escaped velocity.

much more than the MAP, “Escape Velocities” is a neat summary of left-accelerationism in all its strands. in one respect especially, it shows everything: it’s got so much going for it, but then it drops the ball out of fear of sinning.

a few examples while you drift through the text:

  • you start recognizing genealogy, and the drop it after 3 paragraphs. fear? it certainly will drive you down weird routes.
  • it’s a mistake to recognize Land’s position (and, to a certain extent, even D+G’s) as “the worse the better”. it’s precisely the escalation of the process (capitalism) that is sought after. “better” and “worse” are already transcendent to it. why criticize something in these terms?
  • i’ll save the usual request for a specification of what “neoliberal order” can mean besides “the Cathedral”. but it sounds an awful lot like “the Devil”.
  • Nick Land, a heretic. could this indictment be made by anyone but a priest?
  • “today the best we can hope for is marginally improved consumer gadgetry”. what were you expecting, Eden?
  • it’s notable, in fact, that Williams’ diagnostic is precisely the same as that of NRx: decay, deceleration, stagnation. it even has the same structure of the decelerator: the neoliberal Cathedral. why disagree on the solution? the Theonomist at least has a proper excuse: usury is against the law of God.
  • “This process leaves Land’s theory unmoored and incapable of justifying itself”. why does it have to justify itself (to priests)? why survival isn’t enough?
  • on Negarestani’s use of Longo’s critique: the world can’t be machinic, because that would mean we can’t know it (because our computers don’t have a very good resolution for such measurements). what matters is how the world can be for us?
  • when talking about speed and acceleration, does Williams want to preserve the physical analogy that was originally present? because there’s absolutely no sense putting speed and acceleration as distinct or opposed, if he does. speed is the first derivative of space in relation to time. acceleration is the second (i.e., is the first derivative of speed in relation to time). acceleration is the variation of speed. how the hell “acceleration > speed” could make any sense? or, what the hell does “acceleration” have to do with navigation? this is a question that itself never waver…
  • onto more substantial diagnostics: where are your values coming from? because “accumulation-for-accumulation” and self-perpetuation are things immanent to the primary process. from God?
  • and ain’t they themselves being played by something? it becomes obvious at a point: the priestly endeavor of “freedom by means of rules”, based on a rational, enlightened order that enables us to runaway from drive, from the animal unconscious, apparently comes out of nowhere. the rational thinkers are to be sanitized, non-sensual beings, completely oblivious to the sublimated hierarchies of sexualized politics. priests can’t have sex, and Kant knew it. “morality is only good when it hurts”.

to get to the real meat, though, Williams names, by the end of the piece, two main strands within l/acc:

1) the epistemic accelerationism of Negarestani and Brassier. 

it could go so far, when it recognizes that there’s “a direct identification of the processes of scientific discovery with nihilism”. how far is this from the asymptote that Metcalf already had in Neo-Futurism:

the operational political, economic, and sociological codes of universalized humanity contract – to the point where, condemned to endlessly circulate in an interminable statistical survey, they finally collapse into a black hole where meaningless signs reduplicate themselves. This is the secondary process. The humanities in flames.

yet, both Brassier and Negarestani refrain from such identified endgame, and try to rehabilitated Reason (God?) and flee from the nihilism entailed by the very overflow of data now made available. isn’t that just fear?

2) the political accelerationism of his and Srnicek’s, which identifies (aesthetically, at least) with metis, the cunning intelligence of the trickster and the bricoleur, and talks about dealing with contingency. but in the same breath it refrains from creative destruction – something that is pretty obvious in political horizons nowadays – and approaches “repurposing”. it doesn’t even want to destroy capitalism, or compete seriously with it. it doesn’t want war, it wants capital to stand still and be peacefully sucked.

maybe this is the most finished expression of the fundamental fear within l/acc’s heart: the fear of war. it wants to be Prometheus without actually fighting the gods, and, in fact, while it sides with the priestly caste in affirming the holiness of our Lord and Savior, Reason. Williams knows, deep down, that any call to war is already giving up the possibility of a universal “we” – and thus of anything nearly “Left”.

competition is a sin, reserved for heretics. and yet, the l/acc’s position won’t remain unchallenged, from every side. if they don’t step up to war – if their desire to self-perpetuation doesn’t strengthen – they are bound to disappear.

