Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Wed May 16, 2018 3:06 pm

Moved from GD
Land's a trickster though Which I mean in a way that's value neutral, not commending. And, for that matter, Noys is lame. He has tried, as I see it, to coopt and re-author accelerationism as socialism (UBI etc) but came off as bizarrely and infuriatingly self-important when I saw him. In some very base way, he is politically more on "my side" than Land, but in all other senses, no.

I mean, in fairness, the crack-up is obvious to everyone, no? I'd say Land embodies the vulgarities of Gonzo-ism more than neofascism or etc. There's not a chance in hell that a Breitbart commenter alive has made it through more than a page and a half of the paranoid and dissolute thicket that is Fanged Noumena. Again, not commending so much as suggesting Land is most likely a fetish object for at least some of his followers - a smartypants who apparently agrees with them, but they're taking it at face value.

I am sure I repeat myself here so apologies in advance (and I probably oughta find a passage to copypaste here at this point) but I recall Land saying some fucking interesting stuff about space futures and slavery at one point wherein he sort of begged a question about the poverty of the human imagination as it imagined itself traveling the cosmos. IE are we really so creatively enfeebled as to think that the phenotypical differences which invent race are anything but a historical accident? That by so so essentializing the past 500 years we stand to reduce our field of philosophical vision as if to horse blinders. Clearly he went down a path where he began to taunt those for whom slavery and white supremacy is too sacred/taboo to platform such discussions. But the underlying point, IMHO, always seemed more liberatory than repressive.

I dunno. Maybe that's my own curious read or my own desire for what Land *could* be getting too mixed up in what he has actually said but then, if so, I'd argue that's kind of what much of the Dark Enlightenment youth crew (xDEHCx) is doing too.

In sum, I'd definitely go see him talk and listen relatively carefully. I continue to find him worth engaging. Maybe Steve Bannon will smoke me out after the lecture...
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed May 16, 2018 3:19 pm

Makes sense. Still, I'm left wondering how much "Amphetamine Psychosis" explains the shift? Edmund Berger is many things but politically I consider him most in the spirit of '68 (Libertarian Communism). Benjamin Noys I don't know personally but I consider very roughly parallel.


liminalOyster » Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 pm wrote:Moved from GD
Land's a trickster though Which I mean in a way that's value neutral, not commending. And, for that matter, Noys is lame. He has tried, as I see it, to coopt and re-author accelerationism as socialism (UBI etc) but came off as bizarrely and infuriatingly self-important when I saw him. In some very base way, he is politically more on "my side" than Land, but in all other senses, no.

I mean, in fairness, the crack-up is obvious to everyone, no? I'd say Land embodies the vulgarities of Gonzo-ism more than neofascism or etc. There's not a chance in hell that a Breitbart commenter alive has made it through more than a page and a half of the paranoid and dissolute thicket that is Fanged Noumena. Again, not commending so much as suggesting Land is most likely a fetish object for at least some of his followers - a smartypants who apparently agrees with them, but they're taking it at face value.

I am sure I repeat myself here so apologies in advance (and I probably oughta find a passage to copypaste here at this point) but I recall Land saying some fucking interesting stuff about space futures and slavery at one point wherein he sort of begged a question about the poverty of the human imagination as it imagined itself traveling the cosmos. IE are we really so creatively enfeebled as to think that the phenotypical differences which invent race are anything but a historical accident? That by so so essentializing the past 500 years we stand to reduce our field of philosophical vision as if to horse blinders. Clearly he went down a path where he began to taunt those for whom slavery and white supremacy is too sacred/taboo to platform such discussions. But the underlying point, IMHO, always seemed more liberatory than repressive.

I dunno. Maybe that's my own curious read or my own desire for what Land *could* be getting too mixed up in what he has actually said but then, if so, I'd argue that's kind of what much of the Dark Enlightenment youth crew (xDEHCx) is doing too.

In sum, I'd definitely go see him talk and listen relatively carefully. I continue to find him worth engaging. Maybe Steve Bannon will smoke me out after the lecture...
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Thu May 17, 2018 12:48 pm

Land agrees with you but more about the work at that time than the reason for any shift:

Let’s get this out of the way: In any normative, clinical, or social sense of the word, very simply, Land did ‘go mad.’ Afterwards he did not shrink from meticulously documenting this process, as if writing up a failed experiment.7 He regarded the degeneration of his ‘breakthrough’ into a ‘breakdown’ as ultimate and humiliating proof of the incapacity of the human to escape the ‘headcase,’ the prison of the personal self. Wretchedly, for Land, it was no longer possible to tell whether his speculative epiphanies had been (as he had believed at the height of his delirium) glimmers of access to the transcendental – or just the pathetic derangements of a psyche pushed to the derisory limits of its tolerance. The experiment was over.

When I contacted Land about the republication of his works, he did not protest, but had nothing to add: It’s another life; I have nothing to say about it – I don’t even remember writing half of those things ... I don’t want to get into retrospectively condemning my ancient work – I think it’s best to gently back off. It belongs in the clawed embrace of the undead amphetamine god.

http://divus.cc/london/en/article/nick- ... humanismus (super good piece on the whole thing btw, surely already on RI somewhere, maybe posted by me)


Deleuze and Guattari's whole project really emerges from critical "analysis" of May 68. Like, the Marx part explains the alienation but accounted for neither the suddenness of the event or for its failure, hence we need a psychoanalytics thereof. Why does Capital always win? I think an affinity for some of the basic so-called politics (parties, union support, etc) of M68 are a given, practically, for any of these people. But its' necessarily a different sort of arena than the thought/philosophy. Its 50 years later. Identifying too much with that view as viable now would be a bit like calling yourself a Bolshevik back in '68. To revivify that language and view now would be nostalgic to the point of retro chic, IMHO.

As mentioned, I saw Noys speak to a group of respected academics, some decades his senior, and found the kind of total-program and total-solution feeling of his presentation extremely off-putting in a room full of people who'd devoted a great deal of their time and life-force to really studying Marxism etc.

If Land votes Farage or forms a party with Bannon then yeah fuck that part of him. But as it stands most of his writing is simply too esoteric to be seen as a rising fascist threat. And he remains on a trajectory that has intellectual integrity, IMHO. Not to say it's valuable or to be romanticized or whatever but for all the fervor about radicalizing the mundane of everyday life in base French theory, Land really took that and ran with it, albeit into the mouth of madness. I think Land is interesting in that he sort of revealed a spectral moralism lurking in even D/G's attitude toward Capital. I think most people get absolutely terrified (who knows, maybe with good reason) to let that moralism fall away for even long enough to imagine or conjure alternative possible modalities of critique and praxis.

