – in the case of the news – ‘Has this person actually said anything at all, anything worthy of my attention?’

Because when you really think about the sentence ‘The scientists have agreed on X’, you realize that it actually means very little without any stable signifiers to connect to. For me, it’s simple; people accept these empty statements as a way to avoid thinking. It is – once again – a way for men and women to hand over their responsibility to the masses, the herd, the ‘they’.  ‘Well, looks like they’ve got it sorted!’, ‘We can always rely on them scientists!’ or my personal favorite ‘Ah, they’ll think of something…’ Is there any clearer sentence showing how easily man hands over his agency to the collective?

Once that agency is handed over, people no longer have to think, worry or partake in something which is affecting their lives. Once they’ve accepted the floating signifier everything is ok again, everything is back to normal. But you must think, you must ponder and criticize these empty assessments and analyses of things which are affecting you. Don’t let another sculpt what it is you believe, do or say simply by assuming that normalcy and general agreement is correct. Usually within the agreement of the ‘they’ there is actually little agreement, the only thing they agree on is that change is bad, and what is now should and shall be forever and any who think otherwise are silly.

When one thinks back over what a figure of authority told them there is almost always a reliance on a floating signifier, some presumed meaning smeared onto nothingness which vindicates the rest of their rhetoric.  Once you question that first step, the rest of the stairway quickly crumbles under the weight of ignorance, apathy and confusion.

“See, there’s X then Y then Z! That’s simply how it is!”

“But I’m not sure about X? What does X even mean?”

You won’t make any friends this way; people don’t like anything to be questioned, especially the foundations. But what’s more important, gaining popularity through agreement with empty falsehoods, or thinking for oneself?

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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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Boomers, Millennials and the Sovereign Individual

The Boomer, with their minds that seemingly crave work for its own sake, determine whether one is successful by what they own and determine whether one is authoritative and in control by the amount of awards and letters next to their name; the boomer, in short, is completely controlled by bureaucratic abstraction, the niceties which they developed to prove to themselves that they were doing ok and that everything they were doing was good, proper and correct.

Except, such things as goodness, properness and correctness aren’t universal or cosmic, they’re developed under the systematic control of some culture or other, whether or not those morals and etiquettes are agreeable to you isn’t entirely your choice…until you really start to question your absolute base assumptions.

As to why the boomer generation are as they are, I simply don’t know, but this essay isn’t about dunking on the boomer generation, it’s about questioning the notion of the ‘boomer’ and where it comes from. I briefly defined the boomer generation in the opening paragraph, a generation which adores control, authority and status whether they believe it or not and a generation which adores material comforts over anything else and can only understand much of the world via some form of materiality. They’re often called out for their incessant desire to be awarded, their incapacity for empathy, their mindless consumption and their status grabbing games, and yet, if you look at these things one-by-one, you’ll notice that no generation has ever really differed, has it?

Many millenials will berate the boomer generation for needing countless objects, things and trinkets as a means to fulfill their desires and their life, and yet, the millennial generation is ignorant to their own abstract-material worship. The boomer’s clarity of purchase (cars, houses, handbags etc.) makes them easy targets for the label of ‘mindless consumer’, but at least they’re only consuming a clear material end as opposed to a lengthy identity. Where the boomer consumes the object as the desire in itself, the millennial consumes what the object represents and assimilates it into their identity. Say what you like about the boomers who proclaim ‘I drive a Porsche!’ it seems clear to me that they see it as an externality as opposed to extension of their self.

People will now be calling me out for muddling up desire, getting it all wrong. Post-structuralists and post-modernists will be up-in-arms, ‘These acts of consumption signify the desire-structure!’ Yes they do. Everyone desires and what everyone desires is relatively empty, fleeting and changing, you can’t get a hold on desire as much as you can get a hold on what the object of desire represents.

The boomer desires the status handed to them by a large corporate event, the millennial desires the status handed to them via countless likes and retweets on a post-ironic meme; the boomer desires an accountable award for each course they undertake, the millennial desires to know they’ve completed X amount of TV series etc. The list goes on, each has its counter…and why is that?

It’s because there’s no such thing as generations. Or at least, there’s no inherently verifiable difference between generations except on an aesthetic level, which is to say, there’s no difference of essence. In Rome there are written complaints about teenagers joy riding in their chariots, the Victorians rallied against the new classical music liked by the youth, people went crazy over the thought of a car hitting 30mph, each war has had its anti-war demonstration, each king his jester, each generation has had its ‘We’re the best generation and here’s why’ essay and each generation has had an essay just like this one, explaining why there’s no such thing as a greatest or worst generation, because generations are made up of individuals, movements, leaders, companies, events and catastrophes.

Generational thinking is for those who believe generations exist, those who believe that things can be neatly summed up into chunks and explained in comparative and binary manners, namely, the herd. Outside of the sleeping herd are individuals and individuals like to think. The notion of the sovereign individual isn’t one that’s really sympathized with anymore. Many people believe it to be a Randian notion or a pro-capitalist notion, the idea of the entrepreneurial thinker who’s out only for himself. In reality the sovereign individual is someone who simply doesn’t get caught up in the form of thinking which has one believing in generations, or catch-all isms and universals.

Being an individual is hard work, especially in a world and society that doesn’t respect such an idea. There’s a certain amount of scorn targeted at those who would rather go it alone and do all the work themselves, it’s seen as not-sharing, as opposed to self-improvement. It’s also difficult to be a sovereign individual because everywhere you turn is another torrent attempting to drag you into its binary, collective and complacent ways of thinking, the ones which wish to atomize your thought into a multitude of pithy currents which can never adhere to a whole, a collective that wishes not for you to use yourself, but to use you as its own collective-self. A thousand institutions that structurally cannot work without the formal notion of collective, group and communal action being agreed as good prior to undertaking any work.

When I hear ‘boomer’ or ‘millennial’ all I hear is laziness, ignorance and resentment. It’s a form of language used by those who are content with the top layer of thought, the easy route. They don’t want to try understand people, ideas or vectors of energy, nor do they want to ask why, how, who or any question at all, they are complacent with confinement. They don’t want to understand, they want simply to know, and their definition knowledge consists of collective blocks being placed together neatly. Knowledge isn’t something that can be owned, only worked with and understood. To own knowledge is to end thinking, is to stop the journey and accept conclusions and truth. Once you’ve accepted a truth, you’re already latched to a one way track heading straight towards intellectual death.

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Identification and Normalcy

“Knowing many stories is wisdom. Knowing no stories is ignorance. Knowing only one story is death.” – Knowing Only One Story, John Michael Greer.

When I started Hermitix one the major things I wanted to achieve was to have such an eclectic array of guests that as many stories as possible were heard. I’d seen multiple left-wing podcasts, a few right-wing ones and a lot of ‘hot-take’ podcasts. These all bored me, why you ask? The answer is simple; they all only knew one story. Their entire world view could be filtered through a single lens. Often these lenses take odd and unexpected forms. Some people funnel their entire existence through Marxism, others Kant, but then again, some people will find the meaning of everything to be in the study of UFOs or microbiology. Sometimes it’s always chemicals, other times it’s always spirits or outside forces. The point being – as Greer states quite clearly – that viewing life this way is death. Not a literal death, but an intellectual one.

We all have that one friend who can find a way to fit whatever it is you’re talking about into their latest interest or phase, what they don’t realize however is that we live in a world of communication, production and consumption.  Everything communicates, whether parasitically as an invader, as amicably as a gesture. Certain things are antagonizing others and certain things are helping others. Sometimes X will produce Y, sometimes Y will consume Z, and on and on it goes.