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the diagrams of acceleration

I’ll start by drawing what I take to be Nick Land’s view on the complete circuit of acceleration. then I’ll take a look at the leeches – decelerators – that he proposes. then I’ll sketch my own view of the necessity of runaway “suppressors” to keep the positive feedback running. in the meanwhile I’ll try and speculate what exactly l/acc and r/acc can mean in this view.

* * *

Land posits a positive feedback cycle at the heart of modernity. this cycle, he insists, is a techno-commercial or techonomic one. the second part of this loop is already pretty well expressed in Marx’s M-C-M’ model. From Fine & Saad-Filho’s Marx’s Capital:

cycle of capital

I’ll simplify this to:

cycle of capital 2

similarly, Land proposes technology and science evolve in a similar cycle, a techno-scientific effort. as he puts it:

“Acquiring knowledge and using tools is a single dynamic circuit, producing techno-science as an integral system, without real divisibility into theoretical and practical aspects. Science develops in loops, through experimental technique and the production of ever more sophisticated instrumentation, whilst embedded within a broader industrial process. Its advance is the improvement of a machine.”

thus:

cycle of science

finally, the techno-commercial loop that characterizes modernity would be this:

cycle of modernity

below the levels here portrayed, it’s conceivable every node is, in itself, a positive feedback loop. finance capital, product design, gadget invention and theory building being the immediate sub-levels.

the more it happens, the more it happens.

* * *

I won’t lie, I’m no great connoisseur of left-accelerationist thought. so I won’t talk a lot about it. my point of contention comes mostly from this line in the MAP:

“capitalism cannot be identified as the agent of true acceleration”

which implies something else is the true accelerator. what could that something else be?

I’ve heard hinted now and then that it could be the “industrial cycle” of technological development. since I’m guessing l/acc types want to pose capital as, at most, a once sympathetic medium for acceleration (now utterly decelerative), I’m supposing that such “agent of true acceleration” is the science cycle pictured above. is that correct? I’ll suspend criticism until this is more thoroughly established.

* * *

as for “right acceleratism”, insofar as it can’t be identified with Land’s stance of “unconditional acceleration“, remains very poorly formalized or even addressed. some kind of transhumanist monarchism maybe? if that’s it, their interest is much more on the acceleration of the science cycle, as well, but with a subordination to very different norms than those that presumably would govern l/acc-type cycles. insofar as it isn’t an explicitly anti-capitalist monarchism we’re talking about, the commercial side of the cycle is still present, but with how much force?

lots of mysteries remain. but I won’t invent adversaries where none appears to be.

* * *

ok, enough for accelerators, why aren’t we seeing a techno-commercial singularity, if such dynamics is indeed at the heart of out times? Land proposes a decelerator. what would it amount to?

a few ways to break the cycles and compensate for them:

  1. taxation: this deviates resources from capital and buries them into the consumption of the tax-receivers (namely the Cathedral bureaucracy). trash and shit.
  2. regulation: there are various ways this could work, insofar as regulation is very inventive. but the main pattern has to do with deviating capital from the most rentable (i.e., (self-re)productive) investments, into those that are most likely to become un-recyclable thrash, at least in the long run.
  3. politicization: this deviates brain-power from technological producing theories into, well, bullshit research departments, especially through politicization of academic funding of hard sciences.
  4. protectionism: since this protects technical developments from properly feeding back into the commercial cycle, it breaks the link between technical advantage and capital accumulation, leading lots of resources into stupid gadgetry.

all these being forms of fucking up the incentive structures that allow the accelerative cycle to be. in diagram form:

the cathedral

if the Cathedral is actually efficient, the more it happens, the less it happens.

* * *

my theory of constitutionalism is based mostly on the premise that, given real conditions, capital needs not only to accelerate – as is intrinsic to it – but also to suppress its decelerators. constitutional orders are a good way to tame politics (and thus the Cathedral), and there’s a historical case to be made on how capitalism correlates to good constitutions.

here, I’ll limit myself to the abstract form of these “runaway suppressors”. they are complimentary to the runaway producer of techno-commercialism: the less it happens, the less it happens. in such a way that they intrinsically contain a program for their own dissolution: as soon as their object of suppression vanishes – thus liberating the productive process that engineered them – they themselves vanish. it’s friction that produces them.

suppression, in such analysis, means compensating the compensators. a few forms for that to happen:

