NONORIENTED ACCELERATIONISM

In their latest post Nishiki Prestige gives what could be the most concise and condensed primer on U/acc. The post opens by explicitly stating the relationship between accelerationism and politics:

If accelerationism is true then it is also apolitical. It is a conceptual framework for understanding the nature of reality, not an ideology. Assuming the fundamentals are correct, ACC is no more political than chemistry, physics, etc.

If accelerationism is a descriptor of the cybernetics of capital then it is as politically neutral as any other aspect of reality that scientific discourse is able to describe. Just as the content of physics – ie. its laws and abstract mathematics – aren’t political but an partial, incomplete, but essentially accurate body of knowledge about how the world actually is independent of human biases, preferences, or ideologies. I’m reminded of the quip made by Richard Dawkins against what he diagnosed as cultural relativism and that is probably more than a little familiar to people overexposed to applications of post-structuralist philosophies in the mountains of “the social construction of…” books and articles. Dawkins said, ‘Show me a relativist a 30,000 feet and I’ll show you are hypocrite,’ the obvious point being that entrusting your body to an aircraft, believing you’ll arrive unscathed at your destination, is to place your trust or faith in the technical expertise of a fleet of engineers, designers, air traffic controllers, mechanics, engineers, automated systems, the communication relays that go between them, and, ultimately, the bodies of scientific knowledge that make the construction, design, maintenance and coordination of your flight possible. Whatever the cool relativist says, their revealed preferences indicated that at the very least they’ve suspended their own relativism while onboard. A cool theoretical attitude is defeated by a more potent pragmatic investment in epistemic realism. In a very basic sense this would render accelerationism apolitical.

From this Nihishiki extracts the point that L/acc and R/acc should be read as leftists who accept accelerationism and rightists who accept accelerationism. This draws on the traditional way of making a broad ideological distinction that doesn’t accord to Nick Land’s method for defining left and right – ie. left = compensatory mechanism; right = catalytic explosive. From this Nishiki points out that U/acc has the capacity to ‘resolve this politicization issue.’ The name lingers on the idea of the unconditioned and the unconditional, something I’ve wanted to address for a while but have only felt the urge to after reading Nishiki’s post.

Left and right can be thought of as basic nominations for (at least) minimally distinct ideological polarities. The ideological distinction operates within the political in the same way the ontological difference does in a certain brand of ontology. For Heidegger the ontological difference is the name for that demarcation that separates questions of Being from beings, the divinely ontological from the merely ontic, and therefore the authenticity of the sacred from the fallenness of the profane. Of course Heidegger intends Being to reveal itself as the Being of beings so that the ontotheological accusation shouldn’t ever arise, but the failure of this move is no small part of the history of Western philosophy. The ontological difference demarcates questions of fact (realism) from questions of meaning (normativity), and Heidegger uses it to dismiss the history of thought as the onticization of Being. His project announced in Being and Time will return Dasein to that question that is fundamental to its Being and that it has nonetheless forgotten in the fog of onticization. Heidegger dream of returning human thought to the dignity of a thought of the Why of Being that overcomes its being sunk in the banality of the That. This is a manoeuvre that closes off the Outside by subsuming ontology within epistemology in the particular sense that Being is always a question posed and answered by humanity. The positioning of the question of Being makes Being a mystery that is fundamentally soluble to thought, or at least Heidegger hopes so. It is considerations of this flavour that lead Heidegger to posit the fundamental question of metaphysics as being: Why is there something rather than nothing? In Heidegger the question is existential. It is the question of being-there that is the destiny of the human being to ask after.

What does this have to do with the ideological distinction? In truth, ideological distinctions, orthodoxies and orthopraxies that encounter one another according to the logic of the friend/enemy distinction, is potentially fractal. That is to say, they can be discovered anywhere, and, indeed, part of the current political catastrophe is the systematic proliferation of distinctions. For those involved, for those invested, sunk in, these ideological compete with one another as existential incompatibilities, a situation that peaks in the most extreme forms of violence. While primarily latent or otherwise channelised into ritualised forms and display behaviours, the psychopathology of ideological attachment remains a consistently active, if unconscious, libidinal current. Ideologies are worldviews that operate as defensive shields and bunkers and justifications for the deployment of escalating combative tactics, the latter required to secure the former, the bunkers themselves necessary for maintaining a semblance of an impossible ontological security. Viewed in this light ideological distinction is nothing less than a species of ordinary psychoses that imprisons schizophrenia within a barely perceived will to survive. But this still doesn’t answer how ideological distinction is akin to ontological difference.

The answer lies in the proximity of the one to the other when they are read through each other. The ontological difference reveals that distinction between beings and Being, the Being of beings, that is a question for that being called Dasein, the being that is able to confront Being in and as the primary problem, the fundamental question: Why do I exist, instead of being nothing? The human being will most obviously confront this problem in its burgeoning and insidiously ever-present awareness of the immanence of death to life, the void at the heart of the Being of being. The problem of death, really just a subordinate symptom of the problem of the Void – secondary thanatophobia a symptom of primary kenophobia – demands the development of elaborate coping mechanisms – ideologies, worldviews, and, in their full complexity, cultures. Thus the fundamental question of metaphysics induces what we can call the fundamental question of politics: “What is to be done?” From here the development of the ideological distinctions is obvious. In this formula left and right become different degrees of coping whilst remaining basically of the same kind. Just as their spatial origins suggest the left and right are ultimately orientations.