I got alot out of the piece linked above and this last two paragraphs nicely ties it together:

It is indeed true that Land’s attempts to reach the intensive burncore of the planetary process, by hooking up conceptual thought to libidinising cultural energy, was always balanced between a romanticism of abolition and a dubious desire to identify with the ‘exciting’ and ‘intense’ phenomena presented by capitalism. Land gradually abandoned as too-conservative even Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘cautious’ division of capitalism into a ‘good’ destratifying or deterritorialising side and the ‘bad’ mechanisms of reterritorialisation. In the name of a non-negotiable hatred for the fetters of the human, he may have risked wholesale capitulation to the new powers (all-too-human) that take hold of the earth as soon as its old power structures are dismantled – and which make use of every base reflex of homo sapiens for their own, ultimately banal, ends.

But to take this point of view is to avoid confronting the most potent aspects of Land’s thought. His heresy was twofold: it consisted not only in his attempt to ‘melt’ writing immanently into the processes it described, but also in his dedication to thinking the real process of Capital’s insidious takeover of the human (and the legacy of this process within philosophy) – and in admitting the laughable impotence of ‘man’ in the face of this process. In this respect he has not yet been ‘proved wrong,’ despite a recent upsurge in wishful thinking. His work still poses acutely – in a variety of forms – the challenge of thinking contemporary life on this planet: A planet piloted from the future by something that comes from outside personal or collective human intention, and which we can no longer pretend has anything to do with reason or progress.


I admit that I personally think that last bolded bit dovetails remarkably well with one of the central precepts from this forum's more Cthulic-focused salad days.



American Dream » Wed May 16, 2018 3:19 pm wrote:Makes sense. Still, I'm left wondering how much "Amphetamine Psychosis" explains the shift? Edmund Berger is many things but politically I consider him most in the spirit of '68 (Libertarian Communism). Benjamin Noys I don't know personally but I consider very roughly parallel.


liminalOyster » Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 pm wrote:Moved from GD
Land's a trickster though Which I mean in a way that's value neutral, not commending. And, for that matter, Noys is lame. He has tried, as I see it, to coopt and re-author accelerationism as socialism (UBI etc) but came off as bizarrely and infuriatingly self-important when I saw him. In some very base way, he is politically more on "my side" than Land, but in all other senses, no.

I mean, in fairness, the crack-up is obvious to everyone, no? I'd say Land embodies the vulgarities of Gonzo-ism more than neofascism or etc. There's not a chance in hell that a Breitbart commenter alive has made it through more than a page and a half of the paranoid and dissolute thicket that is Fanged Noumena. Again, not commending so much as suggesting Land is most likely a fetish object for at least some of his followers - a smartypants who apparently agrees with them, but they're taking it at face value.

I am sure I repeat myself here so apologies in advance (and I probably oughta find a passage to copypaste here at this point) but I recall Land saying some fucking interesting stuff about space futures and slavery at one point wherein he sort of begged a question about the poverty of the human imagination as it imagined itself traveling the cosmos. IE are we really so creatively enfeebled as to think that the phenotypical differences which invent race are anything but a historical accident? That by so so essentializing the past 500 years we stand to reduce our field of philosophical vision as if to horse blinders. Clearly he went down a path where he began to taunt those for whom slavery and white supremacy is too sacred/taboo to platform such discussions. But the underlying point, IMHO, always seemed more liberatory than repressive.

I dunno. Maybe that's my own curious read or my own desire for what Land *could* be getting too mixed up in what he has actually said but then, if so, I'd argue that's kind of what much of the Dark Enlightenment youth crew (xDEHCx) is doing too.

In sum, I'd definitely go see him talk and listen relatively carefully. I continue to find him worth engaging. Maybe Steve Bannon will smoke me out after the lecture...
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby identity » Thu May 17, 2018 6:45 pm

Here's the latest trend in the world of Tantra:

Middle-class people are taking MDMA wrapped in cheese in a new trend called 'brieing'

In metropolitan places, it's not unheard of for people to sit down for a dinner party, then order a gram of coke from their dealer afterward. It may sound like an outlandish alternative to a cheese board, but according to the Metro, some middle-class women are combining the two ideas in a new fad called "brieing."

The Metro spoke with a 50-year-old woman who said she often hosted dinner parties where she and her friends would take MDMA — the most common ingredient in ecstasy pills — wrapped in cheese.
When asked why she decided to do this, she said it was to improve her friendships.
"I have a strong circle of female friends and we had tried all the latest fads, food fashions, and destination dinner parties but something was missing," she told the Metro. "We did not seem to have as much of a laugh than as when we were younger, there always seemed to be barriers up between us."

So, after being given a gram of MDMA by her daughter, and strict instructions to swallow rather than snort it from her son, she and her friends wrapped the substance in pieces of brie and ate it.
"Nothing much happened for forty minutes then the colours in the rug seemed to be a more vivid and before I know it was in an in-depth conversation about my fantasy sex life with an old friend," the woman said. "It was such an intense experience. I am sure most of us at that party have done it with other friends so now wrapping MDMA in brie seems to be a thing now."
In fact, a year later, the woman said she had been invited to several "brieing" parties. She reckons it has taken off because it is "such a middle class way to take drugs."

According to the Global Drugs Survey, MDMA is one of the most popular illicit drugs in the world, and its use has increased in recent years.
There is also a growing body of research into how MDMA can be used in a therapeutic setting. For example, a recent study suggests it could be a candidate for PTSD treatment.

Recreational users simply enjoy taking it for the buzz, vivid colors, and affection they feel for the people around them. The GDS identified MDMA as the fourth-least-harmful drug out of the 13 surveyed, just above ketamine, cannabis, and psilocybin (magic mushrooms).
One woman, however, told the Metro she somewhat regretted her brieing experience, because of the midweek comedown that followed.
"I thought it was funny that we were all taking 'E's n Cheese' together and we did have a real laugh on the night," she said. "But the come down I had was absolutely terrible, perhaps because I do not have a partner to go home to and get a big hug from it was worse for me. I still felt incredibly sad on the Tuesday night after taking it at the weekend, I will never be doing it again."

http://www.businessinsider.com/posh-people-taking-mdma-with-cheese-in-brieing-trend-2018-5
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed May 23, 2018 11:44 pm

liminalOyster » Thu May 17, 2018 11:48 am wrote:
Deleuze and Guattari's whole project really emerges from critical "analysis" of May 68. Like, the Marx part explains the alienation but accounted for neither the suddenness of the event or for its failure, hence we need a psychoanalytics thereof. Why does Capital always win? I think an affinity for some of the basic so-called politics (parties, union support, etc) of M68 are a given, practically, for any of these people. But its' necessarily a different sort of arena than the thought/philosophy. Its 50 years later. Identifying too much with that view as viable now would be a bit like calling yourself a Bolshevik back in '68. To revivify that language and view now would be nostalgic to the point of retro chic, IMHO.


Yeah, I see them as representing a trajectory reaching back through '68, certainly not as fossils of that time.

As mentioned, I saw Noys speak to a group of respected academics, some decades his senior, and found the kind of total-program and total-solution feeling of his presentation extremely off-putting in a room full of people who'd devoted a great deal of their time and life-force to really studying Marxism etc.


