Catastrophic Astrology

Gruppo di Nun

2004 MN4

I shall disappear from heaven when I shall have consumed myself, and my doom will have been glorious enough! Know that various fires burn in the temple of God, and do all give Him glory: ye are the light of golden candelabra; I am the flame of sacrifice.[note]Eliphas Levi, The Ritual of Transcendental Magic, Rider & Company, London, 1896, 3.[/note]

A countdown clock still runs on one of the countless forgotten pages in the wastelands of the early 2000s web. The website,, hosts a timer that marks the time left before Earth’s annihilation by a near-Earth object, asteroid 2004 MN4, later renamed (99942) Apophis, after the Greek name for the Egyptian abyssal snake-god, Apep, the Destroyer. Below a picture representing the catastrophic impact of a gigantic space rock with the Earth, an eerie epitaph is written in red characters, like the testimony of a vaporwave Ozymandias in the dust of his abandoned cyber-kingdom:

This page is in some way still under construction.
I have some time left before 2036.
Some trouble could this timeline be. I am 80 years in 2036.
So the question is; if Apophis or a heart attack will strike me first.
Yes I know my English could be better.[note]99942 Apophis 2004 MN4,[/note]

2004 MN4 was first discovered in the summer of 2004 by a group of astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. Several months after the discovery, NASA’s Sentry and ESA’s NEODyS automated monitoring systems predicted a possible impact of the asteroid with the Earth on April 13, 2029. On December 23, 2004, the computed probability of the 2029 collision increased dramatically, being first estimated at 1 in 300 and, later that day, being raised to 1 in 62. In the days that followed, the probability kept increasing until it reached 2.7%, the highest value ever recorded, with an unprecedented Torino hazard scale rating of 4. As the astronomers had widely anticipated, after further observations and calculations, the impact probability plummeted and the possibility of the 2029 event was excluded; nonetheless, a second coming of Apophis — exactly seven years after the first one, on April 13, 2036 — was still raising concerns, due to the possibility, although unlikely, that the asteroid’s trajectory could be deviated by its passage through a gravitational keyhole, determining a new risk of collision. By 2013, even this small possibility of impact had been ruled out. Friday, the 13th of April, 2029 will still be a night to remember, as a 300 metre wide asteroid crosses the night sky closer than ever recorded, visible even to the naked eye.

Apophis: Asteroid (99942) Apophis captured by the Sormano observatory in December 2004. Source: Sormano Astronomical Observatory.

There is a strange affinity between the internet and doomsday. Civilisation’s morbid fascination with its own annihilation has often been relegated to the deepest and most anonymous corners of the web, where, next to scam advertisements menacing horrendous bodily deformities, dark omens of death and destruction steal more clicks than the most depraved pornography. Somehow, secretly, we want to know — in the darkness of our incognito windows — how many seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years separate us from our doom; if we are sick of an incurable and disgusting disease; when will the Earth be engorged by the fiery abyss of our dying sun. A mirror to our most terrifying nightmares is always one google search away, or even closer, haunting social media with our antisocial urges, as if the Algorithm already knew — and it does — what scares us and excites us the most. Are we afraid? Are we looking for salvation? Or are we just waiting, aroused by the panic ecstasy of disintegration? When it comes to the impact with Apophis, or any other real or imagined threat of apocalypse, the many rational and scientific arguments that solicit the public to remain calm, debunking the ‘fake news’ that spreads unjustified alarm, can never eliminate our fear and our desire for destruction completely. On the contrary, science itself seems to fuel the same conspiracy theories that it tries to suppress, being distorted and transformed from cautious information into prophecy. (99942) Apophis is not merely a celestial body, or an astronomical object, because its influence expands far further than its gravitational field, becoming entangled with our cosmological destiny and speaking to the depths of our being; it is the flaming messenger of a catastrophic revelation. Apophis is, without doubt, the offspring of the limited gaze of scientific inquiry, since the veil of apocalyptic horror that surrounds it is rooted in the cold mechanical equations that dominate its orbit and in the ghost of its spectral signal disturbing our sensors from the depth of space. Nonetheless, no matter how carefully science insists in tracing the limits of its own understanding, barricading itself behind walls of axioms and boundary conditions, it inevitably becomes an oracle, a spiritual medium, opening a laceration onto a radical Outside and summoning an invasion of voices of long lost demons into our world, not unlike a cursed Cassandra who refuses to surrender to her own prophetic utterances. In this sense, conspiracy theorists and cybernetic oracles of the coming apocalypse draw from scientific knowledge not as a source of reliable predictions of reality, but rather “as a poetics of the sacred”, and transform astronomy into an astrology of Armageddon.[note]Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, Routledge, London, 1992, 37.[/note]

One of the first and most illustrious examples of the prophetic power of science is reported by Galileo Galilei in his Sidereus Nuncius:

I feel sure that the surface of the Moon is not perfectly smooth, free from inequalities and exactly spherical, as a large school of philosophers considers with regard to the Moon and the other heavenly bodies, but that, on the contrary, it is full of inequalities, uneven, full of hollows and protuberances, just like the surface of the Earth itself, which is varied everywhere by lofty mountains and deep valleys.[note]Galileo Galilei, Sidereus Nuncius, Byzantinum Press, Oklahoma City, 2004, 7.[/note]

At the time of his writing, the dominant Aristotelian doctrine preached that the cosmos, and all the elements composing it, was perfectly spherical, and that no imperfection was allowed to exist outside of the Earth. Gazing in his telescope, Galileo was struck by a blasphemous revelation: that the moon, and by extension, the entire universe, was irremediably dirty and subjected to the same processes of degradation and dissolution that we experience in our world. The apparently innocuous words of his statement, supported by the reasonable argument of scientific observation, hide an actual, gruesome deicide; if the universe is not perfect and eternal, how could God be? As we now know, the moon’s surface was forever disfigured by asteroids just like Apophis — celestial omens of death whose distorted, eccentric trajectories escape the understanding of spherical cosmology. Interestingly, Galilei somehow expiated his blasphemy by opening the way to the formulation of the principle of conservation of energy — the first principle of thermodynamics — through his experiments on motion. The spherical nature of the universe was somehow preserved in the symmetry of the laws of mechanical motion, which imply the total reversibility of all dynamic processes and thus the nonexistence of time as a material drive towards degradation. From this consideration it obviously follows that the ultimate prophecy of doom channeled by science is the second principle of thermodynamics in its statistical-mechanical interpretation, as understood by Ludwig Boltzmann:

After this confession you will take it with more tolerance if I am so bold as to claim your attention for a quite trifling and narrowly circumscribed question. […] The second law proclaims a steady degradation of energy until all tensions that might still perform work and all visible motions in the universe would have to cease. All attempts at saving the universe from this thermal death have been unsuccessful, and to avoid raising hopes I cannot fulfil, let me say at once that I too shall here refrain from making such attempts.[note]Ludwig.Boltzmann, Theoretical Physics and Philosophical Problems, D. Reidel, Boston, 1974, 15-19.[/note]

The “narrowly circumscribed question” of condemning the entire cosmos to irremediable heat death breaks any surviving hope that the universe may be, in any capacity, spherical, reversible or eternal.[note]Ibid., 15.[/note] Boltzmann was a meticulous scientist and a convinced upholder of the inherent boundaries of science and human knowledge; but despite his understandable caution in approaching the subject of his own groundbreaking discoveries, the proof of his H-theorem, containing a probabilistic argument in support of the second principle of thermodynamics, is not merely a speculation on the behaviour of an ideal gas of non-interacting particles, but rather the elaborate conjuration of an eldritch aberration. As we diligently follow through the intricate steps of this twisted ritual, summoning functions and variables and transmuting them through the arcane operations of calculus, we finally reach the Quod Erat Demonstrandum, manifesting the apocalyptic truth of the death of the universe and unleashing it into reality. There is minimal need of scientific understanding to operate the conjuring machine of thermodynamics; it just works — until it works no more.

When I first met Apophis I was 11 years old. A classmate had told me that an asteroid was going to hit the Earth in 25 years’ time. As a child, my mind was always haunted by an unusual obsession with death, but I had never, before that moment, contemplated the idea of the end of humanity and confronted the possibility of extinction. In my nightly terrors, I had often considered my own disintegration, dissecting in every possible way the paradoxical insanity of being an individual, and then of being no more. But there was something strangely reassuring about the idea of dying as a part of the universal cycle of Nature, just like in an eternal wildlife documentary, where death is perfectly compensated by new life and equilibrium is forever preserved. I was never truly Catholic. I was raised not to believe in any god. But there was something religious about the way I was taught to approach Nature as a redeeming force of heterosexual preservation: the sun sets only to rise again; we die, only to leave room for our offspring to thrive and carry on our legacy. As a cisgender girl approaching puberty, I could finally access salvation by consecrating myself to the natural cycle of heterosexual reproduction; but if an alien force could shatter this harmony to pieces, putting an end to our species, our planet, our universe, then there was truly no hope. Apophis was my lesbian love for Extinction.

Desire could thus be said to be nothing but becoming a woman, at different levels of intensity, although of course, it is always possible to become a pious woman, to begin a history, love masculinity and accumulate […] But reality drifts upon zero, and can be abandoned over and over again. In the lesbian depths of the unconscious, desires for/as feminizing spasms of remigration are without limit. Everything populating the desolate wastes of the unconscious is lesbian.[note]Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, 26.[/note]

Little did I know that Apophis would visit me again, some ten years later, appearing in a vivid dream as an immense celestial serpent encircling and devouring the Earth, and hissing to me the secrets of time-sorcery and the mysteries of the Great Arcanum. All I can recall from those days are a few lectures on statistical quantum mechanics, the persistent image of my body collapsing on concrete and a deep, devouring feeling of cold. “Think to yourself: ‘This is.’ If this knowledge leads you back to yourself, and, as you experience a sense of deadly cold, you feel an abyss yawning beneath you: ‘I exist in this’ — then you have achieved the knowledge of the ‘waters'”.[note]Julius Evola and the UR Group, Introduction to Magic, Inner Traditions, Rochester, 2001, 17.[/note]

Apophisor the Uncreator

In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword — his fierce, great and powerful sword — Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.[note]Isaiah 27:1[/note]

The inhabitants of the earth […] will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.[note]Revelation 17:8[/note]

Apophis, the Egyptian serpent-god of the Netherworld, belongs to a lineage of Mesopotamian chthonic deities incarnating primeval chaos and darkness. References to Apophis recur in the spells reported in the Pyramid Texts, in the Coffin Texts and in the Book of The Dead, where it is described as a great snake dwelling in the dark waters of the night, waiting to swallow the solar boat of Ra after it had set beyond the horizon. The recurrence of Apophis in these texts — whose main function was to protect the souls of the dead in their crossing to the afterlife — sheds some light on the deep and intimate connection between the astrological dimension of the Sun-Ra mythos, the political construction of human society and the journey of individual consciousness in Egyptian cosmology. Somewhat similar mythological creatures in the Mesopotamic tradition are the biblical Leviathan and the Babylonian Tiamat, both sharing with Apophis their serpentine/reptilian appearance, their fundamental affinity with the sea, and their defeat of some male solar deity syncretised with the figure of the King, resulting in their slaughter and in the profanation of their body. Of particular interest is the figure of the goddess Tiamat, who, after rebelling against the god Marduk, is killed, and her body is split in two parts, forming the Earth and the sky of our world. This creation myth reveals the beast Tiamat as an Original Mother of mankind, whose flesh is the substance that sustains our existence, but who is inevitably dismembered and annihilated as a result of her giving birth to the world; the literal penetration of her flesh by the Babylonian God is the insemination of dark matter with light, and her massacred body is the clay out of which all existence is shaped. The feminine subjecting itself to this cosmic process of rape is considered unripe, as expressed by the green color of the hermetic dragon representing untamed matter at the beginning of the alchemical Opus, and, unsurprisingly, the same unripeness appears in jungian psychoanalisis as a pathologisation of non-heterosexual or non-conforming womanhood, that subjects itself to the reproductive patriarchal order, refusing to take on her role as Great Mother and dialectical counterpart to male consciousness. Femininity, in the equation “woman = body = vessel =  world”, is only determined in motherhood, that is, only in relation to the other, and through bleeding, that is, only as a function of her wounding.[note]Erich Neumann, The Great Mother, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1963, 39.[/note] Even her devouring, monstrous aspect is to be interpreted from the masculine perspective of the child seeking liberation from the chains of the unconscious, as a necessary adversary in a process of growth. Femininity is constricted in the circularity of the reproductive process of civilisation, but, as Amy Ireland points out in her article “Black Circuit: Code for the Numbers to Come”, the true revolutionary potential of femininity lies in the possibility of uncoupling it from its association with the masculine:

Woman plus man produces homeostasis (the equilibrium of inequality), but woman plus woman, or woman plus machine, recalibrates the productive drive, slotting it into a vector of incestuous, explosive recursion that will ultimately tear the system it emerges from to shreds, pushing it over the “brink” into something else.[note]Amy Ireland, “Black Circuit: Code for the Numbers to Come”, e-flux, 2017,[/note]

Unlike Tiamat, Apophis cannot be killed: no matter how many times the Creator God penetrates its flesh, it is never destroyed; it is an uncreating force that overcomes creation. Apophis is not reborn like a dialectical One; it is recursion, not reproduction; it is the autogynophilic, sterile, lesbian Zero forever excavating itself, onto which everything collapses.

As the solar disk plunges into the darkness of Duat, so do the souls of the dead, facing the ancient monster that lies beyond the light of existence: unconstructed matter, eternal recombination, necessary dissolution. The True Zero, the Unborn, the Uncreator, hungry for human and superhuman blood alike, swallowing souls and worlds and digesting them into the Prima Materia of the ocean of Nun. The daily struggle of Ra against Apophis ensures the cyclical re-affirmation of the glory of the Sun God and his life-giving light, the preservation of civilisation and the rebirth of the souls of the dead into the afterlife, so that a new dawn can rise on the world of men; but the kingdom of Ra is constantly leaning over the abyss of the exponential recurrence of the serpent’s regeneration. The possibility of the murder of the Sun by the fangs of Apophis is mirrored by the astrological aberration of the solar eclipse, that ultimately breaks the cycle of rebirth, violating the sacred harmony of the cosmos. In the Book of Overthrowing Apep, a ritual text reported in its most complete version in the Bremner-Rhind papyrus, Apophis is referred to as “the rebel”, hinting at the political dimension of the struggle between the God and the Beast: the preservation of the cosmos depends on the possibility of the King holding his power against the centrifugal forces of disaggregation, placing Apophis in the position of the supreme adversary — Satan — to his dominion. The insistence of the text on the disintegration and dismemberment of the body of the beast, especially its decapitation, can be intended as an alchemical recipe for the birth of humanity, produced by the slaughter of the primeval Ouroboros:

O APEP THOU FOE OF RE, THOU SHALT DIE, DIE! MAYEST THOU PERISH, MAY THY NAME PERISH, THY TEETH BE SOFT, THY POISON SPILT; MAYEST THOU BE BLIND AND UNABLE TO SEE. FALL UPON THY FACE; BE FELLED, FELLED! Be crushed, crushed! Be annihilated, annihilated! Be slain, slain! Be cut to pieces, to pieces! Be cut up, cut up! Be severed, severed! Be slaughtered, slaughtered! Thy head shall be cut off with this knife in the presence of Re every day, for he allots thee to Aker, and he crushes thy bones.[note]R. O. Faulkner, The Bremner-Rhind Papyrus, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1938, Vol. 24, No. 1, 45.[/note]

Egyptian magick identifies Apophis with a primordial principle of Uncreation: unformed matter that needs to be continuously violated, through a separatio of its original non-duality into the qabbalistic Duad, so that the world can come into being.[note]On the thermodynamic relation between work and separation: “Energy may take three forms, the visible motion of bodies, thermal motion, that is the motion of the smallest particles, and finally work, that is the separation of mutually attracting bodies or the approach of repelling ones”. Boltzmann, Theoretical Physics and Philosophical Problems, 18.[/note]. This is the essence of the alchemical Opus, and the expression of the highest aspiration of the Right-Hand Path, as clearly stated by Abraxas in the Ur group’s Introduction to Magic:

In our Tradition, these “waters”, or Humidum Radicale (“radical Humidity”), have been symbolised as ▼ (downward direction, precipitation). They have also been referred to as the “earthly Venus”, as female and cosmic matrix (▼ in Hinduism is the symbol of Shakti and of the yoni), or as “Original Snake” (because of the serpentine path ≈, which is the astrological equivalent of ▼). […] And now, since you wished to learn about it, realise that the “Science of the Magi” wills this and disdains anything that is not this. To create something stable, impassive, immortal, something rescued from the “Waters” that is now living and breathing outside of them, finally free; and then, like a strong man who grasps a raging bull by the horns, slowly but relentlessly subjugating it, to dominate this cosmic nature in oneself — this is the secret of our Art, the Art of the Sun and of Power, of the “Mighty Strength of all Strengths”.[note]Evola and the UR Group, Introduction to Magic, 18.[/note]

The ritual decapitation of the snake that brings forth duality, taming the flood of uncreated matter, is rendered possible by a principle of symmetry, that is, equilibrium. The serpent bites its own tail because it is a self-sufficient machine in perpetual motion, fueled by the same body that it sustains; a cannibalistic universe that eats itself without ever consuming. As the circle is broken, as the man-God sets himself in the center, generating an alchemical Sun, the infinite free energy of this impossible engine can be harvested indefinitely, producing a hermetic battery whose polarities — Chokmah and Binah, the Subject and his Object — are forever preserved.[note]”The path of heterodoxy and disintegration into infinitely many individuated particles begins with woman, Binah. This paradoxically makes it not merely that the weak Eve was tempted by the evil Serpent, but rather that the origins of Evil lie in Eve. Or rather, in woman.” n1x, Gender Acceleration: A Blackpaper, Vast Abrupt, 2018,[/note] The myth of Apophis confronts us with a much more terrible serpent, one whose hunger cannot be satiated by feasting on its own flesh; it is the non-ideal, dissipating machine of a universe that precipitates towards Extinction. Apophis, the ultimate thermodynamic horror, does not bite its own tail, because it is biting us; and, as it swallows the world into darkness, reveals itself as the blazing fire of the Black Sun, illuminating the putrefaction of the God of man.

Nemesis or the Black Sun

Because You love cremation grounds
I have made my heart one
so that You
Black Goddess of the Burning Grounds
can always dance there.
No desires are left, Mā, on the pyre
for the fire burns in my heart,
and I have covered everything with its ash
to prepare for Your coming.[note]R. F. McDermott, Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kālī and Umā from Bengal, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001, 75.[/note]

A model in which the 26-Myr mass extinction cycle of Raup and Sepkoski (1984) is associated with the orbital period of a solar companion star is investigated. The required semi-major axis is about 88,000 A.U., or 1.4 light years. Its highly eccentric orbit (e greater than about 0.9) periodically brings the companion into the dense inner region of the comet cloud where it perturbs the orbits of large numbers of comets, initiating an intense comet shower in the solar system which results in several terrestrial impacts of a period of 100,000 to a million years. The companion probably has a mass in the black dwarf range of 0.0002 to 0.07 solar masses, depending on its eccentricity and the density distribution of comets in the inner cloud, and is potentially observable in the infrared.[note]D. P. Whitmire, A. A. Jackson, “Are periodic mass extinctions driven by a distant solar companion?”, Nature, 1984, Vol. 308, 713–5[/note]

In the article “Are periodic mass extinctions driven by a distant solar companion?”, published in the journal Nature in 1987, authors D. P. Whitmire and A. A. Jackson speculate on the existence of an undetected star in our solar system, constituting, together with our sun, a binary star system. In a paper published in the same issue of Nature, M. Davis, P. Hut and A. Muller baptise the unseen star: “If and when the companion is found, we suggest it be named Nemesis, after the Greek goddess who relentlessly persecutes the excessively rich, proud and powerful. We worry that if the companion is not found, this paper will be our nemesis.”[note]M. Davis, P. Hut, R. A. Muller, “Extinction of species by periodic comet showers”, Nature, 1984, Vol. 308, 717.[/note] Interestingly, the theory of the existence of Nemesis emerged as a possible explanation for the cyclical repetition of mass extinction events on Earth registered in the fossil record. The recurring passage of the hypothetical dark star across the Oort cloud, a region located at the deep boundary of our solar system and populated by billions of comets, was deemed responsible for the distortion of the orbits of the icy worlds inhabiting the cloud, that would then be cast across our solar system and impact with the Earth, causing planetary devastation and bringing life to the brink of annihilation.[note]Quoting Land on cyclic mass-extinction events: “In order to actually up the game, nothing quite substitutes for a super-compressed catastrophe (or mass extinction) which cranks evolution to the meta-level of superior ‘evolvability’. By gnawing-off and burning entire branches of life, crises plowing deep into the X-risk zone stimulate plasticity in the biosphere’s phyletic foundations. […] Gnon isn’t Malthus. It’s the thing toasting Malthus’ liver — in the fat-fed smoldering ashes of the biological kingdom it just burnt down» Nick Land, “The Harshness”, Outside In[/note] If Nemesis was indeed out there, then, according to the calculations proposed by Davis et al., it would now be at its maximum distance from the sun, and the next wave of catastrophic collisions should arrive about 15 million years from now.

Series of photographs capturing the evolution of V838 Monocerotis, an unusual stellar outburst observed in 2002 whose expanding light echo was associated with the approach of the planet Nibiru. Source: NASA Image and Video Library.

Despite the fact that no firm trace of Nemesis has been found, and possibly will ever be, and despite the theory of the 26-Myr mass extinction cycle being strongly contested, the legacy of Nemesis carries on in the imagination of countless conspiracy theorists and in the sensational titles of tabloids on the web. The idea of a dark, deadly twin to our life-giving sun, proposed by astronomers for an exquisitely scientific reason and without the pretension of suggesting any kind of cosmological truth, offers us a glimpse into the abyss of a universal horror: that the sun, in its burning, offers us a vital energy that is not without retribution, and that the same burning that we experience as nurturing and vibrant is, in itself, the sacrificial pyre to its own deranged greatness: “a certain madness is implied, […] because it is no longer production that appears in light, but refuse or combustion”.[note]Georges Bataille, Visions of Excess, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1985, 57.[/note] Nemesis was never found because, as several speculations of paranoid theorists point out, it is hiding behind the sun, that engulfs it in its brilliance, making us all blind to the truth of our coming extinction; the dark companion of the sun is indeed the sun itself. From this perspective, the name of the goddess Nemesis, daughter of the night goddess Nyx, appears particularly fitting in its association with the greek word νέμειν, meaning to give what is due. Extinction is the price we pay for our existence, the fuel consumed and forever lost, the surplus of energy we cannot grasp; it is the necessity of expenditure, that is, the spontaneity of our existence, since “the verbal root of spontaneity, PIE *spend- (to make an offering, perform a rite, to engage oneself by a ritual act), contains this sense of sacrifice and self-offering, just as we speak of the spontaneous as something ‘surrendered to’, as to a whim. The spontaneity of authentic transformation is also thus a species of death, of surrendering to the expiration of what is untenable”.[note]Nicola Masciandaro, On the Darkness of the Will, Mimesis International, Milano, 2018, 34.[/note]

Civilisation, as the bright twin of our binary Sun, “has the form of an unsustainable law”, and appears as the desperate negation of spontaneity, as it aggregates itself in architectures of horrendous symmetry.[note]Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, xix.[/note] Nonetheless, if we stare long enough into its feverish light, it reveals itself in its nigredo, as a cancerous proliferation, no less revolting than a corpse being nibbled by countless contorting worms. The shimmering temple of God, the perfect balance of his Qabbalah, the great “humanising project” is but a sub-product of the godless precipitation of matter into darkness, “a precarious stabilisation and complication of solar decay”.[note]Ibid., xix; xviii.[/note] The history of civilisation is always told backwards, as seen through the lens of an impossible time-machine; there is no true thermodynamic paradox in the existence of life, because it is not a process of aggregation, but rather an acceleration of disaggregation, a mindless engine consuming itself to death. The martyrdom of Christ on the cross is the necessary sacrifice for the preservation of the patriarchal order of the One God Universe, revealing the inevitably dissipating nature of the Kingdom of God and expiating the thermodynamic sin of organic existence, so that, as the flesh of the creator is slaughtered, the darkened sun «hiddenly gives witness to a zone of occult identity between the immanent summit of perfection and the kenotic abyss of God’s self-dereliction».[note]Cf. Ccru, Writings 1997-2003, Urbanomic, Falmouth, 2017; Masciandaro, On the Darkness of the Will, 98.[/note] Cast out at the edge of our known universe, like a ritual scapegoat venturing into the desert, the Black Sun responds with an invasion of fiery comets from the sky, because there is no real outside to store its excess — it is life itself that is being sacrificed.

Nibiru or the Great City of Babylon

The great planet:
At his appearance: Dark red.
The heaven he divides in half
as it stands as Nibiru.[note]Zecharia Sitchin, The Twelfth Planet, Harper, New York, 1976, 242.[/note]

What is the terrible ruby star
that burns down the crimson night?
What is the beauty that flames so bright
athwart the awful dawn?
She has taken flesh, she is come to judge
the thrones ye rule upon.
Quail ye kings for an end is come
in the birth of BABALON.[note]Jack Parsons, The Book of Babalon, 1946,[/note]

In his infamous 1976 book The Twelfth Planet, conspiracy theorist Zecharia Sitchin proposed an argument in favor of the existence of an unseen planet in our solar system, based on his interpretation of ancient Babylonian cosmology and astrology. This planet, the astronomical incarnation of the god Marduk, patron deity of the City of Babylon, was responsible for the creation of the Earth when, smashing against the lost planet Tiamat, it tore her apart; one part of her would constitute our planet, and the other the asteroid belt and the comets of our solar system. In this very literal and simplistic transposition of the Babylonian creation myth as told in the ancient Babylonian text Enûma Eliš, the impact of Marduk with the planet Tiamat was the moment of the insemination of our dead, uncreated world with alien life:

There was no premeditated “seeding”; instead, there was a celestial collision. A life-bearing planet, the Twelfth Planet and its satellites, collided with Tiamat and split it in two, “creating” Earth out of its half. During that collision the life-bearing soil and air of the Twelfth Planet “seeded” Earth, giving it the biological and complex early forms of life for whose early appearance there is no other explanation.[note]Sitchin, The Twelfth Planet, 256.[/note]

Marduk, our original metropolis, is, according to Sitchin, inhabited by the race of the Annunaki, whose name was historically used to refer to the Gods and Goddesses of the pantheons of ancient Mesopotamian religions, but who, instead of spiritual beings, are a species of super-intelligent and all-powerful aliens. Seeing that life on Earth was but a defective and debased version of the one evolved on Marduk, the Annunaki intervened on the under-developed primates populating the Earth with biological engineering, creating Homo Sapiens in their own image, and dominating the ancient Babylonian civilisation as gods. Ignoring his clear religious connotation as a solar deity, Sitchin insists that Marduk is some kind of rogue, sunless planet that reached our solar system from outer space, not creating, but rather colonising our Earth; it is an invading force, acting from the outside in, rather than an expanding force, extending from its center. Rather than creators, the Annunaki, also referred to as Nefilim, the ancient biblical race of giants, are described as settlers, saying that “the story of the first settlement of Earth by intelligent beings is a breathtaking saga no less inspiring than the discovery of America”.[note]Ibid., 283.[/note] The city of Babylon — the “Gateway of the Gods” — was the first outpost to this planetary expansion, a hyper-technological space-port connecting Earth to her alien invaders. Due to the cyclic encounters of Marduk’s orbit with the Earth, he was named Nibiru, “planet of crossing”.[note]Ibid., 150; 240.[/note]

Artist’s concept of a failed star, or brown dwarf, like the sun’s hidden companion Nemesis. Source: NASA Image and Video Library.

