by Steven Craig Hickman
William Butler Yeats wrote of a “rough beast, its hour come round at last…” moving toward us. He may have opened the door into a virtual future where thought itself is hyperstitional: “Ccru is the name on a door in an institution which said of the Ccru that ‘does not, has not, and will never exist’.”1 Yet, many entered this non-existent door and changed their lives forever. Like the Immortals, the Troglodytes that Jorge Luis Borges would narrate, who lived in a city of chaos and time, a place where the ruins of the future are gathered. Maybe these indefatigable navigators of the dark modes of hyperstition returned from their travels in this non-existence with the very mind-tools we need today to bring us back to a sense of the Real. Shall we enter the door?
The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit – a site that is no site, a place that is no place, but rather “a chaos of heterogeneous words, the body of a tiger or a bull in which teeth, organs and heads monstrously pullulate in mutual conjunction and hatred.” Ccru is in itself the hyperstitional pulp-theory that it purports to describe, a material realm of thought and being in process of its immanent rupture. A collapsing future in which it sees its own modes of acceleration speeding us toward a planetary implosion at the zero degree of a null-point in time and thought become Real. The cultural guardians and the academic tribunes, who constrain the Empire of Education, would shut the doors, close off this experimental hive-world, a swarming thought-fest of individual and collective impersonalism and disband its hyperstitional students and teachers alike. Disgusted by this Academic betrayal, the “authoritarian prejudices, its love of ideology, and pompous desire to ‘represent the other’ or speak on behalf of the oppressed” Ccru will look back upon those fitful moments of creativity: to “us, it never seemed that the real articulacy of the left academic elites was in any way superior to the modes of popular cultural expression which were either ignored or treated as raw material to be probed for a ‘true’ (i.e. ideological) meaning by white middle-class intellectuals “(Ccru, KL 72-75).
Their hatred of the academic left and its authoritarianism over Continental thought represented in its anti-realist ideology, a post-modern nihilism and post-structuralist mélange of inner-insipidity, whose mindless turnings in the blank spaces of textual free-play would move the Ccru unit to rethink the very problematique of our modernity. Beyond its academic perimeters, inventing new spaces of possibility, Ccru built a materialist tool-set in which they sought to engage “with peripheral cultures not because they are ‘down-trodden’ or oppressed, but because they include the most intense tendencies to social flatness, swarming, populating the future, and contagious positive innovation, hatching the decisive stimuli for the systematic mutation of global cybernetic culture” (Ccru, KL 80-82).
Endorsing Deleuze and Guattari’s insistence that machines are irreducible to technology these intrepid navigators of the network cyberworlds arising in their midst would pilot a new ‘virtual materialism’, assaulting the privilege of representation, anti-evolutionism, and the implacable hostility to the State. Fusing AI research with UFO-phenomena they will create cybergothic hybrids, breaking free of the “deadening of all visceral response” that can be seen in most philosophical and sociological theory.(Ccru, KL 108) Ultimately they sought to release cultural viruses within the emerging digital technologies through a cross-propagation of invariant forms of pulp-theory. These cultural viruses hinged on specific digital hyperstitions: number-systems for transcultural communication and cosmic exploration, exploiting their intrinsic tendency to explode centralized, unified, and logically overcoded ‘master narratives’ and reality models, to generate sorcerous coincidences, and to draw cosmic maps. (Ccru, KL 122)
In their review of Ccru’s Digital Hyperstition Iris Carver and Linda Trent it was nothing more than a “tool-kit for dabbling in the dark” (KL 142). A variant of “hyperpunk pulp-occultism and dark-side cyber-jargon” this beast entered the world still-born. As they will admit: “Obviously it’s a horror story.”(KL 145) Each of the characters in this horror story living behind the masks of Melanie Newton, Steve Goodman, Ron Eglash, Dan Barker, Echidna Stillwell among others were tribal throwbacks from an age of beginnings, more “ethnographic legend than a social fact” (KL 150). Even as Cecil Curtis vanishes into the Oecumenon, they will realize that the metafictional status of all those who entered the non-site of Ccru were like all primitive peoples – a ritualized embodiment of the truth of “fiction”. (KL 154)
The economy of hypercapitalism (“financial capitalism”) will be likened by Greenspan as ‘irrational exuberance’, but the Ccru will understand that there is no difference between such a description and the veritable counter-truth that the economy is nothing more nor less than what the Lemurian Necronomicon calls ‘Shadow-Feeder of the Chaotic Gulfs’, or the ‘Fatal Mother of Hyperstitions’, she of innumerable numbering names who shreds all that stands. (KL 160) The hyperdelirium of the markets is nothing compared to its tracked occupants in their mode of adverts, America itself functions as a deterritorialized hype-sign or hyper-brand, a planetary icon for libidinized meaninglessness. (KL 173) If one was expecting the semantic apocalypse to sound off from a not so distant future they will remind us that it happened from the beginning: “Cancer-baked cowboys of the American nightmare watch mommy glazing over into catatonic schizophrenia as cyberpulp wormings slither out of the apple pie.” (KL 175) In such a world who needs meaning? None is forthcoming, but what is important is the “the double-zero index of Pandemonium, marked by techonomic calendar crash at the end of the second millennium” (KL 180).
What lies below the hype that is Ccru is a program, a viral agent to be released on the cusp of Y2K: ”
According to the Lemurian system – whose principle is sheer immanence – these subcodes call demons – which are brands, jargons, and triggers – positively instantiating the meaninglessness of their own designations, infecting cultural systems with unbelief, and counterposing sorcerous involvements to magical powers. They are raw factors of abstract disintegration, without organic properties, but only names, numbers, functions, and traits, the partial semiotics of eccentric intelligence agencies, or unlife animalities.(KL 189-192)
Reading the above one is reminded of those Discordian manuals for the apocalypse, game strategies in an MMO whose only survival code is to be decoded upon entry: a rhizomatic Abstract Machine that invents itself out of the boot-straps of an infinite loop, a trigger that inserts itself into the assemblage just as the last cornerstone is being disassembled in the virtual moment that releases it into the Real. Ccru is that program, virus and beast: a cyberbeast invading the electronic dreams of our secret lives among the wires.
Will continue to explore this in other posts… reading material: Ccru: Writings 1997-2003
1. Ccru (2015-05-06). Ccru: Writings 1997-2003 (Kindle Location 63). Time Spiral Press. Kindle Edition.
The essay is taken from:
Speculating Freedom: Addiction, Control and Rescriptive Subjectivity in the Work of William S. Burroughs
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