ALPHA AND OMEGA

OIOION is the image of a posited unity of music, drama and thought beyond their differentiation within culture.   It doesn’t matter whether we conceive this as an original unity from which the world has fallen or a future unity to be achieved.   All that matters is that we conceive it as a potentiality of the aesthetic which transcends aesthetic categories and culture as such.  



ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE

In the City of Haelegen, toward which Ololon points, music, drama and thought will, rather than react against nature, be, in tandem, its  very organizing principle.  



RESURRECTION

Kant leveled the death-blow upon God:  his critique of the proofs of God's existence, which had been developed and repeated by Jewish, Muslim and Christian theologians for centuries, has been bizarrely definitive, such that virtually no 'serious' philosopher in the present takes them to be even worth mentioning any longer, and even most theologians do not try to defend them (there are exceptions, like William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga - and the late J.N. Findlay even suggests that Kant himself was implicitly committed to the ontological proof of God's necessary existence).  

Kant also saw himself as leveling a death-blow upon (dogmatic) metaphysics, but this was immediately revived in new form by all his most important follows.   It takes an absurd amount of distortion and conceptual gymnastics to make it appear that Hegel, Nietzsche and Marx were not dogmatic metaphysicians.  They were, and, moreover, each simply took up a single member of the trinity's corpse (killed by Kant's death blow) and turned it into a new kind of temporalized God, whose 'mind' is a series of historical stages through which humanity must pass on its way to the kingdom of heaven (communism, the uebermensch, absolute knowing).  For Hegel it was the logos (christ), for Marx it was matter (the spirit) and for Nietzsche, it was will (the father).  Each was able to articulate with greater clarity a single aspect of the Christian Kingdom of Heaven, but each of these approaches to history, ethics and politics, in isolation, leads to disaster.   Each is a myopic view of a dead member of a divine corpse - how could this not pale in comparison to the three members alive, united, and whirling around in their cosmic dance?

Perichoresis is a resurrection of God - the very same resurrection that Christ himself prophesied before he was crucified - in the form of a unified logic of idealism, materialism and voluntarism (Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche) under the aegis of the true heir of Christianity, the transcendental philosopher who remained connected to the spirit of joy that for some reason the Europeans have never been able to preserve:  Emerson, along with American Transcendentalism as a whole.

As Emerson understood, Perichoresis cannot be carried out by philosophy alone.   The thesis is simply unavoidable - God the father is music, Christ the logos is philosophy, and Mary the holy spirit is  drama.  Thus Perichoresis must exist as a unified musical-philosophical-dramatic practice, simultaneously engaging the style and themes currently being generated under the Armistice of Varizen and problematizing or intervening within the infrastructures upon which these styles depend.  



UNION OF SLAVE AND MASTER

The master violently generates a world without knowing what he is doing.  The origin myth he installs effaces and disguises the true, blistering origin towards which it obliquely points.    The slave gains consciousness at the price of renouncing the power to make a beginning of this kind.    Once the consciousness of the slave is exposed for what it is (passive-aggressive submission disguised as universal justice, but also a new mode of power, higher degree of negativity, capacity to auto-cultivate thoughts, beliefs, habits), it is possible to conceive of carrying out the master’s grounding act consciously rather than unconsciously.  An evil that is a higher good, a violence that represents a more proud and profound healing, piercing through shit-caked bogs of humanity’s cultural accumulation.   Yet this act is paradoxical, because it’s hard to see how it could be really, practically possible to have consciousness and power at the same time.  Consciousness is what arises instead of   power.  

My forthcoming operatic film Origin of the Alimonies   is an effort to embody this paradox, to generate an origin myth that is simultaneously a gesture of critique.   A violent cut that is also its own scab, an intervention into the non-linear aspect of historical temporality.

More generally, the gends that will govern Haelegen represent this union of master and slave at a collective level - the union of good and evil or of preservation and consumption. Sovereignty and Hierarchy are the values of the slave; Emancipation and Individuation are the values of the master (you’d think it were the other way around, but it isn’t).



WIDER SENSITIVITY

One of the great tragedies of human life is the possibility of one human being enjoying an activity that makes another human being suffer.  The suffering of the latter can easily happen without the former knowing it.  The former might even think that the latter is taking the same enjoyment that the former is.   In the kingdom of heaven, it will be different:  our field of knowledge and sensitivity will be much wider, so that it will not be possible to take any action without feeling everything there is to be felt about it’s consequences.   This will amount to de facto obedience to the golden rule.  The only things that will happen will be those that cause universal rejoicing.



