Yeah, I don’t personally get bracketing the state of things as they are, pulling a lame dystopian filter over that image, slapping a cheesy heading on the whole package (“horrorism”? Really?), and then signing that as a piece of ‘work’. I find the whole negativist trend in contemporary theory to be such silly high-nineties pseudo-decadence, as perfectly symbolized by Land’s laughable sub-Metalheadz Twitter avatar. The whole posture is this plastic-knife-to-your-throat epater le bourgeoisie arch-disillusion, but he’s still bothering to maintain a blog and ‘participate’; the logorrhea of an ex-academic, old habits refusing to die. The “Dark Enlightenment,” neo-reactionism… just write a sub-Watchmen graphic novel and get it over with. Reminds me of my best friend in high school who got mixed up with this loser into “magick,” they’d fill up notebooks with stoner numerology, cheesy puns and lines like “Convictions make convicts,” thinking they were mapping the hidden structure of the universe. When I balked that it all just seemed a bit silly and self-indulgent they gave me this wry, condescending smile like I just didn’t get how *deep* they’d gone. Pretty sure they are both currently managing a copy shop. There are lots of ways to waste one’s energy, I guess. Don’t see how this really beats just getting high and playing video games for beyond-the-pale nihilism.
Absolutely agreed with Michael. The anti-humanism is pathetic, trying to hone a defensible position out of it is akin to sharpening a plastic knife. Sadder yet is investing your entire philosophical project to launch a critique of the Landian position (a la Kitsch Marxists and the so-called negativists) . I was telling a friend recently, even in his most brilliant moments, once you break what he says apart it all comes down to unsurprising and repetitive invariances: human eating monsters, messianic singularitarianism, anti-male machismo and creepy love-hate relationship with philosophy that manifests itself as involuntary poetic tics.
With that said, I do acknowledge his influence on me at the time when the majority of nowadays enlightened ones used to engage in shoddy hermeneutics and vapid text-mongering onanism.
I am not sure whether this is a matter of some sophisticated anti-humanism versus a crude form of anti-humanism. The point is that the limit-pushing attitude from an anti-humanist position in any shape or configuration is a highly conflated and misguided strategy. Once you extract the significance of humanity from myopic conflationary contents in which it is usually embedded, the practical elaboration of the humanist project amounts to nothing but both the jettisoning of the conservative humanism and the nullification of the anti-humanist critique. I think Michael and I have a lot in common on this front.
Ah jeez, even I don’t get this most of the time.
Immanence has to do with a kind of understanding that doesn’t depart from the way an object is in the world, where transcendence focuses more on the grounds that make such an object, or experience, possible.
For example, classically the transcendent cause of humans was God, while immanent views tended to be more secular. This is (part of) why Spinoza, while having a philosophy focused on God and it’s modes, was often called an atheist: he presented an immanent view of God that was equal with Nature and Substance, so that God was basically an abstraction from everyday objects.
But on the current usage, I couldn’t tell you much. The focus on immanence seems to be a code word for a focus on the secular because of how tied together religion and transcendence are. But this seems like a really bad way if going about things to me, since I don’t see anything inherently religious about transcendence or vice-versa (e.g. Spinoza, again). And that’s why the distinction seems so muddled today: it’s less about the primary distinction between the two terms and more about the confused political histories of them - hence why claiming to be an ‘immanent philosopher’ seems like more of a political claim than a strictly philosophical one.
If anyone else can help out here though, I’d be more than happy.
Yes, for Deleuze and for Guattari every body of thought has its own plane of immanence, meaning there is some place from which concepts originate, they are not handed down ready made, they must be constructed. Following Bergson, Deleuze argues that classical philosophy described a Whole - a closed and eternal system, he says that modern philosophy must think the Open - a system that is time-based, always giving rise to new concepts. I think this is the politics that underlies immanence for many of these contemporary thinkers - they are trying to think the Open. The philosophers Deleuze writes about, for instance, are thinkers who — as somebody has already remarked — made an immanent God equal to nature and even thinkers for whom an immanent God is equal with pure immanence. A transcendental God would be different from and even outside the universe.
