11 December 2009

Desire is the Real?

Filed under: Ktismata, Psychology — ktismatics @ 3:14 pm

I’ve been engaged in a slow and sporadic conversation about schizoanalysis with Reid at Planomenology. Reid has also been exploring Brassier’s realism, about which I am woefully underenlightened. However, I have a hunch that this bit of text from AO is a nexus:

“If desire produces, its product is real. If desire is productive, it can be productive only in the real world and can produce only reality… Desire does not lack anything: it does not lack its object. It is, rather, the subject that is missing in desire, or desire that lacks a fixed subject; there is no fixed subject unless there is repression… The objective being of desire is the Real in and of itself.” (Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p. 26)

Here D&G explicitly acknowledge the influence of “Lacan’s admirable theory of desire” even as they deflect that theory’s trajectory. For D&G, the unconscious doesn’t just reveal the subject’s real desire before it’s been repressed and rerouted by social conventions. Rather, desire creates the subject and the unconscious and the repression. Desire creates real effects, not just symbolic representations.

Does desire have the Real as its object? Does desire create the Real itself? Is desire identical to the Real? Not quite. Rather, D&G write that the Real is “the objective being of desire.” Here’s what I think that might mean. Desire is a primal and immanent and multiplex subjectivity that energizes everything. Whenever the trajectory of one desire is reinforced or diverted or cut off by another trajectory, this local interplay of desires becomes reified or “objectified.” The proliferation of objects in the world isn’t created or caused by desire; it is a transformation of desire itself, from pure inchoate subjectivity into the tangibly Real.

In elaborating on the differences between psychoanalysis and schizoanalysis, Guattari said this:

“For psychoanalysis, the unconscious is always already there, genetically programmed, structured, and finalized on objectives of conformity to social norms. For schizoanalysis, it’s a question of constructing an unconscious, and not only with individuals or relations between individuals, but also with groups, with physiological and perceptual systems, with machines, struggles, and arrangements of every nature.”

One might infer that Guattari regarded the unconscious as unique in this regard as desire’s precipitation into the Real. But there’s no reason to make that jump. Anything Real is an objectification of desire: the unconscious, the individual subject, the group. What about consciousness: is it a construction of desire as well? Sure, why not? It’s not that art or science or politics represent the Real; it’s that they are alternate objectifications of the Real. It’s not that I philosophize about the Real; it’s that the act of philosophizing is itself an objectification of the Real, a congealing of desire in the form of human thinking.

If this is what D&G are saying, then there’s no reason to prioritize expressions of the unconscious in schizoanalysis. Language and conscious thought, individual and collective action — these too are the precipitates of desire, these too are Real. The trick isn’t to get to a place prior to or beneath or parallel to consciousness, a place where unconstrained desire flows freely. The unconscious is just as much a construct as is consciousness; the unconscious is just as fixated and territorialized as is consciousness. Whether dreaming or free associating,  designing or building, organizing or collaborating, the task of schizoanalysis remains the same: deterritorializing, loosening the constraints that desire has imposed on itself, letting the Real assume different configurations.

While I’ve not read a lot of Brassier, I have read a bit. I’ve also read some of what Reid has to say about Brassier. And I’m thinking that this idea — of immanent subjectivity-without-a-subject congealing, objectifying itself and becoming Real in the form of human thinking — is at least part of what Brassier is after. I’m not sure how Brassier’s whole “death cult” extinction thing plays into this formulation, however.



  1. In forsaking the OOO extravaganza I find myself re-engaging with D&G almost as a matter of coming full circle. I can do close readings, understand or get confused, critique or buy in, elaborate, collaborate, build an institution, ally with the rhizomes, try to distinguish desire from demand from interest, decide whether this or that is the more Real, debate whether the immanent flows of desire enable or disrupt capitalism, etc. etc. Closing the circle. Or I can regard AO as an odd work of fiction, a users’ manual for an alternate universe that might not have much to do with the really existing one.

    For awhile I tried writing like D&G, as if everyone in that universe spoke with the same oddly inflected dialect. Fuck that: even R Chandler might be able to find his way into that universe, get something done there.


    Comment by john doyle — 12 December 2009 @ 4:13 am

  2. I think the relevance of extinction for Brassier might be this: if everything will certainly end in stasis and death, then it makes no sense to contend that the universe is predicated on a universal principle of life, or desire, or difference, or mind, or substance, or essence, or emergence. These forces and entities exist in our corner of the space-time universe, but they’re transient and local in importance, not something on which to build a universal ontology. These vital and dynamic things must always be counterpoised against the inevitable nothingness which is the only thing that is truly universal and transcendent and teleological in the long history of the universe. So be it.


    Comment by john doyle — 13 December 2009 @ 6:51 pm

  3. Both the post and comments first-rate. In some of what you are resisting is something I sense these strange days: Some of this deterritorializing actually always favours the unconscious, doesn’t it? As if there was where the only Real, or whatever you want to call it, exists with real value. The rest is, by contrast, petrified. Are you not possibly reacting as I am these days (I’m trying to read what I like about what you’ve said here intelligently, but I may not be) to an overderritorialization, in which it does really becomes an end in itself? because my current perception is that this ‘as an end in itself’ is not satisfying. It is just as limited as the conscious, insofar as it’s a construct too. Is it not that the unconscious seems like what one can ENDLESSLY deterritorialize into more than consciousness, whereas what really happens is that there is a loss of productivity and power in immersing oneself beyond a certain point. Arpege once reminded me (not speaking to me directly) of the limits of deterritorialization, I think (but am not sure) that she was talking about it as taken too far by those who cannot afford it money-wise or even time-wise, but I think its limits are very obvious to me. After a certain point, it puts me in mind of a loss of the immune system, whether physically as in auto-immune disease, or as the New Agers used to say, and may still, the ‘mental immune system’, which may just be resistance and natural defense systems. This kind of deterritoriazliation is extremely useful for the artist, but it becomes stagnant at a certain point if you don’t take at least SOME of that energy and fucking REIFY it into a solid object of work. I’m losing patience with some of that myself. I didn’t address some of what you said, and so this is to a certain extent a deterritorialization of your post and comments, but the PLEASURE of deterritorialization, and that cannot be underestimated (and I do mean all kinds of pleasure), will not continue by always going in that direction–no matter how much one might here ‘it’s not just one direction’, it’s all directions become available, all alternatives opened up. But one doesn’t want those all opened up, let’s face it.

