TagReza Negarestani

Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism

A former student of philosopher — or perhaps “ex-philosopher? — Nick Land writes about the man’s work on the occasion of the publication of a collection of his writings:

Before I met Land, I already knew of him through the gossip of new undergraduates taken aback by what they had heard on the grapevine: Did Land really claim that he had come back from the dead? Did he really think he was an android sent from the future to terminate human security? In person he belied these outrageous claims (both of which he did indeed make in writing), being thoroughly polite and amiable and, above all, willing to engage in earnest conversation with anyone. He had paid his philosophical dues and could hold his own in a discussion with any professor; these discussions often turning vituperative, however, as Land railed against the institution and its conservatism. But he preferred to spend his time in the bar with undergraduates, always buying the drinks, smoking continually, and conversing animatedly (and where possible, vehemently) about any topic whatsoever.

Land was perhaps not the greatest teacher from the point of view of obtaining a sober and solid grounding in one’s subject – but more importantly, his lectures had about them a genuine air of excitement – more like Deleuze at the Sorbonne in ’68 than the dreary courses in Epistemology one had to endure at a provincial British university in the 90s. Not only was the course he taught pointedly entitled ‘Current French Philosophy’ – a currency otherwise alien to our curriculum — more importantly, Land’s teaching was also a sharing of his own research-in-progress. This was unheard-of: philosophy actually being done, rather than being interpreted at second-hand?! He would sweep his audience into a speculative vortex of philosophy, economics, literature, biology, technology, and disciplines as-yet unnamed – before immobilizing them again with some startling claim or gnomic declaration. And as Land spoke, he prowled the classroom, sometimes clambering absentmindedly over the common-room chairs like an outlandish mountain goat, sometimes poised squatting on the seat of a chair like an overgrown mantis.

Full Story: Divus: Nick Land – An Experiment in Inhumanism

Also, Simon Reynolds wrote a piece on Land’s CCRU group back in 1999 that sheds some light on the period:

“It was pretty obvious that a theoretically Left-leaning critique could be maintained quite happily but it wasn’t ever going to get anywhere,” says Plant. “If there was going to be scope for any kind of….not ‘resistance’, but any kind of discrepancy in the global consensus, then it was going to have to come from somewhere else.” That elsewhere was certain passages in A Thousand Plateaus where Deleuze & Guattari suggest that, in Plant’s words, “you don’t try and slow things down, you encourage them to go fast as possible. Which was interestingly connected to Marx’s ideas about capitalism sweeping away the past. So we got into this stance of ‘oh well, let it sweep away! Maybe it should sweep away faster’.” Other crucial influences were neo-Deleuzian theorist Manuel De Landa’s idea of “capitalism as the system of antimarkets”, and, says Plant, historian-of-everyday-life Fernand Braudel’s conception of capitalism as “an amalgam of would-be free market forces and state/ corporate/centralised control functions. So there isn’t really any such thing called ‘capitalism’, it’s just a coincidence of those two really extreme and opposed tendencies.”

Plant and the CCRU enthuse about bottom-up, grass-roots, self-organising activity: street markets, “the frontier zones of capitalism”, what De Landa calls “meshwork”, as opposed to corporate, top-down capitalism. It all sounds quite jovial, the way they describe it now–a bustling bazaar culture of trade and “cutting deals”. But “Cyberpositive” actually reads like a nihilistic paean to the “cyberpathology of markets”, celebrating capitalism as “a viral contagion” and declaring “everything cyberpositive is an enemy of mankind”. In Nick Land solo essays like “Machinic Desire” and “Meltdown”, the tone of morbid glee is intensified to an apocalyptic pitch. There seems to be a perverse and literally anti-humanist identification with the “dark will” of capital and technology, as it “rips up political cultures, deletes traditions, dissolves subjectivities”. In “Meltdown”, Land declares: “Man is something for it to overcome: a problem, drag”.

This gloating delight in capital’s deterritorialising virulence is the CCRU’s reaction to the stuffy complacency of Left-wing academic thought; a sort of rubbing salt in the wounds (as when Land jibes at the “senile spectre” of Socialism, an allusion to The Communist Manifesto). “There’s definitely a strong alliance in the academy between anti-market ideas and completely schleroticised, institutionalised thought,” says Mark Fisher. “Marx has been outdated by cybernetic theory. It’s obvious that capitalism isn’t going to be brought down by its contradictions. Nothing ever died of contradictions!”. Exulting in capitalism’s permanent “crisis mode”, CCRU believe in the strategic application of pressure to accelerate the tendencies towards chaos. The real struggle, says Fisher in fluent Deleuzian, is within capitalism and between “homogenisation processes and nomadic distribution.”.