The problem with a single story is that it is always going to be utopian, it’s a false limitation applied over various growing and decaying structures, which unfortunately for Hegel, can’t be constrained in such a manner. Once again there are constraints, but this time, instead of constraining your general freedom, they’re constraining your freedom of common sense, they are making you believe that everything makes sense within a single framework. Whereas the only framework which can intuit the whole is one which is ever-changing, dynamic and fluid.  So then we have this singular representation of reality which we abide by and try to form all things to fit, such a way of thinking is purely identification.

Identification and consciousness (pure awareness) are opposites of each other, you can’t identify and continue to be conscious of yourself, it’s simply not possible. When you believe you desire a certain food you’re identifying with something, possibly with some advert which has ahold of your will. When you identify with a character from a TV show, you’re identifying with a box-of-tropes made for your consumption; someone else’s idea of what it is you should be.  Your experience of these singular stories isn’t meant to include your consciousness of your engaging with them, they are the master and you are the slave. But it’s not the story itself which acts as master, but the authority you allow it.

Think of identification as a form of fascination or subtle hypnosis, the more you identify with something, be it a story of personality, the more it takes you away and takes away from you. You even identify with emotions, especially negative ones. The problem with identification is that it’s often apathetic, like watching TV, it doesn’t actually take any effort to identify. It’s just something that happens. One moment you’re consciously sitting down, the next you’re believing in the creation of ego.

You wake up and identify with a certain kind of Western life, filled with comforts, enjoyments and entertainment. You get in your car and identify with a form of normalcy and work, believing it’s the thing that good, normal people do. You identify with the need to promote excess chatter and fill the workplace with random opinions on things you didn’t really pay attention to. You identify with lunch-breaks even though you’re not hungry, productivity reports even though nothing of merit has been produced and most of all, you subconsciously identify with the idea that this is how it is, and this is how a person is formed, slowly, with no shocks.

Step back. What stories, narratives and structures are you identifying with? You wake up at a certain because… And that life you identify with, the 2-up-2-down 5-day working week life, the one you were taught in school, did you ever step back to see how much of your identity had been formed around this thing you never had any say in? What about work, commuting, eating certain things, chatting, opinions, productivity and complacency, did you ever stop to question whether or not ‘you’ (your ‘I’) had been built upon false building blocks, on foundations which aren’t supporting your authentic self, but simply dragging it under?

And that’s the story of the average Western person isn’t it? Identification with presupposed normalcy. 8 hours work, 8 hours at home, 8 hours asleep, 3 meals a day, suburban housing, 1 hour commutes, unquestioned-enjoyment, no striving. That’s the problem with identity and identification, it builds an idea of what you supposedly are without the actual you ever interjecting. Fortunately, it only builds externally, but these external barriers can be quite tough to break. But guess what? They can’t be broken externally, an internal flame is needed, a deep-seated desire to be prepared to suffer and undertake training and exercises, finding yourself takes discipline and work, especially in a world which means and wishes for you to become lost.

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Thoughts on Joseph Azize’s ‘Gurdjieff’


George Gurdjieff, like the majority of occultists, mystics and esotericists, is someone who is extremely difficult to define. In fact, the very act of definition would be something I imagine Gurdjieff would frown upon. It is an oh-so modern trait to pick up and book and consider a subject ‘complete’; it is the modern trait to consider the possibility of completeness. It is this ambiguity and purposeful inaccessibility which draws me to Gurdjieff’s work and makes me wonder how books can be written about him. There have been quite a few books written about him or his work, though rarely both together. The works that have been written about him are usually written by students or students of students, and the texts on his work are oddly specific. This isn’t the case with Joseph Azize’s Gurdjieff.

Gurdjieff is a Gurdjieffian book. There’s very little pomposity about it, it’s to the point and yet it begs further study. Azize’s method of writing, heavy with references, makes it immediately clear that if we can say anything of our understanding of Gurdjieff it’s that it is always fragmented. One of the overarching messages I get from both this text and Gurdjieffian study is that one should be suspicious of completion, unification and universal conclusions. Gurdjieff’s system wasn’t necessarily a mismatch of other systems, but more a working through of connections, routes and pathways. He understood that it would be ignorant to assume that each system was an island, and that there was a form of circuitry connecting all things, even if this circuitry was ultimately hierarchical.

This brings me to the first two points in my title, modernity and accessibility. The latter can be subsumed into the former in abstract. I always thought one of the reasons Gurdjieff’s work never quite made its way into public light as much as Crowley’s or LaVey’s was because he made it very clear that it was work…very hard work. Arguably another reason could be because Gurdjieff’s systems lack the sexiness and danger of Crowley or LaVeys, but in balance, his systems also lack their stupidity. The idea that something is being purposefully obscure or difficult is no longer seen as a challenge, a bet or quasi-wager by society/modernity, but it is seen as a chore, or insult. If something isn’t immediately accessible in infantile terms then modernity turns its nose up at that thing and declares it useless, hucksterish, too-complex or a waste of time.

The last entry here is of note. A ‘waste of time’ implies a correct usage of time, which within modernity usually means profitable work. Many of these systems are seen by modernity as a waste of time not because of the actions themselves, but because the presumed conclusions should be able to be purchased, and the idea one has to work towards what one already has within them is an abhorrent idea. Both Gurdjieff and Azize’s Gurdjieff make it strikingly clear – The tasks, exercises and contemplative routes are here, work at them, or don’t; either you push through the inaccessibility with the force needed to break into it, or you don’t deserve what’s on the other side. Of course, once again, modernity hates the idea that something can’t be had right now via purchase, and anything that doesn’t fit into this schema is quickly named ‘stupid’.

Azize’s biographical sections on Gurdjieff are as enlightening as any other text on Gurdjieff, that is, rather vague, yet inquisitively intriguing. It often seemed to me that a keen reading of Gurdjieff’s past – what one can find of it – would be an exercise in itself, a reading between the lines of what it is one  is ‘supposed’ to do. And this is the difficulty of accessibility, if I give away all that I have learnt, then what value is it? And not only this, anyone who’s undergone any type of training, whether mental or physical, understands that quickly explaining the conclusions to someone is not the same as undergoing them yourself. This is also the difficulty of writing any text on mystical or occult practice, if the conclusion/answer/enlightenment could be put into words then the practice wouldn’t be needed! Suffice to say, many initiate into many different schools often forget the ‘work’ part of any system.

Yet what can we say of mysticism now? If Azize’s book told me anything it’s that our distrust of anything immaterial or non-profit-oriented is only increasing. It’s clear to me that Azize utilizes many endnotes for need of academic referencing, but it’s also clear to me that this begets a larger picture. That is, the death of the mystic. If such a text were presented without referencing, as if the feats were all real, or at least could be considered real, then such a text falls by the wayside and is deemed unserious. The overton-window of reality is ever-tightening and as each side moves in more and more ambiguities get pushed out. All that will be left soon will be quantifiable material which can be plugged into the economic circuit.

What of the mystics, the monks, the ascetics, the druids, the wanderers, the nomads and the outsiders? The space of modernity expands into the mind and the mind follows you everywhere, even a brand new rainforest can be economized; you’re never free of modernistic thinking, unless you free yourself of patterns of thought. This is the same normalcy routine I often recite, who ever said X and Y is normal? And why do you follow that as truth.

Azize’s text is one of sincerity. There is little in the way of defense, nor discussion on whether there is even an attack. What stands is what is there, what is written. This may seem like nothingness, but almost ritualistically there are introductions and prefaces jumping to the beck-and-call of a constrained materialist history.  What is needed – and what Azize achieves – is a book that takes itself seriously and doesn’t bow to an abstract etiquette authority. There are other routes, they are allowed to be taken and they don’t have to defend themselves against suffocating normalcy.

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.


Interview: On Z/Acc – Parallax Optics

Original location can be found here:

A big thank you to Parallax Optics for putting this together.




