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 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.
Though it’s true that a certain kind of domestication, of agrilogistics, largely shapes contemporary Western praxis and cognition, and created dominant enclaves and organizational distinctions between people, the particular grand narrative that posits civilization as a complete reformatting of human natures doesn’t work for me.
I also don’t follow people down the deeply biased Landian horror-show reframing ecological flow as some metaphysical grind machine, as a lot of that kind of dark-hearted poetics seems like a heroe’s quest for some existential elixir that might sooth the maladies following from the rabid will to theory of disappointed optimists. Creatures devour, hurricanes happen, spring flowers bloom, and sapience bubbles up to do amazing things. Its a mangle and mash-up of postive and negative energies and intensities, not a Friday the 13th opera of ontological proportions. Think of all the possibilities for adaptation, insight and joy existing between the dark and the light. We need full spectrum thinking.
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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