On the thither side of rationality: A conversation with oneself where many strange entities are invited
[N]ow that the long senile spectre of the greatest imaginable reterritorialisation of planetary process has faded from the horizon, cyber revolutionary impetus is cutting away from its last shackles to the past. Nick Land Write with slogans. Write to the nth degree. Deleuze & Guattari
There is no single event of Deleuze’s thought for the simple reason that we are all "Deleuzians" now, which means that we are always becoming-other, in that what matters in the reading and praxis of philosophy is folding, unfolding and refolding in order to produce the new and the strange out of the old and familiar.
The "long senile spectre" is Bookchin ! We have, for too long, zombied trance-like in the wake of the political. Anti-humanist anarcho-philosophy offers little almost nothing: merely to experiment with thought. Merely to think anew, to begin at the beginning, to ravish the foundations. To offer a little rigour in our sceptical endeavours. Anti-humanist anarcho-philosophy is systematically produced for the flailed, rhizo-crazed, machinically attuned, zero-intoxicated band of transversal entropy-inducers. The word "anarcho-philosophy" sounds in itself machinic; it is itself a machine part "an-archism" the piston hisses. And we are in thrall to this hissing propulsion and evidence of heroic personal defiance to the momentum is but a symptom of schizo-paranoic malfunction. Our time is the time of a becoming-machinic, a futural temporality. Rhizo-anarcho-philosophy celebrates with irresponsible viroid promiscuity the death of the Human Security System. Our time is a time that grows a little colder, a little blacker, and we ought to bethink it a little more rigorously. Yet, anarcho-philosophy takes care not to indulge itself in the self-flagellation found in the blackest of all black melancholy - humanism.
The scandal of all hitherto anarcho-philosophy to date is the lack of incessant and impersonal critical thinking. Revolutionaries often forget, or do not like to recognise, that one wants revolution out of desire, not duty. Anti-Oedipus.
Anarcho-philosophy lacks modernity’s obsessions and neuroses. Experimental thought processes indicate that the foundations are coming away. Critical, futural, thinking blasts back against the indulgences and antecedents of the past. Our time is a time of knowing no boundaries, of ripping the heart out of faith in Man, of engaging with inhuman couplings with alien becomings.
The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries, and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language... The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped all superstition in regard to the past.... In order to arrive at its content, the revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead.
As an experiment we push things further upstream and this is always a perilous journey. And, of course, regarding this terrible curettage, this malevolent activity: we haven’t seen anything yet. But where does this get us. We by-pass Massumi’s and De Landa’s ravings and mad humanist mumblings. We look contemptuously askance at the humanist farce as we wiz by. We steer neither toward "croaking theo-humanists" offering yet another spent salvation or utopos nor toward the old political sphere of states, monarchies, elections or new orders.
Completing the process and not arresting it, and making it turn about in the void, not assigning it a goal. We’ll never go too far with the process of deterritorialisation, the decoding of flows.
Deleuze & Guattari
Nothing joins and does not interrupt us along the process. But what of this schizoanalytic process? Is it the cure? One must note that one thing is for sure: no political program can be elaborated within the structure of schizoanalysis. Schizoid anti-politics is thus a permanent problematic which cannot be exempt from its own critical underpinnings. What has to be jettisoned from a schizoid anti-politics?
Capital only retains anthropological characteristics as a symptom of underdevelopment, reformatting primate behaviour as inertia to be dissipated in self-reinforcing artificiality. Man is something for it to overcome: a problem, drag.
Caught within the spiralling inanities of its own vacuity, the subject emerges as a vagrant, an anonymous tick looping aimlessly across the wastelands of senescing humanism.
On anarchist philosophy: at first glance, the most significant subject subject to schizoanalysis’s ignorance of boundaries is Philosophy itself. Why does anarcho-philosophy require a philosophy or philosophers to legitimise it? Why does it need a Kropotkin or Bakunin, a Deleuze or a Guattari? Schizoid anti-politics requires neither philosophy or bedrock nor foundation nor father? The use/abuse of philosophy is always a question of theft; we are but diamond thieves and polishers of concepts.