  1. counter-taxation: mechanisms through which taxation is dodged or reversed (anything from tax dodging, money laundering, corporate welfare, etc).
  2. illegibility: ways through which agents become invisible to the state apparatus, and thus can operate beyond, behind or beneath its regulations.
  3. cypherpoliticsbecoming grey to the colorful politics, effectively avoiding social outcomes based on political discourse. cryptographic media use, in a way that allows science to become neutral because anonymous. also, other uses of unidentity. (seriously, the link explains way better)
  4. exit: if some idiot thinks tariffs are a good idea, you move. neo-nomadism should be a thing already.

as resources flow back into the cycle, acceleration happens at ever higher rates. the formalization of said mechanisms into a diagram of suppression applied to the decelerator is a feat for another post, though.

neocameralism for leftists

…wait, what?

why would leftists want neocameralism? well, because it makes the dream possible. instead of a rule by impolite proles from deep country, rednecks and bigots in general, a civilized progressive morally superior social justice paradise, governed by BHO and his descendants, forever, with the loyal and intelligent help of science and rationalism (aka rule by certified PhD professors).

think, a shiny Californian Republic sovcorp, with LGBTQA* rights, affirmative action, universal basic income, no racial discrimination, no wage gap, a police force that effectively prevents rape, open borders, progressive media, and everything good. a city upon the hill, indeed. plus, the certainty that never ever ever will the red-tribe bigots ever get into power again. a general ban on white-cisheteropatriarchy and fascism in general.

in fact, for the Cathedral, building heaven in not very hard, since it already holds power. it just has to let go of one thing it already only pays lip service, namely, democracy. formalize all the assets, restructure the State of California, declare independence (and back it up with the latest developments in military security) and just live the dream.

seriously, I guessing the other side will be just as happy. the bliss of divorce…

a shorter trip through the longer view

apparently, as the NRx and the Alt-Right, an Alt-Left is born almost at the same time as I have experimented with an LRx.

unfortunately, the Alt-Left have more similarities to the Alt-Right than anyone would wish. in all fairness, “Rabbit” signals some realism:

There are many people in the “race realist” community involved in the esoteric study of racial IQ differences and other aspects of human biological diversity. Some seem content to just say “Hmm, interesting..” at the findings. Okay, but why not actually “do” something with this information?

yes, indeed. but then he quickly goes back to the white nationalist basic strategy: whites need to be more tribal, a race cooperation needs to be developed, otherwise those alien populations will take advantage of our superior traits and altruism.

the comic irony of white nationalism is simple: whiteness, as such, is defined through a deep refusal of clannishness and tribalism. what makes the “white parts of the town” so interesting to whites is, in fact, that it’s cosmopolitan, egalitarian, civic-minded and diverse. if whites were to become a consistent tribe, their superiority to all other peoples would instantly vanish (together with their already frail market economy and big cities).

hence, “the long view on race” that Rabbit takes is not at all long. it’s the common monkey shortsightedness: “we need a tribe to defend ourselves from those predator wolves!”. the LRx takes a longer view: what brought whites to be such an outstanding race is the very fact they have rejected race entirely, in other words: relentless outbreeding. we should focus on keeping that. i’ve already outlined a plan that deals with some of the specifics of such an undertaking.

is there any hope the Alt-Left is at least less imbecile than the Alt-Right?

against socialism

against socialism

It’s been sometime I have asked myself if it still makes any sense to say I am a “leftist”. One thing though, is sure: I deeply reject socialism.

All force society – by means of the products necessary to the formation of a society, viz. morality, tradition, authority, desire suppression, discipline, indoctrination, and everything else we can reasonably call oppression – is extremely repugnant to me. If there is a battle between social power and some individual, I will always side with the individual.

Hence my preference for exit options over voice concession, fragile and easily renewable (“liquid”) interactions over participation in rigid, predefined deliberative bodies, action at the outskirts of institutional politics over political representation, explicit contracts over custom-based expectations, and so forth.

If I can still say I am a “leftist”, which would be to say, if I still advocate some sort of equality, it is only insofar as I advocate for absolute equality of power among people (yes, this is difficult to realize, and it’s by no means even clear that it’s realistically feasible), that is, I advocate liberty in its radical form. Any other kind of equality, insofar as it depends on social force over the individual to be realized, I reject it.

As a mutualist, I certainly do not believe that social force itself could be abolished, since the very individual action already begets all kinds of association. I do believe indeed that without some obstinate opposition, the social body becomes totalitarian and suppresses entirely any ability to change (and hence adaptation). Hence the proudhonian horror to communism.

