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Brooding on the Genesis of Reality, Nightmare and Dreams


There was an exchange on Nick Land’s blog, here, that broached the topics of evolution and genetics. It’s not very long, didn’t really get off the ground, as it were. I’ve turned my concluding comment into this post.

A silent debate? It seems that minds are caught up in a ‘reality’, so involved in (d)evolution?  ‘Up-to-the-minute’ flows, weaving ‘can-do’ narratives of a tangible empiricism, tracking the ‘market’, repeating the decisional practices of ‘administration’, political phantasies, playing games of power.

I think I’ll carry on dreaming…


Continuing Nick Land’s logic:

If you cooperate to ‘kill’ the entropic forces that threaten an ecologically informed democracy, that is a lot more cooperation than converting vegetation resources into ‘meat’ through the vector of domesticated forms of animal vitality.

If cooperative predation leads to a development of specific and goal oriented cerebral systems, in which the strategies of elusiveness are countered by the tactics of ‘capture’, it follows that such developments occur within a context of ecological management: the appropriation of the somatic resources of one form by another form.

Predation functions within a holistic economy of circulations: it could be said to have a function within this economy.

If it is the case that the tactical thinking of capture itself turns into an administration of ‘prey forms’ as harvested resource, has there not been a transformation? The “intelligence-enhancing” challenges of prey acquisition no longer obtain in quite the same ways. Control displaces capture, there is nothing left to capture. And yet there are those who remain enamoured of the atavistic ‘culture of capture’. Isn’t it time to consider this culture from a critical perspective, from a visionary perspective, is this not a truer, better evolution?

If an ‘ecologically informed democracy’ is too much of an abstraction for those bound by the militant logics of meat consumption, the visceral theatrics of predation, and the atavistic heroics of conquest, it would be wise to remember that the homogenising logic that turns everything into a ‘resource’ works with an ruthless and indifferent efficiency. The more it is accessed for the local and hierarchical concerns of anthropic culture, the greater the displacement of these initiating concerns, and the increased likelihood of their radical ‘downsizing’ to a singular embodiment – “There can be only one”.

Cooperation based only on an imaginary of conflict and scarcity, rooted only in the habits of violation, do not lend themselves to sound holistic administrations.

The belief in the productivity of harnessed ‘Newtonian’ mechanisms, the concentration of powers through frugality, the avaricious parsimonies of colonial aggression, the hedonisms of relentless consumption and destruction: all these are elements in the same equation and they cannot end well. Not because of any ‘objective’ necessity, but because Man has hallucinated the wrong ‘objects’, and he can only obsess on a mirage of impending dooms, as he orbits, and is orbited by, this constellation of traumas.

All ‘sense of wonder’, mystical feeling, contemplation, has gone, leaving only the endless calculations of imagined catastrophe: Man, caught in a binding web of resentful ambitions, that only he has spun.


  1. I think that the emphatic tying of cooperation to killing is naive, dogmatic, pseudo-scientific and pseudo-philosophical. Cooperarting to create tools, or technical objects of all sorts, is not necessarily finalised by killing. Organising a harmonious way of eating fruits and nuts in a social structure that produces clothes and conversation, shelter and bonding, where words and customs are just as much technical objects as cutters and threads, seems to me to involve more intelligence than banding together to glut oneself on meat. Or does fire and cooking somehow just automatically get invented by “intelligent” packs of carnivores?
    Bernard Stiegler talks about “epiphylogenesis” because he thinks that technisation, as one strand of individuation which is always psychic and collective and technical in the case of humans, is there from the start of hominisation. So there is a strong non-darwinian selection constitutive of hominisation. Technicity for Stiegler, is just as much tied to mystagogy (dreams, meditation, sense of wonder) as it is to computation and calculation, which are their disindividuated shadow.

    • “Cooperarting”, a fortuitous typo, if it is a typo?

      The forces of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, affect everyone, and though we may value the “social structures” you mention, such “social structures” have themselves often become ‘prey’ over the courses of various histories.

      Darwinism is written into the social body, it can’t be ignored. How many ‘nature’ programmes are there that sustain this ideology, over and over, inculcating the basic lessons of a particular Darwinian interpretation?

      “Involving” oneself “with reality” to the extent of jettisoning all possibility of idealistic redemption into the garbage bin of an ironised history of failed ideas, seems overly governed by the intimidations of the present. Of course, there are uncomfortable ‘truths’ to be accounted for, but the worship of them can only bind the imagination within the ambit of their traumas, obscuring visions of harmonious integration.

      All ideas, and their implementations, of the last three hundred years have been configured according to the narrow scope of hasty and utilitarian exploitations, rather than any form of holistic understanding.

      And yes, the innovations of techne occur, often quite literally, through the oneiric. That the culture of ‘coercive demand’ elides this in practice, is a sociocultural problem, not necessarily an ‘objective’ one.

      Steigler’s “epiphylogenesis” looks very interesting, akin to my own interests in the 80s/early 90s.

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