It might sound a bit like neo-Platonism and I don’t think this would be so far off. They even call the plane of immanence the “One-All.” Thinking materially, immanent here in our interactions are all those coders who keep tumblr (and the internet running) from the location the servers are stored to the time that went behind creating the font I’m typing with and much more — infinitely more.
(all this is taken from the first chapter of Laura Marks’ book Enfoldment and Infinity, none of this is original to me! I’ve just really condensed her material)
this all seems fairly accurate except for the (somewhat common) charge of neo-Platonism, which I never understood apart from the somewhat superficial resemblance of the term “One-All” to the “One.” It’s pretty clear that Deleuze’s entire project is situated against Platonism (/any form of pure idealism) given his emphasis on matter over form (and the argument that concepts are not ready-made is also an anti-platonist one). The One-All is simply the eternal return, or the movement of difference and repetition itself. The plane of immanence is the One-All in the sense that is is the (un)grounding of this movement. And unlike Spinoza’s substance, the plane is not a mystical source, but a singular and yet impersonal life.
I don’t think any of this really changes what I said about transcendence/Immanence being more of a political than philosophical distinction.
If immanence is more about the open than the closed, then why are people like Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida seen as thinkers of transcendence? It still seems to me that the distinction functions on a faulty alignment with/against religious history.
It also seems to function more as a way of showing philosophical lineage than to do anything philosophical. Deleuze is usually seen as marking an immanent turn in philosophy, so to say that you’re an ‘immanent’ philosopher is to show some affinity for Deleuze. Like, I find it telling that a discussion about the immanence/transcendence distinction so quickly turned to a discussion about a distinction in Deleuze’s philosophy.
So basically, except in those rare cases where the distinction is developed well, I just don’t take care much about the distinction.
I just think it is clearest in Deleuze which can in turn inform readings of other bodies of thought…
"The real trajectory of loss is ‘immanence’, continuity, base matter, or flow. If the strictly regional resistance of everything that delays, impedes, or momentarily arrests the movement of dissolution is abstracted from the solar flow it is interpretable as transcendence. Such abstract resistance to loss is characterized by autonomy, homogeneity, and ideality, and is what Bataille summarizes as ‘(absolute) utility’.
The (inevitable) return of constricted energy to immanence is religion, whose core is sacrifice, generative of the sacred. Sacrifice is the movement of violent liberation from servility, the collapse of transcendence. Inhibiting the sacrificial relapse of isolated being is the broad utilitarianism inherent to humanity, correlated with a profane delimitation from ferocious nature that finds its formula in theology. In its profane aspect, religion is martialled under a conception of God; the final guarantor of persistent being, the submission of (ruinous) time to reason, and thus the ultimate principle of utility.”
finally starting to understand the nick land cult
well, beyond that kind of obviously appealing spectacular quasi-dadaist scandalaciousness, I did just get lost in some good blog posts, one of which had this in the comments which I think goes a little way towards elaborating some of the continued fascination:
For a while I’ve been fascinated with the ongoing interest in Land in general… as your quote from Brassier says, Land takes AO and strips away its meditations on creativity and political change, accelerating them at precisely the darkest points in their work, i.e. the specter of death. Yet, to my knowledge, the general discussion of him and his work is being conducted by people on the left hand side of the spectrum (albeit, the more nihilistic strains on the left). It reminds me of Deleuze and Guattari’s own fixation of Antonin Artaud, drawing forth their Body Without Organs from the words fleshed out by the schizophrenic movements of his pen. Yet Artaud didn’t look beyond modernity’s crises; he was nostalgic for the power of religion, mysticism, the occult and directly advocated for the reinstatement of binary structures that AO and poststructuralism hoped to undo. But his madness embodied the crisis of modernity and explored beyond in – his is a speculative acceleration that tells us that we too can leap beyond the traditional logic that constrains how we think. Foucault and Baudrillard’s interest in Bataille, whose committed leftism bears more than a slight resemblance to his era’s fascism, seems to me to follow this same path.
