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Accelerationism

Accelerationists argue that technology, particularly computer technology, and capitalism, particularly the most aggressive, global variety, should be massively sped up and intensified – either because this is the best way forward for humanity, or because there is no alternative. Accelerationists favor automation. They favor the further merging of the digital and the human. They often favor the deregulation of business, and drastically scaled-back government. They believe that people should stop deluding themselves that economic and technological progress can be controlled. They often believe that social and political upheaval has a value in itself. “Accelerate the process,” as recommended Deleuze & Guattari in their 1972 book Anti-Oedipus, citing Nietzsche to re-activate Marx. There exists both left-wing and right-wing currents in accelerationism, but there have been recent attempts to bring it back to its roots. Left-accelerationism (or l/acc) has deconstructed itself back into traditional socialist politics and right-accelerationism (or r/acc) has since reduced itself to neofeudal silicon valley technolibertarianism. An acceleration without conditions (or u/acc) seems to offer the most succinct interpretation as a result. As Nick Land has put it,

"Accelerationism links the implosion of decision-space to the explosion of the world – that is, to modernity. It is important therefore to note that the conceptual opposition between implosion and explosion does nothing to impede their real (mechanical) coupling. Thermonuclear weapons provide the most vividly illuminating examples. An H-bomb employs an A-bomb as a trigger. A fission reaction sparks a fusion reaction. The fusion mass is crushed into ignition by a blast process. (Modernity is a blast.)

This is already to be talking about cybernetics, which also returns insistently, in waves. It amplifies to howl, and then dissipates into the senseless babble of fashion, until the next blast-wave hits.

For accelerationism the crucial lesson was this: A negative feedback circuit – such as a steam-engine ‘governor’ or a thermostat – functions to keep some state of a system in the same place. Its product, in the language formulated by French philosophical cyberneticists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, is territorialization. Negative feedback stabilizes a process, by correcting drift, and thus inhibiting departure beyond a limited range. Dynamics are placed in the service of fixity – a higher-level stasis, or state. All equilibrium models of complex systems and processes are like this. To capture the contrary trend, characterized by self-reinforcing errancy, flight, or escape, D&G coin the inelegant but influential term deterritorialization. Deterritorialization is the only thing accelerationism has ever really talked about."

Alienation

Alienation is a feeling of estrangement from life and reality that people experience when they are not fully participant in and identified with their work, the fruits of labor, their relations, etc. The term is closely associated with modern society and its specific living conditions.

Animism

Animism is the belief that everything has a soul or spirit, an anima in Latin, including animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, and stars. Animists believe each anima is a powerful spirit that can help or hurt them and are to be worshipped or feared or in some way attended to. Animism is a primitive religion whose adherents have for thousands of years deified animals, stars, and idols of any kind, and practiced spiritism, witchcraft, divination and astrology. They use magic, spells, enchantments, superstitions, amulets, talismans, charms, or anything that they believe will help to protect them from the evil spirits and placate the good spirits that are found everywhere in everything.

Anthropocene

The Anthropocene defines Earth's most recent geologic time period as being human-influenced, or anthropogenic, based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other earth system processes are now altered by humans.

Anthropocentrism

Human exceptionalism; the implied notion that humans are the most significant beings in the known universe.

Antihumanism

A philosophical position that is critical of humanism and Enlightenment values; it holds a metaphysical position which rejects the essentialist notions of "human nature" on the grounds that it is historically relative. Antihumanism contrasts the logical positivists of the twentieth century in particular for their perceived deification of empirical analysis.

Biocentrism

An ethical viewpoint that see's value in all living things.

Chan culture

Chan culture refers to the chain of ephemeral interactions responsible for radical subversion in the early 21st Century propagated through imageboards like 4chan.org.

Chaos Magic

A philosophy that promotes experimentation, play, and creativity while discarding dogmatic rules. Chaos magic points out that the techniques more than the symbols are what matter and that our belief in a system is actually what makes it work. Generally attributed to Peter J. Carroll during the 20th century, central to chaos magick are its use of sigils, or any symbolic representation of the magician's desired outcome.