And speaking of theft,
But if Nietzsche does not belong to philosophy, it is perhaps because he was the first to conceive of another kind of discourse as counter-philosophy. This discourse is above all nomadic; its statements can be conceived as the products of a mobile war machine and not the utterances of a rational, administrative machinery, whose philosophers would be bureaucrats of pure reason.
Deleuze & Guattari
Nietzsche and Deleuze, both philosophers, both philosophers of the concept and creativity, think other than the traditional model of philosophy. Another conceptual artist argues thus:
Philosophy, in its longing to rationalise, formalise, define, delimit, to terminate enigma and uncertainty, to cooperate wholeheartedly with the police, is nihilistic in the ultimate sense that it strives for the immobile perfection of death. But creativity cannot be brought to an end that is compatible with power, for unless life is extinguished, control must inevitably break down.
Traditionally, we pay homage, we respect, we kneel down to pray, we laugh at witless jokes, we say they are geniuses in the universities and burry ourselves deep in solitude to emulate them. Without the rock of hierarchy, all things rhizomatic spell the end of this utter, utter folly. But there is another way, another way of doing things without the hypocrisy and becoming-servant. Philosophers that one-day will think? As Deleuze says
I believe, to view the history of philosophy as a screwing process or, what amounts to the same thing, an immaculate conception. I would imagine myself approaching an author from behind, and making him a child, who would indeed be his and would, nevertheless, be monstrous… But that the child be monstrous was also a requisite because it was necessary to go through all kinds of decenterings, slidings, splittings, secret discharges which have given me much pleasure.
Post-structural political philosophy has many detractors. There are those who find little serious content within their work. Richard Barbrook sees little positive political significance within the manifold texts of Deleuze and Guattari. Barbrook fails to see the moment of praxis within the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. A concept is a brick to hurl at the court of reason. Instead of seeking out the knotted and knarled refusal mechanisms, a critic points out the forlorn uses of theory.
However, belief in the overthrow of capitalism is no longer credible. Therefore, contemporary European intellectuals have turned social transformation into theoretical poetry "a revolutionary dreamtime for the imagination. The cult of Deleuze and Guattari is a prime example of this aesthetisation of Sixties’ radicalism".
In response to Barbrook’s malign slandering, let us simply say: And never mind those who believe that this is very easy to say, or that it is the sort of idea to be found in books. But what is this we hear? Deleuze and Guattari are full blown anarchists. Deleuze and Guattari championed the most radical expression of Sixties politics: anarcho-communism - Barbrook. And again a little later on: Like much of the post-’68 New Left, the two philosophers instead looked to social movements of youth, feminists, ecologists, homosexuals and immigrants to "deterritorialise" the power of the state- Barbrook. This notion is widespread and such notaries as Massumi are also complicit in such hostile dissemination.
The becoming-other may also take the form shape of more diffuse and longer lived "movements" which "in the judgement of both those in power and already-existing opposition forces" are of indefinite and highly suspect ideological character: examples from [the] sixties include the Situationists in France, the Provos and Kabouters of the Netherlands, the Yippies and their allies in the US; in the seventies, the Italian autonomists; in the eighties, the convergence of squatters, associated marginals, the extra parliamentary Greens in Northern Europe and in general, the "radical" wings of feminist and other minority movements. One of the few examples of a possibility supermolecular formation holding a territorial base over a significant stretch of time is the Catalonian anarchists during the Spanish Civil War.
Why did it turn out so badly?
Barbrook and, to some extent, Massumi have obviously thought about this too literally and not deeply enough. Schizoid anti-politics looks neither for marginals (holy fools) to lump its theoretical postulates upon nor for new masters or holy prophets. Senescent humanist complaints render the world listless and nauseous. It is important to not that the end of the nation state, the Oedipal family, traditional political occur not by personal human intervention or heroism but by impersonal economic matter accelerating out of control: the runaway process can’t be stopped but only pushed to its limit to its moment of hyperlogical overdrive.
