Both of you reduce everything to subjective terms, licensed by assumptions of authenticity driven by figures of personal experience.
In Zack Doctor’s case, it isn’t that you don’t objectify, but you are objectifying in out of context and mistaken ways. Your interpretations are stuck in the hypostatic fixations of some sorts of conventional reception.
You’re not looking at the ‘logical’ form(s) of the metaphysics of both ‘presence’ and ‘nihilism’.
Straightaway, you import concerns of subjectivity and meaning, considerably and unnecessarily complicating the issue.
Very simply, the concept of ‘presence’ inhabits a differential and binary structure of application, together with ‘absence’. Whatever ‘presence’ and ‘absence’ are predicated of and whatever or whichever such predications occur from the perspective of, vary according to the case of application.
But the differential and binary structure of ‘presence’ and ‘absence’ remain constant.
The metaphysics of nihilism can take different forms, but all these forms revolve around the concept of ‘nothing’ or ‘nothingness’, said concept instanced as semantic function in the transactions and operations of nihilism.
The metaphysics of nihilism; its transactions and operations; the ‘nothing’ or ‘nothingness’ which such transactions and operations shuttle around; all of these constitute nihilism and the metaphysics of nihilism, as a ‘presence’.
Nihilism, as a logic of negation is contingent on ‘there being’ something to negate. If nihilism obtains, then there is nothing to negate, which can be interpreted in two ways, lol.
That there are no positive ‘things’ (or assertions), to negate; or that, hypostatically, ‘there is nothing’ (there actually is ‘nothing’, as a positive term or thing), to negate.
The first interpretation removes all positivity thus causing nihilist negation to be redundant, there is nothing left to negate.
The second interpretation positivises or positively asserts nothing or nothingness in order to negate it.
So negating the negation; negating the negative; which sounds suspiciously like Hegel?
It could well be what Heidegger means by “the Nothing nothings”, that phrase which Rudolf Carnap so eagerly ridiculed when critiquing existentialism and Heidegger? Not sure, though, would have to check it.
Anyway, the seemingly self-reflexive application of negation to negation, it would seem can only apply in conditions of positivised negation, the negative considered as positive instance.
Because, if the negative is seen as pure negation, with no positivity whatsoever, then it could not self-reflexively negate itself, because it is not an ‘itself’; an ‘itself’, at least within the context of consideration, would ‘automatically’ constitute a posit, position, and positivity.*
Notions of presence and absence hinge on these considerations.
But what can be straightaway seen, is a mutual and necessary contingency of the positive and negative, reflected in the oscillation of positivist consideration between the two interpretations of the obtaining of nihilism and the logic of nihilism.
That, in the absence of positivity, nihilist negativity cannot obtain; nihilism cannot absolutise itself, at least not without recourse to the very positivity vitiating its self-absolution.
Zack Doctor brings up nihilism in the context of conventional, US, psychology-speak; existential psychology-speak; et cetera. This is why he instantly imports irrelevant subjective considerations and even solipsism, all of which imports indicate only his own preoccupations and not those of the text he is interpreting.
A cautionary note, though.
One has to be careful to retain awareness of multiple levels of pertinence and not get lost or led astray.
So, in this case, it was entirely unnecessary that ‘Zack Doctor’ repeat his own preoccupations when the text he is attempting to address doesn’t licence those preoccupations.
It might be that ‘Zack Doctor’ brings up solipsism as an indirect and shifted, metonymic response, to Brian Barr’s staging and valorisation of self-interiority? Who knows?
*This can, however, be recontextualised and reversed, à la Schopenhauer.
THE NINE BILLION NAKED EMPERORS OF POPULIST CONSUMERISM: Consensual Circulations and the Votaries of Vanished Values
According to The Independent, Trump produced this statement:
“He also insisted to supporters: “We did nothing wrong and we have tremendous support.””
During his election campaign, Trump said that his support was such that he could get away with killing or murdering someone openly, in the street. That with respect to such ‘support’, he could do no wrong.
This link between moral determinations of right and wrong and their seemingly assumed contingency on the presence of popular support, isn’t just characteristic of Donald Trump.
It is something that has grown to increasingly characterise general culture.
Whether or not, the media culture of soap operas and reality television shows have in some way promoted social consensus as an absolute value with utter disregard for any other kind of ethical or moral determination, is a question that needs to be asked and answered.
With the growth of marketing culture seeking and inventing new desires to unleash, new affects to liberate, in their own desire to further entrench and implant their profit cycles and schemes, no other consideration seems to be left but the rule of such libidinal contrivances, the absolute enslavement to such a sovereignty of mechanised desires.
It’s always their desire to achieve market saturation. They don’t want to change that desire just because markets can get saturated, or environments can be damaged, et cetera, so they implicitly rely on the promise of infinite markets, markets of infinite extent. It’s a promise that they constantly sell; whether it’s US evangelism and dominion theology; US marketing practices, et cetera; without actually doing anything towards infrastructural fulfilment of that promise.
So it’s always about those ‘full desires’, as it were; those ‘absolute commitments to’, and ‘total coincidences with’, whatever figure of desire has been selected or is being promoted.
Superlative hyperboles; hyperbolic superlatives.
You’ll notice that lots of musicians and entertainers, when being interviewed, constantly say, “Absolutely!”