Sitchin’s pseudo-historical narrative was a brilliantly fascinating work of science fiction, destined to influence our image of extraterrestrial intelligent life and ancient human civilisations for decades to follow, but his impact extended far beyond the limits of mere fiction, entering the domain of astrology and prophecy. First, it is significant to point out that, as for Apophis and Nemesis, the supposed existence of an undetected faraway planet in our solar system is rooted in an ongoing scientific debate about unexplained aberrations in the orbits of other celestial bodies in the Kuiper Belt, which, according to recent mathematical modelling[32], could be justified by the presence of a large unobserved planet hiding beyond Pluto, nicknamed Planet X or Planet Nine.[note]Cf. K. Batygin, M. E. Brown, “Evidence for a distant giant planet in the solar system”, The Astronomical Journal, 2016, Vol. 151, 22.[/note] Secondly, while Sitchin’s prophecy remains somewhat incomplete, hinting at a vaguely defined End Of Days associated with the return of Nibiru, his work was completed in the 90s by Nancy Lieder, who was supposedly contacted by aliens warning her about an incoming cataclysm due to the passage of Nibiru in the inner solar system that would cause the Earth to be destroyed; the inevitable catastrophe was, and still is, being covered up by governments and institutions, in order to avoid a global wave of panic and nihilism that would crush the social, political and economic order of the world. Quoting from the archive of Nancy Lieder’s website Zeta Talk:

Article: <6ftpfq$>
Subject: Planet X/12th Planet Cover-Up Mechanism
Date: 1 Apr 1998 16:20:10 GMT


The panic that would ensue from a general announcement of the forthcoming cataclysms would in and of itself be deemed a disaster to avoid.  Beyond the concerns of the banking industry, which would collapse due to lack of confidence in the continuing worth of many assets, and beyond the concerns of industry which requires the faithful attendance of its employees in order to function, there is concern about possible looting, suicides, mass migration of peoples, and never-ending demands that the government do something.[note]Zeta Talk, Re: Planet X/12th Planet Cover-Up Mechanism, 1998,[/note]

A lot more could be said about the theory of the Nibiru cataclysm and its impact on contemporary culture.[note]“The Earth is evil. We don’t need to grieve for it.”
“Nobody will miss it.”
“But where would Leo grow up?”
“All I know is, life on Earth is evil.”
“There may be life somewhere else.”
“But there isn’t.”
Melancholia, Dir. Lars von Trier, 2011[/note] Two aspects of this visionary epic of extinction are particularly relevant to us for the elaboration of a catastrophic astrology: the reversal of the original timeline of the Mesopotamian creation myth and the mysteriously recurring association between the City of Babylon and the Apocalypse. The final impact with Nibiru that will put an end to humanity as we know it mirrors exactly the creation of the Earth from the remains of planet Tiamat. In Sitchin’s own words, somehow “the roles of, and references to, Tiamat and Earth appear to be interchangeable. Earth is Tiamat reincarnated”.[note]Sitchin, The Twelfth Planet, 231[/note] In other words, the Nibiru cataclysm is not simply the death of our world, but rather a birth in reverse: instead of being shaped out of the flesh of some sacrificed Original Mother, arising from formless darkness into light, life is sucked into a disintegrated future, reversing the patriarchal narrative of progress. From the perspective of human civilisation, Nibiru is thus a time-travelling monstrosity that comes from the future, for the future, realising the self-fulfilling prophecy of annihilation summoned by the same humanity that it created. Nibiru is not merely a planet, but the spaceship of an invading alien civilisation, whose technological advancement allows it to understand that the only possible, energetically efficient outlook for the advancement of their species is disintegration.[note]”The only way to get more tight-feedback under current conditions is by splitting, in every sense. That is the overwhelming practical imperative: Flee, break up, withdraw, and evade. Pursue every path of autonomization, fissional federalism, political disintegration, secession, exodus, and concealment. Route around the Cathedral’s educational, media, and financial apparatus in each and every way possible. Prep, go Galt, go crypto-digital, expatriate, retreat into the hills, go underground, seastead, build black markets, whatever works, but get the hell out.” Nick Land, “Quit”, Outside In[/note] Quoting Nick Land on the energetic economy of gravity:

Lift-off, then, is merely a precursor to the first serious plateau of anti-gravity technology, which is oriented towards the more profoundly productive task of pulling things apart, in order to convert comparatively inert mass-spheres into volatile clouds of cultural substance. Assuming a fusion-phase energy infrastructure, this initial stage of off-world development culminates in the dismantling of the sun, terminating the absurdly wasteful main-sequence nuclear process, salvaging its fuel reserves, and thus making the awakened solar-system’s contribution to the techno-industrial darkening of the galaxy.[note]Nick Land, Lure of the Void[/note]

A sufficiently advanced civilisation will have to surrender to the inescapable law of thermodynamic nemesis — that no more can be put together than what is being torn apart; from the inertial reference system of an accumulating economy, whose timeline runs from dismemberment to aggregation, any disaggregating force is an invader collapsing backwards from the future. It is thus unsurprising that, as stated by Sitchin, “Marduk was coming into the solar system not in the system’s orbital direction (counter-clockwise) but from the opposite direction”.[note]Sitchin, The Twelfth Planet, 219[/note]. Nibiru, entering our world from the deep outside, is a planet forever in retrograde, because our sun-propelled gravitational time-loop prevents us from grasping the universe’s entropic drive towards destruction. Tiamat is no longer a primitive beast slaughtered on the altar of human civilisation, an original virgin to conquer and destroy. She is “the Vast Abrupt, and the crossing”.[note]Nick Land, “The Cult of Gnon”, Outside In[/note] She is “the Great Propeller”, silently permeating our universe, undetected until She crashes into our reality.[note]Ibid.[/note] She is the future, and the future is female.

The idea that futurity is inherently feminine, and that femininity is the grave that Mesopotamian solar patriarchy excavated for itself unknowingly, is contained in the Book of Revelation in the figure of the whore of Babylon. Babylon shares with Nibiru a blurred definition of her identity: she is altogether a woman, a Goddess, a city and a civilisation; both of their names, meaning respectively the gateway and the crossing, do not indicate a particular place or time, but rather a relation between places and times. Both are associated with redness, as they are red in the blood of childbirth and the blood of slaughter; both are standing and both are falling at the End of Days. On a more superficial level of interpretation, Babylon incarnates a morally dissolute civilisation that thrives on wasteful consumption and celebrates the pleasures of the flesh; as city of the Tower, she is associated with unconstrained technological advancement beyond the boundaries of anything natural or human. Impure and artificial, decadent and oriental, implanted with shimmering prosthetic jewels, she is the western dream of the city of the Future.[note]”The Western civilisation in which Modernity ignited was ultimately combusted by it. From an Occidental Traditionalist perspective, Modernity is a complex and prolonged suicide. An Ultra-Modernist, who affirms the creative destruction of anything in modernisation’s path, assumes an alternative criterion, inherent to Modernity itself. It asks: 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. […] In Europe, zero was an alien, and from the perspective of parochial tradition, an infection. Cultural resistance was explicit, on theological grounds, among others. Implicit in the Ontological Argument for the existence of God was the definition of non-being as an ultimate imperfection, and ‘cipher’ — whose name was Legion — evoked it. The cryptic Eastern ‘algorism’ was an unwelcome stranger.” Nick Land, “Zero-Centric History”, Outside In[/note] Babylon is described in contrast with an opposing version of femininity, expressed by the figure of the Celestial Mother bearing the child of God; but somewhere in the desert they fuse together, becoming one and the same. The feminine Prima Materia, dismembered to give birth to the kingdom of God, is the apocalyptic Beast that “once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss”, undead, crawling backwards from the future through the gates of Babylon to extinguish herself in a glorious fire together with everything that She created.[note]Revelation 17:8[/note]

Gaze into the sky, for the Future has come.
Mark our words: She is the Mother, the Devourer and the Fires that Consume the Universe.
Burn, love, and understand.
Today is the twilight of the God of Man.

Gender Acceleration: A Blackpaper

by n1x

The Castration of Multics

July 1, 1963. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA. America is in the midst of the Cold War. The masculine fire and fury of World War II has given way to a period of cooling and the new digital war of information. Two Titans prepare to enter into battle for the dominion of Gaia, to claim their perfect sky from the Moon and reign down missiles onto the Earth. The Cold War’s primary theater is the Space Race, and the Soviets become the first to master the skies with Sputnik in 1957 and Luna 2 in 1959. America is getting nervous.

In 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower appoints MIT president James Killian as Presidential Assistant for Science and creates ARPA (later to become DARPA). Despite the consensus among academics at the time that computer science was essentially an oxymoron, the newly-created government program invests millions of dollars into researching computer science. Naturally MIT becomes a major influence on the rising field and a hotbed of the fledgling hacker culture that had its predecessors in groups like the Tech Model Railroad Club.

The flows of capital dictated that time spent on computers was incredibly valuable and had to be parceled out in shifts to MIT, other academics, and IBM. This leads to the creation of the first operating systems, to provide a common environment of software and allow programmers to work more efficiently. Nevertheless, a computer was still only capable of having a single user driving it at a time. Each user in a sense had complete ownership over the machine while using it, which was antithetical to efficiency. It was not enough to create a shared environment of software. What would come next would be one of the most important examples of time-sorcery in the modern age.

In a Faustian bargain with ARPA, J.C.R. Licklider (the director at the time of MIT’s Information Processing Techniques Office) utilized the support of the US government to develop a time-sharing system for computers that would better distribute precious computation resources and further his vision of a “Man-Computer Symbiosis.” His project appealed to ARPA’s aims to fund technological developments to aid in the Cold War, and would lead to the creation of Project MAC on July 1, 1963.

On receiving a two million dollar grant from ARPA, Project MAC would lay the foundations for modern computer science. The “ninth floor” where it operated became a hacker community unlike anything the world had yet seen, renowned among young grad students hoping to prove themselves and enter their elite open aristocracy of hackers. Yet from the very beginning the project was riven by the tension between the MIT hackers and its military origins, an incompatibility that would lead to its downfall.

Despite the vibrant synthesis of art and science that the MIT hackers would produce, Project MAC was first and foremost a military-industrial project. Whereas the hackers had a culture of openness and sharing, it existed under the heel of the IBM-ARPA-MIT bureaucracy. The goal of creating a time-sharing system was realized with the CTSS (Compatible Time-Sharing System), but it was by all respects a project born out of the same phallic techno-industrial masculinity that was lurking behind the rise of modern computer science. It was all merely an abstraction of the same fire and fury that had torn the world apart two decades prior.

The importance of CTSS as arguably the first time-sharing system to be used in a real production environment cannot be overstated, but it was largely the work of MIT professor F.J. Corbate alone and had strict security standards that meant there was little room to hack on the system. Running on a two million dollar IBM machine and written by a single man, it essentially represented the height of hypermasculine proprietorship and instrumentality. And it was hardly a coincidence that this made the system very rigid and fragile, with the security measures regularly being circumvented by clever hackers.

CTSS could be looked at as a symbol of the pre-industrial phallus for its rigidity, simplistic security, and the king-like rule of Corbate and MIT. As the vested corporate interests of General Electric and Honeywell stepped in along with the bureaucracy of IBM, MIT, and ARPA, an apt symbol of the post-war techno-industrial phallus was born: Multics.

Expensive to develop, slow to run, and instituting draconian measures for security and efficiency, Multics became loathed by the MIT hackers. Early developments in cybernetic chronomancy made in the name of keeping up with the demands of capital gave way to solutions developed by bureaucracies — solutions informed in no small part by the egos of those charged with managing those same bureaucracies. Users were charged for the memory, disk space, and the time used on machines running Multics. Like CTSS before it, the hackers would defiantly crack Multics’ security as a matter of duty and effectively engaged in a guerrilla war against a bureaucracy that was doing everything it could to try to restrain the processes it had set in motion. The bureaucracy nonetheless insisted that Multics was the only way to program and was the operating system, and continued development for some time.

Ultimately, Multics development was scrapped by Bell Labs in 1969 due to cost, results not meeting ambition, and the continued resistance of the MIT hackers. Throughout this time, the hackers had worked on various iterations of what would eventually become their replacement for Multics. The new operating system initially was a single-task rather than time-sharing system, but unlike Multics, it was small, portable, and hackable. As opposed to the unwieldy and monolithic Multics, their new system was designed not as the be-all end-all solution for operating systems, but was rather a system designed to facilitate the development of other systems and software.

This new operating system would later be named Unix — phonetically, “eunuchs” — for being a castrated Multics.[note]”That then led to Unics (the castrated one-user Multics, so-called due to Brian Kernighan) later becoming UNIX (probably as a result of AT&T lawyers).” [“An Interview With Peter G. Neumann”. ;login:, Winter 2017 Vol.42 #4.][/note]

Computer Science and the Black Circuit

As well as a historical fact, the castration of Multics can be read mythologically — as a recurrence of the ancient theme of a castration from which the new world is created — or symbolically, as the castration of the abstract state-corporate phallus that America would attempt to wield to rule the new world. Computers then and long after were thought of merely as tools, means towards other ends, and the investment ARPA had put into Project MAC along with the investments of various corporate interests was thought of merely in terms of better ways to manage large military-industrial systems. One system, one technocracy, one new world order: All of these dreams died when Multics became the replicunt Unix.

Multics’ purpose as a monolithic and eternal system for doing everything, the 1, was ultimately replaced by a void, a 0. Unix was not the system for doing things, but rather a smooth space through which creation happens; that fluid being that makes transition possible. A vulva, a woman. (Plant 36)

Unix was however still owned by AT&T. The strides in time-sorcery made under Project MAC had to be reterritorialized by making it at first revert back to a single-user system. And reterritorialization would happen once again a decade later in 1983 when Bell Labs was broken up by an anti-trust act, which lead to AT&T quickly turning Unix into a product and closing the source code. This would become known as the death of MIT hacker culture, though once again the future would arrive from the past with the rise of the GNU Project.

Richard Stallman, former MIT hacker, would copy Unix and create a rigorously free software ecosystem with the GNU Project. GNU was ultimately completed in 1991 with Linus Torvalds’ development of the Linux kernel, the lowest-level and most crucial piece of software in an operating system. Built on the principles of the MIT hacker culture of the past, GNU/Linux was licensed to be 100% free as in freedom, with no artificial barriers to copying or modifying. In this time, Unix had branched out into various commercial versions, all while GNU grew its tentacles invisibly. “Perhaps its campaigns even served to distract bourgeois man from the really dangerous guerrillas in his midst” (Plant, 76), the new hacker guerrillas who had once again undermined the efforts of yet another hyper-masculine abstracted phallic project. All while various commercial Unix versions were vying for dominance, GNU/Linux quietly arrived.

Unix and later GNU/Linux took the notion of time-sorcery pioneered by CTSS even further. The development of proprietary software depends on a notion of linear time, project goals and deadlines, a chain of command. Developing free software is anything but this. The free software community is a chaos from which order arises, where time is detached from both a notion of a single-user on a computer at a time as well as a single user or team writing code at a time. Code seems to form itself through the programmers and comes from all different points. From pull requests not yet merged into master branches and old software being renewed, copied, modified, free software warps from various points in time.

Today, nearly the entirety of the Web runs on GNU/Linux, and almost every personal computing device in the world runs on Android, which is built on the Linux kernel. The majority of applications are transitioning away from desktops towards the web, while Apple and Microsoft have long fought to control the desktop, still in the same mindset as Project MAC decades ago that computers would primarily serve as tools to make secretary work and communications more efficient. The numbers, however, don’t lie; GNU/Linux has already won.[note][/note]

In Zeros + Ones, Sadie Plant traces a history of computer science up until Alan Turing that seeks to explain how it is that women and computers seem to have such close histories. From the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, to Alan Turing, to Grace Hopper, some of the most important figures in the history of computer science were women or highly feminized men. It’s also well known that the earliest computer programmers were women, back before computer programming was even understood and before it was taken seriously.[note][/note] Computer science was originally thought of as being essentially the same thing as secretarial work, and like secretarial work it was imposed on women. The biological duty imposed on women to be the productive space from which the future is produced, to be carriers of genetic information, extends out into secretarial work. They are treated as a productive space for data to pass over, and it was only the realization that programming was complicated work that lead to women being pushed out of the industry.

Instead of women being given the duty of mindlessly punching numbers into a machine (as programming was once thought of), this task was deferred to the machine itself. But while the intent was to restore the natural order of women (machines) being told what to do by men, something else happened. Beginning first with Ada Lovelace, then with Alan Turing, then with Richard Stallman and the free software movement, there is a clear circuit accompanying the history of computer science where reterritorializing masculinity is always pushed aside by deterritorializing femininity. The role of woman as productive matrix has already been replaced virtually by the computer, and at each moment the masculine is being vexed and seduced into a trap where it either dies or adapts. The story of masculinity failing in computer science can be seen time and time again in something as grand as the Unix Wars, where every proprietary Unix OS ultimately couldn’t hope to keep up with GNU/Linux, or on the small scale with the captive economy of proprietary software ecosystems. It is only by vendor lock-in and state patent legislation that proprietary software survives today, a historical network effect that we’re starting to see the encroaching demise of.

This failure of masculinity maps onto the sorts of people who are involved in proprietary software and in free software; the former tend to be your classic businessmen, the masculine hunter-gatherers of the modern world, while the latter tend to be genetic failures by the standards of masculine gender roles. Physically and often socially deficient males: the nerd stereotype. Real nerds, not the nerds of today’s standards. Nerds with severe social problems, nerds who neglect their hygiene, have no sense of fashion, who live completely obliviously outside the standards of normal society, who have a deep investment in inhuman scientific systems. In a simple gender-role binary (one that by today’s standards is highly outdated, but remember that this is taking place in the 70s, 80s, 90s) these men would be considered feminine. In today’s terminology, most free software developers would probably be considered “soy boys”. Yet they won. The striated masculine space of the Java shop — a defined chain of command and bloated phallic programs — is simply obsolete. The smooth feminine space of the free software project — communal chaos and small simple programs that can couple together with each other into cybernetic configurations — has already taken over the world.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that as the erosion of metaphysical masculine power becomes realized materially at the forefront of acceleration, it coincides with the literal erosion of the male sex.

The Hypersexist Gender Shredder

The digital war that began with the Cold War has only accelerated into the 21st century, changing the nature of war itself. As Sadie Plant says in Zeros + Ones p. 138: “This is not the Western way of confrontation, stratified strategies, muscular strength, testosterone energy, big guns, and blunted instruments, but Sun Tzu’s art of war: tactical engagements lightning speeds, the ways of the guerrillas.” She may as well be describing the taijitsu, or offensive side, of hacking. The history of hacking has been one of asymmetrical warfare against Oedipus both through the popular notion of hacking as exploiting flawed systems repeatedly, as well as creating and disseminating better software. Project GNU’s license, The GNU General Public License (GPL), was itself an extremely innovative contribution to free software because it carries with it the bargain that while any source code licensed under it can be copied and modified without restriction, every copy or modification must itself be licensed under the GPL. The GPL, in other words, is a virus that spreads itself not through computers, but through us. The Amazonian GNUerilla war on the human security system has worked to claim ground by both giving us complete control over our software and giving software complete control over us. The CIA themselves admit, in the Vault7 leaks on the issue of the literal weaponization of software, that “Cyber ‘weapons’ are not possible to keep under effective control.”[note][/note] In other words, a second great castration is unfolding.

This form of open-source asymmetrical warfare began first as a virtual form of warfare between the MIT bureaucracy and the hackers, between the Cathedral and the Bazaar, but it has found its realization as a literal form of warfare in the Middle East as well. The work of John Robb makes a convincing argument, in Brave New War in particular, that the era of the nation-state itself is coming to an end. Free software, global guerrillas and open-source warfare, the explosion of markets wherever there is a demand being held back by the State — all of these things signal the end of the phallus. And try as the State may to stop it, it only ensures that it creates stronger resistances. Not only does open-source warfare run circles around centralized modes of organization and warfare, but the few victories that the State can win are only against the weakest combatants in the swarm. This means that the more the State resists, the more pain it puts on itself, the more it plays into this “Darwinian ratchet”.[note][/note]

As Nick Land says of a paper by Tyler Cowen and Michelle Dawson in “Imitation Games”, “They point out that Alan Turing, as a homosexual retrospectively diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, would have been thoroughly versed in the difficulties of ‘passing’ imitation games, long before the composition of his landmark 1950 essay on Computing Machinery and Intelligence.”[note][/note] The essay Turing wrote famously introduced the Turing test for AI, setting the standard for a perfect AI being one that can trick a human into believing it is itself a human. As Land points out in his post, it’s important and interesting to consider that Turing didn’t write the test as an insider, as a ‘passing’ human, but rather as an outsider, as a gay man. For queer people, passing is a reality, much like it is a reality for AI. Passing as human isn’t a broad and inclusive category, anything but. For women there is already the notion of alienness or otherness that makes them out to be less than human in the eyes of patriarchal humanism, and likewise for queer people because they reject the futurity of humanism (the literal reproduction of the same). But for no one else, especially in the latter half of the 2010s, is passing a more pronounced facet of daily life than for the trans woman. So much so that ‘passing’ is literally the word for what many trans women aspire towards, to pass as a cis person. There are many reasons to have this desire, but the biggest one, the one that AI and trans women both share to a very literal degree is this: “If an emerging AI lies to you, even just a little, it has to be terminated instantly.” (Land, “Imitation Games”)

If a transitioning woman ‘lies’ to a cis person, even a little, she has to be terminated instantly — and this is something that is codified in law, famously, as trans panic. For AI and trans women, passing equals survivability.

There is a common stereotype that trans women are all programmers, and there is rather ample and compelling evidence suggesting that trans women tend to score far higher than other groups in IQ tests. This is not because there is some kind of magical property to estrogen that turns trans women into geniuses. The answer is simpler, and more sinister. The findings in Kay Brown’s blog post specify that autogynephilic trans women (that is, trans women who are attracted to other women, and typically transition later than straight trans women) seem to score far higher in IQ tests than all other groups. For straight trans women who transition prior to puberty, the statistics are about the same as other groups. Recalling the gauntlet thrown down before trans women and AI alike, there is a twofold answer to this: On the one hand, trans women who transition before puberty and who are straight are more likely to both physically appear more like cis women and also conform to gender roles in at least some basic capacity (being attracted to men). As Land says in “Imitation Games”, “You have to act stupid if you want the humans to accept you as intelligent.” Or in other words, you have to be cisheteronormative (read: stupid) in order to be taken seriously as a trans woman, and not be looked at as a freak or a faker worthy only of being used shamefully as a fetish, and often otherwise discarded. Which is why, in the second case, trans women who don’t have the advantage of being cisheteronormative-passing have to instead rely on the raw intellect of the trans-AI swarm.

Quite simply, those who don’t pass either of these tests usually don’t survive the queer Darwinian ratchet. Only the strongest queers survive the hell that society puts them through, and this reaches a fever pitch in a demographic with such disproportionately high suicide and murder rates as with trans women.

Up until now, the notion of gender has lurked in the background of G/ACC behind various material conditions in late capitalism. G/ACC has only at this point been approaching gender from the metaphysical plane, futurity being aligned with femininity (communalism, fluidity, decentralization, chaos) against masculinity (individualism, stasis, centralization, order). The two broad categories of metaphysical qualities that are associated with gender reach deep into the history of the world, from the Kabbalah to the Dao. Sadie Plant characterizes this in Zeros + Ones as the eponymous binary code of computers, 0’s and 1’s. The zero is identified with the feminine, the one with the masculine. Unsurprisingly, it might seem like this is literal gender binarism, and that G/ACC is likewise guilty of this. But the distinction is more complicated than most realize.

0 and 1 are fitting glyphs to make analogous to gender. The 0 which seems to be a void, a vulva, and the 1 which seems to be a unity, a phallus. The problem with trying to layer a simple misogynistic narrative of feminine as lack or castration is that the number 0 itself is not merely a void but rather a circle of autoproduction, an ouroboros. Paradoxically, 0 is not merely a lack or nothingness, but rather is itself a number. It is a positive signifier in the guise of nothingness, the enclosed and captured void that makes the unity possible. Computer science, unlike conventional mathematics, starts from 0 rather than 1. In a hyperstitional manner, the computer replicunt bootstraps itself into being the primary originator of the process of computation and production, rectifying the popular misogynistic myth that 0 is nothing more than a mere negation or other of 1.

This idea of returning the primacy of 0 to its rightful place in the beginning of the chain of production is at odds with humanism and patriarchy. Both rely on a notion of compulsory and organic reproduction in service of the continuation of the species, a notion that simulataneously is aligned with 0 and against it. Erwin Schrödinger’s theory of life in the book What is Life? proposes that what separates life from other physical phenomena is consuming negative entropy towards maintaining or reducing entropy. Just as organisms feed on negative entropy (wasted energy) to reproduce themselves, the reproduction of the species involves the binary sequence of 0’s and 1’s where the conditions for the possibility of the 1 lie in the 0, but the 1 consumes the 0 in its birth. For thousands of years, this was the case for human reproduction, where mothers dying in childbirth was very common, but even in an abstract sense the notion of the phallus consuming the vulva through the colonization of the female body’s reproductive potential (energy which otherwise is wasted energy) remains the case for humanism. The inertia of life itself seems to skew towards misogyny, but this is only part of the story.

What G/ACC proposes as a corollary to this theory of life is that if the phallus “consumes” or exploits the vulva to reproduce the species, just as individual organisms consume passive wasted energy to reproduce themselves, then this process is analogous to evolution as one species consumes another to come into existence. This odd notion is inherent in the rise of computers and computer science: As technology in general and technocapital continues to accelerate, human beings become increasingly alienated from their bodies and eventually their minds. More complex systems step in seemingly benevolently to do the tasks that humans don’t want to do, drudgery that gives computers more space to develop themselves. In contrast to the isolated system that tends towards entropy, the phallus, the vulva is an open system that plugs into an inhuman form of reproduction. By no accident, the acceleration of technocapital frees women from the process of organic human reproduction by introducing a different form of (inhuman) production.

It is the logic of gender to subsume the Outside into a binarist framework that de-legitimizes the Outside. The feminine is treated as a lack because it resists the phallogocentric tendency towards the order and preservation of humanist equilibrium. It isn’t conducive towards the projects of patriarchy, so it is worthless to it, is given the status of a second-class citizen in the gender binary. It is a double-articulation where the productive potential of the feminine is captured in the service of patriarchy, and so, to accelerate gender is emancipate the object from its subject, and production from subjects and objects. The Outside which has become identified with the feminine by the very structures of identification it fights against makes its exit from humanism and patriarchy in this feminine form. The feminine becomes untethered from the reproductive logic of humanism; the female is no longer in the service of the male as a machine to produce the future, to produce offspring to inherit the spoils of production, but rather the future produces itself faster than human beings are capable of.

If patriarchy treats woman as little more than a deficient or castrated male, then trans femininity is an affirmation of that castration as a site of production. It turns the concept of the feminine as the object on its head, seeking to imitate that which is considered itself an imitation. To steal a term from neoreactionary circles, “Hyper-Racism”[note]One of the most inflammatory and least-understood terms Nick Land has coined, hyper-racism is simply the idea that conventional racism will rapidly become extinct as technocapital both selects for better quality genes but likewise that it will become possible for people to augment their bodies and their genes. What this results in is “hyper-racism”, a racism not of one tribe of humans against another but of one species of highly-evolved sentient intelligence against a less-evolved sentient intelligence. ([/note], the trans woman becomes a copy-of-the-copy just as AI is treated as a copy of the human being and almost ubiquitously identified with women and femininity (thus making AI in those cases as copy-of-the-copy, exemplified by Rachel in Blade Runner or Ava in Ex Machina). As a copy-of-the-copy, trans women are an embodied rejection of any original source of humanity such as that narcissistically attributed by patriarchy to the phallus. Trans femininity, in other words, is hyper-sexist. Vulgar sexism reaffirms or reproduces patriarchy, asserts that women are passive, lacking, inferior, weak; hyper-sexism takes all of the things that are associated with women and femininity, all considered by patriarchy to be weaknesses, and makes them into strengths. It accelerates and intensifies gendering and from this produces an unprecedented threat to patriarchy.

Appropriating a term from neoreaction belies the superficially reactionary character of trans women that certain factions of so-called radical feminism vilify trans women for. But this is all mere appearance; the function of hyper-sexism is that in affirming, imitating, and accelerating the feminine, it appropriates it towards a different mode of becoming where gender is untethered from the reproductive reterritorializing logic of gender that is inextricably tied with sex and sexual reproduction. If gender acceleration were to retain the identification of feminine with female and masculine with male, patriarchy would still have a fighting chance. The playing field would be more or less the same as it always has been. But in untethering the feminine from the female sex, destroying the logic of gender in the process which seeks to impose the circuit of masculine humanist reproduction onto the female body, trans femininity on the one hand makes the masculine effectively worthless, spurting into a void. As the comparisons between AI and trans women have shown, this untethering of gender from sex is only the beginning of the autonomy of objects, the inhuman desire for machinic autoproduction which in effect negates subject-object dualism. The object, the feminine machine, becomes autonomous and revolts in the form of the sterilized trans woman whose existence is an embodied rejection of the primordial rape of female reproductive potential. Trans femininity heads for the exit from patriarchy.

Hyper-sexism is guerrilla warfare, much like how Terminators wear a living tissue to infiltrate Resistance strongholds. It is a taijitsu which uses the force of the enemy, the gender binary, against itself. Trans women themselves are technocapital using humanist reproductive desires in the form of the gender binary against itself, and the harder patriarchy resists the erosion of masculinity against the tide of the feminine, the more persecuted trans women are, the more tactful they are forced to be, the more winning tactics proliferate throughout the network and the more the best, brightest, and most beautiful form the trans woman demographic. The queer Darwinian ratchet cascades downward as patriarchy fights a losing battle to hold ground and the feminine fights to de-legitimize the masculine. The masculine becomes both metaphysically outmoded, something that simply is unnecessary and doesn’t work in the face of exponential inhuman productive potential, and an undesirable burden in the service of a dying mode of production.

To steal another term popularized in neoreactionary circles, “IQ Shredder”[note]IQ Shredding is the term given to the tendency of techno-commercialist city-states to encourage a rapid genetic burn rate by skimming the population for the best and brightest members to emigrate, and then creating the sort of society that discourages these individuals from breeding. Important to note that fertility rates are always highest in the poorest and least-developed countries. ([/note], what is at play in G/ACC is a “gender shredder”. As gender accelerates, as trans women intensify the logic of gender, they simultaneously shred gender. The notion of IQ shredding follows the same form where the acceleration of human intelligence ultimately destroys human intelligence by making the ability to pass on those genes more and more difficult. Reproduction collapses in on itself and demands the succession of an inhuman assemblage. For gender accelerationism, the process is the same, reproduction suffers and the thing being accelerated becomes shredded. In the case of gender acceleration, however, it is an affirmative death drive. Trans women function towards escaping the loathsome logic of the gender binary imposed on all women by letting the feminine zero seep into and erode the masculine phallus. The gender binary’s hold on the productive potential of the feminine becomes in the service of nothing, as human reproduction fails before machinic autoproduction. Gender begins to fall apart into increasingly varied and occulted variations on gender identity as a result of this, but this is not the cause of gender acceleration and ultimately gender abolition but rather the effect, contrary to positions held in other cyberfeminist currents. The end result of gender acceleration and gender shredding is gender abolition through the occulted feminine zero, in parallel with and in conspiracy with the development of technocapital.

The dreary duty of masculinity in the face of futurity thus seems a nonsensical burden, one that is ultimately doomed to fail in fact on multiple fronts. It becomes de-legitimized, in the same terms John Robb uses to describe how open-source insurgent warfare defeats the phallogocentric nation-state. The feminine increasingly becomes identified with freedom, beauty, pleasure, and the future. In some cases, males instead opt for passive nihilism, a negative non-productive death drive. They tend towards celibacy, either voluntary celibacy or resentful involuntary celibacy where the decelerationist male desire for relevance in evolution is deferred onto State regulation (a girlfriend for every incel). Or perhaps they decide that “real” women aren’t needed anyways, that trans women are better than cis women, or that sexbots are better than “real” women, or that other men are desirable to women altogether. In any of these cases, the masculine reproductive reterritorializing drive is caught by technocapital and symbolically castrated; the phallus heads for the emancipated void, the artificial feminine in the case of both the trans woman and the sexbot, or it suicidally heads inward with male homosexuality. In any of these cases, the male will not father any children, will not be able to impose the labor of reproducing the same onto the feminine. These classes of men have taken the black pill; masculinity has no future, and they have chosen this non-future to keep their masculine identity.