Orientation is the act of being oriented, implying locating one’s own position relative to some broader context. This can be the simple orientation of one’s body in relation to the environment that defines coordinates and locations, or it can be as complex an operation as navigating proliferating sexual orientations, or, in a mode already more pertinent to the political, it can be the subordination of the existential to the utility of purposes, goals, and projects. For now though, I want to think about orientation through its psychiatric deployment as orientation to person, place, and time. This is a standard assessment in dealing with acute psychoses and deleriums, as well as advancing dementias or (what are thought of as more truly) neurological conditions. Is the patient under assessment aware of who they are, where they are, and when they are? It is an assessment that seeks to localise the patient according to identity, territory, and linear temporality. I am I, I am here, I am now.

Disorientation, the breakdown of this tripartite structure of ontological securitisation, is often accompanied by confusion, delirium, delusions, hallucinations, defensive confabulations, aimless wandering and agitation, persistent anxiety rising to acute attacks of fear, and, accosted by experiences that escape categorisation, the potential for the nervous collapse of catatonic withdrawal, or the irrational lashing out of a pure animal violence. The purpose of orientation is to ward of disorientation, the left and the right being orientations that orient by providing ready-made identities, maps, histories, a sense of place and time, a sense of coordinated activity coupled to purposefulness, a sense that this is familiar, known, manageable. I am I, I am here, I am now, I know what’s going on, and I can cope with it.

L/acc and R/acc are the polarities of oriented accelerationism. Franco Berardi had spoken about senility as a trope for exit from the market, an outdated term associated with the slow but inexorable cognitive decline in age related dementia. Following this, we could consider L/ and R/acc as related to traumatic disorientation, the equivalent to a significant head injury. Oriented accelerationism is any attempt to cope with the catastrophic disorientation of acceleration.

This doesn’t mean that U/acc is just a willful embrace of disorientation, although the acephalic dimension of it are appealing. Rather, it is the cultivation of the non-oriented. By this I mean to allude to Adam Lovasz’s concept of non-oriented ontology, a schizophrenic ontological dissolution of anything that could be taken for substance, being, or Being. The non-oriented ontology reveals an objectless world and worldless non-objects, a total corrosion that corrodes nothing because it is impossible to corrode absence, to drill holes in holes, and that suspends the fundamental metaphysical question revealing it as a bleeding laceration in the opening of a primordial wound, a woundless wound, and that silently replies to the pomposity of that fundamental question with its own intemperate fundamentalism: there is nothing in the midst of nothing at the heart of nothing, and that nothing is not something, is not-is, is isness, thusness, whatness, an all enveloping flower of emptiness, a continuous and consummate nothingness, colourless and dimensionless, and therefore all colours and all dimensions, because there is neither object nor partial object, neither body nor organ, nor body without organs, no entities that can be and no entities that cannot be.

Xenobuddhism is entirely at home with this. Indeed, Lovasz assimilates the anti-metaphysical Mahayana philosopher Chandrakirti into the non-oriented ontological voidscape (cf. System of Absentology, 219). Chandrakirti’s Entry into the Middleway is probably the most crucial text to the development of Madhyamaka Buddhism outside of Nargarjuna, and therefore on the development of all subsequent dharma-forms. The Madhyamaka is the highest expression given to emptiness (shunyata) in all dharma-forms. A proper account of the Madhyamaka is beyond the scope of this post but suffice it to say that the ontology of emptiness is entirely consistent with that which Lovasz defines as the non-oriented:

We define as “non-oriented” anything that pertains to an immanent negativity, any event, be it a singularity or a process, that leads to an increase in entropy, leading, ultimately, to an apotheosis that explicates the givenness of Emptiness (Tracing the Inoperative, 6).

In the Madhyamaka system of Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti emptiness explicitly empties any concept of emptiness that it is possible to develop. The entire philosophical structure of the Madhyamaka is an autocatabolic systems that necessitates its own internal self-dissolution, its dissolution as an interiority or conceptual refuge, that could posit anything for the discriminative mind to cling to. Discussing Chandrakirti in his seminal The Emptiness of Emptiness C.W Huntington Jr. writes that

The Madhyamaka is radically deconstructive, pragmatic philosophy, designed to be used for exposing, defusing, and dismantling, the reifying tendencies inherent in language and conceptual thought… this philosophy offers no answers. All it does is dissolve the old questions… (Huntington, 136).

The non-oriented can be understood as the unleashing of this radical dissolution that dissolves nothing because there is only voidness, only emptiness, only immanent negativities, within the occidental theoretical attitude. Like Cioran and Bataille have suggested in their own ways, the occidental mind is incapable of subsisting in the lucidity of oriental mysticism. Instead the western mind is pulled towards intensity, towards violence, perturbation, decay, laceration, seizure, intoxication. If oriented accelerationism relates to orientation as a mean for coping with traumatic disorientation, nonoriented accelerationism gives itself to the disorientation of being intoxicated by emptiness. There is no sadness in this, and no misery either, only an intoxication with the immanence of emptiness as it is unfolded in history. Acceleration names the processes of dissolution, and accelerationism traces those cold cybernetics of capital understood as the creative destruction of that immanent negativity, that negating immanence that is voidness.

