“style violent, give a fuck if you deny it kids,
you can all run naked backwards through a field of dicks.”
A few questions immediately arise upon returning to this.
Why this order?
And – is this all there is to ideology?
The short answers here are Because I’m Really Sure About Them,
because this how it seemed best to structure the piece,
and No – respectively.
The order is somewhat based on my own experience, but is also streamlined, with something of a dramatic arc. I start with essentialism (and work backwards to the value form and forwards to the world-system), because that was my biggest qualitative paradigm altering insight into my own conditioning. The rest kind of just happened as I followed the method, did my homework and figured shit out. If you don’t have the same thirst for mental freedom that I have, you won’t go all the way through these. You don’t have to, but it helps.
Why am I really sure about these? Well – because they’re everywhere, in everyone, to some degree. These are integral to the Automatic Commodified Subject, Homo-Economicus. This is the shit nobody wants to stare in the face – it’s all of us, and this is the way it manifests on the individual level. You’ll note too that it’s all carefully arranged against the possibility of understanding one’s historical conditions.
More importantly – this shit is optional. You don’t have to be an essentialist, you were just conditioned into being one and expected to continue. You don’t have to be an idealist, you were just conditioned into being one and expected to continue. You don’t have to be a moralist or a subjectivist or a nominalist – and so on.
It could be otherwise. You! dear Comrade mine: you could be otherwise.
Even more importantly – there’s no middle ground here, no neutral. You can’t be both an idealist and a materialist. You have to choose. You can’t be an essentialist and an anti-essentialist – you have to choose. And so on.
Most importantly – most of it has been terminally undermined and depreciated by the advancement of the sciences and by historical conditions. I’m talkin folk psychology crap. It is stuff we must transcend if we are to survive, mental coordinates/social practices that must go extinct – which is why they are doing exactly that. The disenchanted universe doesn’t tolerate delusions for very long.
These habits and patterns were me until I gained the critical distance to start questioning them, and after taking them out/combatting them I noticed them in everyone, and in just about every discourse I surfed through. They’re still the undeconstructed backdrop to most post-structuralist discourses, despite their claims of escaping phallogocentrism and the metaphysics of presence.
They’re adaptive and adapted to commodified existence is why – one of the the mediums through which ‘properly’ interpolated subjects are produced. There is no space of discourse possibles that is not related to these basic assumptions and mental habits in some way – because it’s the social default, embedded in the education system, the media, the state, and the structure of the space of possible life practices itself. The only discourses that break out are those that do not shirk the duty of critical thought, or the responsibility of freedom.
To be free is to be incompatible.
Ideology as Sin
The parallels and collisions between the concept of ideology and the concept of sin are fertile. TTM probably scans that way to those who consider themselves to be free of sin – a facile, obvious and juvenile ‘authoritarian’ political theology with xtian roots from a bygone era.
(we can assure you we are not from the past
and there is as of yet no present worth living in)
This is kinda deliberate on my part. I’m leaning into it! I was raised Christian, and am still able to access the tradition and interpret the Bible productively for myself without the mediation of a priest or a pastor or a prophet – as any self-respecting Protestant should. The Bible remains historically insurpassable and must continue to be preserved and taught – if you are not minimally Biblically literate you are living 2000 years in the past.
In my xtian materialist theology, God is deaf, dumb, blind, and can only affect the world through us. Hence only helping those who help themselves and whatnot. God can’t do more than what we ourselves can do; however much she may want to.
Sin then is just God’s distance from herself – concretely, the distance of our conceptual horizons from our historical conditions, the distance of our life practices from revolutionary practice.
Sin has become an unfashionable concept since the rebirth of paganism and the postmodern turn. But however much contemporary secularity/paganity wants to cleanse itself through joyous Nietzschean bachanals of affirmation and innocence: the contingent disjunction between theory and practice, intent and outcome, the Symbolic and the Real, truth and delusion – this remains ineliminable. To be aware of and responsible for it – this is just something the species learned as historical necessity.