    Another thing I’ve found out about the pleasures of deterritorialization is that everybody who discovers them wants to make the rules for it, and never wants to admit that it may be somewhat other than purely ‘liberating’. It can be, and I have found it to be mostly so when consciously moving toward and into it, but it can be quite as enslaving as the mundane. It can end up with gimmicks and trinkets instead of solid gains. And no matter how one defines ‘gains’, they are always what one wants, even if these gains are not obviously beneficial.


    Comment by ray fuller — 13 December 2009 @ 8:27 pm

    • I like the choice of ‘Raymond Chandler’, curious that you used the initial, though. Yes, and he deterritorialized automatically to produce a brilliant world of his own in the novels. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t heard the term before.

      It also occurs to me that deterritorialization is almost automatically going to happen with the internet in a very specific way.

      What also interests me is the word ‘fantasy’. I was allergic to it until recently, when I began to see that I do want fantasies, but only as means to make new reality. They are totally unsatisfying to me if left too long as overdeveloped or even bloated fantasies. Fantasies are means as well, if used properly. One needs them. I tend to think that I am now not allergic to fantasies, finding them useful, but am more impatient with leaving them as such more than most are (I could be wrong about others, but I know I am.) It also came up that certain ‘games’ are fantasies. But as I see these terms, games are definitely subsumed to even fantasy, which at least is on the road to the moving the desired into existence. Games for me become forms of inertis pretty quickly. Once I accepted fantasy as legitimate, the game was over. Recently, I was called ‘bitch heart’ as in ‘Scarlett O’Hara’, but what can I tell you? Scarlett O’Hara is not nearly as purely bitch heart, IMO, as either Arpege or Nick think her. Maybe one is stuck culturally with being like Scarlett and maybe there are worse things. She is not without much real humanity. But when confronted with the statement that what I wanted was a fantasy, I didn’t realize for a long time what that might mean. I wanted what the fantasy could lead to, I think there’s a difference. When I realized that I did not, in fact, want a fantasy, but wanted to use one (or more) to achieve something real (or that I had decided was real, even if I was wrong), I quickly began to divide up fantasies which were going to be realizable or not. It makes me appear then, sometimes, to have a bitch heart from choosing the fantasies that can be realized and just discarding the ones that can’t (or appear not to be.) I can’t coast with fantasy IN ITSELF after a certain point, and deterritorialization opens up fantasies if anything. That’s when you can do something with it instead of just pondering it, isn’t it? You can pick and choose from the fantasies that are there in an array for you to choose from, and why choose the ones that aren’t going to continue dynamically? you aren’t losing anything by going past them, because in the state of unrealized fantasy, they are not ‘gains’. They even become counter-productive. I think we can all look at ourselves and decide ‘well, this isn’t the BEST kind of person that I happen to be’, but then whose is? Mother Teresa’s? She realized her fantasy, and it’s supposed to be of the ‘selfless sort’, but fuck it, if that’s good, then I’ll be bad, and not just because Mae West said ‘when I’m good I’m very very good, and when I’m bad I’m better’. But just because you have to let develop or degenerate what you have at your disposal. So fantasy is dangerous, but it can be made into something that is not so secretive and clandestine (which is surely part of the nature of many or most fantasies, you can tell me if that’s way off), and for me, that only makes what once was most pleasurable about the fantasy all the more so. I do think sometimes people secretly think fantasy is ‘the best’. But what I was mistakenly thinking is that ‘fantasy just doesn’t work’. Not true. Some of them do go to work. Others perish because you weren’t going to be able to do them.


      Comment by ray fuller — 13 December 2009 @ 8:59 pm

      • To wit, I have for some time concentrated on two very specific fantasies, and only recently realized that I could not have them both. It could be that having the one cancelled out having the other, I’m not sure; but I consciously chose the one that I knew I could bring into reality and was doing so. The other one would have remained in a state of fantasy indefinitely, or so I determined, whether rightly or wrongly. Or maybe ‘the two fantasies themselves’ chose the one over the other, it still ended up being what I like to call The Practical Fantasy (and I know I didn’t want it any less than the other one, since the other one wouldn’t define itself enough for me to even be sure what it was. But a GAME is maybe a deterritorializing tool, can unearth fantasies, but it’s never satisfying in itself, and it’s not the same as the fantasy, I’m sure of that. But can anything Real ever have not been a fantasy first, at least in some sense that it was uncertain of itself’s existence? ‘Fantasy’ may not he the comprehensive enough word, but others, like the unconscious would work as well, and I can’t see what probing into the unconscious is about if not to make it conscious. It can’t be for ‘the delight of feeling unconsciousness’. There’s plenty enough of that without leaving the best parts down there.