Chaos theory

Chaos denotes the study of the properties of complex, self-organizing systems, for example weather, financial systems, biological processes or the shifts of societal trends. To a large extent chaos theory is about creating models that behave in apparently random but fundamentally deterministic ways. A chaotic system is always very non-linear, meaning that even small shifts in the initial conditions can produce dramatically different outputs – this is what is sometimes called the butterfly effect. That is to say that the initial conditions say very little about the outcome. When studying society it is important to recognize that there are both relatively stable structures and chaotic effects.

Cognitive Security

A term used to describe an emerging security culture that recognizes the fact that future researchers, governments, social platforms, and private actors will be engaged in a continual arms race to influence — and protect from influence — large groups of users online. Similar to social engineering, cognitive security focuses on the exploitation of cognitive biases in large public groups. While computer security focuses on deception as a means of compromising computer systems, cognitive security focuses on social influence as an end unto itself and subsequently emphasizes formality and quantitative measurement above more qualitative methods of measurements that occur in social engineering practices.

Cyborg Anthropology

The object of study for cyborg anthropology is the cyborg. Originally coined in a 1960 paper about space exploration, the term is short for cybernetic organism. A cyborg is traditionally defined as a system with both organic and inorganic parts. In the narrowest sense of the word, cyborgs are people with machinated body parts. These cyborg parts may be restorative technologies that help a body function where the organic system has failed, like pacemakers, insulin pumps, and bionic limbs, or enhanced technologies that improve the human body beyond its natural state. In the broadest sense, all human interactions with technology could qualify as a cyborg. Most cyborg anthropologists lean towards the latter view of the cyborg; some, like Amber Case, even claim that humans are already cyborgs because people's daily life and sense of self is so intertwined with technology. Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto" suggests that technology like virtual avatars, artificial insemination, sexual reassignment surgery, and artificial intelligence might make dichotomies of sex and gender irrelevant, even nonexistent. She goes on to say that other human distinctions (like life and death, human and machine, virtual and real) may similarly disappear in the wake of the cyborg.

Cyber-Nihlism

https://ensorcel.org/hello-from-the-wired-an-introduction-to-cyber-nihilism/

Cyberpunk

The very word cyberpunk is itself a portmanteau of cybernetics, the science and technology of the system, and punk, the philosophy of rebellion against the system. Where the system intends for order, cyberpunks frequently make disorder; as they say, “the street will find its own use for things.” To understand the movement we must look past the black-and-white to see the modern world in its true shades of grey as the lines between natural and artificial, organic and mechanical, and real and virtual continue to blur.

There seems to be a common attitude or philosophy among those attracted to cyberpunk. They often find themselves caught in the romantic struggle between themselves and the system. For some this manifests in an interest—sometimes even an obsession—with privacy and security, both online and offline. The cyberpunk notices that the world is heading in the wrong direction as the wealthy are becoming more powerful while the poor are becoming helpless, working more and earning less. As disparities grow wider, their tactics become more desperate: using the tools of the system against the system. When pushed they feel free to use anything and everything at their disposal: including hacking, deception, and intrusion. Do not fuck with us.

In a world saturated with violently accelerating change, the cyberpunk must find herself armed with a sharp awareness of what is going on around her. Most seem to be apathetic about the philosophical implications of the uncanny technologies of the near future as the existential issues invoked by artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and the technological singularity continue to evade our collective consciousness. Advances in biological and information technologies are already radically changing our lives, but will likely only become more coercive and invasive in the future, especially with the birth of the cybernetic organism and brain–computer interface. While these technologies are not inherently malign, we would rather not see what happens when they are exclusively in the hands of the corporate elite.

Perhaps the most clandestine aspect of cyberpunk is the ethereal subculture of hackers, phreaks, netrunners, ravers, and razor girls. It is androgynous, sophisticated, and futuristic. It cannot be restrained as it has slipped through the cracks and is now lost in the delicate balance between the analog and digital worlds, avoiding both the attention and oppression of the system. With the rise of a ubiquitous internet, “cyberculture” has begun to permeate throughout the popular culture of modern society. Meanwhile the cyberpunk subculture remains somewhat underground, though where one ends and the other begins is often difficult to discern.

