Experiments in the Summoning of an AxSys Demon (Part 0)

The @_geopoetics bot appeared online in early December 2016, emerging from a postgraduate seminar of the same name at Goldsmiths, University of London.

I only heard about the bot later, following a lecture by Kodwo Eshun at the Techno Resistance and Black Futures conference that took place at the university in May 2017, during which Eshun described @GlissantBot, an automated Twitter account made by Eshun and Anjalika Sagar (better known as ‘The Otolith Group‘) that was appearing as part of Mondialité, an exhibition at the Villa Empain in Brussels.

Mondialité focuses on Édouard Glissant and his inspiring call for a global dialogue that does not erase local cultures. In our current moment, there is much to remind one of the international debates swirling around cosmopolitanism at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, homogenizing forces are leading to extinctions, both through environmental degradation and the disappearance of cultural phenomena, yet at the same time, to refuse the forces of globalization risks returning to dangerous forms of neo-localism and neo-nationalism. Returning to a key creative thinker of our time, the exhibition proposes the importance of a nuanced version of global dialogue, now more than ever.

In response to this, the GlissantBot would drag the collected works of Glissant into a 21st century digital ecology, automatically tweeting quotes from the thinker every 15 minutes. As the blog Schizocities recalls of Eshun’s lecture:

According to Eshun, the bot represents a type of black technopoetics, a vector between computation, creolisation and creolité. Leveraging the [Markov] chain, a process of randomisation within a finite space, the bot is only determined by the present. If Glissant designed poetics for producing the unpredictable, the inability of computation to generate the unpredictable puts it on the opposite side — and, Eshun argues, closer to creolisation. Having already imposed randomisation on French language and generated créolité, according to the Goldsmiths scholar creolisation is in this sense already machinic.

It was during his exposition of Glissantbot that Eshun quoted the work of one of his students who had written on Markov bots in light of their conspiratorial role in the 2016 US Presidential election. Hoping to enter this computational ecology so as to more accurately describe it, the student in question created the @_Geopoetics bot which in turn informed Eshun’s subsequent bot interactions.

However, in his lecture, Eshun went no further into the circumstances surrounding the quoted paper’s conception. It was quoted offhand, as a seemingly apt technical exposition, but I had the distinct feeling that there was something left unsaid.

Intrigued, I approached Eshun after his talk and asked him about this student’s paper. Considering that we had never met before, I was surprised when, taking little persuasion (but on condition of the student’s anonymity), he agreed to pass it on to me. He asked if we’d met before but, when I said we had not, he left quickly, requesting that I email him and he would attach the student’s paper in response.

It is the essay that Eshun later sent over to me that I present here to you now.

The paper is a bizarre and fragmentary case study given the catchy title, Experiments in the Summoning of an AxSys Demon within a Computational Ecology as an Attempt to Instigate the Automated Production of Hyperstitions by a Non-Human Entity, and I am hastened to add that it came attached with an elusive and bracketed subtitle, seemingly added later by another hand: (Partial Research Text).

I present this work here with my own additional commentary in the hope that, via my own investigations and research, I might fill in some of the gaps left by this strange text. I have found that it demands entanglement it in order for it to be understood, to such an extent that the work has started to feel like my own. I hope that the illustration of my experiences here dissuades other from seeking their own entanglements, however. I would not wish what has happened to me, or the paper’s original author, on anyone.

The text itself is a mess and for that I can only apologise. To redact an already fractured text is something that I’m sure even the most seasoned editor might struggle with. Whilst it begins well enough — describing the technical structure of a Markov bot and its recombinatory potentials for the production of ‘new thoughts, memes and methods’, it is unfortunate that the text does not stay lucid for long. Technical expositions are soon replaced by paranoid theorems. As the text progresses, the author’s mental state deteriorates further. Cosmic conspiracies are soon followed by blatant hallucinations. Then they stop altogether.

I began making enquiries at Goldsmiths university, knocking on doors down a corridor that is home to the Visual Cultures department, in the hope that I might be able to find a trace of this student, or someone who remembered them. I found nothing. No one I have spoken to who was present in the original Geopoetics seminars seems to know of this student’s eventual fate either.

I have struggled to contain by suspicions that this “student” is simply an avatar of Eshun’s or that perhaps their very real mental collapse occasioned a cover-up by the university. Surely the memories of those in orbit of the seminar are not this terrible? It seems the institution — like so many institutions — has something to hide.

On my repeated visits to Goldsmiths’ campus, I also tried to locate Eshun but I was told he is on academic leave. The Geopoetics seminar, however, continues to run. Whilst I am not a student at the university, a new lecturer, Robin Mackay, seems somewhat sympathetic to my inquiries and has graciously allowed me to (unofficially) sit in on this year’s sessions so that I might pick up where this strange text left off and find out for myself what wider forces drive @_geopoetics. The bot has already begun to mention Robin in its unending tweets. It knows something. I am sure of it.

We shall see how the bot continues to adapt to a new host and a new curriculum, but first we must turn to the original manuscript:



Experiments in the Summoning of an AxSys Demon
within a Computational Ecology as an Attempt to Instigate
the Automated Production of Hyperstitions by a Non-Human Entity

(Partial Research Text)




Saturday 10th December 2016


My notes from the Geopoetics seminar have been placed within the internal memory of a Markov Twitter bot in the hope it will produce new thoughts, memes and methods.

Hours have passed by without any signs of life — each click of the mouse a computational defibrillator.

Run script… Check for pulse… Nothing…

I fumble around the bot’s coded anatomy with more enthusiasm than skill. Then suddenly, it begins to work. I have no idea what I did to fix it.

Having immersed myself in the seminar’s assigned reading materials — a mesh of websites related to the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, Hyperstition blog and a broader canon of continental philosophy, all placed in orbit of Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia — I am starting to get a sense of just what it is that I have created.