S.H.E.I.M

The four ideals or Gends governing the city of Haelegen are sovereignty, hierarchy, emancipation and individuation. 

 

Sovereignty is the ideal of being perfectly autonomous and self-generating.  Human culture emerged from nature, but it does not need to depend on it in principle.   We came from a wound, but we are not limited in principle to merely being a scab.   We can imagine sovereignty, even though we do not yet know how to achieve it. 

Hierarchy is the ideal of function, use, cooperation and achievement in the name of an ideal.   A non-hierarchical structure falls prey to the heteronomous sources of desire that are antithetical to sovereignty.  Hierarchy unites fantasmatic energies so that synergistic becoming is achieved.   The angels desire with perfect coordination.

Emancipation is the ideal of becoming-free of particularities.   In particular it highlights  the distinction between bondage and freedom and represents a permanent passage between the two - the discovery of freedom, the insight.

Individuation is the ideal of perseverance across the life span of particular human beings - a coming to fruition followed by a casting aside of earlier stages of fruition.  It entails respect and affirmation for contingencies that appear in the process of hierarchical becoming, so that autonomy continues to expand outwards.

 

Some day we will live in a Municipality governed only by these four laws



PROBLEMS

No true problem can ever be solved.   It can only be destroyed, transformed, de-absolutized.  The solution has to go around and undo the premises of the problem itself.   What does that mean for the problem of problemhood itself?  Can problems be dissolved as such?   The ultimate question, perhaps - why are there problems? 



UEBERMENSCH

There is an amphiboly in Nietzsche between two meanings of 'uebermensch'.   One is a human being who has interiorized and transcended the Christian capacity to take one's own will as an object and to cultivate it, and consciously chooses to live according to the pre-Christian ethic of the master - but as a master who grasps the contingency of his endeavor's founding gesture.  The second uebermesch is a posthuman race, a meta-species to which human history will give birth by coordinating cultural development with biological engineering.   What is the link between these two meanings?   Perhaps it is that the former cannot really come into existence unless its project is in some sense for the sake of the latter.  Or maybe the former's project is always for the sake of the latter, whether this is understood by its agent or not



SUBJUGATION

How can life be subjugated to spirit on a global scale?  It requires Transcendental experimentation to find out, but this experimentation must always be motivated by the Good:  the thirst to expand, overcome obstacles and survive failure - an to do so in the name of this thirst itself at a collective level.



PANNENBERG

According to Pannenberg - In the kingdom, we will still be separate from God, but the profane will be excised from the sacred.   Robert Russell conceives of this as a reversal of priority between the finite and the transfinite.  God is absolutely infinite, but he reveals himself qua concealed through the transfinite, which he created.  In the fallen world we are only able to glimpse the transfinite, it is primarily other than the finite (even though it shares some characteristics, as Cantor showed).  In the kingdom of heaven, we will be navigating the transfinite directly, but we will still be separate from the absolutely infinite, which is God.



SCHOPENHAUER

If the vision of heaven amounts to a world beyond capitalism, doesn't that amount to a kind of collective, utopian Schopenhaureanism?  At the end of the day the will must extinguish itself in the form of the dismantling of capitalist desire.  Schopenhauer as prophet of the apocalypse. Beyond capitalism there is only music.  

Isn't it perhaps necessary to begin to think the future as an infinite expansion and yet at the same time as a cessation, a turning-against-itself? 



A = A

What is the most rational desire? Perfectly rational desire. 



CONTAINMENT OF THE NEGATIVE

Could the negative disappear?  Would that be desirable?  No one knows what the negative is or why it persists, but apparently it is required for anything to appear at all.  The negative isn't inherently bad,  however.  It is only bad if the forces constituting it become undetectable.  There is a place in heaven for the negative - it just has to be kept in its place.



UNIVERSAL JUSTICE

It is key to assert that universal justice is neither a transcendental value nor a clear concept, on the one hand, and then to affirm it and fight for it as effectively transcendental nevertheless.  This requires a genealogical approach.  Where does the notion of universal justice come from?  Two levels down, we find its origins with the Abrahamic religious complex: it was born with the Jews.  Of course the notion of justice is older than that - surely any culture at all has some kind of sense of a cosmic order, a way things should be - but it was the Jews who (lets say approximately 4000 years ago, or perhaps fewer) introduced a non-cyclical temporality into this concept.  The current state of things is not just, and is also not simply an unjust phase in a cycle that will inevitably lead to justice before cycling back into injustice - universal justice will emerge decisively and once and for all at some kind of caesura breaking with the established order of things.  