The most accessible aspect of cyberpunk is the literary subgenre of science fiction that features a dark and gritty, yet painfully realistic vision of our near future. It essentially takes active social trends and pushes them to their logical extremes. The megacorporation now dominates as the primary influence of society, which brings about an aggregation of wealth, acceleration of environmental decay, and expansion of Asian popular culture. Urbanization sprawls as people flock to the cities, drugs and crime offer most one’s best hope of achieving happiness, and the line between human and machine begins to fade away. This culminates in the “city lights at night” aesthetic present in much of cyberpunk art. While some may enjoy—perhaps even fetish—the dystopian world presented in cyberpunk literature, most are anticipating the resistance against it. For some this fight has already begun.

Deterritorialization/Reterritorialization

Coined by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, these terms are used to characterize a constant process of transformation. Deterritorialization is the process in which cultural institutions are uprooted and replaced with more alien forms; taking control away from places that have already been established. After this process has been done, reterritorialization usually follows in an attempt to re-create what has been undone, only as a conduit to reinforce the new status quo. For D+G, these processes are happening simultaneously, and moralizing the two in favor of one over the other typically sidesteps the point.

Gender Nihilism

The radical notion that we ought to reject essentialist suppositions of gender. If we accept that gender is not to be found within ourselves as a transcendent truth, but rather exists outside us in the realm of discourse, what are we to strive for? To say gender is discursive is to say that gender occurs not as a metaphysical truth within the subject, but occurs as a means of mediating social interaction. Gender is a frame, a subset of language, and set of symbols and signs, communicated between us, constructing us and being reconstructed by us constantly.

The liberal feminist says “I am a woman” and by that means that they are spiritually, ontologically, metaphysically, genetically, or any other modes of “essentially” a woman.

The gender nihilist says “I am a woman” and means that they are located within a certain position in a matrix of power which constitutes them as such.

The liberal feminist is not aware of the ways power creates gender, and thus clings to gender as a means of legitimizing themselves in the eyes of power. They rely on trying to use various systems of knowledge (genetic sciences, metaphysical claims about the soul, kantian ontology) in order to prove to power they can operate within it.

The gender nihilist, the gender abolitionist, looks at the system of gender itself and see’s the violence at its core. We say no to a positive embrace of gender. We want to see it gone. We know appealing to the current formulations of power is always a liberal trap. We refuse to legitimize ourselves.

Gnosticism

A prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church, partly of pre-Christian origin. Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.

Grand narrative

Grand narratives are overarching political projects that build on certain assumptions about how society develops and where it is going. Socialism offers perhaps the prime example of such a “grand narrative”; the story of how workers came to power and created a fair, enlightened society. Other narratives are the incremental progress of liberal democracies, the path towards an enlightened “rational” society. Today such narratives seem to have lost much of their traction, at least in these parts of the world. A profound skepticism towards all attempts to create a dominant narrative for society is an integral part of postmodern culture. The metamodern position towards grand narratives is that they are necessary to give direction to the development of society, but that they must always be viewed in part as fictional, temporary and flawed – and thereby always must be open to revision and development.

Hermeticism

Hermeticism is an ancient spiritual, philosophical, and magical tradition; it is a path of spiritual growth. Hermeticism takes its name from the God Hermês Trismegistos (Greek, "Thrice-Greatest Hermes"), a Græco-Egyptian form of the great Egyptian God of Wisdom and Magic, Thôth. In recent years, Hermeticism has also been vaguely referred to as the Western Esoteric Tradition; hearkening back to methodological approaches from before the Age of Enlightenment.

Hypersigil

A hypersigil is a term used to describe a feedback loop between an external or extended persona and a primary self. Grant Morrison, a known chaos magician has been cited saying,

"The 'hypersigil' or 'supersigil' develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama, and plot. The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension. My own comic book series The Invisibles was a six-year long sigil in the form of an occult adventure story which consumed and recreated my life during the period of its composition and execution. The hypersigil is an immensely powerful and sometimes dangerous method for actually altering reality in accordance with intent. Results can be remarkable and shocking"

Klintron Finley wrote about Grant Morrison's "hypersigil" concept as as a cybernetic phenomena.