Eventually, however, Land would peel off from CCRU, as all of this intellectual hybridisation and microcultural activity found a concentrated, schematic form in a thinking and a practice of what Deleuze and Guattari had outlined, rather vaguely, in A Thousand Plateaus, as ‘nomad numbering.’ Digital technology, according to Land, unveiled a side of numbers that subtracted them completely from the power-structures of meaning and signification that made language a prison-house for thought; it even removed numbers from the stratified realms of mathematics, into a pure, flat plane of immanent materiality inhabited only by ‘tics.’ Accelerating ‘in-silico’ Capital’s planetary experiment of ‘tacking’ human culture onto these tic-numbers so as to tear it apart, Land believed, would allow him to complete what deconstruction could only gesture at in its endless cycles of philosophical titillation: It would dismantle the power institutionalized in language and sense, and open up a reliable communication line with something unknown – a pure material dispersion not preprocessed by models derived from the past.
Land would increasingly be found, having taken the very minimum amount of sleep possible (by this point he lived in his office), pursuing intense ‘mechanomical’ research involving shuffling symbols endlessly on the green screen of his obsolete machine into the depths of the night. From a romantic vision of escape through collective libidinized action, he had seemingly arrived at a cold and largely unproductive abstract practice, pursued in isolation. Or, one could say, he had returned to a kind of poetry, albeit a poetry subtracted from all expression and all meaning. And yet it is a mark of what Mark Fisher has called Land’s ‘reckless integrity’ that, once he had whittled down his problematic to this minimal kernel, he gave himself up entirely to it. He would eagerly impart his latest numerical findings to those who still listened; but invariably they did not follow.
Let’s get this out of the way: In any normative, clinical, or social sense of the word, very simply, Land did ‘go mad.’ Afterwards he did not shrink from meticulously documenting this process, as if writing up a failed experiment. He regarded the degeneration of his ‘breakthrough’ into a ‘breakdown’ as ultimate and humiliating proof of the incapacity of the human to escape the ‘headcase,’ the prison of the personal self. Wretchedly, for Land, it was no longer possible to tell whether his speculative epiphanies had been (as he had believed at the height of his delirium) glimmers of access to the transcendental – or just the pathetic derangements of a psyche pushed to the derisory limits of its tolerance. The experiment was over.
In taking this approach, Land not only renounced the respect of his academic peers, but many times even lost the confidence of his supporters, as he sought by any means possible to drill through the sedimented layers of normative human comportment. Strange scenes ensued: A seminar on A Thousand Plateaus where a group of nonplussed graduates were encouraged to ‘read’ the chapter titles of the book by turning them into acronyms that were then plotted as vectors on a diagram of a QWERTY keyboard (‘qwertopology’); A three-week long experiment in refusing to speak in the first person, instead referring to the collective entity ‘Cur’ (comprising the hardcore participants in ‘Current French Philosophy,’ who extended the lectures into a continual movable seminar); and, most memorably, a presentation at the conference Virtual Futures in 1996: Rather than reading a paper, in this collaboration with artist collective Orphan Drift, under the name of ‘DogHead SurGeri,’2 and complete with jungle soundtrack, Land lay behind the stage, flat on the floor (a ‘snake-becoming’ forming the first stage of bodily destratification), croaking enigmatic invocations intercut with sections from Artaud’s asylum poems. In this delirious vocal telegraphy, meaning seemed to disintegrate into sheer phonetic matter, melting into the cut-up beats and acting directly on the subconscious. As Land began to speak in his strange, choked-off voice (perhaps that ‘absurdly high pitched … tone … ancient demonists described as ‘silvery,’ which he later reports being taunted by),3the disconcerted audience begin to giggle; the demon voice wavered slightly until Land’s sense of mission overcame his momentary self-consciousness; and as the ‘performance’ continued the audience fell silent, eyeing each other uncertainly as if they had walked into a funeral by mistake. Embarrassment was regarded by Land as just one of the rudimentary inhibitions that had to be broken down in order to explore the unknown – in contrast to the forces of academic domestication, which normalised by fostering a sense of inadequacy and shame before the Masters, before the edifice of what is yet to be learnt.