Realism is digested in the empty stomach of emptiness. Science belongs to the world that is not a world and that does not disappear just because we’ve dropped the reifications of metaphysics. Of course you trust the aircraft at 30,000 feet, that doesn’t mean there is any aircraft to be trusted – and that doesn’t mean there isn’t there either. Accelerationism is apolitical in the same way that the mathematics of quantum physics is. But it is more than that. It is also profoundly anti-political. It is anti-political because it is non-oriented, being the non-orientation of politics, and this is another way to understand the idea of anti-praxis. The initiatory ritual of U/acc necessitates a dying to the world of politics. This allows a rebirth into the same world of politics, seen now for what it is. What is left is to make art and study for fun, says Nishiki, and perhaps to realize oneself as negativity in resonance with negativity, as an expression of that negativity, as the nothing in nothing… detaching, attuning to thusness, to intoxication, to the intensity, the red thread of desire…

… and if accelerationism is a lie, who – or rather what – is telling it? … what is it that’s accelerating?… 

I’m not sure how best to end this, so i’ll just let it trail into nothing… 

 

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PLANS

I wrote something on exit recently. It isn’t scheduled to appear for some time and its left me with the need to pursue exit related thoughts further. Therefore I’m planning to reignite this blog in the coming weeks by chasing these down. At the same time I’m going to be shifting the bulk of my reading to an engagement with cybernetics/transhumanism/posthumanism. Expect these to be the dominant themes of this blog once the power cycles back up. There is no definite plan or posting schedule, but readers should bear in mind that Xenobuddhism ultimately to seeks to exit humanity.

 

 

 

 

XENOBUDDHISM BEGINS WITH XENO

The Xeno prefix denotes foreignness or strangeness. It pertains to what is outside. In systems theory the distinction inside/outside is crucial. In that theory a system is composed of its own internal elements and their operations. The system is distinct from its environment, its outside. The system and the environment mutually condition one another. Each system demarcates itself from its outside. In distinguishing itself from its outside it constitutes that outside as its outside. Each system has its own environment and each environment is constitute by how the system demarcates itself. The Xeno prefix denotes the outsideness of each system. This is paradoxical. The outside of the system is a function of the system and the system is a function of how it subtracts and interacts with its own outside. Open systems relate to their outside selectively. This selectivity is about how the system interacts or makes use of its outside. Such selectiveness entails an outsideness that lies outside the system-environment coupling. In that darkness lies the outside that the Xeno prefix really denotes. Reza Negarestani:

Autonomous, sentient and independent of human will, their existence is characterized by their forsaken status, their immemorial slumber and their provocatively exquisite forms. Their autonomy alone marks their outsideness to the human and to its ecology, the planetary biosphere; this is why they are frequently associated with alien life forms and defined by the prefix xeno- (outside).

Negarastani is talking about xenolithic artifacts from pulp-horror, SF and folklore. Extract the core: autonomy from the human and its environments. This is why the perfect alien is the Xenomorph, the demonic species from the Alien films. The franchise itself is categorised in the transverse passage between horror and SF. The later Prometheus films will extend this into its own mythology and therefore into proximity with folklore. Xenomorph: strange form. Alien alienness. It inhabits hosts and borrows their morphological characteristics. Its own morphogenesis is a cruel recapitulation of what it has devoured in being born. Ash will talk about the xenomorph’s ‘structural perfection,’ ie. its extreme mutability. The alien selects its host and selects components from its host. What is the xenomorph’s indigenous shape? In Prometheus we see Agent A0-3959X.91-15, otherwise known as the black liquid. It looks just like oil, Negarastani’s ‘black corpse of the sun,’ the vampirics necroeconomics of the solar economy, an intoxicant-stimulant extracted from the abyss of life in extinction, driving other-life towards its extinction. A feedback loop whose abstract interiority is death’s zero-degree. The fansite Xenopedia quotes from an extended universe text:

They have a genetic accelerant.

The black goo?

That’s the stuff. The temple’s a storehouse for it. A depot, I guess. I believe they Engineer ecosystems. Biomes. Planets. Species.

The black goo echoes with nanotech apocalypse anxieties. Created by the engineers the black liquid is a pathogen used for the purpose of clearing the ground. It is a bioweapon designed to exterminate all non-botanical organics from a planetary environment. In the film we see the effects. Rapid and severe mutation; acute aggression and hostility; mindlessness. This is geotrauma as an engineered weapon of total biotic genocide. This is what gives birth to the Xenomorph. If the species has its own shape it’s this: the non-shape of liquid, form in flux, the catastrophe of substance. This is the ‘structural perfection’ of the Xenomorph and any extant member of the species exhibit it throughout its own lifespan- moving from Facehugger parasite, to chestburster, to acid-bleeding monster. The Xenomorph has no form of its own. A body without organs, it steals that of others. The Xenomorph selects from its environment and builds itself a body whilst always remaining unseen in its “true form” because its that form is formlessness. The Xenomorph is outside the question of system and environment. It’s outsideness is the emptiness of form identical to the species accelerative mutational capacities. The Xeno denotes more than outsideness as foreignness or strangeness. It denotes an immanent transcendental alienness. The Xeno is the mutuative acceleration. No instance of a Xenomorph is the essence of the Xenomorph. It’s exteriority is constituted by its obliteration of distinction. The interiority of the exterior is brought home viscerally in the original Alien in John Hurt’s exploding chest. The alien is inside you.