A system is abolished only by pushing it into hyper logic, by forcing it into an excessive practice which is equivalent to a brutal amortization. “You want us to consume - OK, let’s consume always more, and anything whatsoever; for any useless and absurd purpose.
The schizo-capitalist mode of production veers towards the limit of its own existence whilst simultaneously diverting its myopically mad gaze away from the imminent limit of collapse (destruction.). The schizophrenic deliberately sets out the very limit of capitalism: he is its inherent tendency brought to its fulfilment; its surplus product, its proletariat, and its exterminating angel. He scrambles all the codes and is the transmitter of the decoded flows of desire -
Deleuze & Guattari
The line of flight connects with inhuman futures and possibly infected alien becomings. It is the source of creativity, is the fund of experimentation. But why do things turn out so badly? Why does dysfunction occur? Is it merely a question of energy?
[B]ut it would be oversimplifying to believe that the only risk they fear and confront is allowing themselves to be recaptured in the end, letting themselves be sealed in, tied up, reknotted, reterritorialised. They themselves emanate a strange despair, like an odour of death and immolation, a state of war from which one returns broken: they have their own dangers... Why is the line of flight a war one risks coming back from defeated, destroyed, after having destroyed everything one could? This, precisely is the fourth danger: the line of fight crossing the wall, getting out of the black holes, but instead of connecting with other lines and each time augmenting its valence, turning to destruction, abolition pure and simple, the passion of abolition.
Deleuze & Guattari.
There are risks, enemies, stalwarts, and bellwethers on all sides. Things will never be easy to change. But why does the gambit with desire provide constant ammunition and immunity for the lovers of self-repression? Why does the challenge to a one-dimensional rationality always ÇíÇïÇé the risk of making a fool of us? Freedom from social mores leads us on a path of wild abandon, gay sciences become possible once again.
Indeed, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel, when we hear the news that "the old God is dead", as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, premonitions, expectations. At long last the horizon appears free to us again, even if it should not be bright; at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been an "open sea".
But such sciences leads us also to the brink of derangement, the process the process and never the cure. But we lose control, our sense of self, the safety of our plot of land. It all goes badly wrong. "The sleep or reason produces monsters". Ours is a becoming- monstrous and our time is a time for radical inhumanities.
On the thither side of rationality
Deleuzoguattarian philosophy offers a deep fund for rejuvenating anarcho-philosophy from its dull and staid 19th century theoretical underpinnings. The nexus of marx-nietzsche-deleuze may one day give anarcho-philosophy a degree of verve, not to say credibility. Foucault is famous for declaring, albeit in a kind of mock homage to Deleuze that one day this (20th) century will be known as Deleuzian. Perhaps we can say that one day this century will be known as the anarchist century. Having seen nothing yet, must we go in the direction of deterritorialisation at all costs? Must we push desire to the limit and beyond (and for any absurd purpose)? If anarcho-philosophy is to embrace this radical and uncompromising Deleuzoguattarian stance then life will surely becoming wilder and colder. There is a sense in which anarcho-philosophy, as a theory that has a peripheral role within political philosophy, must look squarely at the prospect of including this extreme reading of Deleuze and Guattari if it is to go under again!
But caution caution caution, not to say betrayal!
Radical and uncompromising deleuzoguattarian motifs are located, for the most part, in Anti-Oedipus but in A Thousand Plateaus we read several exhortations for caution with regard to too rapid deterritorialisation. The essence of this turn about is that wild and reckless destratification carries with it its own dangers. We are advised to carry a little new land with us at all times- a possible home to return to.
But is it fruitful though to reject wholesale these exhortations and embrace instead the wild style of philosophy and politics, to go as far as one can in the direction of the limits of capitalism and schizophrenia? The State, the fucking Church, God, Oedipal, pappa-mamma-me, Capitalism/Socialism, Nature/Human and many other dualisms are all left behind in the search for a new vocabulary and earth for a people yet to come. But the search for a new vocabulary is illuminating for it shows the dangers present on the thither side if rationality. Independent deleuzoguattarians are vigilant and loyal opponents to theorists who reterritorialise on the concepts of State, Family and the Police. Yet the problem lies in the seductions of irrationality and the extreme. Mysticism, esoterica, the anachronistic and the bizarre are so very tempting for those who yearn for the thither side of orthodoxy.