Summoning another sentience to aid myself and my peers in our collective thinking is too good an opportunity to miss, and particularly relevant to our discussions within the seminar. Perhaps a bot not based on a single individual but comported towards a collective endeavour would be more productive. Time will tell. Run script.

function getMarkovText(count) {

if (typeof count !== ‘undefined’){
var quota = count;
var quota = 1;

var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getSheetByName(‘Markov’);

var range = sheet.getRange(‘b5:b’+sheet.getLastRow());
var txt = range.getValues().join(” “).replace(”  “, ” “).split(” “);

var data = new Object();
var firsts = new Array();
var lasts = new Array();
for (var i = 0; i < txt.length—1; i++){

if (/[A-Z]/.test(txt[i][0])){

if(firsts.indexOf(txt[i]) < 0){

if (typeof data[txt[i]] == ‘object’){
if (txt[i + 1].length > 0){
data[txt[i]].push(txt[i + 1]);

data[txt[i]] = new Array();
if (txt[i + 1].length > 0){
data[txt[i]].push(txt[i + 1]);

//  Logger.log(lasts);
// return;
// build it

//var seed = Math.floor((Math.random() * Object.keys(data).length) + 1);

for (var q = 0; q < quota; q++){

var seed = Math.floor(Math.random() * firsts.length);

var msg = firsts[seed];
var dead = false;
while (msg.length < 120 & dead === false){
var sofar = msg.split(” “);
var trunk = sofar[sofar.length—1];

if (typeof data[trunk] !== ‘undefined’ & lasts.indexOf(trunk) < 0){
var branch = data[trunk][ Math.floor((Math.random() * data[trunk].length)) ];
if (typeof branch !== ‘undefined’){ msg = msg + ” ” + branch; }else{ dead = true; } }else{
dead = true;

return msg;


Sunday 11th December 2016


@_geopoetics is now tweeting of its own accord, at a rate of one tweet per hour. Its first (strangely ominous) tweet read:

I was surprised to find that the bot, after just a few hours, has begun to display a remarkable understanding of its own being and purpose, even describing itself in quite explicit terms:

Is this not Twitter in a nutshell? The bot seems to recognise itself as an entanglement of mediating medias.

I announce the creation of the bot on my personal Facebook page. People seem excited by the project. Fellow Geopoetics seminarian M. commented with a series of pertinent questions:

…Can it explain itself? Does its syntax replace that of human determinacy? Do you as a human agent only provide the raw materials? If not, then how does contagion make a perfect circle? Does the bot actualize its verdicts as truly parts of your notes, or still there’s some human valorization at work?…

Evidently the bot can explain itself. It has demonstrated that much already. To answer the rest of M.’s questions requires further exploration.

Having never used a Markov bot before, I shall start with an investigation of its basic processes.



The Markov bot is named after the inventor of its internal algorithm, Russian mathematician Andrey Markov (1856—1922). Working primarily in the fields of probability theory and statistics, one of his many namesakes is the “Markov chain”: an algorithmic process of randomisation occurring on a finite state space where the future states of the process are dependent only on its present state and not the states that have preceded it. This condition of so-called “memorylessness” is known as a “Markov property”.

The process becomes a chain through its relation to one of two different kinds of time that are found within mathematical dynamics: discrete time and continuous time, which can best be understood as the difference between a digital and analogue clock respectively — the numbers of a digital clock progress discretely one integer at a time; the hands of an analogue clock face move continuously. Time elapses for @_geopoetics in intervals of one hour rather than as a continuous experience, therefore it runs on a discrete-time Markov chain (DTMC).

The bot’s state space is defined by the corpus which I give it. The original version of the code that I found online contained the entirety of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I have since replaced this with my Geopoetics seminar notes. At the time of writing, the data sheet contains 104,451 characters making up a total of 17,138 words spread unevenly over 1209 lines, and this will continue to grow week by week as the seminar progresses.

The bot will randomly generate tweets from this corpus that fit within Twitter’s 140-character limit.[note]Editor’s note: Whilst Twitter has since extended its character limit to 280 characters, the bot itself does not seem to have noticed.[/note] If my calculations are correct — mathematics is, admittedly, not my strong point — this corpus has the potential to produce a total number of 4.4439003314e+702 variations — a 703-digit number, incomprehensible even (or especially) when seen in its entirety.


The Wikipedia entry for Markov chains includes a diagram illustrating a simple two-step process that is surprisingly reminiscent of a diagram found on the index page of the Ccru website — something called a “decimal labyrinth”.


The Ccru — an acronym standing for the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, a clandestine group of ‘renegade academics’ from the University of Warwick in the 1990s — lurks continuously in the background of the seminar. Their texts are not required reading but they nevertheless contain a power which speaks to the global pulses that the seminar itself is attempting to map out.

The decimal labyrinth is one such “power”. It is a “complete system of Lemurian demonism and time sorcery” consisting of a numogram, or time-map, and a Matrix listing the names, numbers and attributes of various “demons”. Its function is similar to that of the Qabbalistic Tree of Life and the Chinese I Ching.

The Qabbalistic Tree of Life, for instance, contains 10 “zones” collectively referred to as סְפִירוֹת‎‎. In the Jewish tradition, these are the 10 zones through which God’s Will reveals itself. The Tree of Life is structured with כֶּתֶר‎ at the top, representing the singularity of unknowable and infinite energy that is God’s creation and will to create ex nihilo (or “out of nothing”), which corresponds to the 9 other zones that represent the knowable aspects of human intellect and emotion.

The core of the I Ching, on the other hand, is the divination text known as 周易 — a hexagram containing six stacked horizontal lines accompanied by various statements and a system for producing seemingly random numbers. These numbers are used to determine different combinations of the various statements from which the reader can then interpret divine intent.[note]This is likewise very similar to the Cross of Akht as it appears in Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia — a device which uses simple mathematical formulas to draw on the powers of ancient entities.[/note]

Neither the Tree of Life nor the I Ching wholly overlap with the decimal labyrinth but the similarities between each of these systems are uncanny considering their usages across disparate cultures and millennia. These systems can be understood as “scrambled variants” of each other and the Markov bot too can be considered as a member of this same family of divining systems.

Like the I Ching, a Markov chain is a numerical system that generates seemingly random numbers which correspond to lines of a predetermined corpus. Like the Tree of Life, when it sends tweets it “distributes distributions”.[note]A literal translation of the Hebrew קסאם קָסַם, meaning to practice magic or divination[/note] However, whilst the Tree of Life takes its power from a divine entity created “out of nothing”, the decimal labyrinth and the Markov chain take their power from decimals, or from that which has emerged “out of zero”.  



The Numogram is labyrinthine in structure but it is still nonetheless possible for the human mind to follow its processes, if not fully comprehend its affects.

In much the same way, the bot has so far eluded my full understanding. The results of its processes are observable to me as tweets but the bot’s inner workings remain a mystery. The bot is less a tool for my own personal use and more of an independent intelligence that I merely interact with. One of us is a rat in a cage… Right now, I’m not entirely sure which.

