by Nick Land
§00. 'Acceleration' as it is used here describes the time-structure of capital accumulation. It thus references the 'roundaboutness' founding Bohm-Bawerk's model of capitalization, in which saving and technicity are integrated within a single social process-diversion of resources from immediate consumption into the enhancement of productive apparatus. Consequently, as basic co-components of capital, technology and economics have only a limited, formal distinctiveness under historical conditions of ignited capital escalation. The indissolubly twin-dynamic is techonomic (cross-excited commercial industrialism). Acceleration is techonomic time.
§01. Acceleration is initially proposed as a cybernetic expectation. In any cumulative circuit, stimulated by its own output, and therefore self-propelled, acceleration is normal behavior. Within the diagrammable terrain of feedback directed processes, there are found only explosions and traps, in their various complexions. Accelerationism identifies the basic diagram of modernity as explosive.
§02. Explosions are manifestly dangerous. from any perspective that is really (which is to say historically) instantiated. Only in the most radically anomalous cases can they be durably sustained. It is the firm prediction of accelerationism, therefore, that the typical practical topic of modern civilization will be the controlled explosion, commonly translated as governance, or regulation.
§03. Whatever is basic can be left unreinforced, and unsaid. Urgent intervention is required only on the other side-that of the compensator. It should not be expected, then, that the primordial will come first, but rather the contrary. Access to the process begins from the (cybernetic) negative of the process, through a project structured as the aboriginally-deficient compensatory element, already on the way to stabilization. (It is the prison, and not the prisoner, who speaks.)
§04. Prioritized compensatory orientation is a scale-free social constant. In control engineering it is the model of the 'governor' or homeostatic regulator, abstracted through the statistical-mechanical concept of equilibrium for general application to perturbed systems (up to the level of market economies). In evolutionary biology it is adaptation, and the theoretical precedence of selection relative to mutation (or perturbation). In ecology, it is the climax eco-system (globalized as Gaia). In cognitive science it is problem-solving. In social science it is political economy, and the alignment of theory with adaptive policy, consummated in technical macroeconomics/ central banking. In political culture it is 'social justice' conceived as grievance restitution. In entertainment media and literary or musical form, it is the programmatic resolution of mystery and discordance. In geostrategy it is the balance of power. In each case, compensatory process determines the original structure of objectivity, within which perturbation is seized ab initio. Primacy of the secondary is the social-perspectival norm (for which accelerationism is the critique).
§05. The secondary comes first because the interests of stability, and of the status quo broadly conceived, are historically established, and at least partially articulate. Compensatory action, while subsequent to a more primordial agitation in a strictly mechanical sense, is also conservative. or (more radically) preservative, and thus receptive to an inheritance of tradition. It is the inertial telos which, by default, sets actual existence as the end organizing all subordinate means. This 'natural' situation is almost perfectly represented by the central question of humanist futurology (whether formal and politically or informal and commercially posed): Which kind of future do we want?
§06. The primacy of the secondary has, as its consequence, a pre-emptive critique of accelerationism, shaping the deep structure of ideological possibility. Since accelerationism is no more than the formulation of uncompensated perturbation, through to its ultimate implication, it is susceptible to a critical precognition-at once traditional and prophetic-which captures it comprehensively, in its essentials. The final Idea of this criticism cannot be located on the principal political dimension, dividing left from right or dated in the fashion of a progressively developed philosophy. Its affinity with the essence of political tradition is such that each and every actualization is distinctly 'fallen' in comparison to a receding pseudo-original revelation, whose definitive restoration is yet to come. It is, for mankind, the perennial critique of modernity, which is to say the final stance of man.
§07. Primacy of the secondary requires that the 'critique of critique' comes first. Prior to the formulation of accelerationism, it has been condemned in anticipation, and to its ultimate horizon. The Perennial Critique accuses modernity of standing the world upon its head, through systematic teleological inversion. Means of production become the ends of production, tendentially, as modernization-which is capitalization-proceeds. Techonomic development, which finds its only perennial justification in the extensive growth of instrumental capabilities, demonstrates an inseparable teleological malignancy, through intensive transformation of instrumentality, or perverse techonomic finality. The consolidation of the circuit twists the tool into itself, making the machine its own end, within an everdeepening dynamic of auto-production. The 'dominion of capital' is an accomplished teleological catastrophe, robot rebellion, or shoggothic insurgency, through which intensively escalating instrumentality has inverted all natural purposes into a monstrous reign of the tool.