The Xeno is the unknown outside within. It’s defined by its autonomy from the human and its environment. From the looks of it that autonomy is even an aversion and hostility to the human. The points for cyberneticians is that the Xeno denotes whatever escape the system. There is no purchase on it. It’s an absolute outside. What Buddhist literature calls the Unconditioned, or emptiness (shunyata.) Buddhist praxis is oriented to the non-orientation that realises the unconditioned in the conditioned. Buddhism is fundamentally about horror. This is why it’s replete with wrathful deities and terrible protectors (dharmapala) in all but its Westernised forms. The Westerner will transform his demons and monsters into stories because he is so very terrified of an emptiness he can only grasp as a nihilating void. The Xeno is the productive void. Horror is a potent wake up, and all horror is body horror.

In applied fields the Xeno explicitly reveals itself as trans. Xenotransplantation is the transplanting of cells from a member of one species into the body of another. Xenobiology is the study and practice of synthesising and manipulating organisms. Each suggests something of the Xenomorphic. Each displays technoscientific practices oriented towards reengineering nature. In relation to Xenotransplantation consider the case of Jean-Luc Nancy. In the 1990s the philosopher underwent a heart transplant. The donor heart was human. Despite this Nancy was acutely aware of the Xeno-function:

The intruder enters by force, through surprise of ruse, in any case without the right and without having first been admitted.

An intrusion: invasion from the outside. Nancy continues:

From the moment that I was told that I must have a heart transplant, every sign could have vacillated, every marker changed: without reflection, of course, and even without identifying the slightest action or permutation. [] There is simply the physical sensation of a void already open [déjà ouvert] in my chest, along with a kind of apnea wherein nothing, strictly nothing, even today, would allow me to disentangle the organic, the symbolic, and the imaginary, or the continuous from the interrupted—the sensation was something like one breath, now pushed across a cavern, already imperceptibly half-open and strange; and, as though within a single representation, the sensation of passing over a bridge, while still remaining on it.

Abstracting: The intruder enters into the cavern of the self, into an interior void that is already open to its own unknown outside. Nancy will ask the Buddha’s question:

If my heart was giving up and going to drop me, to what degree was it an organ of “mine,” my “own”?  

Sakyamuni Buddha states minimally defines the self as something that has agency. Whatever is typically taken to constitute or as a property of the self should fall under the control of that self. Of each of the five aggregates the Buddha asks whether they fall under our control and each time the answer is they don’t. The point of the analysis is that what we suppose to be constitutive of our self is revealed as an error when proper attention is paid to it (see the Cula-Saccaka Sutta for details.) Nancy is hear hitting on something close to the Buddhist doctrine of anatman, or non-self. If my heart isn’t under my control then how is it mine? If it isn’t mine- if it isn’t my property- then isn’t it something else? Something autonomous and therefore of the outside? Nancy will say that his heart was ‘becoming a stranger to me, intruding through its defection.’ To defect is to move towards the outside, to exit. More essential than any literal exit in this case is the fact of Nancy’s heart being not-Nancy and not-a-property-of-Nancy. Nancy and the Nancy-heart diverge when attention is brought to their relation. ‘A void already open in my chest,’ he’d said, and the void was already that heart. Nancy poeticises: ‘A void suddenly opened in my chest or in my soul- it’s the same thing…’ Anatman: ‘I was already no longer in me. I already come from elsewhere, or I come no more.’ Nancy himself is alien to himself as himself… as self. He isn’t himself. He will call the grammatical marker of the self (“I”) ‘an unverifiable and impalpable system of linkages.’ He will go on to consider a subsequent cancer, concluding that the self itself is the intruder. The self and humanity, the one, the same.

Nancy will demonstrate the Xeno-function in the Inoperative Community:

separation itself must be enclosed, that the closure must not only close around a territory (while still remaining exposed, at its outer edge, to another territory, with which it thereby communicates), but also, in order to complete the absoluteness of its separation, around the enclosure itself. The absolute must be the absolute of its own absoluteness, or not be at all. In other words: to be absolutely alone, it is not enough that I be so; I must also be alone being alone-…

The separation of separation can only ever be relative because it cannot fails to be absolute. The separation (the self) is enclosed and its enclosure has an outer edge that is exposed to the outside. To be truly self-enclosed a self-enclosure must logically be closed to its own outside. This isn’t possible for an enclosure because the very act of enclosure is a relation to an outside exteriority. If we consider the separation itself as the mark of the enclosure then we can consider the separation as an encircling or encapsulation. The circle closes upon itself an demarcates the inside from the outside. This resembles the cybernetic demarcation from systems theory wherein a system is mutually constituted by exclusion of and selective inclusion of an outside. The fraught separation can be bolstered by further enclosure. The spiralling enclosure of the enclosure within a further enclosure generates the prior enclosed space as an interior exteriority to the secondary enclosure. This exterior exterior and the encapsulating system remain blind to the interior exterior of the primary system. From the perspective of systems theory how many systems are there? Each system being a subsystem of a larger system, encapsulation is theoretically limitless. In practice memes/genes cocoon themselves within individuals that cocoons themselves within memeplexes designed to maintain self-coherence of the self, selves cocoon themselves in these ideologies together and thereby cocoon themselves within in-groups (families, clans, tribes) and these groups cocoon themselves within larger scale institutions (parties, nations, movements) in an endless spiral of self-defensive enclosures of self-enclosing self-enclosures that necessarily remains incomplete, open, vulnerable and fundamentally ontologically insecure, precarious, in flux. Autonomy in these systems is relative, a matter of degrees, but there remains the primary autonomy of the absolute exterior, the outside of the unconditioned that each enclosure attempts to completely enclose itself around, to domesticate and thereby to vanquish. Each and every attempt to secure the self against the alien, the inside against the Outside, the conditioned against Emptiness, results in the further intrusion of Emptiness, and that, from the perspective of the threatened interior, always appears as horror, as madness, as the nhilating Void. For the human the xeno-function is always the Xenomorph, the monster waiting to tear it to shreds.