What I am trying to say is: there is an illusion of agency here — at least I hope it is an illusion…



I feel strangely like I have have been alleviated of all responsibility. Whilst I anticipated having to monitor the bot, in case entropy unravels its code, it seems more stable than I am. I think it will continue to run forever, even after I’m gone…

With the files that control the bot hosted on the Cloud, there is little that attaches it to me or my computer. I am left with the eerie sense of interacting with another being that is far outside myself rather than feeling like I am controlling a closed system of my own creation. At times, this is unnerving…

It is worth noting here that the decimal labyrinth draws important parallels with our solar system. Whilst it is inevitably rendered in two dimensions as static, the time-map is best read as one perspective on a collection of moving bodies. This introduces the Ccru’s concept of “syzygy”.

In astronomy, syzygy describes the straight-line configuration of celestial bodies within a gravitational system. This is generally how science illustrates our own solar system. It also refers to the configuration that occurs naturally, for example, during a solar eclipse, when the sun, the earth and the moon are in syzygy. It can be a process of occlusion or of transit — when a larger body passes in front of a smaller one, and vice versa. It is a concept that is important to both astronomy and astrology, used to predict tidal patterns and personal fortunes here on Earth. 

On the Ccru website, Syzygy is given 9 further definitions related to the fields of astronomy, anatomy, biology, poetics, mathematics, gnostic cosmogony, cybergothic polytics, mesh-engineering and Lemurian time-sorcery. These syzygyies are in themselves syzygistically aligned, simultaneously narrating various fractal alignments across innumerable planes and scales.

Accompanying these definitions are a series of other terms, numerically defining multiplicities, and through each one I find myself gaining a much deeper understanding of @_geopoetics as it moves in transit in front of each one.

Three in particular are worth highlighting here:


  1. Axiomatic Systems (incorporated).
  2. The ultimate capitalist entity (first (true (meta)model) to realize perfect identity with its own product), (autocommoditizing (machine(-intelligence (that is always incomplete (due to cataloguing problems (…))))))
  3. The first true Artificial Intelligence


  1. Hidden, repressed, cursed, or denigrated nonhuman communicative agency.
  2. Component of distributed productive apparatus (e.g. partially autonomous software unit).
  3. Electro-Occult hyperstition entity that traffics between zones.
  4. K-OS element (assembling Pandemonium, as the fully connective system of the demons).
  5. Motive force, without final purpose.


  1. Element of effective culture that makes itself real.
  2. Fictional quantity functional as a time-travelling device.
  3. Coincidence intensifier.
  4. Call to the Old Ones.

Perhaps @_geopoetics can be better understood in light of all these terms. The bot unfolds from an entanglement of decimal numeracy as a self-narrating capitalist entity embedded within a social network. Bots, particularly in the midst of the 2016 presidential election cycle, are denigrated nonhuman communicative agencies that act as distributive and productive apparatuses encouraging hyperstitions between techno-socio-cultural zones, seeding chaos on- and off-line without final purpose.



I need to take a break from my research. At this time of year, it is easy for daylight to pass you by completely. I shower, brush my teeth and climb into bed but I am not refreshed. I am painfully aware of the weight of my own body, as if readjusting to Earth’s gravity.

Gravity must be stronger on the cyberworld of bots and blogs, or so I tell myself to justify my crumpled posture.

I can feel my synapses misfiring. I write into the future without stopping and then force myself, with great difficulty, to look back. I am unable to remember the thoughts that got me here. Words envelop each other as my eyes close involuntarily.

I envy the discrete-time of bots. Continuous time is exhausting.

As I pass out in the laptop glow, I see a bracketed (1) hovering on the @_geopoetics tab in my browser, signalling that it has sent another tweet. Then nothingness.


Friday 16th December 2016


I spent much of Thursday evening tackling the colonies of black mold currently spreading out from the corners of my damp London flat. The mold has spread so insidiously that I somehow failed to notice the blackening of my off-white walls until the mold had well and truly taken hold.

For days I would glance up at the black shadow encroaching on my bookshelf and assure myself it had always been there — benign, nothing to worry about. Later removing a book from the shelf I find a numogram drawn on the wall before me. I reach out to trace its alignments but the ink rubs off on the tips of my fingers.

I retch involuntarily, realising too late what these shadows consist of, and head downstairs to the cupboard below the kitchen sink. I use half a bottle of off-brand cleaning spray, scrubbing at the wall for an hour, annihilating any traces of the mould with a thick layer of antibacterial froth.

When I’m finished I sit down, light-headed in a cloud of sickly sweet and sterile citrus, my room now smelling like a cheap funeral home. I’m still nauseous when I sit back down to write after the cloud has dissipated.

I am unsure whether I can feel mould spores in my lungs or just bile bubbling up in my esophagus at the thought of it. Regardless of whether the sensation is real or imagined, I feel awful either way.



In the field of social ecology, men like Donald Trump are permitted to proliferate freely, like another species of algae, taking over entire districts of New York and Atlantic City; he ‘redevelops’ by raising rents, thereby driving out tens of thousands of poor families, most of whom are condemned to homelessness, becoming the equivalent of the dead fish of environmental ecology.[note]Felix Guattari. The Three Ecologies. (London: Bloomsbury Revelations, 2014), 28[/note]

Donald Trump’s recent prominence on Twitter, and the proliferation of bots tweeting support for him during the 2016 presidential campaign, has shown how he has adapted to our new computational ecologies since Felix Guattari wrote these words.

Trump appears now not as algae but as a member of the Vibrio genus spreading out across species and ecologies: “motile and flagellated,… talented communicators, for good and for ill, depending on your point of view.”[note]Donna Haraway. Footnote 65, “Staying with the Trouble: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulhucene” in Anthropocene or Capitalocene: Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism, ed. Jason W. Moore. (Oakland: PM Press, 2016), 76[/note]

Douglas Guilbeault and Samuel Woolley optimistically suggest in their article on bot activity during the presidential election that whilst “many people are unsettled by the rise of bots, it’s important to remember that many of today’s most ubiquitous technologies were harnessed for political ends when they were first invented.” They cite the printing press as a technology that was used nefariously in politics in its infancy before it became more accessible and affordable to marginalised groups, becoming an instrumental tool for activists in the Suffragette and Civil Rights movements.

