NeoStalingrad: Voodoo Politics and Neo-Neural Gene Hacking

by Mark Horvath and Adam Lovasz

12th November, 2020.


Documents purported to be part of a failed presidential candidate’s secret political program have been leaked online. General outrage has followed in the wake of the hack, relating to certain points of the as yet unverified text. In all probability, they were released by a disgruntled ex-employee, or obtained illegally by hackers utilizing K-worms hidden in child pornography. This material gives a glimpse of the first 100 days of the presidency:

  • Legalization of adult–child marriage.
  • Introduction of a Global Gay Rights Initiative (membership compulsory).
  • Ratification of the Intergalactic Free Trade Agreement (IFTA).
  • Lizard-people revelation, following ratification of IFTA.
  • War with the Russian Federation and other renegade regions of Slave Planet Earth, so as to introduce an alternative agricultural paradigm using human remains as fertilizer.
  • Legalizing the use of intergalactic lifeforms in agriculture and breeding.
  • Signing of the Pornography Freedom Act, in the presence of representatives of the DragonDildo Company Inc.
  • Virus Eradication Initiative; the introduction of GMO mosquitoes and spiders into the drinking water of all-too-human populations, so as to eradicate anthropomorphic viruses.
  • Creation of the Compulsory HIV-Infection Committee underneath the ruins of what was formerly known as the European Parliament.
  • The restriction of online hate speech through the recoding of Swedish jihadist content into hiphop music.
  • Filtering of news items relating to a lizard-people takeover from online media — such fake news must be replaced by sensitizing stories relating to homosexual Muslim men who prefer the passive position and pose no military threat.
  • Praise be to the Great Rainbow!

Crisis-machines and viral, schizoid, infected and infectious intensities conduct schizoanalysis upon the program points of the leaked Zogian presidential program. The authors of this text appear to have been sent back in time in order to signal the operations of a schizo-machinery whose non-grammatical supplementarity is transchanneled into a post-Euclidean militarized geophilosophical space of manipulation. Without doubt, according to an alternative hermeneutics, the word ‘manipulation’ stems from the god of Manichaeism, Mani. To manipulate is to proliferate the name of Mani upon Earth, introducing a ritual duality between the sacrificial bull and those benefited by the bloody effluence of its arteries…

The signs were there all along: K-functions upload themselves into the collapsing strange attractors of an apparently limitless process of integration. Indifferent empty signs cut into the reiterative operations of the schizomachine, time bends over itself “and the matrix dismantles itself into voodoo”.[note]Nick Land, “Cybergothic” [1998], in Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings: 1987–2007 (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2013), 373.[/note] War has arrived into the streets of Paris once more, the revolution’s darkened version colliding with the fractal expansion of difference, filling the eerily symbolically named streets of Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad. LIBERTY LEADING THE %%%+REG Fatal System Error ++!!!!!!+/+/“PEOPLE.”

Reports speak of a strange street fight in a square named after Europe’s bloodiest battle — but the code errors make it impossible to be sure of what is happening. In the disassemblage of the assemblage, “bodies interpenetrate, mix together, transmit affects to one another”.[note]Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, Dialogues (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987 [1977]), 70.[/note] In an assemblage, there are no fixed, immutable structures, only flows: facts pile up on top of one another, chaosmology condenses into a “K-coma”.[note]Land, “Cybergothic”, 369.[/note] GORGEOUS MODEL EXPOSES ALL. The technosphere performs autopsies upon all of us, rendering the body naked, flayed. To quote Seb Franklin, “the proliferation of differences that make a difference — attests to the fractal character of this cultural formulation of epistemic conditions.”[note]Seb Franklin, Control: Digitality as Cultural Logic (Cambridge, London: The MIT Press, 2015), 162.[/note] Difference results in an overproduction of connections, and therefore programs discontinuity into the rotten center. The global center’s connections and immune systems have failed: no longer is there an outside and an inside, everything is collapsing at an accelerating pace. Undifferentiated civilizational decadence, digitalized Latino drug cartels fight upon the streets of Milan. Milan=El Salvador + K-function + breastfeeding in church + structural contingencies, abject compulsions: the apotheosis of Catholicism: DIGITAL FLAMES LICK THE DOME OF THE CATHEDRAL. We shout with Deleuze and his wolves: “there is no subject of desire, any more than there is an object.”[note]Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues, 78.[/note] Catholicism is the apotheosis of violence. Gang members tattoo Christ and the Virgin Mary upon their muscular brown bodies. God’s Mother gives birth to machete murderers. Multiplicities make their homes among the ruins of a deformed, degenerate, devirilised post-bourgeois wasteland. Multiplicities are asubjective atemporal non-coding genes. There can be no subjectivity once you tattoo Christ upon your chest, because Catholicism demands complete surrender to a violent, arbitrary, bloodthirsty God, who has also somehow, through an accident of colonial history, copulating with the Aztec divinities of old, returned to His origins in cannibalism.

