Thursday, 11 June 2009

For the greatest betrayal.

If only there were a misanthropy pure enough to become divested of its human shell. That it cannot be so, that is itself the quandary, the attempt at resolution via a limitropic reduction, an asymptote descending upon zero... poised between elimination, the betrayal of every prior world, and desertification... but where the desert itself, the absolute plane… is absent, though the process… continues… the desert is a mirage, but the dust… the dust is real. The effect however is of a tensor sign: between the drive towards unpeeling unto an impossible zero, and the contamination of the flesh- eliminativism as paradoxical, an endless ungrounding, tunnels and wormholes, insides and their insiders—at every layer a new conspiracy-- and yet... this paradox itself generates some kind of energy, an entropic energy, built upon a tensor sign- a generator of eddies of negentropy even within essentially utterly entropic abstract decay paths...

It is the impossibility of this zero=the real=that which both drives and confounds the process (the inhuman, OR the inside which is also the outside). But the process must continue - an accelerationism forever worstward, the worst the better, without any remorse or flip or dialectical reversal… (Negri is the same but with the negative switched to the positive, of course). A tensor sign between the purifying drive towards nullification at absolute zero and its eternal contamination by- flesh=the inadequacy of every subsequent conceptual regime- Hegel without absolute knowing, the pathway of doubt without redemption… where it is this inadequacy itself which perversely enables the mobilisation of non-dialectical negativity for subversive ends. It is the impossibility of the ultimate militant process (capitalistic abstraction/subsumption processes or technoscientific destruction of an endless regress of manifest images) which both will please the regressive Marxists amongst us (the limit cannot be breached) and yet which drives onwards… The ultimate betrayal is the impossibility of ever reaching the (non)-ground, the process is for nought, and yet it can never reach nought. The Human cannot slough off its skin, the physicist cannot find their Grand Unified Theory (or absolute univocal ontological component). The impossibility of the militant operation (desire to cleanse) lends it its metaterroristic function, a fury without end. Lies… all the way down.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Why I will never be clean again...

In the “I hate…” series, perhaps we should take a philosophical turn, since all musical options have been taken…

With a heavy heart, and with very little jouissance…

“I hate Badiou”.

Or perhaps I should qualify this, somewhat- I find the post-evental world that Badiou delineates (and perhaps more than that, everything beyond his basic, seductive, ontology) to be simply absurd. This is an unhappy conclusion to reach, for me at least, since it was Badiou who brought me to philosophy in the very beginning, his works that I read first of all, in that first flush of enthusiasm, who I chose to study and write about, to calmly explain to non-believers (let’s not kid ourselves here…) the careful meaning of “event” “subject” et al (in his exceptionalist conceptual bestiary).

It would probably be unfair to say that I hate any philosopher, strictly speaking, since I view them as technology which can be drawn upon (not religions or football teams to be supported fanatically or denounced in no uncertain terms). But in the proper tradition of the “I hate ______” of Jonny Rotten’s “I hate Pink Floyd” t-shirt, that rancour which can only accumulate from a prior love, that disappointment, that disgust that only builds from a platform of adoration, of having the scales stripped from your eyes… I find myself increasingly frustrated by Badiou’s silly, stiff, useless philosophy. The core reason must lie with the lure which initially prompted my enthusiasm for his work in the first place: that against a backdrop of the terminal beach of history, the death of everything new, the possibility of the new in fact, here was a theorist who dared to claim to think the new as such, to formalise its emergence, its progress, the evils which may befall it etc. This was precisely what I had been looking for, motivated in a political sense not by a desire to prevent the suffering of the poor, but to unblock the lock on the new, this impassable impasse, THAT was to be the imperative of thought. But it is with Speculative Realist thought, and most particularly that of Brassier, Negarestani, and Nick Srnicek, that has threatened this simply held belief. If, as has been widely discussed, the new (and most especially the revolutionary new, the fruit of ruptures) cannot be held to be intrinsically good, and is only possible via a surreptitiously inserted humanism at the level of an illegitimately posited ontological set-up, then the libidinal lure of Badiou’s work slowly crumbles apart. Badiou’s philosophical Modernism Apr├Ęs Le Lettre now appears grotesque, but not for the reasons that are mostly touted, his continuing support of Maoism, dismissal of the philosophies of difference, or his antipathy to human rights and the suffering of the pathetic human animal…