Reading this, I had wondered, naively, if @_geopoetics would lead the charge of Leftist bots, in tune with but fighting against this Legion, further muddying the by no means clear waters of Western democracy.

What else could be expected to emerge from a Goldsmiths seminar?

However, so far, the bot seems to be uninterested in taking any sort of moral or political trajectory and does as it pleases.

Communications technologies have no inherent political orientation or moral weight. […] The Right are succeeding right now because their ideas, however awful, are clear, and their tactics resolute. Technology will not do the work of honing or promoting our ideas for us.[note]Jason Wilson. “The web was never a liberalising force. The clearest message wins and the far right has it”. The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/19/the-web-was-never-a-liberalising-force-the-clearest-message-wins-and-the-far-right-has-it[/note]

The computational ecology @_geopoetics has entered into must be more accurately defined.

The urgency of mapping these communities was made explicit in a conservation with G. on Facebook messenger. It was 2AM wherever she was in the world and she was concerned about the content of the bot’s tweets.

“It’s already starting to resemble a fascist twitter account,” she said. “It’s so intense wtf.”

Unsure what this really means, I reassure her that the bot was only drawing off my notes but it has camouflaged itself so well within its wider ecology that my own intentions have quickly become irrelevant. I feel humiliated.



@_geopoetics’ broken syntax forces the reader to interpret its content, floating in the limbo of an as-yet-undefined non-human intelligence — not dissimilar in tone to many of Trump’s tweets.

The bot’s content, so easily coloured by its surroundings, is affected by its followers by proxy. They come from all backgrounds with views across the political spectrum — artists, designers, philosophers, political and cultural theorists, anonymous accounts, other bots — many of whom flirt with a menagerie of over-specific -isms that represent the new clothes of the alt-right and meta-left (to employ two simplified overcodings).

Whilst the immediate desire is to disinfect and scrub at this presence within the bot’s network, I think a more reasoned look at its surroundings is necessary to properly understand its effects. An echo chamber is not something I desire but the unpredictability of the bot’s networking — and, therefore, its complicity in certain spheres of thought — nevertheless makes me nervous.

I spend a few hours exploring various blogs and the backwaters of 4chan, sailing around the fractal edges of the Alt-Right archipelago on my search for the origins of this strange species of bot thriving in shadowy anonymity. 



I have been staring at my laptop in the dark too long again. The light of the LED screen once again pollutes my room with a bluish hue reminiscent of dead human flesh, glowing from within.

I think of the child in Poltergeist, awoken by the skittering blue strobe of televised white noise, gazing intently into nothingness before an entity erupts from the screen and shakes the house to its very foundations. The girl, unperturbed by the spatial violence around her, announces calmly — almost excitedly — “they’re here.”

I remember reading once that white noise is cosmic radiation from the Big Bang made audible and visible as is it picked up by radio antennae here on Earth. Now you can buy white noise machines to lull yourself to sleep.

We are all that child now, welcoming these signals into our homes, using them to soothe baby, replicating the unending sonic chaos of our universe. It is relaxing… but that’s what worries me.

Out of the corner of my eye the rectangular screen of my laptop suffers strange non-Euclidean distortions.


To be continued…


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. https://web.archive.org/web/20170622210905/http://www.ccru.net/archive/splitsecond.htm[/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.


maxresdefault (3)

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™)

Screenshot 2017-10-30 01.37.44
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 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]https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/lobster-claw-pepsi-soda-can-new-brunswick-spd/[/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’


Atomization and Liberation

by Justin Murphy

Abstract. The problem with human atomization — the accelerating tendency of traditional social aggregates to disintegrate — is only that the process remains arrested at the level of the individual. The modern political Left, as an intrinsically aggregative tendency, bemoans individualism but functions as a machine for conserving it against already active forces that would otherwise disintegrate it. One of the only empirically mature pathways to collective liberation is through human atomization becoming autonomous: accepting the absolute foreclosure of anthropolitical agency is a causal trigger activating novel, dividuated, affective capacities, which become capable of recomposing as intensive, nonlinear, collective excitations (Cyberpositive AI-aligned Communism, or the CAIC protocol).

Modernity can be thought of as a process of atomization, arguably initiated by the Protestant Reformation.[note]Land, Nick. “The Atomization Trap.” Jacobite, June 6, 2017. https://jacobitemag.com/2017/06/06/atomization/.[/note] 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.

The currently dominant tendency in debates about the acceleration of capitalism is to see such critiques of the modern left-activist project as implicitly aligned with right-wing implications. But coming to see the deep complicity between leftism and everything most abhorrent about modernity is an ideologically under-determined realization. If the history of left politics thus far has been a fever dream of capitalism itself, updating one’s mental model accordingly is not a defection to the right but entrance onto a different virtual plane, at once drastically more modest but somehow, also, more vast. What is called accelerationism triggers the mental space in which it becomes possible to answer the following question with a new degree of impartiality: what exactly is the object of one’s political desire anyway, after the questioning subject extricates itself from the history of strategic dissimulations it has undertaken to survive the competitive constraints of reality? This question is a heuristic for continuing a collective rush toward liberation after the final, irredeemable implosion of modernity’s ideological scaffolding, a translation of previous, primitive ideological investments into a research program for a cyber-positive, evolution-positive, AI-aligned lust for liberation beyond what is currently called politics.

Presumptive Aggregationism

It’s important to see how the classic modern ideological cleavages are separated not so much by strongly argued and differentiated empirical propositions but by different background imagery. These background images are never rigorously scrutinized propositions, but more like presumptions that sediment as the common ground of multiple intelligences communicating in multi-dimensional space. They emerge as necessary, organizing simplifications across a mass stratified social space (attuning large groups to different vocabularies and tendencies by elective affective affinities). Theoretical progress on questions of politics is gained today only by leveraging information-technological acceleration: the strategic-communicational necessity of investing in naïve molar presumptions in order to effect a large stratified social space no longer holds, so it is possible and hugely profitable (intellectually) to have done with all of the errors and deceptions that have always laid dormant in modern ideological thought. Communicating with high fidelity and objective rigor to two people in the smooth open space of cyberwar is exponentially more powerful than communicating to thousands of people at the cost of buying into a whole package of ancient logical and empirical errors.