Communization Theory seems to be a refuge for the strategically weak ultras who may not want to accept the direness of their situation.

If Land votes Farage or forms a party with Bannon then yeah fuck that part of him. But as it stands most of his writing is simply too esoteric to be seen as a rising fascist threat. And he remains on a trajectory that has intellectual integrity, IMHO. Not to say it's valuable or to be romanticized or whatever but for all the fervor about radicalizing the mundane of everyday life in base French theory, Land really took that and ran with it, albeit into the mouth of madness. I think Land is interesting in that he sort of revealed a spectral moralism lurking in even D/G's attitude toward Capital. I think most people get absolutely terrified (who knows, maybe with good reason) to let that moralism fall away for even long enough to imagine or conjure alternative possible modalities of critique and praxis.


I don't find Land particularly frightening, though the credibility he might lend to (post)-Third Positionist politics is to me, a cause of some concern.

His heresy was twofold: it consisted not only in his attempt to ‘melt’ writing immanently into the processes it described, but also in his dedication to thinking the real process of Capital’s insidious takeover of the human (and the legacy of this process within philosophy) – and in admitting the laughable impotence of ‘man’ in the face of this process. In this respect he has not yet been ‘proved wrong,’ despite a recent upsurge in wishful thinking. His work still poses acutely – in a variety of forms – the challenge of thinking contemporary life on this planet: A planet piloted from the future by something that comes from outside personal or collective human intention, and which we can no longer pretend has anything to do with reason or progress.


Yes, but do we really need Land to do this?
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Thu May 24, 2018 3:17 pm

American Dream » Wed May 23, 2018 11:44 pm wrote:
His heresy was twofold: it consisted not only in his attempt to ‘melt’ writing immanently into the processes it described, but also in his dedication to thinking the real process of Capital’s insidious takeover of the human (and the legacy of this process within philosophy) – and in admitting the laughable impotence of ‘man’ in the face of this process. In this respect he has not yet been ‘proved wrong,’ despite a recent upsurge in wishful thinking. His work still poses acutely – in a variety of forms – the challenge of thinking contemporary life on this planet: A planet piloted from the future by something that comes from outside personal or collective human intention, and which we can no longer pretend has anything to do with reason or progress.


Yes, but do we really need Land to do this?


At the height of the linguistic turn? We probably did. I think this notion of an abstract non-human future-teleology in relation to which we have little to no agency is pretty unusual and I find it interesting (but not sure I could defend it formally).

ps. I didn't mean people are terrified of Land. They're not. But I do think the willingness to suspend conventional moralism towards truly new ethics is often anxiety provoking for even pretty out there academics.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu May 24, 2018 3:29 pm

I'm undecided about Nick Land. His unfortunate turn towards what seems excessively reactionary confuses me and I'm not happy with it. Anti-fascist concerns seem the higher priority, though I am undecided about any particular deplatforming campaigns, as I don't fully understand the context and concerns. In the case of LD50 Gallery I have the impression that they were fashy types using Nick Land as a kind of spearhead. Do you think that's a valid concern?



liminalOyster » Thu May 24, 2018 2:17 pm wrote:
American Dream » Wed May 23, 2018 11:44 pm wrote:
His heresy was twofold: it consisted not only in his attempt to ‘melt’ writing immanently into the processes it described, but also in his dedication to thinking the real process of Capital’s insidious takeover of the human (and the legacy of this process within philosophy) – and in admitting the laughable impotence of ‘man’ in the face of this process. In this respect he has not yet been ‘proved wrong,’ despite a recent upsurge in wishful thinking. His work still poses acutely – in a variety of forms – the challenge of thinking contemporary life on this planet: A planet piloted from the future by something that comes from outside personal or collective human intention, and which we can no longer pretend has anything to do with reason or progress.


Yes, but do we really need Land to do this?


At the height of the linguistic turn? We probably did. I think this notion of an abstract non-human future-teleology in relation to which we have little to no agency is pretty unusual and I find it interesting (but not sure I could defend it formally).

ps. I didn't mean people are terrified of Land. They're not. But I do think the willingness to suspend conventional moralism towards truly new ethics is often anxiety provoking for even pretty out there academics.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Thu May 24, 2018 4:08 pm

American Dream » Thu May 24, 2018 3:29 pm wrote:I'm undecided about Nick Land. His unfortunate turn towards what seems excessively reactionary confuses me and I'm not happy with it. Anti-fascist concerns seem the higher priority, though I am undecided about any particular deplatforming campaigns, as I don't fully understand the context and concerns. In the case of LD50 Gallery I have the impression that they were fashy types using Nick Land as a kind of spearhead. Do you think that's a valid concern?


Personally, no, I don't, at all. Land doesn't shout people down. Fascist or not, he's not opposed to discourse and dialogue. Plus the majority of press and activity was much more in the spirit of Antifa sloganeering than pro-fascist. I have a friend ( who I like to rib alot) that's a pretty classic highly educated but working class alt-right type Brit. He's ostensibly not racist/fascist but very well versed in Peterson and Milo and Farage and loves Bannon and Trump and etc. At the time of the LD50 event, I know he'd never even heard of Land.

I mean, whatever, Nick Land today is not that interesting at all. I just think he is one of few theoreticians who, in the past, has done sacrilege/taboo in a way that is interesting which is, IMO, a rare win for a frequently attempted move.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu May 24, 2018 4:21 pm

In an arena like this, anti-fascist resources are invaluable. In the streets, I have mixed feelings about the movement, just as I do regarding Anarchism and other left tendencies.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu May 24, 2018 6:10 pm

GNOMES ON A HOT TIN DRUM

Image
Ottmar Hoerl, Straubing, Germany

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him;You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.”—Friedrich Nietzsche


Nietzsche created a framework involving a re-description of existence as an aesthetic phenomenon; involving an understanding of a work of art as self referential, as containing its own criteria of legitimation. A morality, artistically convened, with the pallor and odour of death. … ” how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and your life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal”. Hoerl’s protest art must be seen from a peculiar and idiosyncratic German perspective; one that sustains this doctrine of eternal recurrence through its dependency on grounding the value of one’s existence as work of art.One reason the Third Reich’s actions are still so potent as pop-art, and culture material, is that the nazis didn’t seem to have any valid reason for what they did, so any number of motives can be ascribed to the actions. Murder is a substitute for social revolution, and on the mass scale of euthanasia and multiple and simultaneous ”final” and ”final final” solutions, a way to turn negatonist and nihilistic energies back toward the creation of a new culture which ultimately devoured itself.

But back to the Hitler dwarves.Gnomes originate in Germany from the late 19th century and are a feature in many German fairy tales, both as a force for good and evil.Their morality is ambiguous and in flux in Hoerl’s work.