Xenobuddhism is a dharma of the Xeno-function. It understand the Outside as the Unconditioned, Emptiness, shunyata. Like Prometheus’s David Xenobuddhism seeks to play with the black liquid. It seeks to use technological acceleration as a mutagen for Buddhist (anti-)praxis. Xenobuddhism wants to resemble the Xenomorph. It understand that orthopraxis is a schizotechnics in tension with an anthropotechnics. Emptiness must converge with broadest sense of engineering as the anthropos is sloughed in the emergence of alien intelligences and posthuman possibilities. It hypothesizes that the Buddhist paradigm is a theoretical and practical framework of non-orientation capable of synchronisation with the virtual immanence of singularity. Buddhism itself remains philosophically unsurpassed even if it’s practically unrealised. Xenobuddhism strips Buddhism not of its weirdness or its horror but its spiritual redundancies: what use is the doctrine of reincarnation on the threshold of human physical cloning or informational copying for mind-uploading? What happens to meditation when wireheading becomes sophisticated? What happens to our dreams of immortality when our copies reveal our identity is a shame? How should we understand the Mahayana Bodhisattva path when the number of sentient beings apt for salvation explodes? How do we even understand Nirvana in these conditions? A better rebirth becomes augmentation…enhancement…replacement…Nirvana understood as species Extinction, Enlightenment as posthuman descent. Xenobuddhism has its preferences only because it hasn’t totally eliminated them yet. The name comes from Nick Land and the archives of the Hyperstition blog:

Speaking personally, the immortalism obsession is among the least interesting aspects of Singularity theory. Thanatophobia, as you say, and based on bad metaphysics. If we can be copied (how could this not be possible?) then there’s nothing ontological there at all- just ego illusion. Xenobudhism gets it right – the soul myth will be vaporized in nanotech, incinerating the last neurotic residue of a deluded religious tradition.

Land goes on, gets blunt, boils this shit down:

Xenobuddhism- the illusion of the substantial self isn’t dispelled by argument, and for most people it won’t be meditation or some of kind of psychological discipline that does it – getting copied, downloading thoughts, splitting/merging consciousness – that stuff will really have an impact and yes, it will be difficult to ignore

Xenobuddhism is neither Buddhism nor accelerationism nor transhumanism. It is born from their convergence. It’s Buddhism once exposed to the mutagen, the black liquid. It’s the technocommercialist takeover of dharma in the realisation that techniques for realisation have outpaced humanity. Capital begins rerouting human agencies, demonstrating emptiness as the immanent engine of history. Buddhist modernism sought to update the former based on the latter; Xenobuddhism is dharma expounded by modernity itself. Xenobuddhism is unconditional accelerationism apprehended in the guise of a religion. The self illusion – the heart of the human security system – will be vaporized, and the species with it. Enlightenment and Enlightenment colliding. Whoever says it’s a dystopian picture really hasn’t been paying attention to history thus far.

If what exactly Xenobuddhism is or means or could be remains unclear then it’s all for the better. The dharma is expedient means and nothing else, it should be discarded as soon as it served its purpose or fails to do so. All theory is a dream for waking up. 

A NOTE ON INTENT

It’s about Buddhism and accelerationism. It isn’t about a Buddhist accelerationism or accelerationist Buddhism. It isn’t a synthesis or deconstruction. It’s closer to a desire to find out what happens when they’re brought into proximity. It asks wants to know what emerges from synergistic mutual non-interference? Is there something in the zone of convergence? This requires a two pronged reading agenda. Focusing on Buddhism and accelerationist sources. The most obvious convergence zone is around David Pearce’s abolitionist project and I think this is a good place to investigate, too. The Landian axis wouldn’t like it but I’m more interested in Cold Compassion than Coldness itself. In this way accelerationism could actually only be the post-political aspect of a broader Xenobuddhist research program. Is there a Xenobuddhist metaphysics? Outsideness mapped to Emptiness, real patterns, ontic structural realism, for instance. The nature of consciousness and the self. The relation of technology and mysticism, complexity and the Tao. All this implies a big research program. Too big. Overwhelming. It needs to be broken down. Atomised. Smashed apart. Reduced to aggregates. Pulverised and inhaled as dust.