Another name for this disjunction is Sin.
To forget is a significant regression.
What a claim! Jesus as the first empiricist. We had to learn of sin before we could become scientists. You can’t investigate the gap between Is and Ought unless you know that it’s there! Jesus signed up to be God’s Embodiment on Earth – and then died dripping off a stick like a dessicated flesh popsicle. A raw deal.
The first experiment in the Science of the Divine – and it broke the world.
God ought to be alive, but instead is dead (the trauma of which then gets stitched up by idealist myths of resurrection).
We ought to be a civilization, but instead are a mass extinction event.
Fucked up if true.
The Sunny Side of Sin
In addition to having been a necessary learning experience/tool for breaking us out of pagan cyclicality (a holocene hallucination), the concept of Sin appears to us as being indispensable for evolving beyond the Holocene:
- For is not the Event but Sin as a concrete empirical phenomenon?
- And is not that phenomenom not the direct result of our social practices past and present?
- And are not those social practices but rituals supporting, justifying, reproducing and propagating accumulation for accumulation’s sake?
- And is not accumulation for accumulation’s sake but an ideology?
So like – if TTM reads like a litany of Sin, or a list of wrongbadthink –
well, that’s cuz it kinda is tho, isn’t it?
It is a list of Shit That Makes You Suck. Shit that prevents you from educating yourself, locking you into a bestial phase of development. Shit that makes you vulnerable to all kinds of scams and garbage and pseudoscience and disinfo. Shit that makes you vain, vapid, shallow, and stupid. Shit that measures your conformity, your complicity in your own enslavement.
Childish shit, for silly babby monkies.
Shit that actively hinders you from becoming you.
But like – it’s ok. It’s not your fault that we all got socialized into an insane death cult.
Remaining in it, however – well:
at least now you know it was always a choice to begin with, don’cha?
When your subjectivity has the same structure as everyone else and is built out of the same shit – how much of an individual are you really?
Individuality isn’t freely given or automatic.
It’s not something you’re born with.
It doesn’t come from your family or your culture or your conditioning or your genes (there’s more genetic variation in a few bands of chimps than in all 8 billion of us).
It’s not your sexuality or your internal identification procedures.
It ain’t your job or your career – I’m sorry, but your precarious (even if successful) insertion into a global division of labor that is a biosphere destroying algorithm is, like – not a claim to much, y’know?
It’ll never be your brand choices, your entertainment choices, your aesthetic choices – these are all the same choice.
And is sure as fuck isn’t that reified mystical experience you had on shrooms.
Individuality is something that is painstakingly crafted out of these meaningless brute contingencies through struggle and discipline and education.
It is a process, not an object!
Without struggle, there is only a fragmented copy of the hegemonic ideology.
Liberalism is an individualism only in theory –
and that theory has been invalidated by centuries of practice.
Capital mass-produces a homogeneous monoculture. It flattens difference into the coordinates of the value form and stamps out singularity where ever it can, demanding blind conformity and imposing the dead backdrop of its static, empty, fake universality. It is precisely a functional totalitarianism, whereby functioning entails successfully producing a beaten, whipped, groveling, abstractly equivalent populace who will reproduce the system willingly and passively as long as they get their toys and snacks, future be damned. A socius of planet-mulching monsters, all of whom think they’re unique and special and free – while simultaneously being exhaustively mappable, manipulable, predictable by algorithm.
If your time has a price tag on it – then you’re already qualitatively indistinct from capital’s perspective, interchangeable with every other human being out there.
You’re fucking number.
If you wanna be free, or you want there to be a future – you have to want to stop doing number-go-up. You have to want to stop doing a mass extinction event. You have to care.
Beyond number – there you are free.
Otherwise, well – TTM’s entries are nothing if not the paths of no resistance, long explored and well trodden.
Existential tourists killing a biosphere for funsies.
The enemies of all life in the known universe.
Sleep-walking to extinction.