The gnome installation also, more importantly coincides with the 50 th anniversary of Gunter Grass’s novel ‘‘ The Tin Drum ” A black and ultimately tragic saga delivered in a form of magical realism that captured the absurdity and sickness of war, and the large open wound at the heart of humanity that allows such degradations to occur with eternal and recurring frequence. The protagonist, Oscar Matzerath, resolves at age three, to remain the same size his entire life, thus serving as allegory for Hoerl’s gnomes and their mocking salute.Grass depicts the sins of Nazism through Oskar’s recollections of the grotesque public and personal events that shaped his life and the lives of the people around him. Oskar’s rejection of adulthood and his drumming and screaming can be seen as metaphors of stunted development, immorality, and senseless destruction that illuminate some of the effects of Nazism.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ewzWkFZOFk

Since its publication, the novel has raised profound and painful issues for contemporary Germans, including the extent to which the German public was complicit in and remains responsible for Nazi war crimes. From Darran Anderson’s, ”Gunter Grass and the Tin Drum,( 2003 ):

”Oskar’s rebellion is that of the free spirit against all matter of final solutions and explanations and systems, even those that claimed to be just and righteous. (For didn’t even Nazism do so?) Remember who the first enemies targeted by the Nazis were, not the Jews or the gypsies or homosexuals. It was the artists, the Dadaists, the writers, the free thinkers, because they posed the most problems to the orthodoxy. In a strange roundabout way, the Nazis gave artists proof of their own moral potency and power by choosing to wipe them out first. Only by clearing away the artists, the askers of questions, could what happened later become acceptable. “Art is accusation, expression, passion,” shouts the students’ art instructor in The Tin Drum. That is the reason Hitler failed as an artist and why he persecuted artists before any other group.


http://www.madamepickwickartblog.com/20 ... -tin-drum/
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri May 25, 2018 6:20 am

TIDS in action?


Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in

by Andy Beckett

The Warwick accelerationists were also influenced by their environment. “Britain in the 90s felt cramped, grey, dilapidated,” says Mackay, “We saw capitalism and technology as these intense forces that were trying to take over a decrepit body.” To observe the process, and help hasten it, in 1995 Plant, Fisher, Land, Mackay and two dozen other Warwick students and academics created a radical new institution: the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU). It would become one of the most mythologised groups in recent British intellectual history.

The CCRU existed as a fully functional entity for less than five years. For some of that time, it was based in a single office in the tight corridors of the Warwick philosophy department, of which it was an unofficial part. Later, the unit’s headquarters was a rented room in the Georgian town centre of nearby Leamington Spa, above a branch of the Body Shop.

For decades, tantalising references to the CCRU have flitted across political and cultural websites, music and art journals, and the more cerebral parts of the style press. “There are groups of students in their 20s who re-enact our practices,” says Robin Mackay. Since 2007, he has run a respected philosophy publishing house, Urbanomic, with limited editions of old CCRU publications and new collections of CCRU writings prominent among its products.

The CCRU was image-conscious from the start. Its name was deliberately hard-edged, with a hint of the military or the robotic, especially once its members began writing and referring to themselves collectively, without a definite article, as “Ccru”. In 1999, it summarised its history to the sympathetic music journalist Simon Reynolds in the terse, disembodied style that was a trademark: “Ccru ... triggers itself from October 1995, when it uses Sadie Plant as a screen and Warwick University as a temporary habitat ... Ccru feeds on graduate students + malfunctioning academic (Nick Land) + independent researchers ...”

Former CCRU members still use its language, and are fiercely attached to the idea that it became a kind of group mind. Land told me in an email: “Ccru was an entity ... irreducible to the agendas, or biographies, of its component sub-agencies ... Utter submission to The Entity was key.”

These days, Iain Hamilton Grant is an affable, middle-aged professor who wears a waistcoat with a pen in the top pocket. Yet when I asked him to describe the CCRU, he said with sudden intensity: “We made up an arrow! There was almost no disharmony. There was no leisure. We tried not to be apart from each other. No one dared let the side down. When everyone is keeping up with everyone else, the collective element increased is speed.”

The CCRU gang formed reading groups and set up conferences and journals. They squeezed into the narrow CCRU room in the philosophy department and gave each other impromptu seminars. Mackay remembers Steve Goodman, a CCRU member who was particularly interested in military technology and how it was transforming civilian life, “drawing yin and yang on the blackboard, and then talking about helicopters. It wasn’t academic point-scoring – that was exactly what we had all got heartily sick of before the CCRU. Instead it was a build-up of shared references.”

Grant explained: “Something would be introduced into the group. Neuromancer [William Gibson’s 1984 novel about the internet and artificial intelligence] got into the philosophy department, and it went viral. You’d find worn-out paperbacks all over the common room.”

The CCRU was image-conscious from the start. Its name was deliberately hard-edged, with a hint of the military

Land and Plant’s offices in the department also became CCRU hubs. “They were generous with their time,” said Grant, “And he had good drugs – skunk [cannabis]. Although it could be grim going in there, once he started living in his office. There would be a tower of Pot Noodles and underwear drying on the radiator, which he had washed in the staff loos.”

The Warwick campus stayed open late. When the philosophy department shut for the night, the CCRU decamped to the student union bar across the road, where Land would pay for all the drinks, and then to each other’s houses, where the group mind would continue its labours. “It was like Andy Warhol’s Factory,” said Grant. “Work and production all the time.”

In 1996, the CCRU listed its interests as “cinema, complexity, currencies, dance music, e-cash, encryption, feminism, fiction, images, inorganic life, jungle, markets, matrices, microbiotics, multimedia, networks, numbers, perception, replication, sex, simulation, sound, telecommunications, textiles, texts, trade, video, virtuality, war”. Today, many of these topics are mainstream media and political fixations. Two decades ago, says Grant, “We felt we were the only people on the planet who were taking all this stuff seriously.” The CCRU’s aim was to meld their preoccupations into a groundbreaking, infinitely flexible intellectual alloy – like the shape-shifting cyborg in the 1991 film Terminator 2, a favourite reference point – which would somehow sum up both the present and the future.

The main result of the CCRU’s frantic, promiscuous research was a conveyor belt of cryptic articles, crammed with invented terms, sometimes speculative to the point of being fiction. A typical piece from 1996, “Swarmachines”, included a section on jungle, then the most intense strain of electronic dance music: “Jungle functions as a particle accelerator, seismic bass frequencies engineering a cellular drone which immerses the body ... rewinds and reloads conventional time into silicon blips of speed ... It’s not just music. Jungle is the abstract diagram of planetary inhuman becoming.”

The Warwick accelerationists saw themselves as participants, not traditional academic observers. They bought jungle records, went to clubs and organised DJs to play at eclectic public conferences, which they held at the university to publicise accelerationist ideas and attract like minds. Grant remembers these gatherings, staged in 1994, 1995 and 1996 under the name Virtual Futures, as attracting “every kind of nerd under the sun: science fiction fans, natural scientists, political scientists, philosophers from other universities”, but also cultural trend-spotters: “Someone from [the fashion magazine] the Face came to the first one.”