Down there, in the South (today even the North is Southern), crime works differently. As opposed to the clinical rationality of industrialized mass murder, the criminality of the South is hot and passionate: “in the ‘South’ wickedness always is of a strictly personal nature — one joins the brigands or one doesn’t; one violates a nun and cuts her throat, or one sides with the angels and is executed oneself”.[note]Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, “Revolution, Crime and Sin in the Catholic World”, in Modern Age (1958), 181.[/note] Machetes, when used correctly, are expressions of real emotions and impulses, forms of muscular energy transformed into sharpened metal. Ticket inspectors and calculative, cold decultures alike fall prey to their outbursts. Milan is one of the financial centers of Italy, the most “Protestant” point of the Italian Republic, so to speak. Agents of chaos are unidentifiable. According to Pietro Grasso, a liberal politician, the gang wars perpetrated by the Salvadorian gangs of Milan have nothing to do with immigration: “we must keep the two things separate”.[note]Michael Day, ‘Milan struggles to cope as Latin American gang violence starts afflicting general public’, The Independent (20 June 2015),[/note] Nowadays, it seems Europe cannot keep anything separate from anything else. In reality, nothing is separable from… but for the sake of the program, a joke, a conquest, Latinos, WE MUST WRITE RANDOM SHIT WITH LARGE LETTERS. In reality, there is an ever more pervasive senescent Euro-incontinence. Viral sacred tattooings symbolize the revelation of Christianity among disintegrated Euro-unification ruins. The Virgin Mary, proudly displayed upon Salvadorean chests, says that she is back and she is hungry for new blood sacrifices.

Stalingrad returns in pre/postapocalyptic scenes reminiscent of an undeclared Fourth World War. Paris exists no longer. Paris is the New Stalingrad. Disoriented sans papiers mill about, deprogrammed virulent actants compose an uncontrollable mechanism of self-replicating K-functions. There is no way such darkness could be manipulated. Mani is the divinity of light; Mani is fucked, Mani is history, Mani has been submerged. For the moment, an obelisk stolen from Egypt still stands as a phallic symbol upon the Place de la Concorde, the place of King Louis XVI’s execution. Emptiness is covered over by an enormous impotent penis, hiding the beheading-race that was European modernity. As Georges Bataille writes, “the Place de La Concorde is the space where the death of God must be announced and shouted precisely because the obelisk is its calmest negation. As far as the eye can see, a moving and empty human dust gravitates around it.”[note]Georges Batailles, “The Obelisk” [1938], in Bataille, ed. and trans. Alan Stoekl, Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985), 215.[/note] Sovereignty is a royal corpse emptied out, reduced to a cavity – hence the need to bring down the obelisk. Perhaps the migrants shall take the phallus with them upon one of their aimless marches. France, as a laboratory of modernity, has achieved a remarkable devirilization. Desire is always a disordered assembly of drives, like the heterogeneous, unordered, wild undergrowth of a jungle, growing bodies-without-organs within a blackened space. The formlessness of the assemblages is erratically strange, something alien, extraneous. “K-function”.[note]Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues, 70.[/note]

There is no infrastructure; I am also a WOMAN, BECOMING-WOMAN. K-gender and DragonDildo. To perform the postapocalypse, to outsource productivity — that is the imperative of this degenerate age. “Schizoid self-alienation” gives a self-destructive answer to hyperdestabilized material circumstances.[note]Nick Muntean, “Nuclear Death and Radical Hope in Dawn of the Dead and On the Beach”, in Deborah Christie and Sarah Juliet Lauro (eds.), Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011), 87.[/note] Following the Battle of NeoStalingrad, sympathisers on both sides gathered together so that they may contribute to the further hypercomplexification of the K-function. Self-castrating xenophile abyss, the uneventful death of a posthuman body. EU-migration radiation, informational overproduction of informational syntheses. Rival gangs break the false calm of a sclerotic society suffering from its inability to destroy itself completely. An aporetic corpse with no distinctions.

The Jungle is demolished, and camps are created everywhere: a decivilization that breeds camps, darkness transplanted into light. The night is smuggled into the heartland of Enlightenment: “algorithms can evolve beyond their creator’s intentions and take on a life of their own”.[note]Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, “On Cunning Automata. Financial Acceleration at the Limits of the Dromological”, Collapse VIII (Dec. 2014), 497.[/note] Reactive evolutionary logics are replaced by a chaosmology. Darwin has rotted away, leaving residues that infect the streets of even the most insular centres of commerce. Fluidity makes possible all kinds of weird typologies. As Simon Guy emphasizes, “a ‘fluid’ perspective on sustainable architecture does not mean rejecting one particular typology (skyscrapers) and celebrating another (vernacular). It may mean valuing different aspects of the design”.[note]Simon Guy “Pragmatic Ecologies: situating sustainable building” [2011], in Ariane Lourie Harrison (ed.), Architecture Theories of the Environment. Posthuman Territory (Oxford: Routledge, 2013), 149.[/note] But what about Nothing, the (empty) object of desire? What about uninhabitable typologies, territories organized around the absence of a building or, for that matter, any liveable ecology? Needs too can manifest themselves in the form of emptiness; every building may be thought of as an UNINHABITABLE SYMPTOM. Depressive suicidal city planning commissions, unsustainable plans create transparent surfaces of smart glass and empty concrete pipes, mixing with the intoxicating rhythms of conga drums. In this subversive strangeness, queerness becomes a pragmatic horizon. With its acceptance of anarchaeology, algorithmic monstrosity unleashed itself upon everything and nothing.