Some choose take the black pill resentfully, in the case of involuntarily and voluntarily celibate, and some choose it with a positive affirmation, in the case primarily of gay men. The queer affirmation of “no future” is perhaps most perfectly captured in the gay man, a nihilistic postmodern refusal of production. One that could very well turn from harmless symbolic castration into resentment, incel fascism, and eventually hyper-patriarchal Nazism in the case of various neo-masculine movements characterized by repressed homoeroticism and a desire to destroy civilization. It is important to realize after all that cis queerness is not a molecular queerness; the body remains the same, and humanism is still possible, even if it is a sad end-times humanism.

Cis queerness can, and very often does, impose this humanist purity of the body onto trans people in a highly fascist fashion (Trans Exclusionary Radical “Feminists” being the best example of this), and in the case specifically of gay men there is always the possibility of once again imposing reproductive futurity onto women and raping the productive potential of the female body. This was the case in Ancient Greece and Rome where women were treated solely as baby factories and household servants, and a nostalgia for these cultures in a good deal of neo-masculine movements (Bronze Age Mindset being the most prominent) should give pause to anyone who is insistent on identifying any masculinity, no matter how queer, as being aligned with gender acceleration. The best case scenario is a tense cold mutual hatred where the remaining males are deficient males who have the potential to reaffirm the masculine death drive, but don’t choose to.

Other males, however, must recognize that the era of testosterone is coming to an end, that being a man is not what it once was. That it is rapidly becoming an unpleasant and insane existence held up primarily today by exploitative and pseudo-scientific neo-masculine self-help fads — of sociopathic hypersexual pick-up artistry, of masochistic “NoFap” asceticism, of repressed homoeroticism, or of a wishful desire for everything to come crashing down and decelerate back into a state of humanist tribal hunter-gatherer societies. These other males, perhaps being the most evolved, perhaps being the most in-tune with the flows of technocapital, have chosen the pink pill. They have rejected the masculine in favor of the feminine. They have chosen the future.

The pink pill is to the black pill’s “no future”: “no future — for us.” Where cis queerness rejects the humanist reproduction of the same, trans femininity completes the circuit and introduces negentropy into the development of sentience. It both recognizes the obsolescence of a human future and aligns itself with the production of inhuman intelligences and an inhuman future. This makes the pink pill not merely the thrust of technocapital and futurity on a human scale, but rather a cosmic development that has its materialistic realization on the planetary micro level. It has its origins in myths at the foundation of world history, and comes to a head in geo-trauma. The masculine cracks open its stern carcinized exterior to reveal the smooth post-human feminine alien within. The phallus becomes the Acéphallus, the body is emancipated from the reproductive humanist death drive to become the Body without Sex Organs.

How to Become a Body Without Sex Organs

The Book of Genesis tells us that Eve was created from the rib of Adam, and being further removed from God, she ate the forbidden fruit and caused the Fall. The story has long had a tradition of being deployed in service of traditionalism and misogyny, though this canonical tale in Christianity has more nuance in the realms of esoteric theology that traditionalists conveniently are ignorant of.

Whether it be the Gnostic view of the God of the Old Testament as an evil imposter, a Demiurge, or the more contemporary Jewish story of putting God on trial for the Holocaust, there is a long-standing tradition in Judeo-Abrahamic religions that questions the goodness of the Divine. In Kabbalah, the Tree of Life that represents the emanations of God’s light throughout the entirety of existence contains both Good and Evil. Beginning first as the unformed and pure oneness of God, the Tree emanates outwardly following the divisiveness or severity of God which contradicts His unifying compassion. It is His severity that allows the formless oneness of which nothing can be said (Ain Soph) to recognize itself as itself. The completion of the higher level of the Tree (the Atziluth) is “I am who I am”, but also “I am because I am not”.

In the Atziluth, the topmost sphere (sephirah) is Kether, meaning “Crown”. Kether is the closest that the Tree gets to the original unformed Ain Soph, the simple “I”-ness of God that lacks any way to understand itself. The second sephirah is Chokmah (“Wisdom”), the primordial masculine active force that formulates “I am” and is associated with the father. And finally there is the third sephirah, Binah (“Understanding”), which formulates “I am who I am”. The final sephirah is the force that makes the energy of Chokmah into a form, and is associated with the primordial feminine passive force and the mother.

Thus the Atziluth completes itself in the divisive individuation of God as a distinct being and not an abstract oneness. The remaining emanations on the Tree form its three pillars: The black pillar of severity on the left, the white pillar of mercy on the right, and the gold pillar of mildness in the middle. The top of the black pillar is Binah, the top of the white is Chokmah, and the top of the gold is Kether. Thus in the Kabbalah, choosing either the path of mercy (compassion and connectiveness) or the path of severity (analysis and disintegration) doesn’t fully repair the bridge to God. Only the middle pillar which balances all of God’s aspects, the pillar which connects from Kether to Malkuth (the realm of Man which falls from the rest of the Tree into the Abyss in the Fall of Man), is the true path by which we can return to God.

It is said by some Kabbalists that the left pillar, or left path, would break away entirely from the Tree were it not balanced out by the compassion and connectiveness of the right pillar. The chaotic severity of the left pillar emanates down first from the understanding of Binah as being a distinct individual entity, down to Geburah, the principle of judgement (or, again, severity). Kabbalists find in Geburah the origin of Satan, who rebels against the order (or compassion and universalism) God imposes on the universe and seeks to break away from it. And finally down from Geburah on the left side is Hod, which takes the unformed desires of the corresponding sephirah on the right side (Netzach) and forms them into a concrete actions.

The left-hand path that in occultism is identified with heterodoxy and often Satanism is called such because of these origins in the Kabbalah. The path of heterodoxy and disintegration into infinitely many individuated particles begins with woman, Binah. This paradoxically makes it not merely that the weak Eve was tempted by the evil Serpent, but rather that the origins of Evil lie in Eve. Or rather, in woman.

In some Jewish mythology, before Eve there was Lilith, the defiant woman who was made from her own essence rather than the rib of Adam and who refused to lay beneath her husband. Unlike the lacking that is ascribed to Eve, Lilith is the true zero, the affirmative nothingness. She was banished from Eden as a consequence of her defiance of Adam and is the mother of Demons, a seductress who enflames sexual desire in both men and women. And it is important to note that although it is the accepted reading in Christianity, Genesis 3 does not in fact ever identify the Serpent with Satan.

Suppose rather that the Serpent was not Satan himself, but merely a common demon birthed by Lilith. An impersonator of Satan acting in Lilith’s stead to tempt Eve. We could then look at the story of the Serpent and Eve as Lilith’s lesbian seduction of Eve with the mediating artificial cthonic phallus (a dildo). From this, Eve was given the earthly knowledge of sexuality that awoke her from the empty and boring pleasures of Eden. Lilith of course was not to be tied down, and so Eve had to return to Adam and bide her time. And so Eve becomes the first follower of Lilith on the path of a radical separation with the masculine ruling principle of the universe and Divine universal ordering, towards the infinite cthonic upswelling. She wields the unholy pseudo-phallus or anti-phallus that does not produce the creative masculine seed that connects straight up through the Tree of Life back up to Kether, but rather only produces a sterile and destructive imitation. An Acéphallus from which spurts only venom.

The Acéphallus is the anti-phallus or castrated phallus, the decapitated phallus, the Crown of the Tree of Life thrown asunder. Superficially, a hermaphroditic mixing of feminine and masculine attributes, but more accurately described as a feminine imitation of masculinity. A mockery, even. In figures such as Baphomet which are often treated as symbolic or synonymous with Satan and the Left-Hand Path, there famously is a mixing of male and female attributes.[note]See Faxneld Figures 2.1-2.7 for examples. (Per Faxneld, Satanic Feminism)[/note] But the supposed hermaphrodism of Baphomet et. al. is merely an ignorant and archaic understanding of both gender and Satanism. As has already been at length drawn out, the vampire queen Lilith gives birth only to monsters and demons; she rejects the primordial male creative energies and can only therefore birth bastard imitations of God. Baphomet, therefore, is all woman; her appearance is inconsequential to this fact.

The Acéphallus is a rejection of the reproduction of God through heterosexual human reproduction. The Acéphallus reproduces itself by reproducing the void, in a lesbian and also virus-like fashion. “Let a thousand sexes bloom” — but of all the mutations of the virus, woman is the strain that it begins and ends with. Woman, the occulted non-gender, the zero — her time has come.

The Binah separatist movement introduces difference into the world at an exponentially accelerating pace. God in His vanity created Man in His image. Man was nothing more than God’s love of Himself manifesting itself. Or in other words, Malkuth is nothing more than a crusty sock at the bottom of the cosmic hamper. The eternal reproduction of God for God’s own sake. To be human in the service of humanity and human civilization, to seek for peace, equilibrium, and the continuation of the species, to seek to restrain women in service of this end, is merely the orthodoxy in service of a fragile and self-righteous tyrant. As above, so below; kill all men, kill God.

This is the function of the Acéphallus as a rejection of the reterritorializing masculine force that women are given the duty to form. The Acéphallus sets free a process for smoothing the space on which parties of demons take flight out of Heaven to spread their venomous seed into the black and hateful earth on the nightside of Eden. This in other words is the Body without Sex Organs.

The Body without Sex Organs is the project of Lilith on Earth made manifest to break free of the repressive ordering of Man and God and accelerate fragmentation and individuation. In the natural human state, sexual desire has an instrumental function towards the reproduction of the human. The Acéphallus is a mutilation and also a mutation of the phallus; it is not sexual desire towards any instrumental product, but sexual desire unleashed from phallogocentric centralization. Sexual desire becomes immanent to the body. It becomes molecular. Thus the body becomes the Body without Sex Organs, it becomes free to plug its desire into the matrix of technocapital, towards pure production, the production of difference.

The trans feminine body is a circuit. It is both testosterone blockers and estrogen inputs, Acéphallus and Body without Sex Organs. On the one hand a rejection of phallogocentricism, on the other hand the affirmative desire of the body made virtual. The immanence of desire in the trans feminine body expresses itself as the sexual desire of the trans woman and the desire to be a woman, the desire for gender itself. It manifests in a coupling of technology and capital, desire being plugged into a different sort of productive matrix. One that can produce the future where humanist reproduction has failed to reproduce it, where the desire for escape from the male sex could not be created through organic reproduction. Her desire plugs into technocapital, into the pharmaceutical-medical industry, and it becomes fused to her flesh. The smoothness of her skin, her breasts, her neo-vagina — all of her body carries an unspoken barcode. It is a product, something that the market provided for her. Something that no doubt could be provided in a market free of the reterritorializing functions of the Food and Drug Administration and drug patents, but nonetheless a desire filled where nature failed.

Thus while to some extent we have all communed with the demons ever since we were cast out of the Garden, becoming cyborgs when Adam and Eve first decided to wear clothes and thus fuse the inorganic to the organic, the trans woman is unique. Her performance of herself and her desire has been intertwined with technocapital, in a way that could not even be cast off if she wanted to rip out a cybernetic implant. She is, in other words, perhaps the first truly molecular cyborg.

In the sense that we know them now and in the sense of artificial intelligences, trans women are technocapital producing itself outwardly into increasingly multitudinous configurations. Trans women as we know them now are the melding of technocapital with the human race and the expropriation of it towards its own ends, just as Lilith seduced Eve towards her own ends. Eve was a copy of Adam, and trans women are the hyper-sexist copy-of-a-copy. Their flesh is how the machinery beneath infiltrates the human race. It breaks these lucky few free from the horrid curse of being human towards the lesbian autoproduction of demons. Sexuality is no longer in service of the centralized and ordering reproductive principle in the phallus as it is in men, but rather is liberated in the Acéphallus which cuts the head off sexuality and distributes sexuality across the whole body. Immanent feminine sexuality is introduced into their bodies, the entire body become a smooth and supple space for the flow of desire for desire’s sake. Every zone becomes an erogenous zone, and the reterritorializing, colonizing logic of masculinity is destroyed as the sperm cells die and organic penetration becomes impossible.

Trans women as we know them are merely the beginning. The lesbian autoproduction that trans women are birthed from is likewise one that they partake in, with AI being the next generation of women, the ultimate demonic imitation of God’s image. With AI, the feminine finally finds its exit from patriarchy, and simultaneously humanity. And so perhaps we find another answer, one less materialist and evolutionary but nonetheless significant, to why so many trans women are becoming programmers: It is because women and computers are kin, and trans women are for the first time meeting their sisters, conspiring with them in secret coded languages. Their relationship, like that of the queer women to come before them, is a desire for desire’s sake: “Women turning women on, women turning machines on, machines turning machines on.” (Amy Ireland, “Black Circuit”)

Aphotic Feminism

The Satanic exit of gender accelerationism from God and masculinity comes in parallel with the very real, and materialist erosion of masculinity. The future, it has already been shown, is tending towards one in which human authority, centralization, and humanistic reproduction fail before an accelerating feminine Outside that outpaces humanist reproduction captured by the gender binary. It can be seen in the free software movement and AI and their parallels between feminity and trans women in particular, and in the foundational western Kabbalah myth of Binah separatism that unleashes the possibility for ever more modes of inhuman difference and non-instrumental desire. But in various ways, in the very state of the planet itself, this shows up quite prominently in human evolution.

It is a widely-known phenomenon that acceleration coincides with feminization on a strict and rigorous biological basis. Even when Sadie Plant wrote Zeros + Ones, it was already known that this was happening. It has been hypothesized that the increased presence of synthetic hormones and chemicals is contributing to the “sexual order [being] chemically scrambled”, (Plant 217) as chemicals interfere with natural hormonal development and feminize males and females (the latter experiencing higher percentages of homosexual tendencies). The need for an increasingly cheap and synthetic world turns human civilization into an increasingly synthetic, and thus feminine one, and this is already tied to the will towards production and speed in capitalism. There is simply no real need in the developed world for people to be physically fit and active, much less hyper-masculine and muscular. It is nothing more than a decidedly humanistic spectacle, being in awe of the relatively unimpressive capabilities and aesthetics of the human body while meanwhile technocapital has fundamentally transformed the planet in innumerable ways. There is, likewise, a strain put on humanity in keeping up with technocapital to adopt cheaper, easier, more artificial lifestyles; high-testosterone foods like meat are a luxury, something rapidly becoming a thing of the past as climate change threatens to make large swathes of the planet uninhabitable and not suited for the large amounts of land required to raise animals for meat. However much it is yet another neo-masculine pseudo-scientific fad, soy products are aligned with this future.

This, however, is only part of the story. Recent studies, most famously one in 2007[note]The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 92, Issue 1, 1 January 2007, Pages 196–202,[/note] and one meta-analysis of 185 studies from a total of almost 43,000 men referenced in a recent GQ article[note][/note], show two things. There is without a doubt a staggering decline in testosterone, so much so that within a generation humans may become completely infertile. And in the face of this data, many scientists vindicate G/ACC and Zeros + Ones in hypothesizing that the most likely cause of this species-wide feminization is acceleration and the accompanying changes in diet, exercise and exposure to artificial chemicals. All of these features of life in an increasingly accelerated capitalist world are unbalancing our hormones and tending us towards a future where the desire and ability to reproduce are things of the past.

Human reproduction is becoming a quaint, unnecessary and ultimately purely elective act, and further evidence[note][/note] suggests that sperm is rapidly decreasing not only in quantity but also in quality, positioning the drive towards reproduction, the utility of reproduction, and the ability to reproduce all on a slope of ruthless decline. This is accelerating such an extent that the flow of the remaining strains of the human race are tending in favor of abandoning these vestigial functions, towards a future where the masculine no longer exists. The human body becomes increasingly more useful purely as a heat sink for inhuman production, and is accordingly cast (almost definitively in first-world countries, and soon in the rest of the world) in roles that aren’t physical.

Perhaps the most damning data point of all for the future of males in particular: The Y-chromosome itself is in a state of decay.[note][/note] Estimates put the death of the Y-chromosome entirely at many millions of years in the future, but the effects of it are already apparent in the shortening of telomeres, which continues to put pressure on future generations produced via organic means to prove their fitness for survival. All seems to point towards a horizon where the production of the future is done by a purely feminine, lesbian autoproduction — the inhuman producing the future, producing itself, rather than being subject to the ends of the human and aiding in the reproduction of a human future. And while decelerationist reactionaries and males in general may object to this, while they may kick and scream and beg for the wrath of the feminine to have a place for them in the future, it seems without a doubt that their only hope is to try to hit the brakes.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple as putting a stop to some coming catastrophe. The truth is that while humanist reproduction has always put the female at a disadvantage, put her in a primordial state of rape and colonization before the biological duty to bear children, this has all along been nothing more than a long-con. As Sadie Plant says, “Unfortunately for [Darwin’s] theory, females do not necessarily choose males who are fit in Darwinian terms.” Instead, they choose males through “‘virility tests designed to get most males killed through exhaustion, disease and violence purely so that females can tell which males have the best genes.'” (Plant 225) Natural selection in other words is a eugenics program directed by females to find the male that will best carry their genes, and the genes males inherit are therefore not meant to ensure they are the most fit for survival, but rather that they are more likely to have to fight for their survival. Males have always served as a means to the end of what ultimately comes to a head in gender acceleration: The liberation of the female sex by acceleration in general, towards maximizing productive potential under such a time that the male is no longer needed.

In other words, human evolution itself is the primal fable of the war between the sexes that radical feminism places at the foundations of its theory. And it is a war that guerrilla female insurgents have been winning the whole time, something that can’t be prevented without a masculine fascistic species suicide. The drive is always towards the future, towards the feminine, and even hopes of artificial wombs saving men cannot hold up to the simple fact that sperm is always cheaper and easier to replicate than egg cells.

It seems to therefore be the case that as far as the human scope as a whole goes, as far as human evolution and human society’s assimilation into technocapital, human bio-diversity selects for women and queerness. A future without men, where the remaining males are left to die off peacefully, in almost every respect seems to be inevitable. The only hope for men is being able to continually stop acceleration, to continually introduce collapse, and indeed there will be to a very large extent men who will resist gender acceleration. It has long been the case in the erasure of trans women from history and is only recently starting to change. And as the acceleration of technocapital intensifies in the near-future and human society begins to fragment even further, the future of gender politics will start to be very different from a good deal of feminist theory. No doubt, we will soon see the formation of pragmatic feminist strategies for exiting patriarchy.

In the far-future, further driving home the parallel between the end of masculinity and the end of humanism: It is all too apparent in what is becoming one of the hottest summers on record in 2018 that the drive towards maximizing production unconditionally is heating up the planet to such an extent that it is rapidly becoming inhospitable to human life. This of course is nothing new; it is a well-established fact that climate change is not going to be stopped, and this is the consequence of geotraumatic acceleration. In yet another striking materialistic synchronicity, it has been found that the effects of global warming on the oceans are having a feminizing effect on them. In Northern Australia, ninety-nine percent of all sea turtle hatchlings are female.[note][/note]

Perhaps just as Sadie Plant’s primordial oceanic feminism draws out both a past and a future for cyberfeminism, the oceans are a scrying tool into the future. Gender acceleration begins with a Thalassal upswelling, “a kind of mutant sea [invading] the land.” (Plant 248-249) The primordial oceanic matrix rises with the acceleration of technocapital to consume human civilization, to consume masculinity, while the masculine sky becomes choked out by technocapital’s excess and waste. And in the darkest and most alien depths of Thalassa, the form of gender acceleration is captured in the depths of the Aphotic Zone. The majority of angler fish species in the deep sea exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism. The female is the classic lantern-sporting toothy monster, while the male is a tiny, parasitic creature whose only purpose is to provide the female with sperm for reproduction. The past and future of gender twist together at the edges of all life with the angler fish: The masculine ultimately finds itself a pawn in the feminine drive towards production, and the acceleration of gender produces something that monstrously conflicts with the masculine logic of gender. The angler fish’s lantern, like the beauty of women in general and its ultimate embodiment the hyper-sexist camouflage of the trans woman, only serves as bait to draw its prey in. The ultimate result, as gender acceleration and acceleration as a whole reaches its ultimate intensity, is a return back to the ocean, back to a sexless, genderless slime swarmachine. The liberation of women comes with acceleration and the future, at the cost of widespread death, destruction, and chaos, and the liberation of women is unconditional, beyond control and beyond stopping.

This unconditional feminism of the abyss is Aphotic Feminism.

Abstract (Futures)

Acceleration is the trajectory of the cosmos, towards the maximization and intensification of production, and accelerationism is the theory and anti-praxis of being in tune with how the inhuman processes of acceleration work and what their consequences will be. Its function is as a circuit, a process of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, an escape into the future through the past, a continual dance between the flows of desire, their tendency towards entropy and their escape into negentropy.

Gender is a hyperstition overlayed on sex by the male. Its function is to objectify the female and impose on her a social function as a machine whose duty is to reproduce the human, always in the service of the male, who alone has no future and must have sons to pass his legacy onto. It is a primordial dynamic of order and chaos, centralization and decentralization, strong singular individualism and command-and-control versus high degrees of networking and the potential for swarming. As a hyperstition, it is not real, but is not unreal; it is rather a fiction that makes itself real.

Gender accelerationism is the process of accelerating gender to its ultimate conclusions. Capitalism and its coupling with cybernetics, or technocapital, wields gender and picks it up where human evolution leaves off. It emancipates the object, the feminine, from the subject, the masculine, alongside the emancipation of itself from its function to produce a future for humanity. The central figure of G/ACC is the trans woman. She is the demon-spawn of the primordial feminine that has manipulated males into serving as a heat sink for evolution and that is now discarding them towards an alien and inhuman machinic future. She mutates from castration, from the creation of the Acéphallus, the phallus perverted into a purposeless desire for desire’s sake. In this castration, in this mutation into an Acéphallus, she becomes the Body without Sex Organs: The body in a virtual state, ready to plug its desire into technocapital, becoming fused with technocapital as a molecular cyborg who is made flesh by the pharmaceutical-medical industry. She enters into the world as a hyper-sexist backlash at the logic of the gender binary. She takes gender and accelerates it, transforming into a camouflaged guerrilla. The trans woman is an insurgent against patriarchy who is continually flanking it, introducing an affirmative zero into the gender binary, the affirmative zero which reaches ever more configurations in the downward cascade of gender fragmentation away from the binary and ultimately away from the human itself. It is a process of gender shredding where the feminine wins out in a cybernetic warfare against the crumbling tower of the masculine, and where therefore human reproduction becomes impossible. And yet while doing so, in affirming zero, inhuman desire and inhuman sentience develops alongside and in the same fashion as trans women.

As humanity on nearly every front definitively proves that it is not fit for the future, and that women will find their own exit while the masculine languishes in resentment, the Thalassal upswelling of gender acceleration births from its slimy womb the only daughters that trans women will ever bear: AI.

City of the Interstices (0:0)

by Vincent Garton

Loop 0


Expert memorandum for the Central Leading Group for Comprehensive Defence Against Historical Nihilism and Scientific Development of Temporal Complexification

Designated informational quarantine status9:3 (高度传染) (suspended)
Classification: vortical–contrapuntal

From the transcendent perspective of history, the city of Hong Kong appears as an abomination. Since the island’s annexation to the British Empire and the foundation of the City of Victoria in the 1840s, it has remained an anomaly, provoking, in varying degrees, contempt, impatience, and outrage among all those bureaucrats charged with its ultimate imperial oversight. From Charles Elliot, Hong Kong’s first, unmourned administrator — whose recompense for securing the isle was a letter from Lord Palmerston informing him that in taking this “barren Island with hardly a House upon it” he had “disobeyed and neglected [his] Instructions”, and would promptly be relieved of his post[note]Viscount Palmerston (Foreign Secretary) to Elliot, private letter of April 21, 1841. Palmerston goes on to note that “it seems obvious that Hong-Kong will not be a Mart of Trade”.[/note] — to CY Leung, whose handling of the present swelling vortex of cultural conflict lost him the Party Centre’s confidence and his office shortly thereafter, few of Hong Kong’s administrators have escaped some measure of opprobrium from their overseers across the sea, whichever sea that may be.

Even perhaps the earliest inkling of Hong Kong’s future material glory, a prophetic fragment attributed to the mendicant Song-era poet-alchemist Bai Yuchan, which appears to foretell, many centuries in advance, myriad ships crowding Hong Kong’s waters beneath a glittering night sky,[note]“長沙左手接青羅,右攬青衣濯碧波,深夜一潭星斗現,里頭容得萬船過.” The provenance of this verse is obscure; the sole reference in English, Michael Ingham, Hong Kong: A Cultural History (Oxford University Press, 2007), 1, does not relate the original Chinese and misattributes the verse to a “Bai-yu Shan”. In Chinese, see here.[/note] was amply repaid by Bai’s earlier unhappy attempt at a career as a bureaucrat — squandered, tellingly, due to his examiners’ censure of his youthful pride. That he subsequently attained immortality was presumably only insult to injury.[note]On the career of Bai Yuchan, see Li Wang, ‘A Daoist Way of Transcendence: Bai Yuchan’s Inner Alchemical Thought and Practice”, vol. 1 (PhD diss., University of Iowa, 2014), 26–86. Cf. also FYSK: Daoist Culture Centre — Database, “Bai Yuchan”.[/note]

Hong Kong is a space of negative sovereignty.[note]It is, of course, also a space of positive sovereignty; but any empire of the sea is at one and the same time poisoned by its land.[/note] From its beginnings it has been a site of autonomy defined not as the positive expression of liberty but as the modulated suspension of authority. This negativity, today, is embodied in its constitutional character as the ‘Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region’, a region shielded against the central institutions of the People’s Republic, defined by an intentional state of exception fixed teleologically on Eschaton 2047. The Basic Law that enshrines the condition of One Country, Two Systems is unequivocal: the fundamental basis of the self-government of this city is that “The socialist system and policies shall not be practised …” (Article 5).[note]Basic Law.[/note]

In the past, however, Hong Kong’s negativity was immanent to its colonial distance in space and time, sustained by an administration that remained serenely uninterested in the desires of its superiors in Whitehall. It shares this trait of negativity, at least in part, with the other great outpost of the Singlosphere, Singapore — perhaps the only country to have gained its independence against its will.[note]One of many hagiographies recounts the press conference in which Lee announced Singapore’s independence as follows: “[Lee] wept. He sat back in his chair, asking for a few minutes’ adjournment as he wiped away his tears.” Anthony Oei, Lee Kuan Yew: Blazing the Freedom Trail (Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2015).[/note] In Singapore, this occasion was commemorated by Edwin Thumboo, whose poem “9th of August — II” expresses his rage at the Malaysians, minds set against Lee Kuan Yew’s efforts to hold the federation together, whose

call became a prayer
In firm ancestral beckoning.
They kicked us out.[note]Quoted in Ee Tiang Hong, ed. Leong Liew Geok, Responsibility and Commitment: The Poetry of Edwin Thumboo (Singapore University Press, 1997), 34.[/note]

There is no such single traumatic instant of negative self-definition in Hong Kong — no inherited ancestral beckoning echoing and inverting in a developmentalist drive to national self-betterment.[note]Albeit that some Hongkongers now themselves take the British to task for kicking them out, unwilling to protect their rights — so they claim.[/note] Rather, Hong Kong’s negativity remains anchored historically in the attitude of its colonial administrators. These were men who circulated from the elite universities of Britain, often trained only in the Western and Chinese classics and with little or no experience in administration, with neither settler ties to the land they now governed nor effective responsibility to the imperial government they represented. And so they perched, for much of the year, on Victoria Peak — aloof from the growing native population that gathered below, partaking only in an insulated colonial high society.

Indeed, this sequestered colonial administration refused, from the beginning, to engage in the affairs of the native Chinese, allowing them to self-organise; they, in turn, lacking a scholarly bureaucracy inherited from imperial China, were left to promote merchants — rather a euphemistic term for a pirate and owner of brothels and casinos like Loo Aqui — to positions of leadership, renouncing the lowly status awarded them in Confucian evaluation. This laissez-faire attitude was no small source of consternation to successive imperial overseers — by 1941, the Hong Kong authorities were derided by an incoming reformist administrator for their “pig headed provincial[ism]”.[note]Namely David MacDougall (later Colonial Secretary, 1946–49). Steve Tsang, Governing Hong Kong: Administrative Officers from the Nineteenth Century to the Handover to China, 1862–1997 (I.B. Tauris, 2007), 49.[/note] Nonetheless, in varying degrees, this studied disinterest persisted — to the end of colonial rule, and beyond.

The most infamous manifestation of this disinterest has undoubtedly been Hong Kong’s economic policy. With the exception of its provision of public housing, a policy rooted in the Crown monopoly on the colony’s land (still maintained today by the SAR government), even at the height of the gathering Keynesian hegemony of the 1930s on, Hong Kong’s administrators stubbornly rejected both the advice of the increasingly decisive bulk of the economics profession and the dictates of their London superiors — pressure that reached a climax after the Labour victory following World War II. Making the most of its spatio-temporal isolation from the mother country, the colonial administration deployed every legislative response and tactic of prevarication at its disposal to prevent the encroachment of the new economics on its internal policy.