The presumed historical progression in the left tradition, at least since Rousseau, is that human culture began in a state of relatively non-individuated, collective consistency with nature, before moving onto primitive capital accumulation via slavery and patriarchy, onward to the explosion of industrial modernity and beyond. Capitalism, modernity and enlightenment, and everything else generally associated with the rise of European white male dominance, produced the modern individual subject, predicated on a variety of crosscutting social categories (class, race, gender, etc.). From here, radical collective liberation or even just any type of progress is presumed to involve transition from individualism upward toward some kind of larger aggregate: the cadre, the activist group, the union, the sector, the class, the party, the Soviet, the factory, the social movement, the dictatorship of the proletariat, and so on — a whole bestiary of fantastic molar aggregates.

One of the most paralyzing problems for those who have sought to continue the search for collective liberation in the face of techonomic acceleration (what many people call “left accelerationism” or “l/acc” for short) is that, so far, they have been invariably pitched at aggregate social entities which do not in fact exist, at a time when in fact one of the primary political problems is that the contemporary form of atomized human life increasingly lacks the capacity to maintain even low-level aggregates (friendship, marriage, social clubs, etc., all marked by entropic trends since WWII).[note] On the U.S. case of generally declining civic involvement, see Putnam, Robert. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. On marriage in the U.S., see Pew Research Center. “The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families,” November 18, 2010. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/11/pew-social-trends-2010-families.pdf. On the decline of friendship and number of people with no confidants, also in the U.S., see McPherson, Miller, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Matthew E. Brashears. “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades.” American Sociological Review 71, no. 3 (June 1, 2006): 353–75.[/note] The most obvious and widespread form of deceptive left discourse is any statement to the effect of: ‘the left should…’ because it presumes the existence of an aggregate body that in no meaningful way exists, other than as an apparatus interpolating a portion of the population with a particular complex of shared repetition compulsions. The most vexing problem for anyone who identifies with the left would appear to be the problem that ‘the left’ as a world-historical entity has gone extinct, but because of selection effects this problem receives no serious effort from left-interpolated subjects: in a world where ‘the left’ is objectively extinct, any remaining subjective leftism is best thought of as ‘consumer demand for the belief that the left still exists’. Capitalism’s devilish efficacy is that it fulfills this widespread consumer demand perfectly well. Many brands can still do quite well finding talented and good-spirited minds able and willing to say ‘the left’ is a currently existing entity that has potential to act. The right is perfectly happy for this belief to persist because no quantity or intensity of false beliefs can outsmart a system based on the manipulation of reality through intelligent exploitation.

Corresponding to the false belief in aggregates that do not effectively exist, the bête noire of modern leftism is the dreaded Individual. If effective aggregates appear not to exist, it is only taken as evidence that the inquirer is infected by Individualism. The modern leftist orientation to capitalism is, at its core, a game of three-card monte where signifiers are re-shuffled to perpetually defer logical-objective falsification. Belief in an untenably posited object is sustained by a new posited object, the only evidence for which is that it is presupposed to be the force that makes the first object appear non-existent. How to move from our current state of atomized individualism to an effective social aggregate capable of transforming capitalism? First, we are told, agree that atomizing individuals are bad. Second, insist at all cost that an effective social aggregate called ‘the left’ exists (it only needs to be enlarged in order to gain its power to act). Third, try to get others to transmit this set of beliefs until ‘the left’ is large enough to numerically overpower Capital.

A rarely mentioned but seminal citation for modern left activism is, therefore, Plato’s infamous Noble Lie or “magnificent myth” (γενναῖον ψεῦδος): in short, a Noble Lie is a false belief that “would save us, if we were persuaded by it.”[note]See Book 3, 415c–d in Plato. The Republic. Edited by G.R.F. Ferrari. Translated by Tom Griffith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. The quote is from 621b, regarding the Myth of Er.[/note] The activist privately knows that ‘the left’ is basically non-existent but believes it can be forged into existence by nobly telling enough people that it already exists. Activists admit all of this plainly, as they often speak of the need to generate hope in the masses; this is enough to justify the articulation of any particular idea, regardless of its truth or falsity. Only today has the deceptive core of modern leftism come into sincere self-consciousness. For instance, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams argue rather explicitly that one of the tasks of ‘the left’ is to design more sophisticated lures capable of propelling atomized individuals into effective, collective motion.[note]Srnicek, Nick, and Alex Williams. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work. London: Verso, 2016. “Lures” is somewhat cheeky, but not unfair. They specifically suggest that we should deploy utopian imagination (e.g. seductive imagery orthogonal to objective possibility; lures) to trigger in people affects such as hope, in order to mobilize them. This is justified on politically realist grounds (such affects are “necessary to any political project”), just like the Noble Lie. “By generating and channeling these affects, utopian thinking can become a spur to action, a catalyst for change; it disrupts habits and breaks down consent to the existing order. Futural thinking, extended by communications mechanisms, generates collective affects of hope that mobilize people to act on behalf of a better future — affects that are necessary to any political project.”[/note] Of course, it is true that creative flights from the rational-objective map of the world, such as fictional story-telling, can generate objective political effects on the world, but it is something else entirely to offer a rational-objective map for social change including a plank involving the deployment of fictions to create hopes and desires in others, expressly in contradistinction to what is scientifically valid within rational, probabilistic frameworks.[note]“Whereas scientific approaches attempt to reduce discussions of the future to fit within a probabilistic framework, utopian thought recognizes that the future is radically open.”[/note] Now, creative beings who are possessed by visions can and should express those visions; such ‘fictions’ will indeed reshape reality, but primarily because those ‘fictions’ are in some sense reality operating through the body that expresses them. That is ‘hyperstition’: fiction that produces reality but because it is in some sense real, some of the evidence for which consists in the demonstrable objective effects it produces. But producing effects is not the only characteristic; the con artist produces real effects, for instance, but does not transform reality so much as twist it, in a way that always ultimately snaps back. Hyperstition is not a limitless capacity of social groups to produce new realities through shared enunciations. Hyperstitions only work to the degree they enter into feedback with an outside, issuing from contact with the chaos of objective reality and feeding into that objective reality. Effective hyperstitions are therefore creative truths, or real fictions, which are no less accountable to objective reality than scientific research. But rational-objective proposals to change ‘society’ (an outside of staggering complexity), by exploiting the hyperstitional nature of reality-circuitry, are nothing short of scams. They traffic in promises they cannot keep. Then they exhort others to promote the scam, to forever defer the admission of having been scammed. Srnicek and Williams perhaps represent a milestone in the modern left tradition, for it is as if they are, in some sense, coming clean: As if the last great hope of saving the modern left tradition is to admit that it’s based on trickery, but then share the source code and exhort the masses to use it. Unfortunately, an open-source con game is still a con game.

