August 17, 2004


Also in the interests of kollektivization, and acting on Paul Meme's excellent suggestion, I'm posting below the Spinoza discussion from Friday's comments box.

There are a number of concepts and threads here that it will be well worth holding onto/ extending/ exploring....

According to Spinoza, to be free is to act according to reason.
To act according to reason is to act according to your own

But as you pursue freedom, so your interests change (perhaps Kantian Duty is only ever useful as a kickstart to this K+ process, ie guilt might make one stop watching TV and eating Monster Munch for a day, during which new, positive vectors of desire might install themselves spontaneously - you go for a walk, you watch some lapwings, see some spiders, spill some mushy peas in your pocket :) - and since you _are_ the sum of your interests (the things you are engaged in, in the milieu of), how can this be anything other than a becoming-non-self (or in k-p terminology becoming-unself, becoming a real fiction of self rather than a fictional real?

This needs to be clarified in the D/G sense of 'becoming' (listen up luke it _does_ make sense!), a becoming is neither a transformation of an existing substrate-entity ('self-improvement' or the capitalisation of the self) or one thing changing into another entity ('becoming a new person' or the resentful repudiation of one's contingency and history) but a substantive 'becoming-in-it(non)self' which has neither external origin or goal, a metastable process with a nametag.

Flight - (D/G again - there is nothing cowardly or immoral about fleeing, assemblages only change through flight, flight - that is, the refusal of the stubborn clinging to sadness and despair 'because it's mine', 'because that's me'...'this genuinely sad spectacle') - flight is the only _real_ form of resistance)

That blogging can facilitate this flight whilst at the same time providing multiple snares and traps is no argument against it, of course, that's the abstract libidinal landscape of life, the thing to do is to learn how the attractors, the black holes and the plateaus work; then you will no longer (a) subject to them...

A large part of spinozism is practice in the sense of recitation. It's so subtle and yet so utterly heretical to all our defaults that you need to keep going back for more medicine, in some way spinoza is literally 'unbelievable' every day is a new struggle, but just reading things like this post makes it work better, and prove that it works (this, instead of 70s Dr Who and Girls Aloud crit? Oh yes!); thinking is necessarily a doing - spinozan parallelism.
Posted by undercurrent at August 13, 2004 09:43 AM


It's not a nirvana, it's a collective machine that needs to be continually built. The personal is something that needs to be decoded. You can't leap out to the impersonal. So you expect some degree of monkey howling on the way out. The question is: does it stop there in baboonery and katak cycles of rage-engendering-rage or does it move somewhere else? That's something that is only decided by the continued activity of desubjectization of the group. But I think things are going pretty well in the main, actually.
Posted by mark at August 13, 2004 09:52 AM

This is highly important:

According to Spinoza, to be free is to act according to reason.
To act according to reason is to act according to your own

But as you pursue freedom, so your interests change

Absolutey, there's that whole paradox of your ultimate interests being to have no interests whatsoever, which is intellectual love of God.

Actually, think a rigorous relationship between k+ and k0 is starting to open up here. Processes of intensification = self-reinforcing virtuous cycles of becoming-active. But, paradoxically, such processes of incitement involve less and less agitation: becoming-active = switching on your body's potentials such that it can find overwhelming bliss in very little.

The virtual but never reached 'goal' at zero-intensity is the body of uttunul, Spinozist God or the cosmos as pure potentiality.

Isn't this what D and G mean by saying that the BwO is always tended towards, never attained?

Posted by mark at August 13, 2004 11:11 AM

that amkes sense, thats the point of writing about grasshoppers instead of tv programmes incidentlyly
Posted by luke.. at August 13, 2004 11:17 AM

Luke don't get Carlin's Syndrome for fuxake lol

you're boxing yourself into a corner here: the advantage D and G have over Nietzsche whom they do incorporate is precisely that they process out the problem with Nietzsche that you yourself identified the other day when you were talking to me: namely his tendency towards vestigial subjectivism and manic depressive Romanic expressionism.

Thing is Luke is not about lack, you don't need to read A Thousand Plateaus. The fact that it's the most heronbone book ever --- you'll just never find that out then. Fair enough lol
Posted by mark at August 13, 2004 11:21 AM

that amkes sense, thats the point of writing about grasshoppers instead of tv programmes incidentlyly

Absolutely .... That's why heronbone is a relentless Spinozist machine, on two levels: cartographic study of the interior of the subject in passive modes/ moods plus machinic manual for contact with the outside. You need both for the Spinoza program to be up and running.