A spectre is haunting the citizens of castrated continents, saturated by mass media visions: the spectre of terrorism. Terrorism brings about “an excess of reality”, forcing the system to implode beneath the weight of its own mirrored unreality.[note]Jean Baudrillard, trans. Chris Turner, The Spirit of Terrorism (London and New York: Verso, 2002), 18.[/note] K-agents collapse reality, producing further layers of uncertainty, making unsustainability ever more apparent upon the blood-stained streets of metropolises. Local attributions are no longer valid, rival memes cannot be allowed to spread through networks of outrage and hatred. We don’t want to spoil the fun now, do we? Only those may be allowed access to any publicity who are subversive: any other viewpoint is reactive, intolerant, offensive, degrading, transgressive, outrageous, and in violation of technocratic autocratic algorithmization. Digital-fascistoid skeletons must be exorcized. Internet contents with no content, dronelike tweets and implicit communication channels, armies of trolls, all these memes inform the population of the Global Cyber Village of an imminent takeover by lizard-people. To be in-formed is to be situated within information. Beheaded by cybernetics, we are all subordinated to the imperative of infinite reprogramming. Such is our fate. Our fellow brothers and sisters of the miserable city planning commissions, oh, how unsuccessful you have been! One shocking example among many, aside from the Paris Jungle, is that of Pruitt-Igoe. Modern schizophrenic cybergothic metanarratives pulsate from the spectral ruins of St Louis. Nothing remains of these estates of cement shit-architectures, in which radioactive viral agents were buried at the behest of social engineering experts. After a few nightmarish years, the apartment buildings were demolished. This explosion also implies the bankruptcy and devastation of sociology, social reform and city planning ideologies. The social sciences have ZERO LEGITIMACY. They thought they could control the K-functions, that they can immobilize the nomads. But movement cannot be stopped.

Pruitt-Igoe, built in 1954, was only a small sign of what was to come during the course of the 21st century. Mechanical cremation, a futurity torn apart, broken windows, desires and utopian social science fictions. It is nonsensical that anybody could have seriously believed in such lunatic attempts at reprogramming. A Japanese architect designed these fractal-generic buildings and vomited them out onto the streets of a soon to be desolate, depopulated St Louis. Algorithmic, automated architecture belongs to “a kind of control realism in which the ideological penetration of programmability is played out at the dual levels of subject and system”.[note]Franklin, Control, 160.[/note] First the ideology had to collapse before the district as a whole was sentenced to the dustbin of architectural history. Two years after construction was concluded, Pruitt-Igoe was already considered a place of unspeakable crime and hopeless poverty, replete with all manner of deviance and racial segregation. Democratic and Republican schizo-sociopolitical agents — those who created this monstrosity — believed, naively, that poor districts can be replaced. Little did they know that social policy tends to universalize poverty, spreading the self-replication of abjection to ever wider areas of cities unfortunate enough to be affected by social housing policies. “Tomorrow has already been cremated in Hell.”[note]Land, “Cybergothic”, 347.[/note] St. Louis’ Democratic drone mayor at the time had this to say prior to the commencement of Pruitt-Igoe’s construction: “we must rebuild, open up and clean up the hearts of our cities. The fact that slums were created with all the intrinsic evils was everybody’s fault. Now it is everybody’s responsibility to repair the damage”.[note]William G. Ramroth, Planning for Disaster: How Natural and Manmade Disasters Shape the Built Environment (New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2007), 164.[/note] The restoration, alas, led to the overproductivity of chaos-projects. Experiments in disciplinary reterritorialization almost invariably tend to degenerate into universal deterritorialization. But “policy makers” find it difficult to accept that there is nothing to be and nothing to be done. Their job is to create order from chaos. “It’ll take time to restore chaos” — to quote George W. Bush.[note][/note] Subversive disorder contains a xeno-degenerative power of decoding. Dark diseases are already at work within the senile nervous systems of the Occident. Degenerative pregnancy, Thanatos corrodes even the concrete. Segregation could not be erased on the Pruitt-Igoe estate, because the productivist and functionalist moderm metanarrative demands universal segregation. Every anti-segregational mechanism regenerates the cosmically parasitical principle of separation. Black, autonomous dysfunctionalities cut up systems of anthropocentric order. Even the most perceptive of sociologists never had an inkling of the forces they had unleashed when they contributed with their expertise to the creation of the Pruitt-Igoe nightmare. By the late 1960s, Pruitt-Igoe had become a rotten suburb plagued by crime, a reiteration of the degeneracy slated for eradication by the city authorities. The degree of degeneration increased along with simulacra couched in terms of “improvement”, “redevelopment” and “renovation”. If something obviously doesn’t work, why not “redevelop” it?

Minoru Yamasaki, the Japanese architect mentioned above, expressed his disappointment when he said “I never thought people were that destructive”.[note]James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974. (Oxford University Press, 1997), 336.[/note] Yamasaki once again had to confront the consequences of his awful architectural legacy during the September 11th terrorist attacks, being also the architect of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. The chaotic degradation introduced by terror is none other than the negation of negation. Pruitt-Igoe’s residents, in response to the unbearable circumstances they were forced to live in, rose up in defiance, destroying this brutalist environment created to domesticate them. Pruitt-Igoe shows that matter cannot be forced into a form for eternity, as “form is introduced by the movement of matter.”[note]Luciana Parisi, “Automated Architecture: Speculative Reason in the Age of the Algorithm”, in Robin Mackay and Armen Avanessian (eds.), #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2014), 405.[/note] The formless creates the conditions of its own reproduction. Armies of sociologists and social workers cannot keep the deterritorialized, drugged up brigantines in check: the latter are those who give form to contemporary society, showing us ways of becoming formless. Desegregated lines-of-flight are pathways to decomposing society. We have something to learn, but this lesson contains nothing remotely resembling anything human. We can only agree with Hillary Clinton, that “they are often the kinds of kids that are called SUPERPREDATORS — no conscience, no empathy”.[note][/note] The absolute ZERO: this is the unpredictable, unintegratable, unmanageable multiplicity that infects everything. Finitude that cannot be regulated. The Law is no more. As it switches to mimetic repetition, the Law becomes a vortex, propelling itself into the abyss, similarly to the infernal dynamited buildings of Pruitt-Igoe. The estate became so incorrigible that the city council was forced to demolish these desolate mounds of concrete. Were they intent on preventing the entirety of the United States coming to resemble this jungle? How could they have known what would happen decades later?

