an asceticism of power

“never fall in love with power” Foucault admonished us. let us purge the romanticism that could come from that right at the outset: this is a warning to a trap, not advice to would-be priests or saints.

falling in love – holding fast and tight to it – is to completely misunderstand the nature of power and – here’s the real trick – allow oneself to be imprisoned.

powercan only be when it flows. it cannot properly “be held” as it must always already become transferred. power can only be excercised through delegation and devolution. letting it go is the only way to make it come into being.

moreover, attachment to power is a toxic kind of willful blindness. it inebriates and gives illusions, only to deliver frustration and resentment at the end. one who would seek to “attain and keep” power, not only fails to accomplish one’s objective, but is easy prey to those who know how power works. they’ll find themselves with many offices, titles, medals, badges of honour and a vast curriculum – but little to no power. any organisation of any value knows this and exploits it fully, from mafias to cartels to corporations to parties. the people at their top – the real powerful – are those capable of giving and taking as opportunity shows. those in love with power are merely their bodyguards, their cannon fodder.

this commends us to an asceticism and a scepticism of power. since letting power flow is the best way to empower oneself – and since power is the only immanent good – the supreme posture in the world is an icy coldness and negligence towards power and the powerful. the weak can be safely wielded through their envious passion, but the powerful must be neglected to be truly attacked. power escapes through our clenching fists, and invests those who simply don’t care about keeping it.

the message to propel is, as always: let go.

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the queue

Violins tell me:

with the best of intentions, i have nominated our governor, to rule the largest queue ever formed, long enough to go around the world.

and there wasn’t a single man on earth there weren’t in the queue. and all waited with bodies so full of soul, like a radio with new batteries.

even when the last man in the queue spread the perverse rumor, that not everyone would fit in. the reaction brought forth in families was an indifference to cause laughter. not a single place in the queue was altered. not even a single pair of anxious people dispersed. and we saw in the face of these people the sign of an endless wait.

nobody left for nothing.
and i laughed my ass off
from the first place in the queue

i see no other way of construing this, except taking the queue to be human economy. everyone has got an economic standing, strictly ordinal. when prompted with the (fairly reasonable) proposition that “not everyone will fit in”, i. e., some people will be left without resources, incredibly nobody moves.

no revolutions, no one at each other’s throats. almost inhumanly so.

which leads us to think if economic standing is not driven by things beyond human will. no one moved – primarily – because there is no way to move. Gregory Clark seems to be the name here.

but then again, the first man in the queue, the one who nominated the governor, why is he laughing about? the meaninglessness of his position? of position itself, since everyone in line showed signs of an endless wait? it’s cryptic.

anarchy

i’m well aware of the etymological fallacy. so, this is not a logical argument about the meaning of words.

anarchy is the absence of arkhé, which is to say ruler – but also beginning or end. anarchy has no genitive, no genealogy, no teleology. it’s unengendered, transcendental. all cosmos is anarchic, which is to say that anarchy is order. the chaos ordering.

thus, anarchy is a circuit of power: it can be democratic, aristocratic, thymocratic, even plutocratic. at any given point, it’s all of those. it can’t, by definition, be oligarchic, or monarchic, nor demarchic, not even panarchic. it has no ruler, but power always flows.

anarchy cannot be the object of an ideology – that would imply that time itself is within time – a mere being, not Being. it’s sad that anarchist has come to mean anything but “anything”. anarchy is, right now, and will ever be – there’s no “after” the Revolution. the Revolution has never failed to happen.

in the process of eating all absolutes, mutual excitation makes itself the only Absolute. this process, just as modern as it has been ancient, is anarchy.

 

a few simple questions for neoabsolutism

in the wake of a similar post by the Imperial Energy, and given that for all that matters, neoabsolutism and lrx-mutualism are forever locked in a cosmic cage-match, i figured i should map a few of the most prominent questions that i feel the neoabsolutists haven’t really answered so far (i believe it’s obvious why unanswered questions are way more of a problem for them than it is for me):

  1. where does power come from? a lot of the writing in Reactionary Future, as well as in Imperial Energy and Neoabsolutism has to do on how insecure power seeks to secure itself through centralisation, etc. but not once have i seen any definition of power (something like this), nor any account of the ways power comes to be.
  2. how universalist is neoabsolutism? i’ve made this argument before (2, 3), but if division of power is seen as something to be avoided, then delegation is not really the greatest idea. with that in mind, can anything short of a global centralized empire be enough for neo-absolutism? parallel centers of power can or cannot coexist? and if they can, how far really is this from individualism?
  3. what is sovereignty if not a relation between divided powers? this arises immediately from the previous questions: isn’t freedom-as-power the exact same thing  as freedom-from(-other’s)-power? isn’t a sovereign, by definition, an individual, atomized in relation to other individuals?
  4. finally, what’s neo in neoabsolutism? how does the theory you are sketching differ significantly from early modern absolut kings, those enlightened despots?