Luke, read this the other day, think you'll like it:

'Think of the sheer multiplication of works of art available to every one of us, super-added to the conflicting tastes and odors and slights of the urban environment that bombard our senses. Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction: the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern material life - its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness - conjoin to dull our sensory faculties. And it is in the light of the condition of our senses, our capacities (rather than those of another age), that the task of the critic must be assessed.

What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more to hear more, to feel more.' (Sontag, 'Against Interpretation')

In other words: Susan Sontag recommends reading heronbone. Or rather doing heronbone.

Also think Sontag and Luke's point is crucial for the anti-capital position being developed here and at hyperstition. Developing more feeling precisely entails being reliant on less external stimuli. Kaptial = progressively less from more. Anti-kapital = more from less.

As for unpleasantness, I think Robin UC will agree with me when I say that unpleasantness is important. If it leads to k + (towards k-) katak wars of embedded subjectitives, as in the academy and on so many phora, then obv that's just reproducing the reality studio. However such mammal/reptile screeches can be k+ (towards k0) if they lead towards decoding of the subject position.

The first and most important thing is to lose the liberal idea of the rational autonomous subject. The sooner we all recognize that we're tortured monkeys in hell, the sooner we can develop strategies to get out.
Posted by mark at August 13, 2004 11:51 AM

I'm hesitant to write to this comments box because I really don't wish to be involved in some fight, but there's something I don't understand, Mark: doesn't "I don't eat junk food because it makes me feel bad" (which you were all in favour of the other day) presuppose rationality and autonomy, to some degree at least?
Posted by Tim at August 13, 2004 02:29 PM

My understanding is that the difference between psychoanalysis and ethics is the former is an interminable analysis of sad passions, whereas the latter is an analysis of happy passions as a step on the way to converting them to positive actions.

IIRC, D&G got the term 'plateau' from Bateson's account of Balinese culture as steady-state rather than schismogenetic, and that the Balinese approach to conflict resolution, rather than "having it out", is to ban the parties from speaking for a year on pain of losing some tidy some of money.

Posted by rx at August 13, 2004 02:53 PM

Tim: good question...

The issue is that for Spinoza rational autonomy is something that has to be achieved whereas for liberalism it is something that is assumed. For Spinoza the only way we can achieve rational autonomy is by first of all recognizing that we are tortured monkeys in hell. i.e. what do you do? make yourself feel better as a tortured monkey (eat junk food = put on anti-burn cream) or try and escape hell (take exercises = step out of the fire).

"Demonstrations are the eyes of the mind."

It took me quite a while to understand the use of proof in mathematics. For a long time I thought that it a nicety, an assurance that a theory wasn't completely off-beam. Only later did I realise that, no, proof is a tool of mathematical perception; to explore a concept, this is what mathematicians use in doing their leg-work.

That said, I don't think mathematical logic is a good model. Consider analytic philosophy. Perhaps it is wrong of me to judge from a distance, but it looks like a big, dreary pedant-fest, where the purpose of rigour is less to clarify perception and more to pre-empt ridicule.

My understanding of the k-punk adventure is this: experiences are had; reports are filed; connections are drawn; observations are made; theories are extracted; proposals are devised; lather; rinse; repeat.

[At this point there should be paragraph starting "What could take the place of mathematic rigour here?" Then a snide comment about Burroughs, comparing him unfavourably with Beckett. Not quite cohering yet.]

On a slightly different track, I am put in mind of this exercize, from Robert Anton Wilson:

Buy some ZOOM or LIFT (two names for the same caffeine-
high stimulant) at a Health Food Store. (Ths gives a close
approximation of the effects of illegal cocaine.) When you are
Zooming or Lifted and your mind is racing, find a victim and
explain the universe to him or her, until they are able to escape

What you experience in this "speed rap" is what the head of the
compulsive Rationalist is *always* like. This is the verbal circuit
gone wild and totally oblivious to information coming in on any
other circuit. It explains why most people cannot stand Rationalists.
"Speed" drugs evidently trigger neurotransmitters characteristic
of the verbal centers in the left cortex.

CCRU material tends to remind me of the thought trains that come when half-awake after coming down (or after too much programming). I can just never figure out what to *do* with them.

Posted by rx at August 14, 2004 12:04 PM

so rationalists and speed freaks (and what's with the legal high guff) share a plateau? The same one as punk, perhaps.....?