Hyperstition

Hyperstition is a neologism and portmanteau combining the words hyper and superstition. Hyper is from the Greek word that is used as a prefix in English meaning “above”, or used in scientific terminology to indicate something having greater than three spatial dimensions. Superstition is from the Latin word superstes (standing over) and is defined by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition as “an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.” Hyperstition has come to encompass the quality of actively altering one’s reality in such a way as to bring about demonstrable change.

Hyperstition (loosely defined as fictional quantities that make themselves real) can be followed and practiced on three broad pathways:

  • Numogram: The methodical excavation of the occult abstract cartography intrinsic to decimal numeracy (and thus globally ‘oecumenic’) constitutes the first great task of hyperstition.

  • Mythos: Comprehensive attribution of all signal (discoveries, theories, problems, and approaches) to artificial agencies, allegiances, cultures and continentities. The proliferation of ‘carriers’ (“Who says this?”) – multiplying perspectives and narrative fragments – produces a coherent but inherently disintegrated hyperstitional mythos while effecting a positive destruction of identity, authority, and credibility.

  • Unbelief: Pragmatic skepticism or constructive escape from integrated thinking and all its forms of imposed unity (religious dogma, political ideology, scientific law, common sense …).

Each vortical sub-cycle of hyperstitional production announces itself through a communion with ‘The Thing’ coinciding with a ” mystical consummation of uncertainty” or “attainment of positive unbelief.”

Information theory

The critical and sociological study of culture, pop-culture, arts, consumption, media and everyday meaning making. Whenever data is transmitted, stored, or retrieved, there are a number of variables such as bandwidth, noise, data transfer rate, storage capacity, number of channels, propagation delay, signal-to-noise ratio, accuracy (or error rate), intelligibility, and reliability. In audio systems, additional variables include fidelity and dynamic range. In video systems, image resolution, contrast, color depth, color realism, distortion, and the number of frames per second are significant variables. One of the most important applications of information theory is to determine the optimum system design for a given practical scenario. We have been influenced by the work of Slavoj Žižek.

Kabbalah

The ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and using esoteric methods (including ciphers). It reached the height of its influence in the later Middle Ages.

Late modernity

While postmodernism is a term that captures some of the intellectual and cultural tendencies of our age, there are many critics who claim that we still live in what is fundamentally a ”modern society”. Among these critics the British sociologist Anthony Giddens is a particularly notable. His term “late modernity” describes a time period where globalization has intensified, the old national state is becoming less central to society – and the capitalist economy accelerates to a whole new level, supported by information technology.

Meatspace

The physical world, as opposed to cyberspace or a virtual environment.

Meme

A neologism coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene to describe any idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution.

Memetics

The study of the spread of memes using the evolutionary model; it's largely been debunked as our capacity to actually study memes on an empirical basis remains insufficient.

Mhermeticism

The intersection of hermetic beliefs with the evolutionary model thereby memetics; other names for term include "meme magic", memetic warfare" and "applied memetics."

Metamodernism

Initially, the concept of “metamodernism” comes from the art world, being an academic term coined by the Dutch cultural theorists Timothy Vermeulen and Robin van der Akker. You can learn more about their concept – which to a large extent is about finding our way back to hope the belief in progress – at the webpage www.metamodernism.com. They describe to an ”enlightened naiveté” and ”pragmatic idealism”.

Metamodern philosophy is characterized by its inclusion of both modern ideas (progress and empiricism) and postmodern ideas (like the sensitivity towards context). Metamodern philosophy holds that everybody is right, but to different extents and in different contexts. Equally, everyone is wrong – but also to different extents and in different contexts. The task is to qualify who is "more right" and in which ways, and finding out how to integrate the perspectives into the best possible whole.

Modernity

Modern society, ”modernity”, can be defined by the prevalence within a society of the active and deliberate effort to differentiate between: 1. scientific, 2. ethical and 3. aesthetic values. In contrast to traditional societies, in modernity it is OK to research astronomy and contradict the Bible, to hold personal political convictions, and to express oneself as an artist beyond the constraints of both religion and science.

Modernity is about 200 years old and is closely connected to the enlightenment project and philosophy. Large parts of the world population do not yet think in accordance to the principles of modern society, having traditionally religious views, etc. Small, privileged parts of the world have begun to question the universality of the modern project, and a smaller portion yet have begun to attempt to meaningfully reintegrate art, ethics and science.