        Comment by ray fuller — 13 December 2009 @ 9:23 pm

  4. OH dear, I am going on. We also talk about ‘the unconscious’ as different from ‘unconsciousness’, don’t we? ‘The unconscious’ is the ‘inaccessible’, and that’s what fantasy starts with. Many of them ARE inaccessible and you can’t reach them. And that is what I think many people get stuck in, a dependence on the ever-inaccessible. Nothing they could actually ‘access’ would be ‘all that good’, much like Woody Allen’s things about ‘I wouldn’t want to be in any club that would accept me’.
    Well, that’s just self-loathing. Oh well, maybe not, maybe it’s just being authentically inferior.


    Comment by ray fuller — 13 December 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  5. Stimulating observations about deterritorialization, Ray. The three Rays: Brassier, Chandler, Fuller. I regard you as an exemplary practitioner, so I value your opinions on these matters highly.

    My interests in schizoanalysis and deterritorialization spring from multiple sources, sprouting resonances and resistances. What I’m resisting in the post is the idea of Desire as a cosmic depersonalized force that desires through individuals, groups, institutions. I also resist the implicit ethic that one should cooperate with this immanent/transcendent force of Desire, serving as a channel for its expression. This reminds me of the sort of Christian mysticism I once practiced. It’s a disciplined deterritorialization of ego, getting your self out of the way so the Spirit can speak, feel, will, and act through you.

    Today my daughter must recite the first stanza of “To a Nightingale” by Keats, which contains the phrase “In some melodious plot of beechen green.” This brought to mind the line from an old hymn: “Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above.” Have you ever spoken in tongues, Ray? It’s very much a deterritorializing praxis, by which the Desire of the Real speaks through you “in groanings too deep for words,” in signifiers without signifieds. I can still do it (like riding a bike), even without the presumably requisite inspiritedness. To speak words, phrases, paragraphs, with inflection, in some imaginary language: it’s like scat singing, but with a lot more variation in vocabulary. I have found it valuable for loosening things up: perhaps I should start doing it for ten minutes a day. I’m not so sure it’s a great idea to speak in an incomprehensible language all the time, however. I suspect there are religious mystics who do so, serving as channels of the unconscious gods, speaking messages that don’t need to be understood in order to be efficacious in changing the world. Maybe people who live in garbage houses feel that they’re giving the gods physical expression through the piles of newspapers and empty booze bottles, the array of junk carrying iconic meanings that none but the holy ones can discern.


    Comment by john doyle — 14 December 2009 @ 9:41 am

  6. Fantasy has become a prescribed genre, hasn’t it? Some of those commercial fiction writers I encountered were plying this trade. To qualify, the book must include wizards and magic, strange beings both corrupt and wise, heroic quests through enchanted and accursed lands, and allegorically inspiring messages. Alternatively it has to become scifi, where the magic is explained cursorially as advanced alien technologies and the allegories are often political and psychological and ecological.

    I think that the D&G book can be read as a fantasy of a different order. It outlines a reality that can be incorporated into storytelling of a more conventional sort but that would still be quite weird. To resist the territorialization of genre convention and let some of this weird ontology play itself out: this is what I’m moving toward now.

    Oh, I thought of a good fictional example of a human subject allowing a depersonalized Desire to flow through him into the world: Chigurh in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men.


    Comment by john doyle — 14 December 2009 @ 9:57 am

  7. Here’s something I just came across that illustrates what I’m resisting, Ray. It addresses the immanent transcendence not of Desire but of Thought. The pathway to this text goes through Traxus’s post on Southland Tales to mine, where you provided a link to the Hyperstition archives. Here I present part of a randomly-encountered post by Nick, dated 30 Dec. 04, entitled Hyperstitional Carriers III (bolding by me):

    “The principal function of a hyperstitional carrier is to think what no natural ego can. They are units of artificial intelligence production, dedicated to the consistent pursuit of a cognitive trajectory that would be unsustainable under the socio-biological constraints of human psychic existence.

    This function is two-sided. It embeds a ‘philosophical’ condemnation of the human condition as a platform for rigorous intellection, acknowledging that ‘to be’ as concrete reality sabotages the ‘cogito.’ ‘I am, therefore thinking is denied.’ To assume otherwise is vainglorious pretence and tediously ego-coopted insanity. More positively, this function attests to the potentiality of rigorous collective procedures to overcome the compromises demanded of the concrete individual ego, enabling the release of a liberated synthetic cognition, outside real time, which can proceed on the basis of implacable indifference to all criteria of innate or social acceptability, tolerability or balance.

    While carriers may operate as ‘hoaxes,’ this dimension of their existence is strictly subordinate to their basic conceptual function. A carrier that successfully disguised itself as a ‘real human’ would be of interest only to confidence tricksters, since the best way of hiding itself in this way would be for it to think nothing of any interest whatsoever. The intrinsic destiny of hyperstition is to demonstrate that ‘human thinking’ is a fraud and a preposterous indulgence.

    Carriers are designed to pursue a line of thought further than is prudent, decent, or reasonable. They have no need to preserve themselves in the face of natural hazards, avoid unnecessary risks, reproduce, achieve acceptance within a community or prove themselves worthy of social recognition. They maximize the advantages of the robot and the psychopath in all these respects. A carrier thinks only for the sake of the thought itself, rather than for what its thinking will mean for its own interests. It has no interests, a fact that is the alpha and omega of its potential to be interesting. The singularity of a carrier is what it can ‘think,’ in the widest imaginable or even unimaginable sense of this word.

    The socio-semiotic technology of carriers is extremely delicate. What carriers carry is a line, a thread, that can be easily broken. It is of the utmost importance that carriers are not distracted or diverted from their defining pursuits, that they are not rushed or over-stretched, burdened with extrinsic pre-occupations, recklessly hybridized or compromised. These are the ways in which carriers degenerate into mere fictions, sustained solely by a capacity to entertain.