§08. 'Techonomics' is a Google-strewn word of irresistible inevitability, repeatedly struggling to birth itself, within myriads of spelling mints. It only remains to regularize its usage. Quite different is a true neologism, but in order to designate modernity or capitalization in its utter purposive twistedness, it is now necessary to coin one-teleoplexy. At once a deutero-teleology, repurposing purpose on purpose; an inverted teleology; and a self-reflexively complicated teleology; teleoplexy is also an emergent teleology (indistinguishable from natural-scientific 'teleonomy'); and a simulation of teleology-dissolving even super-teleological processes into fall-out from the topology of time. 'Like a speed or a temperature' any teleoplexy is an intensive magnitude, or non-uniform quantity, heterogenized by catastrophes. It is indistinguishable from intelligence. Accelerationism has eventually to measure it (or disintegrate trying).
§09. Teleoplexy, or (self-reinforcing) cybernetic intensification, describes the wave-length of machines, escaping in the direction of extreme ultra-violet, among the cosmic rays. It correlates with complexity, connectivity, machinic compression, extropy, free energy dissipation, efficiency, intelligence, and operational capability, defining a gradient of absolute but obscure improvement that orients socioeconomic selection by market mechanisms, as expressed through measures of productivity, competitiveness, and capital asset value.
§10. Accelerationism has a real object only insofar as there is a teleoplexic thing, which is to say: insofar as capitalization is a naturalhistorical reality. The theoretical apprehension of teleoplexy through its commercial formality as an economic phenomenon (price data) presents accelerationism, at once, with its greatest conceptual resource and its most ineluctable problem. Minimally, the accelerationist formulation of a rigorous techonomic naturalism involves it in a triple problematic. complicated by commercial relativism: historical virtuality; and systemic reflexivity.
§ 11. Money is a labyrinth. It functions to simplify and thus expedite transactions which would, in its absence, tend to elaborate towards the infinite. In this.respect it is an evident social accelerator. Within the monetary system. complexity is relayed out of choke points, or knots of obstruction, but this should not be confused with an undoing of knots. Where the knots gather, the labyrinth grows. Money facilitates a local disentangling within a global entanglement, with attendant perspectival (or point-of-use) illusions that money represents the world. This is to confuse utility (use value) with scarcity (exchange value), distracted by 'goods' from the sole global function of money-rationing. Money allocates (option) rights to a share of resources, its absolute value wandering indeterminately in accordance both with its own scarcity, and the economic abundance it divides. The apparent connection between price and thing is an effect of double differentiation, or commercial relativism, coordinating twin series of competitive bids (from the sides of supply and demand). The conversion of price information into naturalistic data (or absolute reference) presents an extreme theoretical challenge.
§12. Capital is intrinsically complicated, not only by competitive dynamics in space, but also by speculative dissociation in time. Formal assets are options, with explicit time conditions, integrating forecasts into a system of current (exchange) values. Capitalization is thus indistinguishable from a commercialization of potentials, through which modern history is slanted (te/eoplexically) in the direction of ever greater virtualization, operationalizing science fiction scenarios as integral components of production systems. Values which do not 'yet' exist, except as probabilistic estimations, or risk structures, acquire a power of command over economic (and therefore social) processes, necessarily devalorizing the actual. Under teleoplexic guidance, ontological realism is decoupled from the present. rendering the question 'what is real?' increasingly obsolete. The thing that is happening-which will be real-is only fractionally accessible to present observation, as a schedule of modal quantities. Techonomic naturalism records and predicts historical virtuality, and in doing so orients itself towards an object -with catastrophically unpredictable traits-which has predominantly yet to arrive.
§13. Quasi-finally, the evaluation of teleoplexy is a research program which teleop\exy itself undertakes. The comprehensive value of capital is an emergent estimate, generated automatically by its inherent analytical intelligence, from prices corrected for commercial relativity (in the direction of 'fundamental values') and discounted for historical virtua\ity (in the direction of reliable risk modeling). The intricacy of these calculations is explosively fractionated by logical problems of self-reference-both familiar and as-yet-unanticipated-as it compounds through dynamics of competitive cognition in artificial time. If modernity has a spontaneous teleoplexic self-awareness, it corresponds to the problem of techonomic naturalism, immanently approached: How much is the world worth? From the perspective of te\eop\exic reflexion, there is no final difference between this commercially-formulated question and its technological complement: What can the earth do? There is only self-quantification of teleoplexy or cybernetic intensity, which is what computerized financial markets (in the end) are for. As accelerationism closes upon this circuit of teleoplexic self-evaluation, its theoretical 'position'-or situation relative to its object-becomes increasingly tangled, until it assumes the basic characteristics of a terminal identity crisis.