As a theorist Meta-Nomad’s method is deeply synthetic. Out of a delirious synthesis of Kant, Marx, Deleuze, Land, Serres, Greer and innumerable others, Meta-Nomad arrives at the apocalyptic vision of Zero Accelerationism. Z/Acc is the ultimate Black Pill – simultaneously the productive motor and great filter pulsating at the core of Accelerationism.

During our pre-interview discussion, you outlined the conceptual territory of Z/Acc as one which includes – at a minimum – collapse, cybernetics, determinism, Accelerationism, anti-humanism and a transcendental understanding of politics. These are deeply complex, higher-order concepts which some readers may be unfamiliar with. I’d like to begin by inviting you to unpack / interrelate each of these, from your own particular perspective.

So, you asked me to unpack some key topics which I lucidly ascribed to Z/Acc, namely: Collapse, Cybernetics, Determinism, Accelerationism, Anti-Humanism and a transcendental understanding of politics. Now, I will get to those in time, but in thinking about those ideas I hit so many mental blocks with regards to articulation that I believe a hasty retreat is needed, both for my own sanity regarding Z/Acc and for means of articulation. It’s something Heidegger and Kant understood well, if you begin at an incorrect conclusion or junction, then what follows is complex-conjecture, of course, in the Deleuzian manner, those caught in the middle of a year’s long dogmatic conversation – as with those caught in a machinic process – know no different.

Firstly, let’s begin with Accelerationism (from now on ‘ACC’). I will admit to a multitude of frustrations regarding where this term has been forcefully – with agency – taken. This humanist rerouting of the term has caused nothing but confusion, annoyance and ignorance as far as I’m concerned. A large majority of the people who’ve been working with the theory of ACC are reluctant to say ACC means X or Y precisely because the process itself eludes definition; much like capitalism – and we have to remember, ACC is Capitalism(ism) – ACC rebuilds and deconstructs itself continually, fits and starts etc. This is nothing new of course, but this also works with respect to simple phenomena. ACC is Kantian, and Kant is most importantly a philosopher of time. You could argue he’s a philosopher of time and space and I wouldn’t argue back, but he made sure that time was always the former in that duo. Space is simply the ‘space’ which time uses to perform various tortures. Now, if to take this as a sort of proof that ACC is primarily a theory of time is seen as syllogistic, I don’t entirely care, ACC is time in-itself, it is process. In some way we can say it’s the ‘why’ of Heraclitus’ river, but I don’t think that helps matters.

Anyway, back to the problem of phenomena in relation to ACC. I’m assuming here that the reader is familiar with Kant’s transcendental aesthetic. What capitalism is, in its most unconscious, meta-historical and teleoplexic sense, is the Singularity. Of course, there’s a wide array of aesthetic attachments to the Singularity, Skynet etc. and these are all interesting and fun to think about, but at its most Kantian-Materialist (Landian) sense, it’s the temporal formation of a gateway between phenomena and noumena, a gateway which utilizes virulent language forms (Maths, Kabbalah, Alphanomics, Code etc.) as a way for synthetic a priori knowledge to be possible. We can’t say that such knowledge wasn’t possible prior to the ‘event’ of capitalism, we could say however that if such knowledge existed, it wasn’t created or found with a vector already targeted at its own uncovering. Counting the sheep in one’s field, is far different to the min-maxing of crop yield. You’re thinking what the hell does any of this have to do with contemporary assumptions regarding ACC or even Z/Acc? Good question. See, as the gateway (Zero) pulses, erodes, fluxes, mutates, corrodes and…works, we find a form of communication coming through from the Outside (‘through’ is a false term, no directional term works correctly with Critique, it’s used only for ease of understanding). Am I a Serresean in the sense that I think communication is greater than production, no, they’re of equal merit. What is produced – with, alongside as often as production-in-itself – in the Outside, is communicated as phenomena on the Inside, unfortunately, our cognitive faculties are lacking in multiple respects, senses and sensation is already void of a large multitude of needs required to decipher the goal-oriented potential of these phenomena.

When people begin talking about ACC as people wanting to bring about the collapse of society, or it meaning X, Y or Z, they are almost always doing so in the respect of an I, they, ego or humanism. I will put my neck on the line here and simply state that if you are taking ACC to mean something like this, you are wrong. Wrong in both your sense of understanding the underpinning philosophy, and also incorrect in understanding how your desires, thoughts and pronouncements are affecting the gateway; not that anyone has such power, but hyperstition can really fuck the vector, James Mason’s Siege is the clearest example. He places the word ACC in that text and takes it to mean those who wish to bring about the end of society.

Perhaps you could briefly unpack Hyperstition as a concept / process and relate it back to ACC?

Hyperstition is a portmanteau of ‘superstition’ and ‘hyper’ created by the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit in the 1990’s, and is a conception which tracks and adheres to the evolutionary success of an idea within culture or; the abstract definition of the way in which an idea infects culture from the Outside.

Not only are ‘Hyperstitions’ successful ideas, but they influence the course of events, they are nodes of possible futures. Hyperstitional ideas are assimilated into culture under the covert, mainstream mechanism of fiction, and likewise, act as if fictional. In this manner the future can be retroactively traced by the analysis of fiction becoming fact. Religious or mystic teaching, Occult conspiracies or theories, sci-fi or mutated fantasy, socio-economic predictions or crypto-political –prophecies all begin their lives as minute fictions, emanating from both creative cultural anxiety and moments of Outsideness invasion.

By moments of Outsideness invasion, what I mean to say is commonplace happening or events which are often subsumed into the contemporary psychological guise of coincidences, which is the materialist way of saying ‘We can’t really explain what happened, but the Outside isn’t real… so it can’t be that!’. Ultimately, Hyperstitions couldn’t care less about whether or not you believe in them; it doesn’t matter if you believe in the monsters, it only matters if they believe in you. Anyway, Hyperstitions don’t really care at all, they are most aptly described as immanent symbolisms communed with via fiction. When one looks at a clear leap forward within history one will find, retroactively attached to it, a fiction. That is to say, what is now fact, was once fiction.

Quite lazily Hyperstition has entered culture itself as ‘self-fulfilling’ prophecy, or ‘the law of attraction’, but both these terms humanize its trajectory, leaving its purpose as suspiciously clear. Wherein actuality, what we witness when such a Hyperstitional synchronicity occurs, is the Outside coming in. When one walks into a room and covertly understands that they should leave, or intuits they should not head down a certain path, what they are intuiting is the injection of the Outside as Hyperstitional feedback, or in – very – short, they are intuiting the creation of a new reality, or at least, the mutation of the current reality.

Hyperstitional mechanisms open channels to the Outside, encouraging a reality of belief as opposed to belief in a single reality. When linear, Westernized History comes face to face with Hyperstition it folds into itself under the weight of the Outside. When you mix academic history with Hyperstition you create a theoretical substance which acidically burns off the layers of rationalist prayer, and humanist pseudo-safety. Hyperstition makes history possible.

Now, as soon as we’re talking about wants, theys and human-desires we are no longer talking about ACC as the process, which is what ACC is, we are simply talking – once again – about desire. Not only are we talking about desire, we are once again talking about desire with regard to ideology. How is ideology-X going to help me get what I want? ACC is prior to this. It is prior to all this. Zizek states that ‘You are not immune to ideology’, well guess what, ACC is pure-immunity with one simple exception, the only thing this system lets through is synthetic potentiality for greater positive orientation.

