[NetBehaviour] Accelerationism

erik zepka xoxoxcom at gmail.com
Sat Apr 30 03:51:19 CEST 2016

I'm not sure there's novelty in open cultural and scientific concepts,
quite the contrary they are interested in being general/social and
consensual.  Advisory committees I think are a great example of providing
instances of some of the steps that can be taken elsewhere - take for
instance a bioethics committee - such a committee yes does consult with
non-biologists on issues of moral standing in relation to biology, and this
is absolutely an SOP as you call it, that I would be in support of.  The
next step would allow for these non-professionals to also be involved in
the research itself, to deliberate on hypotheses and subjects of research,
to go from moral consultants to open/amateur scientists (the latter which I
think could and should include the moral consultancy aspect as well).

I think your bringing up advisory committees is actually a quite nice
complement to what grounding something like accelerationism might look like
- who's on the committee, is it representative in terms of class, race,
gender, ability and whatever else would contribute to giving a voice to the
demographic affected?  And when the questions, as both Ruth and Alan have
effectively talked about, get to a realm of inhuman problematics,
ecological, species-threatening, who should advise then?  We could at least
say that for every categorical norm (a type of person, a type of organism,
a type of biosphere) there's an exception and that considering that
exception can help expand the norm.  If we imagined an accelerationist
advisory committee (maybe this is one), whatever our question, it might
choose to attempt to make accountable whatever accelerationism then meant
or did - the advisory committee then itself might be considered normative,
but it doesn't subtract from the fact that it might have been a sober move
within a given context.

I think you are right to point out that part of my position is to bring an
ethical perspective in where it might not have been so salient (and was
more, for instance, economical/technical etc).  I don't think
accelerationism is a moral project, but it is part of my perspective and
where I would come in to support/critique its collection of associated

On Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 2:04 AM, Simon Biggs <simon at littlepig.org.uk> wrote:

> In response to Erik’s posting - this actually sounds as if Accelerationism
> is a moralist project, at least here: "a weird utopia of everyone [snip]
> being in the conversation and allowing that broader counterpoint to qualify
> and correct expert views”. This is why advisory committees are often
> composed of not only experts but others, like priests or lay people, who
> are expected to be the moral conscience in the process of deliberation.
> This is SOP. Where's the novelty in the argument?
> best
> Simon
> *Simon Biggs*
> simon at littlepig.org.uk
> http://www.littlepig.org.uk
> http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs
> http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?name=simon.biggs
> http://www.eca.ed.ac.uk/school-of-art/simon-biggs
> On 30 Apr 2016, at 10:07, erik zepka <xoxoxcom at gmail.com> wrote:
> I want to reply to this and Gretta's message that preceded it in a manner
> that mediates the two perspectives.  In this way, perhaps we could talk
> about something like a dilettante accelerationism, but I will look a little
> outside this to what I might term a genealogy of the accelerationist, that
> flavours particular types of epistemology, to arrive at a kind of
> dilettante scientist.
> What is a genealogy of accelerationism?  Foucault might have it that in
> knowing the preconditions of a given episteme, we could talk about its
> discourses (like this one) and how, instead of being a question of what you
> know about a given topic it concerns why this topic tends to envelop
> sociological possibility - not epistemology but a set of discourses that
> prenecessitate a given epistemology.    Knowing technology, technology and
> knowing, technocapitalism and the saturation of objects to the point of a
> sociological inability to not be concerned with it.  I'm often struck with
> how an author like Ben Noys - a card-carrying anti-accelerationist - for me
> touches on so many of the same issues that I find timely about
> accelerationism.  It's possible that a proper genealogy is done when an
> opinion and its disagreement yield the same contextual description - that
> is, oppose it or agree with it, you are admitting the same preconditions
> (or in a scientific or logical format, axioms and assumptions).
> Rob made the point that critics of accelerationism often call for
> accelerationism - from a perspective interested in genealogical axioms, we
> might say they are arguing from the same point (and are sociologically
> predisposed to the same circumstances etc).  Not only does this say that
> the perspectives are generic, but it says that they are conditioned forms
> of knowledge.  That is, to highlight the knowledge-forms that are
> accelerationist ones, vs ones that might relatively escape that episteme.
> To contrast this with what Williams (
> http://www.e-flux.com/journal/escape-velocities/) terms Negarestani's and
> Brassier's "epistemic accelerationism", there the idea is in "maximizing
> rational capacity", or advocating a type of knowledge based on
> accelerationist precepts, whereas here there is an epistemic foregrounding
> of any accelerationist-oriented rationalism or knowledge-system whatever
> (which no doubt will overlap in its instances).  What they have in common
> is the exploration of an epistemic mirroring of acceleration (vs say an
> economic one) which makes my basic point here similarly.
> So then what is epistemic acceleration in the context of genealogy?  It is
> arguably precisely the dilettantism that constitutes generic perspectives.
> If genealogy argues from a common grounding out of which particular
> perspectives may arise, then dilettantism speaks to that genericness in
> contrast to the expertise that would form particular branches of
> knowledge.  In this way the preconditions of acceleration, an ungrounding
> of its territory, leads us to the amateur's world of non-expertise, and
> that compatibility might suggest a fruitful coalition between the
> perspectives.  And in a particular point, I think what a dilettantist
> epistemologist might say to the increased danger of their knowing of
> another's field like biology, is that perhaps their general
> transdisciplinary perspective is a better categorical context from which to
> understand the subject - that is, I agree that no one fully understands a
> given area of say environmental chemistry and that people need to work to
> do so, the question is what kind of work, from what perspective and by
> whom.
> While the institutional chemist may have greater particular knowledge but
> lose ideas outside the delimited precision of a research scope, the amateur
> may have a broad, spotty and superficial knowledge.  It seems to me clear
> that best move in terms of knowledge is to take as much from both
> perspectives as possible to cohere a wider consensus of objective
> approximation (that is, pro-dilettante not in the sense of let's only let
> amateurs do things, a weird utopia of everyone engaging in anything but
> what they know best (in which ur bio art point Alan I think stands as a
> good one), but rather always being in the conversation and allowing that
> broader counterpoint to qualify and correct expert views).  And finally,
> maybe what at least part of the surge branded around the term acceleration
> is about is a general condition of concern within our episteme, whatever
> name might be given to it.
> On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 4:17 AM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:
>> I worry about dilettantes as much as master, for example people working
>> in bioart potentially releasing organisms into the environment without
>> understanding the chemical flows of biomes and organisms (no one
>> understands all of this today!). One of the things I've learned to respect
>> is the hardness of science; I'm interested in the foundations of math for
>> example and since category theory and its offspring have flourished, I feel
>> lost, and lost for good reason - these things are complicated and require a
>> lot of study and commitment. So the dilettante worries me as well...
>> - Alan, but yes !
>> On Mon, 25 Apr 2016, Gretta Louw wrote:
>> Oh, and let's revive the dilettantes! No more supposed experts, would-be
>>> 'masters'. Surely no one who uses this language - even in relation to
>>> ostensibly abstract problems or inanimate matter - has read and understood
>>> anything about intersectional feminism, digital colonialism and the corrupt
>>> power structures that permeate every aspect of human 'progress'.
>>> Let's have the *delight* in (self/personal) discovery, knowledge,
>>> exchange, exploration, and the humility of non-experts joining fields of
>>> knowledge, bridging gaps, applying so-called expert knowledge. Marion
>>> Schwehr (German literature and media scholar) and I are working on a new
>>> lecture performance loosely titled 'Dilettantes Unite!', which I am
>>> beginning to think will include a critique of
>>> accelerationalist/neo-liberalist notions of mastery...
>>> Sent from the road
>>> On 25 Apr 2016, at 07:52, Gretta Louw <gretta.elise.louw at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> Death to the ludicrous, imperialist notion of 'mastery'!
>>>> I lean more towards Alan's thoughts on the role/impact of humans but
>>>> think that this is probably besides the point because, yes, we are all
>>>> heading towards an end and a new beginning and more ends anyway. I'm the
>>>> meantime, though, this idea of 'mastery' - the belief that anything
>>>> approaching it is even possible - seems to be at the heart of the majority
>>>> of suffering; that which we cause ourselves (humans) internationally,
>>>> inter-culturally, locally, personally, psychologically, but also the damage
>>>> that we inflict on environments and other species. This is where
>>>> #additivism is inflential: embrace the abyss; surrender rescue/savior
>>>> fantasies; find the best and weirdest thing to do in the meantime. Queer
>>>> everything.
>>>> g.
>>>> Sent from the road
>>>> On 25 Apr 2016, at 03:01, John Hopkins <chazhop at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> "21. We declare that only a Promethean politics of maximal mastery over
>>>>>> society and its environment is capable of either dealing with global
>>>>> ...snip...
>>>>> it discovers only in the course of its acting, in a politics of
>>>>>> geosocial
>>>>>> artistry and cunning rationality. A form of abductive experimentation
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> seeks the best means to act in a complex world."
>>>>> Good excerpt -- I couldn't manage the patience to drive through that
>>>>> whole manifesto -- I feel the answers do not need such bloviating -- &
>>>>> anyway, I've got to work on my water-harvesting landscaping, prune my grape
>>>>> vines, and turn my worm farm :-)
>>>>> What is said there, I've been writing into a practice-based curriculum
>>>>> at http://ecosa.org -- the idea of systems-thinking approaches to
>>>>> holistic un-mastery of the biosphere that we are merely transitory parts
>>>>> of. I fundamentally do not like the concept of design, though, as it
>>>>> pre-supposes changing that which flows around us. Maybe an adaptive,
>>>>> consciousness-raised going-with-the-flow ... sensual improvisation that
>>>>> would include, perhaps, the removal of our selves from living viability. If
>>>>> this approach was wide-scale enough, the population drop would start the
>>>>> process of a post-human re-balancing of the planet's dynamic equilibrium.
>>>>> jh
>>>>> --
>>>>> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>>>>> Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
>>>>> grounded on a granite batholith
>>>>> twitter: @neoscenes
>>>>> http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/
>>>>> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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