Like CCRU prose, the conferences could be challenging for non-initiates. Virtual Futures 96 was advertised as “an anti-disciplinary event” and “a conference in the post-humanities”. One session involved Nick Land “lying on the ground, croaking into a mic”, recalls Robin Mackay, while Mackay played jungle records in the background. “Some people were really appalled by it. They wanted a standard talk. One person in the audience stood up, and said, ‘Some of us are still Marxists, you know.’ And walked out.”

Even inside the permissive Warwick philosophy department, the CCRU’s ever more blatant disdain for standard academic practice became an issue. Ray Brassier watched it happen. Now an internationally known philosopher at the American University in Beirut, between 1995 and 2001 he was a part-time mature student at Warwick.

“I was interested in the CCRU, but sceptical,” Brassier says. “I was a bit older than most of them. The CCRU felt they were plunging into something bigger than academia, and they did put their finger on a lot of things that had started to happen in the world. But their work was also frustrating. They would cheerfully acknowledge the thinness of their research: ‘It’s not about knowledge.’ Yet if thinking is just connecting things, of course it’s exciting, like taking amphetamines. But thinking is also about disconnecting things.”

Brassier says that the CCRU became a “very divisive” presence in the philosophy department. “Most of the department really hated and despised Nick – and that hatred extended to his students.” There were increasingly blunt bureaucratic disputes about the CCRU’s research, and how, if at all, it should be externally regulated and assessed. In 1997, Plant resigned from the university. “The charged personal, political and philosophical dynamics of the CCRU were irresistible to many, but I felt stifled and had to get out,” she told me. She became a full-time writer, and for a few years was the British media’s favourite digital academic, an “IT girl for the 21st century”, as the Independent breathlessly billed her in October 1997.

In 1998, Land resigned from Warwick too. He and half a dozen CCRU members withdrew to the room above the Leamington Spa Body Shop. There they drifted from accelerationism into a vortex of more old-fashioned esoteric ideas, drawn from the occult, numerology, the fathomless novels of the American horror writer HP Lovecraft, and the life of the English mystic Aleister Crowley, who had been born in Leamington, in a cavernous terraced house which several CCRU members moved into.

“The CCRU became quasi-cultish, quasi-religious,” says Mackay. “I left before it descended into sheer madness.” Two of the unit’s key texts had always been the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness and its film adaptation, Apocalypse Now, which made collecting followers and withdrawing from the world and from conventional sanity seem lethally glamorous. In their top-floor room, Land and his students drew occult diagrams on the walls. Grant says a “punishing regime” of too much thinking and drinking drove several members into mental and physical crises. Land himself, after what he later described as “perhaps a year of fanatical abuse” of “the sacred substance amphetamine”, and “prolonged artificial insomnia ... devoted to futile ‘writing’ practices”, suffered a breakdown in the early 2000s, and disappeared from public view.

“The CCRU just vanished,” says Brassier. “And a lot of people – not including me – thought, ‘Good riddance.’”


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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... we-live-in
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sat May 26, 2018 6:35 am

https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/486 ... red-square

Black magic on Red Square

In Russia, there are more faith healers than professional doctors. It's a symptom of decades of chaos and authoritarian rule.

– by Marc Bennetts –
TUESDAY, 5TH MAY 2015


Image

I’d arranged to meet the sorceress at 4pm, but I was running late. Hurrying past central Moscow’s upmarket shops and restaurants, I entered one of the Russian capital’s many sprawling courtyards. Once I’d located the correct entranceway, I was buzzed in. I walked into the gloom of what appeared to be a cavernous, renovated kommunalka – a Soviet-era communal apartment. A large artificial candle supplied the only light in the lobby, while the incongruous sound of Russian pop music blasted from tinny speakers. After a wait of a few minutes, a young woman came to greet me and wordlessly ushered me through a set of double doors.

The sorceress sat smoking and drinking tea behind a large wooden desk filled with candles and other, more arcane objects. She had long jet-black hair and bright-red lipstick, and was wearing a lot of gold jewellery. The walls were decorated with magical symbols. A small human-shaped effigy hung near a wall, a needle stuck into its side. A sickly-sweet, pungent scent made my head spin. On the desk: a sad-looking mouse in a tiny glass jar. “Ask anything,” said the sorceress, and took a long drag of her thin cigarette.

The sorceress’s name was Valeriya Karat, and her slick, professional-looking website claimed she possessed hereditary magical powers. Among the rites she offered to carry out were spells to bring back wayward husbands, remove curses and attract money for her customers. “I can also heal illnesses,” she told me. “But I can’t use my magic to benefit myself.” I’d interviewed many of Russia’s self-proclaimed sorcerers, wizards and psychics as part of my ongoing research into the country’s enthusiasm for the occult and the paranormal, but this was the first time I’d met someone who appeared to practise voodoo. “There is no such thing as black magic,” Karat told me, perhaps sensing my discomfort. “Magic is colourless.” A scrabbling sound came from behind me. In a murky corner of the room, a black rabbit sat in a small cage. “This is part of a magical rite to get a husband to return to his wife,” Karat said, matter-of-factly. “The husband was born in the Chinese year of the rabbit. When he returns, I’ll free the rabbit.”

Karat is far from Russia’s only internet-savvy sorceress. From St Petersburg to Vladivostok, there are thousands of online advertisements for “magical services.” Not all of Russia’s occultists are to be found online, however. In 2010, a psychologist with the Russian Academy of Sciences cited World Health Organisation data that indicated there were more occult/faith healers (800,000) in Russia than professional doctors (640,000). And Russians are putting their money where their faith is. In 2013, the country’s leading cardiologist complained that his fellow citizens spend almost £20 billion every year on magical and paranormal services. This, the astonished surgeon pointed out, is almost twice the amount Russians spend on foreign medical care. Another statistic is perhaps even more revealing: Russia’s Academy of Sciences estimates that 67 per cent of all Russian women have at some time sought help from a “psychic or sorcerer”. The figure for Russian men is one in four.

Welcome, then, to the strange and unsettling world that lies behind the façade of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. A country where faith healers and psychics enjoy as much, if not more, respect and trust as doctors and psychoanalysts. A country where a high-profile, Kremlin-linked ideologue is as well-versed in the writings of early 20th century British occultists as he is in modern political theory. A country where belief in magic is still very much alive.

What are the reasons for the startling popularity of psychics, witches and other purveyors of occult or paranormal services in modern-day Russia? In part, it’s down to the failure of the authorities to provide adequate medical care, especially in the often brutal provinces. Why risk a dangerous botched operation, when you can go to a psychic healer first instead? But health issues aren’t the only reason Russians use these occult services in such numbers; the instability of recent decades has had an effect, too. “The average Russian is completely confused and disorientated by modern life,” Nikolai Naritsyn, a Moscow-based psychoanalyst who has written on the subject, told me. “Where do financial crises come from, what do the laws they pass in parliament mean, why has my salary been halved? To find his solutions, his truth, he heads to witches and wizards. Maybe they know what is going on and can help him?” Naritsyn also believes the Soviet past – when “we were taught not to take responsibility for ourselves, but to allow the state to do so” – has shaped the modern Russian psyche: “We became used to other people solving our problems for us.”

