Leaving The Machine As Returning To The Flesh

(Originally published on the website of Rewild Earth – Towards Post Civilisation)

“For the sake of its own efficiency and security, the System needs to bring about deep and radical social changes to match the changed conditions resulting from technological progress.” Kaczynski [1]

We find ourselves located in a strange place, an uncanny situation, disturbing yet familiar, horrific in its sheer comfortableness. This place appears to be, at all times, somewhere present, past and future, as we find ourselves caged in the great narrative of History, its progression and its being conserved. This place feels in many ways eternally-deathless, though it being entirely Dead in its being devoid of Life.

Stripped of our existential authenticity, our primal-animal nakedness, we find ourselves mediated by technology and trapped in the machinery of the constructed Reality we call civilisation [2]. Like Ancient Rome, climate change, disease, the availability of “resources” and other non-machinic problems appear to hold greater influence over the fate of this machine than the wars or economic narratives, which are mere aspects of its production, do [3].

The machine appears from all angles to be collapsing, but yet we find ourselves caught in it’s parts. Robotic police are no longer mere science-fiction [4]. Suicide machines now offer individuals a “peaceful” way out from the “chaos” of life within this constructed Reality [5]. But in many ways this is simply the continuation of the same narrative we’ve always known within civilisation — with police being nothing more than extensions of the machine and life within this culture being a type of mechanic suicide, whose “order” grants the peaceful comfort of death, away from the “chaos” of wild-Being.

This narrative begun with the advent of agriculture in the neolithic [6]. This narrative is the history of the machine — it is History. The birth of History saw the birth of God [7]. And now the death of God appears to have taken on a whole new meaning to that proclaimed by Nietzsche.

The messianic digital-cybernetic deity of AI cult Way of the Future is the emerging face of God made-new; God updated [8]. This cult, born out of Silicon Valley culture, its mythology shares the techno-utopian narrative of individuals such as Elon Musk [9], in that it views Gods will as being that the machine that is civilisation further abandons itself from the flesh of this world it has sought to violate, through its attempting to divorce its body from the earth, towards Mars [10]. And with God being made here in Mans image, as a cosmological inversion (much like the inversion of the collapse we are witnessing, with multiple systems falling ontop of each other towards ruin), civilisation is terrified that the robots of the machine will need to install the same moral codings that have to be instilled in all domesticated people, turning to History to save themselves from the wrath of the ruin of the Future [11].

The “paradise engineering” of the construction of this onto-theological Reality is also found in the religious cult of transhumanism [12]. This gnostic culture teaches transubstation of the flesh into the machine, through moral axioms around “perpetual progress” and a practice of “practical optimism”, whose practicality is merely an extension of the logic of civilisation, the same logic whose conclusion ends with ruin. It intends to try and upload human-consciousness into a digitised cyborg form, preserving the self of an individual, their memories and thought patterns, in metal, wires and electrical currents [13].

This notion stems from a vulgar-materialist machinic-biological conception of what mindedness is, seeking to extend the concept from machinic-biological into machinic-engineered. It attempts to reduce mind and consciousness to brain and cognition, through an eliminative-materialist theological narrative, which denies Life, seeing all as simply dead-matter. But if we allocate Life to being a very function of matter, in a hylozoic conception of the Real, then this reduction doesn’t seem to fit what mind appears to be. Rather, mind becomes an aspect of flesh; not just flesh as our immediate embodied-being, but flesh as the Being of the world we are immersed within, are extensions of and find ourselves, in moments of existential authenticity, caught in the flow of. This notion of mind = flesh presents a panpsychist picture regarding consciousness, irreducible to the machinery of techno-utopians.

But we find our bodies trapped within the constructed Reality of the machine, of civilisation, the Leviathan, in buildings, towns, cities and all else it builds. Our consciousnesses are directed towards its pathways, digital and non-digital. We cannot know how this collapse will pan out, if it will transform into something worse, or if we will see its demise within our lifetimes — though I’m personally optimistic (not in the transhumanist sense), in that I believe near-term total collapse is the likely trajectory of History (we will wait and see). So what do we do now?

Anarchists are advocating abandoning the “digital utopia” [14]. Primitivists advocate rewilding practices [15]. Both groups advocate sabotage, though often in different ways. I think we need all three and more. We need a radical re-embrace of flesh and rejection of the machine of History, in any and all ways that entails, as acts of guerrilla-ontological attack [16] against against this constructed Reality and individual reclamation — as nihilists refusing the will of God and stabbing him in the back. And, alongside this, we need to consume this body of the machine, through usurpation of its narrative towards an excellerationist trajectory regarding its narrative — using the weapons of the enemy against them.

This is not stated naively, nor without awareness of the sheer horror of the encroaching desert of the Real this Reality has brought about. Nor is it stated believing that “we can defeat this”. This is not about winning or losing, as such terms are only relevant to the narrative of History. This is about finding what it is we wish to do right here and right now, in this present location. It is about asking ourselves who we really are, what it is we love and what it is we are going to do.

Notes

[1] https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/ted-kaczynski-the-system-s-neatest-trick

[2] https://ecorevoltblog.wordpress.com/books/

[3] http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/12/15/climate-change-rome/#.WldvbkycaYU

[4] https://www.facebook.com/namelesstv/videos/1750906421869010/?q=robot%20police%20

[5] https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/high-tech-suicide-machine-makes-death-painless-peaceful-optimal-way-go

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/dec/05/how-neolithic-farming-sowed-the-seeds-of-modern-inequality-10000-years-ago

[7] http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/08/19/agriculture-and-the-rise-of-re/

[8]https://www.westernjournal.org/new-religion-forming-california-worship-man-made-ai-messiah/

[9] https://returntonow.net/2016/10/08/technoutopia-elon-musk-modern-suicide-culture/

[10] https://www.wired.com/story/anthony-levandowski-artificial-intelligence-religion/

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/24/robots-ethics-shakespeare-austen-literature-classics

[12] https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/09/05/whos-afraid-transhumanism-we-all-should-be

[13] https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/jan/09/how-close-are-we-black-mirror-style-digital-afterlife

[14] https://crimethinc.com/2013/10/04/feature-deserting-the-digital-utopia

[15] http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/kevin-tucker-to-speak-of-wildness

[16] https://ecorevoltblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/guerrilla-ontology-on-destruction-violence-and-direct-action/

4 thoughts on “Leaving The Machine As Returning To The Flesh

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  1. Excellent! I’m leading 5 workshops next week all focused on learning from our primal past. But I don’t want to get caught in the idea that the direction we must go is backwards. Is it possible to abandon the Machine and still move forwards? Or, is the idea of ‘progress’ itself part of a worldview that necessarily puts us on a destructive path?

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      1. Yes, but … I think you would agree that there is value in increasing knowledge, learning from experiences, broadening the scope of our perceptions. And, I think you would agree that we can pass down lessons learned from experiences to our progeny. Would you not apply the label ‘progress’ to that accumulated knowledge?

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      2. I’d differentiate experience and knowledge for one thing, and I’d call progress reified knowledge. Accumulated experience is valuable, but knowledge, as a type of dogma, I’d say, while useful (as a means of using the enemies weapon against them), isn’t valuable – value meaning here as something that is life flourishing.

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