ACC is what leftists, centrists, liberals, classicals and all those bowing to simplistic orthogonality fear most, that which slices diagonally in all directions between the great political cross of humanistic misconception. These people will try to tether, staple and glue anything they can to ACC to try bend it to their will, making the mistake of not realizing that time-itself comes before will; the wills of these crypto-humanists are thoroughly attached to the common sense notion of linear time, ‘If we do A, then B will follow, then C, then D, etc.’. This is the determinist/free-will aspect coming into focus. To quote Nick Land on this:

If we keep getting time wrong then we’re going to be just babbling nonsense in this antinomian structure that is irresolvable, no one’s going to win between a freewill/determinism debate, however it looks one way or the other because the two concepts are mutually complicit and mutually confused and they’re both symptoms of a pre-critical understanding of time. – The past, present and future, that structure of time comes out of time, it’s transcendental. It doesn’t come out of any particular part of time. It doesn’t come out of the past, doesn’t come exclusively out of the future. It doesn’t come out of the present. Time comes out of time. If you think that in terms of the implicit common sensical structures, of course, then the future comes out of the present and the present has come out of the past, but that that can’t be right, an elementary grasp of transcendental philosophy proves it cannot possibly be right. And now once you stop thinking of that as being a meaningful way of thinking about things, then what are you saying about these freewill and determinism arguments?”

Now, once this is taken into account what the hell do L/Acc, G(reen)/Acc, Anarcho/Acc, Bl/Acc etc. look like? Well they’re nothing but ideological hopes once again, which are stuck within a pre-critical understanding of time. Take L/Acc for instance, they want UBI’s, automation and that Fully Automated Luxury Communist stuff, but that form of whig-progression is only theoretically possible in an incorrect form of time, so it’s quite frankly hopeless. These are not only pre-critical understandings of time however, but also space. The phenomena which is experienced is taken in the purely human manner and not questioned via communion, possession or mathematical/kabbalistic pondering. And so, the ACC of Siege makes sense only if your theorization of ACC is caught up in pre-Kantian, rationalist and progressive notions of history and time; if we do X (burn down modernity) then Y (?) will happen – this is NOT what ACC is. Without patting myself on the back too much here, if anyone is now asking well what is ACC then? I would direct them to my M.A. dissertation of ACC, Accelerationism: Capitalism as CritiqueThe entire point of the dissertation was to remove ACC from politics and articulate it in its true Kantian philosophical dwelling. Once this is understood then we can get into discussions regarding the few ACCs I believe are of merit, namely: R/Acc, U/Acc and Z/Acc.

Let’s take each of these of Accelerationism’s in turn: U/Acc, as I understand it, was an attempt by Vince Garton et al to de-anthropomorphise and de-politicise Accelerationism, following a) the advent of the axis of L/acc and b) the perceived “contamination” of Accelerationism by its association with NRx – a label Nick Land, the “father” of contemporary Accelerationism, had embraced enthusiastically.

You’ve granted me the keys here to a minefield. No one working within the specialization of ACC wants to define things, and not because of its continental obscurantist roots, but because definition and process almost never assimilate, unless one of them falters. That is, if you define Accelerationism it is no longer Accelerationism. If a definition can fit into the process of ACC, well that definition is lost in its temporal-tumult.

But hell, I like minefields and I like putting my neck on the line. I’m sick of back peddling on these issues and I’m sick of being tolerant to ignorance. If you want society to burn down, burn it down. If you want Anarchism, promote Kropotkin or Bakunin. If you want to investigate the epistemology, (post-critical) metaphysics, cybernetics and teleonomic system lying ‘behind’ the transcendental nature of capitalism, then use ACC. Otherwise, shut up.

Moving on, you wanted me to start with Garton’s U/Acc here in relation to L/Acc. As much as I despise L/Acc, one thing we can actually say of it is that it is an extremely useful anchor from which to navigate our discussion. “Left-accelerationism” attempts to press “the process of technological evolution” beyond the constrictive horizon of capitalism, for example by repurposing modern technology for socially beneficial and emancipatory ends. (Quick and Dirty- Land). There’s so many pre-critical stumbles here that to anyone taking Kant seriously it seems like a daydream as opposed to a coherent system. Let’s just focus on the word ‘press’. The questions that instantly arise are the following: What are we ‘pressing’? Who’s doing this pressing? What does it mean to ‘do’ in this manner? Why are we pressing? Etc. The whole thing is wrapped up in so much Marxist romanticism that finding anything original is nigh impossible, largely because nothing original is actually there. Marx saw Communism as developing out of Capitalism, and Trotsky propagated the idea of pushing the worst aspects of Capitalism to their limits to bring about the revolution; ‘If you can’t beat them join them…and then infect their system with your toxicly tolerant ideology from the inside’, this is the Leftist modus operandi. (See: Industrial Society and its Future).

Let’s look at U/Acc. It’s practically unarguable now that the most contentious issue within contemporary ACC debate is between U/Acc and R/Acc, that is Unconditional/Acc vs Right/Acc. Here’s the thing…it’s a non-issue, always has been, and always will be. Anyone who understands the (sorry for repeating myself) pre-critical philosophy underpinning ACC will already get this. If you want a deep-dive into ACC ‘history’ and U/Acc theorizations Xengothic’s U/Acc Primer is brilliant, though not without its political and cultural bias’, then again, that is what one ‘wilts’ as much as I ‘wilt’ a patchwork too. Let’s turn to Vince Garton though:

“The unconditional accelerationist, instead, referring to the colossal horrors presented to the human agent all the way from the processes of capital accumulation and social complexification to the underlying structure, or seeming absence of structure, of reality itself, points to the basic unimportance of unidirectional human agency. We ‘hurl defiance to the stars’, but in their silence—when we see them at all—the stars return only crushing contempt. To the question ‘What is to be done?’, then, she can legitimately answer only, ‘Do what thou wilt’—and ‘Let go.’ […]

‘Do what thou wilt’, since with human agency displaced, the world will route around our decisions, impressing itself precisely through our glittering fractionation. Taking the smallest steps beyond good and evil, the unconditional accelerationist, more than anyone else, is free at heart to pursue what she thinks is good and right and interesting—but with the ironical realisation that the primary ends that are served are not her own. For the unconditional accelerationist, the fastidious seriousness of the problem-solvers who propose to ‘save humanity’ is absurd in the face of the problems they confront. It can provoke only Olympian laughter. And so, ‘in its colder variants, which are those that win out, [accelerationism] tends to laugh.’”

Quite frankly, I don’t think there’s much ambiguity to be had there. It’s unconditional, and in its Kantian reality the subject-object distinction is removed entirely. The relationship between the subject and the object is one where both begin to be questioned as processes potentially acting upon each other. This is what Deleuze – working strictly in the Kantian sense – understood when he replaced subject-object transcendental system with an immanentized version wherein the former is a desiring-machine and the latter is an inverted communicatory economy. It’s production and consumption all the way down. What can we say of ‘man’ caught in the belly of process, very little. Let’s take for examples the ‘Copernican Revolution’ indebted to Kant. Not only is this Copernican Revolution of philosophy overlooked, but – much like the Death of God – its continual ‘happening’ is ignored. Copernicus of course found that we (man) were not the centre of the galaxy, and metaphorically speaking, were not the primary focus of the universe, Kant then theorizes that we are not the centre of our common relations (subject/object), but merely an interpretive/subjective/communicative part of it with respect to our cognitive faculties, Freud then continues this tradition in the sense of revealing that we are not even the masters of these faculties (the unconscious). This is the common trio which are often ascribed to a proto-unanthropomorphic perspective of reality. As far as I can see there have been 2 further continuations on this, namely in the work of Georges Bataille and Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari. Bataille isn’t as important, but his work on the ‘black solar anus’ is important with respect to the telos of man. In short: The suns rays are a random dispersion, they are not solely focused on the Earth, making our position in the universe one of entropic/thermodynamic randomness, a life founded upon the waste product of a cosmic anus. Deleuze & Guattari’s continuation of the Copernican Revolution is a post-critical understanding of the position from which Freud ended. The problem is with the unconscious, it’s one which is still attuned to a humanist vision, why is it – we never ask – that Freud’s unconscious can always retain and be interpreted with respect to human desire? Such an unconscious cannot said be truly devoid of pleading tampering. Which is where Deleuze & Guattari step in. Welcome to the machine(ic unconscious). –

“Welcome, my son

Welcome to the machine

What did you dream?

