In the Accelerationist Manifesto currently circulating, we find the following passage:
We believe it must also include recovering the dreams which transfixed many from the middle of the Nineteenth Century until the dawn of the neoliberal era, of the quest of Homo Sapiens towards expansion beyond the limitations of the earth and our immediate bodily forms. These visions are today viewed as relics of a more innocent moment. Yet they both diagnose the staggering lack of imagination in our own time, and offer the promise of a future that is affectively invigorating, as well as intellectually energising. After all, it is only a post-capitalist society, made possible by an accelerationist politics, which will ever be capable of delivering on the promissory note of the mid-Twentieth Century’s space programmes, to shift beyond a world of minimal technical upgrades towards all-encompassing change. Towards a time of collective self-mastery, and the properly alien future that entails and enables. Towards a completion of the Enlightenment project of self-criticism and self– mastery, rather than its elimination.
One of the things that disturbs me about the rhetoric of “posthumanism” or “inhumanism” as a political strategy (rather than something like Laruelle’s non-standard humanism, which I am inclined to prefer) is a certain stunning lack of consciousness about the forms in which such a kind of post- or in-human politics (and subjectivity) is already here. If we look around us, “post-corporeal,” even “post-affective” forms of subjectivity, grounded on the “completion” of the Enlightenment project of “self-criticism” and “self-mastery,” are far from missing. These forms may be parodies or perverse dark precursors of what accelerationists are really looking for, but in that case there is much more conceptual work to do. (For those with the patience to read this long post to the bitter end, you’ll see that what follows is not meant as a cavalier dismissal of accelerationist impulses but an invitation to just that conceptual work). Continue reading “Inhuman Already? Zombies, Vampires, and the Accelerationist Moment”