Tag Archives: nihilism

“It’s a speculative accelerated realist bootleg throwdown! This episode features STEVEN SHAVIRO and ALEXANDER GALLOWAY discussing their recently published books THE UNIVERSE OF THINGS: ON SPECULATIVE REALISM and LARUELLE: AGAINST THE DIGITAL. DOMINIC PETTMAN introduces and EUGENE THACKER moderates this conversation that took place AT THE NEW SCHOOL IN NOVEMBER 2014. An additional recording of Shaviro discussing the #Accelerationism movement in JUNE 2014 AT PRO QM IN BERLIN appears at the end of the episode.

The sound quality is a bit buggy from start to finish–difficult to hear on occasion, encoding hiccups, cell phone interference and more–reminders from the Real of objects’ permanent permeability, as well their ineludable availability to disruption and translation”


A (non)credo for post-nihilist praxis from WOODBINE (excerpts):

Every vision of the future is one of catastrophe, of climate apocalypse or zombie hordes, of the digitalization of all life or the total breakdown of the self. These fantasies obsess us because they are not phenomenon to come, the great awaiting of melancholia; they are part and parcel of the devastation that we already inhabit, that muffled catastrophe we already feel, that already touches us so intimately…

We are living through a catastrophe unprecedented in human history in which what we’ve lost is the world. We have to face that, but we have to face up to the reality that we have also been set free by this devastation that, with a thousand voices, declares itself an expired way of life, “the abandoned ruin of a dead civilization.” There is nothing to cry for anymore. There is no use clinging to a future we were promised, which will never come anyway. There is, equally, nothing left to critique, to be outraged or indig- nant about. It is just our time, our epoch, and there is only us, here, and now…

Politics is the crystallization of this formula, the alienated meeting place of eviscerated bodies, and its various solutions always take the form of some rule, law, or idea of the ‘good’ applied onto our lives. As if life itself, in its own living and elaboration, was not always already its own end, its own law. As if we were incapable of determining for ourselves how to live. In reality, living as if we were not in the world is the disaster…

That we have lost the world is attested to most painfully by the actions of those who, in their desperate search or ways of fighting and of organizing themselves, only end up reproducing the same devastation they seek to overcome: splitting reality into discrete thoughts and actions, removing themselves from every situation to stand aside ‘objectively,’ denying our various determinations as if the world and our lives were a flat, equiva- lent space to be ordered, redistributed, whatever. It is a delirium…

For us the first revolutionary measure is a return to the world, regaining our ability to be here. This does not mean going back in time, or recovering some kind of ‘authentic.’ It means to start from what is right before our eyes, right in front of our faces, not from some fantastical projection… 

Having a strategic outlook is a constant source of determination and intelligence. This must be sustained, in the same way we kindle a fire, nurture a relationship, or replant a forest. Patience and confidence help us maintain our pres- ence of mind and not lose sight of what we are doing, whether amidst the turmoil of events or the general dulling distrac- tion of the everyday. Our strategies will be enormously complex, but remember they are not those of the military or advertising. They are an attempt at bottom to get back the world and put an end to a civilization that is beyond exhaustion. Everything is to be reinvented, everything is to be gained…

From pickling workshops and biointen- sive farms to hack spaces and reoccupied native territories, we have opened a vast wave of experimentation with skills and techniques… Finding ourselves tethered to a civilization that is on its way out only adds to the urgency of our experimentation. Inhabiting our epoch requires facing up to two simple facts 1) most of us know next to nothing about what it means to actually make up a life, and 2) our power and our autonomy is dependent on our material ability to make another form of life actually live…

Techniques allow us to give form to our lives, and form connects us to the world, to what we are made of. They come from life, they address life, they overturn life, and open up the possibility of a new one. In the same moment that they illuminate the impoverishment of the one we live and the separation it demands. They also tell us something about materiality, how worlds are revealed and built, and how much experimentation is going to be necessary…

Experimenting with techniques immediately and practically elaborates the means and measures of the revolutionary process, our generalized, diffuse, global attempt to break free of the age. As such what is carried in these gestures is not qualitatively different from what happens to us in an insurrection, but perhaps there is a certain slowness to them, which tells us much about the different revolutionary cadences it is possible to inhabit. Our taking up of the question of how –no longer the question of what or who— speaks to our threshold moment wherein what is to be decided is everything; where everything is up for grabs and where everything is at stake..

