We tend to assume that, at least in principle, there is nothing we may not know. The idea that being born, say, in the second half of the twentieth century in the US of A might limit or shape what we may know seems odd to us, insulting almost. And yet periods of history are defined by styles of thinking, root ideas and thought-formations that allow some ideas, but not others, to be thought. Such periods in history are called epistemes by the French philosopher Michel Foucault, who points, for example, that a capacity to locate the common roots of French, Spanish and Italian languages in Latin requires an idea no intelligent person could entertain in the Classical episteme of the 1750s, even a person as intelligent as, say, Voltaire. The idea that a language might shift and develop—evolve, we would say—only arrives in the 1800s with Darwin and what Foucault called the Historical episteme. All of this, of course, begs the question: as citizens of the West in the second decade of the twenty-first century, what is it today we cannot think? “Tell me what that is, Foucault,” I want to say, “then watch me go right there and think it.” Well, why not, in fact, get started right away, now, together, feeling our way toward it—the un-thought.
Look at the public school system from the eyes of the exiled outsider. Countless efforts for changing it are everywhere — with huge money at stake. All ignore the simple, yet confronting truth that public schools — as a design — were not created to awaken the intelligence of the young. Instead, our public school system was designed to create mediocrity, to subdue the inner life, devalue the body and ensure a sure supply of easily manageable workers.
This is not hyperbole. Look at it — go the origin. Look at your children stuffed into a perfect box for 8 hours a day sitting inside on a chair with thousands of other kids. Preparing them expertly to spend their adult life stuffed into a larger box for 8 hours a day with thousands of other responsible adults.
Examine our heroes on the cover of INC or Time magazine. Super rich folks turned to changing the world. Making billions on the one side selling cheap burgers or devices, paying low wages, extracting labor and precious resources from Africa and China — then turning around and saving the needy and downtrodden around the world. The first round of American titans did it too, and we worshipped them just the same.
What we are talking about here is the plantation. Plantation economics. There are masters, slaves that work in the field and slaves that work out of the harsh heat and in the big house. America was built upon plantation economics and this design continues to this day. Here and everywhere.
Today, the plantation is as much a state of mind as it is an institutional reality. It finds its expression in everything we have looked at so far. We worship the masters and bring aid and charity to the slaves working in the fields under the fierce sun.
Like the Shamans of old D&G were developing a cartography of escape and flight from the reality matrix of our cultural malaise, developing techniques that would allow the wary victim of the dark and nefarious systems that regulated every thought, every action of our normalized lives. It is not an easy path to follow, and this schizophrenizing process as they observe is fraught with a multitude of dangers. The enemy has set traps, and even as we dissolve the barriers the greatest enemy is our own mind which will defend its integrity against any and all forms of assault on the logic and reason of its current enmeshed prison system. It knows nothing else, the brain is trapped by the very cultural systems of logic and reason that have adapted it to the environment within which it was born and lives. Exit is fraught with little success, few and far between are those who have escaped and returned to tell the tale.
The Nagual or Noumenal zones of being and becoming are chaos itself, and can tear the psyche into shreds. Most of ancient mythologies and primitive shamanic or voodoun practices or praxis from the ancient Bon, Taoist, Brahmanic, Buddhist, Zain, to all the magical traditions of the West were check systems to map and cartographically delimit and control in a measured way the exploration of this slow immersion in the dark zones of the unknown. In our Secular Age we have closed the door on this area of life to our own detriment, confusing it with two thousand years of monotheistic religious apophaticism and negative theological practices we have lost our knowledge of the more dynamic and energetic cosmos surrounding us, the Dionysian vision of Life of which Nietzsche speculated.
For those within the Reality Matrix such exits and escapes seem sheer criminal madness, and the Reality Police who govern these propaganda machines and systems that command and control, manage our perceptions lay in wait for any and all who would seek a way out. One’s family, friends, associates will all believe you are going mad, that you need help and will try to dissuade you from this path. And, they will even seek out the authorities in such matters to trap you and bring you back into the fold. Escape is not for the weak minded.
Excellent piece on accelerationism by Nick Land has been published by Urbanomics, “A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism.”
I think Land’s article is a “must read’ if you want to understand the thinking behind the idea of accelerationism. But more than this, I think Land makes a good case for why you have to be familiar with his ideas if you call yourself a communist.
Accelerationism is not a term accelerationists gave their ideas. Rather, it was a derogatory name given to them by their critics, like the name, “Nigger”, was given to black people by their slave-owners. In place of the term “accelerationists”, you can simply substitute the term, “niggers”, and thus treat them in the fashion Noys intended.
But to understand the thinking behind accelerationism, I would suggest you substitute the term, “capital”, for the term accelerationism. Once you do this, you realize almost immediately why, as Land asserts…
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Thanks for this question: this gets to the heart of my project in the book. I realised, looking back on my work, from the time I was an undergraduate, my interest has been in the question of ethics, although it is something I haven’t written about much. Most theories of ethics in the history of Western philosophy assume that one wants to be an ethical being, that one is seeking a way to understand and thus to undertake the good. They find it difficult, if not impossible, to argue for an ethical existence for those for whom this holds no appeal, for those who don’t care about good or bad. For most theorists, ethics as a code of action, behaviour or belief that directs action (and will) to the good (defined in various ways), is separate from and even unrelated to what kinds of beings we are. There has been a concerted effort to separate the ‘is’ from the ‘ought’. But with an immanent ethics, of the kind developed by both the Presocratics and Spinoza, and remarkably articulated in a number of Deleuze’s writings, ethics is not separated from being or becoming: it is the modality or the manner of becoming, how and in what directions becomings occur. I became interested in the concept of the incorporeal through the Stoics, for whom it referred to the immaterial conditions of all material things, including living beings. These immaterial conditions – space, time, the void, and especially sense, or expression, are the directions or orientations to which things tend, their future movements. The Stoics created a beautiful conception of ethics as a kind of culmination of existence rather than a set of rules or principles by which to regulate life from outside. Ethics, for them, is the capacity to live up to one’s impersonal fate, to bear it, to live it. In this sense, it is immanent in life itself, not just human life, but in all forms of life. Some people, perhaps a majority, have considered this the realm of religious thought; but for the Stoics and Spinoza, this is not an order separate from the world for it is inherent to it. I wanted to create a perhaps paradoxical non-normative ethics, an ethics unrelated to (Kantian) judgement, one related to the ways in which one directs one’s life. The incorporeal is thus a name for the direction immanent in our actions, the direction to the future in which we may overcome ourselves, become more than ourselves. I am happy to call this ‘the divine’ as long as we understand that this is not an order of judgement, nor an order separate from the world and its tendencies.