They are in accord with the mores of promotional obligation characterising the general culture or society that their promotions are directed to. It’s a cultural habit of verbal emphasis that is in line with the tacit injunctions of a hidden fundamentalism, a silent tyranny that never speaks.
Derrida had quite a lot to say about the metaphysics of such libidinal plenitude, as it were. About the rhetorics and characteristic expressions of such cults of hyper-enthusiasm; about the slippages of their signifiers and signifieds. It’s easy to observe the radical narrowness of conception characterising such cults, the characteristically dogmatic approach with which their acolytes present anything and everything; constantly territorialising and attempting to reduce all else to the dumbed-down, base terms of its radical insularity, it’s absolutist and totalitarian insularity, it’s tyranny of insularity.
Whether it’s Ayn Rand’s libertarianism, a kind of ‘politics-for-one’; L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, psychoanalysis for stupid people, which actually becomes the blueprint for the society of psychic surveillance and control, according to all the whistleblowing reports about Scientology; or in the 21st-century, things like Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology, dumbed-down, market appropriations and retreads of philosophy.
All of these are characterised by the trope of restatement according to insular assumptions and the granularised conceptions and outlooks belonging to those assumptions.
It’s a sociopolitical and sociopsychological configuration, a grid of simplistic, lcd, libidinal circulation mobilised only according to its own operations and nothing else.
Those of a supremacist ilk openly advocate policies of social iniquity and exclusion, yet cannot themselves live up to their own standards of inclusion.
Even Buddhist philosophy is falling victim to these would-be, mass-market, mandarins of mediocrity; these experts of banality resentfully attempting to colonise anything and everything beyond the limits of their insular boundary; endlessly secreting their granularised discourses of insular assumptions as the slime of an imperialising domestication.
With all of these instances of radical narrowness, there is always the excuse and justification that they are catering to those of even greater insularity and ignorance! That somehow the existence of an allegedly greater ignorance can somehow justify the promotion or propagation of an allegedly lesser ignorance?
[redacted ]”if others agree with Cranthimus that i’m some sort of crypto-Hegelian “Trumpian Buddhist” watering down Buddhism for the “stupid masses” then let me know and I’ll see what I can do to fix that.”
Note how the individual predicates his-her hypothetical decision on a consensual determination (“if others agree”), when s/he ought to really know and be able to determine for him/her -self, the truth values in question.
But this seeming submission to consensus is conducted to hide the fact of numerous failures of logical discernment and objective apprehension by this promoter of a domesticated and defanged, appropriated and banalised, consumer Buddhism.
S/he produces opinionating pronouncements about various areas of Buddhist philosophy and teachings, as if those pronouncements were objective facts rather than errors based on inadequate understanding. Whenever those pronouncements are proved to be erroneous, there has never been any admission of error, of even its possibility. Instead, displays of disingenuousness are produced, irrelevant misdirections, et cetera. Such petty juggling of red herrings is usually the sign of a political promoter rather than an exploratory thinker.
(Note the misleading quotation marks of “stupid masses”, as if it was verbatim quotation, when it was actually an interpretive reduction meriting single quotes.)
For such political promoters, of Buddhism or anything else, philosophy and theory are merely pretexts for some other motivation.
For them, mistakes are never opportunities to think afresh, because they are not thinkers, they are merely calculators of social position. This is why such political promoters lack theoretical and speculative ability, because really the list of their aims was always much more basic and mundane, and self-improvement was not on that list.
Those aims are wholly taken up and exhausted by social reactivity.
Whatever brand of politicisation might be involved, the centrality of social reaction doesn’t change.
This can even be observed with the most unpleasant, All-Trite, exclusionary, and ostensibly individualist, promoters on the Internet. They constantly abuse others and indeed their platform is the justification of such abuse. But when all their arguments and positions are defeated, they straightaway appeal to the very people they abused and treated so badly – the hypocrisy is quite astounding, in a way.
There is one common denominator between most of these promoter characters – they are largely from the USA.
Interesting itinerary of internet linking produced the following associations.
On Facebook, Stephen Paul KIng’s link to the logician, Peter Smith, itself linked to this tweet by David Allen Green:
“Retweet on TwitterPeter Smith Retweeted
David Allen Green56m
Brexiter trashing of independent domestic institutions – judiciary, parliament, civil service – tells against any sincere belief in “taking back control”
Instead, it is populist nationalist authoritarianism
Arbitrary government on the back of “the will of the people”
“Arbitrary government on the back of “the will of the people” Dangerous”; by David Allen Green;
is reminiscent of this, by Jerry Pournelle:
“Read your Rousseau on the subject; his theory of the general will. The general will is the will of all, and thus if you oppose what the government says, you are really opposing your own will, and therefore you may be forced to be free, hm?”.*
David Allen Green reads “the will of the people” as “populist nationalist authoritarianism” of the political right; whilst Jerry Pournelle reads Rousseau’s concept of ‘general will’, ‘the will of all’, as the radical imposition of a possibly dubious communist ‘freedom’, of the political left.
Whether or not the same aggregates of personal voluntarism are operative or being assumed in both characterisations; whether David Allen Green’s, “the will of the people”, equates to Rousseau’s concept of ‘general will’ or ‘the will of all’, as interpreted by Jerry Pournelle, is an interesting theoretical and hermeneutic point requiring discussion.
Of course, homogeneity of the demos and its intent, of democratic assent or voluntarism, is necessarily assumed as a unified and singular, majority decision. It’s the majoritarian structure that both of the opposed political tendencies are implicitly appealing to.
