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 insubstantial networks of relations, without reifying anything ‘solid’ behind the curtain of phenomena, or a ‘thing-in-itself’. 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 apparent teleology is a contingent emergence of meaningless chaotic activity. Insofar as we are materialists, all pre-scientific concepts of ‘nature’ are obsolete, and reifying them immediately involves a catastrophic fall back into pagan wisdom and idealism.

The consequences of nature-reification can be seen anywhere and everywhere, on any product that advertises itself as ‘natural’.

What, do you think it grew on the tree like that, with the label and stuff?

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 the (specifically capitalist) system of relations to all be the same kind of essentialist narcissist. ‘Consciousness’ – recursive awareness/intentionality – is an emergent property of the web of signification’s interaction with a given web of neurons.

Without this ongoing interactive process 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, they 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, they’re 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 materialist 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 all of them back to the universal structure of experience. By having a cluster of precisely defined materialist concepts like this, we are able to start linking disparate scenitific theoretical terrains together as we study them.

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