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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