When I arrived, in 1992, at Warwick University – a dour, concrete campus set in the UK’s grey and drizzling Midlands – I was a callow and nervous teenager, also filled with the hope that philosophy would afford me access to some kind of ‘outside’ – or at the very least, some intellectual adventure. Almost entirely overcome with disappointment and horror at the reality of academic life within weeks, it was a relief to meet one lecturer who would, at last, say things that really made sense: Think of life as an open wound, which you poke with a stick to amuse yourself. Or:Philosophy is only about one thing: making trouble. Land was tolerant of my hanging out in his office smoking and drinking coffee, as he (habitually hyperexcited and quivering with stimulants) worked on his comically antiquated green-screen Amstrad computer, and eagerly relayed the latest insights he had garnered from molecular biology, nanotechnology or neuroscience. One could not help but be impressed by the sense of a man whose entire being was invested in his work; for whom philosophy was neither a nine-to-five affair nor a straightforwardly life-affirming labor; and who took seriously the ridiculously megalomaniacal aspiration of philosophy to synopsize everything that is known into a grand speculative framework. He was uniquely able to open up students’ minds to the conceptual resources of the history of philosophy in a way that made philosophical thinking seem urgent and concrete: a cache of weapons for ‘making trouble,’ a toolkit for escaping from everything dismal, inhibiting and tedious.
Before I met Land, I already knew of him through the gossip of new undergraduates taken aback by what they had heard on the grapevine: Did Land really claim that he had come back from the dead? Did he really think he was an android sent from the future to terminate human security? In person he belied these outrageous claims (both of which he did indeed make in writing), being thoroughly polite and amiable and, above all, willing to engage in earnest conversation with anyone. He had paid his philosophical dues and could hold his own in a discussion with any professor; these discussions often turning vituperative, however, as Land railed against the institution and its conservatism. But he preferred to spend his time in the bar with undergraduates, always buying the drinks, smoking continually, and conversing animatedly (and where possible, vehemently) about any topic whatsoever.
Land was perhaps not the greatest teacher from the point of view of obtaining a sober and solid grounding in one’s subject – but more importantly, his lectures had about them a genuine air of excitement – more like Deleuze at the Sorbonne in ’68 than the dreary courses in Epistemology one had to endure at a provincial British university in the 90s. Not only was the course he taught pointedly entitled ‘Current French Philosophy’ – a currency otherwise alien to our curriculum — more importantly, Land’s teaching was also a sharing of his own research-in-progress. This was unheard-of: philosophy actually being done, rather than being interpreted at second-hand?! He would sweep his audience into a speculative vortex of philosophy, economics, literature, biology, technology, and disciplines as-yet unnamed – before immobilizing them again with some startling claim or gnomic declaration. And as Land spoke, he prowled the classroom, sometimes clambering absentmindedly over the common-room chairs like an outlandish mountain goat, sometimes poised squatting on the seat of a chair like an overgrown mantis.
reading now, contains above quoted delicious first-hand account of what Land’s lectures were like
But if Land’s rabidly nihilistic vision of global capitalist acceleration made sense in the fervid 1990s, it makes less sense today. One reason for this is that Land’s accelerationist schema rejects politics as a sentimental excrescence, as a matter simply of buttressing the incontinent egos of wet liberals and feeble Marxists. On Land’s account, at least, the raw accelerative force of capitalistic innovation alone ought to be sufficient to drive revolutionary change. But as Deleuze and Guattari recognized, what capitalist speed deterritorializes with one hand, it reterritorializes with the other. Social modernization becomes caked in the kitsch remainders of our communal past, as Thatcherite-Reaganite deregulation sits comfortably beside pseudo-Victorian family and religious values. A deep tension exists within neoliberal capitalism, between its self-image as the singular vehicle of modernity, and the somewhat paltry reality it is in fact capable of providing. Far from dissolving the social in the universal acid of hyper-technological acceleration, today the best we can hope for is marginally improved consumer gadgetry, against a background of political inertia, cultural hyperstasis, ecological collapse, and growing resource crisis. Technological progress, rather than erasing the personal, has become almost entirely Oedipalized, ever more focused on supporting the liberal individual subject. The very agent which Land identified as the engine of untold innovation has run dry. This is alienation of an all-too familiar, ennui-inducing kind, rather than a coldly thrilling succession of future-shocks. All of this opens up a space for the political again: if we desire a radically innovative social formation, capital alone will not deliver.