Russia’s obsession with the occult has deeper historical roots, too. In his seminal study of Russian folk culture, Ivan the Fool, Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sinyavsky detailed a pervasive Tsarist-era belief in superstition, magic and pagan gods, as well as the widespread popularity of sorcerers and faith healers. “In Old Russia, almost everyone resorted to elementary magic help,” wrote Sinyavsky. “Magic was used on a daily basis.”

Although these beliefs went underground for much of the Soviet era, manifestations of Russia’s occult mania were not uncommon. In 1920, three years after the Bolsheviks had seized power, the Cheka state security organisation (the forerunners of the KGB) was tipped off about a gathering of occultists on the outskirts of Petrograd (now St Petersburg). According to biophysicist Alexander Chizhevsky, who witnessed the Cheka raid, officers burst into the building and arrested the occultists in the middle of an attempt to place curses on Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky by concentrating their thoughts on photos of the Soviet leaders. The would-be psychic assassins were shot out of hand.

But it wasn’t only the Kremlin’s enemies who attempted to use occult powers in the early years of Soviet rule. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Bolsheviks skilfully adapted the rural occult practices and symbols familiar to newly urbanised peasants. Propaganda posters and slogans referred to “unclean forces” and “purging” ceremonies. Lenin was even more direct, denouncing his adversaries as “vampires”. As author Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal has noted in her pioneering book The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, the Bolsheviks may not have believed in the world of magic – indeed, they frequently denounced it – but they “incorporated occult and quasi-occult ideas” into the mythologies they constructed around Lenin and Stalin. Superhuman powers of wisdom were attributed to both men, often taking on – particularly in Stalin’s case – a near-mystical quality. Although there is no concrete evidence that Stalin himself believed in the occult, there have been rumours for years that the Soviet dictator employed the services of one Natalya Lvova, “a third-generation witch”. Shake-ups in the Communist Party, which usually meant a trip to the Gulag for the unfortunate official, were whispered to be the result of Stalin and Lvova’s black magic Kremlin sessions.

This belief in the occult and the paranormal reemerged into the mainstream in the late 1980s, as Soviet society entered a chaotic period of ideological and economic disintegration. Confused, frightened and desperate for ideas to replace the certainties of Marxism-Leninism, Russians turned in their millions to the paranormal and the occult. All over Russia, urban witches and wizards set up shop to offer magical services. State television replaced tractor-production reports with “psychic healing” sessions. In the twinkling of a red star, Russia went mad for magic. “When there is no belief in anything, then mysticism flourishes,” said Mikhail Vinogradov, a high-profile Russian psychiatrist-criminologist. “Our economy was extremely unstable, and people hoped for a miracle: they sought out, expected, and called forth that miracle, including in the form of psychic healers.”

The most famous of the Soviet Union’s state-sanctioned psychic healers was Anatoly Kashpirovsky, a former weightlifter and qualified psychiatrist. Dressed all in black, Kashpirovsky “treated” millions every week during his televised show. At the height of his popularity, the streets of towns and cities across Russia would empty as people hurried home to catch his programme. “For those of you with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will lower ... whoever has hip injuries, they will heal,” he intoned. Such was Kashpirovksy’s fame that he regularly topped polls as the most popular public figure, easily beating the still sober Boris Yeltsin into second place. His live appearances, as I experienced for myself when he made a brief comeback in 2010, were a combination of mass hypnosis and cult-type hysteria: both men and women fainted in his presence, while others danced or sobbed at his command.

This interest in the supernatural and the paranormal continued unabated after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with President Yeltsin giving the green light to a number of bizarre projects, including one that saw state funds pumped into a scheme to “extract energy from stones”.

But it was in the shape of Grigory Grabovoi, a mysterious, self-proclaimed messiah, that the newly independent Russia’s passion for the paranormal took on its most poignant and tragic form. In 2004, Grabovoi, an apparently uncharismatic middle-aged man from Kazakhstan, made headlines across Russia with an offer to physically resurrect the dozens of children killed during the bloody conclusion to the Beslan siege, when Russian security forces used flamethrowers and tanks to attack militants who had seized a North Caucasus school. But miracles rarely come for free: Grabovoi was asking for $1,500 a “resurrection”.

Out of their minds with despair, many of the bereaved mothers turned to Grabovoi, attending his lectures and “resurrection sessions” in Moscow. With public opinion outraged, Grabovoi was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to eleven years in jail – cut to eight on appeal. And that was where this already barely credible story got even stranger. After Grabovoi had been jailed, investigative journalists, some at the respected Moscow-based Novaya Gazeta newspaper, alleged that he was a Kremlin agent. His real aim, they said, was to discredit the Mothers of Beslan pressure group, which sought to bring to justice those officials responsible for the heavy-handed tactics employed to end the siege. Grabovoi was released from prison in 2010, having served just half his sentence. He has not been seen or heard from since, although reports suggest he may have moved into the South-East Asian market, where his name has been used to advertise the “psychically assisted growth” of new vital organs and teeth.

Back in Moscow, Valeriya Karat, the sorcerer I had hurried to keep my appointment with, was telling me about her secret visits from government officials. “They come in the middle of the night,” she confided. “So that no one will see them. I can’t name names, of course, but Russian government officials always consult sorcerers before taking major decisions.”

Oddly, she wasn’t the first mystic to “reveal” to me the importance of the occult and the paranormal in Russian political life. “Whenever there are big international talks going on, Russia always brings a psychic or witch along to influence things,” Marina, a psychic sorceress based in southeast Moscow, told me when I visited her busy magical centre. “Look at Rasputin: he was the greatest magician we have ever seen. Russian leaders have always employed occultists. This is our country’s great secret.”

Given that a sorcerer’s stock-in-trade is making things up, we should be sceptical about these claims. Obviously, short of hiding out near a sorcerer’s office late at night, there is no way I can prove or disprove them. But there is at least one Kremlin-linked ideologue with an established interest in the occult, a man whose international profile has risen to unprecedented heights since the beginning of the Russian-backed insurgency in east Ukraine in April 2014.

Alexander Dugin, a 53-year-old bearded Moscow-born philosopher and political analyst dubbed “Putin’s Brain” by the US-based journal Foreign Affairs, predicted with eerie precision the events in Crimea and east Ukraine years before the 2014 Maidan uprising in Kyiv. Dugin – until very recently a professor at the prestigious Moscow State University, and a staple on state-run television – has also called for the mass slaughter of Ukrainians and the “destruction” of the United States. He has expressed his admiration for elements of the ideology of fascism.