It’s alright, we told you what to dream.” – Welcome to the Machine, Pink Floyd

I never thought I’d reference Pink Floyd in something like this. Their pseudo-sincere hippy vibes never sat right with me, but then again, I wasn’t there…mannnn. Anyway, the lyrics to that song actually bring about something fairly important regarding the difference between the unconscious and the machinic unconscious, namely it what it is which ‘told’ us what to dream. There is a rather school boyish implication in this song that the system we experience directly is telling us what to dream, that is, the Foucauldian power structures themselves are telling us what to dream. This is a critical error. These structures are devices conveying a message from the Outside, beyond that their complexity only matters with respect to what needs to be articulated. What Anti-Oedipus is, in its most abstract use as an object of knowledge, is a grimoire. I must expand of course, on how it is so, and why this is a clear continuation of the critical Copernican Revolution – Z/Acc does eventually arise out of the end of all this, you have my word:

“A grimoire (also known as a “book of spells”) is a textbook of magic, typically including instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination, and how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, deities and demons.”

Am I stating that Anti-Oedipus gives you clear instructions with regards to summoning and performing ritual? No, not in the sense that Alan Chapman’s Advanced Magick For Beginners will (I do NOT endorse this text). However, between the lines of Anti-Oedipus is the workings of a partnered communion between two vessels. Deleuze and Guattari state at the outset of that book that they became many voices. They understood that to write such a non/a/off-human text could only be achieved by the confused assimilation of 2 separate voices; the actualizing of two voices into one, is the actualizing of a multiplicity of thought, like Foucault’s Pendulum two voices can never settle, and over time this leads only to greater and greater fragmentation. The Freudian decentring of the mind is still reliant on the notion that our mind, our thought, our inner sense is beholden to its own sense, which is a recursive dilemma. It is the origin of all anxiety, a mind cannot argue with itself, as such, one must talk. This however does not settle the dilemma of whereabouts the initial sense comes from, there must be an Outside, an area of potentiality, pure-creation and pure-difference for there to be any possibility of even the most momentary relief. Socratic Method is impossible without the Outside. Two human vessels both caught at terminal capacity of thought need difference for an evolution of intelligent discussion and creation to be made possible. Any (non-stagnant) continuation is indebted to the Outside coming in. Anti-Oedipus takes the Outside seriously. It finds means to commune and work with the Outside. These means are not-human, but are entirely process based. The clearest examples are found in the machinicisms of paranoia, neurosis and schizophrenia; what is it to follow the path of an ontology which doesn’t care about those it is prepared to inhabit? And that’s the Deleuzoguattarian Copernican Revolutionary step, Copernicus shed our cosmo-centric belief, Kant shed our empiricist-centric belief, Freud shed our mind-centric belief…Deleuze & Guattari taught us to become sovereign shedders who target their threshing at centrality, unification and wholeness, they immanentized the critical revolution into the schizo-machinations of an inner sense communing with the Outside. What we can see from this is that those who ascribe meanings to the term ACC are doing so from the actual process of ACC. They are working with phenomenology. They are making the mistake of momentary agreement. Hell, this goes back to Zeno. Very simply – Those are state with certainty that ACC is X, Y or Z are the same people who would state that a single frame of Zeno’s arrow in flight is how the process of flight is in its entire. That’s as much as I can really say about U/Acc philosophically. What there is to be said about U/Acc has been said already, however, I do have a little comment regarding ACC and personal politics.

You mentioned that one of the covert-aims of L/Acc was to remove it from its association with Neoreaction (NRx). Because Nick Land is heralded as the ‘father of Accelerationism’ – some kind of cruel psychoanalytical post-ironic joke – and Land has an interest in Neoreactionary politics the two got confused. It’s not difficult to see why this is, technically both are working with time in some sense. But I personally think that all the confusion and discussion here is really down to personal preference. Land has made his definition of ACC very clear – positive oriented cybernetics, the means of production seizing themselves and exit from man – NRx deals with ACC in the same way the Communism deals with ACC. ACC is the underlying process. A shoddy metaphor would be how 2 separate bits of accounting software deal with the same coding language. An even better metaphor would be Michel Serres’ notion of ‘the helmsman’.

“Thus the prince, formerly a shepherd of beasts, will have to turn to the physical sciences and become a helmsman or cybernetician.” – The Natural Contract, p18

“The helmsman governs. Following his intended route and accord­ing to the direction and force of the sea-swell, he angles the blade of the governail, or rudder. His will acts on the vessel, which acts on the obstacle, which acts on his will, in a series of circular inter­actions. First and then last, first a cause and then a consequence, before once again becoming a cause, the project of following a route adapts in real time to conditions that unceasingly modify it, but through which it remains stubbornly invariant. The helms­man’s project decides on a subtle and fine tilt of the rudder, a tilt selected within the directional movement of objective forces, so that in the end the route can be traced through the set of con­straints. Cybernetics was the name given to the literally symbiotic art of steering or governing by loops, loops engendered by these angles and that engender, in turn, other directional angles. This tech­nique was once specific to helmsmen’s work, but it has recently passed into other technologies just as intelligent as this command of seaworthy vessels; it has moved from this level of sophistication to the grasping of even more general systems, which could neither subsist nor change globally without such cycles. But this whole arsenal of methods remained only a metaphor when it came to the art of governing men politically.” – The Natural Contract, p42-43

Who is the helmsman in the case of ACC? For those of pre-critical thought it seems clear that it is man who is the oh-so-grand helmsman. This is a mistake. Serres’ writing can be cryptic, but his passages on the helmsman are some of the most clear (and beautiful). The helmsman cannot forget about the swell of the sea, the waves, the wind, the weather, the currents, the flows and all the circuitry of the cybernetic ocean. He has his ship – state, school, institution, community, group etc. – and he has the tools allowed to him by that structure, but there are no such tools which can control the swell of the ocean itself. A great helmsman might be able to take a shorter path or clearer route, a great inventor might be able to engineer his way into greater turbulence, but the ocean will forever be its own beast; even if the entire ocean was tamed the process of perpetually taming it still remains. There’s no thermodynamically neutral way of stopping spontaneous declination, man is beholden to the ocean, he is beholden to the process, beholden to ACC. Leaving U/Acc aside here. L/Acc, G/Acc, Bl/Acc and all these humanist suffixes are helmsman in their own right, they are allowed the freedom of their own vessel, but it is their own responsibility to check if they’ve mapped the charts correctly before drawing up plans for a fancy boat. It doesn’t matter if your vessel has the best gadgetry available if you don’t believe in the idea of a captain. Eventually the crew will pull in multiple directions and rip the vessel itself apart. They also make the mistake of not continually updating their navigational charts, they were updated in 1917 and haven’t been since. The sea has changed since then, but they still find ways to apply their old charts to the current sea, unfortunately this is a case where the original will subsume the simulacrum into it with no hesitation.

U/Acc was an invocation of “anti-praxis” and constituted a recognition that the apparition of “human agency” was a “congealed by-product” captured within an energetic-cybernetic matrix / fate-line, receding deep into the unknown past and, simultaneously, reaching deep into the unknown future. However, U/Acc arguably failed to de-politicise in terms of the sympathies / positions held and expressed by many of its advocates (ie Xenofeminism) and was therefore seen on the Right as a form of crypto-leftist ACC.