But is this a warming full of the very worst sort of feeble conservatism?
The question still stands: why do things turn out badly for those who seek out the limit of capitalism and schizophrenia? Why do our lines of flight smell so much of death and morbid self-immolation? The job is of schizoanalysis is to understand the precise nature of the danger of each line.
It is wise but forlorn for anarchistic deleuzoguattarians to protect themselves from the inherent dangers of too rapid (and in the case of anarcho-philosophy, too rabid) deterritorialisation. The problem with reading Deleuze and Guattari as champions of extreme individualism à la Max Stirner and his ego is that the process of creativity and mutation requires a population ripe for the mutating. Anarchism should think it profitable to engage itself in the agon of inter-disciplinary research. It is simply not enough to find sanctuary in the mumblings and stumblings of 19th century aristocrats. That the sleep of reason engenders monsters, in a sense, need not worry anarcho-philosophy for the becoming monstrous of anarcho-philosophy is equally the beginning of positive hybridity and anarcho-philosophy’s true undergoing.
The real question of revolution is one of blowing apart the refusal mechanisms that bind schizoid anti-fascists to the normal and the familiar and stop schizoid anarcho-philosophy from attaching itself to the impersonal and unsentimental dark sources of becoming monstrous and inhuman. Yes, we must learn to growl and distort ourselves. Completing the process and arresting it, not making it turn about in the void, not assigning it a goal.
What do anarchists make such bad anarchists? The deleuzoguattarian answer would highlight the relationship of desire desiring its own repression and anarcho-philosophy’s micro-fascist unconscious impulses.
And of course there is a sense in which the desires of anarcho-philosophy desire their own repression. We love to get on our knees and worship masters past and present. When are we to become other? Again, there are dangers for us; events can turn nasty if we violently and wildly destratify.
If anarcho-philosophy is but the symptom of a deeper cultural malaise, a fundamental expression of nihilism as Nietzsche so arrestingly noted, then anarcho-philosophy must grasp its enthraldom with zero by the nettle. Zero is the motor of anarchism’s history. But our nihilism and sickness is positive for our becoming-pathological is a sign of our undergoing. Zero is the vortex of a becoming inhuman that lures desire out from the corpse of man onto the open expanse of death
Let us not delude ourselves. What goes under the names of schizoanalysis, nomadic, pragmatics within the oeuvre of Deleuze and Guattari is not another feeble and sentimental attempt to revitalise humanism socialism. An extreme interpretation of anti-humanist philosophy reads schizoanalysis, nomadic, pragmatics as cruel and impersonal practices. A malevolent activity, a terrible curettage. As Nick Land scrawls: "[S]chizoanalysis shares in the delicious irresponsibility of everything anarchic, inundating, and harshly impersonal". "Nomadism, while morally neutral and often cruel, offers at least the glimmer of a possibility excluded by the State Ideal: a collective existence that affirms differences as such and fosters creation, unbounded".
But do we want to create a new anarchist philosophy, and as unfashionable as it may seem, a grand narrative? Is it necessary for Philosophy to befriend anarchism as a guardian protects the weak?
Philosophy in its longing to rationalise, formalise, define, delimit, to terminate enigma and uncertainty, to cooperate wholeheartedly with the police is in the ultimate sense that it strives for the immobile perfection of death. But creativity cannot be brought to an end that is compatible with power, for unless life is extinguished control must inevitably break down.
I am a writing machine. The last machine has been added. The thing flows. Between me and the machine there is no estrangement. I am the machine
This mutating and monstrous writing-machine is the product of an unholy birth. My primordial ur-mother was fucked by ur-anarchists, machinically fucked by ur-machines. Something came from the outside