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 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’