If CCRU occupy 'coming down' trains of thought wouldn't it look something like 'shit, feel broken, have to go to work tomorrow, don't want to die, hate Tv, hate adverts, need sleep' etc. etc. Well, that is interesting.

And comparing Burroughs unfavourably to Beckett?! It wouldn't make any sense to do that, unless you were planning to burn the books of the 'loser'...........
Posted by is anyone really a rationalist? at August 14, 2004 12:47 PM

Hey, let's not get into a katak war about this --- I actually think rx has some very salient points if I'm reading him right.

I think we have to distinguish between phase 1 Ccru (basically pre-Digital Hyperstition) and phase 2 Ccru (ongoing, Now)

I wd suggest that precisely because of that speed-out amphetamine frenzy rx identifies - which was literally true in some cases and 'abstractly' true in my own - Ccru entered a state of katatonic undeath of almost zero-activity between 99 and 04 (there were sporadic break outs, but it could have looked as it the whole thing had dissipated as Ccru drones detached from the machine and became drained by Kaptial-Matrix.

Part of the reason for this is what is being rigorously critiqued (=machinically processed) by the distributed Ccru machine Now (not only k-punk - which in any case is multiple [and multiplying] in the comments box -, but also hyperstition, undercurrent, heronbone and the whole intelligence network. I think this involves two related things:

1. Movement beyond fetishism of cyberpositive (k+) processes. An understanding of the way that 'speedfreaking' and burn out are fundamentally intertwined. i.e. what is at the first order level cyberpositive (escalative, self-reinforcing) will be at the second level cybernegative as homeostatic lockdown kicks in. e.g. a forest fire will in the end consume the forest. Nothing there. Undeath. A different energy economy is required.

2. A slow but sure detachment of Ccru activity from the Kapital Thing. The Thing's excitatory agitational instant-gratification, infinite debt regime locked onto Ccru speeding out of the academic strata.

Where this adventure is going, no-one yet knows, but it sure feels inciting...
Posted by mark at August 14, 2004 01:52 PM

Also, there's a complex lock in between what it was possible to think in the 90s and the SF Kapital-cyberpunk relation. Kapital only allowed Ccru to think so far in the 90s, Strategically Fuzzifying the distinction between kapital and marketized anti-kapital, and SF and k-punk. Think the 90s bubble economy. But after the collapse of bubble economy (Kapital like many of its slaves is manic depressive) Kapital's hold on culture has been decoded by distributed network cyberpunk activity (like this!). Think blogging vs dot com boom. In turn, this break out can theorize upon the conditions of its own emergence (cybernetic punk), accelerating and intensifying the intensively slow flight towards the absolute stillness of the BwO or flatlined body of uttunul. 'Challenger, or what remained of him, hurried slowly towards the plane of consistency.'
Posted by mark at August 14, 2004 02:06 PM

GREAT little post from rx there -- well, yes, anything with a RAW ref will usually get a thumbs up from me -- but it's a good explication of the "too much thinking" problem. Which tends to be a flight from (icky) emotion, and especially a flight from, a rejection of, one's self, or aspects of oneself one hates. (NO, MC, I'm NOT talking about you! Put the keyboard down!! :))

And a great response from Mark, especially on the current/ ongoing renaissance of the CCRU current. "A different energy economy is required." Yes. It's one based on emotions and intellect (and, in my case, spirit ;-)) in harmony. It's one based on LOVE.
Posted by paul "Essex boy" meme at August 14, 2004 03:18 PM

Paul, thanks, think this is all HIGHLY salient

(incidentally, yr familiarity with ppl like RAW is one of the reasons why yr contributions to the k-punk network are so invaluable --- I've only dipped my tentacle in, need to go much further obv)

As Undercurrent and I were trying to establish over at hyperstition,
cyberpunk always starts in the middle --- where we are. Where we are is embedded within Human OS, which segments out reason from emotion. The Kapital Thing's lock onto mammal-reptile strata produces the hideously convoluted emiserating (I need another word for 'emiserating' - anyone help?) desire-repulsion circutries described by Kant, Lacan and Zizek. I shouldn't do that, I want to do that, I want to do that because I shouldn't do that... Emotion and duty (=what reason tells you to do according to Kant) are not so much opposed as a mutually implicating, auto-excitatory D/G 'double pincer'.