Today, we are only too keenly aware that the North has become the South. Everything’s backwards. Two alternatives present themselves: we must either rape and kill the nuns, or follow the path of passivity, resulting in our slaughter and transubstantiation into bloodied angels of history. DEATH DEATH DEATH, thrice great are thou! One gate is always open for the sufferer. I’M SO OPEN I’M BROKEN. To be open is to be exposed to disorganization, disembowling. “The acceleration of techno-capital cannot be divorced from the problem of the incomputable.”[note]Parisi, “Automated Architecture”, 410.[/note] The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe is the condensation of a cosmic catastrophe into a small fractal, a dark page of architectural history that is nevertheless reiterated at hyperspeed through digital networks. The virus was already present within the brain of a Japanese architect infected from within by meaninglessly empty abstract signs, concrete and ideologies of human improvement. Micromodels of hybridity achieve their revenge through making nonsense of any and all methods of social planning. There is no such thing as a No Go Zone, because heterogeneity cannot be bottled up in one territory. There is no such thing as a zone. Desegregation compounds into a cosmic separation between survivors and cultures sentenced to eradication. AIDS+ is the fluidity of dissemination. Fluidity is a form of bacteriological warfare waged against any and all closed systems, accumulating illnesses within viral tropical subterranean depths. Illness-boxes compose a rhizomatic non-place that functions as a sanctuary from softened, amoebic existence.[note]Mark Horvath and Adam Lovasz, The Isle of Lazaretto. Studies in Separation (Schism Press: 2016).[/note]  va-tombstone1-03


City of the Interstices (0:0)

by Vincent Garton

Loop 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synthetic Fabrication: The Myth of the Politics-to-Come (Part 0: Introduction)

by Edmund Berger


The Millennium is ten years out, but for Baudrillard it might as well have already happened. The eclipsing of the communists’ historical dream by globalized flows of floating capital and information ushered in a cold, glacial stasis: the enveloping of any sense of forward momentum by the simulation of what had once been real events. As ubiquitous media begins to seep down to every crack and crevice and the whirlwind fades into the sensation of an odd vertigo, the only question Baudrillard finds himself capable of asking is this: “What do we do now that the orgy is over?”

This orgy is the apex of modernity rendered as the endpoint of a dynamic process — “the moment when modernity exploded upon us, the moment of liberation in every sphere.”[note]Jean Baudrillard, The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena (London: Verso Books, 1990), 3.[/note] To be after the orgy is to be caught in a situation in which there is nothing left to do, because everything that has been sought has been obtained. There is no euphoria to be found here, only terminal freeze-out. “Now all we can do is simulate the orgy, simulate liberation.”

A similar feeling haunts the pages of Deleuze and Guattari’s final joint-work, What is Philosophy, written in what Guattari described as “the winter years”. Without rising to a Baudrillardian hysteria at the sight of information technology, the two decried the universalization of communication that was occurring in their moment. “We do not lack communication”, they wrote. “On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present.”[note]Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What Is Philosophy? (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 108.[/note] For Baudrillard, such a resistance is all but impossible: the arrival of the simulated end of history instantly liquidates any capacity for movement within it. Deleuze and Guattari, by contrast, find in the inauguration of this new time the capacity “for a future form, for a new earth and people that do not yet exist”.[note]Ibid.[/note]

By making such a suggestion, a series of questions is posed: who are these people, how do they arise, and what do they do? The answer is, as always, far more complicated than the questions themselves, and can be found in the strange and unclear relationship between, on the one hand, the development of techno-economic forces, and on the other the generation of the political myth. Such are the building blocks of a synthetic politics, a recombinant form of political subjectivity and structural framing indicative of the realization of the untimely.

It can be said that the myth follows in the wake of techno-economic development. Although the orgy might not be over for Deleuze and Guattari, the irreversible supremacy of a globalized megamachine is a concern that can be tracked across their whole output, particularly in the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. In Anti-Oedipus, capitalism is treated as an end-point, an “apparently victorious” system that reassembles everything that has existed.[note]Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 139.[/note] In a more esoteric register, the infamous ‘accelerationist passage’ hints at this as well by invoking Nietzsche’s affirmation of the levelling process driven by the development of society into a vast industrial clockwork, while in A Thousand Plateaus the spread of capitalism is recast in terms of a war machine that overtakes the world’s nation states and subordinates them to itself.[note]In a fragment from 1887, Nietzsche writes that “Once we possess common economic management of the earth that will soon be inevitable, mankind will be able to find its best meaning as a machine in service of this economy — as a tremendous clockwork, composed of ever smaller, ever more subtly ‘adapted’ gears…”. The incorporation of the human into the machine is described as a “dwarfing and adaptation”; in what we may call the ‘accelerationist fragment’, due to its enigmatic invocation in Anti-Oedipus, this dwarfing is rendered as a “homogenizing of European man” that “should not be obstructed”, but sped up. See Friedrich Nietzsche The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale (New York: Vintage Books, 1968), 463, 477-478.[/note]

The dynamics found in Nietzsche’s account and Deleuze and Guattari’s own are one and the same. The former’s affirmation of industrial levelling arises from the anticipation of a mysterious ‘new type’ of person, a “strong of the future” that will emerge from this process. For the latter, the victory of capitalism — or the war machine — provides the fertile soil from which new, mutant formations will grow:

We have watched the war machine grow stronger and stronger, as in a science fiction story; we have seen it assign as its objective a peace more terrifying than fascist death; we have seen it maintain or instigate the most terrible local wars as part of itself; we have seen it set its sights on a new type of enemy, no longer another State, or even another regime, but the “unspecified enemy’… Yet the very conditions that make the State or World war machine possible, in other words, constant capital (resources and equipment) and human variable capital, continually recreate the unexpected possibilities for counterattack, unforeseen initiatives determining revolutionary, popular, minority, mutant machines.[note]Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi[/note]