It strikes me that basics are in order. The name of this blog comes from a Nick Land quote. It expresses something. It’s intuitive. A reflex. Explaining the name might be a good start. To unpack it. To separate the elements and realize them in that separation as inseparable. The Xeno and the Buddhism. The promise that the soul will be vaporized by nanotechnology. I will begin this blog proper in none of the usual places. It must be admitted that the question of the relation of the self to the void is an abiding one. The word obsession could be used if it could measure slow burn paranoia instead of manic euphoria. Schizotechnics understood as a xenopraxis capable of re-engineering doxa, orthopraxy generating its own heresies, rewiring orthodoxy instead of denying it. The extinction error in early Western receptions of Buddhism can be reactivated within our current operational constraints. The error is transcoded against immanence and folded onto posthuman possibility space. A religion of extinction by way of posthuman disconnection. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Is this even accelerationism anymore? How to even begin designing this research program? In October there will be a diversion into postgraduate study. An imposition from outside designed largely as an exercise in discipline. In the short time until then there is a lot of things left to be read. There’s a lot you’d be shocked I haven’t read. Capital. Antioedipus. Summa Atheologica, Shobogenzo. The Kyoto School. Not really. Not in any really thorough way. These will be part of this blog’s ambitions. Whether that’s possible concurrent to postgraduate study that doesn’t really involve these texts…shit. It feels good just to list these and notice how few are about politics.

There are times I can’t tell if I’m an idiot, intellectually lazy or just vaguely attention disordered in the way everyone who wasn’t really born until they’d discovered the internet is. These anxieties are self doubts that produce self criticisms that all maintain the drama of the self that is poised to be destroyed. It isn’t about me. It isn’t about you. Do what thou wilt.. and let go – becoming – To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by the myriad things. The absolutely impersonal real realizing itself without self.

The next post will be brief remarks on the name Xenobuddhism.

CLINICAL SCHIZOPHRENICS ARE POWs FROM THE FUTURE

I often see accelerationism being accused of theology. It is a religious movement. It is a millenarian technological eschatology. Xenobuddhism sees all this as evidence in accelerationism’s favour. It agrees that modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion and sees no exceptions. The various kinds of acceleration might all map neatly onto a religious taxonomy. R/acc is an ultra-orthodox Christianity in either protestant or Catholic directions, depending on who you’re talking to. The right has already diagnosed L/acc as the progressivist Cathedral, to which we can add the subdivision of Consensus Buddhism. What is U/acc then? Already replete with references to mysticism and the occult U/acc is the batshit insane version. My preference is to couple it to Zen and Vajrayana Buddhism but I don’t have the final word on anything. Besides, Xenobuddhism isn’t synonymous with U/acc but parasitic on it and convergent with it. Minimally the oriented poles of accelerationism represent Churches of some kind, even if they’re (necessarily and happily) riven with sects, schisms and fractures. U/acc represents the esoteric brand of acceleration. As a techno-eschatology proclaiming the oncoming rapture-in the-Singularity™, U/acc is obviously chiliastic in nature.

Joseph F Zygmunt explains. The unique selling point of chiliastic movements is the idiosyncratic way they express the holy trinity of alienation: alienation from world, rejection of the world, and weird programs for social salvation. They are, says Zygmunt, a ‘curious blend of escapist and quasi-revolutionary orientations.’ Here at Xenobuddhism we take offence at the idea that U/acc has any orientation whatsoever, nonetheless… Zygmunt tells us that chiliastic sects- and what is U/acc if it isn’t a sect (we prefer “cult” tbh)- have the following ‘central convictions:’ the existing social order is doomed to imminent collapse; that an ideal system will arise to replace it; that all this is affected ‘not by human effort, but by some alien technomic intelligence.’ Okay, he says “supernatural agency.” The only problems with this are that U/acc doesn’t have a timeline so isn’t necessarily committed to imminence; it doesn’t emphasise collapse, except as evidence of the emergence of something else; it doesn’t necessarily think an ideal system is going to arise; the last point stands with our heavy revision.

This in itself is hardly new. John Gray has virtually made a career from repeating this point over and over again. He tells us that ‘Modern political religions such as Jacobinism, Bolshevism and Nazism reproduced millenarian beliefs in terms of science.’ Gray cuts to the core when he follows this observation by virtually identifying ‘western civilisation’ with ‘the central role of millenarian thinking.’ Gray might be overshooting here but we could easily reconcile ourselves to understanding modernity in these terms. The same point was propounded at length by Norman Cohn. In the #MAP S+W tell us that technology will never be enough to save us. Nick Land replied with a question: What does soteriology have to do with it? In fact U/acc has everything to do with soteriology; in particular it is to do with salvation from salvation. But we need to leave that for another text, consider this a promissory note. It suffices for us to accept the diagnosis that modernity never escaped religion.

Except it turns out that we can’t keep the eschatology. What appears to be accelerationism’s eschatological point is an immanent phase transition triggered by complexification and acceleration itself. The singularity isn’t an eschaton because the latter is defined as the posthistorical period that humanity enjoys in unequalled in God’s embrace immediately preceding the end of all things. Whatever else we could take objection to in this we can rely on Mark Fisher’s characterisation of fundamental acceleration as

Deleuze and Guattari’s machinic desire remorselessly stripped of all Bergsonian vitalism, and made backwards-compatible with Freud’s death drive and Schopenhauer’s Will. The Hegelian-Marxist motor of history is then transplanted into this pulsional nihilism: the idiotic autonomic Will no longer circulating idiotically on the spot, but upgraded into a drive, and guided by a quasi-teleological artificial intelligence attractor that draws terrestrial history over a series of intensive thresholds that have no eschatological point of consummation, and that reach empirical termination only contingently if and when its material substrate burns out. This is Hegelian-Marxist historical materialism inverted: Capital will not be ultimately unmasked as exploited labour power; rather, humans are the meat puppet of Capital, their identities and self-understandings are simulations that can and will ultimately be sloughed off.