Autonomy speaks to our becoming powerful through the weaving together of the necessary links between us, building up and in fact becoming the territory. Territory emerges out of a collective acting together, and disappears when that ceases. As such it requires care, attention, creation, and organiza- tion. Like love, territory is not a state. It is not something that is just there. Territory is an act, it is to be built…

Our starting point is clear. This is the end of a world, and if we are to raise ourselves up to the height of the disaster, to truly confront the devastation in progress, it s up to us, everywhere, to build the new worlds that will replace this one. Not worlds like the old worlds, not worlds like this world, but —beginning from where we are, using all our available means— new, sensible worlds that will take on their own particular shapes…human beings are and have always been capable of so much more than this.

From RADIO LAB A conversation with Eugene Thacker on the truth, beauty and post-goodness of pessimism (nihilism?)

Eugene Thacker is an author and associate professor at The New School in New York. Thacker is known for his writings on philosophy, media theory, music/sound studies, and writings on the horror and science fiction genres. His work is often associated with the philosophy of nihilism and pessimism. Thacker’s most recent books are the Horror of Philosophy series and After Life, and he also writes a column called “Occultural Studies.” He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University.

In his ongoing series Horror of Philosophy, Thacker explores the idea of the “unthinkable world” as represented in the horror genre, in philosophies of pessimism and nihilism, and in the apophatic (“darkness”) mysticism traditions. In the first volume, In The Dust Of This Planet, Thacker calls the horror of philosophy “the isolation of those moments in which philosophy reveals its own limitations and constraints, moments in which thinking enigmatically confronts the horizon of its own possibility.”

Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, and True Detective.


As DMF says the cool kids are into nihilism, but its MORE than that! Pop nihilism is the slime that oozes from the deep cracks of our demolished hopes and dreams. And for the better. Black is the new everything baby! This world is made of mad accelerations and disintegrating veneers so why not keep it real and lay our flesh upon the earth in a final inhuman reckoning of all that we are and could have been? Confront those horizons of possibility head-and-heart on..

SO what come after we lose our illusions? We still need to live. And I for one refuse to curl up and just cry myself to sleep (although that does happen). I want to go down fighting. But how can we say YES to such an ancient NO? What kind of post-ies are we willing to tolerate, to build, to salvage and demand? The revaluation of values, of practice, of course – but how are we going to arm ourselves and with what? Please discuss.

Rob’s talk starts around 6:55 if like me you can do without the pipedreamer intro

See also: Slow Violence and The Environmentalism of the Poor

Transformation Without Apocalypse: How to Live Well on an Altered Planet:

Whether you are inspired by alternative visions of the future, or haunted by scenarios of climate chaos, or simply motivated to live with compassion and awareness, we need your help in imagining and creating a saner future. This symposium brought together a diverse, energetic, engaged community to celebrate and create tangible visions of new/old ways to prosper without exhausting the planet.

Rob Nixon is the Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he teaches environmental studies, postcolonial studies, creative nonfiction, African literature, world literature, and twentieth century British literature. He is the author of Homelands, Harlem and Hollywood: South African Culture and the World Beyond; Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy; and Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.


Here in this interview she rightly characterizes our escalating human-global-heating-mass-death as “an existential crisis for the human species, a clear and present danger to civilization, a death sentence for the planet, a weapon of mass destruction” but she is dead wrong (pardon the pun) when she asserts that many/most people are truly upset by what is happening, and that a grand narrative can replace our dearth of sustainable political-resistance organizations. People by and large are going about their days as if nothing major has changed, there has been no mass shift in mood to match the shift in climate, and even if they did come to realize how fucked we are we don’t have the relationships (or the means to create such) to respond en masse in effective ways.

Book“Our secular society seems to have finally found its new God: Work. As technological progress makes human labor superfluous, and over-production destroys both the economy and the planet, Work remains stronger than ever as a mantra of universal submission. This book develops a fully-fledged theory of radical atheism, advocating a disrespectful, opportunist squandering of obedience. By replacing hope and faith with adventure, The Last Night of our lives might finally become the first morning of an autonomous future.”