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Category Archives: Infinite Indefinites

The Spirit shows itself as so impoverished that, like a wanderer in the desert craving for a mere mouthful of water, it seems to crave for its refreshment only the bare feeling of the divine in general. By looking at the little which now satisfies Spirit, we can measure the extent of its loss.

~ Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit.

It would be best, perhaps, to think of an alternate world—better to say the alternate world, our alternate world—as one contiguous with ours but without any connection or access to it. Then, from time to time, like a diseased eyeball in which disturbing flashes of light are perceived or like those baroque sunbursts in which rays from another world suddenly break into this one, we are reminded that Utopia exists and that other systems, other spaces, are still possible.

~ Fredric Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic. 

via Dialectics of Time and Event from Kant and Hegel to Deleuze and Badiou: Hyperstition, or, Utopia as Method, Structure, and Process — SubSense



The Evil Spirit and The Spiritual Automaton

It is a recurrent theme in science-fiction-thriller movies that in time humanity turns into the slave of its own creation, namely of machines. It is precisely because of this fear of being replaced that humanity attempts to get out of time, out of the physical, and eventually falls on the side of what it was attempting to escape from; be that which they fall in the direction of metaphysics or pure-physics, in both cases their thought itself becomes machinic.

The Panopticon may even provide an apparatus for supervising its own mechanisms. In this central tower, the director may spy on all the employees that he has under his orders: nurses, doctors, foremen, teachers, warders […] and it will even be possible to observe the director himself. An inspector arriving unexpectedly at the center of the Panopticon will be able to judge at a…

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| Backdoor Broadcasting Company | Is pleasure a rotten idea, mired in negativity and lack, which should be abandoned in favor of a new concept of desire? Or is desire itself fundamentally a matter of lack, absence, and loss? This is one of the crucial issues dividing the work of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Lacan, two […]

via The Trouble With Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis — SubSense

Slavoj Žižek – Masterclass 1: Surplus-Value, Surplus-Enjoyment, Surplus-Knowledge

Event Date: 18 April 2016

Room B01
Clore Management Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities  presents:

Masterclass 1:  From Pleasure-in-Pain To Surplus-Enjoyment

Slavoj Žižek (International Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities) –   From Pleasure-in-Pain To Surplus-Enjoyment

Jacques Lacan located the origin of his key notion of plus-de-jouir (surplus-enjoyment) in Marx’s notion of surplus-value, and it is worth exploring in detail the homology of the two notions, adding a third one, that of surplus-knowledge, a pseudo-knowledge in the guise of which our ignorance appears (“supreme” knowledge of God and other hidden forces, conspiracy theories, etc.). Such an analysis is crucial for resuscitating Marx’s critique of political economy, as well as for properly understanding today’s global capitalism and its ideological effects, up to fundamentalist violence.

Recommended reading:
Slavoj Žižek, ‘The Return of the Critique of Political Economy’ in Living in the End of Times (Verso 2010)
Samo Tomšič, The Capitalist Unconscious (Verso Books 2015)

Introduction by Professor Esther Leslie (Birkbeck):









Slavoj Žižek – Masterclass 2: Surplus-Value, Surplus-Enjoyment, Surplus-Knowledge

Event Date: 19 April 2016

Room B01
Clore Management Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Masterclass 2: Is Surplus-Value Marx’s Name For Surplus-Enjoyment?

Slavoj Žižek (International Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities) – Is Surplus-Value Marx’s Name For Surplus-Enjoyment?

Jacques Lacan located the origin of his key notion of plus-de-jouir (surplus-enjoyment) in Marx’s notion of surplus-value, and it is worth exploring in detail the homology of the two notions, adding a third one, that of surplus-knowledge, a pseudo-knowledge in the guise of which our ignorance appears (“supreme” knowledge of God and other hidden forces, conspiracy theories, etc.). Such an analysis is crucial for resuscitating Marx’s critique of political economy, as well as for properly understanding today’s global capitalism and its ideological effects, up to fundamentalist violence.