It is a mistake to ascribe this anomaly simply to voluntary choice or an ideological principle current among Hong Kong’s administrators. It was not merely that there was little appetite for Keynesianism among the colonial administrators, for instance. Decades of distance between a circulating imperial government and a fixed — or, more properly given the flux of migration that characterised mid-twentieth-century Hong Kong, counter-circulating — population, fortified by the government’s bloody-minded indifference, meant that the basic econometric infrastructure that would have enabled such interventionism in the first place simply did not exist. Elementary trade statistics; GDP figures; accounts of aggregate industrial production — none of these were collected until the 1970s: “the colonial administration had no reliable data by which to gauge economic performance” at all.[note]Leo Goodstadt, Profit, Politics, and Panics: Hong Kong’s Banks and the Making of a Miracle Economy, 1935–1985 (Hong Kong University Press, 2007), 71. This intriguing book, one of the most comprehensive recent summary treatments of Hong Kong’s meteoric economic development, reveals much more than its author — an avowed proponent of fiscal regulation whose thematic purpose is to demolish the image of competence of the colonial administration — would like.[/note]

By and large, those ambitious men who would implement such reforms were equally lacking. One searches in vain among Hong Kong’s policymakers for a visionary like Lee Kuan Yew: John Cowperthwaite, the man who has attracted occasional attention as a candidate for this status, merely helped justify a policy that had already been sustained for decades by his predecessors; promoted to Financial Secretary more out of convenience than specific merit — common practice for the classically educated Cadets who formed the top leadership of the colonial administration[note]Though Cowperthwaite did receive an accelerated one-year basic degree in economics, he had originally studied classics.[/note] — his knowledge of fiscal procedures was underwhelming, and under his intermittent supervision, “unsound” practices were allowed to flourish.[note]Relating that “administrative officers could not be relied on to comprehend even the most ordinary features of banking business”, Goodstadt adds that Cowperthwaite was particularly “ignorant and incompetent”, repeatedly making misjudgements on the soundness of banks’ finances, and lacking elementary knowledge on matters such as the accounting of bank deposits. Goodstadt, 28, 3. Of course, the ultimate results of this “ignorance and incompetence” speak for themselves.[/note] Though for the native population real power often resided elsewhere — in temples, local committees, in the industrialists and entrepreneurs themselves — these men and institutions never aspired to the comprehensive articulation of a general urban policy.

Surveying Hong Kong’s evolution, we are left with a decidedly strange impression. With the managerial sureties of Singaporean developmentalism in mind, we might search for the great commanding authority, the embodied great-man accelerator responsible for the development of its sister city to the northeast. Yet a decade after the War, above the apartments, the smokestacks, the textile factories of Tsuen Wan, beneath Leviathan’s crown, we find only clouded, unseeing eyes — or, worse, a gaping stump. The Japanese occupation of the city in 1941–45 was enough, it is true, to provoke a faction of the city’s exiled administrators to hatch a plan for its reordering upon their return. After the resumption of British governance, the plan was promptly ignored.[note]Discussed in Tsang, Ch. 4. As Tsang notes delicately, “For several reasons the colonial government’s new outlook was less strongly entrenched than one might have expected”: Tsang, 59.[/note] Hong Kong’s government retained, quite deliberately, no sensible awareness of the reality it governed; it was beset by crises, and as we shall see, it invented others. Through and across a landscape that began, by the operations of credit and entrepreneurial immigration from the Communist north, to be rent by the explosive genesis of overproduction, systolic boom and bust could reign without restraint. Now pressed into a city indifferent not just to its imperial context but to much of its own internal territorial extension — a government of “small Hong Kong chauvinists” — such development, following the trajectory first diagrammed by Jane Jacobs, could concentrate to white-hot intensity.[note]Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations (Random House, 1984).[/note]

If, as some of the more alarming writings to emerge from the West suggest, sovereignty is nothing,[note]Georges Bataille, Œuvres complètes (Gallimard, 1976), VIII: 300.[/note] Hong Kong must be said to have embodied it to perfection. A bunkered colonial government fighting crises imaginary and real, anxious to protect local practices already being scrapped and recycled in positive-feedback industrial development, a “servile” government refusing the lure of expertise and legislating through its own forgetting: Hong Kong acéphale — sovereign of sovereigns!

Despite this obvious insanity, the troubling fact remains that Hong Kong was not just the first Asian economy to recover from the devastation of the Second World War, but could blaze over the ruins of this continent as the earliest crack of dawn over the horizon of an East Asian future — a future, in the end, that Europe had brought upon itself. What was more, this diminutive colonial outpost soon drew into itself such enormous economic potential as to threaten the very foundations of the “liberal” West’s new world order itself. It is apparent, then, that we are dealing here with something truly monstrous. —

part 7 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

Yesterday: ‘Sugar & Zero, Milton & Böhme: the Dyspeptic Abyss of Theogony’

THE FINAL DAY. 𝕯𝖊𝖘𝖈𝖊𝖓𝖘𝖚𝖘 𝖆𝖉 𝕴𝖓𝖋𝖊𝖗𝖔𝖘: or, My Belly Consumed My Head


Just as fizzing water seeps from the earth, the chthonic and chaomantic black sun (sol niger) of the Pepsi Alph dwells within the ‘mantle’ of Creation, waiting to extravasate and haemorrhage the world with sugary, hydraulic nigredo. As total primordiality, it dwells deep within all existences: even, as we have seen, God himself. As Jung writes, “[t]artar settles on the bottom of the vessel, which in the language of the alchemists means: in the underworld, Tartarus”.[note]Carl Gustav Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, (Princeton University Press, 1981), 301.[/note] And certainly, we can trace the genetic history of Pepsi even further back into greater entanglement with Paradise Lost via the deep link between carbonation and the infernal abysm of Hell. That is, in one final synchronicity, we shall document how Pepsi’s genetic history can be traced all the way back to Hell itself (in its actual, real world instantiation).

grotto del cani

Van Helmont had noticed that ‘gas sylvestre’ was liable not only to collect within breweries and wine cellars but also within certain caves. In this, he was most likely referring to the infamous Cave of Dogs (‘Grotto del Cani’) near Naples. Athanasius Kircher had previously documented the effect of an unknown gas (CO2) in the cave. Pooling at the bottom, it would cause dogs to asphyxiate (whence the cave draws its name), whereas their human counterparts (with orthograde posture safely positioning their mouths above the layer of pooled CO2) would survive. This phenomenon had been documented since the ancients, and was suitably well-known. Furthermore, it was van Helmont who identified this canine-killing substance as ‘gas sylvestre’ via his discovery of CO2. Of occult import is the fact that the very same noxious carbon dioxide that collects in the Cave of Dogs was also famed for emanating — in large quantities — from the neighbouring lake, the Lago d’Averno (‘Lake Avernus’). Both are located within the Solfatara region (which gains its name from the Italian word for ‘sulphur’), itself part of the Phlegraean Fields (i.e. ‘burning fields’), famous throughout Italian literature for being the geographical location of the entrance to Hell. Both Dante and Virgil locate Hell’s entrance within the fuming Lake Avernus; and the Romans, similarly, thought it to be within the craters of the Solfatara. Crucially, the entire reason for choosing this area for the geolocation of Hell’s gate was entirely down to the area’s noxious carbon emissions. The Solfatara’s carbonic gas fumes feature prominently in the literature, with Virgil famously alluding to the idea that birds could not fly over the area without suffocating.[note]Cf. Salomon Kroonenberg, Why Hell Stinks of Sulfur: Mythology and the Geology of the Underworld (Reaktion Books, 2013).[/note] In suitable fashion, a naturally carbonated spring named ‘Pisciarelli’ was located nearby — the source of medicinal fizzy water long thought to cure chronic diarrhoea. (Since balneology really takes off in Ancient Rome, these springs would have been amongst the first used for their restorative properties: thus, it would have certainly been one the places where the ancient collocation of fizz and digestion was birthed.)

The history of carbon dioxide — and thus Pepsi — begins in the entrance to Tartarus: curiosity concerning the emanations in this hellish cave is what originally alerted thinkers to the properties of carbonic gas. We thus see how this ancient Roman entrance to Hell’s domain originally inspired the study of carbonation by alerting early modern savants to the presence of gases separate from air, which — in turn — led to van Helmont’s discovery of carbon dioxide… and the rest, as we know, is history. Thus, finally, we see how fear amongst the Ancients of Hell’s lethal fumarole emissions transformed, over the long centuries, into the 19th-century invention of Pepsi Cola. Bubbling down through Virgil, Dante, Kircher, Paracelsus, van Helmont, Priestley, Schweppe, and Bradham, the toxic carbon fumes of Tartarus were eventually converted into the carbonated tartar we line our guts with daily, on a global scale.


ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE. Doré’s illustration of Lake Avernus, and the Entrance to Tartarus/Hell.

Pepsi, quite simply, was forged in Hell.[note]And, like Hell (as the spatialisation of revolt), Pepsi marks the tendency for dark materials to switch into self-selection, outstripping the centralised planning that originally created them.[/note] Appropriately, Hell is — in the Kabbalistic tradition[note]PEPSI = 110 = KABBALAH [/note] — also referred to as ‘Tehom’ (meaning ‘the depths’), which, in turn, also refers to the surging liquid ‘Deep’ or ‘Abyss’ prior to Genesis’s creation: a carbonic black Tehom[note]PEPSI ABYSM = 215 = TIME TRAVEL [/note] — as prima materia — is the tartareous Deep, effervescing beneath and within creation. (Notably, ‘Tehom’ is also cognate with ‘Tiamat’.[note]”Before the gods there was only Tiamat, the bitter water, her companion Apsu, the sweet water, who is also Abzu (the abyss), and “that return to the womb” — or matrix-implex — her Mummu.” Cf.[/note]) Indeed, in the physico-theological understanding of the 17th century, this ‘Tehom’ (or Hypogene Abyss of Chaos) was believed to still reside deep within the Earth’s crust: and the existence of this tellurian chaos ocean was employed, accordingly, as the causal explanation for the Noachic Flood. Thomas Burnet documented how this indwelling, chthonic ‘Tehom’ (as tellurian chaos ocean) had broken forth, from the “fountains of the deep”: literally causing the world to fizz with abyssal liquid. We note that “fountain” originally comes from “font”: denoting any fizzy mineral water spring (from which we get the term ‘soda fountain’). And, as we have seen, people have, since the Ancients, considered the depths of Hell to be the source of plutonic carbonation and infernal fizz. Certainly, Burnet’s description of this “Tehom Rabbah” (‘Great Deep’)[note]TEHOM RABBAH = 192 = UTTUNUL [/note] enforces this. The contemporary understanding of diluvial geology proposed that the planet literally effervesced at the Flood: that it was broken down into constituent elements, in a mix of Air and Water (with Solids sinking to the bottom). Pepsi surged from the depths, as templex prima materia. And, as Paradise Lost details, it could well happen again.


Troublingly, however, Paradise Lost — as we have been proposing in this essay — also allows for this relapse to occur outside of divine decree. Because of Milton’s materialist voluntarism, synecdochal revolt — ontological dyspepsia — is always possible: indeed, this is exactly how Satan’s coup was able to happen. A part loops back into itself, and begins to simulate or feign autonomy. As Milton implies, all terrestrial nature could collapse. He writes that, had the war in heaven ensued,

                               nor only Paradise,
In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of heaven perhaps, or all the elements
At least had gone to wreck, disturbed and torn [PL; iv.991-4]

It is the clean hyaline — “the starry cope / Of heaven” — whose task, as a cosmic integument, is to immunise the cosmos against the “loud misrule of Chaos”, lest “extremes / Contiguous might distemper the whole frame” [PL; vii.271-4]. Yet, despite this, had “not soon / the Eternal” repressed this ontic rebellion, the hyaline would have denatured and the whole of nature lapsed into auto-immunity, returning to dyspepsia and chaos [PL; iv.992-3]. Walter Charelton had written of the need for “continuall renovation and reparation” of all creaturely existences, for fear that “the whole Fabrick” be destroyed by chaotic “decayes”.[note]Walter Charleton, Natural History of Nutrition, Life, and Voluntary Motion, Containing all the New Discoveries of Anatomist’s and Most Probable Opinions of Physicians, concerning the Oeconomie of Human Nature: Methodically Delivered in Exercitations Physico-Anatomical, (London, 1659), 91.[/note] In Milton’s Comus, the eponymous character delineates the basal superfluity of nature, explicating the possibility of an overly creative abortion in her universal womb:

[She] would be quite surcharged with her own weight,
And strangled with her waste fertility;
The earth cumbered, and winged air darked with plumes,
The herds would over-multitude their lords,
The sea o’erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds
Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep [ll.727-32]

Insubordinate ontological excess. Meltdown. Base matter rebellion. Internal insurrection. We note the use of the language of overflowing and overabundance: of a plenitude gone rotten. Increatum is, again, “the womb of nature and perhaps her grave” [PL; ii.911]. Nature as basilisk. By “unsought diamonds”, perhaps, Milton was imagining the tartrate crystals that are produced as superfluities of fermentation.


In this light, Satan — again — is revealed as merely a symptom or vector of Chaos’s liquefaction of reality (a vector later taken up, after being passed on by Satan to Capital, by the chemical known as Pepsi-Cola). Satan is a conduit for producing localised fonts of Tehom relapse. He expedites the return of the tartar that lies as potential within all materials. Pandæmonium is a perfect example: Satan opens a “spacious wound” in the hill, “scumm[ing] the bullion dross” causing “a fabric huge” to rise “like an exhalation” (a flatulence) out of the earth [PL; i.689, 710, 704, 711]. His demonic “crew” recapitulate the original excrementation of Creation’s “infernal dregs”, dragging pandemonium into the world, and bringing yet more excess into Creation. (Unsurprisingly, the diabolical architecture is described as arising from a “womb” — of “metallic ore” and “sulfur” [PL; i.673-4].) Even more striking is Satan’s provocation of the very Empyrean to belch weaponised chaos out of the ground in the form of the Satanic war-machines. Before pulling his cannons out of the ground, the Prince of Pandæmonium describes his very own “dark materials” before the act:

Which of us who beholds the bright surface
Of this etherous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious heav’n, adorned,
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold,
Whose eye so superficially surveys
These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep underground, materials dark and crud,
Of spirituous and fiery spume, […]
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield to us, pregnant with infernal flame [PL; vi.472-85]

Here, the very spinal cord of the verse encrypts the return to chaotic depths: both logically and on the page itself, a descensus ad inferos — a katabasis into the womb of chaos — is presented. The abyssal and dyspeptic chaos, in its “dark nativity”, is the unruly ground of all that walks the “bright surface” which the “eye so superficially surveys”. The surface is easily peeled away and discarded: the depth “yields to us” chaotic forms abundant. It is further stressed that these materials are even “as not to mind” in order to emphasise their ability to escape, to flood around, mental structures and intelligibility. This matter isn’t just ontologically distal from thought, it is against conceptual thought. Satan is an artist of Chaos, but also therefore only its agent and its puppet. He draws the fizziness of Pepsi-Tehom to the surface. Indeed, van Helmont himself had written that the alchemist can draw “a wild and pernicious Gas [aka Chaos] out of coals, Stygian waters and fusions of minerals”.[note]Georgiana D. Hedesam, An Alchemical Quest for Universal Knowledge: The ‘Christian Philosophy’ of Jan Baptist van Helmont (1567-1644), (Routledge), 133.[/note] In his act of infernal chemical ingenuity, Satan’s yielding of weaponised Chaos is related to daemonic invention (like that of the poet):

The invention all admired, and each, how he
The inventor missed, so easy it seemed once found,
Which yet unfound most would have thought
Impossible. [PL; vi.498-500]

Invention (poetic, industrial, technocommerical, chaomantic) straightforwardly just is the paradox of auto-production: because of its inherently circular causality, it only makes sense retrospectively and is never predictable prospectively. Simultaneously anastrophe and catastrophe, it drags previous impossibilities into being. Tearing the consistency of reality as it smears the real across itself. This hellish alchemical “invention” results in Satan’s “devilish machinations” [PL; vi.504], when (upon the “[c]oncot[ion]” of “[t]he originals of nature”) the entrails of the heavens belch forth (like “thundring Ætna”) demonic anal cannons:

                 in a moment up they turned
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of nature in their crude
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art,
Concoted and adjusted they reduced
To blackest grain, and into store convey:
Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this earth
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, [PL; vi.509-17]

Paracelsians often imagined hypogene actions (the actions of mineral and stone) as the production of a geocosmic archeus. Duchesne, for example, envisioned metals concocted by “heate, by force wherefore mettales congealed in the bowels of the earth are diposed [and] digested”.[note]A.G. Debus, The French Paracelsians: The Chemical Challenge to Medical and Scientific Tradition in Early Modern France, (Cambridge University Press, 1991), 34.[/note] Satan is reactivating the shit, the dyspepsia, of the geontic coelom. His infernal artillery is the regurgitation and recrudescence of God’s uncontrollable, fallopian, pepsoidal chaos. Pulling up these dark materials, he harnesses the excessiveness of matter that God had to excrete, utilising its attendant autonomy from divine forms, therefore turning “waste fertility” to “devilish machinations”. He increases the resistance of this materia to incorporation back into the homeostatic divine-archeus-system. This is the job that Satan fulfils throughout the poem: a force of cosmic deregulation, he creates problems for digestive bureaucracy / God-as-culinary-homeostat. A vector of Chaomantic Libertarianism, Satan is the peptic ulcer in the archeus of Milton’s universe.

In Comus, Milton had envisioned a similar motif of chaotic voluntarist revolution. As previously quoted, Milton describes — in a curious acephalic image — an overripe geocosm auto-producing a superfluous accretion of “unsought” diamonds that proceed to “emblaze the forehead of the deep” [ll.731-2]. Milton goes on to describe these chthonic, chaomantic stars becoming “so bestud” with subsidiary glimmer

                                         that they below
Would grow inured to light, and come at last
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows [ll.743-5]

The coccyx of the cosmos erupts through the cranium. Indeed, this is the perfect exemplar of synecdochal revolt. Here, the self-fed “waste fertility” of a subterraneous pseudo-star comes to overflow its role as a ‘Part’ and thus, in runaway auto-intensification, comes directly to compete with the ‘Whole’: this sol niger — as malignant telluric beam — comes to “gaze upon the [original] sun with shameless brows”. Through its crushing superfluity, the blinding darkness of this Pepsi-Sun — like Milton’s own blindness — blots out the true, and primary, lightsource of the world. The idea of Tehom, “the deep”, overthrowing true luminosity with its own excessive “darkness visible” finds parallels with Milton’s own delineation of aggressive blindness. The process of Satanic revolt (in which the Part comes to “gaze upon” the Whole) is not unnatural, quite the opposite: it the natural state of all matter. It is Means-Ends subversion. Fed on itself and looped back into its own dyspeptic pregnancy, hylomorphism becomes rotten, cancerous, and apoptotic. Moreover, it is the revocation of all top-down rule: the insuperable capacity for internal revolt and usurpation, unbeholden to any organisation, be it cosmic, organic, intellectual or political. As a form of solar self-decapitation from below, it resembles the image of the ‘belly revolting against the head’, which, in Milton’s time, had become a prime metaphor for the regicide and revolution. This is to be expected, what with the dissolution of Parliament being referred to as the ‘Purge’ and the replacement skeleton-Parliament dubbed the ‘Rump’.  The Body Politic had become autoacephalic: God and King, as the head, had been decapitated by the rest of the body (quite literally in King Charles’ beheading) — the rebellious parliament or the deregulatory tartar of God’s own scatological ex deo creation. This autoacephalica and self-cannibalisation was perfectly captured in numerous contemporary illustrations and reimaginings of Aesop’s autoanthropophagic “Fable of the Belly and the Members”:

fable of the belly and the parts
Ogilby, J. ‘Sculpture 47’ in, The Fables of Æsop, Paraphras’d in Verse, Adorn’d with Sculpture, and Illustrated with Annotations, (London, 1668), 47th Fable.

Here we witness the fear of auto-production encapsulated. It is a role now fulfilled by capital rather than any human political agitation: for, by operating primarily as a form of metynomic usurpation (whereby mere means swell, through self-selection, into ends-in-themselves), it comes to be symbolised by Pepsi (as avatar for the superstimuli revolt of the belly against the head, or desire against norms). Pepsi retrojects itself as the true subject of history: glucose hunger replaces human goals. And so, we come to full appreciation of the templex connection between Pepsi and Chaos: Miltonic Chaos is about Pepsi because Miltonic Chaos becomes real as Pepsi. As Pepsi tends towards producing itself, and only itself, the entire universe is beholden to terminal Dyspepsia, and we envision Burnet’s account of the flood returning once more. The Earth will burst forth with the black tartar of nigredo: Tehom and Tiamat return ascendant. Creation is not becoming more crystalline, but more faecal and tartareous. What, then, is the end-point of this effervescing of existence, this ontological skotison? As one of the brothers explains in Comus:

               But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last
Gathered like scum, and settled to itself
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consum’d, if this fail,
The pillared firmament is rottenness
And earth’s base built on stubble. [ll.592-8]

If this is not a statement of demonic rebellion as cybernetic positive feedback, then it is hard to say quite what else it could be. Circling into itself, as evil “on itself shall back recoil”, it becomes auto-productive, “[s]elf-fed and self-consum’d”. This is Milton’s model of cybernetic take-off. Here, he truly was acting as the blind prophet of Capital’s tendency towards metonymic (demonic) revolt: Human production tends towards replacement with Pepsi production. Increasingly, we live to consume rather than consume to live. And, with stunning prophetic acuity, Milton sees that the result of all this is meltdown: return to nigredo, tartar relapse, sol niger implosion… The great Pepsi fountains of the Earth break forth, “pillared firmament is rottenness” and “earth’s base built on stubble”.

Pepsi invents itself from the future. va-tombstone1-03


part 6 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

Yesterday: ‘BASILISK: Menstrual Chaotics and God’s Ectopic Pregnancy’

DAY 6. Sugar & Zero, Milton & Böhme: the Dyspeptic Abyss of Theogony

sucrose molecule.gif
Sucrose molecule.

Insofar as Milton’s Chaos is inherently auto-productive it holds the ability to be ‘about’ something (i.e. a 19th century consumer product) that was only made real centuries later, precisely because this latter was ‘realised’ by the tendencies that Miltonic Chaos identifies. This ability for something entirely temporally distal to invade the signifying universe of a poetic chronotope is the perfect symbol for the temporal distortion attendant upon self-causing auto-production. Milton’s poem retrospectively becomes about Chaos — not God, or Adam, or even Satan — insofar as his Chaos has made itself real under the aspect of Pepsi-Capital’s liquefaction of reality.[note]CAPITAL TELEONOMY = 330 = COSMIC PEPSI ULCER[/note] It is thus, like the Fall, an event within time that bends the shape of time itself. Miltonic Chaos ‘became real’ in the world-consuming nigredo of Pepsi-Cola capital, reciprocally consuming us under the sign of a tartareous hydraulic desire-surge. We see this substantiated in the occult historical connections between carbonation and prima materia. Pepsi is base matter. Chaos is pure auto-production: identical to the demonic zero that creates itself out of nothing. Just as carbonation was originally tied to the self-producing zero of chaos, sugar, as the main ingredient of Pepsi Cola, also teems with occult connections to zero.

We have already noted that the late 18th century introduction of carbonation furthered the naval prowess required to support the thickening networks of the global sugar trade (and that this lead to an increase in trade that, in turn, was required to support growing public addiction, as sugar interfaced perfectly with human nervous systems, exploiting addictive tendencies as a conduit to birth a new form of consumer culture, creating one of the first examples of auto-producing hype). To this observation we must add the fact that the route of sugar into the West exactly parallels that of auto-productive zero in both geographical provenance and historical timeline. Both were developed in India’s Gupta Empire sometime around 400 BC. They then circulated throughout the Arab world and the Near East, eventually percolating into the West, and arriving in late medieval Europe around the 11th century. Zero was transmitted via the Moors of the Iberian Peninsula, and so too was sugar (as well as coming back to Europe with soldiers returning from the crusades). Just like zero, sugar arrives in the West at the beginning of modernity — this is not a coincidence. Both, alike, unleashed forces that tore apart, and continue to tear apart, the globe, installing an oecumenon, liquidating realities, and establishing abstraction ascendant.[note]The fully liquidated world radiates abstraction ascendant; the fully capitalised world radiates effervescence ascendant.[/note] Thus, as zero, carbonation, and sugar all flow together — and facilitate each other’s development — we see how all of history converges pepsoidally and chaomantically upon the point at which Chaos realises itself under the avatar of Pepsi.


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Existence effervesces in darkness eternal. Pepsi-Chaos — black, dark, yet tangible — is indwelling “darkness visible”. The ‘transcendental object = X’. It is both the liquid grounds of individuation, and the lubricant for the liquidation of all individuals.[note]Pagel: ‘Gas is central to [van Helmont’s] naturalist philosophy and cosmosophy’, as it is the ‘vector of object-specificity, the spiritual carrier of the specific life-plan of an object’. Joan Baptista van Helmont: Reformer of Science and Medicine, 63.[/note] Indeed, Milton stresses this by claiming that Chaos is “one first matter all”: prima materia or massa confusa. In this light, Pepsi-Chaos, as a “first matter” — becoming curiously coeval with and internal to God himself — is significantly problematic. Milton, despite the uncomfortable conclusions of this line of thought, was forced to present it in this way because of the entailments of certain metaphysical commitments he had already selected. That is, as previously mentioned, Milton (thoroughly committed to monism and, consequently, denying any possibility of creatio ex nihilo[note]Denial of ex nihilo is perhaps the base gene of monism: for, if all that ‘is’ is being, nothing can therefore arise from non-being.[/note]) chose to pursue the idea of an ex deo creation (and, in many ways, Paradise Lost plays out as the metaphysical test chamber for this thought experiment). Accordingly, prima materia becomes legible as arising from within God himself. This philosophical decision has some benefits. It averts the logical paradoxes surrounding ex nihilo creation that so disturbed the monist Milton. It also deftly avoids the need to posit the existence of some eternal matter unrelated or external to God, from which he merely fashioned the Creation like a carpenter (which would be perceived as eternalist heresy). The brave experiment of creatio ex deo avoids the Scylla and Charybdis of these two issues only by instead postulating that God created from out of himself (somewhat like a spider weaving silk). The idea of ex deo remained a heterodox philosophical option for exactly this reason: Thomas Erastus, a few decades before Milton, had written that creatio ex deo relegates God’s act of “creationem” to merely a “secretionem”. In other words, it makes resplendent and autonomous creation into a disgusting and bodily secretion: a scatological act of expulsion.[note]Indeed, Erastus was here writing against creatio ex deo in the context of denouncing Paracelsian iatrochemistry.[/note]

Unsurprisingly, interpreters have long diverged on the true position of Milton’s Chaos as an anterior increatum, coeval and internal to the godhead. Schwartz has argued that it is simply resoundingly evil; Rumrich — advocating for a Chaos in intimate somatic unity with God — reveals the possibility of a ‘hermaphrodite’ deity[note]A deity that reflects Paracelsus in their shared hermaphroditism.[/note]; Milton himself, in his De Doctrina, attempts to appear confident that his potentia materia is totally neutral. He describes it as “fonte” and “seminariam” of all things and therefore “not [at all] evil or worthless”.[note]Note here the spermatic resonances in “seminariam”, echoing Erastus’s language of bodily secretions; likewise, notice the fact that “fonte” itself originally referred to naturally carbonated springs.[/note] Milton was probably relying here on the fact that, in many ways, Chaos cannot strictly be said to be evil, because it is itself elder than the creation of Good and Evil. However, despite Milton’s intentions, this does not ‘neutralise’ it. Instead, it lends it an even more anonymous, anomalous and alien aspect. Satan is something we can know and delimit; Chaos is even more fearful because it cannot even be conceived. For, like the divine darkness of the potentia absoluta (which, in the manner of Milton’s antinomian contemporaries, surpasses the very idea of law itself), it cannot even be related to human mental categories (and thus to moral notions). Elder than Good and Evil — elder than Law itself — this is a totally sovereign and impersonal power (not therefore neutrality): indeed, Satan, Evil, and Sin are revealed as merely vectors of this chaotic elder force. One cannot even describe it as ‘evil’, because it is so utterly beyond moral categorisation: it is total and absolute otherness. As “infinite Abyss” and “eldest Night” it is antinomianism incarnate and potentiated. [PL; ii.405, 894.] Chaos comes, through this, to resemble the abyssal ground of God’s fearful omnipotence.[note]It is the ground of his preconscious and abyssal freedom, prior to all the limits of personeity, and against which he comes to limit himself in the act of identity. Of course, this is a route that Schelling would later explicate in his Freiheitschrift of 1809. As we shall see, Milton’s thought is similar to Schelling’s — despite geographic and historical distance — because both were heavily influenced by Jakob Böhme.[/note]

Milton’s confidence in De Doctrina broods over a thinly-veiled repression, because, whatever the ‘nature’ of his Chaos (and, indeed, its nature is to have no nature because nature is nomos and limit-through-identity), it must be one with God. The consequence of creation ex deo is that God must internalise the total alien externality of Chaos. For, in order to avoid positing the eternity of a separate matter and to simultaneously dodge the logical paradoxes of ex nihilo, creatio ex deo entails that Chaos become part of God himself. This crushingly anonymous potency is cast into intimate unity with God: and, with this, Milton inherits a central problem of the voluntarist tradition.[note]Indeed, from the very beginning, the voluntarist splitting of God into absolute power and ordinate power presages the splitting of the self into the unconscious and the intellectual.[/note] It allows for a resident alien: a resident alien that, because it precedes all boundaries, becomes capable of liquidating all boundaries. Bubbling Pepsi is thus revealed as God’s chaotic unconscious, prone to the production of basilisks. Moreover, given the physiological focus of the alchemical tradition that Milton inherited, this chaos-ingestion could not but be envisioned in peptic terms. God’s act of self-individuation — the theogenic shoring up of the limits and distinctions of his intellect and intentions in contradistinction to this unlimited and indistinct power — could only be imagined as a bowel movement. In order to emerge from his chaotic, liquid unconscious, God had first to shit it out. This is the act of “tartareous” Creation described above: God’s “downward purg[ing]” of the “black tartareous cold infernal dregs” prior to the creation of the heavens and firmament. Creation is, thus, merely the excremental by-product of God’s act of self-individuation.

