Writing about Accelerationism this year has been a blast primarily because this Philosophy seemed to grow up beside me as I have constantly had a deep disdain for my own relation to Capital (mainly how it makes me feel uncomfortable) and this necessity of having to sell my labour has since the very beginning of my working life at the age of 15 as a kitchen porter been somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a career working nine to five and developing yourself, yet this always forgets that even this is not protected and guaranteed under law and the notion of rights secured by our cultural and institutional powers. This I think can be quickly summarised by saying although we do appear to be progressing towards some murky sense of equality (universal income …) this forgets a perspective that reveals a picture which challenges us to ask questions such as: If there was such a thing as a minimum wage then why is there not a maximum wage? A question like this is one we should ask ourselves; at least it will remind oneself of the sheer hypocrisy and inauthenticity of the economic superstructure known as capitalism. Let me be more clearer… I am not completely dismissing the need for some economy I am only highlighting and repeating that the one we have today is a zombie like sacrificial body – it is slowly turning us into Zombies.
After, living in Japan I regained enthusiasm for philosophy, art, and language. During this period of time I discovered a thinker who I wish to read everyday Mark Fisher, and through Fisher I discovered Nick Land. Land is one of those peeps responsible for accelerationism having a pro-capitalist agenda and therefore was in need of critique. When critiquing someone’s work it also at the same time a mark of respect and an acknowledgement even if it takes the form of a miss-reading of the original authors intentions. I am not saying this is what I have intentionally done, but the entire history of philosophy is most likely one incomprehensible miss-reading. I felt obliged to do this because one is vigilant against Land being used by those forces of the political spectrum that would look to the past undemocratic social forms and see a positive in sacrificing humanity as we now glimpse it. I saw an over-dependency on the very real figure of the cyborg and a dismissal of some of the positive qualities we all semi-consciously enact.
My paper The Existential Politics of Acceleration offers an argument that attempts to think through ‘death’ and specifically the idea of the death of humanity that is seen by some as an inevitability. Resulting in an argument that expresses the existential alternatives to any unnecessary sacrifice. I have to express gratitude to everyone that read the drafts of the paper, offering great advice, and especially to our teacher Dr. Marieke Brugnera who after reading the first draft pointed me to Sophocles’s Oedipus the King to help me structure the writing. Marieke is an awesome reader of Soren Kierkegaard and wrote her phd on this prince of existentialism and Deleuze. Critical theorist Benjamin Noy’s book was also something that greatly supported this ambition to contribute to the growing criticism of this contemporary philosophical movement.
During the process of editing and rewriting some things where left out because they where all too much to fit into one BA Paper… The following is a list of such leftovers perhaps to some individuals this may be of interest (Also sorry about all this talk on death but hey this is philosophy after all?).
- The Inevitable Death of Your Parents Gives You Language
This does not just apply to one’s biological parents but also to progression from something in the past that generates the language of today. I think even if we consider the inevitable demise of ones parents this does carry such huge importance that I see it as foundational for the way you as a child, all of us as children of a mother or father inherit our language from our parents, yet their death is also your death, just as your birth is also their birth. Freud’s use of Oedipus and Sophocles play itself shows one of the two most disturbing possible behaviours of the human: incest and canabilistic potential. Yet, I have chosen to read it as a structure that allows us to approach language with wiser eyes. … Also, I used a little bit of modal logic to diagram this (it has a Hegelian flavour to it:)):
Having thought this I am not sure to what extent this is just a natural reaction to the uneasiness that Freud’s thesis gives me, or it is an actual structure in reality one continues to ponder… YET I love both my parents and if anything both of them taught me the concept of impermanence. When as an adult I discovered inequality which makes a mockery of the prior state, that is without a shred of doubt a part of our nature. I became an unwavering enemy of Capitalism and a firm believer in utopian, that is creative thinking. So, this is just a model of how I understand the strange necessity of language gaining…
- Strange Thought Processes and Diagrams (Groupings of Concepts/Ideas and Thinkers) / Logic Practice
- Pikida ぴ乞沱 (ピキダ)
Pikida after the two boys in my argument. The first in the native American story involving the ritual of corn balls Piki, and the second in Freud’s analysis of the Fortsein game where the boy after retrieving his toy on a string from its banishment joyfully yells ‘Da’ (there), as in there it is! See, Freud, Beyond The Pleasure Principle, pp.12. In Japanese Pikida ぴ乞沱 (ピキダ) the Kanji 乞‘ki’ means ‘invite’, or ‘ask. 沱, ‘da’ the ‘flowing of tears’ This is my own invention a neologism that names the death I have described and the emotional effect I wish it to carry to my reader. This entire paper could be read as a demand to think about the disturbing idea of your self without others, without our species. In other words my belief is that it is possible to think of new ways to exist as a social entity, but revolutions, both political and social depend on what we might suggest to be instances of linguistic change also and this will become increasingly important as humanity increasingly desires change.
Just another addition I think one of the most powerful commentaries on death in the realm of contemporary art is the video art work Rachel, Monique (2006) by French artist Sophie Calle which is a video of her mother on her death bed. Such a proposition of catching the last breath of either your father or mother contains the emotion that Pikida ぴ乞沱 (ピキダ) contains…
From Socrates in the Platonic dialogues discussing the philosopher as practising dying (because these guys really did not care much for even a sniff of materialism, never mind libidinal notions) to Heidegger and being-towards-death. The process at the end of life has always been historically central yet I think putting too much emphasis on post-humanism or the figure of the cyborg is all well and good but this should not trample over the human and label it unimportant or lacking progression. This is why I wanted to respond to the commentary on accelerationism and Nick Land…
Also, My writing this year is heavily dependent on arguing for or writing upon language … language, language, language. That is because it has become my home over these last three years – a home that constantly inspires wonder rather than disenchantment. Also my conclusion of the paper does not comment on a disturbing thought: that a desire for death is not just on the horizon but is already here… I am referencing Japan (Tokyo) and Korea (seoul) but this phenomena is sadly everywhere. A relation of over work to suicide 😦 but, this does not include the debate on euthanasia. These things need more reflection on my part but in the future I think they demonstrate that the phenomena of death is becoming increasingly important to human reality.
For those readers who are interested please get in touch if you want to read my BA Paper The Existential Politics of Acceleration: Nick Land, Oedipus, and Language I will send you a copy. It has been a real enjoyable and challenging experience studying with so many fine folk in this seminar group: Nikos Koroneos, Yorgos Alpha, Zoë Que, Farah, Albin, Marlieke, and many others who I am sorry if I forget to mention.
__Bataille, Georges. (1988). The Accursed Share, An Essay On The General Economy, Volume 1, Consumption, Zone Books, New York.
__Bataille, Georges. (1985). ‘The Use Value Of D.A.F De Sade’, in Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings 1927-1939, Theory and History of Literature, Volume 14, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
__Noys, Benjamin. (2014), Malign Velocities: Accelerationsim and Capitalism, Zero Books, Winchester U.K, Washington U.S.A.
__Deleuze, Gilles. Guatarri, Félix. (1983). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
__Land, Nick. (2014). ‘Circuitries’, in #Accelerate# The Accelerationist Reader, edited by Robin Mackay, Armen Avenessian, Urbanomic, London – Merve, Berlin.
__Land, Nick. (1992). The Thirst For Annihilation: George Bataille & Virulent Nihilism (an Essay on Atheistic Religion), Routledge, London.
__Land, Nick. Editors: Mackay, R. & Brassier, R. (2012). Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987 – 2007, Urbanomic London, Sequence Press New York.