“It was a though we’d been living for a year in a dense grove of old trees, a cluster of firs, each with its own rhythm and character, from whom our bodies had drawn not just shelter but perhaps even a kind of guidance as we grew into a family.”
“Other animals, in a constant and mostly unmediated relation with their sensory surroundings, think with the whole of their bodies.”
2 passages from David Abram’s Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology
Caught between the differing narratives of both Jewish and Catholic families, a father constantly shifting between Christian and Buddhist traditions, and my mothers death when I was 7, I’ve always had a strained relationship with “God”, the divine and religious/spiritual thought. I explored various faiths and became somewhat of an experimental practitioner during my teens, exploring Christianity, Neo-Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other faiths, some what divorced from those of the families I was born into.
Then I died (not in the melodramatic sense of edgy gothy “nihilists” and emo-kid aesthetics). My experiences as a young cancer patient in my late teens gifted me a more intimate relationship to death than that of my mother’s passing and the years that had followed from then, up until the point of my diagnosis. The experience of being little more than flesh tore away from me my relationship to these Symbols that had bridged my sense of self with my fundamental existential lack and formed (unstable) pathways for me to navigate the world as I encountered it.
This was both a horrifying experience and a liberating one. In the year prior to my diagnosis I had started exploring existentialist thought, through a somewhat Buddhist-existentialist practice and the individualist anarchism of Armand and similar thinkers, and as my relationship with the realm of “spiritual”/religious thought disintegrated through the experiences of the MRI machines, the brain surgeries, the steroids and the radiation therapy, existentialist thought served as a form of semiotic encoding to help me travel from despair to Life, as embrace of the Absurd and return to the body – (this was initially through Camus and Nietzsche in particular).
In the following year post-treatment, as I explored my relationship with my body through various means and my personal creativity, I came across 2 texts that encoded something I’d seen, experienced and known throughout my entire life, and that granted me words with which to articulate them – all that discourse has ever really granted me (or grants anyone as far as I can see) is new words to articulate the experience of their being-in-the-world; their experience of the Real (the wild) mediated by the Symbolic/technology. These 2 texts were Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology and Freud’s Civilisation and it’s Discontents. After reading these works on what it means to live within civilisation and the language they granted me, I then started on the “pathway” that led to my writing Feral Consciousness and worlds of thought and discourse I currently immerse myself (my-Self) within.
From these experiences with discourse and corresponding immediate embodied experiences I’ve undergone throughout my life, I’ve come to view eco-radical, anarchist and active-philosophy as practices of iconoclasm – as revealing what is underneath the icons of the Symbolic, technology, and seeking to destroy them. And my interests have been directed increasingly towards a type of ontological anarchism, based in deconstruction of the machine (both semiolinguistically and in its embodied form), the practice of creative radical semiotics and an ecophenomenology pursuing relationalities that civilisation attempts to deny through domestication, both within the body of the machine and as-close-to outside its territorialised-ontotheology as I can get living on this island in the North Sea, which has been the geographic-stage of the production of history and empire for almost as long as civilisation itself – the creation of Temporary Autonomous Zones.
So if this practice I’ve been engaged with is an attempt to form relationship with and reveal to others something concealed(/repressed/suppressed), and if Mysticism is a practice based in sense-perceptual experience (super or otherwise) of something rendered secret/concealed, then the green nihilism of attempting to destroy those aspects of the Leviathan I have means of destroying is some-what-of-a practice of Mysticism (something ontological anarchism has always found itself tied to).
Mysticism as a term invokes the image of something of a theistic-ideologue, which is a platform I’ve long distanced myself from, particularly within the context of the God of classical theism, and taken a somewhat Nietzschean aesthetic around. But I would not consider myself an atheist, in the general sense of the term, and am relatively comfortable with naming wild-Being as divine, as it is all power, all presence, all that is “knowable” (inside and outside language) and all love(/hate/desire/value). Nor would I consider myself a pantheist or a pagan, as my sensations of the acosmic egoistic transient present render me unable to embrace the notion that there exists an absolute existing totality these/this theology requires, and I’d find myself being inauthentic if I embraced the term animism for my practice, given my historical-geographical context within the narrative of History.
So regarding “God”, gods, the spirit, Life, death and the divine(, and the practice of radical semiotics) I feel like my relationship to wild-Being is one of a hylozoic-Mysticism, born from a practice of eco-radical ontological anarchism and the iconoclasm of feral-deconstruction – a radical Mysticism.
Now this morning I awoke to see this piece by a contemporary of mine within this world of anti-civ discourse I find myself within, within which he attempts to denounce mysticism through embrace of religious-type thought and self-renouncing denial of the immediacy of embodied subjectivity and a seemingly anti-civ scholasticism, which seems highly confused (and somewhat cultish). This follows from the apparent trajectory of the eco-extremist school of thought they (Cabrera) immerse themselves within and their Atassa project and its focus of thought. But, while I have some interest in eco-extremism as a phenomena and as a political movement, and the Atassa project, I find much ugliness in this scholasticism.
Scholasticism as an approach to discourse is (as I understand it) an attempt to gain scientific knowledge of the “revealed truth” of a religious dogma, through a dialectical approach – this is apparently being done, under Cabrera’s project, as a Catholic-Marxist scholasticism of dialectics-in-reverse. The methods of scientific “knowledge” has many issues, that those of us sympathetic to radical scepticism are familiar with, and religious dogma also presents problems for this approach, which again many within this world of discourse are very familiar with. Alongside these, there is the issue of the dialectic approach to discourse, which we might be condemned somewhat to engage with in this world of discourse (given how much Hegelianism and Marxism are part of this world). To quote Karl Popper “(t)he whole development of dialectic should be a warning against the dangers inherent in philosophical system-building” and to quote Nietzsche “I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.”.
The dialectical approach is one based inherently in historicism, whose holist determinism presents itself as the narrative of the master-signifier of the supreme Other I have no desire to embrace and I find to be nothing more that the narrative of the mythic-illusion of civilisation, which I desire the destruction of. It’s semiolingusitic lexicon is nothing more to me than the cartography of those who wish to deny me the immediacy wild-Being and positivism of my subjectivity. My subjectivity might always be somewhat mediated through discourse, by my socialisation within this culture and the subsequent internalisation that is the general trajectory of normal-development (mine as described when I started this piece). But this doesn’t lead me to wish to deny myself the ecophenomeological authenticity of my embodied subject-sensitive rationality. Discourse and study, to me, is best done as an anarchist venture de-systematised epistemologically-free and as a venture not to discover some truism to be revealed, but to find words/signs/languages to reduce the limits language constructs for our worlds and to articulate our experiences as living feral beings, not to embrace the death of History.
So I cannot share in Cabrera’s rejection of Mysticism and embrace of scholasticism, with its apparent encouraging others to do the same. Rather I feel compelled to embrace, and feel anti-civ eco-radicals are best served embracing the iconoclastic Mysticism of ecophenomenological relationalities with wild-Being and the ontological anarchist deconstruction of the technosphere/the Leviathan/civilisation.