    The existence of any carrier is annulled, reduced to fiction or fraudulence, if it cannot think further – more extremely or excessively – than any natural ego could think. Hyperstition is poly-focused and exuberant, or it is nothing. It is conveyed through carriers into a multitude of extravagances where human subjects could not venture without encountering death, mute insanity, annihilating social osctracism or the restraints of inhibiting ‘reason.’

    To be a carrier is to be pushed beyond the limits of human possibility, to explore those regions where only an inorganic and artificial thinking is able to plot itself. Carriers know only what they need to know and no more. They are augmented by subtraction, their thinking liberated from the entropy of wisdom. They learn or remember only what they can use to go further, pursuing their relentless singular trajectories. Anything else, anything more, is encumbering freight, indulgence and mock humanity.

    Consolidating a carrier, therefore, is a matter of the most meticulous exactitude. Better to hesitate for a decade than to precipitously burden a carrier with five minutes of superfluous memory.

    Ask first where a carrier is heading next before provisioning it with a minimum of resources. At each stage of its journey, remove what it has not consumed. Keep your carriers hungry. Make them hunt for their own food. Sharpen them with deprivation, so their thought will cut like a knife.”

    I really should read more of this stuff. I recall k-punk writing about annulling the libido in service of pure rationality. Maybe this was a major battleground for the hyperstitionists: immanent Desire versus immanent Thought as the line of flight beyond the merely human.


    Comment by john doyle — 14 December 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    • Yes, and excellent for you to remind me of it, even though it’s one of his passages that is most powerful. And you can see his power in it, because it is written in such a way that you can not possibly argue with it.

      ‘Better to hesitate for a decade than to precipitously burden a carrier with five minutes of superfluous memory.’

      But there’s the rub. It’s not meant literally, but since it’s written as though it were, then, alors? You have all the time in the world to be debriefed if need be, whether or not the writer is asying ‘this is allowed’. He has come to me because I am to some degree a real Hyperstition carrrier, but also I know things he doesn’t know, and he is trying to find these out. ‘Five minutes of superfluous memory’ as opposed to the fucking ten years is primarily just ‘drama gueen’. But the man himself is not happy with hyperstition alone. He is wrong about the fact that Hyperstition tenets are greater than his OWN individual talents, which are incredible. But I have about as much patience with overblown egos as Barbara Walters does: We’re not impressed with ‘celebrity’, having a certain amounot of it ourselves. Or, if we are somewhat impressed with it, it’s still not the most important part. To his credit, Nick never gives up (or hasn’t so far), and he basically likes it that I am an impossible competitor. He diesppoints for a few days, maybe, but not for long. He simply cannot get past the fact that he himself cannot give up his DESIRE to feel human despite these stunning-sounding statements, and he is interested that I won’t take them literally. The things he was outlining in the text you quoted are only even imaginable if someone could get all carriers to cooperate and also ‘go to work on it’. He knows I won’t do that beyond a certain point, and you know, I have to say, I have great hopes. I think my refusal to see him as a non-ego only lost in the brilliance of reckless deterritorialization may finally have results. But fuck–if not, then I can wait the goddam ten years for him to figure it out while if do my ‘five minutes’ in Hollywood. And he has proved today that he is capable of that. What he is attracted to in me is that I know that there are other alternatives to his brilliant (if imperfect) edicts, manifestos of Hyperstition, et alia.

      I spoke last night of the two fantasies. Okay, with YOUR usual briliance, you are the only one who always catches up with us, so as you know, I’m always naked. Yes, there were two fantasies, which by last night, I could not define properly: One was: 1) I am in love with my onw narcissism and 2) I am in love with his narcissism. But the one I chose is obviously the first. That’s what I needed and what he needed, because with the first, I automatically get the second, but without having to tend to it. He seems (and this annoys the fuck out of me) to be unable to imagine that someone else would prefer their own narcissism to his, but he also wants someone to do this, and say, more or less, fuck you, I’m HOT STUFF.

      Therefore, what he really wishes is that he could talk about me as easily and freely and shamelesssly as I talk both about myself and him, and he will learn to. It’s a formidable talent, and, despite his strange behaviour, he does know that I’ve never stopped watching and tending to it very closely. It just hurts his pride for the obvious reasons, those are the same ones that he likes about me (my greater pride). I have great hopes that he will have a resurgence and renaissance, even if for no other reason than I know that Hyperstition has to evolve in more personal ways, more ego-direct ways, than he is willing to easily concede. He put so much energy into developing an original construct that he has a hard time realizing how next it must go, but he’s found out that it can. The desire for this ‘inhuman’ is the crux of the problem, therefore: It sounds good and ‘cool’, but that is not ‘what one wants’. We want the ‘human’, no matter what elaborate anti-human scenarios we make, and he has shown that to me in the most moving way that he does too.


      Comment by ray fuller — 14 December 2009 @ 4:06 pm

      • To conclude for now, our essential bone of contention is that I think Hyperstition is a great production of Nick Land, but that I think he is greater himself than that, and for some reason disagrees with me. He is semi-famous, but doesn’t really want fame. But he has to get some of it, and leave this ‘collecitve mentality’ behind, because the statements about the ‘slums of the creative ego’ are false. His own individual output, whether published in print or on blogs, proves this. Sometimes I think he’s tried to kill of his own personal brilliance, as though being better than the others was something to feel guilty about. I want to convince him otherwise, but hey…I still like my own ass even better than his. But he really is something, isn’t he? I hope I can convince him that it’s all right to be more outstanding IF YOU THE FUCK ARE. Who gives a fuck about fairness when it comes to talent? I know I don’t. Damn, this week in LA is gonna be great without having to tend to that beast day in and day out.