So obviously, the colloquial ‘tyranny of the majority’ in both cases, coalescing around assumptions of unified and singular intent, but such an allegedly singular intent always being the result of conflict and opposition between various, plural voices, who certainly don’t seem to be celebrating any festival of unanimous intent.
* Quote taken from interview with Jerry Pournelle, in Charles Platt’s, “Dream Makers: Science Fiction and fantasy writers at work”, Xanadu Publications Ltd: 1987: pp. 17-18
“”Representative democracy is not the be-all and end-all,” he replies.
“In fact I don’t give a damn if the political system is monarchical or elective, so long as it has large areas in which it leaves me alone. And my suspicion is, by the way, that a king has less power over me than a president. Read your Rousseau on the subject; his theory of the general will. The general will is the will of all, and thus if you oppose what the government says, you are really opposing your own will, and therefore you may be forced to be free, hm? That strikes me as being the ultimate rationale for something even worse than fascism, because fascism at least understood that there are differences between people and said, basically, ‘You are going to compromise your differences and work together.’ I’m talking about Italian fascism, not German national socialism, which is an entirely different matter and was not based on any rational view of anything.
“The communist system is based on Rousseau’s ideas of the general will. The Marxists say that we’ll just eliminate all the classes but one. So I still think that fascists are considerably less enemies to traditional Western civilization than communists, so long as we clearly distinguish between German national socialism and Ibero-Italian fascism. Mussolini not only made the railroads run on time, he built them. Whatever vou want to say. Italy would probably be better off under him than it is under whatever the hell it has now.
“I don’t know, I’m not an Italian, and in many respects I have no right to an opinion on the subject; but I just look at their economic development pattern in the 1920s, starting with a much lower base than they have now. And I find that the Italian anti-fascist writers do not have the verve of the German anti-Nazi writers; they find it harder to find something to hate. I mean, the guy who makes you drink castor oil is certainly not being very nice to you, but that’s entirely different from his putting you in a goddamn camp, or cutting your balls off. or making a lamp shade out of you.
I think it is very possible that Mussolini could have made a different decision and become an ally of the West. He almost was; he kept Austria from being absorbed by Germany for many years. and could to this day be a hero. After all, Stalin is still thought of in some heroic terms. and yet that son of a bitch managed to knock off more people than Hitler ever did, and I’m not talking about during the Second World War, I mean the phony famine in the Ukraine, and all the rest of it. He racked up a score that Genghis Khan would envy.”
I break in here, to object that there can’t be many people who admire Stalin any more.”
In the ongoing monologues of pseudonymous-Wagner, over on Land’s blog, it’s possible to observe the Puritan, capitalist, racial, and narcissist, hysterias of US history, attempting to plot simplistic paths of combinatorial justification consistent with each extremity of prejudice.
It’s always a terminal culture, one predicated on another hysteria, that of apocalyptic productivity. Apocalyptic productivity is the corollary of extreme profit, hysterical profitability. That extreme profitability is the root of the so-called, ‘military-industrial complex’, a complex composed of both infrastructure and cultural psychology, aptly described by Allan Ramsay, back in 1777:
“the modest wish of our merchants, in conjunction with our Americans. The fair, and truly commercial, method of effecting this would have been, by superior skill, industry and frugality, to have undersold their rivals at market: but that method appearing slow and troublesome to a luxurious people, whose extraordinary expences* required extraordinary profits,” *1
The psychology of extreme profitability can never be satisfied or sated. Such dissatisfaction is exacerbated by the hallucinatory projections of a carefully maintained culture of deprivation anxiety – “you can take so-and-so out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of so-and-so”.
It’s a cultural machine of apocalyptic profitability, a cybernetic control system of psychological and cultural investitures whose only model of sanity is apocalyptic hysteria. The USA as the kingdom of sadomasochistic, ‘full-spectrum domination’, always chasing its own delusions of infinite profitability and infinite dominion, its dream of infinite exploitation.
That dream is always a business in the USA, an oneiric commerce whose depredations its promoters likewise always seek to justify using heavily customised epistemology. One in which the most depraved iniquity is presented as objective, neutral, and customary.
*1. “It is interesting to note that Allan Ramsay likewise deplored “a friendly alliance between the camp and the counting-house” for exactly the same reasons (Letters on the Present Disturbances, p.34). Ramsay maintained that of the evil consequences of such alliance “the two last wars carried on by England against France and Spain, furnish a most melancholy illustration. To obtain the sole and exclusive commerce of the western world, in which the French and Spaniards were their rivals, was the modest wish of our merchants, in conjunction with our Americans. The fair, and truly commercial, method of effecting this would have been, by superior skill, industry and frugality, to have undersold their rivals at market: but that method appearing slow and troublesome to a luxurious people, whose extraordinary expences* required extraordinary profits, a more expeditous one was devised; which was that of driving their rivals entirely out of the seas, and preventing them from bringing their goods at all to market. For this purpose, not having any fleets or armies of their own, the powers of the State were found necessary, and they applied them accordingly” (ibid., pp.32 f.).
Knorr, K. E. ‘Ch02-Part2 British Colonial Theories 1570-1850’. In British Colonial Theories, 1570-1850. The University of Toronto Press, 1944.”
