Accelerationism and the problem of (un)binding
02 May 2010

If the aim of Landian accelerationism is to fulfill ‘the repressed desire of capitalism for meltdown’ (Land), how can accelerationism detach itself from the embedded energetic model of dissipation inherent to conservative-dissipative, antiproductive-productive structures which are only capable of binding unilateral negativity or inflect upon death by means of an economical model of energetic dissipation or dying that they can afford? In other words, how can accelerationism bind exteriority or draw upon the so-called speculative opportunities of extinction in ways which are not already interiorized by conservative structures as economical ‘models for affording’ the exorbitant truth of exteriority? If accelerationism simply aims at accelerating the rate of dissipation, then its ‘speculative opportunities’ (Brassier) are limited to the most immediate source of exorbitant or traumatizing energy that the interiorized horizon has come into contact with. This is because in an interiorized horizon, the accelerative degradation of energy cannot bind or see anything beyond the very exorbitant index of energy (which means another interiorized horizon or ‘source’ of energy) whose model of dissipation has been at once partially repelled and economically adopted. Therefore, acceleration in this sense reinforces a restricted economical correlation which has never been more than a blockage against exteriority.

For the terrestrial sphere, this source or illusory exteriority is the sun. So, is accelerationism only capable of thinking exteriority and extinction in terms of a model of solar expenditure and thermonuclear decay (Bataille’s solar economy) or is it really capable of thinking extinction in terms of radical exteriority (i.e. ancestrality, deep space, material disintegration, asymptopia, …)? Is it possible to think of accelerationism in terms of alternative (i.e. plural and perhaps even multiversal) ways of binding exteriority? So far the Cartesian dilemma as the territory of philosophical thought has been about determining the course of life one should take, namely, the freedom of alternatives in life. But how can we shift the question to the radical freedom of having alternatives in binding exteriority and inflection upon death: instead of ‘what course in life shall I take?’ (Quod vitae sectabor iter) one should be able to ask ‘what way out shall I follow?’ (Quod exitaes sectabor iter)

The bastardized Cartesian speculation ‘What way out shall I follow?’ is meant to emphasize the freedom (in thought and action) of having plural or alternative options of binding exteriority or inflecting upon extinction. However, this question should be further corrected as it still seems to erroneously imply that the unilateralizing truth of the outside is dependent upon a subjective decision or desire.

The main focus of accelerationism should be shifted from the act of acceleration itself to ‘what is accelerated’, because if acceleration coincides with the dissipative or energetic economy of the organism, then it is simply a restricted project. Why? Because what is accelerated is the very economical form of binding which is determined by the exorbitant source of energy but is unsuccessfully adopted by the organism as an affordable yet traumatic consumptive solution that inscribes circuitous paths for dissipating into that exorbitant index of exteriority (whether it is the exorbitant truth of extinction or the sun). As Freud argues, dissipative regression into the exorbitant or traumatizing bedrock of the originary is numerically monistic and functionally exclusivist by nature. The conservative organism does not have any choice regarding binding or not binding the exorbitant source of energy since the binding is unilaterally imposed by the exorbitant index of exteriority. However, the way binding is effectuated corresponds to the conservative economy of the organism according to which the exorbitant index of exteriority must be afforded by the organism in order to circuitously transform the unbindable excess into conservable yet dissipative – at an accelerative rate – energetic spaces (umwegen). Accordingly, the exorbitant exteriority (extinction, sun, …) is inexorably bound but only in a way that is affordable by and for the organism. This is why the organism is inherently vulnerable to traumas: Traumatic binding of the exorbitant exteriority is not as much an ‘unsuccessful binding’ because it is energetically unbindable as it is unsuccessful because such an index of exorbitant energy should be economically afforded by the organism and correspond to the consumptive-dissipative rate dictated by the organic economy. Therefore, although the exorbitant index of exteriority is bound, this binding never naturally happens outside of the economical correlation with the organism.

The aim of all life is death but dying (binding death) happens only in a way that the interiorized expression of life can afford. This affordable way of dying registers itself as an economical correlation between the organism and the exorbitant index of exteriority. And it is this economical correlation that manifests itself as the dissipative rate of the organism. Since this economical binding or affordable correlation is energetically dissipative, it tends to generate new energetic spaces, that is to say, it moves toward emergentic processes and increasing complexification on semi-stable, local and transient levels. Landian accelerationism – especially by adhering to an escalated technocapitalism – seeks to intensify this dissipative rate that simultaneously coincides with an intelligenic complexification and the dissolution of organic conservatism on behalf of an exorbitant index of exteriority (viz. capitalism as an off-planet or planet-consuming event). However, as argued, the dissipative rate is energetically conceived as an economical (and hence, restricted) correlation; its existence is dictated by the exorbitant index of exteriority but its modi operandi are conditioned by the affordability of the interiorized horizon of the organism.