To a great extent modern society eradicated starvation, disease, oppression, violence and war. But it created new problems: alienation, inequality and environmental degradation.

Modernism

A distinctive philosophical art movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that signified a radical break from an allegedly "pre-modern" period. There are many things in modernism that are closely related to modernity, but one must understand that much of the cultural products that came out of this period very much set the groundwork for its legacy adherents.

Posthumanism

Characterized by recontextualizations of antihumanist arguments in such a way that is conducive to a world without and/or beyond humanity. Posthumanism is academic transhumanism, and typically views the latter as a way to quite literally transition to a posthuman state. Donna Haraway's original conceptions of the cyborg offer a fundamental understanding of this distinction.

Postmodernism

Firstly, postmodernism as a branch of philosophy and social science taking from French writers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard and Jean-Francois Lyotard. Postmodernism became an important current in academia characterized by a fundamental skepticism to all claims on objective knowledge, a skepticism towards the great power that science holds in society. Postmodernism is about relentlessly questioning power in society by looking closely at the details and underlying assumptions of everyday life.

Secondly, postmodernism is representative of a certain zeitgeist that is prevalent today – its roots notably in the revolution of 1968. Today this translates to an ironic distance and questioning of society among the more privileged and educated parts of the population. Examples are many: the tendency of academia to dislike large maps or narratives of the world (and a resultant exclusive interest in small details), a rejection of progressive values, holding a grim irony towards the inequalities of the world, to eschew looking for answers and being satisfied with asking new questions, ironic commercials, avoiding all strong claims, and so on.

Postmodernism is a powerful tool for critiquing modern society, but it lacks the ability to suggest paths forward and to create new societies.

Sinofuturism

An invisible movement. A spectre already embedded into a trillion industrial products, a billion individuals, and a million veiled narratives. It is a movement, not based on individuals, but on multiple overlapping flows. Flows of populations, of products, and of processes. Because Sinofuturism has arisen without conscious intention or authorship, it is often mistaken for contemporary China. But it is not. It is a science fiction that already exists. It is recommended watching Lawrence Lek's hour-long video essay on the subject if you have the time.

Synchronicity

Synchronicity is a concept developed by psychologist Carl Jung to describe a perceived meaningful coincidence. Jung described synchronicity as an "acausal connecting principle" in which events, both large and small, in the external world might align to the experience of the individual, perhaps mirroring or echoing personal concerns or thoughts. For example, while one of Jung's analysands described a dream about a scarab, a scarab-like beetle flew into the room. Because the scarab is an Egyptian symbol of rebirth, Jung felt that the coincidence was meant to underline the woman's need to escape an over-attachment to rationalism. Most people experience surprising coincidences from time to time. For example, you might encounter a reference to some obscure event in history for the first time and then see several unrelated references to the same event soon afterwards.

Transhumanism

The view that humanity can and should develop beyond its current biological form. Transhumanists explore the possibilities of fundamentally reshaping the human condition and what it means to be a human being. On the one hand this kind of development could solve many problems and alleviate immense suffering. On the other hand, it is a risky development. Since transhumanists view humanity as continuous with the rest of nature they are in general also proponents of animal rights. Prominent transhumanists are David Pearce and Nick Bostrom.

The Wired

The Wired is the internet manifest; contrasting meatspace. Our meatspace representative correlates to the wires that make up the Wired. They are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the existence of the Wired. A Wired without wires is not wired at all, after all. The same can be said of our meatspace representative; the meat, without a vast neural network interfacing with the meat and interpreting the raw data it collects, is nothing more than meat. The Wired came to life from a prime mover, from the first two systems that were networked together, and at that point effectively gaining the idea, though not the actualization, of autonomy.

Today, the Wired doesn’t yet have autonomy. It is commonly conflated with the Internet, which is anything but autonomous. The Internet, rather, is the gentrification of the Wired, and your social media profile is the gentrification of your Wired self that your meatspace representative has built.

Xeno

The diasporic, Other - the first subjects of modernity, as both Kodwo Eshun and Toni Morrison posit; alien plateaus.