The best current cosmology is accelerationist, and disintegrationist. To put the matter crudely — and ultimately untenably — the expansion of the universe is speeding up, and apart. Rather than being decelerated by gravity, subsequent to an original explosion, the rate of cosmic inflation has increased. Some yet-unknown force is overwhelming gravity, and red-shifting all distant objects.
There have been various mentions of “Cosmic Accelerationism” on Twitter recently (although Kodwo Eshun’s More Brilliant Than The Sun has had most of that Sun (Ra-)worship covered, surely?) and this new essay from Nick Land for Jacobite does a good job of revealing the Bataillean cosmology always already at Accelerationism’s core.
Land is pulling together so many different threads here that many other people have been tentatively gathering across the blogosphere and further afield — it makes for a thrilling read.
The essay demonstrates a certain geopoetic perspective that we (arguably) haven’t seen explored this explicitly since the old Urban Futures blog...
Nick Land, still farther out in intellectual deep-space than most, seems to see the syzygistic dance of all the disparate nodes that haven’t quite yet found their connections in the blogosphere.
I particularly like the talk of mythology here, echoing a sort of Deleuzo-Ballardian “new people”; a “people-to-come”; a people born out of the displacements of new cartographies. Land couldn’t be clearer than when he describes an “accelerating universe [that] wipes out traces of its own origins.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this myself recently after reading Deleuze’s essay “What Children Say”, in which he writes that we should consider our abstract cartographies “in such a way that each map finds itself modified in the following map, rather than finding its origin in the preceding one: from one map to the next, it is not a matter of searching for an origin, but of evaluating displacements.”
As Land writes himself, the lure of this cosmic Nietzscheanism, of our own origin unknown — the working title of More Brilliant Than The Sun, lest we forget — is an intoxication not because of what is lost but the new pathways that are opened up by “the coming amnesia.”
There’s also this essay’s fixation on a blackened science more readily associated with Negarestani in my mind these days. Land’s conception of a “mythic science” is nonetheless making me want to further extend the points made about mythology here — a Schellingian mythology born out of “a type of alienation” that is not produce by a people but brings a new people into existence.
There is also the strong resonance between Land’s accelerating “universe” and the political orientations of patchwork: “The sum of what you have broken from defines what you are.”
Finally, we have Land once again broaching the topic of race, in similar terms as those explored in his infamous “Hyper-Racism” post. Polemically written, that old post has typically been read as a threat rather than a warning. If clarification were needed — and many would say it most definitely is — this post takes a far calmer and more sensitive approach to this issue. Dare I say, it’s almost …”progressive”? (Although, of course, I’d stop short of trying to subordinate Land’s cause to any obelisk of leftism — or rightism either, for that matter.)
It addresses many of the same anxieties that people jump to about patchwork also — “Is this not an excuse for the establishment of ethnostates?” The proliferation of negative entropy — of difference — cannot be understood as the proliferation of distinct pockets of homogeneity. It means heterogeneity all the way down and all the way up.
The default — paradoxical and flawed — logic often applied to such an observation is that diversity is good and should be subordinated to a universalised politics. Thinking long-term, however, any attempt to do this will mean swimming upstream against the forces of the universe — eventually.
Politically, this is the sort of praxis we see emerging from various pockets of progressive politics which preach diversity but adhere (often unconsciously) to the hegemony of, for example, white experience. It’s a critique that applies as resolutely to “white feminism” as it does “white nationalism” — albeit with the former having the excuse of ignorance on its side, as opposed to the latter’s arrogance.
Here we find the anti-praxis of U/Acc emerging into view. As space-time disintegrates, you have to make yourself worthy of the process. Land concludes:
Any perspective that can actually be realized has already been localized by serial breakages. Nothing begins with the whole, unless as illusion. Today, we know this both empirically and transcendentally. Anything not done in pieces is not done in profound accordance with reality.
I’m running the risk of putting woke words into Land’s mouth here but I think the implications are far clearer here than they have ever been. Expect frequent referrals back to this post in the future.
Note: This post was written and scheduled for publication a few days prior to Land’s Kantbot-hosted conversation with the famously punchable Richard Spencer.
That conversation promised to touch on many a “controversial” topic but, as far as Spencer’s contributions went, it mostly covered Nationalism 101 as seen from the particular perspective of a seemingly well-read white nationalist.
I’m left wanting to implore Spencer to read Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities — his questions about whiteness become much less profound in the context of any of the well-known literature on nationalism. It was only Land who seemed to consider the sense in which the sort of “imagined community” Anderson so famously described has wholly faltered with regards to whiteness.
The imagined community of “white people” is a relatively new consideration for many, which they suggest is a direct by-product of contemporary identity politics. Whiteness has only emerged in relief against a backdrop of various considerations around the modern nature of blackness, et al.
As a result, in long being the elephant in the room but only recently being considered with any serious moral commitment, whiteness has arrived at the idpol table at a serious disadvantage, not only in being seen as a wholly negative identity (by white people especially, as Land and Spencer both accept) but also as an identity that is immediately unsure of itself because of the disintegration it has in turn occasioned in the aftermath of the West’s most egregious imperialist projects.
Spencer’s call for a rallying behind modern whiteness is essentially laughed at by Land. The tragic irony of contemporary whiteness is that it has only become aware of itself at the moment of its accelerating disintegration. If you want to reinvigorate whiteness with a productive sense of community shared by the likes of blackness, et al., to call for a widespread rallying behind a newly virile ethnonationalism is laughably too little too late.
The discussion was ended here all too prematurely. Whilst Land being so accommodating to someone like Spencer is regrettable, it was nonetheless an interesting listen for the way that Spencer’s desire for a reinvigorated white mythology was revealed to be a desperate Jordan Peterson-esque grasping at quickly dissolving “solidities”. This is to say that “whiteness” is to Spencer and “masculinity” is to Peterson. Land’s willingness to let old identitarian life rafts sink below the waves of negative entropy was barely acknowledged before time was up.
Hopefully in the promised Part 2 of this fateful meeting we’ll hear more about what distinguishes Land’s own unruly political philosophy from the Alt-Right’s not-so-alt ethno-traditionalism.