Recommended reading:
Slavoj Žižek, ‘The Return of the Critique of Political Economy’ in Living in the End of Times (Verso 2010)
Samo Tomšič, The Capitalist Unconscious (Verso Books 2015)







via Backdoor Broadcasting




In this essay I attempt to explicate the sense in which Michel Henry’s reductive rendering of Life as affectivity resonates with Alain Badiou’s subtractive rendering of the subject as eternity in time. I claim that these two modes of subjectivity are the two modalities of the Real manifesting itself as quality (Henry) and quantity (Badiou). As the two anti-thetical components of a complementary mode of being and thinking, Henry’s and Badiou’s shifting conceptualisations of the subject constitute a new understanding of the human. Henry’s patheme oriented subject takes the form of the human before its reflection in philosophy and objectification by science. This self as affect manifesting a non-human being of truth is compared and contrasted with Badiou’s matheme oriented subject driven by an inhuman truth of being capable of distinguishing between the human animal and the immortal subject. Henry and Badiou proclaim a move away from the human-animal-machine and towards…

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black hole

Southern Nights

For speculation which founded itself on the radical falsity of the Principle of Sufficient Reason would describe an absolute which would not constrain things to being thus rather than otherwise, but which would constrain them to being able not to be how they are.
….Quentin Meillassoux

Is this what we’ve been waiting for all along? The movement beyond the troubled circle of Being and becoming, of Time and its figural and literal tropes of disquieting lapses into finitude? The fragments of this lie all around us in such thinkers as Nietzsche, Bataille, Deleuze, Badiou, Zizek, and so many others within this metamorphic thought of a non-thought, this disquisition of an anathema.

My friend Cengiz Erdem in his essay Postnihilistic Speculations on That Which Is Not: A Thought-World According to an Ontology of Non-Beingcharts such a history:

A speculative move in the way of mapping the cartography of an ontology of non-being…

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Total Assault On Culture

Expanding on my summary of Ray Brassier’s Remarks on Subtractive Ontology and Thinking Capital here are some further related observations on aleatory rationalism, drawing on Elie Ayache’s account of how the option ‘science’ of the derivatives trading comes to  hypostasize the market as an absolute relation that is not thought-independent:

Brassier’s critique of aleatory rationality shares the epistemological concerns of Quinten Meillassoux, who at the end of his philosophically innovative work After Finitude attempts to offer a speculative resolution to Hume’s problem of induction;  questioning the traditional ludic understanding of randomness and how certain varieties of intractable uncertainty impinge upon us in the form of large-impact rare events. Ludic fallacy finds its apotheosis in the financial markets, particularly in derivatives trading; something that French theorist Elie Ayache has noted leading him draw upon Meillassoux to better explain how the misapprehension of traders affects the dynamic meta-stability of the real with…

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Southern Nights

Abstract literature writes in clues, with clue words, but without hope.
…….– Nick Land, Abstract Manifesto

“Nothing was to have taken place. Less, even, than usual, or than standard procedure recommended. That was clear.”1 So begins Nick Land’s new philo-fiction, Chasm. True to this statement this strange amalgam of – can we call it philosophy, hyperstition, abstraction to the nth degree, an non-movement around absolute Zero; or, like those fabulations of Borges, Calvino, Ballard, Lem, or any number of anti-metaphysical metaphysicians of recent repute call this a dip in the labyrinth of a-literature?  Land_

Reading Chasm is like entering a fog, a realm where the known and unknown cross each other in the night, their knives honed sharp and clean readied for the event that will never happen. Nothing can happen in this world. Yet, this is not some static world of timeless instants, but rather a world whose…

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synthetic zerø

“So I began with Foucault’s argument that desire is a revolutionary force and I would like to circle back to that by way of another of my heroes, Aranye Fradenburg, who in a beautiful essay published in 2002 titled “Group Time: Catastrophe, Periodicity, Survival,” wrote that “enjoyment is the matrix of knowledge, and knowledge is not diminished thereby….Interpretation and explanation are activities central to libidinal structuration and vice versa….We thereby reclaim our technical work [the humanities, for example] as the work of desire, and desire as that which makes the world.”[23] In her book Sacrifice Your Love, she continued the theme, urging us to take up the question of the jouissance of the academy, rather than assuming it is our task to discipline jouissance out of the academy. For one thing, we cannot discipline jouissance out of the academy, because discipline is always permeated with enjoyment. So why…