Nietzsche’s Strong of the Future and the “revolutionary, popular, minority, mutant machines” spoken of here appear throughout Deleuze’s work — both with and without Guattari — as the “people who are missing”, a “people to come”. If capitalism comes at the end, the prophetic fulfillment of these people coming to pass does not denote the actualization of a new historical plateau, but a movement that breaks outside of history, that uses global, integrated capitalism as the raw materials for new formations. Deleuze and Guattari’s portrait of capitalism is one of a metasystem that operates through a kind of double-bind, or a machine that carries out a reciprocal process of stratification and destratification on either side of itself. It unleashes radical energies in the volleys of a deterritorialization that is only relative, as it becomes subjected to a subsequent and compensatory reterritorialization. The people to come, however, stake out a position on the path of absolute deterritorialization, and thus find themselves in remarkable affinity with the primary process lurking below and beyond all other secondary processes.

It is unsurprising, then, that Deleuze pulls the motif of the missing, futural people from the work of the modernist avant-garde, themselves a reflection of the irresistible tug of techno-economic development that began accelerating into escape velocity in the wake of the industrial revolution. They appear in Mallarmé’s lamentations that there is not yet a people ready for his Livre (“The Book”), an ambitious work-to-be that would serve as a ‘pure work’ capable of encompassing “all existing relations between everything”. Traces of their presence can be glimpsed again in the writings of Franz Kafka, who for Deleuze and Guattari articulated a political program for a people with neither history nor voice, a people who are themselves missing. “The literary machine… becomes the relay for a revolutionary machine-to-come, not at all for ideological reasons but because the literary machine alone is determined to fill the collective enunciation that is lacking elsewhere in this milieu: literature is the people’s concern.”[note]Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans. Dana Polan (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), 17-18.[/note] And finally, they arise in Paul Klee’s On Modern Art, which directly parallels Mallarmé’s disjunction between total art and a potential people that enter into relations with it:

Sometimes I dream of a work of really great breadth, ranging through the whole region of element, object, meaning, and style.
This, I fear, will remain a dream, but it is a good thing that even now to bear the possibility occasionally in mind.
Nothing can be rushed. It must grow, it should grow of itself, and if the time ever comes for that work — then so much the better!
We must go on seeking it!
We have found parts, but not the whole!
We still lack the ultimate power, for:
the people are not with us.[note]Paul Klee, On Modern Art (London: Faber and Faber, 1948), 54-55.[/note]

One might add to this trinity Artaud’s litany of  ‘mad artists’ and transgressive voyagers (amongst which he, of course, counted himself), Rimbaud’s delirious self-identification with a pantheon of eternally ‘inferior races’, and even particular variants of the modernist trope of the New Man, especially when invoked to describe the rootless, vagabond populations who abandon their home territories for new horizons and intensities. Such people and groups help compose the minoritarian population of  Toynbee’s “society without a history”, his term for the mobile, nomadic populations who strive to evade, yet often undergo capture and subordination by, the State.[note]Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History: Abridgment of Volume I–VI (London: Oxford University Press, 1946), 169; quoted in Christian Kerslake, “Becoming Against History: Deleuze, Toynbee, and Vitalist Historiography”, Parrhesia, No. 4 (2008), 17. [/note] If history aligns with the State and its memory-order, then the nomads and minoritarians find themselves swept up in the turbulent flux of becoming, passing from the State’s homeostatic order to creative disequilibrium predicated on an anti-memory.

It is clear that art plays an essential role in this forgetting. “Memory plays a small part in art… It is not memory that is needed but a complex material that is not found in memory but in words and sounds: ‘Memory, I hate you’”.[note]Deleuze and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 168.[/note] Memory is a matter of organization, the cumulative order of the past laying claim to the present. Art, by contrast, is a matter of disassembly and recombination: it takes the orders of historical memory and cuts them up, rearranging them into hybridized, bastard bodies: such is the birth of new, mutant forms. By doing so the concerns of art (modern art, in particular) are not with the impact of the past on the present, but with prying open the present to the future in a way that profoundly transforms the present. This movement is what is at stake in the formation of a people who have not yet existed.

The Powers of the False

The lengthiest treatment of the people to come is found in Deleuze’s exploration of the connection between the advent of the untimely and modernist art in Cinema 2: The Time Image. His primary concern here is with what he calls the powers of the false; while film is the primary mechanism through which he explores this concept, it is applicable to all forms of art that are based on the production of the new. The increased artificialization that had so frightened Baudrillard takes front and center: it is not only that art produces something false, but it emerges from a reality that is itself increasingly falsified. In this eclipsing of the world there occurs a “raising [of] the false to power” which allows “life [to free] itself of appearances as well as truth”.[note]Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time Image (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989),145.[/note] What is being described here is precisely the Nietzschean levelling process, the pulverization of the dominant orders of representation that leaves in its wake only forces in movement. And while truth might be an impossibility, Deleuze writes, this moment is imbued with the explosive energy of modernity, precisely as captured by the various artists and denizens of the avant-garde. It is this figure, the artist-as-creator, that moves to the fore:

Only the creative artist takes the power of the false to a degree which is realized, not in form, but in transformation. There is no longer truth or appearance… What the artists is, is creator of truth, because truth is not to be achieved, formed, or reproduced; it is to be created. There is no truth other than the creation of the New: creativity, emergence, what Melville called ‘shape’ in contrast to form. Art is the continual production of shapes, reliefs, projections.[note]Ibid.,147.[/note]

