…the infernal piping of those blasphemous flutes…
Prologue: Of manifestoes and manifestoism
To launch a manifesto you have to want: A.B. & C., and fulminate against 1, 2, & 3.
work yourself up and sharpen your wings to conquer and circulate lower and upper case As, Bs & Cs, sign, shout, swear, organise prose into a form that is absolutely and irrefutably obvious, prove its ne plus ultra and maintain that novelty resembles life in the same way as the latest apparition of a harlot proves the essence of God.
We alone are the face of our Time. Through us the horn of Time blows in the art of the world.
Throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard from the Ship of Modernity.
- Up to now literature has exalted contemplative stillness, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt movement and aggression, feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the slap and the punch.
- We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath…a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than Тhe Victory of Samothrace.
- We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.
- We intend to glorify war — the only hygiene of the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of anarchists, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and contempt for woman.
Morals have given rise to charity and pity, two dumplings that have grown like elephants, planets, which people call good. There is nothing good about them. Goodness is lucid, clear and resolute, and ruthless towards compromise and politics. Morality infuses chocolate into every man’s veins. This task is not ordained by a supernatural force, but by a trust of ideas-merchants and academic monopolists.
Sentimentality: seeing a group of bored and quarrelling men, they invented the calendar and wisdom as a remedy. By sticking labels on to things, the battle of the philosophers we let loose (money-grubbing, mean and meticulous weights and measures) and one understood once again that pity is a feeling, like diarrhoea in relation to disgust, that undermines health, the filthy carrion job of jeopardising the sun.
I proclaim the opposition of all the cosmic faculties to that blennorrhoea of a putrid sun that issues from the factories of philosophical thought, the fight to the death, with all the resources of…
We are circus ringmasters and we can be found whistling amongst the winds of fairgrounds, in convents, prostitutions, theatres, realities, feelings, restaurants, ohoho, bang bang.
“A shadow over the innternet”
A specter is haunting the theory blogosphere — the specter of Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology. All the young bloggers and would-be theoreticians of the internet have entered into an unholy alliance to try and summon this specter, in order to comprehend its phantom philosophy: from both WordPress and Blogspot, Livejournal and Typepad, GoogleID and guest posters, all have come far and wide seeking to latch themselves onto the latest trend in blogosphical thought.
Nothing results from this fact:
- Identity: A = A
- Non-Contradiction: A ≠ ~A
- The Excluded Middle: A & ~A = ∞
Tautologies, Kantian analytic propositions, tell us nothing about anything.
Let us proceed from this nothing and tread fearlessly into new terrains of vacuity, into ever-blacker abysses, until we reach the very brink of utter meaninglessness — remembering always, always, that old Parmenidean dictum: ex nihilo nihil fit.
How to succeed in the SR/OOO blogosphere in 11 Steps
What few people seem to understand about the politics of blogosophy is that it’s secretly a war. The main objective of all its participants is not to arrive at philosophical Truth; rather, it is to rise through the ranks of the SR/OOO pecking-order until one reaches the zenith, the very pinnacle of the theory-internet pseudoverse. Crucial alliances must be forged along the way. Strategic collaborations with other members of the theory blogosphere are an absolute necessity. But if you follow closely these rules I shall give you, the prize is yours for the taking. Total victory must be achieved. Will you be the one to achieve it?
- Create a platform from which you can blogosophize — a beer-hall podium or the steps of Nuremburg will do, but make sure in either case that it has an unexpected and intriguing title. Pseudo-clever wit and wordplay have been highly prized in philosophy ever since Derrida brought the plague of Heideggerianized French into the realm of public discourse in 1967. A pithily-placed parenthesis or carefully calculated double-entendre can mean the difference between fame and recognition on the one hand, and lowliness and invisibility on the other. Thus, a title like Que(e)rying Object-Oriented Ontology will probably win you an instant audience. Other titles, titles with surprising claims or adjectival combinations, are also good: Larval Subjects, Ecology without Nature, Naught Thought, Fractal Ontology, etc.
- Vigorously participate in the neverending cosmic circle jerk that is the SR/OOO blogosphere. This point can scarcely be stressed enough. For it is only through the continuation of this perpetual cosmic circle jerk that the SR/OOO blogosphere is maintained; without it, the universe might lose all its consistency, objects stripped of their integrity. Any sense of orientation would likewise be lost — up would be down, left would be right, the sky would fall in, etc. This means that you must never neglect to comment on one another’s posts, raising questions, voicing agreement, lavishing praise. And in your posts you must refer to posts and discussions that are going on over at other SR/OOO blogs. If you are a relatively new poster, you must seek out the major hubs of theoretical conversation and make a name for yourself, remembering always to pay homage to the elders of SR/OOO: Graham Harman, Bruno Latour, Timothy Morton, Levi Bryant, Adrian Ivakhiv, Ben Woodard, and Nick Srnicek By this show of generosity and interest (whether sincere or not), you gain crucial notoriety. You must treat brief, largely improvised and unwieldy posts by other authors as groundbreaking philosophical discoveries, major conceptual innovations, and so on, so that your own work may in turn receive similar praise.And always remember this age-old maxim: “Forget not to jerk the one who has, in his graciousness, jerked you.”