This is a map of the structure of the cultural template we have been conditioned into, the imprint capitalist accumulation stamps on us all. It is the shockwaves the matrix of social relations generate as they lash through our bodies. It is the background unconscious symbolic structure incompletely imbedded in all of us – the originary lies that birth the lies we tell ourselves, the entropy spinning off the web of lies as it weaves backwards to the dawn of language; forwards to the Last Word.
That’s us tho – monkies that lie.
Monkies who can only lie, because they have only ever been lied to.
So we must be humanists and universalists, sure – but our humanism is not one of innocence or innate goodness or any such fanciful Holocene romanticism. It is an egalitarianism of shared guilt and a heavy responsibility that has been bestowed upon us by history.
Nobody is innocent,
and until we can face this truth head on,
we will never truly understand what we are.
Any society in any future worth living in (insofar as there is the possibility of such a thing) will necessarily be founded on this conscious reckoning with collective responsibility; facing to an accumulation of lies so vast it blots out the sun; living as sinners in a post-sin world; no longer fucking around – having irrevocably found out.
We did a mass extinction event together, and even had the hubris to call it progress.
What will we have to become to be worthy of this deed?
Once you have admitted this to yourself:
you are a destroyer of worlds,
– then you will be Post-Holocene.
Escaping ideology is a process without external boundaries, and without end. There is far more to it than the contents of these few paltry pages. There is interrogating every concept one comes across, there is the equally endless search for new, better concepts, there is the scholarly effort necessary to come to terms with one’s conditions, there is understanding that it’s politics all the way down, there is learning how to identify with anything and everything, there is critiquing and correcting for ones own privilege, there is changing one’s mode of enjoyment, there is deprogramming oneself of psychology and economics, there is working with others in different ideological spaces – and there is the trail of waste concepts, long past their due.
So, no. This isn’t all there is obv. But it’s a solid primer, and a good ass place to start.
There’s always more, and there will be tons of aspects of ideology that I’ve missed here, and more tunnels out. It’s only when you are participating the reproduction of different, new, separate forms of social existence that you will be out of capitalist ideology (by virtue of consciously participating in a different one).
I will continue to claim that these entries are all a part of commodity conditioning, even if they are certainly not all of commodity conditioning, nor the only lens that can be used, or if they can also be investigated and understood on their own. This stuff is adaptive and adapted to commodified existence, is the thing, and produces subjects that will continue to reproduce capitalist relations on their own volition without questioning or even noticing the arbitrary irrationality and brutality of said relations.
If you start deconstructing this stuff, you will experience your desire and motivation matrix start to change rapidly, and through this process you should eventually be able to prove to yourself that you are a free being. That is some powerful shit right there – a free monkey who knows exactly how she’s free.
I should note that while each entry here is laid out separately and abstractly in a list, in concrete minds this is is all tangled up in a neuronal/symbolic/unconscious mesh with parameters specific to individual particulars. Hegel would already insist that my presentation is far too abstract and formalist. I need to be able to show how each of these mental habits moves into one another, how the whole thing is connected – the dynamic contradictions that explode each entry into the next, the logic of its movement. As an ‘online’ simplification of A Phenomenology-of-Spirit in 2022, it is a shadow of what it should be.
Everything should be read. But when everything has been read, there is still Hegel left to read.
The Last Word
I have set myself the task of writing a history of the present, from the future – but I am a poor tool for the job. Somebody’s gotta do it tho, right? I mean – it’s sitting right there, just waiting to be explored. The speculative thinker’s ultimate conceptual crack. An attempt at getting in the Last Word. Setting the record straight, you goddamn dirty lying apes.
If I find more aspects of the subjective components of capitalist ideology significant enough to be included here, I’ll add and rewrite as necessary. Empiricism is up and ballin. I’ll have to do bits on folk-psych and folk-econ too. I should also do some concrete demolition of the liberal political conceptual battery – ‘human rights’, ‘freedom of speech’, ‘property’, etc. These don’t work at all like the internal hegemonic understandings think they do.