        Comment by ray fuller — 14 December 2009 @ 4:32 pm

  8. It turns out I cut-and-pasted the whole post, not just an excerpt. And I agree that it contains brilliance, remarkable not least in the paradoxical conjunction of a de-egoized ideology embedded in the narcissistic grandiosity of the “Carrier” construct. Particularly potent is the sense of running along the edge of fiction throughout. There’s the express fear of becoming “merely” fictional while at the same time riding the power of heroic fantasy that fiction affords. Fascinating: as I said, I’ll have to read more of this.

    When I worked in AI I carried a humanist agenda with me: assign tasks to the machines that they’re best at, leaving the humans free to explore more rarified air. Perhaps this was an elitist notion; certainly things didn’t play out that way. But to think of the human-machine synergy as a joint trajectory of de-egoized pure Mind? For some reason this idea never appealed.

    “The desire for this ‘inhuman’ is the crux of the problem, therefore: It sounds good and ‘cool’, but that is not ‘what one wants’. We want the ‘human’, no matter what elaborate anti-human scenarios we make”

    I agree. This sense of the immanent-transcendent depersonalized Mind/Desire strapped into a machinic commodified acceleration toward a singularity that leaves the Self behind: why is that so attractive? It’s a religious instinct. I agree that the locked-down and all-consuming ego can get in the way; so too can oppressive social institutions. Deterritorialize and reterritorialize until something better makes itself known: fine. But deterritorializing self out of existence? Not interested.


    Comment by john doyle — 14 December 2009 @ 4:49 pm

    • ‘A carrier thinks only for the sake of the thought itself, rather than for what its thinking will mean for its own interests. It has no interests, a fact that is the alpha and omega of its potential to be interesting. ‘

      After a rest, this part I pick out which is where he and I are always at loggerheads, and I’m going to remain as intransigent as possible. We ‘Scah-lett O’Haras’ are not going to stop looking after our own interests just because some genius whippersnapper tells us we’ve got ‘potential to BE interesting’ if we’ll just feature the ‘thought itself.’ This is very clever and is like a high-toned Scientology sort of leader’s manifesto, insofar as it’s pretty transparent that SOMEBODY has some interests. But the carrier is not supposed to, only his commander’ and of course, that cannot be spelled out, because even an idiot wouldn’t take orders if it were. The other part ‘It has no interests, a fact that is the alpha and omega of its potential to be interesting’ is, of course, just tailor-made for the sheepish kind of followers. But it becomes only REALLY interesting when somebody says no, it’s time to RETERRITORIALIZE, as well as other various and sundry things like ‘so I’ve got paleo curio tastes. Isn’t that just too bad. I DO hope you can send the ELECTRIC CURRENTS to the motel when I go since I won’t have internet service to get the ‘giant hardon’, and will be languishing with the micro-hardon of old science and ‘creative slum ego’. I can’t imagine he hasn’t found this interesting, this determination of mine to keep the ego-body, the body-body, and the metropolis intact and reverse charges (lol), as it were. Otherwise, I would have been a lot more polite had he kept H. open, and would have continued to frequent it.

      But I could be wrong that he ever wants to be like me in terms of name and works in the usual sense with authorship, and just going ahead and producing new great writing, and not resisting being honoured for it, in other words letting even those fantasies become a reality instead of forever keeping things with this strange clandestine atmosphere. The fear is that the ‘charm’ won’t still be there, the primacy. I’m not putting this perfectly, but you probably follow: Not everything is wrong with the already existing Establishment structures, just because much of it is.

      ‘Deterritorialize and reterritorialize until something better makes itself known: fine.’

      Yes, and maybe the reterritorialization is always when you are ready for the experiment and the newly mined material to be shaped into the ‘something good’. That might even be the thing that ‘makes itself known’. Then you can deterritorialize again.

      ‘But deterritorializing self out of existence? Not interested.’

      And I think this automatically does happen unless you have a fully-formed and tough ego already. Nick’s programming is much better than anybody’s i’ve ever seen, but still such things as using the ‘Bitch Heart’ lyrics are very telling. In offering me this, I am being told that I want only ‘to conquer’. Only someone who would write such things as those about ‘hyperstitional carriers have no interests themselves, and therefore that is where you find their potential to be interesting’ would have the gall to say, more or less ‘you want only to conquer because you don’t see the beauty of my conquering you, which SURELY is different’. Our narcissisms are a great match each for the other, because in having been the ‘pronouncer’ of the subordination of the ‘carriers’, he was most certainly excluding himself from the loss of privilege, as well as the malnourishment, that he was quite comfortable with allowing those carriers to experience, and in large quantity. Well, this is the mark of all the best devils, so that’s why he’s a lot of fun, because I like to expose how he wants to be entertained by his carriers, which is part of the pleasure I get out of it myself. But I still think it’s the authoritative voice that he knows how to get in the writing up of these things that comes before the things said; therefore, I help myself to all the feasts and trimmings as well. It’s also occurred to me that such things run into various blockages when they do run into traditional and Establishment structures that are perhaps old, but not at all run-down or outmoded–then their own frustration sets in, because, for example, various mind programs are not going to make their way into certain established arts organizations, government agencies, etc., all that easily, where, like it or not, there are structures that value themselves whether or not their would-be deterritorializers do. But there’s a fire he has in the pen that makes hoth the useful and the harmful parts seem persuasive from time to time. And you get to those issues that you were discussing when you posted in the Thirst for Annihilation, you said something about ‘truth and justice’, etc., as opposed to this endless unleashing of energies. You’ve got the same hardened ego I have to resist certain parts of it, and I begin to think that Hyperstition is not over at all if there can be some understanding that it simply is not always going to dominate all situations. That’s where some of the truth-revealing comes in, that is ‘not supposed to’. It’s set out as if it were ‘oh so obviously desirable in all ways’, but then it itself finds out it isn’t, but THAT is where you find the superstructure of it, which is always the most interesting part: And that’s where the direction comes from, and it doesn’t suffer a subordinate position gladly. Sometimes it just has to though, because some of us are still using the traditional structures if we find there is still life there.