Let me get down to brass tax on the U/Acc – R/Acc ‘thing’. It’s nothing really. Beneath all of it both parties are actually in agreement with the philosophical proposition of U/Acc – positive oriented cybernetics as capitalism’s motor. The disagreements have come from personal grievances regarding affiliation. Most people using the U/Acc term are left-wing or Communist, most of those using the R/Acc term are right-wing or reactionary. The political motivations come last, I believe both camps understand this. Anyone ascribing some form of political motivation to their preferred ACC or – most tyrannically – ACC in general, should have a copy of The Critique of Pure Reason thrown at their head full force. Politics is a nice little thing to play around with after the process is understood. It’s not exactly a surprise to me that U/Acc is seen as a crypto-leftist ACC, but that’s a problem of grouped affiliation as opposed to a theoretical or transcendental error. And I have very little time to talk about personalities.

R/Acc was generally (mis)characterised as a call for conscious / directed statecraft, utilising NRx innovations (Patchwork) and principals (autocracy combined with free-market competition) to form a launchpad for ACC, while simultaneously guarding against the twin evils of the Great Stagnation and Total Collapse, which could / would derail the Process – at least temporarily. However, there is another take on R/Acc in which R primarily stands not for “Right” but for “Real”. It recognises that Reality has a curve / gradient bending towards the Right because co-operation is a sub-set of competition – totally enveloped by it.

Is Patchwork an ‘Nrx innovation’? I don’t think so. Patchwork, Archipelago, Polis’, Meta-Utopias, fragmentation, dispersion, do these not all name the same thing? Which is at its root a thermodynamic problem regarding stability in a closed system. Anyone clinging to the idea of unification has to cling harder and harder over time, eventually having their limbs ripped off and not admitting to it. As far as I can see any current unification is an illusory bunching of parts only acting as a whole because it works to their benefit to blend in. If we take your reading of what R/Acc means there to be the true definition, then its easiest to return to the definition of the helmsman once again. R/Acc in this manner is the group which understands the most effective way to sail the sea. They understand that a great voyage needs a great captain, and that more often than not an anonymous captain leaves little room for dispute. They also understand that multiple small vessels are far less likely to have mutinies than one large one, because smaller groups can form sympathetic ways of living which a large group cannot. R/Acc also understands that the ocean is what it is and isn’t going anywhere. There’s one leftist who understood this by the way, Mark Fisher, that’s what Capitalist Realism is, a leftist who pains himself to admit (realism) that capitalist has won, and what we’re left with is the question of how to deal with this current. Now, to some bleeding-heart communist this is a nightmare, to anyone with any sense of non-melancholic imagination this is an absolute chasm of excitement. (See: Critique of Transcendental Miserablism – Nick Land).

Onto your statement: “It recognises that Reality has a curve / gradient bending towards the Right because co-operation is a sub-set of competition – totally enveloped by it.” I thought you’d read more Moldbug? I jest. Cthulhu swims left is still a poignant statement where anyone on the right is concerned. I think it’s a little difficult to place the right and co-operation together in this manner. That word, co-operation has been taken on by leftists to mean a sort of post-70’s voluntary soup-kitchen-esque passivity. There’s a place for that kind of thing, but as you state, the form of co-operation the right is working with is one which is already understood within the framework of competition. I’m not going to state that everything here is some Hegelian dialectic, and that history is this grand competitive discussion and agreement. I think the majority of the right would ironically agree that there is little worse than an agreement in the form of a compromise. Which is exactly where Exit comes in. If reality didn’t have so many parasites – along with willing hostswithin it, we’d have already colonized mars. Unfortunately, there are those who have taken their reason to be terminal and have unconsciously made it their life’s work to spew their sense onto everything else. It is easier now to imagine right to mean not-left as opposed to its own position, of course, ‘not-left’ is the implication of leaving the left. It is therefore easier to make rightism and exit synonymous. Reactionary politics is its own beast. The left want discussion, the reactionaries want loyalty, the right want to up and leave. I think in this manner you could have left-reactionaries who are reverent of Marx, Lenin or Trotsky’s particular ideas and loyal to them. You could also have right-reactionaries who want to exit to somewhere/something/someone they will then be loyal to. What you absolutely cannot have however, is someone who wants to discuss exit, because that implies they are already disallowing exit in the form you would like. Any discussion of ‘terms of exit’ removes sovereignty.

There are political aspects to L/Acc and R/Acc of course. As much as R/Acc (prior to politics) is synonymous with U/Acc, the kind of ships, helmsman and navigational techniques it believes would cause greater positive orientation with respect to capital are very different to those of L/Acc and U/Acc. Where L & U/Acc (once again after a critical understanding)believe democracy, egalitarianism, tolerance and liberalism will allow us to sail the waves as a…diverse-whole, R/Acc believe that laissez faire markets structures, sovereign corporations, fragmentation inclusive of borders and the dispersion of globalism will allow us to cause greater positive orientation and sail the circuitry more effectively. I must stress that all of this is thought after the understanding that positive orientation is already happening. We’re already at sea.

Z/Acc, in stark contrast, was ACC inverted. Its absolute negative image. A frenzied cartography of Total Collapse, and the cybernetic, civilizational dynamics / lock-in effects making descent into “Zombie” or “Zero” acceleration inevitable – Z/Acc is the ultimate Black Pill. 

Yes, let’s finally talk about Z/Acc. Which, I hope to articulate in alignment with the scene from Rosemary’s Baby where she finally sees the baby for the first time. “What have you done to him?! What have you done to his eyes?! *shrieks*.” I still like that very first tweet from Land about Z/Acc:

Screenshot 2020-03-16 at 19.26.15I don’t like or enjoy the whole ‘pill’ thing, but Z/Acc is blackpill, its even the process of how blackpills come about. There is a little confusion relating to the naming of Z/Acc, if my memory serves me correctly somewhere on Xenosystems there’s a few mentions of Z/Acc as Zombie/Acc with Land’s own theorizations of zombies in relation to democracy etc. My own working of Z/Acc isn’t far from this, it just takes it a little further, so I don’t mind if they’re mistaken for one another. For me Z/Acc is Zero Accelerationism, Z = Zero. Two massive common semantic mathematical errors are placed next to another here. Accelerationism isn’t about speeding things up, and Zero isn’t nothing. Both these terms are injected with that oh-so important continental meth and converted into the burncore of temporal vectors. Welcome to the workings of hell. I just really want to expand on Zero for some time here, it’s possibly my favourite philosophical term/theory, and it’s a Bataillean meditation if there ever was one.

Let’s begin with Sam Neill explaining Zero in Event Horizon:


This is a physics-centric view of Zero. The folding of space so that an object can move from point A to point B without having to travel through time and space. What Neill’s character doesn’t explain in Event Horizon is that in folding time and space in this manner you’re – once again – opening a gateway, it is not what inhabits the space which should worry you, for that is only phenomena, but it’s what inhabits the time found in the fold which should worry you. I turn once again to the work of Michel Serres here, whose conception of time is extremely helpful with respect to the critical temporality of ACC, alongside the juxtaposed theory of convergent and divergent waves.