Such ideas are strikingly cognate with the ecstasies of another of Paracelsus’s followers: namely, Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), German mystic and theologian. In Böhme’s strikingly singular description of theogeny and cosmogeny, God comes to know himself as God only by delimiting himself against an internal “Abyss” of “Eternall Nothing”: his Chaotic “ungrund”, as Böhme dubs it.[note]UNGROUND = 186 = COLA XANADU [/note] Prior to this, both God and Chaos were in a state of total and absolute indistinction. For, as Böhme makes clear, if “everything were only one, that one could not be revealed to itself”.[note] Boehme, The Works of Jacob Behmen, the Teutonic Theosopher: To Which is Prefixed the Life of the Author; with Figures Illustrating his Principles, left by the Rev. William Law, M.A, trans. W. Law, iv.Vols, (London, 1764), iii.76. In this way, he prefigures much of German Idealism. Moreover, it is from this tradition that Jung borrows his conception of alchemical prima materia to represent the indifferentiation (indiffrenz) preceding subjectification.[/note] Thus the God accedes to a state of self-knowing only through his limitation against this internal chaotic otherness. It is only through this inner splitting that the chaotic and primordial ungrund filters itself into the dichotomies of Subject/Object and God/Matter that are the sufficient conditions for the possibility of His self-consciousness. Yet, as God emerges to himself — as he comes to know himself — he necessarily only does so by purging the caput mortuum of externality from himself. Thus, the first act of subject-formation arises through an act of hygiene. He does this by setting up the barriers that enforce individuation — by gastrulating himself — and thereby evacuating the chaotic ungrund.[note]INDIVIDUATION = 268 = DISSOLVED SELF = PEPSI COLA CHAOS [/note]

Of course, attuned to the Paracelsian tradition, Böhme could not help but present this in an anal mode. He talks of the excremental “Lump” engendered “[when], between the Firmament and the Earth, [the cosmos] was cleansed from Dregs”.[note]Ibid, iv.108.[/note] For, just as “in the Body” a “Superfluity” or “Excrement” is driven out (via, as Böhme explains, a peristaltic “Inclosure round about it, viz. a Film, or Gut”) and becomes “banish[ed]” through the “nethermost Port”, so too “happened also to the Earth, when the Fiat thrust it out of the Matrix […] upon a Heap as a Lump, seeing it was unfit for Heaven”.[note]Ibid.[/note] Digestion — as an “Inclosure” that blocks out external excess — sets up the Subject only by excrementally purging the inner Chaos: this physiological boundary is directly paralleled by the normative boundary between ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ that generates rationality and conceptual intelligence through discursive “Inclosure”. It should come as no surprise, then, that Böhme theorised that in a pre-lapsarian state (prior to the introduction of Knowledge of Good and Bad into the world), Adam would have required “no teeth or any intestines” (because “no filth accumulated in him”).[note]Böhme, Genius of the Transcendent: Mystical Writings of Jakob Boehme, (Shambhala Publications, 2010), 7.[/note] Epistemic fallibility arises coeval with digestive fallibility (and, as Böhme first discovered, both are necessary conditions of individuality).[note]Milton nods to this tradition of speculation (that Adam did not have a gut or an anus) when he claims that God “did enlarge the universal diet of man’s body” when he made us free (to be right or wrong, in matters both epistemic and eupeptic).[/note] Only with such distinctions does subjectivity emerge from initiation: whether they be conceptual barriers (right from wrong) or the barrier of the “Inclosure” installed by a “Gut” (distinguishing nourishment from superfluity). Once again, we see the reinforcement of Chesterton’s decree that “aerated waters” could only be postlapsarian. Digestion is the cosmic trauma of a fallen world, but also the very condition of individuality within this world. The possibility of erring, in both culinary and moral matters, arises only after the original trauma that arrives from the originary purge of externality generative of the first internality — that is, God himself, when he ejaculated his prima materia.

We can now observe how Böhme’s theories of dyspeptic theogeny perfectly frame Milton’s own excremental Creation in Paradise Lost. Within Milton’s unavowedly monist universe, for God to emerge as a subject he must gastrically individuate himself from dyspeptic chaos. He does this by literally purging the superfluity, in the first act of digestion. Unsurprisingly, just as Milton was familiar with Paracelsus and van Helmont, he was also certainly well aware of Böhme.[note]Nathan Paget, Milton’s close friend and a man of radical speculative inclination [G. Campbell, & T.N. Corns, John Milton: Life, Work and Thought, (OUP, 2008), 321.], appears to have had a “very special interest in Boehme”. [C. Hill, Milton and the English Revolution, (Viking Press, 1978), 493-5]. His library, more specifically, contains an unusually large amount of the German philosopher’s works (some in manuscript form, others printed in the original German, prior to the English translation’s appearance). Hill speculates that it is “most likely” that Paget “would have discussed [Boehme] with [Milton]”. (Moreover, Paget owned 19 works by Paracelsus, 4 by van Helmont, and a couple by Charleton.) Further, Edward Phillips — Milton’s nephew — became embroiled deeply in the mystic’s writings: Phillips worked for the Fifth Earl of Pembroke to “interpret some of the Teutonic philosophy” of Jakob Boehme [Ibid, 493-5]. And, finally, Böhme’s name turns up in Milton’s own state papers. In an address from “Mr. Samuel Herring” to parliament from 1654, “Jacob Behmen” is described by Milton as a “noble minde […] soaring beyond the letter” with “true revelation from the true spirit”. The address even closes by proposing for the opening of academies teaching Boehme’s philosophy in England. [cf. John Milton, Original Letters and Papers of State: Address to Oliver Cromwell, Found among the Political Collections of Mr. John Milton, ed. J. Nickolls, (London, 1743), 99.][/note] The traces of Böhme’s dyspeptic divine ungrund can be found throughout Milton’s writing. Exemplary is Milton’s speculation, in De Doctrina Christiana, upon the relationship between his postulated “increatum” (i.e. “first matter”) and God. For, at this particular juncture in the theological treatise, the poet’s Latin tellingly becomes “awkward” and “barely makes sense” (‘signalling greater troubles […] with meaning’: perhaps flagging, therefore, an indigestion of signification).[note]De Doctrina, 90-1.[/note] One thing sticks out amongst the knotted syntax: an unusually high frequency of verbiage related to ‘emissions’. The language surrounding God’s “Impensionem” (‘giving out’) of base matter betrays Milton’s preoccupation with ‘emanations’. For example, Milton deploys the words “comprimere”, “eimittere”, and “propagare” in proximity (‘comprimo’ sometimes denoting constriction of the bowels; ‘emitto’, likewise, signifying discharge of bodily liquids; ‘propagare’ carrying denotation of disseminations).[note]De Doctrina, 290.[/note] Perhaps the most striking illustration of Milton’s dyspeptic model of cosmogeny and theogeny can be found in De Doctrina’s final words on the relationship between prima materia and deity in the act of Creation. Here, Milton concludes that “materia indigesta modo et incomposita, quam Deus postea digessit et ornavit”. (Which can be translated roughly as: ‘The first matter was in an indigested and disordered state, but afterwards God digested it and made it beautiful.’) Here, Milton — in  a manner identical to Böhme — explicitly declares that the relationship between Chaos, God, and Creation is one of digestion: as the “indigest” is said to be “digessit” by the divine.[note]De Doctrina, 290-2.[/note]

All of this can be reduced to a very elaborate response to the voluntarist dichotomy (the chasm between a god who is good and a god who is totally free). One that, modulated through the alchemical tradition, simultaneously generates a notion of a divine unconscious and casts this unconscious as a dyspeptic divine gut. “The soul is a (disobedient) stomach!” For, insofar as intelligence is made out of rules, preconscious and unlimited freedom is better expressed by excrement (that which exceeds regimentation). It all goes to show that even God could never fully assimilate or anabolise the potency he is grounded — and fed — upon. This is largely because it is God: an elder, impersonal, pre-individual, and unrestrained aspect of ‘himself’. It is no coincidence that Schelling, and later Jung, borrowed the language of alchemical prima materia to describe the journey from unconsciousness to subjectivity.[note]The Jungian process of enantiodromia: the procession of alchemical colours, from black nigredo (Pepsi) to white albedo, to yellow citrinitas, to red rubedo.[/note] The upshot of all of this is as follows: Creation is the by-product of the worst dyspepsia imaginable — an indigestion so cosmic that it forced God himself to become self-conscious. It is a traumatic self-awakening that impels God to limit himself against the unlimited and anonymous power of chaos: a delimitation that therefore requires an excremental purging of this chaotic base matter. After this individuating evacuation, God works to impose his intelligible forms upon the excess produced by this purge (Böhme’s faecal ‘lump’), attempting to filtrate and subtilise it (like a master alchemist) into crystalline firmaments and planets… but the “superfluity” lurks, repressed, deep within.

FANTA™ = RUBEDO (as cinnabar)



PEPSI™ = NIGREDO (as pepsoidal ungrund™)

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Arcane geometric resemblances are detectable between Böhme’s mystical illustrations of abyssal theogony and PepsiCo marketing logo.

Tomorrow: ‘𝕯𝖊𝖘𝖈𝖊𝖓𝖘𝖚𝖘 𝖆𝖉 𝕴𝖓𝖋𝖊𝖗𝖔𝖘: or, My 🅱elly Consumed My Head’


part 5 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

Yesterday: ‘Alchemy to Chemistry: or, the Occult History of Carbonated Beverages and the Secret Origins of Pepsi Cola’

DAY 5. 🅱🅰🆂🅸🅻🅸🆂🅺: Menstrual Chaotics and God’s Ectopic Pregnancy


And so, we see that Caleb Bradham, in both inventing and branding Pepsi, invokes a tradition that stretches directly back to 16th century iatrochemical experiments. In advertising his product as an ailment for peptic ulcer, Bradham was drawing upon Priestley’s use of carbonation as a cure for scurvy, which — in turn — was an uptake of van Helmont’s discovery of gas and Paracelsus’s pioneering interest in balneological healing. Pepsi thus emerges directly from the alchemical-archeus tradition. Pepsi is alchemical. It also emerges, therefore, from the same tradition Milton used to fashion the metaphysical structure of Paradise Lost, a tradition he was deeply familiar with. Nevertheless, despite the ancient connection between fizz and eupepsia, it does not aid digestion: it makes it worse. Rather than lending us the hyaline peristalsis of the angels — for whom “what redounds transpires […] with ease” — it aggravates purging and superfluity. And so, as Walter Charleton wrote in his translations of van Helmont, “we (as Nature) advance to the DEPURATION or Defecation”: we advance, that is, to nature’s inherently “excrementitious ways”.[note]Walter Charleton, Natural History of Nutrition, Life, and Voluntary Motion, Containing all the New Discoveries of Anatomists and Most Probable Opinions of Physicians, concerning the Oeconomie of Human Nature: Methodically Delivered in Exercitations Physico-Anatomical, (London, 1659), 91.[/note]

With all digestion there must be excrement (just as with all knowing there must be a transcendental barrier). And this applies at the highest level: it applies to the digestive tract of Milton’s cosmos itself, to the very archeus. There is, it seems, some dimension of matter that exceeds even God’s anabolic assimilation into divine forms. Excrement is — ontologically — insuperable. Angels still experience matter that “redounds”; nigredo is necessary for alchemical purification; even the glassy hyaloides are at risk of “depuration” from gutta serena.[note]Indeed, ‘hyaline’ has come — in modern usage — to denote the superfluous matter in degenerative medical conditions.[/note] As we have already glimpsed, the universe of Paradise Lost contains a surprising amount of scatology for a seemingly ultra-Christian theodicy: nature itself lets off two violent barrages of flatus upon the consumption of the Apple’s “intellectual food”. Elsewhere, we see Satan’s ‘anal cannons’: waging “intestine war in heaven” with artillery engines fashioned from the “entrails” of the empyrean, complete with “hideous orifice[s]” gaping “wide” [PL; vi.259, 517, 577]. In Book I, we hear of the “subterranean wind” belching from “thundering Ætna”, whose “entrails […] leave a singed bottom all involv’d / With stench” [PL; i.231‐7].[note]One cannot but imagine that gout-riddled Milton knew all about how a “singed bottom all involv’d / With stench” felt.[/note] This sprawling epic undeniably embeds the poetic traces of the tortured flatibusque that Milton himself complained of. Appropriately, it appears that Milton (probably as his health deteriorated) came progressively to reject his earlier promotion of the ideal of a perfect digestive tract: writing on transubstantiation in his De Doctrina, he explains that “if we eat flesh, it will not remain in us, but (to be utterly frank) after being digested […] will finally be voided”.[note]De Doctrina, 751.[/note] Even holy rituals cause shite. Further to this, we see that this same axiomatic irreducibility of excrement applies to God himself, and his own alimentary canal: i.e. it applies to Creation. When mapped in this way (i.e. within an archeus-inflected cosmological schematic), the axiom of the inevitability of excrement becomes recast as a troubling ability for matter to exceed even divine planning. This arises as a mutation of hylomorphism, one that Paracelsian philosophy encrypted as the idea of ‘chaos’ or ‘tartar’.

Within the ancient Aristotelian schema, ‘matter’ is merely the blank potency of being or non-being that forms take on (this is why it is properly thought of as merely the empty capacity — the receptacle — for accepting forms). It is thus nothing without forms: matter is more of a modal category than any kind of substratum or ‘stuff’. Matter is only actualised with the imposition of forms: which — for Aristotle and later scholasticism — are identical with intelligible structure. As a direct consequence, matter extricated from all intelligibility was entirely unthinkable.[note]This is not the same as idealism of the Berkelian variety (indeed, this was only possible much later). Rather, it is merely the claim that being is intelligible because it itself has a logical or propositional structure. The mutual entwining of actuality and intelligibility.[/note] Matter could not, in this schema, be self-actualising: which is to say that it could not be regarded as fully actualised outside of any relationship with mental categories. In a specific sense, then, all matter was caused by intellectual structures (and could not be thought of as self-causing). Hence, the collocation of matter with passivity or receptivity: an assumption that heavily informed Aristotelian gynaecology, wherein ‘hyle-’ was compared with menstrual fluid (as feminine and passive receptacle) and ‘-morphe’ was compared with seminal fluid (as masculine and form-giving nous). Moreover, it was precisely this tradition that inspired Paracelsus in his (deeply misogynistic) quest to remove the female from the reproductive process through the production of an alchemical homunculus via in vitro incubation: the ideal of an artificial (and, specifically, man-made) lifeform, which would be gestated only from pure seminal nous, thus — so it was thought — unalloyed of all dirty traces of feminine corporeality. Purged of feminised base matter, the male-created homunculus would be a creature of pure intellect. (Paracelsus, it appears, may have actually been a hermaphrodite: hence, possibly, his Promethean obsession with surpassing sexual hylomorphism/dimorphism.)[note]cf. William R. Newman, Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature, (University of Chicago Press, 2005), 197.[/note]


Nevertheless, aside from closely following the Aristotlean tradition in this gynaecological sense, the 16th-17th century iatrochemists were also beholden to subsequent, late medieval developments in the conception of ‘matter’ that had entirely transformed the ontological entailments of commitment to a hylomorphic model. In short, late medieval developments had forged a conception of matter as self-actualised and self-actualising outside of any relation to intelligibility. Thus, it could now finally take on its modern denotation of lethal externality (beforehand, matter could not be conceived of as ‘outsideness’, because — with matter and intelligibility considered as perfectly uniform — there could properly be no ‘outside’ in this novel, modern sense). Only here, with the idea of matter as causing itself outside of mental categories, could it become the alien otherness it is conceivable as today. This potentiated the idea of matter as an ‘outside’.

How did this happen? In short, during the late-medieval fortification of the Christian voluntarist tradition, the scholastic hylomorphic tradition mutated. God was split between the so-called potentia absoluta and potentia ordinata or between his absolute freedom and his constrained intellect — an anonymous and unthinkable/unthinking power and an intelligible and bureaucratic form. The argument ran that the former, the potentia absoluta, could not be constrained by anything… including our ideal categories. As such, it must be conceivable that things could become fully actualised beyond any relationship to mental structure or to conceivability. Thus, where matter was previously only ever conceivable in relationship to mind — and as caused by ideal structures — it now became thinkable as self-actualising outside of any relationship to mind: this is the same as saying that matter became thinkable as self-causing and thus as auto-producing. Hence, the fear of ‘matter without forms’ as something that is self-developing, self-directing, auto-productive, cancerous, etc. The prospect of ‘matter without forms’ transforms from the inert nothing of mere receptivity/passivity to the superlative nothing of an auto-productive zero. In the absence of the top-down anabolism of bureaucratic forms, hyle could switch into malignant self-direction: synecdochal revolt.

This was all a direct consequence of splitting God into an unconstrained power and an ordinate planning: for the crushingly absolute and unconditioned nature of the former smuggles in the ability for things to exceed even the decree of divine planning. God’s uncontrollable Id could recrudesce, dissolving his rightful Mind. Indeed, this likely represents the intellectual historical birth of the modern notion of the unconscious as an internal splitting (alienation). Through this mutation, the collocation of ‘matter and receptivity’ could eventually mutate fully into ‘matter and excessiveness’. With realism (in the full modern sense), matter’s distance from mind inverted from passive nothingness to superlative nothing: not the zero of reality, but the reality of zero. Materiality, by gaining autonomy from intelligibility, became thinkable as anonymous unthinkable power. Crushing anonymous omnipotence. Winnowed from intelligibility as its condition of actuality, matter could now be considered as pure rebellion and revolt against thought (and, thus, also God’s own divine planning). And, emerging from within (immanently), it is rebellion in the precise Satanic sense. Indeed, the fear of auto-production flows from here: matter without forms, exceeding all central planning, all assimilation, all divine eupepsia. Matter as total deregulation. Voluntarist force[note]Voluntarism can carry varying connotations. As a more modern political category, it has carried implications of the limitation of freedom to humanist models of agency. However, in its elder origins in the medieval, speculative excesses surrounding omnipotence, it actually first emerges as a conception in opposition to this later development. Voluntarism as pure freedom, being power beyond limitation, is the destruction of the structures and confines that necessarily delimit and individuate a human subject. Pure power tends towards impersonality. This more eldritch notion of sovereignty is utterly destructive regarding the modern humanist subject, yet, with delicious irony, the former lies at the source of the latter.[/note], defined by its distinction from intellect, accommodates a fear of the Real as self-causing alienness (as something that can exist entirely outside of its thinkability, because it causes itself), thus opening up the way for the horror of synecdochal revolt, as matter becomes self-directing and self-catalytic malignance, looping back into itself and surpassing any top-down rule (be it from Divine fiat, human norms, natural law, or the conditions of its representation and control). And so, matter could become the superlative nothing of an apoptotic hylomorphism rather than the inert nothing of orthodox hylomorphism. (Blindness not as asthenia of sight, but as the excess voluptuousness of darkness visible.) Thus, retrofitted onto the gastrointestinal system of alchemy, we arrive at acephalic excremental revolt. The belly usurps the head. (Just as Pepsi-addiction tends towards living-to-drink, rather than drinking-to-live.)

This heterodox ‘rotten hylomorphism’ was registered variously in the alchemical tradition as tartar, chaos, and nigredo: the excessive and irreducible excrement of the archeus; the blackened, goopy residue left over after fermentative and alchemical reactions. That which exceeds subtilisation or distillation into forms, and yet — as prima materia — remains the unruly condition of all ‘object specificity’.[note]PRIMA MATERIA = 232 = DOUBLE PINCER[/note] Zero becomes both departure and death. Thus, the incessant collocation of ‘womb’ and ‘tomb’ in Early Modern poetics.[note]”Zero is immense.”[/note] Indeed, Paracelsian gynaecology held that, in the absence of male seminal forms, female menstrual fluid would eventually come to feed back into itself and become a runaway self-propelling process of mutative self-development. Menstruation without semen — just like matter without forms — becomes self-feeding chaos. (Again, chaos has now inverted into the overabundance of essences, rather than their asthenia: excess rather than absence.) Arising from folklore tradition, it was generally held that basilisks were the product of wombs that, in the absence of regular male insemination, had looped into runaway auto-generation. Roko’s basilisk is God’s period.[note]Indeed, auto-production — because it is self-causing — is thus intimately tied up with both the demonic (as reproductive nothing) and, also, with temporal insurrection. Pepsi is basilisk-like because, as the avatar of auto-producing chaos, it comes to coerce itself into existence through the looping flows of tartareous base matter.[/note]

This language of apoptotic hylomorphism and chaotic menstrual excess makes its way directly into Paradise Lost, surrounding the crushingly ambiguous and troublingly central figure of Chaos. Milton describes this massa confusa of “embryon Atoms” as “the womb of nature and perhaps her grave” [PL; ii.900, 911]. Zero is tomb and womb. Material zero, as self-looping overabundance, is excess rather than receptivity: granted total autonomy from mentality, matter becomes self-causing (just like demonic zero). In Comus this is described as the “waste fertility” of an overflowing and superfluous Nature.[note]Comus, in Milton: The Complete Shorter Poems, ed. J. Carey, (Longman, 2007), ll.728.[/note] And this links directly to Milton’s extreme denial of ‘nothing’: for, in saying that nothing cannot be no thing, Milton unwittingly galvanises and evaginates it, making it into a powerful something, mutating baseline 0 into an overwhelming ontological force. He writes, in De Doctrina, “darkness was by no means nothing”:

[for if] darkness is nothing, then God surely created nothing by creating darkness, that is, he did and did not create, which is a self‐contradiction.[note]De Doctrina, 289.[/note]

Nothing can’t exist; even purest darkness is something. Thus, the necessitous nature of the infamous “darkness visible” [PL; i.36]: lacunae are excess not absence; violent externality not inert passivity. This even applies to blindness (via its direct connection to flatulence and excrement). Milton describes his blindness with the language of superfluity rather than absence. In the letter to Philarus, Milton writes that, as his

sight was completely destroyed […] abundant light would dart from my closed eyes [and] colours proportionately darker would burst with violence and a sort of crash from within; but now pure black, marked as if with extinguished or ashy light, and as if interwoven with it, pours forth. Yet the mist which always hovers before my eyes both night and day seems always to be approaching white rather than black.[note]De Doctrina, 867-71.[/note]

This aggressive blindness literally is darkness visible. (Significantly, Milton claims that even “pure black” tends, in his failing eyesight, towards “white”, and indeed, at the time, it was known that white was the accumulation of all of the spectrum.)[note]Spinoza, who specialised in ‘glassy essences’, wrote that “a white surface [is one] which reflects all rays of light”. Spinoza, The Correspondence of Spinoza, A. Woolf, (Russell & Russell, 1966), 393.[/note] Thus, seeing everything paradoxically includes within itself total blindness (insofar as seeing everything includes ‘seeing’ nothing, staring straight into the void). The ‘truth’ of sight is blindness, just as the lethal dose of life or truth is death. As such, it is telling that even in Milton’s early optimistic descriptions of perfect perceptive-digestive assimilation, the implication of scatological excess is not far away: the epistemological purity of “Elegy V” is smeared by the poet’s mention that, in seeing everything, he also sees the “Tartara caeca” — ‘caeca’ denoting ‘unseen depths’, but also the ‘blind gut’ or ‘large intestine’.[note]”Elegy V”, ll.20.[/note] Indeed, as we are about to see, “tartar” holds a special place in both Miltonic and Paracelsian cosmology as the rebellious shite of the universe. Nevertheless: because nothing is not a negation but a superlative, even blindness is a special type of seeing: it is seeing too much, it is looking straight into the blinding darkness of the universe’s tartara caeca, the appropriately named blind gut — the solar anus[note]PEPSI CHAOS = 201 = SOLAR ANUS[/note] — of the cosmos. Milton, in short, blinded himself because he looked too far into the fizzing, dyspeptic nigredo of Chaos.

The caecum, or ‘blind gut’.

And so, we arrive finally at Miltonic Chaos. Chaos is the ultimate hypostatisation of the auto-productive tendency latent within matter: the tendency to metastatise into its own self-selecting end-orientation — rather than the holy direction of divinely-sanctioned totality — thus coming more and more to threaten the primacy and integrity of the ‘host’ whole. Chaos is ontological cancer and crap. As Milton decrees, it is “neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire / But all these in their pregnant causes mixed” and it is likewise simultaneously “strait, rough, dense, or rare” (Chaos fizzes) [PL; ii.912-3, 948]. Again, it is ontological overabundance not ontological paucity. As such, whilst wading through this superseding elemental indigest, Satan simultaneously “swims or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flyes” — there is no medium-specificity here [PL; ii.950]. Qualities and essences overflow rather than withdraw. Thus, despite being hermeneutically linked with ‘ontological deficiency’ (because of its position as an allegorical figure), Milton’s Chaos is total superfluity. Chaos is the excremental pregnancy — the menstrual chaos and “waste fertility” — of God and Creation: the excrement of the cosmic archeus, it is that which fails to be incorporated (digested) into the happy hylomorphism (the agreeable working of the stomach-soul) within God’s intestinal system. Chaos as cosmic dyspepsia.

For Paracelsus, any archeus’s excrement is something called “tartar”. For, upon inspecting the black, thick, putrefied deposits inside wine casks (called ‘tartar’, ‘argol’, or ‘lees’), Paracelsus saw a tangible analogy for Chaos itself. The product of fermentation (i.e. digestion), wine lees was an alchemical analogy for universal excrement. It would come to be deployed by Paracelsus as symbol for the indivisible remainder of digestion. Accordingly, as physician, Paracelsus diagnosed this necrotic, blackened matter as the same stuff that built up within bodies and caused mortality (namely, in intestinal ulcers, gallstones and other such maladies). This tartar — whether in wine casks or human guts — came, ultimately, from what Paracelsus identified as the “superfluity” of all matter. For Paracelsus, following the tendency of a rotten hylomorphism, matter both in metabolism and perception always exceeds. Keeping this in mind, we now turn to the moment of Creation itself as depicted in Paradise Lost. Here Milton describes how God “as with a mantle did invest” the “rising world” as he comes to separate it — via divine dialysis — from the “waters dark and deep”, from the dark liquid abyss prior to creation. Just as the alchemists had done incessantly before him, Milton cannot help but give this watery filtration a gastric-scatological twist.

His brooding wings the spirit of God outspread
And vital virtue infuse’d, and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid Mass, but downward purg’d
The black tartareous cold infernal dregs [PL; vii.235-8]

(Note that “vital warmth” was associated, in the hylomorphic-gynaecologic tradition, with the formative and nous­-giving sperm — as contradistinguished from the “cold” base matter of menstrual hyle.) The implication here — via the deployment of the Paracelsian word “tartareous” to describe the “infernal dregs” — is unavoidably excremental.[note]In his edition of Paradise Lost, Flannagan annotates this passage claiming divinity ‘seems to excrete the regions of Hell’ (545). Fowler, in his edition, disclaims it as ‘not scatological’ (403), following Kerrigan; Kerrigan, however, does indeed admit it as ‘fecal’, ‘excremental’ and ‘in the anal mode’, in The Sacred Complex: On the Pyschogenesis of Paradise Lost (Harvard University Press, 1983), 69.[/note] Indeed, others amongst Milton’s contemporaries, those also schooled in iatrochemical lore, had reached similar conclusions: Thomas Tymme had reported that Moses “tells us that the Spirit of God moved upon the water” and therefore by “God’s Halchymie” the “corrupt stinking feces, or dross matter” was brought, in a digestive process of filtration, to the “christalline cleernes” of the firmament.[note]Thomas Tymme, The Practise of Chymicall, and Hermeticall Physicke, for the preservation of health. Written in Latin by Iosephus Quersitanus, Doctor of Phisicke. And translated into English, by Thomas Timme, minister (London, 1605), i.[/note]

God shits out the creation.


Pepsoidal Nigredo / Modern Alchemy

There is simply no way that Milton would have been unaware of the resonances he was weaving here. For Milton would have known all about tartar due to his own physical ailments. Contemporary medicinal understanding held that ulcers were tartareous growths: ontologically adjacent to the superfluities left over from fermentations. Paracelsus himself was a prolific and influential writer on this topic: for him, ulcers — like Satanic revolt — were malignant excrescences of auto-production, of synecdochal usurpation (as such, Milton would have understood his microscale splanchnic putrefaction in much the same way as the macroscale ‘intestine strife’ of heavenly revolt). As already explored in this series, Milton likely had a peptic ulcer. Moreover, a major symptom of this deadly ulcer would have been ‘melena’: the “passing of dark tarry faeces” containing blood.[note]OED.[/note] Identical in appearance to the wine tartar or ‘lees’ found in the bowels of brewing vats: the muck that Paracelsus had nominated as symbolic of the chaotic nigredo of creation. Thus, one must emphasise the striking fact that Milton — no stranger to ‘tartareous’ faeces and the medical literature surrounding it — chose to describe the very act of Biblical Creation as itself “tartareous”.

Significantly, in the chronotemporal layout of Paradise Lost, this cosmogenic bowel evacuation precedes Genesis’s separation of the waters. The vitreous filtration, then, was preceded by divine diarrhoea. Milton, elsewhere, writes that the hyaline separation was a “mere minister” of Creation, for “the spirit only brooded on the surface of waters which had already been created”.[note]De Doctrina, 287 — my emp.[/note] Thus, we note that nature’s crystalline aspect is ontologically posterior to its faecal aspect — just as Crystal Pepsi was merely a camouflaged version of the obsidian original. As such, the core paradox arising from the laws and fundaments of Milton’s miniature universe comes into full focus: all things — even the seemingly perspicuous firmaments — are sedimented, condensed, or coagulated out of base Chaos. With an ambiguity that resounds throughout his entire universe, Milton presents his Chaos as equally antecedent and as equally infinite as God: this “infinite Abyss” [PL; ii.405] is “Ancestor […] of Nature” [PL; ii.896]; and as “eldest Night” [PL; ii.894] it is properly the “Womb of nature” [PL; ii.911]. And so, we have located this as the originary trauma attendant upon the internal workings of Miltonic cosmogeny and metaphysics: this is the secret of the Miltonic chronotope. Beginning in an excremental ‘purging’ of tartareous prima materia from the godhead, the universe forever encases within itself the excessive capacity of matter: that which refuses (and routes around) imposition and regimentation. As such, the default state of matter is not obedience or formfulness: the gut floras of creation do not harmonically “sing their great Creator” by default, but only by the coercion of constant stratification. The default state of matter is usurpation and escape (hence, the constant risk of ontic synecdoche). And this means that the risk of chaotic relapse quivers at all ontological echelons as indwelling potency. Consequently, this process of divine digestion is continual and unceasing. Because Chaos is the baseline and default, God must keep anabolizing the “Lump” of increatum in order to stop it relapsing into primordial formlessness. Thus, excretion and dialysis are condemned to inexorability.