Therefore, as Freud maintains in BPP, the organism binds the exorbitant index of exteriority only in a way that it can afford. Or in other words, the organism wishes to die only in one fashion, which is another way to say, it wishes to die only in one fashion because such a fashion captures the inevitability of death in terms of the economical capacity and energetic requirements of the organism. Any other way of dying or binding the exorbitant index of exteriority (that is to say, alternative ways of binding unilateral negativity or inflecting upon extinction) are vigilantly staved off because they pose a fundamental threat to the economical – rather than passive – correlation of the organism with death. Since it is the economical correlation with the exorbitant index of exteriority (sun, meltdown, etc.) that determines the courses of life for the organism, this correlation is regarded as an irreproachable and axiomatic foundation that must be safeguarded by any means possible. For this reason, we can say that even in its most self-dissolving or schizophrenically emancipative moments, the organism conforms to a conservatively monistic regime of returning to the precursor exteriority or binding death. Monistic not only because it is the one and only one way that the organism affords but also because it is a necrocratic way insofar as it actively precludes the possibility of other fashions or courses of binding exteriority and inflecting upon extinction.

In fact the history of philosophy has consistently remained an accomplice in promoting the social and political consequences of organic necrocracy by corroborating the monistic regime of binding exteriority as an axiomatic and untouchable foundation of earthly thought. As far as the politics of exteriority is concerned, philosophy has not gone further than relocating – rather than disposing of – the organic economical teleonomy. Even the most passionate proponents of nihilism (Nietzsche, Bataille, Land, et al.) hold that life is determined by an exteriority irreversibly outside of the interiorized horizon without questioning the restricted economy or the monistic regime of binding such exteriority. For them having or thinking a unilateral and exorbitant index of exteriority is sufficient to break away from the conservative ambits of the organism and infringe the confines of our interiorized horizon. But what is really at stake here is the way the exteriority is bound: Is it bound only in a way that the organism can afford (therefore, it conforms to an ultimately conservative economical correlation between the interiorized horizon and the exteriority) or is it emancipated from such restrictions by being able to alternate between modes of binding because it does not conform to an emphatic economical correlation any longer? For example, Ray Brassier maintains that speculative opportunities of philosophy can be unfolded simply through the traumatic binding of extinction. In claiming so, he conforms to the traditional limit of philosophy whose object of critique is the unilateralizing power of extinction (manifesting as the inevitability of death of both thought and matter) and not the economical correlation between the organic conservatism and the exorbitant truth of extinction which is presented as a restrictively monistic regime of binding exteriority and inflecting upon death. In other words, by holding that the cosmological reinscription of the death-drive (anterior-posteriority of extinction) is sufficient to unbind the speculative opportunities of philosophy qua the organon of extinction, Brassier fails to question the ultimate comfort zone of the organism. Since a fundamental question still lingers: To what extent can the traumatic or rudimentary binding of extinction situate itself outside of the economical correlation with death that the interiorized organism conservatively remains committed to because it is the very affordable (and hence unsuccessful) way of binding extinction?

It is not the unilateralizing power of extinction that demolishes the comfort zone of the interiorized horizon; for such comfort zone is punctured precisely by those plural and multiversal ways by which the exteriority of extinction can be alternatively bound in order to abolish the monistic and economical system of binding exteriority that restricts the speculative opportunities of binding extinction to terms and economic conditions of the organism or the interiorized horizon. In short, the speculative vistas of extinction are only unlocked when extinction can be bound or inflected upon in plural or alternative ways. Positing the exorbitant truth of extinction alone as the apotheosis of enlightenment does not fulfill the conditions for unbinding the speculative power of philosophy since the exorbitant truth of extinction has never been repelled by the conservative economy of the organism in the first place; instead the organism is forced to ‘economically afford’ and bind such a disjunctive truth by any means possible, that is to say, by its own energetic capacity and economic conditions. Therefore, the emphatic positing of extinction (viz. conceiving extinction as an exorbitant index of exteriority) is usually doomed to be trapped within the axiomatic restricted economy of the interiorized horizon according to which binding exteriority should only take place in the fashion the organism can afford. It can be argued that accentuating extinction without questioning the monistic regime of binding inherent to the organism is tantamount to abetting the organic necrocracy in warding off alternative ways of binding exteriority and thereby trammeling the speculative opportunities of thought.

As long as accelerationism works on behalf of an exorbitant index of exteriority or operates according to an energetic-dissipative model, it risks abiding by the monistic regime of binding whereby the unilateralizing excess of the exteriority must be economically afforded at all costs. Respectively being in conformity to the monistic regime of binding means all other possible ways of binding exteriority (viz. alternative ways of inflecting upon extinction and binding exteriority) which harbor the speculative power of exteriorization must be thwarted. If as Land suggests Capitalism is imbued with courses of life (complexity and emergence), it is because capitalism as a process that conforms to the monistic regime of binding finds its plural and alternative expression not in binding exteriority or extinction but the interiority of life that is energetically made possible by the economical correlation that the organism utilizes to energetico-dynamically afford the exorbitant index of exteriority. Capitalism is abhorrently inflated with life-styles and courses of life precisely because it abides by a monistic regime of death. If philosophy should indeed hunt the speculative opportunities of thought, then its ambition should be shifted from investing in alternative courses of life to searching for alternative ways in binding exteriority, for it is the freedom of having alternatives in the latter that turns thought into an asymptote of cosmic exteriorities.

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