Moreover, from a philosophical perspective, Landian accelerationism flattens real distinctions in the world into a crudely univocal system. The key consequences of this is an inability to demarcate the differences between thinking and being, reducing the rational to the ontological. In this regard, Land follows Deleuze and numerous other process philosophers. As Ray Brassier has argued, this leads to a scenario where, since difference is what ultimately undergirds the reality of being, and thought is merely a difference in being, everything which is, to some extent, thinks. In this fashion, a pre-critical panpsychism emerges, unable to properly account for the status of logical or normative rational thought. With Land, this problematic antirationalism finally results in an elision not just of thinking and being, but of the ontological and the aesthetic. Even theory itself becomes a mere stimulant, outside of any reference to external truth, capable only of inculcating an affective state that enables limited access for individual subjects to the ultra-complex becoming of capital-as-world-devouring-intelligence-system. This process leaves Land’s theory unmoored and incapable of justifying itself, except perhaps via a Nietzschean investment in the “force” of literary style, the libidinal pull of text itself.
—Alex Williams, Escape Velocities
apparently nick land was once given a disciplinary hearing at warwick to explain why the whole of one of his modules in the philosophy department was on the difference between VHS and betamax
Since the mid-1980s, as Britain, or, more specifically, London, has emerged as a global financial centre rivalled only by New York the idioms, codes, and rituals of high finance have become pressing concerns for British novelists. These concerns became acutely urgent with the onset of the global financial crisis or ‘credit crunch’. The sub-genre of contemporary British fiction dubbed ‘crunch-lit’ by the critic Sathnam Sanhera has achieved prominence, popularity, and acclaim in recent years, but the novels in question have so far proved wholly inadequate to their subject matter, attempting to impose the venerable fictional traditions of realism, personalisation, and moralisation onto a crisis that was in many ways unreal, impersonal, and amoral. In this essay, I suggest that for British fiction that fully acknowledges the intellectual and aesthetic challenges posed by financial crises we must look to earlier decades and to overtly avant-garde techniques: specifically to the experimental science fiction of Christine Brooke-Rose and the academic philosophy-cum-cyberpunk writing of Nick Land. Brooke-Rose’s Amalgamemnon (1984) vividly imagines the impending catastrophic breakdown of a wholly computerised global financial system, from which human agents are excluded. Similarly, Land’s ‘theory-fictions’ or, in his preferred term, ‘hyperstitions’ of the 1990s—most notably ‘Meltdown’ (1994)—construe the sprawling, anonymous circuits of contemporary financial capitalism as tending inexorably toward crisis. Both Brooke-Rose’s and Land’s texts overtly present themselves as prophecies of financial disaster; as such, their time has now arrived, eclipsing in importance and relevance more conventional texts that respond directly to the ongoing crises of financial capitalism.
[…] Amalgamemnon parodies the tendency, typical of works of crunch-lit, to personalise financial crises by depicting a figure who, as Debra Malina suggests, appears to be none other than ‘capitalism it/herself’. Brooke-Rose highlights the inadequacy of responses to crisis that think purely in terms of individual desire and action by emphasising precisely the impersonality of this notional ‘person’. The student revolutionaries who kidnap this strange entity know that ‘she’ will die ‘unless fed exclusively on capital’ and attempt a radical reprogramming operation, feeding her not with infusions of capital but with readings from Das Kapital. In one of the novel’s strangest and most suggestive moments, the resistance that this strategy encounters is conveyed via what can only be described as the direct interior monologue of an entity entirely bereft of interiority, and of centre, essence, consistency, and coherence:
I could take vaster risks within the mind construct of high finance and the perpetual excitement of the movement of capital. They’ll never understand that they can’t win … as long as I continue to calculate myself into existence out of imaginary sums, increasing myself per day per minute if necessary, after all every financial operation might be pure fiction from my point of view.