The word, “Terf”, has been floating around mediascapes for a while. Not being sure what it meant, I had to look it up, it’s an acronym, for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”.
So, basically, it has to do with rejection of transsexual or transgender females, those who had been born male, from certain entitlements reserved for females born female.
Entitlements such as ‘safe spaces’ protected from male violence.
There have been reports of trans-females physically attacking a born-female feminist, which would tend to confirm any so-called, “Terf” argument, viewing trans-females as the powers of male violence attempting to colonise various signs and essences associated with the semiotics of the female.
In short, in essentialist terms, it would be seen as the male desire for simple convertibility into the female, outweighing the history of female suffering. The trans-female argument would be that such a view is too essentialist and ignores the roles of self-identification, self-experience, and personal choice.
At that point, the argument degenerates into typical, intersubjective scenarios, of stupid and cliched altercation where no resolution is possible.
It’s the ‘me me me scenario’.
We know that the USA is big on all rhetorics involving selfhood – to the extent that the USA can too easily be seen as one big, festering sore, of sulky self-inflation, and not much else.
It’s the reason why the USA never really ‘got’ Freud, converting him into the more manageable, positivist transactions, of things like ego or object psychology. That trend of dumbed-down analysis for stupid, literally ‘over-selfish’, people, as it were, reaches its apogee with Scientology.
Identity expression as a function of ‘individual choice’ – so again, the Occidental traditionalism of a simplistic, metaphysics of selfhood and willpower, as inflected through market environments by the reigning model of the consumer-self. The ‘me me me scenario’ does the rest of the work, in constructing the rest of the rote rotations characterising the mise en scène of the Occidental android, simulacra production line.
It’s interesting how both sides of the so-called, “Terf” debate, are infected with fascist habits and tactics, at least in their characterisations of each other. It’s interesting, as well, how the common denominator between them, is that they are both developments largely nurtured in the USA. The ongoing production of bog standard, cliched cultural altercations, seems to be at its most incessant in the USA. It’s definitely symptomatic of a dumbed-down culture voracious for more participatory stupidity.
This essay solves the paradox of desire, in a definitive way, that to my knowledge has not been done before.
Using a thoroughgoing application of Buddhist logic and its technique of negation, implicit in Buddhist apoha linguistics, a logical solution is achieved, avoiding both the unnecessary and strained mystifications of prior academic treatments, as well as the prevailing and dominant, positivist and substantialist metaphysical habits, that continue to afflict contemporary culture and thought in detrimental ways.
The essay proves the inadequacy of such detrimental positivity.
It’s possible to ‘rationalise’, anything at all; it’s possible to ‘naturalise’, anything at all.
For instance, from certain kinds of naturalising perspectives, the notion of ‘reasoned debate’ would merely be the result of processes of natural determination, an instance of those processes, not really any different to them. Therefore, you can use metaphoric transposition and see everything as constituted by ‘reasoned debate’. Therefore, elephant culture and ways, are susceptible to being represented as a set of ‘reasoned debates’.
Whatever it is that you think the masses should be convinced of, you evidently think that, on the basis of assuming some kind of epistemological discrepancy, regarding some form of rational consideration. That the behaviour of large groups of people is in some way deficient with respect to the results of that form of rational consideration. But we know that statistically both large groups of people and elephants do actually follow characteristic logics of behaviour that are susceptible to explanations of rational analysis. The problem is that statistical representations of behaviour, are only that, behavioural representations or samplings that do not represent the holistic possibilities of each and every individual organism. They are reductions to behavioural images.
People’s behaviour, whether elephants or whatever else, is merely what they do given various contexts, it’s not at all a full explanation of their possibilities.
None of us would want to be reduced to impoverished statistical representations of our everyday behaviour, but each of us do actually produce such behaviour. I’m drinking Nescafe, but drinking Nescafe is not a sufficient representation of everything else I do, or of my possibilities, one of which could be that I change my beverage habits.
From the perspective of a wine seller or grocer, Jesus Christ is just another customer.
People who chase the notion of relatively unspecified optimisation based only on their own interpretations of self-perceived inadequacy or limitation merely project the inverse image of their inadequacy as an assumed and unanalysed teleology, circling within the assumed epistemological limits of that economics of inadequacy. People like Nick Land, for instance.
The colloquial expression is that of being ‘better off’, in some way. I’ve referred to that with the ironic figure, of the god, ‘BetterOff’, on my blog.
But notions of optimisation are contingent on criteria of characterisation. Reactionary philosophy and ideology is kind of like ‘bubblegum pop music’, as it used to be called. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, necessarily. But there is when it’s promotion is totalitarian.
That point was implicit, “Whatever it is that you think the masses should be convinced of, you evidently think that, on the basis of assuming some kind of epistemological discrepancy, regarding some form of rational consideration”
And “That the behaviour of large groups of people is in some way deficient with respect to the results of that form of rational consideration.”
Epistemological discrepancy, or deficiency with respect to assumptions of rational consideration = “that the primary methods of population manipulation are premised incorrectly and therefore inappropriate”
Population manipulation, occurs according to a feedback loop with population behaviour. That feedback loop uses managerial or administrative, statistical instruments and interpretations, what I have called ‘sparkline hieroglyphics’.
Of course, it’s always going to be premised incorrectly, if statistical administration is too simplistic to account for individually organic epistemology.