“If you take a handkerchief and spread it out in order to iron it, you can see in it certain fixed distances and proximities. If you sketch a circle in one area, you can mark out nearby points and measure far-off distances. Then take the same handkerchief and crumple it, by putting it in your pocket. Two distant points suddenly are close, even superimposed. If, further, you tear it in certain places, two points that were close can become very distant. This science of nearness and rifts is called topology, while the science of stable and well-defined distances is called metrical geometry. Classical time is related to geometry, having nothing to do with space, as Bergson pointed out all too briefly, but with metrics. On the contrary, take your inspiration from topology, and perhaps you will discover the rigidity of those proximities and distances you consider arbitrary. And their simplicity, in the literal sense of the word pli [fold]: it’s simply the difference between topology (the handkerchief is folded, crumpled, shredded) and geometry (the same fabric is ironed out flat). […] – Sketch on the handkerchief some perpendicular networks, like Cartesian coordinates, and you will define the distances. But, if you fold it, the distance from Madrid to Paris could suddenly be wiped out, while, on the other hand, the distance from Vincennes to Colombes could become infinite.” – Conversations on science, culture, and time / Michel Serres with Bruno Latour; p.60, 61

In the fold we find Zero. Critical temporality is a cosmic topology which communicates between crumples, folds and meetings. Often, when we talk of letting the Outside in, we are talking of two ‘distant points’ in time meeting each other; there is little difference between Lucretian Atomism and Non-linear dynamics, and yet our perception of time as linear and chronic has differentiated them, but this is a meaningless difference, what has come in from the Outside was/is always the same infection. Serres however isn’t necessarily talking of Zero here, I don’t think he would work with something that is so caustic and seemingly unnatural. Let’s turn to Land:

The homeostatic-reproducer usage of zero is that of a sign marking the transcendence of a standardized regulative unit, which is defined outside the system, in contrast to the cyberpositive zero which indexes a threshold of phase-transition that is immanent to the system, and melts it upon its outside.” – Fanged Noumena, p329

The Zero I write of is – at first, I make one key alteration – cyberpositive, it is the immanentization of event upon the Outside of a chronic phenomenology. In this way, it matters not what phenomena is affected, or in what way, it makes no difference to the process of Zero itself, becoming is itself becoming, a change appearance is not the actual becoming.

The zero-glyph does not mark a quantity, but an empty magnitude shift: abstract scaling function, 0000.0000 = 0 ‘K = 0 … corresponds to the limit of a smooth landscape’” – Fanged Noumena, p367

The more you think or meditate on Zero (and not infinity) the more your mind swells and pains, agonizes. 0000.0000 is useless without its functionality on the Outside; an origin of pure-difference and production-in-itself the 0 glyph is a causura of language, it leaves a blazing lacuna in the flesh which approaches it, to approach it is to begin to shed everything. Zero doesn’t regonize completion or conclusion, only that which is perturbating and fluxing, Zero knows that time will eventually return that which fluxes to its cold embrace, or:

The apprehension of death as time-in-itself = intensive continuum degree-0” – Fanged Noumena, p369

To continue:

() ( or (()) ((or ((()))))) does not signify absence. It manufactures holes, hooks for the future, zones of unresolved plexivity,” – p372

Zero is the burning sun of positive-oriented-nihilism. It is the abyss production-in-itself willingly crosses, without hesitation nor discrimination.

I will move away from cold romantic metaphors here and begin to spell out what I mean.

What had to happen to the West for it to become modern? What was the essential event? The answer (and our basic postulate): Zero arrived.”

Capitalism – or techno-commercial explosion – massively promoted calculation, which normalized zero as a number.” – Zero-Centric History

Of course, Land’s title here is a little tongue-in-cheek, what does it mean to be centred on Zero? Nothing. Without Zero you cannot have accountancy, finance, metrics, conversion, interest, positivity, continuums, banking, saving, investment, competition, division, fragmentation or capitalism. It is the end of a fit the simultaneous beginning of a start. It is the process within the learning process which understands the rot and decay to be had, and shoots itself off in a competitive manner towards its next innovative venture. 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’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.

Z/Acc then is an understanding of limitation, beginnings and most importantly, ends. Things end over and over again, before they begin over and over again. There is no birth without a learned death. We can have the positive-oriented-cyberpositive Zero of ACC, but we cannot have it apart from the thermodynamic reality of critical materialism. ‘The walk up the hill is also the walk down the hill’ or ‘What goes up must come down’ are two mistaken sayings. The walk up is simultaneously the walk down, what is up is also down, and is held to the same standards of energy expenditure. If you wish to risk multiple divisions by Zero, multiple communions with the Outside, then you must be prepared for the calculator to break before it intelligently evolves.

You’ve persuasively articulated a communicational connectivity between entropy / decay on the Inside gravitationally / relationally provoking a reciprocal productive process on the Outside. Let us (momentarily) step away from the edge of the mind-melting void / vortex that is Zero and consider Collapse dynamics in terms of their terrestrial manifestation – how they are revealed / recorded on the Inside. What does Collapse look like on the Inside – what are its vectors? Can you outline some of the factors and dynamics currently engaged, which you believe make Collapse inevitable and break the calculator before it intelligently evolves?

Look, I don’t want to linger on The Critique of Pure Reason like some obsessed Kant fanatic, but it fits here too. The vectors of collapse are phenomena, we can read and interpret them in multiple ways. Unfortunately, due largely to human stupidity, we take them as if they are firsts and lasts, 1s and 0s, binary options within a finite history. Another pre-critical error. There’re multiple vectors at play and they’re all intertwined. Economics, resources, cultural, societal, thermodynamic, humanist, natural etc. These are all fantastic things to look at and understand as moments, events or vectors of decay and ruin, but why bother looking at those phenomena if you’re not going to try glimpse at the bigger picture?

What’s the bigger picture then? Decay, ruin, impermanence, flux, fragmentation, disintegration, rot and death. That all seems rather edgy, but it isn’t, it’s just what is. When we talk about vectors or moments of collapse, we often talk about them as singular events against a supposedly perfect unification. Of course, this is incorrect. Any theorization of a whole, unity or completion which if without possibility of degradation if thwart with errors, both transcendental and material. People talk about economic, social or resource collapse as if these are singular possibilities delaying an otherwise perfect linearity, the problem is, that linearity itself (the universal idea of progression) is placed within what can only be defined as Hell.

Hence the term ‘Hell-Baked’:

The logical consequence of Social Darwinism is that everything of value has been built in Hell.

It is only due to a predominance of influences that are not only entirely morally indifferent, but indeed — from a human perspective — indescribably cruel, that nature has been capable of constructive action. Specifically, it is solely by way of the relentless, brutal culling of populations that any complex or adaptive traits have been sieved — with torturous inefficiency — from the chaos of natural existence. All health, beauty, intelligence, and social grace has been teased from a vast butcher’s yard of unbounded carnage, requiring incalculable eons of massacre to draw forth even the subtlest of advantages. This is not only a matter of the bloody grinding mills of selection, either, but also of the innumerable mutational abominations thrown up by the madness of chance, as it pursues its directionless path to some negligible preservable trait, and then — still further — of the unavowable horrors that ‘fitness’ (or sheer survival) itself predominantly entails. We are a minuscule sample of agonized matter, comprising genetic survival monsters, fished from a cosmic ocean of vile mutants, by a pitiless killing machine of infinite appetite.”

Collapse then is the built-in inverted motor of Accelerationism. It’s the entropic chaos of the laminar plane, the ever tightening and tougher journey down river. I think it’d be wrong to map ACC to negentropy and Collapse to entropy, because both of these meet at Zero. And that’s Z/Acc, the meeting point of potentiality, remove all humanisms, desires, wants, lusts, needs, systems, Mothers, Fathers, structures and logos’, eventually you hit Zero. At Zero you have 3 options: reverence, death or unbridled ignorance. The fits and starts of Capitalism are not yours to pick and choose, they are shot from Zero as an energy expenditure stretching its legs, to eventually be pulled back into the embrace of its folded-flux.