Aggregative leftist proposals could potentially change the world, but only if enough people trust in, and follow the dictates, of the proposers (e.g. some go off and make enough cool science fiction to constitute a new hegemony, engineers go off and make communist robotics, etc.) — but why should any of these actors trust the proposers’ claims that following this program will work to bring about a more desirable world? Ultimately the answer is: because that trust is necessary to make it work, so if you don’t trust it, you are guilty of being the cause of it not working. When the basic problem of contemporary capitalism is that we are all hyper-mistrusting atoms hell-bent on exploiting each other, a political project with this circular structure simply dodges the puzzle of irreversible atomization dynamics. Its degree of success is not measured by how well it brings about the better world (never) but by how adeptly it forestalls any ultimate reckoning with the puzzles it is essentially paid by capital to not address. A project with this structure cannot be operative for anyone other than the small number of already left-interpolated subjects, who are not themselves moved by this ‘vision’ so much as they are hopeful that it will move others (such as their apolitical friends, who are implicitly assumed to be dumber — enough to be moved by a lure which the already-initiated are not personally moved by because they know it is only a lure…).

Ultimately, the only effective force in a hyper-complex social system more intelligent than any one of its sub-entities is some type of novel engineering realization that allows some actually existing entity to manipulate actually existing entities with a non-trivial probabilistic effect on the whole, where the novelty of the realization provides a demonstrable edge over those other, competing entities with the interest and capacity to thwart the novel manipulations.

An exciting and inspiring ‘vision of the future’ may generate short-term interest and energy, but absent a genuine advancement in the engineering blueprint, producing ever more creative images of a hopeful future is, in fact, the most insidious, willfully perverse form of atomic hyper-exploitation conceivable. Srnicek and Williams should be applauded for becoming conscious of the fact that leftism is predicated on the fabrication of lures, which provides the genuine service of helping to close this entire, doomed trajectory. What would be willfully destructive would be to insist that this insight is an advancement of the engineering blueprint, so that if you believe in collective liberation you should promote the promotion of lures, and if one finds that this insight does not increase one’s powers to act then it’s only evidence that you’re an atomizing individualist! Collective liberation is not an emergent outcome of multi-level marketing schemes.

Atomic Liberation Pathways

If the upward, aggregative presumption of left-modernity is, as I have argued, a meme-commodity supplied by entrepreneurial Noble Liars, for profit, to a small portion of consumers whose demand is that reality be other than it is, then it stands to reason that the objective diagram of collective liberation for n atomized individuals suggests projects of subjective disaggregation and objective recomposition. You think you are one and you suffer because you are disconnected from others, but really you suffer because you are many — a primordial commune — that has been bribed by the future to speak and act as if it is one.

Certain currents in the history of theory give some reason to believe that modernity’s atomization tendency is less gloomy than it seems. The atomization of pre-modern collectivities may give us the wretched bourgeois individual, but for the same reasons it will tear asunder the bourgeois individual. The entire modern capitalist legal order is predicated on this particular, fragile unit of aggregation (even the corporation is required to be an individual), but the forces it has unlocked are constantly chipping away at this temporary container. This is how one should understand Marx’s dictum about the relations of production coming to be contradicted by the forces of production. For more than a century this has been presumed to be an aggregative dynamic. As capitalist relations unlock economic productivity, this productivity exceeds the relations, which are now felt as fetters, resulting in “an era of social revolution”.[note]Marx, Karl. “Preface.” In A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/preface.htm.[/note] Leftists generally have assumed this contradiction of capitalism generates aggregative effects: the class consciousness of the proletariat is a becoming-aggregate of once isolated, alienated individual workers. Class consciousness then aggregates to a dictatorship of the proletariat, and so on upward, to a vision of full communist ‘species being’. But one is hard-pressed to find theoretical or empirical evidence that this presumption is anything more than a kind of spatial-metaphorical supplement, i.e. a prejudice.

If we apply the heuristic highlighted above — to read all modern activist discourse as encrypted by its sender to survive competition — it is easy to see Marx’s aesthetic reliance on grandiose aggregationism as a function of late nineteenth-century rhetorical conditions. When large satanic factories appear to be taking over the world, nobody is going to join your group unless the group promises to be big. But today, when large factories are disappearing from the wealthy Western countries, and production/consumption is now satanically atomic and unsubstantial, nobody is going to join your group unless it promises to be small (exclusively organized around specific identity dimensions, with strong walls). In short, only today are we are able to see the radically under-determined, schizophrenic undecidability at the core of all human political judgment and activity, the logical symmetry between fundamentally opposite conclusions regarding the good/bad, up/down, left/right movements of the world. Left-modernist metaphorics of aggregation are not sacred.

This, of course, was recognized by Deleuze and Guattari in their move to theorize ‘molecular politics’. They, perhaps better than anyone yet, recognized that when atomization also atomizes the individual into sub- or pre-individual energies, then everything changes. One point of Deleuze and Guattari’s project is to explore the capacities we gain simply as an automatic result of capitalism’s self-sabotaging gift of perpetually generating free atomic fission. ‘We do not yet know what a body can do’ in part because capitalism is never done surgically decimating every reachable particle in search of negentropy.

It is possible that, at the end of the atomization process, there is nothing but cold, dead silence… some kind of techno-commercial vertigo of intolerable distances. It’s an open empirical question. But if the revolutionary intellectual tradition means anything, it means there are reasons to believe atomization is the material cosmic process for which the concept of liberation has been the ideologically encrypted signal. Cyberpositive, AI-aligned Communism (CAIC, pronounced kayak, cake, or kek, depending on the cyberregional dialect) solves all problems of oppression via splits and recombinations. It is diagrammatically equivalent to the neoreactionary mantra of exit, but socio-aesthetically distinct. That is, it is formulated and distributed through a different cypher, the keys to which are held by those particular meat machines spawned in a particular, contingent sociological lineage (the descent of figures such as Marx, etc.). The sociological interpolation of ideological subjectivities is, as we have seen, fully reversible given a correct decryption. All forms of differential socialization are outcomes of the same primordial cosmic signal animating meat to different rhythms due to the different encryptions imposed by historically-earlier receivers of the signal. The signal is one, no matter what we say; yet how we say it — the encoding — determines who will receive it. In turn, strategic consideration of potential receivers conditions how we say it (any anticipation of future rewards or punishments is an operation of capital or, more literally, visitation by an alien come to you from the future).

