Unconditional Subtraction

Fuck acceleration. If the process accelerates it accelerates. It doesn’t need or want your complicity or your fantasies or collaboration. If you accelerate you accelerate. If you don’t you don’t. You are not in the ruins. You are the ruins. (Arran James)

I’m familiar with aspects of the Unconditional Accelerationism laid out by Vincent Garton by my own portmanteau, transpessimism. I used this term to construe transhumanism as a means for the self-managed and self-engendered, or, at least, the quiet acquiescence to the processes of, becoming posthuman as an exemplary form of extinction. It was a term that sought to hijack optimism for pessimistic means, pessimism for optimistic means, to oscillate the two in an ecstatic vision that turned the flashes of antagonism into a shimmering. It dreamed of a posthuman whose inaugural gesture would be the utmost expression of humanism in the age of the multiply realising catastrophe.
This will sound altogether too transcendental for most but I don’t mind all that. What I’m looking for isn’t a true vision so much as an aesthetic that can remain faithful to the catastrophe. The first name for this is catastrophia. If philosophia is the love of wisdom then catastrophia is a love of the catastrophe… perhaps even an unconditional love? The point is that the techno-optimists on the left, the silicon valley immortalists, and the idiotic functioning of capital’s circuitry are all part of a fundamental process. In transpessimism I propose to say that whatever brings forth the capacity to exit from the biotic horizon should be affirmed. Why is crash space so terrifying? It is so because it promises the end of self-esteem and self-efficacy. These are beliefs. The dread diagnostics all take place from this side of the transition. They are all predicated on what they promise to eliminate. The erasure of the human as good or bad can only be a human evaluation. Whether it is “crash space” or emancipation, human. So it is. So it must be. You can’t help it. None of us can help it. This oscillation from good to bad and back; this terror and exhilaration; this thirst for self-annihilation and the carnal’s quick moves in self-defence; it’s the oldest game in town, ain’t nothing new, ain’t nothing special, ain’t hardly nothing interestin’.
What looks first like an optimism is a pessimism; what looks first like a pessimism is an optimism; no, neither, not so stupid as either. I’ll put it in older words: Nirvana is Samara. To escape the rounds of rebirth into the completest extinction is the final and fatal delusion of the human security system and remains completely of a pace with everything that preceded it. It is not with terror that we look towards crash space. How can it be that horror and emancipation could get so dreadfully mixed up with one another? The answer is pretty clear. It is obvious: The human being wants nothing more than to come to an end.
When the Buddha taught the doctrine of no-self he was quite clear on what it was not. It was not the annihilation of the self. There is no self to annihilate. The Buddha didn’t want to teach. He had to be convinced by Brahma. That’s what it took. Pin that to a measure of hyperbole. They won’t get it, he said. The human race, they’re an idiotic lot. They won’t get that there is nothing to be liberated from. How many stories are there about Buddha trying to teach this one point. That there is no self. This is the hardest thing in the dharma to understand. It is impossible to understand because it cannot be understood. Whoever would do the work of understanding would stand separately from the thing to be understood. Thus the whole problem begins anew.
It is in that spirit that I want to change my tone. There is no human to annihilate. The desire to annihilate ourselves is what drives our constant reconstruction of ourselves. It is what ensures our rebirth. Nothing to affirm and plenty to terrify, Scott says. What? Nothing to terrify and plenty to affirm, says an echo. Each is a dream. Each has no idea. Get down into the shit, son. Pick yourself up from your dreams and get into the shit. I mean the real shit. I mean the slashed wrists and overdose shit. I mean the endless pain and misery shit. I mean actually get down into it. Go down and talk to any number of junkies. Those guys are my guys. I spend most days with them. They tell me good stories about any number of things. They can tell you about the desire for self-annihilation. They can tell you why it comes up and where it takes you down. There is nothing to annihilate. There is nothing to affirm. There is nothing to be terrified of. They can tell you. They can tell you all about annihilation.
That might all be beside the point. Getting right down to it. Getting right into it. If we’re talking unconditional- and motherfucker there are always conditions- then let’s get unconditional.
Unconditional Acceleration means no preferences. It means the process moves and the body follows. It means getting Taoist. It means wu wei. It means nondoing. It means nonpreference. It is an abstract ethics of acting in accordance with the process. This is an ancient way of thinking. It means nothing.
No more reterritorializing reactions. No more retroprogressivism. Go further. Go further into the catastrophe. You have yet to learn what it means. You have yet to relinquish yourself into the annihilation of annihilation. You have yet to relinquish yourself into the impossibility of any and all territories, progressions, no-territories, no-progressions, neither progression nor stillness, nor not progression and not stillness. Fuck acceleration. If the process accelerates it accelerates. It doesn’t need or want your complicity or your fantasies or collaboration. If you accelerate you accelerate. If you don’t you don’t. You are not in the ruins. You are the ruins. You do not know what you will do next. In the next year. The next month. The next week. The next five minutes. The next five seconds. The catastrophe already happened. It keeps happening. The original catastrophe without origin that we call the real. You have two options. You can theorise or you can make contact with that real. Words and letters can only take you part of the way.
Unconditional Acceleration? No exit. No escape. No hope. No hopelessness, either. Humanism and Inhumanism all too human, both. The warm and the cold, wrathful compassion, an abject bliss, seeking nothing, finding nothing, being nothing. In the end, one lesson: Accelerate the emptiness of everything. Get right down into it. You are the ruin. You are the catastrophe.
 ///To seek/// nothing///is bliss/// Do/// not/// seek/// Go no///where/// Do no///thing///

5 responses to “Unconditional Subtraction

  1. Apropos of ebullience of expression, I was going to mention having watched One More Time With Feeling the night before last, but decided against it. Just now though I heard “Release the Bats” on internet radio, so I’ve reconsidered on the basis of synchronicity. In the film Nick Cave, sapped of all ebullience by personal trauma, is shown and heard partitioning off an interval of creation in the recording studio, attempting through discipline and camaraderie and artistry to occupy a space where he isn’t overwhelmed by sorrow and inertia. It works, but the borders tend to collapse rather quickly; or, using Cave’s analogy, the rubber band stretches only so far before it snaps back again.

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