thoughts #3

the myth of given is critique of foundationalist epistemology that basically asserts “data can never be given, but always be built”.

of course, nothing is simply “given” in nature. things have to be produced. (D+G would add “even production itself”).

but to go from this to “data aren’t ever real” or, worse, “data could be indefinitely different” is a stretch. analogies: a plane is produced, and is very real. a mobile phone can be produced in a myriad of forms, but they all pay respect to some invariances (you can’t make a mobile phone that violates, say, thermodynamics).

on universality

one thing i was musing over today is in what regards the question of universalism. Land’s two pieces explicitly on the subject have proviso-like sections that make for loopholes where one could insert some kind of universality even in such radical anti-universalist position.

here, he does so basically by negation:

“There’s a philosophical objection to any refusal of universalism that will be familiar from other uses (the denunciation of relativism, most typically). It requires only one step: Isn’t the denial of the universal itself a universalist claim? It’s a piece of malignant dialectics because it demands that we agree. We don’t, and won’t ever, agree. Agreement is the worst thing that could happen. Merely assent to its necessity, and global communism, or some close analog, is the implicit conclusion.

If there is a universal truth, it belongs only to Gnon, and Gnon is a dark (occulted) God. Traditional theists will be at least strongly inclined to disagree — and that is excellent. We disagree already, and we have scarcely begun.”

it seems there is a certain universality is disagreeing (and maybe in its close allies: exit, individuality, atomization, schism, etc).

in part 2, he’s more positive about it, relating universality to (in that order) mathematics, mechanization and transcendental philosophy:

“Preliminary throat-clearing (as in part one): In its most rigorous construction, ‘universalism’ is robust under conditions of rational argument (i.e. evidence-based logico-mathematical criticism). Mathematical theorems, in particular [sic], are universal truths. Any assertions that can be constructed to a comparable level of formal rigor (and ultimately mechanization) can lay claim to the same status. However, with the slightest departure from this — rigidly algorithmic — criterion, controversy rapidly begins. This is not the place and time to argue the case for transcendental philosophy (within which praxeology in included), but such a case could be made. Ditto strictly proceduralized empirical science. All of this is a digression.”

(that [sic] right there is suspicious, but nevermind for now).

so, apparently a mechanized conflict could be said to be universal? wouldn’t this contradict Land’s anti-universalism?

one way in which this apparent paradox could be resolved it that such universal conflict wouldn’t at all need be imposed globally, since it’s the precise opposite of global imposition.

in a conversation, Vincent Garton add that “universalism is a species of political project which privileges the seeking of consensus over universal truths, so accepting the universality of disagreement is ostensibly not contradictory with rejecting universalism”.

this seems to be a point which Land has been hinting at for a long time. one of the most powerful quote from Fanged Noumena, which i personally love, is a sentence from Art as Insurrection (p. 150): “If reason is so secure, legitimate, supersensibly guaranteed, why all the guns?

Vincent completes “I sort of see what Nick is getting at – the rationalists want to remove all ideological schism to the discursive sphere, so you have a conversation and then decide, abstractly, what to do, rather than experimenting in practice”. which, of course, has no chance of working sinceNothing that cannot go wrong is capable of teaching anything“. information is only produced through the brutal culling of inefficiency.

and that’s universal, or absolute.

Ephemeral Formalism

neocolonial tells us the informational shape of the Internet Age and its relation to hierarchy (reblogging because I there’s nothing to disagree there)

neocolonial

The conflict of the 21st Century is about forming a Collective Intelligence that can outwit and out innovate all of its competitors. The central challenge is to innovate a way of collaborating and cohering individuals that maximally deploys their individual perspectives, capabilities, understandings and insights with each-other.

  • This is quite a significant statement.  In many ways, we are seeing another phase transition in power that is due to massive interconnectedness flowing down now to the personal level.
  • Back in feudal times, information had to be carried physically, either by envoy or by missive.  This favoured the rigid hierarchies of that period.
  • During the industrial revolution, with the development of the telegraph, then the telephone, we saw power flow to an oligarchic distribution.  Key centres of power formed, eventually resulting in the development of the Cathedral.  Power is brought dynamically to bear through intermediary institutions.
  • Now…

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