From the Spinozist POV, reason hasn't got a look in yet. Human OS systematically confuses 'reason' with a literally academic detachment (i.e. non-pragmatic orientation). Yet, as Nietzsche was so insistent, such 'reason' has its own bio-psychic bases and biases ('no-one is less impersonal than a philosopher'). rx's brilliant point about analytic philosophy - 'the purpose of rigour is less to clarify perception and more to pre-empt ridicule' (which wd actually go for the academy in general) shows how such 'reason' is still slaved to baboonery. Now Nietzsche stops there (all 'supposed' reason is actually a rationalization of ucs drives) but Spinoza had already gone further.

Spinoza had got out by positing Reason as something to be attained - a non-human, abstract-material map for escaping identity and achieving flatline communion with uttunul. The analytics are both too slow and too fast - too slow because they have not yet decoded their own immersion in monkeymatic Human OS, too fast because they assume that you can just leap out to reason without undertaking such decoding. Spinoza says you can't. Start in the middle. The process of reason just is about correlating yr feelings with yr interests. (On Human OS defaults, they are not). So reason = emotional engineering.

n.b. shd add that the above take on Ccru detachment from Kapital is not one shared by all Ccru drones.
Posted by mark at August 14, 2004 03:57 PM

> what's with the legal high guff

The rather strong claims for caffeine pills, the helpful clarification of cocaine's legal status, the capitalisation, etc, are from Wilson.

To end up with the idea that speed freaks and analytic philosophers are somehow equivalent there must have been a mistake somewhere. I don't know if it's just over-simplification or an actual wrong turn. I haven't met any analytic philosophers myself; perhaps someone who's worked in a philosophy department could flesh out the ethology of it.

I didn't get picked up on the lack of connection between the first half of my last post and the second, which is the thing that was bothering me most.

Posted by at August 14, 2004 06:32 PM

So, it's all about LOVE? Not very punk....which was always politically motivated. It's a simple point, if yr all blissed out and trying to get happy, how do you stand up to a world you otherwise hate? It just isn't a nice world. Why should you reconcile yourself to it? And I'm not saying it's easy either way...extremes of emotion are a danger to everyone.
Posted by at August 14, 2004 09:54 PM

apropos of RAW and his caffeine experiment: Has anybody actually met a rational speedfreak?

Spinoza had got out by positing Reason as something to be attained - a non-human, abstract-material map for escaping identity and achieving flatline communion with uttunul.

I'm not happy with this. I would suggest that, for Spinoza, 'flatline communion'would not be reason, but rather knowledge of the third kind, i.e. intuition. Knowledge of the second kind, which is achieved via the action of reason still appears to require activity, whereas once it is internalized as intuition it would seem to alleviate Paul Meme's 'too much thinking problem'. This isn't to say that reason isn't important, but you achieve flatline communion when you come out of the other side of reason.

For those that care, the relevant bit of The Ethics is Book V, Propositions 25-28.

Posted by johneffay at August 15, 2004 12:06 AM

apropos of RAW and his caffeine experiment: Has anybody actually met a rational speedfreak?

isn't the point that this kind of non-Spinozist rationality detached from emotions speeds out into a self-consuming logos-spasm? e.g. Schreber not as mad in the sense that his thoughts were disorganized but in the sense that, absolutely to the contrary, they were hyper-organized, vacuum packed into a tightly fitting seamless thought prison....

THAT kind of speedfreak --- yeh, I've met at least one :-)

As for yr other point John -- once again you've put your tentacle on a very important --- nay crucial --- issue here.

It's not that I disagree with you, but we have to run this all the way around. To wit: it's not as if intuition is opposed to reason (I know you know this, but I think it's important never to let the thought go, for fear of slipping back into a mysticism versus reason DP and be captured just at the point we thought we'd finally left it by the Kantian mainframe)---- rather, intuition surpasses it by including it. By the time you've reached flatline communion with the body of uttunul/ intellectual love of God (ILG), reason, feelings and emotion are so harmonized that your body is a super-sensitive intelligence capable of the most micro of micro perceptions --- in other words, you've become an auto-affecting cybernetic machine capable of micro-reflecting on all aspects of yr performance ---

So, yes, reason has to know its place, it's ultimately a tool, not a goal, and the goal is ILG --- the state where you no longer have any goals.
Posted by mark at August 15, 2004 10:37 AM

So, it's all about LOVE? Not very punk....

You're wrong. :)

which was always politically motivated.

You're still wrong. :)

It's a simple point, if yr all blissed out and
trying to get happy, how do you stand up to a
world you otherwise hate?

Which is both a non-sequitur from, and somewhat irrelevant to, my proposition that resolving the apparent conflict (under Kapital and patriarchy) of Head and Heart is about LOVE.