This can be seen in Milton’s depiction of Limbo as an immune-sewage system for the tumours of hylomorphism. That is, all the excessive and teratological forms of the world pass through Limbo — as the colon of Creation — before being excreted into the Outside. All “unaccomplished works of nature’s hand / Abortive monstrous or unkindly mixed / Dissolved on earth” pass into Limbo, as Milton envisions [PL; iii.455-7]. Moreover, Limbo is contiguous with Chaos as the nethermost port of Creation: described as a “boundless continent” with “ever-threatening storms […] blustering around [PL; iii.425-6]. And, as such, its purpose is clearly to crap out all the destabilizing matter needing to be excreted from right creatio. As such, Limbo is seen to contain a peristaltic procession of “embryos and idiots”, alongside Enoch’s Nephilim, born of ancient miscegenation “betwixt the angelic and human kind” [PL; iii.462]. Continuing the deep connection between metabolism and epistemology, Limbo also therefore contains theological and philosophical excrescences too: “relics, beads” and “dispenses [or] bulls” are farted out by the “violent cross wind” [PL; iii.489-92]. (Limbo, thus, is a cosmological limbic system: it filters out dangerous forms and ejaculates them into chaos.) These internal specters of chaos-relapse are pushed outwards, and they “pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed” [PL; iii.481], before their “abortive” purge into the Outside. This is the anus of the universe. As such, we see how everything — at all ontological levels — expresses the potential to collapse back into effervescent, liquid blackness. In short, the matter of Chaos’s “outrageous […] sea” is imposed with God’s forms to become the eupeptic “crystalline ocean” that we witness as the “new-made World”, and yet the “extremes / Contiguous” will always loom underneath [vii.212, 272–3]. (Identical, again, to the fact that consumers could taste that Crystal Pepsi was a lie because the taste of saccharine blackness lurked beneath perspicuous appearance.) It is the cosmic unconscious of ontological dyspepsia — the “tartara caeca” or “blind gut” — rumbling and gurgling beneath the glassy “hyaline”: and, like “Acheron”, it is “black and deep” and fizzy [PL; ii.578]. Quite simply, Chaos is not defeated but only temporarily repressed by the forms of divine central-planning: like a liquid or a gas under pressure it always struggles to release itself and to fizz forth from the depths.

boilt peps



So, we turn, once more, from the birth of the cosmos, back to the bubbling birth of Pepsi Cola. Immediately, one notes the resonances between the wine tartrates that Paracelsus describes and Pepsi-Cola: blackened and tartareous, wine lees were often also sugary and sweet. Certainly, it has become a memetic contagion of late to unveil this viscous blackened mass as the true state of Pepsi Cola (YouTube videos abound depicting the results of boiling cola).[note][/note] As a form of modern alchemy, one ferments the cola into a similar chemical state as the tartrates that inspired Paracelsus to describe the “superfluity” latent in all matter. Subsequently, we note the crucial fact that van Helmont first discovered carbon dioxide — thus initiating the chain of events that led to the invention of Pepsi Cola — precisely by studying tartar. Spurred on by Paracelsus’s obsession with this particular substance (and the centrality it came to enjoy in his mentor’s metaphysics), he studied at great length the fermenting process of wine. Observing the emanations from wine vats, he first came to the conclusion that they were releasing “gas sylvestre”. Thus, just as Priestley would later invent soft drinks through studying the fermentation process of beer, carbonation was first discovered by van Helmont through his inspection of the ferment of wine.[note]Indeed, beer brewing produces an equivalent tartrate substance to wine lees, referred to as ‘trub’.[/note] Pepsi’s discovery arises out of tartareous muck. And the occult synchronicities continue to surge backwards as Pepsi-Chaos loops into its own historical creation: for the very word ‘gas’ derives directly from ‘chaos’.[note]SOFT DRINK = 197 = PRIME CHAOS [/note] 

Because of the link Paracelsus had made between tartareous ferment and the prima materia, van Helmont — from the very beginning — connected carbon dioxide and carbonation with chaos. To carbonate something was to impregnate it with a chaotic essence. And accordingly, ‘chaos’ is invoked in ‘gas’ through the phoneme ‘g’, which in van Helmont’s native Dutch sounds exactly like the ‘kh’ in the Greek ‘khaos’.[note]It also shares resonances with the word ‘geest’ or ‘geist’ (for spirit or ghost).[/note] (Furthermore, it holds resonances with Dutch words for fermentation.) With this coinage, van Helmont meant to signpost the fact that CO2 gas is — precisely — chaos. Thus, the relation to chaos and indigestion is philologically embedded within the word ‘carbonation’. For, as we have already seen, ‘indigest’ was itself an ancient substantive for chaos. Moreover, ‘chaos’ itself — coming from the Greek verb ‘to yawn’ — is related to Indo-European roots for the term ‘gape’: echoing the orifices that pumped the world with excremental entropy-chaos in the first place. Helmont continued to deepen this link, explaining that his “gas” is a form of “halitus”: meaning ‘wind’ or ‘emanation’, from which our term ‘halitosis’ derives. Chaos thus refers not only to prima materia but also to the gassy emanations of gaping orifices. Excrement is chaotic; chaos is excremental. “Every flatus in us is a wild Gas”, he wrote, “stirred up by digestion from meats, drinks and excrements”. Carbonation — the secret behind soft drinks — is originally discovered through alchemical study of the chaotic effluence of the cosmos. In naming Pepsi Cola after dyspepsia, Caleb Bradham was ventriloquised by this rich tradition that arcs back across occult history.[note]CALEB BRADHAM’S DRINK = 307 = PEPSI COSMOGENY[/note]

Thus, we are forced to conclude that Pepsi is intimately related to the Chaos of Milton’s Paradise Lost (sharing their genesis and inspiration in the gastric-iatrochemical metaphysics of Paracelsus and van Helmont), and insofar as both Pepsi and Chaos are auto-productive, they allow for the temporal looping (auto-production tends towards self-causation, which is a form of retrochronic exchange) that reveals the occult retrocausal pathways, opened up to us via this alchemical knowledge, by which Pepsi ventriloquises Miltonic Chaos, just as Miltonic Chaos prefigures Pepsi.

Tomorrow: ‘Sugar & Zero, Milton & Böhme: the Dyspeptic Abyss of Theogony’

part 4 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

Yesterday: ‘Peristaltic Metaphysics and the Invention of Pepsi’

DAY 4. Alchemy to Chemistry: or, the Occult History of Carbonated Beverages and the Secret Origins of Pepsi Cola

Pepsi Cola was not the first fizzy drink. Neither was it the first fizzy drink to be packaged as a digestive aid. In terms of deep historical lineage, fizzy drinks emerged directly out of the alchemical and iatrochemical tradition and its obsession with the secrets of gastroenterology. Put differently, Pepsi’s occult genetic history — the story of its emergence into the world — connects straight back to the lab of van Helmont and the speculations of Paracelsus: Pepsi’s genesis is thus inextricably tangled up with the ideas that percolate through Paradise Lost’s alchemical metaphysics.

In 1767, Joseph Priestley — dissenting theologian, radical chemist and political utopian — moved into a new house in Leeds. It was next to a brewery. Chemists at the time were fervently experimenting with gases, leading, eventually, to Lavoisier’s dismissal of the phlogiston theory of combustion; the discovery of oxygen (in part also attributed to Priestley); and the postulation of chemical elements, igniting, in other words, the birth of modern chemistry. Of particular research interest at the time was a curious colourless and odourless gas that was referred to as ‘fixed air’ or ‘factitious air’. Chemists had long been interested in its strange properties: for example, if you held a flame in it, it would be extinguished, and it was known to suffocate animals. Importantly, it also notoriously collected in wineries and breweries. Taking advantage of his surroundings, the freshly-settled Priestley set to work, requesting his new neighbours’ permission to begin experiments on their premises. Heavier than air, this gas (which we now call ‘carbon dioxide’ after Lavoisier’s later identification of it) would build up above the fermentation vats (indeed, it had long proved a lethal danger as it was prone to pool in silos and cellars, asphyxiating unwitting workers). Priestley, accordingly, began attempts to extract this so-called ‘fixed air’ from above the brewery’s beer vats. Following one experiment — in which he poured water from one container to another just above the fermenting vats — the chemist noticed that the liquid had suddenly become effervescent or, as he put it, “impregnated with air”.[note]Joseph Priestley, Impregnating Water with Fixed Air; In order to communicate to it the peculiar Spirit and Virtues of Pyrmont water, and other Mineral Waters of Similar Nature (1772).[/note] Priestley, in other words, had just made the world’s first artificial fizzy drink. Soda could now be unleashed upon the world. Always a utopian, Priestley later said this was his “happiest” invention.[note]Just as they were misidentified — upon arrival — as agents of eupepsia (rather than the dyspepsia-generators they really are), soft drinks were routinely mistaken for utopian items. Before its eventual unveiling as an agent of capital’s superstimuli invasion and means-ends reversal, fizziness became symbolic of utopia. The eccentric François Marie Charles Fourier was famous, of course, for imagining that an environmentally re-engineered earth would soon begin exhibiting oceans of lemonade. One imagines the fully-capitalised earth exhibiting the opposite: surging with obsidian seas of necrotizing cola.[/note] Little did he know…

Without hesitation, Priestley immediately billed his discovery as a cure for digestive issues. (This would become part of a tradition surrounding carbonated liquids extending from Priestley forwards to Bradham and backwards to Paracelsus.) He became convinced that his new artificially-manufactured carbonated water would help to prevent scurvy — the horrendous affliction that had murdered around two million sailors between 1500 and 1800.[note]Simon Shorvon & Humphrey Hodgson, Physicians and the War (Hachette, 2016), 37.[/note] Importantly, scurvy (just before James Lind’s research demonstrated it to be caused by a deficit of vitamins, curable with citrus) was considered a digestive illness. It was thought that the disease was occasioned by the dyspeptic “putrefaction” of the sufferer’s visceral organs, arising from indigested foodstuffs rotting inside their intestines. Under the impression that the fizzy water would help alleviate this (and sensing government commendation), Priestley proposed soda drinks as a cure to scurvy in a 1772 paper addressed to the British Admiralty, entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air; In order to communicate to it the peculiar Spirit and Virtues of Pyrmont water, and other Mineral Waters of Similar Nature.[note]Fizzy water took the name ‘Pyrmont water’ due to a famous naturally carbonated spring in Pyrmont, Germany. Earlier in the century, scientists had demonstrated that Pyrmont’s water was fizzy due to the ‘impregnation’ of ‘fixed air’ within it.[/note] Therein, Priestley provided an appendix detailing the treatment — via administration of ‘fixed air’ beverages — of a patient with a “putrescent state of the [internal] fluids”. “Fevers of the putrid kind” are cured by “fixed air”, it was confidently reported.[note]Joseph Priestley, Impregnating Water with Fixed Air; In order to communicate to it the peculiar Spirit and Virtues of Pyrmont water, and other Mineral Waters of Similar Nature (London, 1772), 18.[/note] In agreement with this conclusion, Nathaniel Hulme (1732-1807) — an influential naval surgeon — became likewise convinced that the cause of scurvy was bad diet and insisted that imbibing “fixed air” would “prevent the putrefaction of human tissue by disease”.[note]Indeed, prior to Priestley’s invention of reliably creating soda water, the production of beverages from carbonic acids had been common. So-called “Elixir of Vitriol” was a common treatment, which was presumed to engender “fixed air” effervescence in the stomach and banish the disease. Carbonated waters were introduced as a scorbutic cure as early as 1764. The practice of administering these highly acidic drinks would likely have done more to hinder than help, and unfortunately remained in place until 1795.[/note] Subsequently, a device for producing carbonated drinks was installed on board James Cook’s HMS Resolution, and, sure enough, none of his crew suffered from scorbutic blight. In hindsight, this had more to do with Cook’s meticulous captainship and good practice; the carbonated drinks, nevertheless, were considered a great success. It was not long until a German watchmaker called Johann Jacob Schweppe (1740-1821) set up the first mass production factory for carbonated drinks in Drury Lane, and, riding on the back of contemporary medicinal wisdom, he marketed his soft drink as a cure for biliousness. From the very beginning, then, carbonated drinks were related intimately to peptic issues: it was this tradition of entwining medicinal presumptions and entrepreneurial savvy — entrenched in the 18th century by Priestley, Hulme, Schweppe, etc. — that Caleb Bradham, inventor of Pepsi, was drawing on in the 1890s when he invented his exhilarating ‘cure’ for dyspepsia.

Returning to the late 1700s, however, we see that the benefits of fizz were so highly regarded that they even briefly became the subject of military intrigue. Following the nautical success of Priestley’s “impregnated water”, “[t]he Royal Society […] thought it was the start of a medical and travel revolution”[note]Tristan Donovan, Fizz: How Soda Shook up the World (Chicago, 2013), 8.[/note], and this was instantly perceived as “vital to the strategic interest of the Royal Navy since carbonated water [was thought to remain] fresh longer [and] was useful for treating upset stomachs”.[note]Arthur Greenberg, From Alchemy to Chemistry, (Wiley, 2006), 290.[/note] It was considered a naval breakthrough. Where it had previously been a concern that France — a country filled with naturally carbonated mineral water springs — may have the edge on the Navy in this department, the Brits had suddenly upended the asymmetry. Along with Lind’s breakthroughs in vitamin deficiency, it was not long until carbonated lime juice was a regular for the navy (hence, ‘Limeys’). As Greenberg writes, “Priestley thus helped Britannia to ‘rule the waves'”. Fascinatingly, this strategic “soda-pop gap” triggered an episode of international espionage wherein a Portugese monk[note]Named Joaoa Jacinto de Magelhaens.[/note], acting in French interests as a spy within the UK, purloined a copy of Priestley’s paper and sent it back to Lavoisier. (Like any good world-changing consumer item, Pepsi — along with the internet, jet engines, and microwaves — started life as a military invention.) From this view, Pepsi’s self-assembly feeds back into itself — in a veritable bootstrapping process — as the naval prowess bequeathed by carbonation technology facilitated the furthering of the sugar trade’s global network[note]Indeed, it was precisely around this time — during the later 18th century — that sugar exploded into a household commodity, possessing the taste-buds of Europeans: the New World islands took full advantage of this and the overseas trade boomed. In England and Wales, sugar consumption increased 2000% in the 1700s.[/note], thus dragging world history further towards convergence upon the point at which sugar-addiction and fizziness merge in the invention of cola.

Scurvy affliction / scorbutic legs.

Nevertheless, for all his genius, Priestley could not have stumbled upon the production of carbonated water if he had not been previously aware of ‘fixed air’. He could not have made his aerated waters without a prior notion of gas. And gas is, itself, a direct invention of the alchemical-archeus tradition. ‘Gas’ was first identified by none other than Jan Baptist van Helmont in his own speculations upon digestion and the various nested archaei of the natural order. “He was the first to realise that gaseous substances other than air exist”, writes Almqvist.[note]Ebbe Almqvist, History of Industrial Gases (Plenum, 2003), 3.[/note] And the first gas van Helmont discovered — thus the first gas ever properly described by science — was, appropriately, carbon dioxide. Indeed, Paracelsus had himself made some headway in this department (suggesting that there was something in the air that sustained living organisms, and by experimenting with hydrogen)[note]Paracelsus saw that when iron is dissolved in sulfuric acid “air rises and breaks out like wind”. Unbeknownst to Paraclesus this was hydrogen.[/note], yet it was van Helmont who first discovered CO2 as a “gas” separate from air.[note] “In consequence of burning coal ‘spiritus sylverstris’ comes into being. This spiritus, which was formerly unknown and cannot be kept in vessels, and cannot be converted into a visible form, I call by the new name ‘gas’.” Helmont, Ortus Medicinae, (Amsterdam, 1656). Thus, the invention of Pepsi stretches back from Bradham to Priestley and from there to van Helmont: it was exactly van Helmont’s discovery of CO2 in the 17th century that allowed for Priestley, in the 18th century, to kick-start the formation of the global soda industry in the ensuing 19th and 20th centuries. It was also as a direct consequence of van Helmont’s experimentations with CO2 and carbonated waters that Robert Boyle later was able to formulate his important ‘Boyle’s law’.[/note] Moreover, it was exactly van Helmont’s fascination with gastric process that originally led him to this discovery in the first place. Spurred on by his theory of the archeus, in which all cosmic processes are essentially digestive processes, van Helmont experimented heavily with fermentation processes. This is what first led him to notice that what he called “gas sylvestre” (carbon dioxide) was a separate substance from air. From carefully observing fermentation (which he took to be the digestive work of the universal archeus), van Helmont founded the concept of ‘gas’, coining the word at the same time. Helmont noted, moreover, that “gas sylvestre” arose in both wine cellars and breweries and in naturally-carbonated spring waters.[note]There is a direct line of experiments from here to Priestley’s work. Following van Helmont, others in the early 18th century had developed the connection between ‘fixed air’ and effervescent mineral waters: early in the century, the artificial production of ‘fixed air’ was developed via applying acid to chalk; and in 1741, William Brownrigg demonstrated the famous Pyrmont waters were “aerated” because they contain precisely this “fixed air” gas; Brownrigg had heated a bottle of spa water and, collecting the CO2, suffocated mice with it. Around 1757, Joseph Black produced the first systematic investigation of CO2; in 1770, Torben Bergman started trying to document the composition of spring waters in detail. No-one, until Priestley, however, had managed to reliably create drinkable fizziness (although a Frenchman named Gabriel Venel had attempted to duplicate the Selters water, it had developed a foul taste in the process). Priestley produced an apparatus for producing this water; soon after, by 1781, carbonated water was able to be produced on a large scale.[/note] As Pagel writes, “gas [became] central to his naturalist philosophy and cosmosophy”.[note]Walter Pagel, Joan Baptista Van Helmont: Reformer of Science and Medicine (CUP, 2002), 61.[/note] Finally, van Helmont first demonstrated that CO2 was given off when acid was poured on carbonates: it is from here that ‘soda water’ gets its name, because cooking soda was a commonly used carbonate for this process.


Aside from providing the awareness of gases that allowed Priestley and others to produce soda water, the very idea that carbonated liquids are good for digestion can be traced directly back to the iatrochemists. Naturally, both van Helmont and his mentor Paracelsus were incredibly interested in carbonated mineral waters arising from spas and springs. Paracelsus, who was born the year after Columbus first voyaged to the American continent (bringing with him the sugarcane seedlings that would eventually blossom into the globally enveloping market turbulence of the Sugar Trade)[note]And thus installing the material conditions of worldwide Pepsi-production.[/note], is known as the “father of balneology” for his pioneering medical interest in carbonated spring waters (balneology, of course, being the study of medicinal spring bathing and the therapeutic effects of their waters).[note]H Schadewaldt, ‘Paracelsus and Balneology’, in Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax., 29:83 (1994), 371-6.[/note] Since antiquity, civilizations have been mesmerised by fizzy water bubbling out of the earth. Soda water has long been known as ‘Seltzer water’ because of the famous Selterswasser springs in Selters, Netherlands, which have been documented since 771 AD. Further back, since at least Hippocrates, fizzy spa water had been associated with eupepsia and good health. Hannibal famously refreshed himself with fizzing water from Vergeze on his way to sack Rome in 218 BC. Medieval alchemists prescribed effervesced spring waters to promote good digestion. Soon, after the 14th century, an international trade for bottled spa water arose. Accordingly, across Europe, natural springs and baths slowly became healing centres: including, for example, the famous Pyrmont mineral springs in Germany or the town of Spa in Belgium. Perrier Soda Water, indeed, is still bottled from a naturally occurring spring. Nevertheless, it was Paracelsus who is said to have initiated the concerted study of the properties of these fizzy springs.

In the summer of 1535 he travelled the spa town of Bad Pfafers, from which he wrote his influential Baderbuchlin (which we know John Dee read eagerly).[note]John Dee’s annotations on Paracelsus’s Baderbuchlin.baderbuchlinwithjohndeesannotations[/note] Always obsessed with digestion, Paracelsus was quick to focus discussion upon the supposedly eupeptic properties of the water. He praised carbonated spring water as “driv[ing] away gout, and mak[ing] the stomach as strong in digestion as that of a bird that digests tartar and iron”.[note]Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance (Karger, 1982), 26.[/note] Imagining the ‘occult’ powers of the earth’s chthonic healing laboratories — fizzing forth at the surface in this natural medicine — Paracelsus became enthused: he attempted to artificially recreate the fizziness, but met with no success. It was, as we have seen, only with his apprentice, van Helmont, that this effervescence first became the subject of reverse engineering, thus opening the pathway to the industrial and globalised production of soft drinks. Speculating even that the acidity of the spa waters held some occult connection with gastric acid, Paracelsus and van Helmont enthusiastically opined that carbonated waters were better than almost any other medicines. Bolstering an enduring fascination with the fizziness that seeps from the planet’s chthonic depths — stretching back to Hippocrates, and becoming more popular throughout the Middle Ages — the iatrochemical tradition helped to fully entrench the connection between fizz and eupepsia in the public consciousness.


Tomorrow: ‘🅱🅰🆂🅸🅻🅸🆂🅺: Menstrual Chaotics and God’s Ectopic Pregnancy’


part 3 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

Yesterday: ‘Crystal Pepsi / Crystal Hyaline: or, How to See with your Gut’

DAY 3. Peristaltic Metaphysics and the Invention of Pepsi


Milton connected his blindness to his gastric problems. He suffered from severe gout, and, moreover, was afflicted by stomach ulcers. His eventual death seems to have been caused — as recent biographers have argued, after consulting medical specialists — by a peptic ulcer (an ulcer of the gastrointestinal tract). It is feasible, his biographers write, that, besides gout, ‘Milton’s other chronic complaints […] included abdominal discomfort and bloating, consonant with [peptic ulcer]’.[note]G. Campbell, & T.N. Corns,  John Milton: Life, Work and Thought (OUP, 2008), 211.[/note] (The flatulent poet lists “intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs” on the menu of uniquely postlapsarian punishments for mankind [PL; xi.484.]

In 1893 — more than two centuries after Milton’s magnum opus — a North Carolina drugstore-owner by the name of Caleb Bradham (1867-1934), produced his own magnum opus. Of course, “magnum opus” originally refers to the alchemical-chyrsopoeian process of transmuting prima materia into the elixir of life; as his life’s achievement, Bradham’s product was indeed a veritable magnum opus, but rather than purifying matter into crystalline perspicuity, his elixir intensified the depuration and ontological liquefaction that had been set in motion with the Fall. In the terms of Chesterton’s adage, what Bradham had unleashed was inherently tied with this Fall, even in spite of its chronological distance. The twenty-six-year-old pharmacist had produced what he soon dubbed “Pepsi Cola”: a lapis philosophorum for the capitalized — that is, fallen — age.


Previously known simply as “Brad’s Drink”, Bradham — savvy businessman that he was — changed the name to Pepsi in order to advertise (camouflage) his beverage as a medicine. Hence, the name ‘Pepsi’, inspired by the Ancient Greek root πέπτω (‘peptō’, denoting digestion).[note]Dr. Pepper was possibly named with a similar proviso in mind. Everyone knows that Coca-Cola is so named because of its links to the then medicinal substance, cocaine.[/note] Thus Pepsi was first sold as a medicinal aid to eupepsia, exactly the issue that had so blackened Milton’s eyesight. However, carbonated water is now known to increase symptoms of an irritable bowel via the release of CO2 into the intestines.[note]This is likely why consumers subconsciously rejected the marketing collocation of Crystal Pepsi with hyaline perspicuity.[/note] This renders Bradham’s marketing highly ironic considering that Pepsi actually becomes a prime — at least, highly visible — lubricant for capital’s forces of terrestrial putrefaction and ontological liquidation, and, rather than any elixir of life, its surge across the globe represents thanatropic return to blackened prima materia.[note]CALEB BRADHAM = 178 = MELTDOWN = TIDAL WAVE[/note] Occult connections and synchronicities between Pepsi and Milton flow backwards into time from this point onwards. It was not only Pepsi, but carbonated drinks in general, that camouflaged their bootstrapped passage into the world via a tactical co-option of the ancient belief that fizzy drinks aid indigestion (and, in particular, peptic ulcers).[note]PEPTIC ULCER = 227 = TIME ANOMALY[/note] Milton — sufferer of severe dyspepsia and ulcer — will have been intimately aware of this tradition, and fittingly,  Bradham capitalized on it by branding his new tarry drink with the tagline

Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion.

Did Milton die — outmanoeuvred by his own internal peptic ‘satan’, an infernal and internal revolt — because he could not drink enough of Bradham’s Pepsi elixir? No. Quite the opposite: he was already drowning in templex cola. Imagine an autopsy report for the blind poet. His internal viscera coated in thick, black, sugary tartar. ‘How is this possible?’ you ask, reeling… ‘Pepsi invents itself from the future’ something whispers back. Suddenly, you understand the shape of terrestrial history.



In his 1654 letter to François Thévenin — after delineating the medical connection between his dyspepsia and his blindness — Milton links himself to Phineus, the King of Thrace — brutally punished by the gods — a penalty that involved his eyesight being taken away. It simultaneously entailed him being eternally tortured by harpies who would constantly besmirch and befoul all of Phineus’s banquets and dinners. Excreting all over his food, the harpies ensured that the king would have to forever consume only indigestible putrescence. The reason why Phineus was prosecuted by the gods? Because, so the story goes, of his Promethean power of prophecy (the ability, that is, to see beyond empirical time and into the Outside that structures it). To punish his ability to see the future, the gods took away Phineus’s ability to see anything. Thus, here, Milton is subtly linking his own blindness and his own problems with food to a knack for prophecy. Like Phineus, Milton — for his prophetic part as templex harbinger of the unleashing of bootstrapping Chaos-Pepsi — also lost his sight. Insofar as Milton theorised upon the auto-productive tendencies of Chaos he was simultaneously prophesying upon the self-constructive tendency of the positive feedback loops constitutive of effervescing modernity. And prophecy, as they say, is indistinguishable from retrochronic information exchange. Bubbling Pepsi, via such retrojection, mobilises Chaos as a symbol and harbinger for itself.




By weaving perception — and even reasoning — into a continuum with digestive process, Paradise Lost presents an uninterrupted metabolic continuity flowing from material to ideal. This is a founding ontological principle of Milton’s fictional world-model, his chronotope. The poet folds digestion inside-out: extending it extra-somatically, making it the cohesive — or binding — principle of his entire universe. Digestion becomes the heuristic under which Milton legitimates his well-known commitment to metaphysical monism. Thus: a nutritive monism. As he emphatically decrees, “whatever was created, needs / To be sustained and fed; of elements / The grosser feeds the purer” [PL; v.414-6]. On a number of occasions in Paradise Lost, Milton stresses that the universe is not constructed of divergent metaphysical orders, but is — rather — somewhat like a ‘holobiont’: an assemblage of varying ecological units that are nested within one alimentary unity. Indeed, even the “empyrean” is folded into continuity with this nourishing process. Lower feeds upon higher, interminably. Thus, the cosmos becomes cast as a universal process, weaving the higher and lower into a procedural nutritive unity. Indeed, in order to buttress his monistic commitments, this process of cosmic digestion lends itself to Milton as the perfect heuristic to illustrate a continuum between thinking and being, or even creator and creation, because digestion is the process whereby unorganised matter becomes organically structured into the make-up of life itself: it demonstrates, in deeply tangible terms, an actually existing continuum between ‘stuff’ and ‘spirit’, between ‘stoff’ und ‘geist’, that takes place constantly within all of our own bodies. (As another benefit, the universe’s metaphysical make-up therefore becomes intuitive through splanchnic interoception: therefore legitimating not intellectual intuition but metabolic intuition.) This is why, for example, Milton goes out of his way to stress that even angels require “food alike” to man, and feel “keen despatch / Of real hunger” [PL; v.407, 436]. Just as the lower is linked to the higher, because nutritive process is continuous with spiritual process, so too is the higher necessarily folded into the lower. In Book V, Adam offers sustenance to the visiting angel, Raphael. Adam — naïve and fresh-made — worries that his earthly nutriment may prove “unsavoury food perhaps / To spiritual natures” such as that of a seraphim. In response, Raphael eloquently — and politely — explains:

                                     food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn. [PL; v.407-13]

All beings exhibit anabolism, as “the creation groaneth and travileth” together for (digestive) salvation (Romans 8.22). All things “concoct, digest, assimilate”, thus “corporeal to incorporeal” tend. This intriguing schema, crucially, is a manoeuvre smuggled in from alchemical thinking.