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Progressive Geographies

Sartre, Foucault et al 1977 - Appeal by SartreIn 1977 Sartre, Foucault, Guattari, Deleuze, Barthes, and others wrote an open letter protesting about the imprisonment and investigation of a number of Italian intellectuals, including ‘Bifo’ (Franco Berardi) and Antonio Negri. I’d not seen this before and it is the first (but I’m sure not the last) thing missing from my bibliography of ‘The Uncollected Foucault‘ which recently appeared in Foucault Studies.

An English version appeared in Italy, 1977-8: ‘Living with an Earthquake’a pamphlet published by Red Notes in 1978. Few libraries have a copy and second-hand versions sell for obscene amounts. The inside front-cover of the pamphlet says that “This pamphlet or any part of it may be freely reproduced by any tendency in the revolutionary movement. Copyright protects it from being poached by capitalists”. I’ve uploaded a scan of the two pages here.

[Update: you can download the whole of Red Notes, Italy…

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#ACCELERATE: The Accelerationist Reader
Forthcoming: April 14, 2014
Editors: Armen Avanessian, Robin Mackay
Paperback 115x175mm.
ISBN 978-0-9575295-5-7
Co-published with Merve Verlag

And of course we suffer, we the capitalized, but this does not mean that we do not enjoy, nor that what you think you can offer us as a remedy – for what? – does not disgust us, even more. We abhor therapeutics and its vaseline, we prefer to burst under the quantitative excesses that you judge the most stupid.
– Jean-François Lyotard, Libidinal Economy

We believe the most important division in today’s left is between those that hold to a folk politics of localism, direct action, and relentless horizontalism, and those that outline what must become called an accelerationist politics at ease with a modernity of abstraction, complexity, globality, and technology.
– Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, #Accelerate

Accelerationism is the name of a contemporary political heresy: the insistence that the only radical political response to capitalism is not to protest, disrupt, critique, or détourne it, but to accelerate and exacerbate its uprooting, alienating, decoding, abstractive tendencies.

The term was coined to designate a certain nihilistic alignment of theory with the excess and abandon of capitalist culture, and the associated performative aesthetic of texts that seek to become immanent to the very process of alienation. Developing at the dawn of contemporary neoliberal consensus, the uneasy status of this impulse, between subversion and acquiescence, between theoretical purchase and aesthetic enjoyment, constitutes the core problematic of accelerationism.

Since the 2013 publication of Williams’s and Srnicek’s #Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics, the term has been adopted to name a set of new theoretical enterprises that aim to conceptualise non-capitalist futures outside of traditional marxist critiques and regressive, decelerative or restorative solutions.

#Accelerate presents a genealogy of accelerationism, tracking the impulse through 90s UK darkside cyberculture and the theory-fictions of Nick Land, Sadie Plant, Iain Grant, and anonymous units like CCRU and SWITCH, across the cultural underground of the 80s (rave, acid house, Terminator and Bladerunner) and back to its sources in delirious post-68 ferment, in texts whose searing nihilistic jouissance would later be disavowed by their authors and the marxist and academic establishment alike.

On either side of this largely unexplored central sequence, the book includes texts by Marx that call attention to his own ‘Prometheanism’ and key works from recent years document the recent extraordinary emergence of new accelerationisms steeled against the onslaughts of neoliberal capitalist realism, and retooled for the twenty-first century.

Contributing to the energetic contemporary debate around this disputed, problematic term, #ACCELERATE presents a historical conversation about futurality, technology, politics, enjoyment and Kapital. This is a legacy shot through with contradictions, yet urgently galvanized today by the poverty of ‘reasonable’ contemporary political alternatives.


