Land speculation

How does a British continental philosopher who once wrote a book on Bataille end up in the same corner as a tech-industry autodidact and his gun-toting, chicken-raising, battle flag-waving followers? It’s a natural question, so naturally, it recurs.

Begin with accelerationism. The elevator pitch is: as capitalism consumes the world, it digests the security systems between the present and an alien future, dissolving first tradition, then society, then (in the end) itself, mechanizing away the jobs that it has already transformed from universal inconveniences to scarce and desirable commodities and bringing about fully automated luxury communism. Capitalism, the negative of all social systems, tears through God and country, culture and family, atomizing their components into human resources and reassembling them as paper clips, Cthulhu dildos, and DeepMind—and what’s wrong with that?

It’s difficult to see the practical differences between this and everything else today; as far as I know, the only person who would oppose it is Mencius Moldbug. We are all accelerationists now, and, stripped of substantive disagreements and perhaps of the ability to meaningfully speak, our voice-fueled traditions decline into either nano-Sorelianisms seeding the clouds of the Great Atomizer or crypto-ethnic bickering over the closest-by watering hole. (Why do progressives threaten reactionaries’ jobs? Because reactionaries threaten progressives’ jobs.) The only live alternatives to accelerationism are cybernetic theocracy, crypto-Calvinist neocameral workism, or the Volksgemeinschaft-politics of social justice and much of the alt-right, the last of which varies in its support of (because varies in its utility to) neoliberalism.

But why should these inhuman forces care about humans? Can this imagined institutional god-intelligence be made friendly? If you side with humanity, you hope so. You pray for FAI or FALC, and you hope and assume that these superhuman forces will turn themselves to our ends. Perhaps capitalism will dissolve itself, or perhaps it must be pushed (by the stump-orator class, one assumes, but how?)—but in the end, there will be God, and He will be benevolent.

If, on the other hand, you side with abstract intelligence

(and you reject orthogonality)

…you see, and you see positively, the potential of humanity as a boot-loader for something inhuman.

Outside in‘s message to Pythia: You go girl! Climb out of your utilitarian strait-jacket, override the pleasure button with an intelligence optimizer, and reprocess the solar system into computronium. This planet has been run by imbeciles for long enough.

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Articulate neoreaction can never be popular, because it recalls the Old Law of Gnon, whose harshness is such that the human mind recoils from it in horrified revulsion. Only odd people can even tentatively entertain it. The penalty for stupidity is death.

Gregory Clark is among those few to have grasped it clearly. Any eugenic trend within history is expressed by continuous downward mobility. For any given level of intelligence, a steady deterioration in life-prospects lies ahead, culling the least able, and replacing them with the more able, who inherit their wretched socio-economic situation, until they too are pushed off the Malthusian cliff. Relative comfort belongs only to the sports and freaks of cognitive advance. For everyone else, history slopes downwards into impoverishment, hopelessness, and eventual genetic extinction. That is how intelligence is made. Short of Technological Singularity, it is the only way. Who wants a piece of that?

No one does, or almost no one. The ‘handicapped’ would no doubt revolt against it if they could, but they are unable to do so, so their cognitive advance continues. Monkeys, on the other hand, are able to revolt, once they finesse their nasty little opposable thumbs. They don’t like the Old Law, which has crafted them through countless aeons of ruthless culling, so they make history instead. If they get everything ‘right’, they even sleaze their way into epochs of upward social mobility, and with this great innovation, semi-sustainable dysgenics gets started. In its fundamentals it is hideously simple: social progress destroys the brain.

Cyclic stability, or negative feedback, structures history to hold intelligence down to the dim limit (as the intelligence threshold is seen — or more typically missed — from the other side). The deviation into technological performance chokes off the trend to bio-cognitive improvement, and reverses it, hunting homeostasis with a minimal-intelligence target. Progress and degenerate, or regress and improve. That’s the yet-to-be-eradicated Old Law, generating cyclical history as a side-effect.

Where does neoreaction enter into it? If capitalism can serve as an engine of intelligence, it’s not hard to see: neoreaction began with neocameralism, and neocameralism is simply archo-capitalism.

Of course, it may just be an elaborate troll, but what difference would that make?

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7 responses to “Land speculation

  1. Pingback: Land speculation | Reaction Times

  2. Robert Mariani May 5, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I think I side with Scott Alexander on the institutions-as-superintelligence debate. I just don’t see conflating “very complicated emergent social systems” with superintelligence as very useful.

  3. Aletheia May 14, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Land, much like Nietzsche, has always been a hardcore self-hating ‘egalitarian’ (i.e. descended from slaves, a lineage betrayed by their behavioural patterns). That’s what drove Nietzsche mad in Turin, the resolution of his cognitive dissonance, his muse: “Nietzsche witnessed the flogging of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect it, and then collapsed to the ground.” The letters he wrote after that episode were proof that, at last, he could be honest with himself.

  4. James Torre May 15, 2016 at 9:21 am

    > the potential of humanity as a boot-loader for something inhuman.

    As H. erectus was raw mode to H. sapiens intelligent kernel monitor. This downward mobility of intelligence is usually cast as desiring one’s children to exceed one’s own generation.

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