And if you equate LOVE with being "all blissed out", you don't understand LOVE. (And -- at a guess! -- don't have children.)

It just isn't a nice world. Why should you reconcile yourself to it?

True. Now, what does this have to say about what I said about LOVE?

(Not wishing to be aggressive or backbiting -- just trying to show a conceptual chasm between what you're describing, and wot I'm talking about. On the other hand however -- love is all you need. All you need is love. :) )
Posted by paul "Essex boy" meme at August 15, 2004 04:06 PM

Knowledge of the second kind, which is
achieved via the action of reason still
appears to require activity, whereas once it
is internalized as intuition it would seem to
alleviate Paul Meme's 'too much thinking

Nope. Intuition is not the same as emotional intelligence and self love.

Go on, say it now. As an experiment. Out loud. "I love myself."

Strange and difficult isn't it? You might feel embarassed, absurd, childish. Worse, you might feel NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL. Feeling, a-voided.

That's Kapital and patriarchy for you.

You don't resolve the feeling vs thinking conflict with JUST more thinking. The solution is rational but not intellectual, uses the brain but engages the heart. And in my view, requires "spirit" (though not a particular immaterialist belief system).

Luke, have you been reading Crowley? Sounds like it!
Posted by paul "Essex boy" meme at August 15, 2004 04:12 PM

Nope. Intuition is not the same as emotional intelligence and self love.

Spinozist intuition is about somehow grasping the truth without really thinking about; it isn't 'just more thinking'. I have a suspicion that what you are calling self love is what Mark is referring to as the production of joyful encounters. With your professed love of all things RAW, surely you don't mean self as in some sort of fixed ego?

Spinozists don't have a 'feeling vs thinking conflict', just an action versus passion (i.e. 'acted upon') one. On one level, everything is thought, which would necessarily involve the heart as much as the brain.

I would like to ask you what you mean by spirit, what role it fulfills, and the practices you would engage in to get it to fulfill that role. After that, I'm sure we can get into an argument :)
Posted by johneffay at August 15, 2004 09:52 PM

love is a dog sent from hell.
Posted by at August 15, 2004 11:30 PM

Surely the issue with the word 'love' is strategic ---- I mean, it just makes me and I assume many others just feel nauseated --- this is partly because of an intense aversion soap-dodging bourgeois hippies---( is THAT enough hatred for you, anon? lol)

so better to have another word that isn't so tainted by horrible associations (think of Burroughs on 'love love love in buckets of slop' (paraphrase) in Tkt that Exploded...)
Posted by mark at August 16, 2004 10:17 AM

Spinozists don't have a 'feeling vs thinking conflict'

Yet such a conflict seems to been set up, somewhere. I've seen it argued that Descartes' dualism is aligned with his practise of doing much of his thinking in bed: the habitual association of mental (or rather brain) activity and physical (or rather muscular) inactivity creating a machine for believing in dualism.

[Is this a good time to mention Ayn Rand?]

just an action versus passion one

Could a pragmatic distinction between good and bad art, as experiences, be that the bad mystifies the conditions of the experience, so that it can only ever be a passion, whereas the good opens them up?

On one level, everything is thought, which
would necessarily involve the heart as much
as the brain.

Brain, heart, hands, feet, pencils, back of envelope, pebbles, paintings, trees, the streets of a city... So many things to think with.

Posted by rx at August 16, 2004 11:04 PM

Posted by mark at August 17, 2004 01:10 PM | TrackBack

i wonder what the odds are on a fourth successive league draw for Forest?

Posted by: scott at August 17, 2004 02:19 PM


There's a time and a place for this discussion mate, and it's not in this comments box :-)

Posted by: mark at August 17, 2004 06:27 PM

Wasn't Sartre the rationalist speed freak par excellence?

Posted by: Catherine at August 18, 2004 02:53 AM

I dunno catherine, say a bit more...

Posted by: mark at August 18, 2004 07:26 AM

sorry about that Mark, i didn't know.

Posted by: scott at August 18, 2004 08:59 AM

it's alright Scott LOL

Posted by: mark at August 18, 2004 11:20 AM

DYLAN was the peerless speed freak. Ever read those wacky liner notes on Bringing It All Back Home? And did you see his blog about decaying poetics?! ...

Oh, wait a minute ... !

I meant to say that DANIEL C. DENNETT, what with his decaying brain poetics, is a fucking mealy-mouthed speed freak.

Sorry for the mix-up.

Posted by: CarterM at August 18, 2004 11:49 AM