Collapse events such as market crashes, resource depletion, droughts, tornadoes, pandemics etc. These are nothing but test-kits for X-risk, and they’ve nothing primarily do with humanity. We are there as are rats and amoebas. Who survives is simply a matter of Hell-Baking. You survive, you either thrive or await the next potential death event. Hell has no time for praise, completion or reward. Your reward is further existence in Hell, either work with it, or wait for your demise. Collapse events are the Outside coming in, they are the workings of the noumenal which adhere to a transcendentally Darwinian language. A stock market crash is little more than mathematical X-risk happenstance coming in from the Outside, on the Inside – as phenomena – we witness as this test rips through life as an apocalypse: Mises was survivability +1, Keynes was -1, humans don’t get a Zero, only compromise.

Seen from the Inside – the human vantage point – Z/Acc charts a ‘perfect storm’ of interconnected, degenerative dynamic processes: endemic degradation of human capital via dysgenics and defective civilizational incentive structures; institutional hyper-regulation; bureaucratic constraints and ossification combined with the sprawling metastasis of administrative structures; normative ‘progressive’ ‘neo-religious’ values and memetic pre-conditions fundamentally out of synch with underlying reality; depletion of low-hanging sources of energy / natural resources; taxation destroying productivity incentives; demographic shifts and weaponised migration; fragility of globalised supply chains; diminishing returns on energy investment; viral pandemic Black Swans; proliferating X-risk… all waves inevitably /  inexorably converging in the direction / telos of Collapse.

Are you able to expand on this and provide a roadmap of the dangers ahead?

You’re really pushing for me to get into the nitty-gritty of phenomenal entropic returns here, and that’s very sweet of you. Don’t fret, I will begin listing very soon. But in that question you actually raise one of the primary problems of the ‘perfect storm’ as you put it, which is ‘interconnectedness’. This to me looks like another name for unification or wholeness. Inclusivity, tolerance, loyalty, compromise etc., all these do is eventually weaken multiple distinct strengths into one homogenous bore. But this isn’t the major problem of an interconnected existence, there’s a problem of origin. Once everyone and everything is bereft of source and origin, you’re left with pure atomization. Free-floating consumption/production units of temporarilty adhering to the latest excitement as a means to simply pass time.

Honestly, I think it’d be very boring to point out the common collapse themes and how they’re connected. But for sake of argument let’s take a clear one, an oil shortage. I’m not even talking about peak oil here, I’m just going to go with an oil shortage, or even an oil price rise, take whatever possible trigger you like and understand that the scenario is this: Oil suddenly becomes quite difficult to acquire. Well of course people can no longer drive to work, or have to alter their entire lives to be able to afford to. The production of a mass of plastic materials ceases due to it no longer being profitable. Trucks can no longer deliver goods as regularly as they used to and towns begin to go without prescriptions and essentials for weeks at a time. The lack of people driving to and from work means that entire industries begin to falter; mechanics, car dealers, roadworkers, carwashes etc. The death of these industries sends waves through local and interconnected economies and it eventually ripples out. Henry Hazlitt dedicates a whole chapter to this knock-on effect in Economics in One Lesson. It really is the most basic of economic ideas, so I don’t think it begs too much repetition.

What does need a little articulation is what you refer to as – institutional hyper-regulation; bureaucratic constraints and ossification combined with the sprawling metastasis of administrative structures; normative ‘progressive’ ‘neo-religious’ values and memetic pre-conditions fundamentally out of synch with underlying reality.”

I’d argue that all of this can be bracketed under the term ‘power structure’ which is heavily utilized – and arguably ‘invented’ – by Michel Foucault. I won’t go too deep into the Foucauldian specifics, but at the most basic level what we’re talking about here is the intersection of knowledge and power, and how one begets the other and vice-versa; power-knowledge is its own miniature feedback loop which doesn’t want to stop. Now, the problem with the loop is that eventually it runs out of resources from a historically determined knowledge bank (Tradition, classics, habit, risk/reward, incentives, success, winning, colonization, declaration etc.) and begins to deconstruct and invent new forms and means of knowledge as a way to extend its power. Once an institution is powerful enough to move the goalposts of what it means to be correct, that institution holds power. Such a regime of truth also invents its own punishments, namely and primarily expulsion and alienation from the ‘norm’, alongside ridicule, slander and belittlement. Once X is defined as the culturally and systematically correct and right thing to do, those who do not do X are punished. I’m not talking of crime, I’m talking of personal preference, belief systems, ideas etc. Hyper-regulation is a symptom of control, regulation is apparently for our own benefit. Bureaucratic and administrative legislation and control mechanisms relating to how one comports themselves in all their actions are so covertly dull and minute at first that they’re basically non-existent, and yet, much like the economic connections destroyed by an oil shortage, certain cultural requirements also cause ripples throughout society. Such ripples cause further and further dulling, numbing and anaesthetizing of the populace. Z/Acc is also the potential for the rupture in this interconnected heresy. Any flirtation with Zero will bring people back to reality harder than they can imagine. School systems and government institutions will be seen for what they are – prisons. Regulations, permits and legislation will be seen for what it is – control. Politicians, planners and council members will be seen for who they are – jobsworths and brown-noses, and finally, history will be seen – very briefly – for what it is – cyclical.

Taiter’s complexity / diminishing returns spiral articulates an ontological lock-in, whereby diminishing returns are inscribed into the structure of problem solving itself. So, there is a fatalism to Capital acceleration, but there is also a competing fatalism to Collapse dynamics. Why is it impossible to circumvent Collapse? What is the lock-in effects, omnipresent in a complex civilization, which conspire to make it impossible to reverse our current trajectory and make Collapse inevitable?

This is really a physics problem. Which is one regarding thermodynamics, entropy and negentropy. A closed system with a finite amount of resources will eventually hit Zero with regard to energy output. This isn’t some theoretical idea, this is a cold hard fact in relation to human material reality. To say there is a fatalism to capital acceleration is really a non-statement, there’s a fatalism inbuilt into existence where energy is concerned. To circumvent collapse would be to break the second law of thermodynamics, everything has an end, a death, a conclusion, a long drawn out deathrattle, unfortunately for us civilizations – which are complex systems – have the ability to counter that which is causing them, or going to cause them, to die. So it’s a long game of push and shove with ever-diminishing returns, there’s always loss.

Finally, in his Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism Land says: “No contemporary dilemma is being entertained realistically until it is also acknowledged that the opportunity for doing so is fast collapsing”. This points to an interesting synergy with Z/Acc and the implosion of decision space. Let us return to Zero. Can you conclude by revisiting why Z/Acc a form of ACC, what exactly is ‘accelerative’ about anti-acceleration and civilizational collapse dynamics? And how precisely is the Z/Acc ontology cybernetic?

There’s a problem here with your use of the word ‘accelerative’, of course collapse seems to have little to do with acceleration in the traditional semantic sense of increasing speed, but that of course isn’t how I’m using it. Acceleration as in ACC is increased deterritorialization and reterritorialization, whether this process happens fast or slow is besides the point. As such, collapse isn’t so much the inverse of this process, but is the physical, fatalist and natural restraints built-in to the territory in the first place. Deterritorialization and reterritorialization happen as abstract processes devoid of any moralist, pragmatic or conservatory limitations, they’re non-actors, they’re processes. The Z of Z/Acc then, is the understanding of the implicit ability for territory to fail and to reverse its potential into a dysgenic and collapse-esque mess. As for cybernetics, what is cybernetics? It’s simply goal-orientation, and the way in which the circuitry, system or structure at hand vectors itself towards a goal. Z/Acc is cybernetic in the way that anything that is goal-oriented is cybernetic, the only exception being is that much like a cancer, Z/Acc’s ‘goal’ is a detrimental one, and the goal of Z/Acc doesn’t begin until Acc itself begins a territorialization. Z/Acc loathes life and its complexity, it is the growing rot within unification. If you have something which is creating or building itself, Z/Acc is its a priori limitation waiting for its moment to pounce, which will always come.