TTM 5.1 – More Sufficiently Materialist

Some concepts that are usefully transformed by rigorous materialist auto-critique:

Speculative Onthothesis 1 – There is no such thing as matter.

Empirical objects have been misapprehended by centuries of essentialist folly. ‘Matter’ is a dynamic process that can be productively analyzed as matrices of relations, without reifying anything ‘solid’ or substantial behind the curtain of phenomena. These causal relations are broken and nonlinear, defined by chaos and contingency rather than order and harmony. If you wanna get dialectical, any process can be productively understood as constituted by immanent contradictions, internal and external.

Speculative Onthothesis 2 – There is no such thing as nature.

Nature likewise is completely indifferent and alien. There is no harmony or balance or garden of eden to be found – nature is a war against itself, a cancer of overshooting monsters consuming each other in a mad thermodynamic frenzy. Any teleology is a contingent emergence of underlying meaningless activity. Insofar as we are materialists, all pre-scientific concepts of ‘nature’ are obsolete, and the concept of nature can only be used as barred, non-all, brutal, and meaningless.

Speculative Ontotheses 3 – There is no such thing as consciousness.

Relatedly there is no ‘hard’ problem of consciousness to be solved. Consciousness is a dynamic emergent property of social relations. It is a process that happens between brains, not in them – we’re just conditioned by this matrix of relations to all be the same kind of systemically blind narcissist. ‘Consciousness’ – recursive awareness/intentionality – is an emergent property of the matrix of signification’s interactions with a given web of neurons. Without this ongoing interaction we are feral. Our horizons of experience are always symbolically, which is to say historically, which is to say socially, which is to say politically mediated.

There are many existing practices that are rendered useless and obsolete by their adherence to mystical essentialisms and idealisms in light of this ontothesis. Much of psychology, psychiatry and existing ‘mental health’ practices are simply primitive essentialist privatizations of ‘illnesses’ – phenomena that only occur in a social context.

Essentialism and idealism may be more responsible for fucking up this species than any other mental habits. They screwed up biology with genetic essentialism, it screwed up all our mind sciences with ‘consciousness’ essentialism, they screwed up AI research because we projected our essentialisms and idealisms onto the project at first, it’s screwing up neuroscience with dead-end reductive and eliminatist materialisms, and they will probably keep screwing us up till we’re gone.

If we continue on the trajectory pointed to by these critical ontotheses, then we end up being able to ask this question:

why is there nothing rather than something?

This points to a reality that is pure simulation without a simulator. A hollow, broken, transparent play of appearances relating to other appearances, relations relating relations to relations – with nothing underneath or behind, and no totalizing ‘all’ or ‘whole’ holding any of it together.

All the traditional ontological dichotomies are rendered useless by this approach – body/mind, nature/culture, matter/energy – and instead of being reductive, we are able to approach each causal nexus (each only defined as such by our own methods of inquiry) as both interdependent and autonomous.

The only way to systematically understand the sciences is by relating them all back to the structure of experience, understood as always socially mediated.

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