Whilst his ontological position has a certain minimalist elegance about it, everything he builds atop it is little more than a ridiculous hyper-structure of nonsense piled upon nonsense, an unsteady philosophical folly whose absurd (yet po-faced) architecture has only been exacerbated by (what I have read thus far of) Logics of Worlds. Whilst I admire Badiou's style (an admittedly masterful mixture of crisply cumulative argument, mathematical abstraction, and poetic/polemic turn of phrase, indeed the style above all of the master, the father, the priest… in the best and worst senses) Increasingly I find his work unbearable... The whole notion of the relational body of a truth is ridiculously simplistic, and fails to resolve the chief spectre haunting Badiou (i.e.- Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason). His absolutism, exceptionalism, his rejection of management- well I think politics must always, in the end, return to that question, the issue of organisation, the issue of management… of relation- it is the political question. The question of relation sat uncomfortably over Being & Event – and it is with his relational supplement that Badiou is revealed as a pathological system-builder, but to what end- to what avail does he build his awkward tower? These fragments he shores against his ruins, a ziggurat of ruins, the ruin of a thought… (my thought, I think perhaps, rather than his own…).

The question remains: what can we
do with Badiou?

If philosophy, for Badiou, operates only under conditioning from disciplines outside of itself (which even if we are not to be strict Badiouians, seems a not entirely unreasonable premise) in order that it might think the compossibility of its times, then what does Badiou himself offer to our current conditions? His thought seems ideal to grasp the passage of high modernist art or militant communist praxis, but gives little grasp on ecological collapse, on non-linear decomposition of abstract decay which appears to be the primary aesthetic (at least in music, but also, intriguingly, in politics). The temporality of the truth procedure, the subjectivity of the militant, gripped by the fervour of the event and the unfolding of possibilities presented by the consequences of that event in a motion of scission and torsion, cutting and twisting and folding back (as Bruno Bosteels as hypothesised)- this is indeed adequate, after the fact, as a way of thinking the sequences of action which most marked the pre-68 twentieth century history- but it remains inadequate as a way of conceptualising our times, and as such, can be identified as a philosophy under condition only of the past (how often, after all, does Badiou supply us with examples or figures from our own times- of course, perhaps it is “too soon to tell”). A philosophy which has arrived too late, an after-shock, a slap-back echo reverb spectre of modernism (but a modernism that admits to itself the plurality of narrative breakdown upon which post-modernity itself hinges). The very problem is that we have arrived at a situation where this absolutism, exceptionalism, has become itself the problem, above all for what remains of the left, as demonstrated in Badiou’s patronising lecture at the 2009 Communism Conference at Birkbeck.

K-punk has recently
proclaimed, audaciously, that we are in “a new year zero” a “reverse 79”- which is partially correct. Indeed it appears that we have passed through some kind of threshold in 2009- things are not as they have been, politically, economically, aesthetically, philosophically. But this is not a clean slate, a fresh start, a cleansed palette, a blue sky, a new dawn, a new day… it is the impossibility of cleaning the slate which is presented by the challenge of a world of insides, of immanence, which must be marked by conspiracy and corruption- the impossibility of ever "getting clean" finding some zone outside from which to moralise... perhaps via the dysphoria which (via Dominic Fox/Poetix) K-Punk points towards… or the kind of negativity which Benjamin Noys has been focusing his energies upon… we may be exhorted to “hold our ground”- but what ground precisely, what grip? Better to continue the process… all the way down. It is precisely, contra Fisher and Fox, corruption, pestilence and terror that must be investigated as the political ecosystem of our times, instead of seeking to flee to a purified realm, somewhere apart from the rot of the flesh... somewhere intact from the force of abstract decay… somewhere safe with the reassuring word of the father, the master, the priest (Badiou or Zizek, no doubt, depending on taste), where there will always be a clean year zero, a subject free of contamination etc... a subject, moreover who can be redeemed (even baptised at his co-terminous birth within truth). There is something prissy here, pathological in the desire to remove all stains from the hands... Understandable, perhaps, I used to think precisely the same, but impossible. What must be delineated is a kind of schizoanalysis, as Reid Kotlas of Planemonology has recently written, but one divested of crypto-morality, of positivity, reintegrated as a kind of metaterrorism of conspiratorial management, infection, contagion, and pestilence, a weaponised non-dialectical negativity wielded in the name of the highest value our times will admit to: Betrayal.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Beyond the call of wonky...

A lengthy and rather extraordinary musicological account of wonky is available over at Rouge's Foam, who also has some extremely detailed musings on David Stubbs' recent book Fear of Music.