Deleuze’s point of reference (one that he shares, in fact, with Baudrillard) is a short chapter in Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols entitled “How the ‘True World’ Finally Became Fiction: History of an Error”.[note]Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols: Or, How to Philosophize with the Hammer, trans. Richard Polt (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1997), 23-24.[/note] Lasting no longer than a page, this chapter provides a history running from the time of the Greeks up through modernity, noting a passage that runs through the rise of Christianity and its subsequent unsettling by the forces of scientific reason. The essential thing to grasp in this history, Nietzsche suggests, is the subsumption of the ‘true world’ by the mythic, configured here as fiction or fable. In the beginning, the true world was “attainable for the wise, the devout, the virtuous”, who are themselves living within it. With Christianity, however, the true world becomes mystified and no longer attainable in this life. It is the promise made to the wise, devout, and virtuous. But this marks no end in its progression: the mystification continues, and the promise of the true world cannot be fulfilled because it has become unprovable, as the philosophy of Kant illustrates.

At the “first yawnings of reason” and the “[r]ooster’s crow of positivism” the true world appears unattainable, and thus, in a subsequent turn, becomes “an idea with no use anymore”. There is no longer necessity nor capacity for such an idea; even if people may still tread the old paths out of habit, it is threatened with ejection outright. This is precisely what comes to pass in the final stage, which for Nietzsche marks the “high point of humanity”, and is nothing short of the overcoming of the human by the overman and the transvaluation of all existing values. The point at which Kant arrives, when the true world becomes unprovable, is the Death of God. It follows, then, that the completion of this process in its final stage is the Death of Man.[note]Deleuze writes that “[w]e distort Nietzsche when we make him into the thinker who wrote about the death of God. It is Feuerbach who is the last thinker of the death of God: he shows that since God has never been anything but the unfold of man, man must fold and refold God.” Man as such cannot properly exist until God is dead, but as soon as God is rendered as dead, man will be tending towards death right at this moment of his birth. “…where can man find a guarantee of identity in the absence of God?” See Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 1989),[/note] “We have done away with the true world,” Nietzsche writes, before asking “what world is left over? The apparent one, maybe… But no! Along with the true world, we have done away with the apparent!”[note]Nietzsche, Twilight of Idols, 24.[/note]

In his essay “Nietzsche, Polytheism, and Parody”, Klossowski describes how the “refabulation of the world” found in Twilight of the Idols works in conjunction with the eternal return.[note]Pierre Klossowski, Such a Deathly Desire (New York: State University of New York Press, 2007), 103.[/note] For Klossowski, the process being indexed by Nietzsche is nothing short of an “ontological catastrophe” in which the One is overturned and dissolved in the writhing sea of the Many. No longer held in place by the transcendent law of God — and his emissary, Man — identity explodes outwards and into a kaleidoscopic delirium as it detaches from the stratification of memory (such is the infernal logic of the time-schizzed utterance “I am all the names in history”). Klossowski suggests that this also entails the formation of new religions: “the eternal return of all things also wills the return of the gods”.[note]Ibid., 121.[/note] The becoming-fable of the world, in other words, charts an exit or egress from historical time into a new mythic time.

Deleuze tracks this line into the political by finding in the artist the one who leverages the powers of the false — understood here in conjunction with the mythic age of the untimely — to call forth new forms. There is nothing in these powers that makes them inherently future-facing and transformative, much less politically radical; they can lead to disaster and the suppression of the truly new just as easily as they can to something liberatory. In the case of disaster, Deleuze himself seems to find this to be the far more likely outcome: “There is only a slim chance, so great is the capacity of nihilism to overcome it, for exhausted life to get control of the New from its birth, and for completed forms to ossify metamorphosis and to reconstitute models and copies. The power of the false is delicate, allowing itself to be recaptured by frogs and scorpions.”[note]Deleuze, Cinema 2, 147.[/note] Nonetheless, “[w]hat Nietzsche had shown [was] that the ideal of the true was the most profound fiction”. When the people to come are forecast by the avant-garde, it is precisely this principle that is being invoked.


The chief example Deleuze provides for this process is Pierre Perrault’s 1963 film Pour la suite du monde. A native of Quebec, Perrault’s starting point was the recognition that his country and society was colonized and overcoded by the legacy of the French empire. Even speech was coded by the dictates of “correct French”, itself a reflection of an age of monarchism and centralization of power. Quebec, in other words, was an ostensibly independent political, social, and cultural territory that nonetheless was caught in the pincers of a master that had passed into something else. Perrault’s goal was the transformation of this situation, one that would entail the movement of the Quebecois people as an inferior people into a liberated people. Pour la suite du monde pushes back against the linguistic coding of high French by deploying localized dialects, and in place of European traditions, an older communal heritage is revived.

Perrault’s goal, however, was not simply to swap the domination by the historical memory of the French empire with a resuscitated domestic traditionalism. The feedback between his artistic experimentation, the weight of history, and his real collaborators was intended to spark a process of becoming that would lead to the emergence of something authentically new and experimental. By calling upon the powers of the false to work through the questions of identity and political activity, Perrault was playing a game with myths — and yet he “[did] not want to give birth yet again to myths”, as he later wrote.[note]Pierre Perrault, “Cinema du reel et cinema du fiction: vraie ou fausse distinction? Dialogue et Pierre Perrault et Rene Allio”, in Ecritures de Pierre Perrault: Actes du colloque “gens de paroles” (Quebec, 1983), 54; quoted in Ronald Bogue, Deleuze’s Way: Essays in Transverse Ethics and Aesthetics (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2007), 100.[/note] Instead, passing through this process aimed “to allow people to give birth to themselves, to avoid myths, to escape customs, to elude Writings. I would like people to write themselves while liberating themselves from Writing.”