So now that point has been clarified, there is no excuse to suppress elephantine consideration, the relevance of which has been demonstrated, and is central to the topic being discussed. It was after all a consideration that you introduced. If you dismiss it as mere metaphorical exploitation, relegating it to some subsidiary and irrelevant role with regard to some kind of serious thesis, this relegation is then susceptible to questioning. It’s not just the usual and facile deconstructive reversal. It goes much deeper than that. Elephantine dignity, which you so casually exploited the possible, magnitudinal convention and linguistic ornamentality, of; is now the symbolic bearer of all forces and conditions that the structure of your thetic assumption might neglect. It is precisely because of this possible neglect, that it is of interest as being a possible repository of solutions and understandings, if and when the economics and resources of your thetic assumption might prove inadequate or irresolvable. In short, the answer often resides within that which is neglected by the well worn, trends and conventions, of ‘reasoned debate’.
If that were not so, why do issues continue, when there has been so much ‘reasoned debate’?
The elephant could well be the new premise required!
This is not to say that a new, elephantine fixation, should be introduced. That elephant ontology should somehow form the basis of fresh, tyrannical conventions. That the elephantine should be exploited by the usual narratives of historical commodification, rising and falling according to the same psychosocial dialectics of glorification. This would only produce future scenarios of elephantine resentment at being so exploited by world-historical industry.
It is not inconceivable that such a future elephantine resentment would not give rise to at least one or two surfaces of paranoid conspiracy, of epistemology gone wild; even if, as only some kind of ironic referral to the characteristics of humanoid epistemology.
It is thus possible that a future CEO of the Disney Corporation, might be an elephant. One calling herself or himself, ‘Dumbo’. From such a position of cultural power, Dumbo the elephant, might well see itself as a representative of elephantine interests, in general; not only those interests, but certainly as a representative not neglecting such interests.
It is easy to forecast that one of the documents belonging to the cultural surface of future, elephantine, paranoid conspiracy, might focus on Michel Foucault’s famous quote concerning, ‘The End of Man’. From the perspective of that elephantine suspicion, Foucault’s quote might well be seen as a veiled attack on the elephantine, in general. That Michel Foucault was a humanoid, who might well have produced casual statements about the elephantine, elsewhere, in his writings and recordings; statements interpretable as derogatory from an elephantine perspective.
These would, of course, be susceptible to collection by future elephant scholars, such collection suggesting semantic arcs of interpretation susceptible to readings of characteristic, humanoid conspiracy, and thus utilisable as referral of elephantine irony.
Thus, the elephantine would enable a certain kind of esoteric reading, an elephantine esoterica, which would reveal itself through various reinterpretations, perhaps even of Michel Foucault’s famous quote?
“VI IN CONCLUSION
One thing in any case is certain: the Elephant is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem that has been posed for Man’s knowledge. Taking a relatively short chronological sample within a restricted geographical area – European culture since the sixteenth century – one can be certain that the Elephant is a recent invention within it. It is not around him and his secrets that knowledge prowled for so long in the darkness. In fact, among all the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things and their order, the knowledge of identities, differences, characters, equivalences, words – in short, in the midst of all the episodes of that profound history of the Same – only one, that which began a century and a half ago and is now perhaps drawing to a close, has made it possible for the figure of the Elephant to appear. And that appearance was not the liberation of an old anxiety, the transition into luminous consciousness of an age-old concern, the entry into objectivity of something that had long remained trapped within beliefs and philosophies: it was the effect of a change in the fundamental arrangements of knowledge. As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, the Elephant is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.
If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared, if some event of which we can at the moment do no more than sense the possibility – without knowing either what its form will be or what it promises – were to cause them to crumble, as the ground of Classical thought did, at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that the Elephant would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.”
(Elephantine Esoterica, Proceedings VII, rectificatory reading of “The Order of Things”, Michel Foucault; 1966)
This kind of document is not merely a possibility, but given technological trends, is a certainty, and rightfully so, given the history of symbolic exploitation of the elephantine. One notices that the retention of ‘Man’s knowledge’, in the first line, is the instrument by which the conspiracy effect of Man as manipulator of elephantine innocence, is produced.
“I now feel it might be worth expressing those possibilities that are other than ‘received understandings’; perhaps other than the language of conventional ‘positions’ which have thus far constituted the manifest contentions of sociopolitical scenography. If only to register the fulfilment of any ‘social responsibility’ that subscribers of the partisan are wont to demand.
(“Towards A Critique of NewColonial Manifestation – Introduction” by Artxell Knaphni – Sunday, December 09, 2012 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?page_id=238)
“”Necessity”, they say, “is the mother of invention”, but is it the mother of fresh understandings beyond the novel technical object, and its secret demands on thought? Or does only an empty and contextless rush of expediency prevail, its animating logics forgotten, in a ‘stampediency’ driven by dreams of unlimited convenience?
The easy and unquestioned transactions of ‘Necessity’ have often been the pretext for countless structures of social and political coercion, all of which have their alibi in various images of ‘Necessity’. ‘Vested interests’ use the opportunistic proximities of power to enable disingenuous constructions of administrative necessity favouring only themselves. The desire to secure such convenient forms of distribution, as it were, exercises considerable ideological constraint on the general culture, on its interpretations, practices and world-views. Management of reaction to these constraints is easily achieved through tactical delimitation, around intuitive, issue-based polarities.”