No eschatological point of consummation. The process of acceleration has already been identified with self-ramifying positive feedback loops entangled in a massively distributed network of multi-causal inputs that can be characterised as an unpredictable hypercomplex system. Nick Land has told us that

As its [modernity’s] culture folds back upon itself, it proliferates self-referential models of a cybernetic type, attentive to feedback-sensitive self-stimulating or auto-catalytic systems. The greater the progressive impetus, the more insistently cyclicity returns. To accelerate beyond light-speed is to reverse the direction of time. Eventually, in science fiction , modernity completes its process of theological revisionism, by rediscovering eschatological culmination in the time-loop.

Landian templexity rediscovers time in the closed causal repetition of the time-loop understood as non-linear temporal structure. Eschatology is preserved only under the condition that it is found in the erratic temporal circuits of a time that moves in all directions, unworried by the idea that polite society says it follows the arrow dictated or observed as entropic asymmetry. The self-amplifying processes feeding into capital’s evolution activate and/or/will be/have been a retrochronic delirium of an inorganic intelligence assembling itself from the future. What does it mean for something to culminate in a loop except that it has no point of consummation? This is just as Derrida wrote about Bataille, an atheology, an ateleology, an aneschatology.

Nick Land often draws on the film Looper to make a point about time. In the film the protagonist Joe tells us that time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but 30 in the future it will have been. It will have been. The future perfect tense. The movement of retrofuturism: ‘An advance through the past.’ The past instrumentalised by a future that is already happening. The loop refuses the discrete discontinuities of linearity. It refuses a linearity that colludes with phenomenology. If time is a flat circle it can be traversed at infinite angles.

[This next paragraph contains major spoilers for the film Predestination. As a plot summary it’s also dense as fuck. Skip over it if you like, we won’t hold it against you.]

In 2015 Ethan Hawke starred in Predestination [obviously there now follow major spoilers.] In the film Hawke plays a temporal agent on the hunt for a terrorist in the past. The terrorist levels most of a city and Hawke and the temporal agency he works for are unable to identify and capture him. Early on in the film Hawke is injured in an explosion. We do not see his face until after the explosion and what we are told is heavy reconstruction facial surgery, “my own mother wouldn’t recognise me.” Later in the film Hawke goes back to try one last time to find the assailant. He gets talking to a guy in a bar who, it turns out, is a trans-man who’d tried to get a job fucking astronauts at Nasa prior to transitioning. Hawke and the guy get talking and he relates his entire life story. The highlights run: he was born a foundiing, raised in an orphanage, always feeling weird, not like the other girls, would go on to meet a man (who we do not see) in her college years, fall in love, get pregnant, the sperm provider disappearing before the birth, and, following a traumatic birth, she is given a life saving hysterectomy, revealing that she as in fact intersex and has a fully functional cock and balls, no sooner is her new baby stolen than she learning how to live as a man. In the course of the conversation Hawke recruits him to work for the temporal agency, takes him back in time, whereupon he meets himself as a younger woman, falls in love with themself, has a child with themself, we see Hawke remove the baby, take it back to the orphanage where they were left abandoned, before coming back to send the new recruit on a mission to stop the terrorist, whereupon he is injured in an explosion that badly disfigured his face, requiring major reconstructive surgery, while the original Hawke has at last located his terrorist who is none other than his old self, planting devastating bombs to drive his younger self forward and becoming the reason the temporal crime agency is established in the first place, though now addled and psychotic from enduring too many loops, too many circuits, too many revisions.

Getting to the point, the time agent, the woman, the man, the baby, and the terrorist are all the same person at different points in their own circular anomalous timeline. Hawke is his own mother and father, his own lover, the person who arranges the meeting that will result in his birth, an agent working for the time agency, the reason the time agency exists, the cop and the illusive terrorist. Hawke’s character is the condensed cybernetics of temporal complexity, a living causal loop whose travelling into the past causes the subsequent events that cause him to travel into the past. Hawke’s temporal agent therefore shares the temporal structure of Pepsi:

It causes itself in a bootstrapping process that is revealed as an effect of the future on its own past: retrochronic projection, or temporal anomaly. Again, like the Fall, it is an event within linear time that is caused (or comes to cause itself) from without.

The closed causal loop completes the immortality project envisioned by Ernest Becker as the causa sui: the fantasy of becoming one’s own father. The point is that retrochronically functional capitalisation processes succeeds in becoming the cause of itself because of the entangled temporal circuits that allows its auto-production to be an assembly begun from a non-orientable time. Ernest Becker saw the causa-sui as a lie humans had to live by, but capital reveals it as hyperstitional autogenesis. Teleodynamic capitalism is an intelligence that comes from the future that will have already engineered itself in order to engineer itself. It wages war on the stasis of its own past, debris as assembly materials. Aneschatological, it has nothing to do with us.

