As supplement to Hickman’s narrative we might do well to remember that Western civilization is just one kind of (albeit dominant) control system among the variety of large/regional (federated) and small/local (tribal/clan) social control systems. Hierarchy and systemic control was not invented, nor is it exclusive to, so-called civilized societies.
It is true that a certain kind of domestication, of agrilogistics, largely shapes contemporary Western culture and cognition, and guided populations towards creating particular enclaves and organizational distinctions between people. However, the particular grand narrative that posits civilization as a complete reformatting of human natures doesn’t work for me.
I also don’t necessarily support the deeply biased Landian horror-show reframing of ecological flow as some metaphysical grind machine. A lot of that kind of cold-hearted poetics seems more like some subconscious hero’s quest for an existential elixir that might sooth the maladies of capitalist life. Creatures devour, hurricanes happen, spring flowers bloom, and sapience bubbles up to do amazing and stupid things. Its a mangle and mash-up of positive and negative energies and intensities, not a ‘Friday the 13th’ ontological opera of cosmic scope. We need full spectrum thinking not horror/sci-fi fantasy masquerading as critical theory.
Hickman is always worth a read, though – so check it out:
Real abstraction is the transcendental conception of Spinozistic substance.
—Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987 – 2007
Certain figures, nodal points of obstruction, resistance, power arise repeatedly within Nick Land’s essays: Spinoza, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Bataille, Trakl, Deleuze, etc. Each a defining aspect of a genealogical history of the immanence and collapse, annihilation and suicidal tendencies within Western Civilization. Each of these men are not so much full blown personalities to be represented, but rather bombs to be exploded within our domesticated sociality. From Plato to Derrida philosophy contributed to the domestication of humanity through the slow embellishment and formulation of an abstraction: Reason.
One could point to the early agricultural civilizations of the Middle East as the pre-formative realms within which this process of domestication took root. In these early civilizations the mapping of the stars and the earth became the ultimate foregrounding of the human mind, and thereby the…
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