talk about coming back in great style, huh?
i’m still developing a series on dark mutualism, but the fundamental seed is right there in the title. as coincidence engineering goes, i couldn’t have gotten a better prompt for today’s post than this quote of Carlo Lancelotti, originally found here:
Indeed, Del Noce said, if a society’s only ideal is the expansion of individual “well-being,” the left faces two equally bad options. One is to embrace what he calls the “reality principle,” and to compromise with the realities of late capitalism. Then the left must necessarily become the party of the technocratic elites, and end up pursuing power for power’s sake, because in the vacuum of ideals left behind by Marxism there is no common ground between the elites and the masses. This “realistic left” can only organize itself around two principles: trust in science and technology, and what Del Noce calls “vitalism,” sexual liberation, which provides a “mystified,” bourgeois replacement of the revolution. The second option is what Del Noce calls “unrealism”: dreaming the impossible, rejecting existing reality altogether, and embracing political extremism in various forms, all of which are destined for defeat. Unrealism “becomes an accomplice of the first attitude in the global rejection of all values.”
i’m definitely gonna need delving deeper into this Del Noce guy, because he sees the left’s options way clearer than anyone in the left in a good while have. dark mutualism, and LRx more generally, both fall squarely within the “reality principle” left described above. devising strategy and vision to embrace and follow capital into its extremity, ultimately into machinic proletarian revolution, is the only thing that could possibly still make justice to any rigorous marxian or proudhonian analysis of history.
what about justice? it’s hard to ignore that the word has been so utterly mystified by absolutely all sides, to the point where it only makes sense within some secular religion or another. if we manage to wrest it from such stupor, two things lay obvious: one cannot devise any superior measure of justice than reality, and absolutely no human being can face this fact up straight for too long, for it goes directly against moral instincts evolved to obscure precisely this fact. even if you believe yourself an edge-lord than can enjoy basking in the horror, it’s abstractly and vicariously that such an exercise can be entertained. by definition, no germline wants to die off, even if it absolutely must. nature then will always seem unjust from any local biological perspective, for it demands constant and unbound carnage.
strengthening one’s mind to such obviously icky facts is then the only way one can become and remain a realist. it eventually demands that you be able to make it with death.
13 thoughts on “if nature is unjust, we’re all screwed”
We still run into the even deeper ‘reality principle’ that finally accepts a climate chaos ravaged world where the technium is radically reduced and left to tinker with the scraps left littered over the bones of a dead capitalist infrastructure/supply chains… There is simply no way capital makes it out of the sorting process of near-term ecological collapse. The sooner this reality is assimilated the sooner we can drop the bloated techno-fantasies and get about the task of anticipating and preparing for the salvagepatches to come.
I think both are jointly possible and actually even mutually reinforcing. I mean, by 2100 it’s very likely a completely autonomous exo-planetary self-replicating industrial apparatus has been fully implemented (which is the endgame of capital escapology) AND modern industrial civilization has completed unraveled due to climate madness, regressing into palaeolithic modes of subsistence.
How does an “autonomous exo-planetary self-replicating industrial apparatus” self-organize and maintain itself without advanced AGI? There is no way we get to that before climate chaos ensues (and massive disruption to the industrial flows that the technium depends upon). The singularity has been canceled – as all existing extraction and distribution systems will be geared towards war and disaster relief. The technofantasy/dream is dead, I’m sorry.
we have very different predictions about climate change. i really don’t think capital is going to be weakened by it, much to the contrary. conflict fuels it, hardship incentives it. i guess we’ll see.
on the question about AGI, i don’t think the necessary intelligence level for self-replication is much beyond what is already developed. it’s much more a matter of connection what already exists in a tighter loop. most consequentially, i don’t think anything even near consciousness is necessary or even actually desirable.
I follow the science on planetary heating, not my own predictions. And there is no way humans make it out of this century with nuclear-powered removal of carbon and methane from the atmosphere. Zero chance. And if its not about keeping the species alive long enough to mutate into something else, then I don’t care about it in any way. All the sci-fi ‘capital as alien god’ nonsense is just escapism. It’s easier to accept an occulted cyber-positive narrative than it is for people to actually change their privileged behaviors and learn ecology, imo. It’s comfortable to flee reality into a techno-capitalist simulacrum.
Also, how does capitalism function without the constant supply of materials to the infrastructure? Or surplus? Or manageable consumption patterns re: that surplus?
Without AGI techno-science requires humans supported supply-chains and R&D. That is not possible on a climate ravaged, resource war-torn planet.
I would sincerely like to know how you think capitalist production and cyber-logistics continue without markets and consumers and required extracted materials? Please just throw out a logistics scenario where capitalism exists on a hothouse earth. Like just a minimum sketch of how techno-capitalism maintains itself minus stable labour and all I re: above..
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there’s plenty of matter in the universe, and capital’s metabolism initially is probably going to be pretty similar to that of DNA-based life. individual units could go around, eat, replicate, vary and be selected by different environs. it’s not even that wild a speculation.
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I can dig that, as far a speculative fiction goes, but I have yet to read any credible description of just how it might be so.. I agree if we are able to create true AI and it was capable of maintaining itself and self-replicating then sure. Such a entity, or complex of entities (hive), could easily adapt to a hothouse earth. maybe even thrive. But humans won’t get the chance to unleash such a beast when billions fight for water and food – destroying the very infrastructure and logistical avenues required to keep technocapitalist systems robust enough. If you have any reading materials to support that industrial production systems and supply chains (of energy and rare earth materials) can be maintained in a +4C world I’d love to read them. Without those we cannot create these machinic lords you want.
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yeah, i don’t think capital hivemind would be hanging around earth, or any gravity well, tbqh. robots are singly well adapted to space conditions, and the technology for self-replicating robots isn’t far-fetched (see here for example: https://reprap.org/wiki/RepRap). i don’t think it’s extreme speculation to believe asteroid mining companies would be interested in launching a bunch of those robots into space, especially as supply lines get disturbed down here.
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again, just don’t see any way we get to those types of bots/hives and space industry before complete collapse of civilization. It’s a race between complete ecological breakdown and innovation, for sure. And right now (without advanced nuclear tech) where innovation is losing very badly. As soon as major food shortages hit industry as we understand it is finished. Neo-feudalism first, extinction after that. And all our pretty machines will be left as a monument to hubris. RIP Ozymandias…
Anyway.. I do enjoy your thought experiments and would serious like to be proven wrong on all that. If anyone can do it I think you could.
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Re: “If nature is unjust, we’re all screwed”: Nature is unjust, but I don’t think the conclusion follows.