[…] Narrated in the present tense, with all its urgency and immediacy, ‘Meltdown’ ostensibly tells us what is happening, whilst also, like Algamemnon, implicitly identifying itself as a projection of what will happen. Land’s text is similarly self-conscious about it proleptic orientation, tracing a historical trajectory that—like the Mesoamerican Long Count calender in the imaginations of New Age Mystics—appears to zero in on the year 2012: ‘Converging upon terrestrial meltdown singularity, phase-out culture accelerates through its digitech-heated adaptive landscape, passing through compression thresholds normed to an intesive logistic curve: 1500, 1756, 1884, 1948, 1980, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2010, 211 … ’ . As Land explains, these dates charts modernity’s race ‘through intensive half-lives.’ Though the years enumerated after 1500 (which presumably stands as modernity’s symbolic start date) are at least partly the arbitrary products of a numerical scheme in which the gaps between the integers must progressively halve, it is a confirmation of Land’s underlying claim about the intensification of technological, economic, and political processes that each year carries some iconic world-historical resonance: the beginning of of the Seven Years War; the International Meridian and Berlin conferences; the Berlin Blockade; the Reagan election; Kasparov and Deep Blue; the Madrid bombings… Speaking in the late 1990s, one of Land’s former colleagues wryly recalled how Land went through a ‘glorious phase in which he offered millennial prophecies for the next global meltdown in world markets, a deduction based on past such cycles, it rather smacked of an infatuation with the power of numbers.’ The tone here is affectionately mocking, but looking now at the version of these numerological musings committed to print in ‘Meltdown’, one cannot help but notice that, whether coincidently or not, Land’s countdown includes the year—2008—which saw undoubtedly the most severe financial crisis since 1929, and arguably the worst in history. As the aftershocks of that crisis rumble on, the stark final paragraph of ‘Meltdown’ seems more ominous than ever: ‘To be continued.’
—Paul Crosthwaite, ‘Soon the Economic System Will Crumble’: Financial Crisis and Contemporary British Avant-Garde Writing, in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Fall 2012, Vol. XXXII
What feels from any everyday human perspective like catastrophic change is really anastrophe: not the past coming apart, but “the future coming together”. Where Land gives this idea a millenial spin (he’s described capitalism as “an invasion from the future”, a virus retrochronically triggered by some kind of artificial intelligence to create the conditions for its own assembling—an idea that reads like it was spawned by watching Terminator on acid), Plant’s attitude is more humanely ambivalent. In the mid-Eighties, for instance, she supported the Coal Miner’s strike, a revolt against Thatcherite modernising policies and an attempt to preserve a traditional working class culture. Since then, she has come to believe that the privatisation and anti-welfare policies pursued by the Conservative goverment in the 1980s really did constitute “a revolution”. She talks approvingly of the end of “the dependency culture”, arguing that this helped catalyse the Nineties upsurge of British pop culture, fashion and art.
"Obviously it is painful for any particular community that ends up on the scrapheap of history", Plant says, looking appropriately pained. "But I’ve got a far more evolutionary view of history these days. Just as particular species or ecosystems flourish and die, so do human cultures". In the face of this "reality", she argues, the British Left is comparable with the Church of England: "Every so often it comes out and makes some moral statement about how terrible things are, but what’s it going to do about it? Nothing."