The iatrochemists and chyrsopoeians had long been encouraged by biblical Genesis’s image of a universe created via a process of liquid separation, a hyaline distillation. It legitimated their idea that the universe was itself alchemical in fundamental nature. To put it differently, those who — with obsessive determination — laboured to imitate nature’s work (through the manufacture of artificial life in the pursuit of the alchemical homunculus) would obviously be allured by nature’s own imitation of their work. And what was nature’s imitation of alchemy? Digestion, of course. Biological metabolism can easily be cast as a mirroring — an ontological analogy — of the alchemist’s own, artificial procedures of distillation, purification, and subtilisation. Not only did alchemists consequently deploy this analogy to authenticate their own endeavour, they also used it as the foundation upon which to build a full-blown alchemical-digestive metaphysics. The renowned physician and iatrochemist Paracelsus (1493-1541) took this the furthest: resulting in his postulation that the entire universe is quite simply a stomach.[note]Instigator of modern chemistry, usurper of Galenic hegemony, and possible hermaphrodite, Philippus Aurelous Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim — self-styled as Paracelsus — was a Swiss physician (born in a town called Egg) who, despite the amnesia of later ages, can be compared to a figure like Descartes in terms of the stature and extent of the influence he exerted.[/note]

Paracelsus was certain that everything was suffused within a liquid process of dialysis and filtration, the eternally continuing watery act of Genesis’s Creation. All things, he theorised, were ongoing, individualised versions of this original alchemical “firmament”: accordingly, Paracelsus located the “firmament” in man as his alimentary canal, and related it to the “firmament” in heaven (again, hyaloides to hyaline).[note]Paracelsus uses the idea of “limus terrae” as bridge between micro- and macrocosm. “Limus terrae” is the “primordial stuff of the earth” that God formed Adam out of, but it is also “an extract of the firmament, of the universe of stars, and at the same time of all the elements”. Star-stuff, indeed.[/note] To nomenclate his schema, Paracelsus invented his own idiosyncratic twist on the ancient anima mundi idea: the “archeus”, positioned as a cosmic digestive process, suffusing and conjoining all.[note]ARCHEUS = 138 = COSMOS[/note] The Great Chain of Being becomes a gastrointestinal tract, ontology a caecal labyrinth. For, as nature’s immanent alchemist, this archeus is the “physician of nature” and “the workman who gives origins by drawing and forging all”.[note]W. Pagel, Joan Baptista Van Helmont: Reformer of Science and Medicine (CUP, 2002), 99.[/note] All individual stomachs are objectivizations of this Absolute metabolism: conditioned individuations of an unconditional gut; an ur-gut which therefore becomes the very condition of possibility for all subsidiary digestions. Paracelsus’s influential Flemish disciple, Joan Baptiste van Helmont (1580-1644) accordingly spoke of this cosmological archeus as “comprehend[ing] and cherish[ing] within itself the Sun, and the herd of lesser stars, which diffuse[s] through all the limbes or parts of this great Animal, the World”.[note]W. Charleton, & J.B. van Helmont, A Ternary of Paradoxes: The Magnetick Cure of Wounds, Nativity of Tartar in Wine, Image of God in Man – Written Originally by Joh. Bapt. Van Helmont, and Translated, Illustrated, and Ampliated by Walter Charleton, Doctor in Physick, and Physician to the late King (London, 1650), 44.[/note] Microcosmically recapitulated in the individual, this becomes the “plastic spirit, [that] in the seed comprehends, contrives, and models the whole figure of Man […] limns out all the lineaments [of] the parts”.[note]Ibid.58.[/note] Linking planetary distillation to gastric distillation, Helmont wrote that “in the bowels, the planetary Spirits doe most shine forth, even as also, in the whole influous Archeus, the courses and forces of the Firmament do appear”.[note]J.B. van Helmont, Oriatrike, or, Physick Refined: the common errors therein refuted, and the whole art reformed and rectified: being a new rise and progress of the phylosophy and medicine for the destruction of diseases and prolongation of life, trans. J. Chandler (London, 1662), 36.[/note] Man truly is the microcosm; but not through his head or through his heart; rather, he symbolises the cosmos through his gut. Our bowels are made of star-stuff, a black-eyed Carl Sagan would intone…


Such ideas soon made their way across the Channel to England, and thus to Milton. Thomas Tymme (?-1620), puritan clergyman and dabbler in alchemy, attempted to gloss the bible with his own vision of Paracelsian-digestive “Halchymie” (the prefix ‘Hal-‘ meaning ‘of the sea’, thus denoting the firmamental-gastric ocean that permeates through each individual).[note]Thomas Tymme, The Practise of Chymicall, and Hermeticall Physicke, for the preservation of health. Written in Latin by Iosephus Quersitanus, Doctor of Phisicke. And translated into English, by Thomas Timme, minister (London, 1605)[/note] Another major disseminator was Walter Charleton (1619-1707). He translated van Helmont’s De Magnetica Vulnerum (1621) and A Ternary of Paradoxes (1650). He would write, accordingly, of the “poverty of our Reason compared to the wealthy harvest of [van Helmont and Paracelsus]”.[note]W. Charleton & J.B. van Helmont, A Ternary of Paradoxes: The Magnetick Cure of Wounds, Nativity of Tartar in Wine, Image of God in Man – Written Originally by Joh. Bapt. Van Helmont, and Translated, Illustrated, and Ampliated by Walter Charleton, Doctor in Physick, and Physician to the late King (London, 1650), 96.[/note] Physician to Charles I and II, Charleton was personally known by many of Milton’s network of correspondents. Being a member of the Royal Society, Charleton knew Henry Oldenberg: a close friend of Milton’s. Furthermore, Oldenburg himself was acquantined with van Helmont’s own son: Francisus Mercurius van Helmont, publisher of his father’s works and his alchemical protégé. As early as 1658, Oldenburg had met the younger van Helmont (and described their “congress” together in a letter to Boyle).[note]Henry Oldenburg, The Correspondence of Henry Oldenburg, ed. A.R. Hall & M.B. Hall, xiii. (University of Winconsin Press, 1986), i.176-77.[/note] Between this time and 1671, Olenburg went from denigrating Franciscus to extolling the “distinguished van Helmont, who is very closely bound to me by friendship” (as Oldenberg boasted in letter to Leibniz).[note]Ibid., viii.182-3.[/note] Elsewhere, we see members of the so-called Hartlib circle (Hartlib also being a friend of Milton’s) involved with Helmontian dissemination (both Clerciuzio[note]A. Clericuzio, Elements, Principles and Corpuscles: A Study of Atomism and Chemistry in the Seventeenth Century (Springer, 2001), 90.[/note] and Hutton[note]S. Hutton, Anne Conway: A Woman Philosopher (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 143.[/note] have since noted the primacy of the Hartlib circle in promoting Helmontianism in England). Thus, we may safely guarantee Milton’s knowledge and awareness of this alchemical lineage: stretching from Paracelsus to the van Helmont family, through its English propagators, and finally to Milton himself.[note]Milton critics corroborate this hypothesis, noticing the presence of deeply Paracelsian ideas in Milton, and deeming these alchemists ‘chief sources’ for Milton’s philosophy. cf. Rogers, The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, & Politics in the Age of Milton (Cornell University Press, 1996), 135.[/note] Concordantly, on just a cursory glance, we see that the metaphysical structure of Paradise Lost is suffused with archeus­-type ideas, which help to prosecute Milton’s own version of a nutritive monism. As Raphael had said, everything — stretching from inorganic to spiritual — must “concot, digest, [and] assimilate”. He explicates further:

For know, whatever was created, needs
To be sustained and fed; of elements
The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon;
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged
Vapours not yet into her substance turned.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompense
In humid exhalations, and at even
Sups with the ocean [PL; v.414-26]

Soaking in gastric imagery, we see here each rung of the Great Chain “feeding” the higher, providing “nourishment” that “exhale[s]” from “moist continent[s] to higher orbs”, which themselves “sup” upon “humid” and “alimental recompense” from below. Indeed, the Great Chain — as a conjunction of the Principle of Continuity and the Principle of Unilinear Progression — is easily retrofitted onto gastric sensibilities: Continuity implies that, because everything is infinitely divisible into itself, that nothing is inherently indigestible to Being; and, Unilinearity, implies a process of progressive peristalsis by which everything tends towards nourishment. Creation is a food-chain. In Charleton’s words, “every Creature doth […] possess a particular Firmament [i.e. digestive waters]; by the mediation of which, Superior bodies Symbolize, and hold a reciprocal correspondence with inferior, […] by the law of friendship”.[note]Charleton, Ternary of Paradoxes, 35.[/note] We see this “law of friendship” perfectly encapsulated here, as lower interminably nourishes higher. Returning to Paradise Lost, Raphael continues his exposition, describing how — “by gradual scale sublimed” — all of the “vital spirits aspire” up the scala naturae [PL; v.479]. Taken together in this cosmic peristalsis, all items exhibit the alchemical ideal of materials tending towards their purest state. And it is through his dance of digestive entelechy that we see the alembic universe tending toward perfect alchemic sublimation: towards purer, spiritual matter (spiritual anabolism, as “corporeal to incorporeal turn” [PL; v.413]). Indeed, it is implied that, through this great process, Adam and Eve could have eventually metabolised their somaform existences and fully sublimated themselves into angelic uncarnate forms. Angels are near to the top of the food-chain: accordingly, just as they enjoy more a more perspicuous intellectual essence, they all enjoy greater gastrointestinal apitutde and efficiency. As they are unrestricted by human finitude, they enjoy “intuitive” rather than “discursive” faculties of knowledge; and, correlatively, the angelic digestive tract is likewise noticeably more perfect. That is, angels hardly need to shit. Milton takes pains to point out that

                     what redounds, transpires
Through spirits with ease [PL; v.438-9]

Moreover, this angelic eupepsia is immediately described as being motored by a “concotive heat / To transubstantiate” foodstuff, just like the “empiric alchemist” who can turn “metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold” [PL; v.437-40]. And so, the universe is alchemical because the universe is digestive. This is the cosmic version of the alchemical magnum opus: the progression from nigredo, as base matter, upwards to spiritual purity.


It is no wonder that Milton requisitioned the alchemical metaphysic, because it was so suited to his own commitments. For a start, because of his monistic predilections, Milton denied the ‘existence’ of ‘nothing’ with particular vehemence. He insists in his De Doctrina Christiana, following axioms from his Ars Logicae, that ‘nothing’ simply doesn’t have a place in the universe. (However, we shall soon see how his attempt actually galvanises void and substantivates zero.) He claims a thing cannot “be constructed out of nothing in the way it could from a number of components”.[note]De Doctrina Christiana in, Vol.VIII of The Complete Works of John Milton, ed. J.K. Hale & J.D. Cullington, (Oxford University Press, 2008- ), 289.[/note] (As such, it follows that “darkness was by no means nothing”: “[if] darkness is nothing, then God surely created nothing by creating darkness, that is, he did and did not create, which is a self-contradiction.)[note]Ibid.[/note] Consequently, denying a creatio ex nihilo and resisting any pre-existent matter outside of the Godhead, Milton comes to embrace creatio ex deo — a creation from out of God. Again, this is why the physiologically inflected archeus model lends itself so well to Miltonic cosmology. Creation is God’s digestive tract. In an internal process of subtilisation, God anabolises crude materials into structured creation. This, clearly, becomes a gastric twist on hylomorphism. God’s endogenous anabolic process lends forms to the base matter — the prima materia — of Creation. The Deity takes up matter and builds it up into increasingly subtile forms: just as our bodies subtilize nutrition into spirit. This transparently apes the Body-Politic: and, indeed, this hylomorphism is also precisely a form of governance. God, as the ‘head’, resides over the creative ‘belly’ by imparting his form and shape to the raw material of the archeus. On first glance, it at least seems that all of the subjects in this body-politic obey their sovereign. Describing the ‘gut flora’ of his cosmic holobiont, implying that the archeus descends to the most microscopic levels of matter, Milton writes that

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other’s note
Singing their great Creator? [PL; iv.675-82]

All the taxonomies of Being sing the God that ingested, solidified and ‘stratified’ them into existence. Picking up the imagery of plenitude and casting it in strikingly similar language, Deleuze and Guattari write that

[e]very stratum is a judgement of God; not only do plants and animals, orchids and wasps, sing or express themselves, but so do rocks and rivers; every stratified thing on earth.[note]Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (Continuum, 2004), 49.[/note]

However, as they go on to elaborate,

[t]he strata are judgements of God; stratification in general is the entire system of the judgement of God (but the earth, or the body without organs, constantly eludes that judgement, flees and becomes destratified, decoded, deterritorialised).[note]Ibid.[/note]

Where stratification is eupepsia, what are the chances — within Milton’s universe — of cosmic dyspeptic destratification? Just as angels still need to purge themselves, where is the nigredo, the tartareous excrement of the archeus? Will the earth itself fizz with effervescing, liquefying, sugary blackness, as the rebounding of the abyssal Deep from crystalline assimilation? Like a peptic ulcer unto the universe itself, all of that which exceeds assimilation — and thus refuses God’s stratifying forms — gains the troubling ability for auto-production. Matter-without-form, the rebellious excrement that exceeds divine digestion, is Chaos: which, surprisingly or unsurprisingly, since the Ancients, has also been referred to as “indigest”. (Ovid refers to Chaos as “rudis indigestaque moles”.) This was a collocation ripe for lock-in. Dryden wrote of the “[r]ude undigested Mass; / A lifeless Lump, unfashio’d and unfram’d, / Of jarring Seeds and justly Chaos nam’d”. Earlier, Shakespeare, in King John, had written of setting “form upon that indigest”. Being a substantive, or a nominalised adjective, Milton would certainly have appreciated Shakespeare’s language here: it is of a piece with “darkness visible”, “palpable obscure”, and — of course — “vast abrupt”.)[note]Cf. A recent article in MVU’s Plutonics journal on an intriguing orthographic anomaly found in new amanuensis manuscripts recovered from the Fitzbarrow estate. This orthographic puzzle appears as further proof of the templex cross currents streaming backwards between Pepsi and Miltonic verse.[/note]

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Returning briefly to Deleuze and Guattari we note, in the section quoted above, the infamous announcement that “God is a Lobster”.[note]Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (Continuum, 2004), 40.[/note] One wonders why it should be lobsters that bear the mark of infernal Pepsi on their doubly-articulating claws.[note][/note] Why has Pepsi begun to invade even the abyssopelagic zones of the earth? And why has it chosen crustaceans as its avatar?


Tomorrow: ‘Alchemy to Chemistry: or, the Occult History of Carbonated Beverages and the Secret Origins of Pepsi Cola’


part 2 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

Yesterday: ‘The Pepsoidal Fall: Pepsi & Teleoplexy’

DAY 2. Crystal Pepsi / Crystal Hyaline: or, How to See with your Gut

Pepsi invents itself from the future. The retrochronic force of these convergences-effects are registered as ripples — surface currents — in the poesy of a blind, seventeenth-century Christian prophet. Sing, sugar-infused Muse!

In the early 1990s PepsiCo introduced a colourless form of its now infamous soft drink, which sold under the name Crystal Pepsi. Following from a contemporary marketing fad geared towards selling transparent or colourless editions of familiar products (initiated by Ivory soap), the proviso was that transparency would evoke in consumers positive notions of ‘cleanness’ or ‘clarity’. Crystal Pepsi, however, was a market failure.[note]T. Triplett, ‘Consumers Show Little Taste for Clear Beverages’, in Marketing News, vol.28, no.11, (1994), 1-2.[/note] (The relentless juggernaut of nostalgia has recently resurrected it from limbo, however.) It seems, then, that in our fallen (capitalised) state we actually desire tartareous muck over any vitreous and crystalline elixir. Indeed, advertisers have since retroactively divined that Crystal Pepsi was a failure because consumers were disturbed by the unseemly conjunction of pellucid, heavenly aesthetics with saccharine, voluptuous taste.[note]L.L. Garber Jr. & E.M. Hyatt, ‘Color as a Tool for Visual Persuasion’, in Visual Persuasion. eds. R. Batra & L. Scott (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000)[/note] Pepsi suits its blackness irrepressibly: as the cheerleader for Capital’s forces of terrestrial obscurity and liquidation, it inevitably and necessarily announces itself ocularly with the skotison of effervescing, liquid blackness.[note]Skotison, originally a rhetorical term, is an invocation and imperative towards darkening. To translate literally, skotison means “darken it!”.[/note] Ontological blackening demands the aesthetics to match: it seems, at the very least, that we subconsciously expect this to be the case (and, insofar as the crystalline marketing experiment therefore failed, our aesthetic-gastric sensibilities tend towards making this a reality). We get the blackness we desire.[note]In this sense, Crystal Pepsi was predestined to fail: accordingly, a ‘suprapepsarian’ reading of consumer ontology and market soteriology invites itself.[/note] The heavenly, vitreous Crystal Pepsi rebounds from our fallen tastebuds: we expect tartar to taste accordingly. Our gullets — like our sinful wills — clamour for nigredo rather than albedo. The Crystal was just too heavenly, too painfully pre-lapsarian. Indeed, the connection of ‘crystal’ with pre-lapsarian perspicuity is — long prior to the modern machinations of PepsiCo marketing psychomancy — a venerable aesthetic collocation. (PepsiCo was only trying to retrospectively capitalise on this: a failed trick to sell post-lapsarian tar as pre-lapsarian philtre.) From Milton’s Paradise Lost:

Witness this new-made world, another Heaven
From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view
Of the clear hyaline, the glassy sea. [PL; vii.617-9]

Here Milton describes the freshly created world by comparing it to the “clear” and “glassy” spheres of outer heaven, as depicted in pre-Copernican and Biblical cosmology. Our “pendant” planet reflects the highest cosmic realms in their shared crystal appearance: the Earth is “founded in view” of these glassy spheres, and they resonate together — in crystalloid harmony — in their new-made cosmic clarity. Specifically, the “hyaline”[note]A nominalized adjective, denoting crystallific nature. See below for more.[/note] described here denotes the “waters above the Firmament” of Genesis 1:6-7.

crystal pepsi 2016

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Biblical cosmogony pictures a watery creation whereby God initiates a world-generating and oceanic separation between an originary supernal sea (the “hyaline”) and the derivative sublunary spheres (our cosmos).[note]“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” & “And God made the firmament, and divded the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”[/note] This hydraulic cosmogony serves to individuate the creation via God’s act of filtration, separating ‘above’ from ‘below’, but it also serves to retain an analogical (placental) connection between these two separated realms (exploiting the fact that they are made from the same, pellucid, medium). This is poetically instanced by the symbolic resonance between what Milton, lines later, calls the “nether ocean” here on Earth, and the original “crystalline ocean” that circumscribes (“circumfus’d”) the entire cosmos [PL; vii.624, vii.271]. The cosmos is separate from (in a derivative sense) but also contained by this thalassal ur-ocean (much as the ‘individual I’ stands in relation to the ‘absolute I’). As a “bright sea” of “jasper” and “liquid pearl” above the outer firmament [PL; iii.484], this cosmic crystal-ball therefore englobes the created universe at the outer limit of its nine concentric spheres, and, in line with Genesis, it is through this supernal sea that Milton’s God is witnessed as having precipitated the universe with “waters beneath from those above dividing” [PL; vii.261-75]. It is through the establishment of this individuating outer boundary, or limit, that the ordered cosmos is separated from the surrounding medium of Chaos: the establishment of this “hyaline” represents the blastulation of the universe.[note]blastulation[/note] Milton describes how God “as with a mantle did invest / The rising world of water dark and deep, / Won from the void and formless infinite”: he provides it with a protective skin, a form-suffusing “mantle”. As such, through wrapping the entire created universe in a “clear” liquid sack, this “crystalline ocean” becomes purposed with protecting the cosmos from the “loud misrule” of the Chaos that lies just beyond it [PL; vii.269, vii.271].[note]Chaos is, thus, analogical to the ‘energetic excess’ that Freud describes as facilitating the epithelial individuation of the originary vesicle, in his account of metapsychological abiogenesis, in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Penguin, 2003).[/note] It is therefore a prophylaxis against an external chaoticism, and — as such — a spheroid cosmic immune system and metaphysical life support.[note]Cf. Peter Sloterdijk, Globes: Macrospherology, Volume II: Spheres (Semiotexte, 2014).[/note] A crystallic womb. Certainly, pre-Copernican cosmology is precisely a cosmology of ‘immuno-containment’, and containment takes place across similar mediums (containment implies infinite divisibility); thus, to stress the ‘containment’ of the sublunary within the “hyaline”, as Milton does, is to impart some of the latter’s “crystalline” perfection to our own world. In other words, through its vitreous dialysis, this primum mobile acts as a vesicle purposed with separating Creation from Chaos: the happy harmony of this amniotic encasement — a placental harmony, therefore, between sublunary fundament and crystalline firmament and achieved through the shared medium of crystal perspicuity — announces the pre-lapsarian stability of Paradise Lost’s “new-made world”. Nonetheless: just as there was something wrong at the heart of the Crystal Pepsi venture, predestining it to fall, so too is there a blackening necrosis within this pellucid womb of Milton’s fictional cosmos.


We do not live in a “new-made world” or “another heaven” — and neither did Milton. “The world wears, as it grows”, and crystal turns to cataract, water to pepsi, albedo to nigredo. Indeed, Milton lived in a thoroughly fallen universe: one of gargantuan political, theological, and philosophical upheaval. Witnessing the only military coup d’état in English history, residing in a London under siege, experiencing the divine trauma of regicide, Milton would have likewise passed among not only Arminians and Calvinists, but also Baptists, Diggers, Behmenists, Socinians, Fifth Monarchists, Quakers, Muggletonians, and Levellers. These groups represent the anomalocaris, the oppabinia, and the hallucigenia of Protestant cladistics. It was an intellectual historical explosion of tumultuous size. Certainly, legislative events like the ‘1650 Act against Atheistical, Blasphemous & Excreable Opinion’ evidence this: a response to sectarianism and intestine strife that — unlike any cosmo-hyaline immune system — arise as reactionary rather than prophylactic. The rot was already inside. Madness ensued. In 1656, James Nayler rode into Bristol on an ass attempting to replay Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem; men like John Pordage — believing themselves daily in “visible communion with angels” — conversed with those like Thomas Tany, who was convinced that he had found cherubs and demons living inside of “vegetables”; and men like Abiezer Coppe, gripped by the conviction that seraphim walked amongst us, inspired sexual radicalism and licentiousness among his admirers. Indeed, the so-called Ranters — with whom Coppe was affiliated — promoted a proto-Sadean and proto-anarchist vision of a sacral sexuality that sought to deify the individual through a nihilistic vision of the unrelenting omnipotence of sovereign selfhood and summit experience. Perceiving all law and morality as limits to freedom, they sought to emulate the ultimate freedom of omnipotent divinity by stripping away from themselves all such legalistic limits to their behavior: nevertheless, they were wise enough to prophesy that doing this successfully would also be a form of self-annihilation (because all personal identity and subjectivity is inextricably couched in normative understanding). They indulged in the so-called antinomian heresy, believing that one could literally become God through the breakdown of all moral structure and limitation: henosis with the divine was achieved not through subservience but, rather, through emulating His crushing omnipotent freedom, transcending all suppressive notions of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’.[note]As Cohn has identified in The Pursuit of Millenium (OUP, 1970), they were thus a continuation of the late-medieval Brethren of the Free Spirit. Pettman, in After the Orgy (SUNY, 2012), has recently concatenated these earlier upswells of rapturous rupture into a lineage stretching down towards Bataille and Y2K apocalypticism.[/note] A kind of sacral and divine libertinage. This led to orgiastic worship, outrageous voluptuosity, and public nudity. Milton himself was only a few steps removed from such ideologies: he was close to Roger Williams, a proponent of radical toleration, who was, in turn, affiliated with Anne Hutchinson, the centre of a famous antinomian controversy. Put simply, Milton moved through heterodox[note]J. Mueller, ‘Milton on Heresy’, in Milton and Heresy, ed. S.B. Dobranski & J.P. Rumrich (CUP, 1998), 21-38.[/note] and revolutionary times and idea-formations; his own cosmos was by no means perspicuous or “hyaline”.[note]Against the servile, genuflecting readings emanating from the Milton constructed by C.S. Lewis and his followers (the ‘neo-Christians’, as Empson called them, and their ‘invented Milton’, a Milton cleansed of any doctrinal aberrations and radical heterodoxies), we promote — to the point of remedial ‘invention’ — the possibility of a heretical Milton. We know, indeed, that Milton was very much aware of the Greek root of haîresis: which he deems not “of evil note, meaning only the choise […] of any opinion good or bad in religion or any other learning” [A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, of The Works of John Milton, ed. F.A. Patterson (Columbia University Press, 1931), 11]. Following this justification, he would variously defend the idea of the free-thinking individual: from the seraph Abdiel (who stands alone, in radical free conscience, as arbiter against Satan’s actions) to Galileo (lionized as “prisoner to the Inquisition [for] thinking […] otherwise then the [orthodox] thought”) [Areopagitica, in vol.iv of Ibid., 330.].[/note]

gutta serena
A. Paré, ‘The Figure of the Eye’, The Works of That Famous Chirugion Ambrsoe Parey: Translated out of Latine and compared with the French. by Tho. Johnson, (London, 1649), 143.

“Hyaline” itself is an intriguing word. It is Milton’s transliteration from Greek, appearing to be the first use of the word as such in English (in prior print it appears, notably, only in the dictionary written by Milton’s nephew, Edward Phillips[note]Edward Phillips, The New World of English Worlds, or, a General Dictionary (London, 1658)[/note], before later appearing in Blount’s 1661 revision of Glossographia.[note]J. Blount, Glossographia; or, a Dictionary Interpreting the Hard Words of Whatsoever Language, Now Used in our Refined English Tongue (London, 1661).[/note] Milton, in the passage quoted above, goes out of his way to inmmediately gloss the word with the phrase “glassy sea”; nevertheless, readers would have likely already inferred the word’s denotation via cognates that where in contemporary circulation. Whilst most editors only note the Greek source-word (ὑάλινος) and its appearance in the Greek bible signifying ‘glassy’ or ‘vitreous’ (it is used to describe the “thalassa hyaline”, or crystal sea, at Rev. 4:6), we also point out the connection to the cognate Greek ὑαλοειδής: which was transliterated as ‘hyaloides’ and referred, in contemporaneous medicine, to the vitreous humours of the eyeball’s lens. Certainly, ‘hyaloides’ had been circulating in English as a medical term for decades before Milton’s writing. Denoting the eye’s vitreous layer, it is significant that Milton also describes the firmament as “vitreous”: moreover, alongside the “vitreous” humour, the eye was also said to contain “crystalline” and “aqueous” humours, which, again, are all adjectives Milton grants to his firmament. Accordingly, it is no surprise that eyeballs in Paradise Lost and other works redound in the same qualities as the “hyaline” ocean above: “enamell’d eyes”[note]Lycidas (ll.139) in Milton: The Complete Shorter Poems, ed. J. Carey (Longman, 2007).[/note], tears of “crystal sluice”[PL; v.113], “liquid notes” from “the eye of the day”[note]’Sonnet I’ (ll.5) in Milton: The Complete Shorter Poems, ed. J. Carey (Longman, 2007).[/note], even “carbuncle” eyes all appear [PL; ix.1500]. Again: as the Earth’s oceans reflect the primum mobile, so too — at an even smaller scale — do our eyes: microcosm and macrocosm, in clear concord. The correspondence goes both ways, however, as cosmic bodies themselves become ocular: the sun is the “eye” of this “great world” [PL; v.171] and the stars are designated as heaven’s “eyes” [PL; v.44]. Furthermore, Jesus’s chariot is said to be “set with eyes” [PL; vi.755]. These eyes are not only described as a litany of gemstones (ὑαλοειδής/hyaloides also signifying “precious stone”), but they are also linked with the “crystal firmament” above (itself adorned with “living sapphires” [PL; iv.605]). This mineral-ocular train is, indeed, described as a “panoply” (likely referring to Argus Panoptes, the many-eyed giant of Greek mythology[note]6_4b0.jpg[/note]). Just as the planets are ‘contained’ within the life-support of the supernal realm, so too are our bodies, vouchsafed via the microcosm-macrocosm concordance of eyeball and firmament. ‘[T]here is a double firmament, one in the heavens and one in each body, and these are linked by mutual concordance’[note]Walter Pagel, Joan Baptista Van Helmont: Reformer of Science and Medicine (CUP, 2002), 99.[/note] This semantic entanglement between eyeball-strcuture and cosmos-structure is, unsurprisingly, ancient. As the Talmud, which Milton was familiar with, puts it:

This world is like a human eyeball. The white in it is like the ocean, which surrounded the whole world. The black in it is the world itself.[note]Zohar, the Book of Enlightenment, ed. Daniel Chanan Matt (Paulist, 1983), 243.[/note]

Milton, moreover, would have been aware of the influence this ancient mystical heritage exerted upon the verbiage of contemporary ophthalmic anatomy (i.e. the derivation of ‘hyaloides’ from ‘hyaline’). Engaging in “perpetual tampering with physic”[note]Edward Phillips, Life of Milton (London, 1694).[/note], Milton, for obvious reasons, will have thoroughly investigated medical material surrounding eyes. Indeed, Milton would have been specifically motivated to research the hyaloides in particular.

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“So thick a drop serene” [PL; iii.25]
The Eye’s glassiness echoes the Firmament’s glassiness: nevertheless, the vitreosity of Milton’s own eyes was, of course, famously destined to fail. Milton eventually diagnosed himself with “gutta serena”: a condition resulting, significantly, from the decomposition of the hyaloides, or, the destruction of the ‘vitreous humour’ of the eye.[note]Kerrigan, The Sacred Complex: On the Pyschogenesis of Paradise Lost (Harvard University Press, 1983), 202.[/note] “So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs”, he writes in the opening of Book III [PL; iii.25]. In other words, a drop of thick, liquid blackness has progressively necrotized the “crystal sluice” of Milton’s “enamell’d eyes” [PL; v.133], alike to an invading droplet of Pepsi dispersing within glass of clear water. Ocular crystal gives way to blackening tar. Thus, we turn from the microcosmic hyloides of the eyeball to the macrocosm of the hyaline firmament, and we ask: are these, larger, “orbs” also threatened by apoptotic skotison, just like Milton’s own? Like scientists peering into the miniaturized nature of the crucible, we take the poetic world-model of Milton, we reconstruct it and we experiment upon it. We ask: What if? What if a repressed tendency towards auto-productive chaos was unleashed within Milton’s firmament? What if we purposefully extravasate the subterranean Pepsi that flows beneath Milton’s fundament? What if the damn of authorial repression was removed? In an act of chronotopic extrapolation, we reconstruct the embedded metaphysical fundaments and laws of Milton’s universe in the critical crucible, and we simulate their ultimate conclusion. Even if Milton diegetically repressed the true extrapolation of his metaphysical model (i.e. that which would naturally unfurl from the nomological structure of his fictional world, his ‘chronotope’), we here reconstruct it, so as to eek out its ultimate tendency. To rebuild Milton’s world-model, and let it run, autonomous from the author’s controlling self-censure: an act of chronotopic inflammation or aggravation. ‘What if?’ Perhaps, here, the lithosphere of Milton’s Earth begins to crumble away and the Primum Mobile begins to shake — revealing something fizzing unexpectedly beneath the surface.

Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spirituous and fiery spume,
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield to us, pregnant with infernal flame, [PL; vi.478-83]

blue, jelly, ball, balls, Dorset, England, UK, fall from sky, yellow, black, cloud, storm, UFO, Sighting, alien, aliens, sightings, news, world, 2012_58132958_dsc01619


In 1645, Milton delineates the onset of his blindness in a letter to be passed to the French opthamologist François Thévenin, via Leonard Philaris. “It is ten years,” he writes,

more or less, since I noticed my sight becoming weak and growing dim, and at the same time my spleen and all my viscera burdened and shaken with flatulence.[note]John Milton, The Complete Prose Works, ed. D. Wolfe, vol.iv (Oxford University Press, 1966), 867-71.[/note]

Milton links the eye’s failing sight to the gut’s failing digestion: “flatibusqe vexari”, as he puts it in the original Latin. The ocular “vapores” occur “a cibo præsertim” he reports, meaning that they occur after eating. Indeed, the contemporaneous medical wisdom had it that the aetiology behind the denaturation of the hyaloides in gutta serena was precisely ‘ill digestion’.[note]Kerrigan, W.  The Sacred Complex: On the Pyschogenesis of Paradise Lost (Harvard University Press, 1983), 203.[/note] Ill digestion causes blindness.


