Sunday, 9 October 2016

Nor yet good red herring: Autumn (3)

Where automated algorithms have supplanted 'fat finger' as the key component in subject formation, the subject cedes its god given pole. 

The sole purpose of the automatic subject is to induce within its human rival a permanent state of deferral of its judgment upon the life-world. 


The terrain of the subject, halfway in shadow, is all of a sudden inundated with inhuman illumination. And the rock cried out, 'I can't hide you'. 

Subjectivity collects in, wells up from, the brush strokes of Caravaggio, from the technique of chiaroscuro. From the vitreous depths. 

Judgment appears where shadow is technically accomplishable. But it is rapidly dispersed in the flood of connectivity realised by the light web. 

Whatever problematises historical momentum is cast as reactionary. Reaction becomes the default value assigned to that which is put into flight by automation: so I run to the river, it was boiling.

What was ordinarily understood as reaction, the measure of an environment's resilience as it undergoes revolutionising events, becomes, under conditions of whiteout, unplaceable, valueless. Nothing is reactionary. The reactionary is nothing.   

Abstraction in runaway transforms whatever is human into reaction. There is too much light: So I run to the Lord, Please hide me Lord.

Every concept of the human impacts against the right wall of maximal complexity, and rebounds into the social body, fragmented and fragmenting, shredded and shredding. 

Everything human, outstripped by incomprehensible mechanisation, and attempting to master itself, becomes inhuman, mechanistic.

Under conditions of full automation, there is no mode of consciousness which is not also peppered by, studded with, arranged upon, the reactionary.

Reaction is an inflationary event, an eruption, a burst, a dust cloud. It refers to the event where the subject's revolutionising judgment has been out-competed by a self-revolutionising environment. The subject's pole of reality is overrun by vines.

Everything left behind. Everywhere deserted. If there was fleeing before, now all is ruined, there shall be no further flight. 

Human society's forfeiture of subjectivity echoes the sovereign's loss of capacity for judgment by recognition: the drawing out, placing and valuing of objects in a terrain otherwise constituted by shadow. 

At the point where the capacity for subjectivity passes from the realm of direct to the realm of indirect domination, from the human to the machinic, hitherto distinct objects are suddenly illuminated from every direction and withdraw from judgment under a cloud of light. 

Full abstraction abolishes judgment and with it, shadow. The human caught in the headlights. 

Where reaction, the human psyche's own worthy opponent, is subsumed by automation, it recurs upon the surface of all things, a residue, a slick, a dust. It is in the light itself. 

The 'resurgence of the right' as a phenomenon obscures the paradoxical generalisation of reaction to all fragments of consciousness. An event attributable to a shift in material conditions which otherwise deny reaction absolutely. 

Reaction is cut off from the conditions that produce it. As a pure product, sheered from reflexivity, it is also the only available form of awareness, and is compelled to tear at itself as error. 

Progress: those obsolete forms that are objectively insupportable, nonetheless proliferate everywhere.

The category 'reactionary' is already incompletely represented within Enlightenment discourse as an irrational desire to return to an 'earlier stage', and which may only appear as the corollary of its repudiation of 'progress'. 

The liberal critique of reactionary categories perpetually slips the dialectical leash only to lapse into moral dualism. The incomplete representation of the exteriorised form of reaction: that which anathematises what is 'against progress',  by this very gesture, becomes all too reactionary.

A game of negative bidding between rival political remnants: which position will be found to be most holding back progress? 

Reaction is least incompletely characterised as an incoherent critique of Enlightenment universalism, and by the compensational imperative of founding a community upon 'the law of exception'.

It pursues the possibility of overthrowing the apparatuses of indirect domination, and of replacing the abstract categories of value-form universalism with communities constituted through direct power relations where dominant institutions are defended as above and beyond process.

'The sanctity of all life' is a precept of a mode of reactionary discourse. Its incoherence is located in its anti-universalist conception of 'all'. The priest who officiates at the battlefront and during executions also perceives abortion as murder. 

And yet, the significance of the reactionary defence of the life of the foetus is itself transformed under conditions where certain modes of the human community are at the point of eugenic extinction from history, beginning with those individuals who are characterised by the genetic disorder of having three copies of the genes on chromosome 21 rather than the usual two. 

The anti-universalism by which reactionaries present 'all' and thereby indicate some, still confronts the bourgeois category of abstract equivalence, where the form of the universal is constituted as the measure and exchange of useful quantities. 

The reactionary's challenge to bourgeois universality, where all are equally subsumed under the law of value but at different prices, only becomes categorically intelligible where it is encountered as an embodiment of the visceral exception: this body, and this body, and this body. 