This process was called “legending” by Perrault. For Deleuze it is “fabulation”, the creation and transmission of stories or fables. His use of the concept has not, aside from the excellent writings of Ronald Bogue,[note]See Ibid., as well as Ronald Bogue, Deleuzian Fabulation and the Scars of History, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010).[/note] received much attention in the annals of Deleuze studies; the more prevalent notion of fabulation is the one provided by the late literary theorist Robert Scholes, who described it as an “emphasis on the art of the designer.”[note]Robert Scholes, Fabulation and Metafiction, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 197), 3.[/note] This fabulation is one interested in style and the way it operates, particularly in certain strains of postmodernism — namely, metamodernism — that turns away from strict realism to blend actual life with the magical or fantastic in order to destabilize the narrative form and turn it towards an open horizon. While Deleuze’s fabulation bears some superficial resemblances with that of Scholes (both critique the orders of representation and look towards a shift away from old modes), the stakes are much higher in the former than the latter. In an essay on T.E. Lawrence titled “The Shame and the Glory”, Deleuze describes a “fabulation machine” that produces an image that “has a life of its own”, continually growing from an initial projection of forms of life onto reality. It is “always stitched together”, a patchwork image that serves as a “machine for manufacturing giants.”[note]Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical, (London: Verso Books, 1998), 118.[/note]

The fabulation of Scholes is a celebration of the designer or artist. In Deleuze’s work, the designer or artist are themselves designed in an open-ended process. Despite being creators, they are also conduits through which something flows and sets off cascading phase-shifts in the real. He finds T.E. Lawrence emblematic in this regard: here was a person — a British military officer, no less! — who had to position himself among the subjected people and let their struggles wash over him, allowing him to become part of that war machine, before he can find the ability to write. And when he writes, it resonates with an incomplete transformation that traces of flux of becoming. Lawerence’s work is not a self-serving tale of British adventurism, but a mythic exploration of a revolutionary group subjectivity that has cut straight through his own center: “Lawrence speaks Arabic, he dresses and lives like an Arab, even under torture he cries out in Arabic, but he does not imitate the Arabs, he never renounces his difference, which he already experiences as a betrayal… Lawrence’s undertaking is a cold and concerted destruction of the ego, carried to its limit. Every mine he plants also explodes within himself, he is himself the bomb he detonates.”[note]Ibid,. 117.[/note]

Lawerence is thus like the enigmatic figure of the far-seer described in A Thousand Plateaus. Far-seers may begin as “collaborators with the most rigid and cruelest project of control”, in a manner akin to Lawrence’s initial deployment as a representative of British imperial interests. Similar to Perrault’s own flight from French imperialism, Lawrence exits the coding of the British empire to join up with the Arab revolutionary machine — just as the far-seer “will abandon his or her segment and start walking across a narrow overpass above the dark abyss”.[note]Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 202.[/note] As Bogue points out, Deleuze would later describe Foucault as a seer and clairvoyant due to his unique ability to sift through the murky byways of history in order to turn it back against itself, to use history “for something else: as Nietzsche said, to act against the times… in favor, I hope, of a time to come.”[note]Bogue, Deleuze’s Way, 105.[/note] This description resonates in kind with Perrault’s experimentation with a suppressed history in order to allow people to ‘write themselves’, as well as Lawrence’s betrayal of his own history by embracing in part the nomadic past of the Arabic people.

Such are the stakes for fabulation, a hallucinatory process of simultaneous unveiling and falsification that is the “function proper to art”. This picture is, however, quite incomplete (for our purposes here, at least). To reiterate an earlier point, the artist or designer is not the principal actor in this process; they are neither Prometheus nor vanguard. They are but a temporal conduit through which history and social subjection flow into becoming, mixing into an emergent bricolage. Fabulation itself seems to come from elsewhere. Indeed, the relationship between the artist and the invention of a people is directly tied to the war machine’s capacity for counter-attack being contingent on the full development of capitalist production: art, Deleuze and Guattari write in Anti-Oedipus, joins with science as forces that ‘fall out’ from, or get pushed into overdrive by, the advances in capitalist deterritorialization. This not only foreshadows the theory advanced in What Is Philosophy (that philosophy, entering into a circuit with science and art to create the new, is capable of going beyond capitalism), but calls back to Klossowski’s exegesis on Nietzsche, wherein art and science are essential components in a ‘conspiracy’ that entails the levelling of society through industrial development (a topic that will soon be treated here).

It follows, then, that there is a distinctive relationship between fabulation and capitalism. Before unpacking this, however, it is important to trace out Deleuze’s conceptual source for this process. This would be the writings of Henri Bergson, particularly his 1932 book The Two Sources of Morality and Religion. It is here that the full dimensions of fabulation can be understood: not simply an emergent process that occurs on occasion, but a structure that underpins political reality itself. It is also worthwhile to track the influence of Bergson’s philosophy on Georges Sorel who, while not a figure that Deleuze draws upon, offers a striking account of the relationship between myth, politics, and capitalist development that can shed light on the ultimate implications of Deleuze’s theory. The task of constructing such a genealogy will proceed in Part 1 of the present essay.

Skins and the Game

by Uriel Alexis

This is an attempt, more or less, at a defense of neocameralism and patchwork against the blows struck by Vince Garton here.


Anything is only itself because it’s functionally different from everything else. This computer I’m typing at is only itself because it’s neither at the next desk, nor does it function in the manner of an apple, amongst many other things.

The degree of differentiation is not absolute. There is a gradient of order from the inside core to the outside, where others lie. There are, nonetheless, boundaries. Permeable boundaries, but boundaries nonetheless. Discontinuities where the gradient takes a leap.

