Below is video from a livestream chat I did with Justin Murphy on August 18, 2018. Justin is Lecturer in Governance and Policy within Politics & International Relations at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on questions related to political economy, media, and the determinants of political behavior and conflict.
We chatted about patchwork theory, creating alternative communities, accelerationism, and who would win in an MMA cage fight between Nick Land and Jordan Peterson. Justin is a gracious and intelligent person, and I really enjoyed engaging with him. Feedback is, as always, very much welcome.
We didn’t get as much into the acceleration/deceleration debate as I would have liked, however reflecting on this after our chat I want to propose, entirely tongue in cheek, the term Altceleration. This term is a fun way for me to suggest the idea that in order for sapience to continue on this planet, in the ‘bounded’ (Roden) form that means the most to us, we will need to decelerate some technomic systems and trajectories and accelerate others.
The dialectic between intensifications and de-intensifications operating on biological, machinic and existential registers is expressed in variation and alterity – always in ‘khaotic’ alterior configurations that give particular systems their unique organizational characteristics. A deep methodological and analytic appreciation for varying tempos and trajectories is so very important when trying to design, intervene and enact positive outcomes.
I suppose what I’d like to emphasize in (mis)using such a contrived term is the ways in which complex situations and problem-spaces require particular kinds engagements and approaches that are contingent upon those contexts (materials, dynamics, scales, codes, narratives, historical tendencies, etc). Exclusively and strictly applying either a ‘decelerationist’ or ‘accelerationist’ analyses or tactics will lead to a complete failure to appreciate the massive complexity and onto-specificity of actually existing social relations in real world bioregions. And without adequate epistemological and tactical reflexivity we risk capitulating the blindnesses of past applications of popular frameworks.
Of course, the call for for nuance and appreciation of the devilish details is nothing new. Social theorists have been going back and forth on issues like this for as long as critical thinking has been in practice. I’m only playing with this term here in order to help keep the Dec/Acc conversation flexible enough to remain sensitive to the varying, and often competing, processes and tendencies in the actual systems that we are all seeking to understand. I will have more to say on this issue in the future, but for now I leave it here for your consideration.