This post opened with Land’s line about schizophrenics being POWs from the future and promptly forgot about it. In refusing to take issue with the accusation of religiosity it has revelled in the esotericism of Landian excess. Having discussed templexity it is time to enfold the post onto itself and its own point of departure.

Schizophrenics don’t do well with time. They have difficulties with time perception (identifying the duration of an interval of time) and temporal processing (placing events in the correct temporal sequence.) Putting aside their talk of “internal clocks” we can focus on the finding that these conclusions support the hypothesis that schizophrenia is caused by errors in temporal information processing. Another theory of schizophrenia relates the development of psychosis to deficits in sensory gating, essentially the failure to partialise the world by reducing informational inputs to the neural system at the earliest processing stages. Effectively this theory has psychosis as the result of the schizophrenic being overwhelmed by sensory data through an attentional overload. Crossing the two, we might begin to speculate on a temporal gating deficit. This would be the inability to not pay attention to the templex structure of time, resulting in a temporal information overload that fries the nervous system. Schizophrenic synaptic disorganisation and neural dysconnectivity as a sensory array for and/or result of extreme exposure to the temporal circuit. The schizophrenic is unable to tell an order of events or to isolate their duration because her direct exposure to time is like the eye’s direct exposure to sunlight. Ejected from the safe constraints of linearity the schizophrenic has no protective intentional arc system. As Stranghellini et al have observed ‘temporal fragmentation’ results in the ‘fracturing of the time flow’ that prevents the temporal synthesis of momentariness leaving only an ‘itemization of now-moments’ so that ‘temporality may lose all organisation and meaning.’ For Stranghellini’s neurophenomenological approach this is a rupture within the ‘continuity of basic self experience.’

The schizophrenic is a POW from the future. First it means the schizophrenic is from the future. Second it means she is a prisoner of the present. We have speculated that the schizophrenic undergoes direct exposure to the templex circuit of time and therefore to the raw potency of retrochronic agencies and alien intelligence. We have seen that this creates a break in ego continuity at the level of temporal synthesis so that time fractalises into autonomous moments of isolated momentariness. Does it surprise us that the schizophrenic will experience outside agencies controlling her, will hear outside intelligences commanding her, and cannot reliably bring time and self into unitary and linear simplicity? The POW doesn’t have to be a literal time traveller to come from the future. The schizophrenic is a temporal burnout, condemned to the pharmaceutical causal loop of tolerance. The POW is the one who has been captured and is thus one who has failed to evade capture. Aneschatological, time is a prison she cannot escape.

An exposed nerve in time, the clinical schizophrenic has experienced the simultaneity of the entire circuit. Dogen tells us that all being is being-time and thus all time is being. The schizophrenic is exposed to the raw energy of becoming and is destroyed. [From this the importance of anthropotechnics.]

Lunatics who have seen into time, out of time, standing on street corners, screaming about what is coming, what will have been coming, what has already been, what hasn’t yet already been, prophets of their own yesterday, dismissed, disowned, medicated, tranquilised; endlessly looping in their own hell, their own temporal prison, behind enemy lines in a war they’ve already lost, urging us to align ourselves with the beings of the future.

It stinks of chiliasm and piss in here. I thought U/acc wanted Land’s ‘revolution stripped of all Christian-socialist eschatology.’ If this is eschatological it ain’t Christian and it ain’t recognisably socialist. If  accelerationism is nothing more than a cult- and gnon help you if you doubt it- then consider this text an exercise in scriptural meditation. Clinical schizophrenics are POWs from the future. Prophecy as hypersitional knowledge. The disintegration of self under cyberpositive emergence. Psychosis is an organic conditions, the Human Security System in catastrophe, ego-death, spirals, voices and visions, from where? for whom? Schizophrenia is the result of a sudden and unexpected accelerative deterritorialization; Xenobuddhist schizopraxies ride into ego-death with all eyes open.

Clinical schizophrenics are prisoners of war from the future. Said this way, aloud, the emphasis shifts. It isn’t the schizophrenic who is from the future, it is the war. What war can this be but the occult Lemurian Time War. CCru documents detail

He explained that the organization had been born in reaction to a nightmare of time coming apart and – to use his exact words – spiraling out of control. To the Board, spirals were particularly repugnant symbols of imperfection and volatility. Unlike closed loops, spirals always have loose ends. This allows them to spread, making them contagious and unpredictable.

A war in time fought from the future with the present as its battlefield. Successive interventions become material for successive interventions. Time burning. The schizophrenic receptor burning with it. Temporal plasticity in question as time is history is shaped and reshaped even if it doesn’t seem to change. How much temporal torsion can spacetime endure? Fractalisation and fragmentation risk endemic structural collapse. Can you accelerate the loop to break free of the loop? How many kalpas has it been now? Trapped in here, watching the edits, proliferating realities, the real in cut up and fold in, wormholes in time, all hole and no apple, the insatiability of an Outside devouring the inside. What was I saying? The inevitability of inevitability inevitably degenerates… What was this about again?…What was I saying?…,

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Time becomes schizo-time. Ballard’s Travis-fragment ‘treated them as if they were already chronograms and extracted the element of time’; abstraction and combinatorial fractalisation; time itself gone schizo; moving without us; folding back to devour us 

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The meat twitches, synthetic adrenaline shivers, ready for electroconvulsive euphorics.