Sevgili Dr. Lawgiverz, ilk sorumuz size, okuyucularımızın cevabını en çok merak ettiği sorulardan biri, Kitab-ı Nihil’i kim yazdı? Siz mi yazdınız, yoksa televizyonların ve daha başka ekran mekanizmalarının bir anda ortadan kalkıp medyanın görsel imge bakımından sonsuz bir beyazlığa gömüldüğünü öngördüğü Fantezi Makinesinde Hakikat Sızıntısı adlı kitabı yazdıktan sonra bizzat kendisi de ardında yanıtlanmamış sorular bırakarak ortadan kaybolan Tekvin mi?

Öncelikle bu soruyu sorduğunuz için, ayrıca bize karanlıkta kalmış bazı mevzuları aydınlatma fırsatı veren bu söyleşi ortamını yarattığınız için size çok teşekkür ederiz. Belirtmeden geçemeyeceğim, artık neredeyse tıkanma ve hatta yavaş yavaş azalarak bitme noktasına gelmiş olan bu anlatıyı böyle anlamlı bir söyleşiyle sürdürmek dahiyâne bir fikirdi. Amacınız her neyse, bu  soruyu sormuş olmanız oldukça garip aslında, çünkü bu anlatıyı yazmakta olanın siz olduğu aşikâr; Takamuro’yla benim tek yaptığımız sizin yazdıklarınızı yaşamak. Atalarımızın o ünlü ve bir o kadar da özlü sözünü hatırlayacak olursak görürüz ki tipik bir “tavuk mu…

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In my previous post I’ve attempted to trace, clarify and briefly define certain positions and oppositions within the philosophical field today. It is my conviction that at the root of philosophical enquiry lies a series of dialectical relationships between affirmation and negation, transcendence and immanence, reality in-itself and reality for-us, finitude and infinity, being and non-being.

In this post I will take it upon myself to further elaborate on these oppositions in the way of establishing my own position surrounding the void that splits as it unites transcendental empiricism and transcendental materialism.

Now, we know that according to Plato time doesn’t really exist and that it is merely a representation of the real, an image of eternity beyond life as we live it. Needless to say it is the human finitude, the fact of mortality that produces human subjects as beings in time. The change of seasons, for instance, signifies…

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The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations

The Butterfly Effect is a film from 2004 directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, in which Chaos Theory is applied to history and psychoanalysis. According to Chaos Theory an event which seems to be very insignificant in a sequence of events is in fact as important as any other event and the effects of a minor cause require some time to manifest themselves in relation to the macro situation. The main character in The Butterfly Effect “seizes hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.”[1] 

With TheButterfly Effect the audience sees everything from the perspective of a young man who not only has flashbacks in the form of dreams, but who is also able to travel in time through reading his journals. As he reads the journal, first the words, then himself, and finally the whole room starts shaking…

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“Recent neuroscience, in replacing the old model of the brain as a single centralized source of control, has emphasized “plasticity,” the quality by which our brains develop and change throughout the course of our lives. Our brains exist as historical products, developing in interaction with themselves and with their surroundings.Hence there is a thin line between the organization of the nervous system and the political and social organization that both conditions and is conditioned by human experience. Looking carefully at contemporary neuroscience, it is hard not to notice that the new way of talking about the brain mirrors the management discourse of the neo-liberal capitalist world in which we now live, with its talk of decentralization, networks, and flexibility. Consciously or unconsciously, science cannot but echo the world in which it takes place.In the neo-liberal world, “plasticity” can be equated with “flexibility”–a term that has become a buzzword in economics and management theory. The plastic brain would thus represent just another style of power, which, although less centralized, is still a means of control. In this book, Catherine Malabou develops a second, more radical meaning for plasticity. Not only does plasticity allow our brains to adapt to existing circumstances, it opens a margin of freedom to intervene, to change those very circumstances. Such an understanding opens up a newly transformative aspect of the neurosciences.In insisting on this proximity between the neurosciences and the social sciences, Malabou applies to the brain Marx’s well-known phrase about history: people make their own brains, but they do not know it. This book is a summons to such knowledge.” ~ Peperback Swap

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