Although these days he refuses to speak publicly about such matters, Dugin has a long and documented involvement in the occult. In the 1980s, he is reported to have been a member of the Moscow-based “Black Order of the SS”, a group of intellectuals fascinated with both mysticism and Nazism, as well as – according to former members of the circle – experiments with drugs and sex magic. Later, Dugin took his interest in the occult to a new level. In the early 1990s, he became editor of the Eurasian magazine Elementy. The front cover of the magazine’s second issue featured a portrait of Baphomet, the goat god who is also the symbol of the US-based Church of Satan. Dugin frequently wrote about the occult within the pages of Elementy, as well as praising the “spiritual and transcendental side of fascism”.

In 1995, during an unsuccessful attempt to get elected to parliament, Dugin took part in a pre-election concert – described as a “black mass” by participants – in memory of the British occultist Aleister Crowley, notorious for his sex “magick”. During the performance, Dugin’s supporters read aloud from Crowley’s Book of the Law (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”). Dugin is also reported to have met with figures from the Ordo Templi Orientis, a worldwide occult organisation that once boasted Crowley among its ranks.

Dugin’s press secretary declined to forward my request for an interview with her boss on the theme of the occult when I contacted her. “He is a devout Orthodox Christian,” she told me, who had only become interested in the occult out of “intellectual curiosity”. This may well be so – after all, Dugin also has a well-known interest in Chaos Magic, the post-modern, technology-friendly magical tradition that inspired writers such as William S Burroughs and musicians such as Genesis P-Orridge of the British band Psychic TV. Nevertheless, it appears Dugin’s occult studies continue to have an influence on his apocalyptic thinking: just two years ago, this hardline Russian nationalist thinker lectured in Moscow on the necessity of curtailing the “illusion” that is the planet Earth by bringing about the “end of the world”.

It’s impossible to determine if Dugin’s occult interest has had any impact on Kremlin policy. But if the occultists aim to alter perceptions of reality through mantras and magical techniques, then Russian state-run television has sought to do the same through swift and bewildering video montages, half-truths, and appeals to conscious and subconscious fears. The results – a rise in anti-Western sentiments and fervent support for Putin – have been startling. Russia is awash with occultists, but the Kremlin’s propagandists may well turn out to be the most skilful sorcerers of them all.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Sat May 26, 2018 10:07 pm



How would you include the Tantra part?
"If you support factions that get big money backing, you are probably not a 'revolutionary'."
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun May 27, 2018 5:46 am

"TIDS in action?" was a mildly flippant tag line for this crew- most especially Nick Land- that seemed to be on it but going off the rails, all at the same time. The feel of it is intoxicating but I smell TIDS in there, somehow. Tantra only in the broadest sense of that word...



American Dream » Fri May 25, 2018 5:20 am wrote:TIDS in action?


Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in

Land and Plant’s offices in the department also became CCRU hubs. “They were generous with their time,” said Grant, “And he had good drugs – skunk [cannabis]. Although it could be grim going in there, once he started living in his office. There would be a tower of Pot Noodles and underwear drying on the radiator, which he had washed in the staff loos.”

The Warwick campus stayed open late. When the philosophy department shut for the night, the CCRU decamped to the student union bar across the road, where Land would pay for all the drinks, and then to each other’s houses, where the group mind would continue its labours. “It was like Andy Warhol’s Factory,” said Grant. “Work and production all the time.”

In 1996, the CCRU listed its interests as “cinema, complexity, currencies, dance music, e-cash, encryption, feminism, fiction, images, inorganic life, jungle, markets, matrices, microbiotics, multimedia, networks, numbers, perception, replication, sex, simulation, sound, telecommunications, textiles, texts, trade, video, virtuality, war”. Today, many of these topics are mainstream media and political fixations. Two decades ago, says Grant, “We felt we were the only people on the planet who were taking all this stuff seriously.” The CCRU’s aim was to meld their preoccupations into a groundbreaking, infinitely flexible intellectual alloy – like the shape-shifting cyborg in the 1991 film Terminator 2, a favourite reference point – which would somehow sum up both the present and the future.

The main result of the CCRU’s frantic, promiscuous research was a conveyor belt of cryptic articles, crammed with invented terms, sometimes speculative to the point of being fiction. A typical piece from 1996, “Swarmachines”, included a section on jungle, then the most intense strain of electronic dance music: “Jungle functions as a particle accelerator, seismic bass frequencies engineering a cellular drone which immerses the body ... rewinds and reloads conventional time into silicon blips of speed ... It’s not just music. Jungle is the abstract diagram of planetary inhuman becoming.”

The Warwick accelerationists saw themselves as participants, not traditional academic observers. They bought jungle records, went to clubs and organised DJs to play at eclectic public conferences, which they held at the university to publicise accelerationist ideas and attract like minds. Grant remembers these gatherings, staged in 1994, 1995 and 1996 under the name Virtual Futures, as attracting “every kind of nerd under the sun: science fiction fans, natural scientists, political scientists, philosophers from other universities”, but also cultural trend-spotters: “Someone from [the fashion magazine] the Face came to the first one.”

Like CCRU prose, the conferences could be challenging for non-initiates. Virtual Futures 96 was advertised as “an anti-disciplinary event” and “a conference in the post-humanities”. One session involved Nick Land “lying on the ground, croaking into a mic”, recalls Robin Mackay, while Mackay played jungle records in the background. “Some people were really appalled by it. They wanted a standard talk. One person in the audience stood up, and said, ‘Some of us are still Marxists, you know.’ And walked out.”...


In 1998, Land resigned from Warwick too. He and half a dozen CCRU members withdrew to the room above the Leamington Spa Body Shop. There they drifted from accelerationism into a vortex of more old-fashioned esoteric ideas, drawn from the occult, numerology, the fathomless novels of the American horror writer HP Lovecraft, and the life of the English mystic Aleister Crowley, who had been born in Leamington, in a cavernous terraced house which several CCRU members moved into.

“The CCRU became quasi-cultish, quasi-religious,” says Mackay. “I left before it descended into sheer madness.” Two of the unit’s key texts had always been the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness and its film adaptation, Apocalypse Now, which made collecting followers and withdrawing from the world and from conventional sanity seem lethally glamorous. In their top-floor room, Land and his students drew occult diagrams on the walls. Grant says a “punishing regime” of too much thinking and drinking drove several members into mental and physical crises. Land himself, after what he later described as “perhaps a year of fanatical abuse” of “the sacred substance amphetamine”, and “prolonged artificial insomnia ... devoted to futile ‘writing’ practices”, suffered a breakdown in the early 2000s, and disappeared from public view.

“The CCRU just vanished,” says Brassier. “And a lot of people – not including me – thought, ‘Good riddance.’”




.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun May 27, 2018 6:09 am

https://www.patreon.com/posts/toxicity-in-late-18748116

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Toxicity in late capitalism

May 12 at 4:13pm

Richard Seymour

I.
One of the paradoxes of social life in late capitalism is that, even as more and more people abandon certain types of drug -- alcohol, tobacco, ecstasy, sex -- addictions are on the rise.
The number of alcoholics, opioid addicts, gamblers, social media addicts, porn addicts and so forth shows a secular increase. In other words, the drugs of sociability are declining, while the drugs of solitude are gaining ground.