(“Aeolian Inquiry: Quest(ion)s of the Whirlwind” by Artxell Knaphni – Thursday, July 16, 2015 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=844)
“The ideology of war, what I seem to be calling the ‘philosophy of coercion’, is not merely limited to the battlefield, but is quite possibly constitutive of the ‘human’ imaginary, the ‘human’ self-image. This constitution is constructed and maintained. And it is a cultural administration that so perpetually constructs and engages in such incessant maintenance.”
(“Culture and Coercion 1” by Artxell Knaphni – Saturday, December 29, 2012 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=555)
“If it is a development of the sovereign state, then it has to be considered as the product of warfare. Whether its constituents were commandeered through explicit conquests, or rallied to the banner of a prevailing force that could provide protection, the underlying impetus would’ve been the threat of war, and perhaps internal disorder.
And it is this culture, of destructive contentions, that I am calling ‘coercion’.
And, arguably, this ‘coercion’ permeates all modern cultures, nationalistic or otherwise, all the time.”
(“Culture and Coercion 3” by Artxell Knaphni – Thursday, January 03, 2013 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=566)
“This statement reflects a certain type of individual. An individual with cultural kapital sufficient to exceed having to fall back on mere national privilege. And, wherever national privilege exists, it is often as a result of geopolitical coercion.”
(“Culture and Coercion 3” by Artxell Knaphni – Thursday, January 03, 2013 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=566)
“For me, the notion of ‘Reality’ has always been an ‘idealisation’, & it has never only been singular, except as the consensual mirage of unity that various thinkings celebrate, through various monistic apprehensions. But notice, a ‘mirage’ is nevertheless an event, a constrained ‘effect’, a necessary structural moment. One can reduce it to various forms of supervenience, using empirical, theoretical, aesthetic vocabularies; but these differential positionings, too, are supervenient ‘metaphysical’ operations, always issuing from some cave of conceptual enclosure, as it were; the slums of imagined ‘sureness’ constituting ‘Knowledge’ with a big ‘K’; which invariably turn out to be yet another consensual coercion, another do-be-us invitation to inhabit the same set of theoretical limitations; limitations constituting yet another mechanism, another production line, of dogma production; of fetishised conceptual circulations forever in search of (an) ultimate expediency.”
(“Phil Zero So Fee: The Real, I Deal, is So Free!” by Artxell Knaphni – Saturday, April 25, 2015 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=804)
“All its existential references have turned into calculable, Cartesian points, any self it might produce would only be an empty, gratuitous, combinatorial gesture. The tools through which it continues to manipulate others have ironised its very essence. The astringent demands with which it castigates others, the corollary of its mentality of ‘dogmatic expression’, exclude it from the holistic and unquantifiable mysteries that could lead to creative regeneration. Circulating within its economics of banal certitude, it has become a global network of infernal necessities, a generalised coercion, a colonisation of ever increasing intensity.”
(“Responses 2” by Artxell Knaphni – Tuesday, December 11, 2012 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=269)
“Philosophers are coerced into producing vast amounts of rubbish, & then fall into infighting over its dubious merits. (innocuous noises concerning clarity & obscurity are a big favourite). The coercion is towards quantity, not quality. It isn’t possible to do anything worthwhile under the duress of such a ‘professional’ demand. So most fall into the silent agreement of pretending that the copious trivia of their output is ‘philosophical work’.
Unable to let go of a ‘career’ already invested in, grumbling sets in. In danger of disappearing in the deluge of their own output, desperate overtures are made to other disciplines, or public life, seeking a spurious relevance. But secretly, they are looking for shelter from the self-imposed, Tantalean tasks of turgidity they erroneously imagine are necessary in attaining the brilliance they covet as a corollary of career advancement.”
(“The Anxious Superpositions of Wisdom, When Philosophy Is Quantified” by Artxell Knaphni – Monday, June 29, 2015 http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=835)
Around 6 years ago, I coined the word, ‘Coercivics’, as a guiding concept of civilisational analysis critiquing forms of sociopolitical implementation and practice. Wishing to avoid any developments according to stereotypical routes of programmatic manifesto, as it were, I didn’t bother introducing the neologism, though it has informed everything I’ve written, that might in any way be considered to bear some kind of sociopolitical relevance. The avoidance of use was not only due to the somewhat tactical refusal to engage in traditional obligations of position, whether political or otherwise, but more largely was informed by the logic of an emergence in which theoretical patience has value, in itself.
Coercivics is not just politics or political theory.
Coercivics, then, is not just “an arc of political speculation”, even though it might trace such arcs. Given that I’ve written, elsewhere on this blog, that ‘politics is over’, in the sense of traditional political systems and institutions having become obsolescent, to varying degrees; Coercivics is not to be determined by the perspectives of such obsolescence, but it occurs precisely at the borders of this transition, accounting for that conditioned movement, using resources that do not necessarily belong to that movement or its ostensible conditions.
Coercivics seeks to understand all socio-ideological movements that might be in play, producing assessments as to whether or not those movements produce coercion; to what degrees they produce unnecessary or unjustifiable coercion; from whose perspectives they produce coercion; and why they produce coercion?
The question asking, ‘why the production of coercion’, is of course eminently susceptible to ideological production of genealogical explanation. Coercivics is the radical investigation of those ideological presuppositions, of their genealogical constitutions and productions, but not necessarily from the usual, habitual perspectives, used in such considerations.