Thus, one question remains to be answered: can a non-socialist left exist?

paleo agorism

paleo agorism

what has paleo-agorism to offer to the lower classes? death. swift, merciful death.

the hunter gatherer band is a democracy of nobles, of fiercely selected men and women standing in actual, effective equality and freedom.

the first and easiest critique of neoreaction is simply “you haven’t gone far enough”. if it’s true as Land says, that reaction is never regressive enough and modernity is never advanced enough, what you get, at the point where circuit closes, at doom, is nomad cyborgs. a hunter-gatherer band formed by the most fiercely selected elements of technology.

of course, the Right can never admit that there was anything of value before civilization, because civilization is arguably the very moment the possibility of a Right was made available. barbaric and nomad peoples, with few exceptions, are not hierarchical. civilization is the point where the efficiency of anti-hierarchy (the only possible equality) went far enough for the sheer amount of humans in certain places to put selective pressure on groups that could organize settled production (moving became too expensive). war, kingdoms and domination followed suit. at heart, humans are leftist because they are naturally nomads. and leftism leads to the need of rightism.

a machinery of left-right (savage nomads vs civilized settlers) is a intelligence pump. leftist dominant periods see thriving peoples multiplying courses of actions (mutation), rightist dominant periods see selective pressures piling up on populations and the weeding out of the weakest (selection) (see Alexander’s post for more details). after every new turn, intelligence builds itself through global entropy and local extropy production.

looking forward to the future, to how this machinery plays out in the digital age, we can see two fundamental trends: Völkerwanderung and geopolitical fragmentation. as developed countries stability and governance suffers from migration from undeveloped nations (mutation), new and smaller political units compete for resources and market access, diverging in their policies of reception and integration (selection). in the third world, as neopopulist and socialist political projects fail, the following redesign of institutions may provide safer heavens for fleeing populations of Europe and North America. it might be a long shot indeed, but in a 100 years more or less, we may see a very different international scenery, with smaller political units, some thriving some dying, side by side. those thriving are certainly going to have a much more clear understanding of political reality than we do, and their systems are going to be much more pragmatic and realistic then ours.

most importantly, territorial based governance is going to be much less important in most places than it is today. migration between political units and the creation of exit options are likely to push for overlays of distributed governance, with “bitnations” spread all over the world, in close relationship with local governments and giving access to specific locations.

Paleo-agorism draws on this scenario: cyber-nomads hunting for experiences and shopping for societies in a free market of governments. distributed bands variously organized, living inside selection units and flowing as pressures change.

mutualism

mutualism

increasingly I feel that my position about things is really mutualism. even in a biological sense: I use what you can supply from yourself and vice-versa. not an abolition of divisions, as we are still all limited by the boundaries of organism. but a closed cybernetic loop, a heterogeneous homeostasis: the maintenance of the other for the maintenance of the self.

politically, it is a position that can be understood as a midterm (always a midterm, always in conflict, inconstant, inconsistent): between the consternated attitude of moderate Burkean conservatism, which recognizes that reality has hard, insurmountable limits and that nature’s complexity far exceeds human rational capacity (although it could be reasonably simplified by accumulated wisdom); and the optimist and confident attitude of liberal progressivism, which has a faith (faith really, a belief not (very) based on (almost) any evidence) in human ability of organization and rupture, in the Promethean capacity of capturing the fire of gods and putting it to humanity’s service, in the creativity and productivity of desire.

between “if nature sucks, change nature” in the good days, which can be easily translated to “watch powerless the indifferent and complex conflict of forces that unravels before you, without being able to escape the ability of apprehending it as moral significance” in the days faith fails. (the fresh innocence of the former and the bitter maturity of the latter only add to the validity of the concepts involved).

if mutualism can be summarized in a single sentence, it is: “It’s the clash of ideas that casts the light” (en). the recognition that conflict is inherent in all things; not only inevitable, but positively desirable. the greatest danger, for Proudhon, both of communism and the market, is that effectively everyone end up agreeing.

this is a derivation of morality from reality. an immoral morality, which is pruned and rebuilt by every new understanding of reality, leading to an ever greater complexification of Ethics in the most longest walk of existence. this is the essence of mutualism.

politically, it is an affirmation that there is only a Left as long as there is a Right, and that none of them can be abolished, only multiplied.

conserving the other to conserve oneself. and the other is only other as long as it is different and, therefore, fundamentally conflicting.