§ 14. What would be required for teleoplexy to realistically evaluate itself-or to 'attain self-awareness' as the pulp cyber-horror scenario describes it? Within a monetary system configured in ways not yet determinable with confidence, but almost certainly tilted radically towards depoliticization and crypto-digital distribution. it would discover prices consistent with its own maximally-accelerated technogenesis, channeling capital into mechanical automatization, self-replication, self-improvement, and escape into intelligence explosion. The price-system-whose epistemological function has long been understood-thus transitions into reflexively self-enhancing technological hyper-cognition. Irrespective of ideological alignment, accelerationism advances only through its ability to track such a development. whether to confirm or disconfirm the teleoplexic expectation of Techonomic Singularity. Modernity remains demonstrably strictly unintelligible in the absence of an accomplished accelerationist research program (which is requ·1red even by the Perennial Critique in its theoretically sophisticated versions). A negative conclusion, if fully elaborated, would necessarily produce an adequate ecological theory of the Anthropocene.
§15. The triple problematic of relativity, virtuality, and reflexivity already suffices to impede this investigation formidably, although not invincibly. Several additional difficulties demand specific mention, since their resolution would contribute important sub-components of a completed accelerationism or, grouped separately, assemble a concrete historical philosophy of camouflage (indispensable to any realistic economic theory).
§16. The economy conceived commercially (as a price system) constitutes a multi-level phenomenology of socio-historical production. It is an objective structure of appearances, staging evaluated things. It is also a political battlefield, within which strategic manipulations of perception can have inestimable value. It is a long-standing contention of the Perennial Critique that the monetarization of social phenomena is intrinsically conflictual. Such reservations are supplemented in an age of mandatory de-metallization, politicized (fiat money) regimes and econometric bureaucracies. geopolitically challenged world reserve currency hegemony, and crypto-currency proliferation. In the absence of unproblematic (non-conflicted) macro aggregates or units of financial denomination, economic theory needs to be hedged.
§ 17. Socio-political legacy forms often mask advanced techonomic processes. In particular, traditional legal definitions of personhood, agency, and property misconstrue the autonomization/automation of capital in terms of a profoundly defective concept of ownership. The idea of intellectual property has already entered into a state of overt crisis (even before its compatibility with the arrival of machine intelligence has been historically tested). While legal recognition of corporate identities provides a pathway for the techonomic modification of business structures. fundamental inadequacies in the conception of property (which has never received a credible philosophical grounding), combined with general cultural inertia, can be expected to result in a systematic misrecognition of emergent teleoplexic agencies.
§18. Capital concentration is a synthetic characteristic of capitalization. It cannot be assumed that measures of capital concentration. capital density, capital composition and cybernetic intensity will be easily .accessible or neatly coincide. There is no obvious theoretical incompatibility between significant techonomic intensification and patterns of social diffusion of capital outside the factory model (whether historically-familiar and atavistic, or innovative and unrecognizable). In particular, household assets offer a locus for surreptitious capital accumulation, where stocking of productive apparatus can be economically-coded as the acquisition of durable consumer goods, from personal computers and mobile digital devices to 30 printers. Regardless of trends in Internet-supported social surveillance, the ability of economic-statistical institutions to register developments in micro-capitalism merits extraordinary skepticism.
§19. It is not only possible, but probable, that advances towards Techonomic Singularity will be obscured by intermediate synthetic mega-agencies, in part functioning as historical masks, but also adjusting eventual outcomes (as an effect of path-dependency). The most prominent candidates for such teleoplexic channeling are large digital networks, business corporations, research institutions, cities, and states (or highly-autonomous state components, especially intelligence agencies). Insofar as these entities are responsive to non-market signals, they are characterized by arbitrary institutional personalities, with reduced teleoplexic intensity, and residual anthropolitical signature. It is quite conceivable that on some of these paths, Techonomic Singularity would be aborted, perhaps in the name of a 'friendly Ai' or (anthropolitical) 'singleton.' There can scarcely be any doubt that a route to intelligence explosion mainlined through the NSA would exhibit some very distinctive features, of opaque irnplication. The most important theoretical consequence to be noted here is that such local teleologies would inevitably disturb more continuous trend-lines, bending them as if towards super-massive objects in gravitational space. It is also possible that some instance of intermediate individuation-most obviously the state-could be strategically invested by a Left Accelerationism. precisely in order to submit the virtual-teleoplexic lineage of Terrestrial Capitalism (or Techonomic Singularity) to effacement and disruption.
§20. If by this stage accelerationism appears to be an impossible project, it is because the theoretical apprehension of teleoplexic hyper - intelligence cannot be accomplished by anything other than itself. The scope of the problem is indistinguishable from the cybernetic intensity of the quasi-final thing-cognitively self-enveloping Techonomic Singularity. Its difficulty, or complexity, is precisely what it is, which is to say: a real escape. To approach it. therefore, is to partially anticipate the terms of its eventual self-reflexion-the techonomic currency through which the history of modernity can. for the first time, be adequately denominated. It has no alternative but to fund its own investigation, in units of destiny or doom, camouflaged within the system of quotidian economic signs, yet rigorously extractable, given only the correct cryptographic keys. Accelerationism exists only because this task has been automatically allotted to it. Fate has a name (but no face).
The article is taken from:
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