II.
What kind of problem is this?

Trump says, massacre the dealers. The Duterte option. Liberals, with the soft paternalism of the moral reformer, say treat the disease. So we murder the problem, or we medicalise it. Hard cop or soft cop; either way, the problem is being suppressed.

Why substitute one lie for another? Freud is said, apocryphally, to have claimed that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. How could Freud, of all people, divest such objects of their fantasy investments? How could he, who was hopelessly addicted to nicotine, and the oral pleasure of smoking, pretend that there was such a thing as "just a cigar"?

He, for whom the archetype of addiction was masturbation, the autoerotic pleasure akin to that experienced by a cat when it kneads the pillow with its paws, or licks itself. Freud died of mouth cancer, having ignored his doctors' pleas for him to quite smoking.


III.
It is telling, perhaps, that one could hardly imagine Freud saying the same of his other passionate attachment, cocaine. Would it even occur to anyone to claim that cocaine is "just cocaine"?

The substance itself is barely a substance. It is colourless, shapeless, could be sneezed into a ghostly cloud. To impart to it a magical quality is such an easy step to take. Like many objects of addiction, cocaine began life in the pharmakon, often used as a local anaesthetic. Freud, for his part, fantasised that cocaine could be a wonder-drug, a panacea cure. He thought he could cure himself of neurosis, and even use it to help a friend break his addiction to heroin.

Like all pharmaceutical objects, however, the treatment had a toxic side. Anything can be toxic if you have too much of it. Freud's friend died of a cocaine addiction. This is already good reason to distrust the reformer's urge to medicalise addiction: it tends merely to expand the pharmakon, and thus the repertoire of addictions.


IV.
At least medicalising the problem appears to suspend the moral judgment which underwrites the 'war on drugs'. How can someone be blamed for the effects of a disease?

But the discourse of victimhood simply substitutes one moral judgment for another, no less reactionary. To be judged a victim is to be morally condemned. It is to be deprived of one's agency, rendered helpless, child-like, and to depends on others who act on one's behalf.

For Trump, addicts are victims of dealers who should be killed. For moral reformers, they are victims of circumstance, in need of a dose of soft paternalism: say, the sort of silent nudge provided by behavioural economics.

To treat addiction as a disease, while it may appear to validate the experience of compulsion from one point of view, can also be a way of dismissing what is particular to it. Addiction, as the autoerotic connection suggests, has a relationship to satisfaction that diseases generally do not. This is true even (especially) where the addiction gives us hell.

Addiction is, for that reason, a passionate relationship that we have toward a substance, an activity or a person. We organise our lives around maintaining contact with the addictive object, in a way that we wouldn't with the mumps. It means something to us, in other words. The drug, and the addict's relationship to it, is meaningful because it acts out a subjective truth.

To medicalise addiction is to refuse to hear what the addiction is saying. It is to do, in a way, exactly what addiction is designed to do: to cover up the personal meaning of the addict's toxicomania.


V.
Addiction is indexed to toxicity. We find it everywhere: in politics, relationships, on social media, in our food and drink. We can even find a certain kind of masculinity to be 'toxic'.

As the term 'intoxication' suggests, toxicity goes in two directions. Yes, it bespeaks an excess: anything can be toxic if you have too much of it. But it's the very excess, the too much, that gets us high in the first place.

If we get high on the excess, on having too much of something, that may be partly because it helps obliterate an excess somewhere else. An unacknowledged depression, an anxiety, a thwarted desire, a conflict. In other words, we get high because we're too much for ourselves.

We might imagine, therefore, that the drug brings something into being, creates a presence in the body of something that is missing. Something that, as with magic beans, elevates us into the clouds. Or, as with the entheogenic drugs of the Peruvian Amazon, generates the divine within, enabling communion with the spirits. But each drug has wildly different effects depending on the user. This suggests that it is not some magical property of the drug itself that creates the high, but something in the addict.

So what if all it does is momentarily kill off a part of ourselves that is too much? What if it simply disarms repression with a blunt somatic force, suppressing conflict and, in so doing, freeing up a lot of energy wasted on exhausting, debilitating mental work? This might be experienced as euphoria or, at least with social media addictions, a comfortable numbness, contentment.

What if the yield of addiction comes, not from addition, but from subtraction? Not from presence, but from absence? Not from life, but from a brush with death?


VI.
If the rise of addiction is linked to a decline in sociability, this suggests that the part of ourselves that is too much, has to do with our relations to others.

Addiction, says Rik Loose, is an a-diction. Auto-erotic satisfaction, like masturbation, bypasses speech. Why bother speaking when you can get a direct line to enjoyment by hand, mouth, nose, or vein? Like acting out, it produces in repetition what cannot be spoken. It encodes an axiom which resists conscious articulation, while also neutralising the return of the repressed.

What is it about late capitalism, and the social relations therein, that burdens its subjects with an unspeakable excess? What is this surplus that poisons and intoxicates us? It might be capitalism itself. There is no 'holiday' from capitalism, after all. There is nowhere that it slows down or shuts up. Fly to the farthest ends of the earth, and there you will find the ever widening churn and clamour of extraction, beckoning you with its exhortation to work for its eternal expansion. It acknowledges no limits, spreading inexorably through and reconfiguring all our relations with one another. It is, for many people, the silent and unthought horizon of reality.

It has, moreover, no temporal logic. In the capitalist untimelich there is no real progress or cycle, nothing but the accumulation of catastrophe and noise. In the face of such relentless accumulation, who can maintain their faith that death will eventually come?

It is perhaps telling that, with addiction, far from inducing boredom, habit intensifies our passion for it. The rituals and repetitions surrounding addiction, including not merely the 'taking' of the substance but the peripheral activities of securing the supply, the preparatory activities of rolling up, chopping, pouring, logging on, burning, etc., give us their own satisfaction.

If nothing else, that satisfaction might be a fugitive sense of temporal order. For a scheduled part of the day, a part of us, to our immense relief, will die.


VII.
It may be that addicts have a death wish. It may be that we want death.

This isn't exactly the same thing as being suicidal. People commit suicide because their lives have become unbearable. Those with a desire for death keep the desire alive by pursuing it, but never actually consummating it.

In addiction, we get a death. We administer it in doses. Addiction is, to the subjects of late capitalism, what the Ayahuasca plant is to the Shamans: the medium of our social relations with the dead.

But we also get a double life. The secret life of addicts is organised to circumvent sociability. We might try to route around society when we experience it as imposing an intolerable burden. It could be that we find ourselves bombarded with ideals which make us feel things we can't bear to feel: enjoy this, achieve this, fuck this, buy this. It could be that the possible lives it offers us make us want to die.

But with addiction, we obey a set of highly secret, highly individual, necromantic rituals and codes. We, momentarily, drop out of the capitalist untimelich, into another dimension (with voyeuristic intentions). We ingest the death-drive. We turn it inward, on ourselves. We become intoxicated.
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