HAELEGEN will be an autarky in terms of its relation to nature and a democratic monarchy in terms of its internal governance. It will be ruled by a baby lamb named the Meek King. The Meek King will be in an eternally post-partum state, eternally young. The Great Labor, which is a synthesis of work and childbirth at the cultural level, a form of labor beyond abstract labor, the definition of which is subject to revision as civilization develops, is leading to the birth of the Meek King.
For the current mode of production, unskilled labor is the measure of value. For the next mode, in the city of Haelegen, skilled labor, rather than unskilled, will be the measure of value. That will more or less be the only difference, but it will count for a lot, and it’s quite difficult to conceive of how it would be carried out so that the actual engine of production is refined in this way. I think Andrew Yang’s proposal about changing the way GDP is calculated is a fairly reasonable stab at conceiving of how this would be concretely implemented. It most certainly would require an extremely high level of automation, as well as metrics on many aspects of life.
I dislike the notion of the death of man and any project conceived as an anti-humanist post-humanism. The fact is that the coming era will be more human than we are; currently we are barely human. Our humanity only appears in flickers, in extreme moments, in crises, in tenderness. When Haelegen is born, these moments will be the rule, not the exception. This is the meaning of apocalyptic humanism. Civilization will discard that which is not human; not the other way around.
I am particularly interested in connecting this moment to the second coming of Jesus Christ. I am inclined to support the most hard-core version of Christian faith: that Jesus Christ was a real individual who also was God, and that after dying on the cross, his body was resurrected; after his individual body ascended into heaven, it became the task of enlightened humans to collectively carry on his body. I agree with Chesterton that this story has the strange and unique character that only real events have; if it were a metaphor or a myth, it would make more sense, be more allegorical, it would be less monstrous. The fact that it doesn’t really make sense suggests, oddly, that the story is true rather than metaphorical.
One of the strangest and surely most mistaken books I have ever read is Badiou’s short text devoted to St. Paul. The thesis of the book is that the resurrection of Christ is the paradigmatic “event”, but that it so happens that this one event in particular was not a real event at all. We must commit to the much more reasonable declaration that the event of Christ’s resurrection is an ur-event from which all other events stem (which is surely what Badiou must really mean, and what he would have said were he not deferring to the atheistic trend of his milieu.).
The messiah, then, when he returns, will be all of us. Having discarded the form of the Christian Church, the Ark Work has taken over the body of Christ as a utopian project combining experimentation with disciplined coordination in the name of the kingdom of heaven. When it succeeds, we will all be one unique, fragile, beautiful, gently suffering human being.
Politics is simply eschatology that has not reasoned all the way to the end. Contemporary politics is completely bankrupt. The left and the right cannot make contact because neither is able to even conceive of the fundamental convictions that are motivating the other side, because neither side understands its own fundamental convictions, which are contradictory - and if they were understood they would evaporate, because they depend on their contradictory nature to be in place at all (in other words, people are generally only motivated by ideas that they do not understand, because these ideas have a charismatic glow, suggestive of the infinite, making the psychoanalytic transference possible).
In short, the contradiction for the right is the simultaneous endorsement of both tradition and capitalism, even though the latter is the great destroyer of the former. The great contradiction of the left is the simultaneous endorsement of morality and secularism, even though the latter destroys any possible basis for the former (because it explicitly relativizes all cultural claims to truth in the name of allowing everyone the right to their own culture).
The spell of politics must be broken so that eschatology can begin. This beginning involves three steps, which are derived from Marxism, psychoanalysis and theology, respectively.
The Marxist move is to show that there have been different modes of production in the past, which suggests that there could be a differerent mode in the future as well, and that achieving this higher mode on a civilizational scale is a higher priority than, say, saving jobs in a particular industry or maintaining equal respect for all cultural traditions. In other words, it sustains thirst for something genuinely different from and higher than capitalism - overcoming a particularly rampant weakness of imagination that is not able to conceive of truly fundamental change so instead focusses on less ambitious issues.
The psychoanalytic move is to show that every human being has a unique project in the name of which she or he can and should suffer, and that a great deal of political commentary is a symptom of a fundamental thwarting of this mission and the ensuing ressentiment. In other words it fosters a certain notion of heroism that is requisite for true forgiveness.
The theological move is to show that the object of ultimate concern is the achievement of a sustained joy that surpasses everything we associate with the coordinates we take to define ordinary reality, and that these latter coordinates are not eternal. This goes even beyond the mode of production that will transcend capital. This a matter of cultivating concrete experience of the noumenon - direct experience of God.
The Church of OIOION: a unified music-drama-philosophy project sustaining a state of awareness that the world does not need to be the way that it currently is. The music must explore the deadlock between the classical tradition, rock music and club culture, producing a state of simultaneously material and cultural intensity that is well-ordered. The philosophy must explore the deadlock between the contemporary continenta and analytic traditions, together with the deadlock between the modern dogma of secularism and the dogmatic theology from which it sprang. In doing so, this philosophy must create dangerous new values and concepts that are precise and clear yet challenge accepted discourse, arriving at a vision of a new city governed by new laws. The drama must explore the deadlock between the entertainment industry, the artworld and history itself (this latter encompassing both ancient myth and the capacity to generate a history as such), which is Arkwork, and activity in the name of Haelegen, the city of OIOION.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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?
What is the most rational desire? Perfectly rational desire.
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.
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
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.