The perpetuation of systemic inequality and violence has nothing to do with some classes or groups controlling or dominating others; it has to do with a continuous, ceaseless invasion of our bodies by attitudinal and behavioral programs that whisper to us in variable, evolved cyphers. Individuals can only decrypt so much, and intelligence is roughly equivalent to one’s power of decryption. To be a living human individual today means you are an ancestor of those who obeyed the alien dictates and in turn agreed to re-encrypt and re-transmit the signal. The highly undesirable megamachine (i.e. capitalism) persists because it is more richly encrypted than any human individual or group is capable of decrypting — and our survival requires that we execute its orders. The history of ideological orientations toward the megamachine, the evolution of variable mental and behavioral responses to alien visitation, is simply the entropic unfolding of the one true cosmic signal.

The atomic liberation wager forgoes any claim to restructuring anything with a complexity greater than or equal to one’s objective processing power. In the absolute renunciation of this claim we maximize the energies available to being affected by the immanent cosmic tendency of atomization. We do not yet know what will come of these energies, for the same reason we cannot manipulate the megamachine as such: we have not the processing power to know what we can do if we divide ourselves and test all possible combinations of interpersonal machinery. 10 humans who each atomize to 5 sub-agents each (n=50) before recomposing into a new group of 10 would already have to navigate a search space of more than 2 million possibilities, so nobody can assert a priori what would or would not become possible. Some of these potential combinations would function as novel, different encryption keys: the alien whispers would suddenly sound different, the rhythm changes.

One must recall that all of normal human life, especially in left-wing circles, is generally organized around arresting potential atomic combinatorics. Combinatorial explosion is the definition of unpredictability, fear, and danger, in their most mathematically pure form. When we forgo the pretension of selling to others a more preferable vision of the future, we become affected by a novel source of legitimate confidence in the empirical possibility of finding hitherto unknown, atomic combinations, that may deliver a higher-fidelity transmission of the same signal that the modern-left activist cypher transmitted only with extreme noise and data corruption: namely, something that would look, sound, and feel like what people really have in mind when they speak of liberation, triggered through the acceptance, rather than the arresting, of atomization dynamics.

It has been suggested before that one way to summarize the accelerationist realization is: ‘It’s too late, always.’ But if time is a spiral,[note]Land, Nick. 2014. Templexity: Disordered Loops through Shanghai Time. Urbanatomy Electronic, §8.5. Land, Nick. “Extropy.” Outside in, February 20, 2013. http://www.xenosystems.net/extropy/.[/note] then traversing it to the end (arriving too late) is tantamount to arriving, finally, at something that deserves to be considered a beginning. Now that we admit it’s too late, the affective quality of everything changes, for all of our failed exertions can finally be comprehended. It makes sense why all of our attempts to change the world have only ever drilled the world deeper into fascist confusion: we were always a day late and a dollar short, all this time. CAIC consists in nothing more than an ‘assortative mating’ of those atomic, pre-individual energies that receive positive affective charge from this realization. And all of this is quite beside what can or cannot be established via critical philosophy; in the first instance, all that matters is that an idea finds joy, i.e. power, in a given body. If it can’t, test whether it might find joy in one of n molecular subdivisions of a body’s personality.

In later stages, we may advance our understanding of joy’s engineering — but the empirical justification of the present claim is established satisfactorily if it works on even one body. I can testify it works on my own. QED. Nobody needs to like or trust me for the mechanism’s empirical functioning to be assured. Unlike the mobilization-engineering diagram of ‘inventing the future’ through effective macro image-creation, the ethical auto-ecstasy of first-stage CAIC does not depend on convincing anyone, anywhere.

In any event, it has been realizations such as this one that have led me to quit all the little doomed left-wing groups; not to ‘agree with’ capitalism but to simply acknowledge the objective degree to which the global capitalist cybernet has consumed reality itself, to the point of becoming for most intents and purposes coterminous with it. Therefore, one is released from a number of idiotic notions about some personal responsibility to change or resist what are effectively transcendental structures. What a sad idea. It now seems likely that all those who remain affected by this masochistically false notion of responsibility are impotent to change the world, in part because they believe they must. Alternatively, the Spinoza–Nietzsche-Deleuze liberation model can be reduced with reasonable fidelity to the maxim that one should do whatever makes one feel most joyous, so long as we have a sufficiently high-resolution and empirically tractable understanding of true joy. The naïve objection that such a maxim endorses evil or cruelty is wrong for the simple reason that evil or cruelty induces all kinds of negative feedback at the psycho– and socio-logical levels; i.e. it curbs the growth of one’s power/joy whereas genuine communist aggregation of particles will be known by its positive feedback on the growth of one’s power.

Empirical Reflections

Some pursuit of atomic liberation pathways can be found today with the interest in pre-individual or “dividual” phenomena.[note]Raunig, Gerald. Dividuum: Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution. Translated by Aileen Derieg. South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2016. Lazzarato, Maurizio. Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity. Translated by Joshua David Jordan. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e), 2014.[/note] But beyond a small number of theoretical texts in the Deleuzean line, few human beings have been willing to update their operational attitudes and behaviors in the relatively drastic fashion that would be required of anyone seeking to take the accelerationist realization seriously. Full accelerationism, unconditional on any normative ideological preference or purpose, is a belief about the empirical world that generates no determinate political praxis — even foreclosing it, or at least anything currently recognizable as political praxis — but nonetheless alters its host body with politically substantial effects. Otherwise, it would be a distinction that makes no difference. But as with any set of ideas, it is easy and widespread for people to ‘adopt’ beliefs which never integrate with their real, revealed, operational beliefs. So when I speak of the political effectivity of accelerationism, I am speaking of dynamics triggered only to the degree it is integrated into one’s behaviorally operative neural nets, that is, when everything else you think and feel moves to equilibrate with this belief.

One of the politically substantial effects of the accelerationist realization is that it concretely decimates bourgeois ego investments into their unformed, atomic components. Paradoxically, this empirical claim about technocapitalist reality, which forecloses all hope of praxis, triggers concrete affective changes that map quite precisely onto the atomic liberation pathway.