This notion of eschatological justice was passed on to Christianity and Islam with an intensified universalism - universal justice for all, not just for a chosen tribe - and, through Christianity, was intensified even further as it was ejected into atheist secular multiculturalism with the rise of science, technological advance and capitalism (through American Transcendentalism, whose legacy this website aims to preserve and extend).  At this point its messianic aspect was effaced and it was characterized in terms of gradual progress and promethean effort rather than the coming of God.  

Upon being shorn of Christian dogma and prohibitions, the notion emerged for the first time as justice-in-itself, truly universal - the right of any human being to freely enjoy in whatever mode makes sense to them.   One interesting thing about the pure concept of universal justice is that it has gaps that it can't consistently address from the inside.  Secular multiculturalism cannot consistently affirm religious and sexual freedom - issues like discriminatory hiring based on religious convictions (not hiring homosexuals for example) and pederasty (priests, Milo Yannoupolos) seem to provide cases where the concept can't smoothly be applied and some kind of decision is required.  There's also of course the question of including other sentient beings like animals and plants, and then of which ones and so on.  

The point is that universal justice - what I will now simply call Ark Work - is one of several versions of righteousness circulating in the world.  It hasn't been able to simply leave its "less evolved" counterparts behind.  Christianity and Islam are alive and well, and both represent alternative visions of justice - involving, say, restrictions of women's health (for the former), and the violent conquest of the globe (for certain sects in the latter).   These latter two are actually tied to much clearer visions of justice because they are ultimately messianic.  The secular left is in on insecure footing in part because it does not have a messianic vision - but it can and should, and this is what The Ark Work in part needs to provide:  a detailed vision of the Sovereign Hierarchico-Emancipatory Individuation Municipality of AESTHETHICA.  

Parts of this vision can be extracted from the visions of heaven offered by the great medieval theologians (e.g. Aquinas and Duns Scotus) and by the living tradition of Jewish Kabbalah.   The key feature are perfect cognition of God, and a (resurrected) embodied life that, even in heaven, still requires problem-solving, discipline and creativity.  Whatever other features it involves, or however exactly this vision is described, it can then be unpacked and articulated with greater rigor in terms of dynamic systems theory and other branches of mathematics and science (especially studies of the nature of cognition, learning and problem-solving).  

Along these lines, it is also important to grasp the fundamental ways in which science is transforming human nature - we are merging with the machines we have created, discovering that we cannot clearly distinguish between matter, life and mind, and mastering our own genetic code.   A great deal of what would have required a messiah in the imaginations of eschatological thinkers from the Abrahamic complex seems more easily attainable at the hands of science (by scientific tools we already have at our disposable, or can realistically hope to aquire within the decade).   This point is so unassailably true that is it hardly worth unpacking, but it is nevertheless something that is shocking and unthinkable to most people.  I will nevertheless pass on to the next point, one which I struggle with:  isn't a messiah still needed for some aspects of the apocalyptic revelation?   Surely it is not possible on the basis of purely promethean methods.

Here it is interesting to point out a disagreement between Nick Land and John Greer I recently learned about.   The latter doesn't believe in a future that is not a post-human cyber-world with new values that we cannot yet imagine.  Rather, he imagines that humanity is on the verge of a massive decline into a new dark age, during which scientific progress will end, crumbling along with the institutions upon which it depends.   What he shares with Land is a cybernetic / systems basis for his prediction - he notes that discovering and crossing into a new singularity is a very, very rare and unlikely phenomenon.   Perhaps we could have hoped for this in the 70s, before the ecological catastrophe became inevitable, but now it is too late.  The most we can hope for is a an ecologically sustainable and stable druidic relationship with nature, built out of the wreckage of the catastrophe.  This outcome is both more likely (because we're beyond the point of no return) and safer and more reliable than acceleration beyond capitalism (because - even if we crossed into the basin of a new virtual singularity, it would be very unlikely and difficult for us to stay there).   NB I am actually not sure any of this is what Greer actually says - I am making up a position that is something along the lines of what I take his position to be based on an hour or two of glancing around on his blog.