      Comment by ray fuller — 14 December 2009 @ 9:28 pm

      • Had one other odd little thought about Nick here. Thought about all those untalented writers you met that were all desperate to write bestsellers, and they couldn’t really write, so you hightailed it out of there, I can’t think of much funnier than you went at all. So now here we are on the other hand, we have somebody with a world-class talent, and yet who wants to do almost anything not to become hugely famous for it. Oh well, that’s still the more attractive alternative, as well as more attractive than the one who’s always talking about how he wants to be creative ‘within the market’. Just so second-hand that kind of talk. He read some about ‘mediated’ and ‘instrumental reason’, or something, and skipped the creative part, not really so differently from your Commercial Writer’s workshop. I picked that up, because, even though it’s important to sell when you can, it doesn’t work too well to talk about how you really just want to write something that isn’t ‘coerced by the market’ when you keep letting it slip through that you want to be a best-selling author no matter what; and you want to be a best-selling author who is praised for his artistry without having had to do the time on the artistry. Fucking hilarious. One paragraph by Nick, even if I think it’s fucked up, way, way beyond such crap as that. Come to think of it, that’s a good place to start, down at the bottom of total ego-denial, but you just can’t stay there, especially if somebody finds out you have an enormous ego. hee hee. But it’s good to at least aim for that unless it’s truly suicidal.


        Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 12:27 am

    • John, had it occurred to you (as it eventually occurred to his fawning graduate students) that Nick’s output might all be a load of occult shit?


      Comment by Marcus Welsh — 15 December 2009 @ 3:12 am

      • But his ‘fawning graduate students’ were not artists and adventurers themselves. They don’t fucking know, and are themselves much more cautious and less imaginative, and get their feelings hurt too easily. Sure, some of it is bullshit, but whose output isn’t, the Object-Oriented philisophers? ZIZEK’s? I mean, as far as I’m concerned, Zizek’s is almost totally bullshit, especially his recent ‘manifesto’ on ‘artistic taste’, one of the most noisome and stupid things I’ve ever read. At least Nick’s things are never dead, and it’s never second-hand, and the ‘fawning students’ didn’t have sense enough to realize that they themselves can’t write like he can, and I mean not by a long shot. Only I can do that (lol)


        Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 10:33 am

      • The “adventure” ended when the groupies were finally obliged to formulate their “insights” in a way that might actually convince someone outside the clique. But then rational persuasion was never Land’s intention, anyway.

        the Object-Oriented philosophers?

        Those ___ who can’t hold down a coherent argument? Land and the CCRU’s natural heirs, I would have thought.


        Comment by Marcus Welsh — 15 December 2009 @ 10:56 am

  9. “it’s all right to be more outstanding IF YOU THE FUCK ARE. Who gives a fuck about fairness when it comes to talent?”



    Comment by john doyle — 14 December 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  10. Hi Marcus. I’ve not read enough of the Hyperstition to have an opinion on its occultitude, though I intend to go back for a longer look. There’s something mystical in D&G already, as with any idealistic philosophy that posits Desire or Thought or Power or whatever channeling itself through humans. All I know of the hyperstitional premise is the wikipedia-like summary: through the power of collective thought and imagination it’s possible to create reality. Social constructionists and neocons uphold this premise without occult overtones. I’ve seen some allusions to numerology among the hyperstitionists but I can’t tell if it’s seriously entertained. The self-proclaimed “carrier” status raises a cautionary flag. Do you know of a manifesto or mission statement?


    Comment by john doyle — 15 December 2009 @ 6:53 am

    • Just look back in the early archives, that’s when you’ll find a lot of things loosely under your terms ‘manifesto’ and ‘mission statement’. Anna Greenspan writes a lot back then, as does k-punk (and I think Reza Negarestani). Nick doesn’t really start them off, but becomes the dominant figure only later.


      Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 10:26 am

      • Sorry, I would look it up and link it to you, but I’m very pressed for time today. Just go back to the 2004 archives and start there. I even think your long quote of yesterday was part of all that. Naturally, there wasn’t going to be some FORMALIZED statement. God forbid. Even so, they have to outline such important material as ‘Hyperstition will attract trolls’. I’ll say. And lucky for all concerned.


        Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 10:28 am

    • Thanks Ray, I’ll do some excavating later on and file a précis.


      Comment by john doyle — 15 December 2009 @ 10:46 am

  11. ‘The “adventure” ended when the groupies were finally obliged to formulate their “insights” in a way that might actually convince someone outside the clique.’

    Half-true, of course. The ‘adventure’ was too expensive for them, that’s why they ended up doing humdrumisms. Always nice the way you turn up expectedly, Marcus. But the point of leaving a clique is because cliques aren’t really that advantageous for anyone not getting ‘circled’. Nick’s balletic technique has improved tremendously, I cna assure you, because although he claims to have become a wreck, at least he effected this irresponsibly. Whereas the former fawners had to go into the Sunday School Business.


    Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 11:27 am

    • Obscurantist shit only of interest to paranoid autodidacts, as I say.


      Comment by Marcus Welsh — 15 December 2009 @ 11:35 am

  12. Well it’s of some interest to me of course, which is why I intend to give it a look. The question for me remains this: does the Hyperstition stuff fall on a continuum with Deleuze & Guattari, along with any other philosophy or cult that posits a Force channeling itself through humans?


    Comment by john doyle — 15 December 2009 @ 11:40 am

    • Well it’s of some interest to me of course, which is why I intend to give it a look.