Many Left-wing theorists would retaliate by arguing that the Plant/Land/CCRU pro-market stance is merely an intellectual accomodation to “realities” imposed by top-down corporate forces; that by mapping techniques appropriate for natural phenonema (chaos theory, non-linear dynamics) onto capitalism, they’ve effectively naturalized the free market, resulting in a kind of post-Deleuzian version of Social Darwinism. Judith Williamson—Professor of Cultural History at Middlesex University, and writer for the left-leaning newspaper The Guardian—accuses the CCRU of “inevitabilism”.
"All these excitingly eroticised ideas about the flows of capital absolve one from morality," she says. "Most of capitalism’s flows are deeply pernicious." The trouble with inevitablism is that it removes human agency from the picture, complains Williamson. "But human will is not nothing — there have been these huge acts of courage and altruism throughout history." As neo-Deleuzians devoutly committed to impersonality, agency is precisely what Plant and the CCRU demote. "Nothing takes the credit—or the blame—for either the runaway tendencies at work or the attempts to regulate them," argues Plant in Zeros + Ones. "Political struggles and ideologies have not been incidental to these shifts, but cultures and the changes they undergo are far too complex to be attributed to attempts to make them happen or hold them back".
—Simon Reynolds, Renegade Academia
“deleuzian thatcherism" to quote b. noys
Landian ruminations on “Rave Culture”
The UK edition panel discussion featured producer, DJ, and Hyperdub Records founder Kode9; PAN-signed electronic musician Lee Gamble; noted blogger and author of Capitalist Realism Mark Fisher; and co-author of the forthcoming book Folk Politics Alex Williams and was moderated by Electronic Beats’ online editor Lisa Blanning. It began with a presentation by Alex Williams. - See more at:
(nick land is said to have quipped at someone not long before going to china that “baudrillard is the only philosopher these days still in touch with reality”)
That the root of love is a thirst for disaster is exhibited throughout its erratic course. At its most elementary love is driven by a longing to be cruelly unrequited; fostering every kind of repellent self-abasement, awkwardness, and idiocy. Sometimes this provokes the contempt that is so obviously appropriate, and the tormented one can then luxuriate in the utter burning loss that each gesture becomes. One wastes away; expending health and finance in orgies of narcosis, breaking down one’s labour-power to the point of destitution, pouring one’s every thought into an abyss of consuming indifference. At the end of such a trajectory lies the final breakage of health, ruinous poverty, madness, and suicide. A love that does not lead such a blasted career is always at some basic level disappointed: ‘to love to this point is to be sick (and I love to be sick)’ [III 105]. Yet there are times in which the morbid horror of love infects the beloved, or one is oneself infected by the passion of another, or two strains of love collide, so that both spiral together into a helix of strangely suspended disintegration, cheated of innocent disaster. Each competes to be destroyed by the other, drifting into the hopeless ecstasies that follow from the severing of all moorings, attempting to exceed the other in mad vulnerability. When propelled by an extremity of impatience this too can lead to suicide of course, but such an outcome is uncommon. The adequate pretext for such a conclusion is lacking, since the capacity to wound is melted from the world, which becomes a softened—and often almost imperceptible—backdrop, whilst the beloved, who is invested with such a capacity to a degree inconceivable to the utilitarian mind, strives entirely to annul it. Thus it is that the lovers conspire to protect each other from the lethal destiny of their passion, either succeeding in this, and relapsing into the wretched sanity of mutual affection, or compacting their fever to new scratch-patches of intensity. In the latter case all legible charts are lacking, and if the real has a splinter-fringe of utter exploration this is it…
— Nick Land, The Thirst For Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism
Was going to post about this last night actually. I doubt that guy who spoke at the accelerationism conference and is writing a book trying to do precisely that will just stop and do something else. Be interesting to see what he comes up with, but I personally don’t think the ‘left-landianism’ schtick is something worth attempting any more, if it was ever even possible, which I think it just might have been with some ingenuity.
Fact remains though I’m incapable of simply ignoring Land. I have this idea for a book, I don’t want to go too much into it, I have so much more work to do before I’m getting anything concrete down. Mid-2013 may well see me posting some drafts here. Suffice to say what really interests me is something like an oblique tracing of Land’s aesthetics.