For Jünger, souls are judged according to their readiness to see an invisible war. Invisible war conjoins the immediacy of the front experience (Fronterlebnis) to a higher order of determination. Immolating fire is a communiqué that travels from an absolute remoteness to an essentialised closeness: causality is vertical, hierarchical and unilateral. An act on the front is the mirror of a determination within the invisible war. The station of a higher soul can be achieved through the intensification of this perception, which separates a reflective surface from a secret face.
You’re basically one of the leading thinkers of what we might call the school of thought that’s known as accelerationism. Accelerationism is something like the view that contemporary history is changing at an exponential rate, technologically and economically, and that this rate of change confounds nearly all of our traditional concepts for thinking about society and economics and politics. If someone on the street walked up to you and asked you “What is this whole accelerationism thing?” is there a kind of key essence or upshot that you would add to what I just said?
English translation of Jean-François Lyotard, “Petite mise en perspective de la décadence et de quelques combats minoritaires à y mener”, 1976.
Let’s begin with a sort of warning to say that we will seek to avoid the traditional “critical point of view”. Critique is an essential dimension of representation: in the order of the theatrical, it is what stands “outside”, with the exterior incessantly situated in relation to interiority, i.e. the periphery relative to the center. A so-called dialectical relation is established between the two; this relation does not safeguard the autonomy of critique, not by a long shot.
The story is too horrible to recall, but they tell me it is good that I ‘try to remember’. So here I am. It’s only appropriate that I should avoid recounting the vector which brought me to it, save to say that it arrived nonetheless. My first recollections date back to November (or was it October?) 2015. I was still human then.
A Fanged Noumena PDF had been circulating in some obscure tract of social media, and I’d eagerly seized upon it. I remember getting high from reading even the editors’ introduction out loud. The sound-waves were brain-altering. “O prazer desinibido não tende ao benefício do organismo, mas, antes, à sua imolação.” The madness in what was written was palpable. Insane, astounding.
The Millennium is ten years out, but for Baudrillard it might as well have already happened. The eclipsing of the communists’ historical dream by globalized flows of floating capital and information ushered in a cold, glacial stasis: the enveloping of any sense of forward momentum by the simulation of what had once been real events. As ubiquitous media begins to seep down to every crack and crevice and the whirlwind fades into the sensation of an odd vertigo, the only question Baudrillard finds himself capable of asking is this: “What do we do now that the orgy is over?”
Anything is only itself because it’s functionally different from everything else. This computer I’m typing at is only itself because it’s neither at the next desk, nor does it function in the manner of an apple, amongst many other things.
The degree of differentiation is not absolute. There is a gradient of order from the inside core to the outside, where others lie. There are, nonetheless, boundaries. Permeable boundaries, but boundaries nonetheless. Discontinuities where the gradient takes a leap.
Modernity can be thought of as a process of atomization, arguably initiated by the Protestant Reformation. Today, atomization is something that almost everyone protests (on the left and right), but protest itself is an atomization dynamic, automatically reproducing the mold of Protestant schismatics. In our sincerely felt repulsion to atomization, we instantiate a distance between ourselves and this supposedly external alienating phenomenon, the cause of which is imputed to something or someone else, somewhere else. This helps to explain other puzzling phenomena such as “community-building” political activists the attitudes and behaviors of whom are maximally inhospitable to most people everywhere. No matter how hard such groups sincerely want and try to connect with “the masses,” they continue to repulse the masses more and more, because their interest in building a commons is predicated on opposition to the only, last thing that humans today generally have in common: atomization.