Alienist broadsheet #12 “ICONOCLASM” (August 2020) download PDF



Those who do not know what life is, cannot know what victory is. Even cybernetics teaches us that the world is only what creates itself out of randomness & contingency. At a certain point, just by (still) being alive, this world, on the verge of having been vanquished, attests not to what has been “lost” but to opportunities that must yet be created. For existence to be bearable, nostalgia for an illusory past must be cast aside. For time itself to be survivable, for History to be more than a denouement, the “present” must be a perpetual tyrannicide. The enemies of life proffer nostalgia for a mythical benevolence – the authoritarian, psychotic benevolence of a Corporate-State rooted in divine right (the very DNA of all “manifest destiny”). They proffer nostalgia for LIFE ITSELF (which they call CREATION), as a weapon against conscience, against consciousness – as a weapon against possibility – as a weapon of demoralisation, of a future mortgaged in advance of itself, of a world that can no longer bear the sight of itself & beats itself to sleep at night – sticks a needle in its eye – turns in morbid desperation to every quack theory & miracle cure the robots have been able to cook up, like a mental plague. How has it been persuaded that it is fighting the good fight, when it cannot bear the sight of everything it has been fighting for?



The principle weapon of Corporate-State neo-colonialism has always been the privilege of the liberal “humanist” subject.  At a time when “humanity” is for all intents & purposes defined by a mass infectious potential – versus “productive” potential – socalled humanism reveals itself again & again as nothing but a strategy for procuring economic output against an “acceptable” rate of attrition. It is the ideology of the Arbeitslager, the forced labour camp, driven by a logic of justified expendability. Thus does the fatalism of the individual remain the icon of the “free world.” What, in the shadow of COVID-19, is projected as the New Normal, is just statistical fatigue paving the way for business as usual. After the first million infections, after the first hundred-thousand deaths, the Corporate-State’s covidology “hoax” has turned into just another war with numbers: at first nothing, too little, now too much. The real enemy is not the demon of abstraction, like some pantomime spectre haunting the Twin Towers: all demons serve a master, but not only a demon may kill its master.



Under the guise of rehabilitation, mitigation, law & order, the Corporate-State Apparatus serially produces infrastructural collapse. By this apparent contradiction all contradictions are subsumed. By this supposed paradox, all paradoxes are reduced to an appearance of “deep adaptation”: the totalising capacity of its system to magically subsume everything. To this end it evokes external agents of metabolic rift. The false symmetry this affects, permits the idea of an apocalyptic clash to maintain its purchase upon the collective imaginary – such that not only is an identification established between, for example, a self-proclaimed “historical triumph of liberal democracy / capitalism” & “the end of History,” but also between the prospect of an “end of capitalism” & “the end of the world.” Discursive strategies of this kind attempt to establish an unassailable antinomy, precluding critique: e.g. if “capitalist realism” = the field of representational possibility across the “totality” of signspace, then the “end of capitalism” must correspond to an impossibility of representation: the unpresentable itself. This space outside signspace has two forms of “existence.” One is deconstructive of the very logic of representation itself. The other caters to a romantic egoism, of the “individual” persuaded of its freedom to choose, & which believes – as the algorithmic logic trap has persuaded it to believe – that this “unpresentability” can serve as the paradigm of an exit strategy. But this romantic egoism isn’t opposed to the Corporate-State, it is the Corporate-State. Its EXIT is nothing but a movement of ever-more-complete capture.



“Excessive” overproduction (meaning production, anxiety production, gratification production, debt production, etc., etc.) isn’t, therefore, a consequence of a lack of ideological planning (as if in contrast to the totalitarian “idea”) – it is, it has been from the beginning, the driving strategy of its exhaustion of the means of opposition to its system of power. The acme of overproduction as strategy is the globalised Corporate-State, in whose operations the tractor-beam of political totality mirrors the homogenised, world-saturating production of totalitarian signspace. In this the rationalist mantra of “meaning is power, power is meaning” achieves its apotheosis. Even those who riot in the streets are following a convention, a genre of “social contract.” If an avantgarde is capable of existing today, it will arise from the necessity to abolish & reinvent a politics that is nothing but a conditioned response, a formalised ritual of punishment & reward, a nostalgic “neoclassicism” (democracy of slaveowners), an aesthetics of individual emancipation purchased by collective supplication, abasement, procession of flagellants, etc. There are those who wld prefer not to analyse the “reason why.” Yet possibility & its consciousness are the only serious revolutionary arguments. Not simply to break the “mind-forged manacles” of the Corporate-State, but to abolish the world in which such manacles exist & in which the minds that forge them exist.



Totalitarianism, born of historical paradox, is the ideology of risk mitigated to the nth degree: to whom, alone, the future is permitted to bear no surprises & is thus the ultimate political weapon. Such is its dream, its promise, like every other world-beating lunatic since time began. Its “genius” has been to convince a willing audience that all this is the case. It has expropriated to its monopoly not only the “science” of what is known or knowable, but that of indeterminacy & the unknowable. Like a Janus head, totalitarianism & the reduction of cybernetics. It opens its mouth onto a great hermeneutic spiral in which all of reality is drawn down. The inescapable algorithm in which the indefinable is trapped like some ready-to-hand Minotaur – to be mocked, paraded, or ritually slain as circumstance requires. It is the parlour magician whose left hand is constantly outwitting its right hand, to the astonishment of an audience willing to pay to see more. Its relation to History is as an undertaker’s relation to living memory. Its adversities are seasonal teledramas. Its progress is a rote itinerary of ecstatic triumphs. It’s the child-eyed Maxwell’s Demon in the sandbox, turning entropy on its head. Time is its greatest accomplishment: an endlessly recyclable commodity that doesn’t even exist. When it says “ever after,” it means it.



The basis & sine qua non of political hysteria is the existence of “reality.” It is from this reality that contradiction is born, which ideology seeks to negate, to normalise, to reduce to a system of ramifications. It is from an irrational fear of contradiction that the totalising movement of ideology gives rise to its ironic doppelganger: totalitarianism. It is the raison d’être of totalitarianism not merely to negate but to forge an equivalence between all contradicting terms, no matter how disparate, tenuous or imaginary, & thereby reduce them to the mark of a singular adversary. This universal adversary is in fact the guardian of totalitarianism’s one true utopia – for in the struggle against it, ideology bases its claim upon a destiny of cosmic dimensions. Yet in the face of ever more tenacious forms of contradiction in the material world, such ideological “reason” withdraws into that primordial abyss from which it has always pretended to have emancipated those flattered by the name of Homo Sapiens. This abyssal plunge is like a nova, drawing all worldly contradictions into an ultimate cataclysm, so as to project into the remaining void one final, all-enveloping & infallible image of itself. The further it plunges, the greater the archaic depths of sacrificial mania this image demands, till it collapses in on itself in the convulsions of mass-suicide, blackhole metaphysics.



JULY 2020


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