A system is a difference between system and environment. The more it becomes itself, the more it deepens this difference, this discontinuity. There, at this boundary, lie the operations such a system can perform — the ways it lets the outside in. It is at this threshold that its particular features are engraved.

Any inner endeavor is necessarily tied to an outside behavior. Systems only survive through structural coupling, or mutual variation. To be, then, is already to trade away things that are inside.

At any given moment, this difference may become paranoid. It then folds upon itself, and histericizes its particularities, which is to say, it develops an identity. Entrances are rigidified, reduced and finally narrowed down to one single path of digestion, heavily securitized. Membranes become skins. An organism is born out of the system.

Organisms are parasites, though. Paranoiacs can’t innovate, can’t produce. They just reproduce themselves. So, when skins arise, it’s only because the systematics have been pushed one level up. It’s only because there are populations that individual organisms can evolve.

The Game

Conflict is primary, demonstrably so, as there’s no agreement even on that. Thus strategy imposes itself at every level: moving to stay the same, that’s the immediate antinomy. When organisms come into being, systems become a game. The only game in town: variation-selection.

The game the whole system plays at the highest level is fractally repeated within itself. It is on the order provided by the game that organisms parasite, and as they internalize this order, they fragment themselves, dissolving back into the process.

When organisms play the game of variation-selection, there are only so many strategies they can pursue. By far the most important move is localization or individuation: the ability to internalize, in ever smaller units, costs and benefits. Organisms that don’t do that have a way more complicated path ahead, and get used by those that do — like pathogens use humans. Organisms collide and conflict in order to engrave in themselves the only knowledge they can pursue: survival. And thus the system thrives.

But it may be that the system itself becomes paranoid. This destroys the game entirely, and organises organisms into a new, supra-organism. The larger the scale of this move, the more risky it is (variation-selection is always played at the highest levels, and supra-organisms have serious disadvantages). An organism — without an internal system — is always already a degenerating order.

On the contrary, an organism may itself systematize, relax and let go. This becoming-membrane of skins lets plenty in and individualizes consequences internally. The game is now played at smaller levels, and ‘organ individualism’ becomes imaginable. From here all the way down to 0-degree organization (“intelligent dust cloud” or “grey goo”), it’s just acceleration.

Leviathan’s Termites

Vince Garton argues:

Yet patchwork remains, despite itself, peculiarly ambivalent. It is obsessed with the state: creating new states, cutting up states, states on top of states. … At an elementary level, however, it seems that competition between states must favour states themselves, and for this we have many great proofs throughout history — the emergence of the truly protofascist Qin Empire from the fissiparous warring Chinese states; the rise of Alexander’s empire from the Greek poleis; the birth of raison d’état in Renaissance Italian city-states.

Is it true that patchwork must favor states? Surely, systems can become paranoid and organize. The examples he presents of China and the Greek poleis would attest to this. But since hegemony is atrophy, every single one of these movements decayed after their formation (Alexander’s example immediately so), until they collapsed under their own weight back into a system of moving parts.

Garton is not satisfied:

The question, then, is this: ‘How can the sovereign power be prevented — or at least dissuaded—from devouring society?’ […] In the end, Hobbes shows us that it cannot be maintained. […] But to be sustained even in the most radical state of exception, in conditions of overwhelming catastrophe, the commonwealth’s domination must expand irrepressibly from the radical root of human thought into every circle of existence. It must ‘devour society’. […] Once threatened, Leviathan must warp everything around itself in order to maintain its existence — all thought, all ideology, all behaviour. Politics must get a grip — whatever the cost.

Which brings us to the topic of sovereignty, or self-rule. I want to advance here that sovereignty is indistinguishable from the ability to trade itself away. Without a matrix of commerce — a system — in which bits and pieces flow, all notions of self-rule, autonomy or ‘control’ are rendered moot. That which can’t break itself apart dies off. I dug deeply into this elsewhere: power only works to the extent that it is internally checked. An all encompassing monster is rotting indeed.

Land sets the primary steps on this road:

More promising, by far — for the purposes of tractable argument — is a strictly formal or contractual usage of ‘control’ to designate the exclusive right to free disposal or commercial alienation. Defined this way, ownership is a legal category, co-original with the idea of contract, referring to those things which one has the right to trade (based on natural law). Property is essentially marketable. It cannot exist unless it can be alienated through negotiation. A prince who cannot trade away his territory does not ‘own’ it in any sense that matters.


Neocameralism necessarily commercializes sovereignty, and in doing so it accommodates power to natural law. Sovereign stock (‘primary property’) and ‘secondary property’ become commercially inter-changeable, dissolving the original distinction, whilst local sovereignty is rendered compliant with the wider commercial order, and thus becomes a form of constrained ‘secondary sovereignty’ relative to the primary or absolute sovereignty of the system itself. Final authority bleeds out into the catallactic ensemble, the agora, or commercium, where what can really happen is decided by natural law. It is this to which sovereign stockholders, if they are to be effective, and to prosper, must defer.

A recipe for consistent dissolution, which structurally avoids paranoiac re-capture.

Patchwork, insofar as it breaks its neocameral pieces apart in a systematic commercium of sovereignty, is a recipe for the “ambivalence” Garton himself recommends. Recursively implementing its own dynamics into the organisms that comprise it, Patchwork is a machine that kills Leviathans. Neocameral sovcorps are the bacterial termites that rot them away, implementing “the infectious patchwork within the state, a recursive dissolution that leaves not a network of states, but an endless flux in which the state itself disintegrates into the very war that sustains it”, of which Garton writes.

Whatever skin or membrane remains is for the game to decide. va-tombstone1-03

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.[/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. 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.[/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.[/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