- Learn the jargon of SR/OOO. In fact, don’t just learn it. Immerse yourself in it — live it, breathe it. Avail yourself of handy lexica like this one over at Larval Subjects, but always be aware that the brave Speculative Realists and Object-Oriented Ontologists of the internet are seeking to carve out a space of difference to make a name for themselves, and so introduce new conceptual distinctions that partially (or even wholly) undermine the set of established definitions represented therein. Odd new terms and phrases such as “actants,” “difference engines,” “endo-relations” vs. “exo-relations,” and other philosophical shorthand that supposedly clarifies the subjects under discussion. The more of these in-phrases and jargonnetic memes you learn, and the more skillfully you practice with them, the more proficient you become. Once you have achieved total mastery, you can string whole sentences together of this nonsense and find (to your dismay) that others nod their heads as if it is all meaningful. For all this theoretical bubble-blowing shines with such hypnotizing effervescence so long as it remains suspended in the airy heavens of theory; the only pity is that the bubble bursts as soon as it touches the solid ground of reality.
- Liberally partake in the Deleuzean frenzy of proliferating ever-more-ridiculous and unwieldy neologisms. Learning the jargon of SR/OOO is not enough. You must actively add on to the existing set of definitions and meanings by introducing new kinds of objects, and new word-combinations to describe their uniqueness. The more bizarre and scientistic you can make these new bits of jargon, the more apt they are to gain currency amongst the general readership of the SR/OOO online community. If one of the Elder Gods (Levi Bryant, Tim Morton, Nyarlathotep) invokes with approval your new conceptual innovation or wonder of theoretical wordsmithery, you’re as good as gold. It’s as good as having been officially endorsed. Your reputation rises, and in so doing you have helped contribute to the shapeless mass of neologisms that is still now piling skywards so as to block out the sun.
- Be as intellectually promiscuous as possible. You must seek to combine, in the most haphazard and syncretistic fashion imaginable, concepts and subject-matters from the most polarized and incompatible doctrines. You must fuse together high-order, specialized philosophical categories like “compossibility” or “totality” with the immediate data of the natural sciences, with sci-fi concepts like cyborgism and digital interfacing, McCluhanite media theory of prosthetic devices or instruments we use as extensions of our own beings, Lovecraftian paranoia about the incomprehensibility and terror of the real, and then filter it all through some of the more convoluted and outrageous neologisms you and others have been able to come up with, like “diffraction patterns” or “phase space.” Also, it’s almost required that you have some sort of affinity for Spinoza and Marx, however superficially.
- Take Lovecraft seriously.Forget that he was a poor-man’s Poe. Forget that he was a self-fashioned member of the New England elite and a virulent racist. Forget that this man delighted upon hearing of the discovery of Pluto, writing to Robert Bloch that “IT MAY BE NYARLATHOTEP!!” This man must be taken seriously. Lovecraftian science, Lovecraftian concepts, even, must be deployed at every possible turn. There must be no attempt made at justifying the fact that you are taking this madman seriously. It must simply be stated with as much confidence as possible, as if you are totally sure of the validity of using this man’s ideas. Lovecraft must been seen as just as legitimate a literary source for philosophical reflection as Kafka, Borges, or Beckett.
- Write with reckless confidence. There is a certain tone one must adopt in SR/OOO blogosophizing in order to maximize one’s rhetorical effect. It is difficult to spell out exactly what this tone is, but a few remarks can nevertheless be made. You must speak as if you are dealing with matters of the utmost profundity, but then throw in something banal from popular culture to instantiate the point you are making. Every word you write must be seen as carrying the greatest possible philosophical weight, and yet you must also be capable of making bemused reflections along the way (for good measure). Write as if every insight you provide is groundbreaking, as if every speculative tangent you go on shatters entire paradigms, as if the slightest rhetorical gesture you make changes everything. Every sentence must drip with discovery. Only in this way can you achieve success.
- Write a manifesto. See Levi Bryant’s Onticology, a Manifesto for Object-Oriented Ontology: Part 1 & Part 2, or parts I, II, and III of Ben Woodard’s series on Dark Vitalism.
- Nyarlathotep…the crawling chaos…I am the last…I will tell the audient void…Screamingly sentient, dumbly delirious, only the gods that were can tell. A sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands, and whirled blindly past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low. Beyond the worlds vague ghosts of monstrous things; half-seen columns of unsanctified temples that rest on nameless rocks beneath space and reach up to dizzy vacua above the spheres of light and darkness. And through this revolting graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods — the blind, voiceless, mindless gargoyles whose soul is Nyarlathotep.