Hyphon_ on Accelerationism and The Plane of Total Abstraction

Below are fragments from Matt Wiedmann‘s astonishingly sober and brilliantly savage takedown of the online Accelerationist orgy of detached cynicism and obfuscation perpetrated by the privileged, misanthrope, neo-liberalized hordes of theory-kids.   

This post articulates so clearly what I have failed to express many times. Hopefully this will be the very last red pill anyone will be forced to swallow on this bloated, sick topic. Enjoy. 

“the plane of total abstraction, where progressive really means reactionary, where emancipation is less desirable than reading ones preferred gothic allusions into Marx & Engels.”
“the point where largely online writers congregate, where we find the slippage between the emancipatory and the deeply conservative, where people are intent on transforming commitments to revolutionary/emancipatory politics into the same grey mulch of word syrup where practically mystical conceptualisations stand in for collective praxis…”
“What I’m saying is that I have less than zero interest in reactionary politics, in maintaining social reactions with “ironic” fascists, or people who form their online identity around an obnoxious edginess and occulted language. In terms of actually effecting the world, in considering others, in any form of democracy, empowerment or collective joy, these online cultures are a lead weight, a choking cloud of dust, at worst actually dragging people down to their level and emptying them of blood. Their aloofness, objection to emancipatory desire, insistence on removing themselves from the social and political particulars, remaining behind the veil at all costs, make them little better than the academic professors they often so despise, and even on a surface level all that we really find here is a universal ironic dismissal where everything is weightless, nothing forms unless around the individual ego…”
“No doubt there is no small degree of abstraction per se in the sometimes labyrinthine texts I’m approaching, so it’s not the abstract itself clearly that I object to, lest I be accused here of a monumental hypocrisy. Where the problem intervenes, and shows itself time and again online, is in the failure to bridge the gap from here to the particular. Something is wrong, quite simply, when what is objected to in the work of a political thinker is precisely the point at which they directly engaged with politics, the point where Lefebvre becomes actively involved with the production of space he wrote about, the point, in other words, where theory intersects with praxis. The whole idea of praxis in this regard becomes lost in the plane of total abstraction, a place where a concept shared between a few clued-in people somehow stands for a whole process of collective engagement…”
“The issue here is a shortcut taken in between conceptualisation and realisation that unfortunately must be somehow bridged, whether in potentiality or actuality. We can’t progress, for instance, from some extensive pontification on “exit” towards a genuine radical redress of social reality without at some stage theorising how this in the starkest terms material processes and affects. This of course means not simply from the position of the individual subject, but also the ripples we can perceive across the totality, by which I mean the vast webs of cause/effect that criss-cross the reality beyond direct experience and can largely be accessed through a kind of narrative topology, or in some sense a conceptualization, whether that be explicitly through the avenues of theory or the no less effective dreamworks of cultural collage and social imagination. Either way, the shortcuts taken in this regard often lead into an effervescent confusion in which the entirety of the political and historical processes that form the socialist project and horizon becomes transmuted into something… fuzzy. In this no-mans land, discussion of political strategy becomes unfashionable, so it is not approached, anything as concrete or dry as history becomes something more sexy to some perhaps, but loses its hold on particular reality.”
“how can we avoid the conclusion that people who wallow in an aesthetic of mysterious cyber-allusion/gothic darkness/scrambled poetics/irony to some degree are actively resisting interpretation. And, if indeed this is the aim, more power to them, but in this regard, why protest misinterpretation? Is it only the horror at being connected via the term to violent murders that provokes this? And if so, shouldn’t this provoke some reflection, shouldn’t the question be asked “why is it so easy to misinterpret?”, instead of the usual comments on the idiocy of those doing the misinterpreting? Why, even, is the aesthetic of accelerationism, the term itself even, attractive to such people who would commit such acts? Is the fault here not with the misuse of the term, but the lack of feasable interpretation, of structure, of explicit implication?”

READ THE FULL ESSAY HERE: Discordant Concordance Part 1: Why I am Not an Accelerationist

4 responses to “Hyphon_ on Accelerationism and The Plane of Total Abstraction

  1. I’m reminded of the way the Futurists and their love for speed and cruelty became the darlings of the Fascists.
    Death cults in art and thought draw death cultists involved in politics.
    How else can all these glorious plans come to be?

  2. I’m not sure what this moralizing achieves beyond allowing certain writers and readers to luxuriate in their virtue. In the end it’s as obfuscating and useless as its targets.

    • I’m not completely sure what you are identifying as moralizing, but I think ethics and a Promethean resistance to neoliberal misanthropy is important for the project of continuing (and evolving) sapience. To shirk the functional necessity of addressing and cultivating existential capacities, in alliance with some wayward commitment to a theology of acceleration based in Western (mostly white) privilege, is a fatal mistake imo.

      ACC has become a loose set of memes/strategies/theories/orientations adopted by a generation of aliented, occult-obsessed, capitalist-dependent technopunks that act as substitutes for having to do the hard work of real politics, and/or becoming part of a IRL community (with all that entails, including the difficulties inherent to community building and organizing).

      These theory-kids display capitalist subjectivities par excellence. They are the leading product of the very thing they think they think they know; politically inert, complicit, culturally ineffective, mostly alienated, COMPLETELY subsumed by technofantasy, and utterly confused about how ecological processes actually work.

      I think you might find more value in trying to refute specific points of this essay rather that pulling the “moralizing” card. Having ethics and thinking through them is important. Unless, of course, one is a sociopath or faux-nihilist.

  3. Yes indeed it seems as if concepts are capable of time travel:

    “Element of effective culture that makes itself real, through fictional qualities functioning as time travelling potentials. Hyperstition acts as a coincidence intensifier, effecting a call to the old ones”

    Find out more at Hyphon in Notes on Left Hyperstition.

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