In addition to the content itself, I think this piece by Shaun Bartone is a valuable example of how to approach the genre of buddhofiction. Approach, not arrive at. Let me back up a bit. I believe that a responsible and rigorous approach to the study of a system of thought like x-buddhism involves movement along […]
via Buddhist Futures: The Black Hole of Post-Capitalism — Speculative Non-Buddhism
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this proposed separation of tech/science from capitalism is bizarre (e.g. Edmund’s latest https://disubunit22.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/pomo-capture) as is the assertion along buddhist lines of unitary systems/ideologies (no Self and no Collective-Self/System), also seems like we have lots of good models for what happens to the people and places expulsed (see Saskia Sassen posts here) from post-industrial extractive capitalisms, maybe these are sorts of intentional/rhetorical fictions and I’ve missed the point if so apologies to the author.
Why is it bizarre? The practices that maintain both are very different. Capitalism is the pursuit of profit, Science is the pursuit of knowledge and innovation – and each supporting very different values. (note: neither are unitary systems, but lets play along shall we?) That capitalism and technology have* been* fused, and the former helped give rise to the latter, doesn’t mean they must or will always be fused, or are incapable of mutation or divergence.
I think the point of the piece was in line with what Bakker is warning us about: ‘crash space’ is a game-changer for anything like a humanistic take on life. As STEM logics (which are inherently about efficiency and functionality) swallow up capitalist logics (based on ideologies of wealth and value) we lose those last remaining cultural spaces for whim-based identities. No longer are the machines geared towards the spectacle of capitalist individuality, indexed upon base psychological circuits, wherein exploits for control are designed to dupe we stupid primates into thoughtless consumption and a manageable range of diversity within conformity. With A STEM-world we make do with a kind of existenz limited to a narrow band structured by the inhuman priorities of STEM operations.
The models of post-capitalism we have now are not true models. Capitalism has never been dead, even for those at the periphery who don’t fully participate. Capitalist systems remains at the core as THE dominant set of systems shaping human life on this planet. So any supposed models have only shown us what expulsion or exclusion, or minor collapse, looks like within that set. Such case studies are still important, and we can learn a lot about them. BUt we still don’t know what happens when the set itself collapses or is superseded. How do we build from total ruination?
“Why is it bizarre? The practices that maintain both are very different. Capitalism is the pursuit of profit, Science is the pursuit of knowledge and innovation – and each supporting very different values” what are you talking about science/tech are deeply shaped by finance in a variety of forms from what they study to how they study to what we learn about what they study and so on, schools like MIT are deeply entwined with the military industrial complex, corporations like the platform capitalists are just that, without industrial scale resources so called STEM programs can’t exist.
Capitalism isn’t an atmosphere or an environment it’s just a loose term for a wide range of actors (humans and their tools) doing a variety of things that have very specific (in terms of what, where, and how) effects and there are areas where most of these actors have withdrawn from the field and we can see what happens to people there. So there is no set (RSB is as speculative a thinker as Land only he builds his castles in the skynet out of neurotech while Nick prefers to play with block-chains, see the video below) to collapse in total as with everything else humans do it has been and will be multiple and varied, so what are the anthropocene equivalents of meditating on graves on coming to terms with our mortal limits, what would stop us from inventing new gods (even if they are gods of death or cybernetics), stop us from crafting new apocalyptic tales of death and rebirth, of the cleansing of the righteous and damnation of the unbelievers, out of our imaginations and face the ruins? May well be that most folks can’t even entertain how adhoc and patchworked everything truly is and will be, contingency may be the last great taboo, c’est la vie I suppose.
The lecture that comes before this is worth hearing out but if folks have less time:
I’m talking about the non-identity of technology and capitalism. They are entangled but not the same sets of things. Technology predates capital; and capital has always had an uneasy relationship with technology. Note Marx’s arguments re: appropriation of the machines for communism. The belief that such things cannot be unbound is the kind of reification you constantly rail against.
STEM as loose set of practices (not just academics) is not completely controlled by capital. And “capitalism” is a loose series of sets, not ‘a’ set. So there can be phase shifts via reformation of sets and systems, if not total collapse.
what I rail against is reification and plead (in vain apparently) for is attending to how these things actually happen (who does what with what means and to what ends) so does some minimal tool use continue when the players with capital abandon the field of course that’s just part of being human but that’s not the claim that was being championed which as I understood it was more about Technology/stem somehow overcoming the doings of those with power (or even Capitalism itself, again an unfortunate reification), the sort of category mistake people make when they con-fuse the “death” of God with a major turning point in history (all that nonsense about the onmass disenchantment of the world, etc) or some mass sociological turning point.
Modern technology takes all kinds of resources (from energy supplies to computer chips to materials from all over the globe) so no capital investments = no modern tech…