The plan is to treat TTM as a kind of conceptual battle line. It’ll be a reference point as I process and critique my way through stuff, going scorched earth on the shitty concepts while exploring and enlarging the conceptual space of the Post-Holocene against the backdrop of obsoletion and extinction. I’ll add some more meta-commentary layers to each section too, giving the thing more depth.
There will be more people becoming collapse/extinction conscious all the time. This is a way out, and an attempt at some lanterns in the dark (in the shrinking space at the blocked end of the tunnel).
2 thoughts on “TTM – Aftermath”
Weird stuff Matt,
Frankly the writing is pretty awful and tough to get through (for someone uninterested in aesthetic choices you’re sure making a lot of them here!) but hey I get you’re coping and that’s understandable, at least the ideas are fine on a quick read. There’s some sloppiness and strange leaps for sure but nothing egregious as I’d expect from a site that looks like this. I don’t follow why you see yourself as more ‘free’ than others in a situation like this though. It seems like you’re still clinging to some transcendence even though nothing’s changed for you, you’re still just as enmeshed in the world.
I’m pretty proud of the writing, have received much praise for it, and I like the way the site looks. ‘doggedly web 1.0′ as an anti-aesthetic choice, if you like.
Thanks for the elitist aesthetic critique tho, I guess.
It would be more helpful if you could be more substantive, or even say something about the content, but that doesn’t seem to be something I’m going to get from you, whoever you are. You must be someone who knows me personally, but I don’t really have any more commodified friendships so I’m drawing a blank.
Disengaging from aesthetic fetishism means no longer attributing aesthetic or personal meaning to said choices, not that one never makes them anymore. One makes and unmakes them with inaesthetic, impersonal, and maybe even conceptual criteria. You get massive bonus points if you can tell me why this sites ‘aesthetic’ is actually a political choice!
And as for freedom – mental freedom isn’t the same as material freedom, but given that I am systemically barred from the latter I’ll take what I can get. There is a distinct and massive difference between commodified subjectivity and the spaces beyond. In the former, one is defined by structures and definitions from society, from someone else. Mental freedom comes after one has re-structured one’s symbolic inscription consciously. It is this ability that I am attempting to impart, given that I am surrounded by people who very clearly don’t know how to do this, and are just being manipulated by their conditioning and the media.
It may not seem like much to you, whoever you are, but to me it is very much worth it. This is the ‘weirdness’ you are detecting, perhaps. If I wasn’t alien, I wouldn’t be outside!
The point of the site isn’t to ‘cope’, it’s to present a systematic line struggle against capitalist ideology, to provide a radicalized conceptual mapping for anybody who wants it – and to try to be as alien and distinct relative to this culture as I can. This is exactly what I did this to myself in the first place – trying to theorycraft an ideal revolutionary subject. If I weren’t me, I’d definitely appreciate someone coming along and teaching me how to deconstruct my capitalist conditioning and disidentify with this ridiculous trainwreck of a civilization – especially now that it’s becoming increasingly impossible to bury one’s head in the sand. Six centuries of bullshit demolished in one place? You’re welcome!
Re: transcendence – putting up this site in public has been a wild ride. My life has changed dramatically. I was mostly in the closet before this, self-censoring for the sake of feels and friendships, paranoid and scared and anxiety ridden. Coming out publically has been absurdly liberating, even if I did get suspended from work for it. Something about making the internal me public has made the experience of being on the ‘other side’ even more vivid, with the unfortunate side effect of the boundaries of the liberal Big Other becoming kind of invisible. I’ve never been able to be ‘me’ quite like this before, even if I come off as a lunatic asshole to those still hooked up. It’s amazing! It may not be real transcendence, but its a more than adequate simulation of it most days.
But I’m not doing it just for me. In my fondest dreams post-holocene consciousness becomes hegemonic after biosphere collapse becomes undeniable – and then maybe some justice can be served.
Less dreamily, I just wanted something like the truth to exist somewhere in a public space before the end. and to tell everyone in my life what I’ve been censoring myself from saying for so long.