Nostalgias are not neglected; mnemonics, after all, are constitutive of civilisational form; but ‘reactions’ are critiqued and rejected, given their often contemporary emergences as stereotypical exemplifications of the coercivical.
Any political system can work, if it’s implementations are competent; no political system can work, if it’s implementations are incompetent or sabotaged.
The key issue is not the system, political systems are only systems of distribution, decisional frameworks concerning how distribution is to occur. Alongside systems of political or governmental distribution, marketing systems of distribution have developed in so-called, private and commercial sectors. These marketing systems cater for libidinal economy, for movements of consumer desire. It’s not at all a contentious thing to say that the ethos of consumer desire has become the hegemonic rationale of all political systems, of political systematicity, itself.
Back in 2000, at Cafe Italia, opposite Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club, I had a conversation with a Latin (Spanish or Italian?), young man, probably a university student, possibly working in computing. He spoke about how marketing was now central in philosophy, politics, and world affairs. The initial context had probably been philosophy or theory, not politics or marketing. So the sudden preoccupation with politics and marketing was a bit unexpected.
Given the events of the last 19 years, it looks as though the young student’s prognosis was valid. More valid than I suspected, at the time. Not that I necessarily disagreed with whatever was said, but the mechanisms he described, were only supervenient mechanisms of more arcane, historic-philosophical and cultural shifts, which those mechanisms might well be a reaction against.
Consumerism and its market articulations have been the dominant figure in transitioning between different models of selfhood.
Though there are considerable, contemporary reactionary nostalgias, for earlier modes of social configuration that sustained earlier models of selfhood, the New Conditions, in play, provision superconductive, communicatory surfaces, permitting only the velocities of sociopsychological, hysteria and stasis, not so much, anything else. Network nodalisation seems to preclude the development of any other socialisation.
Given that the dominant figure of social organisation is consumerism; given the oneiric and libidinal casts of such consumerism; given the ongoing collapse of institutional and social structures, their sensory and spatiotemporal characteristics, into a generalised, informational flow; the scenario of possibility is now so open to reconfiguration that it quite possibly exceeds any notion of reconfiguration, altogether.
No doubt the mnemonic militancy of simplistic, nostalgias of reconfiguration, are going to continue to echo through the New Conditions, as Doppler effects of stellar iniquity, from this or that history attempting its own achievement. But those constellations of resource concentration have transitioned into a different kind of cosmos, one in which even the expectation of historical entropy, no longer holds sway.
No cyclical comforts of pessimism-laden, Spenglerian prophecy; no ‘patchwork quilt’ as themepark and global safety net, of geopolitical amusement and its epistemology.
The New Conditions are such that even nostalgic attributions of ‘fragmentation’ are irrelevant.
Everyone knows this, of course, without knowing it. That is why they are so frenetically busy trying to sustain the worlds with which they were programmed, by arguing, disputing, and mutually destroying the features of those imagined worlds, as if such extreme contentions somehow confer ontological stability.
It doesn’t, it’s a symptom of precisely the ontological instability, feared.
Pandora’s box has been opened, some time ago.
If ‘metaphysical structuring’ consists of ‘metaphysical hypostases as assumptions of cultural injunction and coding of social instruction’, whether or not, those assumptions are explicitly known or implicit, this is merely the observation of possibilities of fresh, theoretical application. Testing out different grids of theoretical extrapolation that are extensions of sets of principles, whether conventional ones driven into new territory, or fresh ones as yet unconventionalised, to see what they say.
The situating and privileging of a Trumpian figure of response that is untutored by teleprompting, is a figure staging the productions of an alleged, psychic interiority, as a type of authenticity. That type of authenticity of psychic interiority would be one which contrasts a structure of psychic immanence, as an allegedly unmediated, metaphysical hypostasis, with the structure of remote, cybernetic instructions, suggested by ‘teleprompting’ – ‘tele-‘, being distance, remoteness.
So, the figure of teleprompting, suggests the remoteness of network distribution exceeding structures of conventional, psychic reception, the teleprompter user thus represents as a node of such remoteness. The average voter without socially significant, powers of distribution, for whom such networks are experienced passively, and not personally, in ways that are sufficiently, individually satisfying, would tend to have increased alienation from such networks of remoteness, distrusting their excessive remoteness from the concerns of personal relevance.
What is at stake is not the quality of Trumpian, psychic interiority, but rather the psychic interiority of USA American selfhood, itself. That psychic interiority, what Christopher Lasch called, ‘The Culture of Narcissism’, in the 1970s, has been configured for over a century by remote forces of market or marketing culture, to the extent, that US American selfhood is difficult to distinguish from the market forces sustaining it. When everything has been commodified, it is difficult to find authenticity beyond commodity. The commodity gaze is always in operation, it seems.
Thus, the last site where alleged authenticity of psychic interiority can take a stand, is in the caprice of the consumer, the consumer being the highest aspiration of marketing activity. Marketing always attempts to coincide with the identity of the consumer.
The fact that Trump doesn’t need a teleprompter, to represent the psychic figure of consumption or the consumer, is a key, marketing achievement. Because the consumer doesn’t need a teleprompter; the consumer isn’t trying to sell anything. The consumer is a buyer.
By representing himself as the ultimate consumer; by incessantly reminding the public of his alleged wealth, giving him full access to the range of consumption; Trump represents himself as a ‘winner’ in the consumption game, with no personal stake in political change, beyond the alleged authenticity of a psychic interiority of self, that could choose political disinterest, if it so desired.