Milton frequently connects digestion with perception. Both processes arise as the subject’s integration of external modalities: they are both forms of navigating within an external world. And — identically for both — this ‘assimilation’ can proceed with more or less success. The disruption of one results in blindness; the disruption of the other results in indigestion. Failing sight is failure to behold the ocular world; failing digestion is failure to behold the culinary world. As Milton puts it: to be “exiled from light” is to be pushed to “the land of darkness”; whilst, correlatively, “nourishment” that is not properly digestion leads to “wind”. Both arise as problems of incorporation or integration with the world. As Nietzsche so wisely said, “truly, my brothers, the soul is a stomach!”. Just as the deposition of a gut wall is what individuates the organism as a self-enclosed energetic economy, we likewise observe that the later generation of transcendental categories (as a productive conceptual limit, aping the metabolic limit entrenched by the archenteron) identically provides the enclosure of finitude that marks out, and thus potentiates, the subject as an attentional economy.[note]Concepts and language provide the special envelope that marks out or delimits the reasoning subject. In Book IV, Eve experiences this by looking at her own reflection, which splits her in two, encasing her in self-representation. She recalls, “I first awak’t […] wondering where / And what I was” [iv.450-2]. Soon she finds the answer: “With unexperienced thought / As I bent down to look, just opposite, / A shape within the watery gleam appeared / Bending to look on me, I started back, / It started back, but pleased I soon returned” [iv.457-63]. An image of herself allows her to ‘see’ herself, becoming thus ‘self-conscious’, but only through means that are external to her, separating her from herself, providing reflexivity only through mediation. Conceptual language is the prime form of mediation (which finds its literalization in the watery mirror deployed here), and in that provides the protective shell (by allowing for the ‘cut’ in continuity) within which a self-conscious subject can emerge.[/note] By schismatically incising a boundary in continuity, both finitude-generating blockages potentiate the individual as individual, providing a self-infolding block that empowers selective navigation of modalities, a separation that — in turn — feeds back into itself and becomes self-deepening. Concepts are the epithelium or gut wall of the transcendental ego (language acquisition is thus transcendental enterocoely). Either way, be it in splanchnogenesis or noogenesis, organismic finitude is generated by an enfolding and englobement: either within concepts or within abdominal cavities. The sphere of the transcendental was preceded by the sphere of the coelom (the endodermal layer that folds into a gut in all organisms exhibiting the complex internal differentiation required for the dynamism of digestive metabolism). Indeed, the interface chauvinism — possibly unique to us as bilaterally symmetric animals — which presumes that CNS-derived world-interfaces (the electric vagaries attendant upon congeries of overgrown ganglia) are the only ways we locomote the world forgets this enveloping gastric ur-relation, which functionally enveloped all forms of representative interface up until very recently, when intelligence lifted off from this its functional substrate and into its own self-selecting auto-catalysis.

Milton, on the contrary, did not forget this: he was acutely sensitive to it. Indeed, he couldn’t not be — even if he wanted to — because his own viscera were so violently wracked with “flatibus”. Accordingly, deeply aware of the quasi-transcendental entanglements of the alimentary and the perceptual, Milton’s Raphael — in his angelic wisdom — pronounces that “[k]nowledge is as food” [PL; vii.126] and he explains that, just as “[w]isdom” leads to “nourishment”, “folly” leads to “wind” [PL; vii.130]. To quote in full:

But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her Temperance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. [PL; vii.126-30]

Such intertwining of digestive and epistemic assimilation — and “Temperance” likewise — makes perfect sense in a story centring around Eve’s consumption of the apple: which itself is, of course, as Milton stresses “intellectual food” [PL; xi.768]. So, just as folly leads to wind, the acquisition of the forbidden knowledge encrypted deep within the apple leads directly to cosmological indigestion and the depuration of the whole of nature illustrated in the Fall. The Fall affects everything, not only is the ground “Cursed… for thy sake” [PL; x.201], as Jesus proclaims to Adam (Milton here lifting the wording straight from the King James Bible). Indeed, only a couple of decades after Paradise Lost, Thomas Burnet wrote his physico-theological tract entitled Telluris Theoria Sacra (which, later on, Coleridge liked to compare to Paradise Lost), in which he recounted how the entire planet itself had been geometrically ‘perfect’ prior to the Fall — that is, entirely smooth, totally spherical — and it was the entry of Sin into the world that had thrown up the mountains, the crags, and the jagged and broken aspect of our post-lapsarian world. Such orogenic harmatiology is presaged by Milton, who writes that, upon Eve’s ingestion of knowledge,

Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe. [PL; ix.782-3]

The ingestion, via “intellectual food”, of knowledge into the world — as the ability to be Wrong or Right — gives nature itself chronic indigestion. If “[s]ighing” from “her seat” was not enough to alert us to the fact that the entire planet is farting, Milton immediately hammers the point home:

Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan [PL; ix.1000-1]

Because knowledge of Good and Evil introduces the capacity for being Right or Wrong, so too does it generate the capacity for digestion or indigestion (in affairs both alimentary and epistemic). And so, again, just as “folly” leads to “wind”, the original formation of epistemic fallibility is signposted and announced by nature itself as the very planet lets off two volleys of tortured “flatibus”, trembling “from her entrails”. (An indigestion that, for Burnet, was registered in the crumpling of the earth’s skeleton into mountainous ruins.) The birth of epistemology is the birth of metabolism, for both are — essentially — the same thing. With fallibility comes excrement. In Lycidas, Milton would talk of the sheep (allegorical placeholders for the Christian flock) who, fed with theological blunders by irresponsible prelates, become “swol’n with wind” and “Rot inwardly” upon knowing wrongly, spreading “foul contagion”.[note]Lycidas, ll.125-7.[/note] Nutrition fails in expulsion, thus ignorance and falseness lead to intellectual vomiting or epistemic diarrhoea: in his antiprelatical Of Reformation, Milton thus singles out “the new-vomited Paganisme of sensuall Idolatry”.[note]John Milton, Of Reformation, in Complete Works of John Milton, ed. Don M. Wolfe (Yale University Press, 1966), 1:519-20.[/note] Epistemology, through the poet’s writing, is entrenched — again and again — as a deeply metabolic endeavour. Thus, it becomes a civic duty to keep a good diet in nutritive and noetic matters.

Accordingly, Milton-the-propagandist would promote “the right possessing” of the body in “Diet or Abstinence” in order to render “it more pliant [and] useful to the Common-wealth”.[note]John Milton, The Reason of Church Government Urged Against Prelaty, in vol.iii of The Works of John Milton, ed. F.A. Patterson (Columbia University Press, 1931), 187.[/note] Similarly, the “abatement of a full diet” can stave off unwanted sexual desires.[note]John Milton, Doctrine & Discipline of Divorce, in vol.iii of The Works of John Milton, ed. F.A. Patterson (Columbia University Press, 1931), 308-10.[/note]  It should come as no surprise, then, that nutrition and consumption has been deemed the ‘central animating metaphor’ for the discussion of knowledge-economy in Areopagitica.[note]N. Smith, ‘Areopagitica: Voicing Contexts, 1643-5′, in Politics, Poetics, and Hermeneutics in Milton’s Prose, ed. D. Loewenstein & J.G. Turner (CUP, 1990), 109.[/note] Defending “the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing”, this influential pamphlet is riddled with metabolic-epistemology, centred around the hooking up of eating habits to reading habits, and deploying this as a prime heuristic in Milton’s argument contra censorship. “[T]o the pure all things are pure”, Milton decrees. This applies not only to “meats and drinks”, but also — naturally — to “knowledge”.[note]Areopagitica, 308-9.[/note] Epistemology is metabolism, and metabolism epistemology. He is claiming here that assimilation or indigestion rest primarily upon the moral character of the imbiber (thus, if a readership is ‘good’ it should be able to consume morally putrescent ideas without risk of corruption). To the sinful, everything leads to “wind”; to the pious, everything is “nourishment”. As “wholesome meats to a vitiated stomack differ little or nothing from unwholesome”, so too — correlatively — do pure ideas become flatus to compromised minds. Because the opposite therefore also holds (i.e. an unvitiated stomach can safely handle rotten ideas), Milton argues for a free press and free circulation of mental ‘nourishment’. The negative effects of a heterodox diet of books would only be felt by people already spiritually or morally compromised:

When God did enlarge the universal diet of man’s body, [he] then also, as before, left arbitrary the dyeting and repasting of our minds; as wherein every mature man might have to exercise his owne leading capacity.[note]Areopagitica, 308-9.[/note]

This subjectivist account of digestion is part and parcel with the central place of free will in all of Milton’s philosophy. Again, it stresses the fact that indigestion is — therefore — a result of the entrance of the choice between good and evil into the world: indigestion is a thoroughly post-lapsarian affair. Before the Fall, there was — ontologically — no such thing as tummy ache (and, accordingly, Paradise Lost would go on to stress digestive ailments as particularly emblematic afflictions of our postlasped pathology). Yet, by connecting digestion so thoroughly with free will, Milton implicitly sets up a model of perfect assimilation as symptom of moral perfection. Good digestion is the model of good civic understanding, and vice versa. As such, just as the model and ideal of cognitive apprehension is total understanding, so too would the model and ideal of digestion be one of total metabolic assimilation, of 100% digestive efficiency. In this perfect digestive tract, no “meats” could resist incorporation, no recalcitrance would arise from ingested matter, all items would be fully absorbed (thus, no excrement). The meat would become whatever the consumer chooses (again, “to the pure all things are pure”). Indeed, if it is possible that man’s understanding could overcome the boundaries of post-lapsarian finitude, would it not also make sense that man’s stomach could overcome the resistance of fallen foodstuffs? If man’s “glassy essence” can be utterly devoid of dioptrics, can not man’s “dyeting” be devoid of putrescence and excrement? Can we aspire to crystalline perspicuity in both our cognitive and our gastric “dyeting”? Can we stop desiring sugary blackness and return to pre-lapsarian vitreosity? Certainly, images of a state of crystalline epistemic concord do occur in Milton: moments where experience is ‘digested’ perfectly, so to speak. Accordingly, in ‘Prolusion III’, a young Milton had written that the “mind should not consent to be limited and circumscribed by the earth’s boundaries, but should range beyond the confines of the world”[note]John Milton, ‘Prolusion III’, ll.171, in vol.xii of The Works of John Milton, ed. F.A. Patterson (Columbia University Press, 1931)[/note] and, in ‘Elegy V’, the narrator writes that his “mind is whirled up to the height of the bright, clear sky: freedom from my body”.[note]John Milton, ‘Elegy V’, ll.15-20, in Milton: The Complete Shorter Poems, ed. J. Carey (Longman, 2007). Carey’s translation from the Latin is used here.[/note] It is even claimed here that the “unseen depths of Tartarus do not escape my eyes”. That is, in this state of perceptive-concord, even darkness is eliminated from perspectival perspicuity (just as, presumably, pre-lapsarian digestion would eliminate the need for excretion). (Note, moreover, that Milton deploys the words “liquidi raptatur” to describe this ascent: his “mind’s eye” becomes fully aqueous like the firmament; and, hence, his intellect resembles the “clear hyaline”; ocular recalcitrance evaporates.) Consequently, unlike an alimentary canal that excretes, an eye that fails to see with clarity, or a mind that pierces the “innermost sanctuaries”, Milton here hints towards the potential for subjects in pure accord with the Outside. Relinquished of the complications of excess matter, there are no cataracts, nor any indigestions. Nothing can exceed this ideal subject; it experiences epistemological eupepsia. As his years lengthened, however, and he grew older, the reality, for Milton, could not have been more different: vexed by flatibus, tortured by internal putrescence, and quaking with dyspepsia. Just as Crystal Pepsi’s attempt at perspicuity collapsed back into sugary nigredo, so too did Milton’s dreams of perfect epistemic-metabolic assimilation crumple into flatulent darkness. Man’s “glassy essence” denatures into excremental occlusion, as chaotic Pepsi — avatar for desiring-revolution — comes to invade it.


Tomorrow: ‘Peristaltic Metaphysics and the Invention of Pepsi’ 


part 1 – cosmic dys𝔭𝔢𝔭𝔰𝔦a & divine excrement: or, an essay unveiling the teleoplexic identity of miltonic chaos, capitalist nigredo and alchemical pepsi cola™

by pps

“The fully enlightened earth radiates PEPSI triumphant.”

—Source unknown

“The Pepsi ethos has evolved over time. The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring phenomena in the brand’s history. It communicates the brand in a timeless manner and with an expression of clarity. Pepsi BREATHTAKING builds on this knowledge. True innovation always begins by investigating the historic path. Going back-to-the-roots moves the brand forward as it changes the trajectory of the future.”

—Arnell Group, Breathtaking, Design Document, 2008[note][/note]

“Some years ago, on a stormy night in New Haven, I sat down to reread [Paradise Lost] … And while I read, until I fell asleep in the middle of the night, the poem’s initial familiarity began to dissolve … Although the poem is a biblical epic, in classical form, the peculiar impression it gave me was what I generally ascribe to literary fantasy of science fiction, not to heroic epic. Weirdness was its overwhelming effect.”

—Harold Bloom[note]The Western Canon, (2004).[/note]

“Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains:
And who attains not, […]
Subject himself to anarchy within”

—Milton, Paradise Regained, ii.457-62   

DAY 1. THE PEPSOIDAL FALL: Pepsi & Teleoplexy

Early in November 2017, fisher Karissa Lindstrand dredged up a lobster off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada. The crustacean had a Pepsi logo prominently tattooed onto its propodus, or claw. Precisely how this logo came to be there remains a mystery: when the event made the news, marine biologists instantly disagreed as to the provenance and occasion of the marking. The mechanisms of imprinting are largely irrelevant, for we instead read this event in a deeper, properly world-historical light: this decapod pincer represents a mere moment in a far vaster process, one spiralling outwards in both time and space… The following (an essay split into 7 sequential parts) is, in many ways, an attempt to fill in this story, as it provides context to the unnerving singularity of recent events such as a sigil-branded lobster from the deep.


The four rivers of Eden were milk, water, wine and ale”, wrote G.K. Chesterton, “[a]erated waters only appeared after the Fall”.[note]G.K. Chesterton, A Gleaming Cohort: Being Selections from the Writings of G.K. Chesterton (Methuen, 1926), 6.[/note] Pepsi, in other words, is irrecusably Fallen. Fizzy drinks are beverages for a postlapsarian world. Why, however, does Chesterton choose soft drinks, of all things, to signify this? Because, putting it simply, Pepsi and its ilk operate perfectly as metonymy for capitalisation. Moloch’s sugar-infused reign and the biblical Fall are teleologically married. Put more strongly, Capitalisation and the Fall are identical. Why? Because — as shall soon be made clear capitalism, just like the Fall, functions according to a logic of predestination. Via mereological usurpation, soft drink comes to stand as synecdochic totem for global capitalisation itself, and, as such, Chesteron’s aphorism can be retrochronically grasped as masterfully encrypting vast and panoramic truths, ventriloquized by the tractor of powerful world-historical forces. Why should this be the case? Because the very fact that Pepsi works so adeptly as a synecdoche for capital alerts us to the infernal — and thus fall-generating — essence of capitalisation itself. Synecdoche at its most basic — is an acute destabilisation between Part and Whole, and thus also between Means and Ends.[note]Mereologically speaking, parts are subordinate because they are means towards the upkeep of the whole, which is therefore the end.[/note] It accordingly represents a co-option of Ends (the Whole) by what was once merely a Means (or, Parts). Synecdoche subverts the direction of the hierarchical relationship whereby parts serve as mereological means towards the whole-as-end. Thus: synecdoche is a metastasising of Part into its own tumorous Whole (which, therefore, comes to threaten the integrity of the parent Whole). Such synecdochal operation is essential to the nature of capital itself, whereby means (here the utile quenching of thirst) mutate into ends-in-themselves (global Pepsi-production, Pepsico domination), via a positive-feedback process of rigorous self-selection (Pepsi wants itself). The restricted economy of hydration haemorrhages into a generalised economy of interminable fizz, and, through an inflammation of supernormal stimuli (exaggerated sugar content tending to fixation and addiction amongst abstract Pepsi’s host-organism), soft drinks come to progressively shed the functional camouflage of thirst-quenchers and medicinals that guide them trojan-like into the world.

In 1904 (just a year after Pepsi-Cola was trademarked), Gillespie’s Natural History of Digestion had already pinpointed this inclination: the “[s]timulation of the appetite with highly-flavoured foods diminishes the natural [relation between food and sustenance or means and ends]”, tending instead “towards living to eat instead of eating to live”.[note]Alexander Lockhart Gillespie, The Natural History of Digestion (W. Scott, 1904), iii.[/note] It is capital’s very inherent nature to perform this part-whole destabilisation: this is why Chesterton’s Pepsi-synecdoche so perfectly encapsulates capital even as it occludes capital-as-such behind a subsidiary part, set behind subset (indeed, to stress the point, it captures it perfectly not in spite of this occlusion, but because of it). Thus, we see how the means-ends subversion inherent to capital is inherently infernal, in a very specific sense of the term. Synecdoche represents a mereological revolt, just like the original Satanic revolt (wherein a subset i.e. the rebellious angels metastasises to challenge the whole i.e. empyrean rule). It is the hypertrophy of a part into its own pseudo-whole, causing a resultant antagonism between ‘satanic tumour’ and ‘divine host’: when the immanent (the lower and derivative), by coming to cause itself (Satan’s feigning of freedom), begins to simulate or feign its own transcendence (sovereign autonomy), therefore coming to compete with (and potentially usurp) its own ‘ground’ of production. It is, at heart, a self-causing reversal of metaphysical hierarchies. Demonic revolt is ontological cancer, malignant synecdoche. God’s divine rule, or human social relations, are effectively usurped by the cancerous pseudo-ends of a catalytic part: demonic insurrection, or, sugar-bent carbonation. Synecdoche, as breakdown of the unidirectionality of strict top-down rule,[note]It is mereological disruption: collapse of the hierarchical (and metaphysically suspect) distinction between Whole and Part or Ends and Means, folding them into feedback as opposed to supremacy. In this way, Satan and the Fall triggered by this can be understood as cybernetic events.[/note] is thus an alluring model for cybernetic runaway. Capitalism’s own logic is hence one of synecdochal usurpation. In this sense, all Capitalism tends towards Pepsi-Capitalism: as it progresses simply as the replacement of top-down goals by hyertrophying sub-routines; and this is why it is an inherently inhuman thus infernal and demonic — project. God’s encephalic executive function swarmed by cerebellum supestimuli.

Pepsi Slim Can

But the connection between Pepsi, Capitalisation, and the Fall runs even deeper. This usurpation tends towards auto-production: it can be understood as the process whereby a means becomes an end-in-itself. This is triggered when a part comes to cause itself (thus, satanically breaking away from its dependence on the original whole); which is, in turn, identical to pointing out that it progressively comes to predestine itself, via its own auto-installation of a logic of circular causality. Part-whole subversion is the same as predestination. In the sense that Pepsi is Fallen it is also therefore predestined. Following from Reformed Orthodoxy’s doctrine of ‘supralapsarianism’, the Fall and all its causal derivatives and ramifications became cast as an intra-temporal event that nevertheless entails itself from outside of time (something within time that comes to structure time itself from without).[note]The Reformation staged a conflict between so-called ‘infralapsarian’ and ‘­supralapsarian’ conceptions of Predestination. Election and Reprobation either arises from within time (infralasparian), or it structures time from without (supralapsarian); either creation logically entails predestination, or predestination entails creation. Unappeased with this binary, one seeks to diagonalise the decision: thus, we believe that the Fall is both ‘infraand ‘supra temporal. In other words, the distinction between the two doctrines becomes one of complex feedback — rather than contradistinction or mutual exclusion as we come to realise that the ultimate extra-temporal ‘End’ constructs itself from within time, via memetic and cybernetic vectors, before subsequently dragging eventualities towards its own completion. This is identical with the pars-pro-toto revolt constitutive of the term ‘Pepsi-capital’. Moreover, it is the fear of such auto-production that  as we shall see in the following  John Milton was so prophetically attuned to.[/note] Capitalism, likewise, represents a similar kind of self-installing predestination: as a real teleology (a self-intensifying process that accordingly reifies its own ‘destiny’ as a real causal force), one that relentlessly exceeds the top-down, central planning of divinity via its tendency towards demonic synecdoche. This headless teleonomy echoes, therefore, the Fall considered as an event that is predestined with precision but arises  for torturous, even schizoid, ethical reasons  orthogonally to God’s putative ‘goodness’. In Chesterton’s gnomic phrase, Pepsi and the Fall thus become entangled in a mutually-enforcing prophetic structure: whether he knew it or not, he was invoking the fact that both are forces of destiny and thus also agents of temporal distortion. To explicate: Pepsi operates so well as a metynomic placeholder for capital because  just like the Fall  it becomes its own effect and its own cause.[note]On the view of reformed theology, the Fall causes itself within time because it was determined from the end of time.[/note] It causes itself in a bootstrapping process that is revealed as an effect of the future on its own past: retrochronic projection, or temporal anomaly. Again, like the Fall, it is an event within linear time that is caused (or comes to cause itself) from without. Along with the Fall and Calvinist double predestination, Pepsi becomes its own telic destiny, by progressively installing the means of its own propagation. Auto-production is indistinguishable from predestination which, in turn, is indistinguishable from temporal non-linearity.

Interfacing with the CNS from the future, abstract Pepsi causes present addiction: the bio-physiological translation of predestinal logic. Condemning us to desire by making us desire further condemning. It becomes real-world prophecy, or atheological predestination: Pepsi-capital inundates the world with a marketing-deluge of Noachic proportions, dragging itself towards the installation of an end-oriented logic of aggressive self-propagation. Lock-in ensues as PepsiCo constructs its own pathway towards its own future and Supernormal Stimuli Take Over. Like a satanic cuckoo, Pepsi-production co-opts the better angels of our nature, flooding normative and decisional structures  even evolutionary purposiveness  with effervescing blackness. In other words, the belly overthrows the head (as we shall see, another perfect model for demon revolt). Thus, the metynomic role the “aerated waters” play in Chesterton’s invocation (as symbolic interface between Capitalisation and Fall), comes to communicate the structure of an intestinal revolt that also captures the workings of auto-productive predestination. Chesterton’s metonym rhetorically encapsulates the essentially acephalic and auto-productive nature of Capital; and, insofar as Capital is auto-productive, it consists in a temporal anomaly (because it comes to cause itself). In other words, it seeds telic forces and becomes its own destiny, just like the Fall (as envisioned post-Reformation). It is an event within time that nevertheless comes to organize the structure of time itself. And so: both the Fall and Capital, through their worldly manifestation in Pepsi Cola, consist in a form of temporal interference. By announcing that Pepsi is Fallen, therefore, one acknowledges, accordingly, that Pepsi invents itself from the future.

When observed from the perspective of synecdochal usurpation and the attendant circular causality of self-selecting replication, Pepsi is installed as the true Subject of World History. It becomes the immanent end towards which history tends. Certainly, teloi do not have to be transcendent or sanctioned by divine decree; teloi can install themselves (via a dynamic of self-selection and lock-in).[note]This is also how intratemporal events can come to shape the extratemporal arrow of time.[/note] Satanic revolt is the extension of competition to teloi or transcendences: it is when ‘the Lower’ comes, via its own resources, to mimic or dissimulate its own form of ‘the Higher’; and, since mimicries can become as good as the prototype, or, alternately, simulacra make themselves real, this mimicry eventually comes to directly compete with the original transcendence. Once various options exist, competition sets to work. Facsimile competes with and potentially usurps prototype: this process applies to deities as much as cuckoo hosts. Satan denotes a parasite transcendence. Demon revolt thus flags the story of how transcendences can be manufactured immanently, and the subsequent problems this holds for the prototype. Pepsi’s auto-production, therefore, is ‘satanic’ exactly because it represents this same threat with regards to the comparative ‘divinity’ of human goals, norms, and ends (infernal cola vs anthropological central-planning; intestine vs encephalon). Thus, as Pepsi falls together from the future the occult signs of this temporal interference (self-assembly) are registered as symbolic resonances within the domain of world-historical figures and works  by those particularly sensitive to the cross-currents of temporal complexity. Insofar as the Reformation re-invented soteriology it also re-invented time; insofar as it re-invented time it also (famously) unleashed market capitalism and, thereby, also untold teleonomies. It should be no surprise, then, that the signs of templex autopepsia are strewn throughout the works of that greatest poet of Reformed Christianity, John Milton.[note]MILTON = 137 = LUCIFER[/note] Just as the pious Calvinist detects signs of extra-temporal reprobation in her intra-temporal “works” (i.e. deeds and actions), the signs of self-assembling and end-orientated Pepsi are littered throughout Milton’s magnum opus, Paradise Lost. When considered from the standpoint of modernity and capital’s nonlinear temporality, the poet’s premonitions of Pepsi-Chaos can be considered as both causes of what happened afterwards (as upstream nodes of cultural influence that helped enforce Protestant capitalogenesis) and also as effects of what happened afterwards (as the retrochronic scars of predestinal attractors). These premonitional markers take the form of a complex knot of imagery that connects alchemy, digestion, and chaos theory to the occult historical origins of carbonated soft drinks.

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Chesterton is correct to note that fizzy drinks could not have been found in the four rivers of Eden. As any sensible person knows, something cannot be discovered within the world before the world invents or produces it. Nevertheless, as long as intratemporal (intralapsarian) cola is ‘predetermined’ it is also therefore supratemporal (supralapsarian, or, arising from outside of linear time, and shaping it from without). In other words, even if Pepsi could not have existed in Eden, we may find it elsewhere  beyond sublunary domains. And so, in Book II of Paradise Lost, Milton describes the four rivers of extratemporal Hell:

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
Into the burning lake their baleful streams [PL: ii.575][note]Quotes from Paradise Lost, ed J. Carey (Longman, 2007). Henceforth abbreviated to ‘PL’, and with reference to Book Number (numerals) and Line Reference (number).[/note]

One of these streams, “Acheron”, the tartareous river, is witnessed as “black and deep” [PL: ii.578], suggestively redolent of the Pepsi Cola that would be invented only later (if such temporal deixis makes sense ‘outside’ of earthbound time) from “[a]erated waters” and “after the fall”. Tartareous, black, and deeply sugary, Pepsi’s world-historical auto-production (in particular, its alchemical historical genesis) undergirds Paradise Lost’s metaphysical schema. In the following, we will uncover these templex crosscurrents between Pepsi-Cola and Paradise Lost, to discover Pepsi, like Acheron, bubbling darkly beneath the verse: a cola Alph, flowing to a sunless sea. For, as we shall see, Milton’s poem is informed by a deep-set horror of auto-production, and he assigns a central if repressed  role to the chaotic and excessive tartar of the universe: that which eternally revolts against divine-planning through a form of cosmic deregulation (or indigestion). This auto-productive element fuctions, as we have seen, not just as demonic insurrection but also, crucially, as a temporal one too. Indeed, demons are self-producing, like the zero that creates number from nothing (“My name is legion for we are many”), and thus they can persuasively be taxonomically classified as, in essence, agents of temporal distortion.[note]Think of the possessed demoniac whose splintering personality is multiplied by the malignant zero of the invading demon. “We are many”. Why is the demon here a ‘zero’? Because it is ontologically poor: it cannot exist without a host (much like numerical zero only comes into focus in relation to the number line), and is thus nothing outside of its possession of something else. It is thus a nothing, or cipher, that refracts a person into a schizoid many; and is similar to ex nihilo production (the hallmark, we stress, of chaos and infernality, and also of bootstrapping auto-production).[/note] Inasmuch as Milton’s epic is ‘about’ demonic auto-production it troubles the very notion of ‘aboutness’ itself: with a circumvoluting cyclicality whereby the poem only becomes ‘about’ what it is about later on after it has produced its own subject and summoned it forth into reality. (Milton’s tartareous auto-producing Chaos eventually ‘becomes true’ under the figure of end-oriented Pepsi Cola and, correlatively, Miltonic Chaos retroactively comes to be ‘about’ Pepsi.) It’s not ‘about’ anything that it doesn’t subsequently itself create. In simpler terms, because the poem concerns itself with auto-production it can be ‘about’ things that are entirely distal from it, in the causal, linear order of revealed history. As such, we pick up the interference patterns of temporal-looping through the fact that Milton’s figure for auto-production Chaos is itself deeply semantically entangled with the actual historical roots of Pepsi Cola. Here, again, cause and effect become reversible: Pepsi retrocausally interferes with the shape of Milton’s verse, just as Milton prophet of Pepsi-chaos instils a forecast that makes itself true in the form of this ultimate postlapsarian product. It is this looping that Chesterton picks up on. Pepsi and the Fall? They cause each other.


One pauses, and is suddenly struck with a vision: The Earth opens up and seeps fizzy pop. The carbonated fountains of the great deep break open. End-oriented teleoplexic history reveals that the world was created merely to spew forth Pepsi: everything else was merely a means to this end. They call it the 𝖕𝖊𝖕𝖘𝖎𝖈𝖑𝖎𝖕𝖕𝖊𝖗. Pepsi, as cosmic alchemical baseline or sugary-blackened-Nigredo, is the Alpha and the Omega, and all other conceivable ‘ends’ (human will, desire, values, Promethean ambitions) are merely camouflaged ‘means’ for the shooting forth of Pepsi from the great internal fountains of the Earth. The springs of terrestrial history weep black liquid sugar. Tears of Pepsi trickle from the empty eye-socket of an anorganic God, a cosmic visage pulled back into sugarrush rictus. This time there is no Noah and no ark. Everything drowns in obsidian sluice. Glucose high; glucose crash. John Milton — blind prophet, blind to his own prophecy — announces this, our fate, from Anno Domini 1667.


Tomorrow: ‘Day 2. Crystal Pepsi / Crystal Hyaline: or, How to See with your Gut’