      Have fun.

      does the Hyperstition stuff fall on a continuum with Deleuze & Guattari, along with any other philosophy or cult that posits a Force channeling itself through humans?

      There’s an (unintentionally?) amusing write-up by Simon Reynolds about how Land’s influences came together here: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/004807.html


      Comment by Marcus Welsh — 15 December 2009 @ 11:52 am

  13. Editorial reminder: on this blog, personal insults directed at present or former bloggers are excised for civility’s sake.


    Comment by john doyle — 15 December 2009 @ 11:44 am

  14. From the 2005 k-punk post linked by Marcus:

    “It’s the academic equivalent of Kurtz: the general in Apocalypse Now who used unorthodox methods to achieve superior results compared with the tradition-bound US military.”

    That’s kind of fucked up, isn’t it? I just read part of a book on Guattari that used the Kurtz analogy — must have been an old CCRUer. I skipped over all the Kurtz parts while reading it.

    “the CRRU are striving to achieve a kind of nomadic thought that to use the Deleuze & Guattari term—“deterritorializes” itself every which way”


    “its frenzied interdisciplinary activity…”

    i.e. drugs will be served?

    “they’ve abandoned the university and linked up with renegade autodidacts”

    renegade = paranoid?

    “the role of director of the CCRU was taken over by her ex-lover Nick Land.”

    Not a qualification ordinarily mentioned in brochures.

    “Land is the kind of “vortical machine”…”

    I can picture the business card.

    “was once “taken over” by three distinct entities”

    We’ve got a lot in common.

    “the book drips with anti-academic bile, occasionally spilling over into flagellating self-disgust.”

    Funny, I don’t remember that blurb from the jacket.

    “Land used to describe himself as a “professor of delirial engineering.””

    Another line on the business card.

    “blending Deleuze & Guattari and Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics with his vast knowledge of the occult, chaos magick and parapsychology”

    I see.

    “CCRU develop this element of A Thousand Plateaus into a kind of mystic-materialism.”

    I see even farther.

    “ferro-vampiric” cultural activity”

    So the CCRU were vampires themselves, were they?

    “Anna Greenspan talks about how “the core of the earth is made of iron, and blood contains iron,” about how the goal is to “hook up with the Earth’s metal plasma core, which is the Body-Without-Organs.” Body-without-Organs (B-w-O) is the Deleuzian utopia, an inchoate flux of deterritorialized energy; Greenspan says they take the B-w-O as “an ethical injunction,” a supreme goal.”


    “Throughout Cyberpositive there’s the recurrent exhortation “we must change for the machines;” while the book ends with the declaration—“human viewpoint redundant.” Not only do OD reckon Charles Manson had some good ideas, their East London HQ contains several cages of snakes—proof of their determination to get really serious about voodoo rites.”

    Count me in.

    “There seems to be a perverse and literally anti-humanist identification with the “dark will” of capital and technology, as it “rips up political cultures, deletes traditions, dissolves subjectivities.” This gloating delight in capital’s deterritorializing virulence is the CCRU’s reaction to the stuffy complacency of Left-wing academic thought. “There’s definitely a strong alliance in the academy between anti-market ideas and completely scleroticised, institutionalized thought,” says CCRU’s Mark Fisher. “It’s obvious that capitalism isn’t going to be brought down by its contradictions. Nothing ever died of contradictions!” Exulting in capitalism’s permanent “crisis mode,” CCRU believe in the strategic application of pressure to accelerate the tendencies towards chaos.”

    Huh. There’s certainly an ambivalence in D&G that opens up this accelerationist trajectory.

    “They speak approvingly of “surplus value,” sublimation and commodity-fetishism as creative tendencies.”


    “the CCRU are influenced by the theory-driven leading edge of music journalism.”


    ““Most theory contextualises, historicizes and cautions; the concept-engineer uses theory to speculate, excite and ignite,” Eshun proclaims. Like a DJ/producer, the concept-engineer is “a sample-finder,” free to suspend belief in the ultimate truth-value of a theory and simply use the bits that work (in the spirit of Deleuze & Guattari’s offering up of A Thousand Plateaus as tool-kit rather than gospel).

    That’s sOOO cOOOl.

    “there’s a lot more to be learned from fiction than theory”

    Maybe the Spirit is speaking through me after all?

    ““Nick Land’s hermetic, he wants acolytes,” says Eshun.”

    Is that a good thing or no, Eshun?

    That was quite a trip, Marcus — thanks for turning me on to it.


    Comment by john doyle — 15 December 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    • ““Nick Land’s hermetic, he wants acolytes,” says Eshun.”

      Is that a good thing or no, Eshun?

      As late as 1999 (the year of the article), and in spite of the fact that popular reception of her 1997 book zeros and ones had proved – shall we say – muted, Eshun was still singing Sadie’s praises as the model of successful cyber-self-publicity; hence his (albeit wholly justified) dig at Land.

      “There’s definitely a strong alliance in the academy between anti-market ideas and completely scleroticised, institutionalized thought,” says CCRU’s Mark Fisher.

      I’d often wondered where this stupid mantra came from: Nick and Sadie genuinely seemed to believe that modern universities followed a Platonic blueprint.


      Comment by Marcus Welsh — 15 December 2009 @ 1:22 pm

      • Marcus, does this excavation from the Sorceress Northanger ring a bell with you? I thought, you know, Welah and all..



        Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 1:57 pm

    • This is another excerpt from the link that was interesting:

      ‘Weary of such sports, Plant and CCRU have all enthusiastically embraced the idea of escaping “institutional lockdown” by going freelance. The CCRU hope to become a kind of independent think-tank, selling “commodities” on the intellectual free market—like their strikingly designed Abstract Culture (each “swarm” consists of five separate monographs bundled together) and, in the future, CD’s, CD-ROM’s and books.