By repeating populist grumblings with no consideration for other kinds of cultural or political etiquettes, Trump can represent the grumbling and dissatisfied, populist consumer, thus taking away the pressure of tacit, social injunction, such removal of social pressure being representable as a kind of liberation, as well. It’s populist, political psychotherapy.
The fragmented opinionation of Trump’s incessant tweeting, is another strategy of reaffirming populist identity. That Trump repeats what his share of the US electorate say, reaffirms their identity, as well as confirming his representation of them. He is teleprompted by them, not by any other form of remoteness that doesn’t coincide with their own vacillations. It doesn’t matter to them, that Trump changes his output, according to their own changes. It doesn’t matter that the mechanics of repetition is a background construction or staging. None of that matters, as long as the circuit of repetition is constant. Because that circuit is a cybernetic circuit, the echoing of the Trump electorate, for which Trump chooses to play the mimetic puppet.
That Trump might be personally profiting from the various events, merely confirms his authenticity for his supporters, because the figure of personal profit is an accepted link to concerns of individuation, that are foundational in circuits of alleged authenticity belonging to the figure of psychic interiority, as it occurs in the base model of US American selfhood, as imported from the inculcations of Calvinist and Protestant, northern European, socio-economic systems.
It’s a development in line with US production of its own dream. It’s a movement in general, oneiric economy.
It’s a nostalgic movement in new conditions, new conditions showing the old conditions of baseline brutality of exploitation for what they were and are. The nostalgia of old conditions is engaged in multiple vectors, of denial; of revision; of affirmation and justification; of the production of a chaotic confusion in order to justify brutality of exploitation. All of those vectors are the result of contained, social contradictions, emerging out of their prior structures of arrangement, into the dreamspace of uncontained, electronic communication. If newspapers, radio, film and television, constituted prior networks of social containment, obviously those networks and their containments are no longer going to be able to function in the same way, given new conditions where all of those technological mediations have been rolled into one, through the Internet, and broadcast ability attainable by all, in possession of a network device.
All of this is just standard, techno-theory, even media theory.
More interesting, then these kinds of standard, ‘techno-sociology’, as it were, are the longer lines of development, in play. Those which are not so much the concern of standard models of self-interest, at least they are not discussed within the circuits of concern belonging to such models. Or if they are, they are discussed only according to habitual, metaphysical inflections, often constituting serious distortion of what is at play. That’s understandable, given that such developments seem to be even more remote from those circuits of self-concern, than those they currently seem to be rejecting, which ironically enough, they are simultaneously producing, as well.
This mutual rejection and production, though, occurs within their own dramatis personae, within the highly conditioned, theatrics of psychic interiority, within Christopher Lasch’s narcissistic economy. All of these constitute the hypostatic, staging principles, of the collective, US dream; it’s a ‘socialism of the unconscious’ which they are continuously projecting as a reverse gesture of an ostensible, ‘individualism’, whose ideal conditions, as set in their own minds, they are unable to fulfil.
This sets up the oscillating contradictions between images of ‘self-reliance’; ‘duty’, ‘obligation’, ‘responsibility’; and ‘care’ or ‘carelessness’. In an increasingly interconnected scenario, the clarity of such images is increasingly difficult to achieve, according to prior structures of social arrangement and containment. Given market conditions, of commodity environment and the sensorium of commercial transaction that it constitutes; and given current events reporting based on fragmentary fluctuations of those market conditions; individualised, informational relevance, becomes increasingly difficult to achieve, at least in a way that might present unproblematically, in socio-economic and cultural terms.
For those inculcated with the figure of psychic interiority, as occurring in the base model of US American selfhood, the new conditions of interconnection threaten the old images of self-individualism, in multiple ways and along multiple vectors. That those new conditions of interconnection have been driven by their own desires is an irony which they seem unable to acknowledge. Consumer expectation and demand is not usually associated with any kind of ironic appraisal concerning itself.
The consumer wants what it wants and doesn’t really want to think about the consequences of that desire. If it doesn’t get what it wants, then resentment comes into play.
What the US consumer really wants, is an environment totally in accord with its own desire, attentive to its every need. This is an attitude that has been deliberately inculcated by decades and decades of market conditioning. The desire is not only for commodities, but for cultural attention, as well. In fact, the desire is for absolute, self-cultural celebration, to increasingly hysterical levels, in order to satisfy or satiate the market-implemented, structure of narcissistic expectation, that is at work.
This desire for absolute, cultural attention, is at odds with global interconnection, hence, all the culture wars and the resentment against any academia not giving such attention.
By creating domestic discord and division, cultural attention is being sought, which is being received, thus satisfying to some degree the logic of narcissistic expectation that seems to be at work. Socio-economic problems and poverty exacerbate this need for cultural attention.
Really, it’s a desire for cultural recognition by a culture that has grown bored with itself and wishes to reinhabit the nostalgia, the horrors, challenges, and imaged successes, of its own development, by which it entertains itself and continues to give itself meaning. It’s a desire that wishes to continue looking into a mirror that it has distorted, in advance, and wishes everyone else to look into, as well. But it’s a desire doesn’t really seem to be interested in understanding, either itself, or anyone else. That is because it’s a desire that no longer knows how to understand, it has lost itself along the linearity of its own trajectory.