In that case, it would require messianic force - something extremely unlikely and powerful - to push us into the S.H.E.I.M.  I don't see that this messianic figure is inevitably going to come - it would require the efforts of the arts, searching around in ANANON to find her - but we can at least give her a name as a place holder:  Ololon

 



LEFT AND RIGHT ACCELERATIONISM

We could define the antagonism between these two in terms of a fundamental gap between philosophy and justice that I myself don't quite know how to approach.  

The right accelerationist has done the work involved in understanding systems theory and cybernetics, sincerely believes in Deleuze's metaphysics (or something close to it) and has a sharp enough philosophical imagination to grasp that even his or her own deepest convictions - convictions about justice, freedom and equality - are contingent and bound up in an historical / natural process that far outstrips them.  The right accelerationist follows Nietzsche in affirming the leveling of not just the old patriarchal European values but also the new liberal humanist ones, affirming the creation of new values and the birth of a post-human world the coordinates of which we cannot currently conceive.  Yes, the right accelerationist understands that this stance is dangerous and in some ways heartless (because it is not particularly sensitive to local politics), but this person has accepted the cruelty that comes with truth.   This person is not "right" in the sense of conservative  - he or she is a visionary, an affirmer of utopia - but a utopia that takes into account the power of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, that situates its present in a history that goes back thousands / millions of years.

The left accelerationist begins with justice rather than with philosophy.  This person does not care much about the fabric of being, and perhaps does not believe that speculation about it is even legitimate or possible.  The left accelerationist is only interested in philosophy as a means of articulating and communicating an emancipatory vision that is informed in advance by values that it has no interest in questioning or revising.   It is compassionate - it is rooted in real relationships, real social groups, specific struggles, and so forth.  

You could call the former (as Nick Land does) 'unconditional' accelerationism, and the latter 'compassionate' accelerationism.   They of course also entail different attitudes towards capitalism (and probably different definitions of capitalism as well).   Both affirm technological progress, but the former imagines that it is pulling us towards a singularity at which all will be transformed - and the later seeks to control it rationally and deliberately for the sake of achieving clearly articulated goals.  

The ESCHATOLOGY of Transcendental Qabala is an effort to dialectically move beyond this antagonism.   I am unable to choose a side, and I believe that there is a perspective from which the two can be seen as structured around some kind of traumatic impossibility that neither is willing to define or recognize.  I also feel sure that in some way or another this traumatic impossibility has to do with religion.  After all, philosophies of the future and utopian visions owe their existence to the messianism of the Abrahamic religious complex:  Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  

What is missing from both is of course the figure of the messiah.  We can hardly take serious the idea of the return of Jesus Christ, but we can imagine that there is something in the relationship between art, prophecy and grace that is required to push through the deadlock.  



ESCHATOLOGY AND THE ARK WORK

The articulation of the nature of The Ark Work and Eschatology are essentially the same thing.   Eschatology has to do the work of defending the right to ask the question: what should come after human kind?   The Ark Work works in the name of the proposed answer to this question  



DETERMINATION IN THE LAST INSTANCE

When people on the left use the term "materialism", they can mean many different things - but one important resonance is the Marxist one:  the thesis that ideas circulating in the social field are 'determined in the last instance' by relations of production.   In other words, norms, ideals, imperatives, identities and so on are ideological - they mystify the populace and serve the end of profit.  So "matter" - the self-reproduction of capital - is prior to "thought" - ideology.  

This notion can be (and has been) expanded to include not just positive beliefs and convictions (say in a particular religious doctrine or in bourgeoise liberal humanitarianism), but our very phenomenological horizon, the limits of what can be felt, conceived, experienced as given in even the most inchoate, ineffable way.   This expansion represents both a radicalization of capital's power over human life and a radicalization within the philosophical tradition.  It really is the case, if you think about it, that one's very drives, desires, presuppositions, habits of nutrition and so forth are mediated by the profit machine.   

The argument goes that this includes, and perhaps especially includes, the experience of being free.  Self-expression and affirmation of otherness on Instragram, for example, refreshing likes while transgressing norms, would in this theory be something like crown jewel of capitalist domination of hearts and minds.  

I think it is here that there is a deadlock between philosophy's contemporary emancipatory horizon and those of both fine art and underground music.   In art and music, social media has been accepted wholesale as a valid mode of promotion and medium for artistic practice itself, and there is no hotter topic that affirmation of polymorphous cultural, gender and sexual norms.  