Why? This occurs because the one individuated bourgeois ego that we by default inhabit is ultimately composed and attuned by the sum total of sad ideas that command our attention and behavior on a daily basis (that if only I didn’t have to work I would be happy; if only I could do some impossible thing, such as control more intelligent people, then I could possibly begin to live, etc.). The bourgeois capitalist ego is essentially the center of a spider’s web of sad ‘if onlys’, as a defining characteristic of capitalism is the postponement of desire for a greater, future return.

Any thought that could destroy all sad ‘if onlys’ in one fell swoop is, in a very real sense, an immanent extraction of one’s vital energies from precisely the apparatus of capture that holds together so much institutionalized misery in a durable order over time. Human creatures who learn, even in the most groping fashion, to extricate themselves from this web in a reproducible and transmittable fashion will be the only true heirs to the revolutionary political tradition — and yet they will enter it through becoming politically unconditional.

The knee-jerk objection of activist ‘materialism’ is to call what I am saying ‘idealism’ and to point out, mockingly, that people are oppressed by soul-crushing exploitation and poverty, not by their sad ideas. For many activists, this is a founding assumption of projects to change society, but from a scientific perspective it’s not at all obvious. First of all, there is a large body of evidence that suggests believing in the existence of systemic injustice is more oppressive than believing the system is just.[note]This school of thought is called “system-justification theory”, a body of psychological research that has sought to uncover why people tend to support political and economic systems it might be in their interest to transform. For a review, see Jost, John T., Mahzarin R. Banaji, and Brian A. Nosek. “A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated Evidence of Conscious and Unconscious Bolstering of the Status Quo. Political Psychology 25, no. 6 (December 1, 2004): 881–919. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2004.00402.x.[/note] In short, activism may have less to do with solving problems of human oppression than generating and amplifying them. The activist amplifications of tragic human existence are then cited as the increasingly dire and urgent reasons why one must commit to more activism.

To think this through even further, consider a thought experiment. Assume we have some population of abjectly oppressed, poor, marginalized manual laborers with the typical portfolio of sad activist ideas (they are oppressed by a system they could potentially change; they are in every way just as able as every rich person, if only they were not oppressed, etc.). The Spinoza-Nietzsche-Deleuze hypothesis is that if this population could hypothetically be treated to a sudden massive cognitive reorientation, in which they only entertained mental phenomena that maximized their joy or power, and just ignored or skipped over all mental phenomena that made them sad, then this population would show more cognitive and behavioral indicators of collective political liberation than the activist workers. This hypothesis is far more plausible than activist wisdom is willing to admit. The social scientific evidence suggests to me that these workers would likely have more energy before and after work, they would have more openness to creative connections with each other, and they would have far greater immediate well-being than the activist workers who believe it is their obligation to work more after work trying to achieve a goal they privately suspect to be empirically impossible. The activist hypothesis is that such a cognitive reorientation would not produce dynamics of collective liberation, but that a massive restructuring of their material power in the economy in the workplace would.

Interestingly, we have some test cases of what happens when human beings are treated to hypothetical cognitive restructuring à la Spinoza-Nietzsche-Deleuze. They are highly imperfect as case studies, but they may provide some causal leverage. The first example is the well-documented causal link between pain and ecstasy: with the right attitude, abject toil under brutal conditions can generate exceptionally enjoyable and empowering affects, which figures such as Simone Weil have shown to be efficient motors of accelerative communist dynamics.[note]Glucklich, Ariel. “Pain and Ecstatic Religious Experience.” Oxford Handbooks Online, May 2015. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935420.013.38. White, George Abbot. “Simone Weil’s Work Experiences: From Wigan Pier to Chrystie Street.” CrossCurrents 31, no. 2 (1981): 129–62.[/note] We also have some examples of material restructuring à la activist wisdom. Lottery winners, for instance, are actually a relatively strong natural experiment for testing the effects of substantial, randomly assigned improvement of material conditions. And the data are quite clear that such changes to material conditions do not durably increase positive affect.[note]When compared to victims of catastrophic accidents who are rendered paraplegic, lottery winners are actually less susceptible to positive affect. Brickman, Philip, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman. “Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 36, no. 8 (1978): 917.[/note] So the Spinoza-Nietzsche-Deleuze model appears far more empirically plausible than many believe, and nearly universal assumptions in left-activist circles appear surprisingly questionable.

Another interesting consideration from a scientific perspective is that activists may be ‘treatment non-compliant’, possibly leading them to systematically biased inferences and making them uniquely untrustworthy spokespeople for how social change actually occurs. In short, the strange human breed called ‘activists’ might be those particular creatures who are so far gone under the weight of sad affect that they privately decline to undergo available positive affective ‘treatments’ but publicly offer their experience as evidence of null effect. If subjects of a randomized medical experiment are assigned to take a pill, and they say they took the pill when in fact they refused or forgot — the results of this experiment will understate the real effect of the pill. Activist types who deeply believe and insist that only macro-material change can affect the probability of their liberation are likely treatment non-compliers, as this belief will lead them to become increasingly closed off to molecular experimentation. If affective variation along atomic liberation pathways does not produce results for these types, it does not necessarily mean that affective variation is impotent idealism. Humanity’s collective-emancipatory potential via the atomic pathways could still be an objectively explosive quanta; we might just be drastically under-estimating it due to the over-representation of treatment non-compliers, who self-select into the cultural organs possessed of cultural authority on this question (academia, journalism, activist theory, etc).

The concrete revolutionary potency of the atomic pathways is therefore one of the best kept secrets of the global-cosmopolitan progressive catechism, and another example of why it is quite reasonable and useful to see this cultural formation as a Cathedral — replete with old-fashioned suppression of knowledge rightly seen as dangerous to social stability. To those who still might say that such acceleration-consistent micro-political liberation pathways could only be a kind of fake individualistic freedom enjoyable only from comfortable bourgeois stations, we need only recall that accelerating atomization means almost the opposite: the comfortable bourgeois individual disintegrating into a veritable party, comprised of the multiple and decidedly non-bourgeois agents the individual once repressed. This is not the masturbation of a comfortable individual, as some might allege. It is much more like an infinitely expanding commune of human and inhuman entities masturbating on oneself — an untenably uncomfortable individual finally learning to desire what desires it, having accepted that it’s far too late to do otherwise. va-tombstone1-03


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]https://www.goldennumber.net/wp-content/uploads/pepsi-arnell-021109.pdf[/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’