I would definitely think some sort of a dismissive response along the second line would be grossly complacent. Is it an escape route? There’s definitely a relation to escape. This whole fake news phenomenon is hugely important and historically significant. At the moment I’m completely captivated by the strength of an analogy between the Gutenberg era and the internet era, this rhythmic force coming out of the connection between them. Radical reality destruction went on with the emergence of printing press. In Europe this self-propelling process began, and the consensus system of reality description, the attribution of authorities, criteria for any kind of philosophical or ontological statements, were all thrown into chaos. Massive processes of disorder followed that were eventually kind of settled in this new framework, which had to acknowledge a greater degree of pluralism than had previously existed. I think we’re in the same kind of early stage of a process of absolute shattering ontological chaos that has come from the fact that the epistemological authorities have been blasted apart by the internet. Whether it’s the university system, the media, financial authorities, the publishing industry, all the basic gatekeepers and crediting agencies and systems that have maintained the epistemological hierarchies of the modern world are just coming to pieces at a speed that no one had imagined was possible. The near-term, near-future consequences are bound to be messy and unpredictable and perhaps inevitably horrible in various ways. It is a threshold phenomenon. The notion that there is a return to the previous regime of ontological stabilization seems utterly deluded. There’s an escape that’s strictly analogous to the way in which modernity escaped the ancien régime.
For any materialist vision of consciousness, the crucial stumbling block is the question of free will. A modern, enlightened person tends to feel that he or she has rejected a mystical, immaterial conception of the eternal soul in exchange for a strictly scientific understanding of consciousness and selfhood—as something created by the billions of neurons in our brains with their trillions of synapses and complex chemical and electrical processes. But the fact of our being entirely material, hence subject to the laws of cause and effect, introduces the concern that our lives might be altogether determined. Is it possible that our experience of decision-making—the impression we have of making choices, indeed of having choices to make, sometimes hard ones—is entirely illusory? Is it possible that a chain of physical events in our bodies and brains must cause us to act in the way we do, whatever our experience of the process may be?
In my conversations with the philosopher Riccardo Manzotti, we have explored his Mind-Object Identity Theory, a hypothesis that shifts the physical location of consciousness away from the brain and its neurons. Rather than representations in the head, Riccardo suggests that our experience is made up of the very world we perceive. But if this is the case, if subject and object are one in experience, does this not make it all the more difficult to explain our impression of free will? Isn’t it precisely our moment-by-moment awareness of making decisions that proves that we are separate and sovereign subjects moving in a world of objects that remain quite distinct from us and over which we have an obvious mastery?
War machines take shape against the apparatuses that appropriate the machine and make war their affair and their object: they bring connections to bear against the great conjunction of the apparatuses of capture and domination.
– Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Nomadology: The War Machine
Nomadic thought allows us to find “lines of escape” out of the current malaise of official thought based as it is in State and Corporate controlled academic universities, sciences, corporate and commercial worlds. Nomadic thought is singular and mobile, it falls outside the acceptable perimeters of the elite thought police who would bind us to their oppressive regimes of figural and representative theory and praxis. It gives us heuristical devices, pragmatic machines, workable tools that through intensification of those potentials that are our desires we can liberate into the world, an opening toward a future where singularity and togetherness become our real hope of a livable co-existence with each other and the natural world that is our home and habitat.
Reading this treatise by Deleuze and Guattari makes me realize that it is an enactment of the very rhizomatic negotiations that their thought has taken from the beginning. The negotiations among concepts and differentiations between nomadic and agricultural (sedentary) civilization, the marshalling of the difference between Chess and Go, the movement of weapons systems and work systems, etc. At times one reads through the treatise as if it were sociology, at other times as if it were some strange and deviant treatise on the inner life of war itself; yet, one comes to grasp that it is neither, that theirs is this continuous work of modeling, uncovering the fluidic hydraulic models as compared to the static models that negotiate the boundaries between nomadic and sedentary thought images. This is about the politics of thought itself: the image of thought as nomadic war-machine, fluid and operative in the smooth spaces situated outside the command and control systems of the striated territories of the State.
“We are all deep in a hell each moment of which is a miracle.” – Emile Cioran
Ours is a culture of the excrescence of death, a thanatopic pursuit not of profit but of total annihilation. The principle of deregulation inherent in global capitalism is inextinguishable from the total acceleration of a deterritorialized, systematic and efficient cannibalism, one that seeks to incorporate every last niche of biopower within a machinic phylum – a civilization of machinic and technocratic infestation from which there is no reprieve. The question is whether one accepts the truth of this and joins the comedy of destruction and implosion (helps it along, gives it a push), or whether one spends one’s time in the factories of oblivion, illusory worlds of decaying narratives of disorder and madness spinning out of control, reversions to outworn heresies of a bankrupt and decadent ethno-apocalypse by way of irony and fake solutions.
In a realm in which “reality no longer has the time to take on the appearance of reality” (Baudrillard), the fractalized mentations of delirium become our only guide through the deserts of our erotic inheritance. Like lover’s lost in a maze we listen to the ghost voices from the other ends of time, seeking in the closed chambers of this hollow world a valence it can no longer support. Victims of our own mythologies of the human we project our fears onto the machinic phylum we are becoming. Gamblers of a posthuman future we seek to preserve an identity we never held, a broken thought of a broken idealism: transhumanism is itself the problem it purports to escape.