Full Story: Simon Reynolds: RENEGADE ACADEMIA: THE Cybernetic Culture Research Unit

(Both links via hautepop)

Many of Land’s former students — including Fisher — seem to have given up this fetishization of capitalism in favor of an anti-neoliberal “accelerationsim” that sounds an awful lot like autonomism to me (see also this critique of accerlerationsim).

Land, meanwhile, has ridden that neoliberal reality tunnel to its (il)logical conclusion: neo-reactionaryism.

A Brief History of Geotrauma or: The Invention of Negarestani

Did a coronal mass ejection cause the Chile earthquake?

Coronal mass ejection

Above: image of the coronal mass ejection on February 26th, 2010 from NASA

Van’s Hardware Journal points out that the 2010 Chile earthquake was preceded by a Coronal mass ejection.

(via Fadereu)

Space.com’s FAQ states “The question of a solar disturbance/magnetic field change related to earthquakes has been thoroughly investigated and found to be unproven,” and cites the conclusions of a 1996 conference on the subject.

However, Russian and Chinese scientists continue to study the possibility of a connection.

As you’ve probably already heard, this earthquake altered the axis of the earth. So, if it IS true that this earthquake was caused by the sun (and I’m not saying that it was), that means that the sun actually caused a change in the earth’s axis.

See also: Reza Negarestani work such as Cyclonopedia.

(My noise art piece “Thirst for Annihilation” from my album Return to the Wasteland was created using NASA’s recording of radio interference caused by sunspots, inspired by Negarestani’s work and named after a book, which I have not read, by his collaborator Nick Land)

More on Ad’ieh from Reza

Reza Negarestani was kind enough to send some more info about Ad’ieh, an ancient Arabic hypersigil system (most commonly practiced now in the form of chain letters, but also the key to the plot of the film Ringu).

Reza:

Hi Klintron,

I was skimming through technoccult archive and read your post on Ad ieh; here is the Farsi / Arabic word if you are interested:

Ad'ieh

In Farsi the practice is called Ad?ieh Nevisi (Nevisi: writing)

Ad'ieh

Sometimes, Ad?ieh is called Khabnameh.

I guess my English spelling of the word is not correct; but maybe you can find it in Arabic / Farsi sites if you have got Arabic font installed on your machine.

There is also another brief reference to Ad?ieh / Khabnameh on my friend?s blog (Esmail Yazdanpour) but the text is in Farsi … you can read his comment under my post at hyperstition; he thinks certain types of commercial spams follow the same hyperstitional pattern of Ad?ieh Nevisi (read the examples in English):

http://mahzood.org/?p=65

There is a chapter on Ad?ieh in Ibn Asir?s History of Islam.

Best,
reza

Me:

Thanks for the info. For the record, I wasn’t trying to call you a
liar or anything, but I try to take everything I read on Hyperstition
with some… unbelief.

Reza:

Thank you … lol … no, i just thought you might be interested in more info (in connection with Hypersigil); i’ll try to find if there is an english text out there on the subject because there should be some books. btw, the unbelief-based reading is the apex of hyperstition. Hope you are doing fine.

Reza Negarestani explains Ad’ieh

While poking around the Hyperstition archives looking for something else, I’ve found Reza explaining an Islamic Middle Eastern hypersigil technique (which also happens to be the inspiration for the Japanese novel and film Ringu).

Update: I haven’t found any other reference to this technique… Did Reza make this up? Anyway, could be an effective for anyone willing to mess with such a potentially damaging technique.

Link.

Update: Reza provides more info here.

Debug.: Primary Techno Noir

Jason Lubyk of NWD and Reza Negarestani of Hyperstition are featured in Kenji Siratori’s new experimental fiction anthology.

Link.

Hyperstition

Hyperstition is a new blog by Reza Negarestani, K-Punk, and a bunch of other people (and hosted by William Blaze) that merits a little more introduction. Hyperstitions are, in short, “fictions that make themselves real.”

K-Punk recommends Lemurian Time War and this article as an introduction to Hyperstion:

The situation is closer to the modern phenomenon of hype than to religious belief as we?d ordinarily think about it. Hype actually makes things happen, and uses belief as a positive power. Just because it?s not ?real? now, doesn?t mean it won?t be real at some point in the future. And once it?s real, in a sense, it?s always been.”

Sounds very much like Grant Morrison’s idea of the hypersigil, especially when he talks about emergence.

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