The reactionary is a romantic on the steps of the guillotine, and pleads the case for the corporeality of this condemned individual against the implementation of the abstract category 'enemy of the people' as designated by the processive state-form or General Will. But in a circumstance where every physical individual becomes conceivable as a literal, and visceral, exception, the communist hybrid all/universal is momentarily and curiously instantiated. 

Every attempt to implement the reactionary category of 'all' as a literal, i.e. incarnated, universal, escapes the incoherence of its reactionary formulation, and thereby discovers and confronts instrumentalising rationality as its limit.

The category of all is inhibited from achieving full universalisation as a community of actual individuals by the strategic application of abstract universality as a mode of governance. 

The abstract form of equality and freedom is not only a weapon against the potential for direct relations of equality and freedom, it also functions through the mechanism of representation, as a mystification of actual inequality and actual unfreedom. 

By way of illustration: in theory, Patriarchy is the pastoral defence of these women undertaken by men against the potential threat posed by other men, whilst Feminism is the emancipation of abstract women from abstract men undertaken by women, but in practice, as in State-form human rights legislation, it is always unclear whether apparent improvements in the situation of women should be perceived as patriarchal defence or feminist emancipation. 

The human subject's capacity for judgment, from the position of an assigned pole of historical reality, is caught in the headlights of a technological runaway that outruns it to every horizon. It still has plenty to say, there is an overflow of chatter, but none of it means anything. 

Even so, maintaining the ideals of legalistic progressivism become burdensome to the project of realising the condition of fully processive abstraction. The Enlightenment's formulation of equality before the law, by which the institution of abstract universality processes social relations, immediately sets about suspending itself so as to defend the exceptionality of war as a distinct domain.

The state evolves as the organ of exception, the viscera of exception, processing relations of direct domination under general conditions of indirect domination. War functions as the domain of exception wherein legalistic universalism is suspended - the ultimate goal of the state is to extend the domain of war, and thus of exceptionality, throughout social process, and thereby suspend absolutely Enlightenment universalism even in the operation of defending it. 

War is the perfected form of the state's right to veto the full implementation of abstract universality. By exercising its interdiction, the state constitutes yet another recourse to the physical 'all' where all indicates some. It is upon the state-form's iteration of partial exception that reaction and progress converge - a convergence that is forever exemplified in the nuances of the slogan 'liquidation of kulaks as a class'.

The state is nothing but the suspension of the universal by war. It is discovered, too late, that the universal, as the domain for relating abstract useful quantities, is inoperable except through the state's violation of its principle. But then, even where it is viable, the universal is constituted as a shrinking, and then collapsing, ideal.

The crisis of the universal is expressed as runaway in the balkanising production of territory. The runaway of progressivism is expressed as nationalism, as theocracy, as war - but never as communism. 

The function of war to the Enlightenment project is only escaped through the activation of the reactionary category 'all', but in circumstances where all stands categorically for all. 

Necessarily, the refusal of the state finds full expression in the refusal of both 'the good war' and the 'revolutionary war', the final forms of instrumentalising rationality. 

Communism confronts both direct and indirect forms of domination without falling into line with the antagonism each addresses to the other. 

The problematic of communism occurs neither as a movement forwards nor backwards but of exit. In circumstances where technological form exceeds political containment, all possible modes of awareness are scattered, thrown backwards and becoming reactive, by the right wall of maximal complexity.

Technology becomes autonomous and breaks from political control relatively early in the process of proletarianisation. Historically, the fault-line between the human and the inhuman is situated in 1914. 

A sudden acceleration in the accumulation of productive forces induced the proletariat to reproduce itself under new conditions of indirect domination where it was finally and irredeemably cut off from its potential for autonomy.

The right wall of maximal complexity converts all human responses to the life-world, its community of capital, into reaction. It is a situation defined by there being no objective option of 'going forward'. There is only going back, an impelled regression that recycles the same captured responses over and over: return to liberalism; return to fascism; return to Marx; return to religion. 

In the history of capitalism only the German revolution of 1918 is comprehensible as an authentically proletarian revolution, and even this was not an act of 'overcoming' but was desperately driven by the severe dislocation of military defeat and economic collapse. 

Every revolt of the capitalist epoch has been driven by populations passing into the early stages of proletarianisation, and before maximal complexity of productive forces has been effected.

Revolutions against capitalism are made by populations with first or second generation memories of direct self-reproduction as peasants. Only peasants and artisans are prepared to smash looms because only they have immediate access to means of subsistence other than the indirect from of social relation produced under the constraints of waged labour. 

Communism, like capitalism, is an exit from feudalism. Wherever the capitalist exit was taken, the relations of autonomy necessary to communism are thereby cut off. There is no route back to the communist exit that would not involve intolerable suffering. There is no path forward to it either. 

Communists are cut off by history, defending islands of their own peculiar form of reaction which subsist in a state of ideological drift prior to the metastasis of automation. 

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