A sincere materialist philosopher doesn't quite know what to do with this - Zizek's many recent gaffes about gender identity are emblematic of this.   For him, public focus on LGBT rights is a sort of regrettable "political correctness", a manifestation of Nietzsche's "last man"  who withers away, unable to make subjectively embodied choices, or Hegel's "beautiful soul", railing emotionally against a system with which she is basically complicit in her lifestyle.  

There is something to this critique, which I think in one way or another we all felt upon the election of trump:  realizing we had been merely spouting cute, curated views in a Facebook echo chamber and so forth while doing little or nothing to actually engage (even discursively) the actual core antagonism of our time.  On the other hand, there is something to the obvious critique of the privileged white male who associates the struggle for, say, transgender rights or respect towards cultural heritage with a sort of needlessly permissive / PC outlook, while continuing to go on enjoying his privileged white male status. 

I guess what I mean is that a lot could be done to define exactly what it is we are still hoping to save from the tentacles of 'world-capitalism'.   In a way the answer is obvious:  it is always egalitarianism, the equal opportunity for all to live, work and express autonomously.   But the arts are tragically far away from being coordinated with respect to actually enacting this.  



A GOAL

It is obvious that human kind needs a solution, but part of the problem is that it is so difficult to think creatively about the nature of this solution or the terms in which it would be defined. 

 

Promethean messianism posits that the solution must be the greatest possible rational desire...not -inconceivable-, like the heaven of the medievals, but -difficult- to conceive.   

And the difficulty is not just intellectual, it is also libidinal:  we are ashamed to conceive it.  We cannot bear to, it seems absurd and disgusting, because our sense of self is ruled by a shame that outlines our sense of what is disgusting, riduclous, passé, pretentious.  We foreclose its conception in the name of a sort of frightened sense of honor.



THE ABSOLUTE

Messianism is  concerned with genetic engineering, to a degree.  If there is ever to be a decisive shift that puts the human condition to an end, manipulation of genes is likely to play a role - indefinitely extending life span, using DNA samples to resurrect the dead and so on.  

The question to consider is the boundary, as regards desire, between the absolute and the merely biological.   Humans are innately predisposed to yearn for eye contact, facial recognition and affective attunement - and likewise innately predisposed to seek new horizons.   Evolution is a possible explanation for these predispositions, but it may not explain all of them (and we are not able to test the theory, so we don't know). It could well be that one of these innate dispositions is genetic - that is, merely genetic - while the other is a sort of logical, cybernetic byproduct of being an information processing machine (a mind).

At the very least, the cosmic  low-level randomness that the theory of evolution depends on (needed for the random mutations that take place between generations) cannot itself be explained by evolution.   We can either see it as a will to power, driving species to expand and change, with Nietzsche, or - though though the difference might only be rhetorical - we can imagine that this randomness is a sort of purely mathematical excess.

A major task for thought, then - strangely sci-fi, but totally contemporary and urgent - is to find a criterion for preserving or discarding different parts of the genome.  This criterion would presumably have something to do with that which turns out to be cosmic (material) in our nature, rather than merely biological - whatever that turns out to be.

 

If we could erase the biological predisposition for attachment, the very basis for the human condition at the root of psychoanalysis, should we? 

 



PROMETHEAN MESSIANISM

Prometheanism and messianism are generally opposed as incompatible attitudes.   While messianism would be an awaiting for an advent which we do not have the power to catalyze or even perhaps conceive of, prometheanism takes on the power and responsibility of creating this outcome.  

The choice of one of these options of the the other (assuming onehas any attitude at all towards this question) hinges on one's attitude towards reason.   One either has faith in reason's power to, if used properly, satisfy all desires and put injustice to an end, or one believes that over-emphasis on reason is a self-destructive hubris, gesturing towards World War II as its culmination.    Messianism is more mysterious - at its minimum, though, it requires a non-human agency.  It requires a response.  

The two, however, are in fact compatible - and neither alone is sufficient.   In short - reason alone, as we currently understand it, is not enough.  What is required is an experimental coordination between reason, drama and music - a society-wide effort to allow new forms and affects to proliferate in the name of egalitarian self-transformation.   Many of these enterprises may fail, but ultimately the outcome has to be a response, a moment of grace.