      It seems unlikely, however, that Plant and her erstwhile cronies will rejoin forces once they’re out in the freemarket wilderness. Some kind of ideological rift seems to have occurred. Plant says she couldn’t really go along with the trip into numerical mysticism, not least because she didn’t like finding herself “in the role of the sensible, conservative one—not a role I’m used to!” CCRU, for their part, seem to have resented their guru’s premature departure from Warwick. “Nick Land’s hermetic, he wants acolytes,” says Eshun. “Whereas Sadie’s this total communicator. Zeros + Ones is the return of the grand narrative with a vengeance. I can’t think of any other writer with the same ambition. Sadie wants the world and I think she’ll get it.”

      You know, John, what we’ve been discussing the last few days is now further enhanced. There seems to be a much greater sensation described in ALL of the manifestations they’ve searched for, developed, etc., than really ever MATERIALIZES. That, for me, is the problem. In fact, I think there is a tendency to try to PREVENT real artistic objects from appearing, as if not only are those archaic, but stopping to tend to all of those things, means you can’t go on into more ‘pure fantasy’ and ‘imaginary things’. I think Nick says something in one of these bits here ‘not exactly imaginary’, doesn’t he? I’ll look in a minute. Well, nut JUST imaginary, but too imaginary for my taste. It’s almost like eating food that is of not just a different quality or quantity, but of a different order or alternate reality food (and I don’t mean organic stores, of course.)

      This, again, is sometning I wonder about: If the need for fiction-life is so strong, why have so many of these same people chosen the conventional family structures in which to live? As an eternal irritant that will force them to find escape through fiction and Hyperstition. Because I knew early on that I wanted to live ‘semi-fictionally’, and always have. And some of these very people were involved in all these rave outgrowths and cyberculture ferments we’ve just read about, and at least FOUR of them got married AFTER they were talking about all this sensation (FLASH: yes, part of it also is that they seem to not just ‘not want to wait around for the materialized object’, but they want to keep ‘broadcasting sensation’ without stopping to savour it, take pleasure from it. No WONDER I drive them nuts! I only use their things to enhance my pleasures, and I stop whenever I fucking feel like it and do so. Well, surely you’ll agree that that can only be good for them, you know people burn out if they go too fast…)…and, I as I was saying, FOUR got married, and at least TWO have had children. And sometimes they react in a human way to all the inhuman structures they’ve set up to produce ‘newness within’. And that is what is happening now, it’s like dividing some of the mad paroxysms into sections, so that there’s a structure that is not nearly impossible to recognize, my god maybe it’s even somewhat accessible! And this is better, because there is no point in all of the work going to waste–you HAVE to know how to do Adagio as well as Allegro, not to mention Prestissimo that some of CCRU seems to want, if you want to be a really good musician or ballet dancer. I am pleased that I am having some effect on this quite remarkable ‘rogue unit’, because they really are original in their way, and just too out of control, which is surely what drove some of the younger ones off (and well, again, practical consideratios of money, etc.) I don’t even care if they all gathered together like the Stoners and all shouted PALEO CURIO! at me, I know I’ve gotten something done, and part of it is that I am even more of a non-joiner than Nick is, and even when the brilliant sorceress Northanger told me the other night ‘YOU ARE THE EMPENISSED HYPERSTITION CARRIER WHO MAKES AS HOMAGE TO CCRU GROSS AND MONSTROUS ABOMINATION HOMOSEXUALITY PLEASURES’, it works because, not only can I do this physically and specifically, I’m probably the only one who wouldn’t find this personally insulting, and totally get off on it as well as find it hilarious. But Northanger is just as funny as Nick. And just as pushy too, I’ve never met such a funny wimmernz in my life.


      Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  15. Hyperstition archives, beginning June 04:

    “We are interested in fiction only insofar as it is simultaneously hyperstition – a term we have coined for semiotic productions that make themselves real – cryptic communications from the Old Ones”

    The Old Ones presumably refer to Lovecraft — why?

    “Stillwell: Hyperstition strikes me as a most intriguing coinage. We thought we were making it up, but all the time the Nma were telling us what to write – and through them…”


    “List of blogs” includes American Stranger, Infinite Thought, K-punk, The Measures Taken, mostly others I’d never heard of. One such is The Boulder A(nti)pathy Cluster, which no longer exists.

    Then some numerology and qabbala.

    “All that is required is the ability (or luck) to cash in and out at the right point of the hype cycle. As ‘trade guru’ Jack Schwarz says, ‘it is no longer a matter of what is believed, but of what can be treated as real.'”

    “In any case, ‘fact’ means invention, and ‘person’ means mask”

    Then pretty soon all these rambling posts start blurring together. It looks like participants were having some fun, but it’s difficult looking back from the outside to make it hang together coherently. I believe I’m done excavating. Maybe things hit a different groove later but I don’t have the patience for it.


    Comment by john doyle — 15 December 2009 @ 6:36 pm

    • “We are interested in fiction only insofar as it is simultaneously hyperstition –”

      That is an excellent excavation, I may have read it but I have forgotten. And it is precisely this with which I have no patience whatever.

      ‘Maybe things hit a different groove later but I don’t have the patience for it.”

      I think that’s a healthy (ahd hardly surprising from you) attitude, works both ways, and you’ll probably end up accepting it much less than even I do–although I think it’s very rich from time to time. I’m more annoying, because it always seems as though I could get all the way into it, but I can’t. They’d never think you could, you’re not ambiguous in that particular way.


      Comment by ray fuller — 15 December 2009 @ 6:58 pm

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