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