Friday, 8 January 2016

Es-tu, Brutish?

Enlightened governance coheres from the operations of its specialised departments: the taxonomical features of every process are distributed through the various apparatuses of technical expertise. All difficulty is cultivated as a source of further expansion of governance.
The specialisation within departments systematically avoids diagnosing any given crisis as symptomatic of generalised pathology.

As the extrapolation (l’après-coup) of a general mode of rationality, the state emerges ideologically from the efficiencies of its departments, as would a greater god retroactive give life to a lesser pantheon. Just as the earlier Athena is made to emerge from the forehead of the later Zeus, so the department becomes generalised and the generality... departmentalised.

As a historical formation, the state's careering momentum immediately expresses the level at which irrational and ungovernable forces operate within social organisations.

'Continuum: a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements do not perceptibly differ from each other, but where the extremes are demonstrably distinct.' Thus, 'state terror.' That which strikes, is struck. That which compels, is compelled.

The historical continuum of state-terror commences in Paris on 5th September 1793: this is also the point at which the categories of transcendental apperception triumph over the faculties of critical awareness as optimal medium for presenting social organisation to itself.  

Orbit or echo: the predictable reappearance of an object through a fixed point that is experienced in a subject's time as a 'return'; or the context-bound reflection of an event which transforms the original actant into the acted upon.

Acts of terror realise the other extreme of the continuum of state rationale by taking aim at the surface integration of specialised departments. The praxis of terror at first refutes, and then gives higher expression to, the processive continuities that distinguish enlightened power. But then, terror is also its own department.  

It took 150 years for the figure of André Breton to incarnate the historical conjunction of literalist political gestures with the ubiquity of the advertisement-driven social unconscious.

Breton disclosed a libidinal excess in political violence: 'The purest surrealist act is walking into a crowd with a loaded gun and firing into it randomly.' 

It took a further 80 years for the 'marauding terrorist attack', as latent product of Breton's febrile imagination, to pass through the digestive tract of his unreal city and come out the other end as yet another appalling and banalised spectacle. Now, 'media stunts' must be escalated to include multiple dead bodies if they are to touch the hadopelagic floor of the Real.  

Every act of violence has become an advert for itself, but only to the degree that the content of 'itself' is redacted from the cause of the actant.

Terrorism, the exemplar of unpredictable action, and defined precisely by its incompatibility with the strategic dimension, is also, at the other extreme, incorporated into social reproduction as a strategisable component: a direct and immediate fusion of advert and product; of taking desires for reality.

A cop in Hemingway says, 'one can, with honor, denounce one's assailant.' He has not yet grasped that all acts have already escaped the intention of their authors. The departmentalised umwelt is transformed into an institution for unconsciously manufacturing the most improbable of enlightenment products: unintended consequences as a perfected bureaucratic speciality.

The SI's historical project, begun unintentionally on the streets of Paris, has been completed by ISIS against the same background: the final decomposition of the possibility of a subjective praxis.

Every conceivable transformation of this world is now conceived in full knowledge of the inevitability of its own recuperation, a constraint that must nauseate and incapacitate its potential proponents. The inherited terms of engagement have become historically constrained into a continuum with atrocity, and reflect, if dimly, the fascistic, the policed, the authoritarian. Every effort against the grain is forced to recapitulate the inertia of every other subjectively undertaken act, which are made to confront it as an already given quantity.

The post-prefigurative moment is a hungover awakening, a coming-to in painful recognition of the state malignancies fixed within its core formulation: social change by means of our own action.

Whoever is not disgusted by the limits of the project to which they are committed is still ideologically intoxicated by imperatives received from forces other than those that they seek to nurture within their project.

The collapsing edge of 'participation' merges into an abject enthusiasm that is animated by something both terrifyingly atavistic but also domestically responsive to external authority. Every slogan chanted inflicts a further self-diminishment. Every crowd, an autonomous department of governance.

Eliot discloses the purpose of those figures flowing over London Bridge who are subjectively driven to carry forward the work of interpellation:  ''[...]the fatal woman, is herself obsessed by the idea of fatality: her motives are melodramatic: she therefore compels the coincidences to occur, feeling that she is compelled to compel them."

We are conditioned to drool at the ringing of the bell, hurry up please its time. The bell that announces the arrival of the anticipated meat powder. But the meat powder is not here. The meat powder is absent from the whole cafe. 

We are historically bound into the conservation of set pathways of energy release, and are now thoroughly convinced that a terrible end is inseparably attached to even the most benign of attempted means: whatever exit I might propose will not only lead to a circumstance more appalling than this, but must also produce that fated destination by even the most hypothetical gesturing at the desire for departure - the prefigurative dystopia, a reserved place in hell, and which otherwise would have remained unattainable is carried forward on the soles of our shoes.

If subjectivity, vaguely resembling the stochastic mechanism of genetic drift, is the general enforcement of a restricted pool of experience, then the objective, if it is not to rehearse statist strategies, is only to be realised as the restriction of subjects through the facilitation of their action upon each other.

The return to a primitive, antagonistic, territoriality of all against all, but as in Engels' terms, 'at a higher level', would re-situate a mutual, therapeutic and self-regulating law of repulsion at the heart of the human community.

It is quite wrong to understand the regulatory function of what is called 'masochism' as the enjoyment of pain. It is closer to consider it in terms of a condition that has metabolised the rites of initiation to which it has been subjected: "[...]unlike wine, each glass of whisky, each inhalation of cigar smoke, still recalls the repugnance that it cost the organism to become attuned to such stimuli, and this alone is registered as pleasure"(Adorno).

Masochism implies a level of awareness that operates in line with the defensive shield (reizschutz) and is more or less consciously deployed by the lifeform, over and above the functioning of its ongoing metabolic integrity, as an attempt to erotically manage the effects of painful and disruptive external stimuli.  Regulatory efforts directed at limiting the invasive approach of the hostile world are translated into an ideal praxis summarised in the maxim, 'expropriate the expropriators' and indicate the self's tendency to oral incorporation and transformative consumption of the given environment.

In life-practice, this manner of mutual, but never fully consummated, expropriatory behaviour correlates to a condition of flattened autonomy governed by the perpetual erosion of each other's malign potentials - each limited by each, and all limited by all would finaly condense into a refuting echo of identitarian politics, becoming the last defence against the policed world.

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