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Accelerationism (wikipedia.org)
97 points by lamby on Sept 26, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 129 comments

Accelerationism is just nihilism masquerading as a social good. It gives you a false moral authority to say "fuck it" and try to break things, because, after all, humans will fix everything "the right way" after it's all broken, so you're really doing everyone a favor.

Keep in mind that "accelerationism" has been used in many different ways throughout history. Currently the most widespread usage is the Landian one but this wikipedia page is very superficial in describing it.

And yes, from the original work of Nick Land many different political movements and categories are born, starting from the same analysis and the same philosophical toolbox but arriving at very different conclusion. L/acc, R/acc, U/acc, NRX and so on have almost nothing in common to the neophyte and framing them as sides of a single movement is quite pointless and confusing.

As a xenoaccelerationist active in some L/acc circles, feel free to ask me questions or pointers for good readings.

First question: what's a xenoaccelerationist? Is it appropriate to abbreviate it as X/acc? How does it relate to xenofeminism?

What are 2 to 3 introductory texts you would recommend on acc in general and X/acc in particular?

I've read "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics", "Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation" and "#Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader", what your thoughts on these books?

My apologies for all the questions, but since you're offering I'd figured I'd ask.

I've never seen that abbreviation and I don't like them but if you like, use it. Multiplicities!

I would say that you need Inventing the future, that while being limited in many things, is a necessary read.

Then proceed with Capitalist Realism and if you like it, Fanged Noumena.

As a side note, Marxist scholar Antonio Negri has some thoughts on the accelerationist manifesto: http://criticallegalthinking.com/2014/02/26/reflections-acce...

Xenofeminism is powerful

> Hester also makes compelling and unexpected links between these second-wave feminist strategies and those of contemporary transfeminism, uncovering unlikely affinities between schools of thought often positioned in antagonism. In both of these historical instances, individuals acquire power over their bodies through building networks and repurposing everyday technologies. For Hester, the Del-Em is a direct antecedent to online trans* communities providing medical support or even grey-market hormones. At the threshold of this continuum is another of Hester’s evocative examples – a transgenic plant developed by Open Source Gendercodes which allows laypeople to grow sex hormones within tobacco leaves.

For some reason I was expecting something more interesting than the same feminism and transgender politics...

it is more interesting. It's about technology, it's about aliens, it's about new forms of being together.

Open-sourcing hormones is not really "same transgender politics".

It's about empowerment through technology and how to rethink technology to empower people. every technology creator should read it.

My first ask would be just some help cutting through the jargon. I can guess from the wikipedia article, and general political context, that the "L/" and "R/" stands for "Left" and "Right", not "Liberal", "Reform", "Restrained", or similar.

But then what is "U/"? Utopian? Utilitarian? Unrestrained? Similar with "NRX", which I cannot even begin to guess at.

From the linked Nick Land article, NRx seems to be neoreactionary.

Seems many movements fall in love with their own jargon and spend time attempting to distinguish themselves from other movements but only end up sounding even more obfuscatory.

Obfuscation serves as a surprisingly effective spam filter though....

Unconditional. Quoting from rational wiki:

"U/Acc claims that there is no action that can lead to acceleration or deacceleration, and that "To the question ‘What is to be done?’, then, she can legitimately answer only, 'Do what thou wilt'". This however does not mean "do nothing", it rather means that "the unconditional accelerationist, more than anyone else, is free at heart to pursue what she thinks is good and right and interesting—but with the ironical realisation that the primary ends that are served are not her own."

(Cross post from another comment elsewhere) I'm not the best at understanding or explaining accelerationism, but I'll give it a shot.

Accelerationism is that the current neoliberalism order will "naturally" progress to a next phase of society.

I gather that left-accelerationists (L/acc) usually subscribe to the labor theory of value, and so automation's decrease of labor value to 0 will result in a collapse of capitalism that derives value of goods and services from the labor needed to produce them.

Right-accelerationism (R/acc) seeks to embrace the disruption of technology to a logical extreme for technologial progress. Neo-Reaction (NRx) wants to revert back to pre-democratic ideals as they see democracy as being incompatible with their techno-libertarian ideals.

I haven't heard of xenoaccelerationism (X/acc?) before but upon a cursory glance, it seems similar in that it embraces the disruption of culture and identity politics by technology's increasing encroachment and control on nature. It sounds like an overlap with transhumanism, but I am probably uninformed about the finer details.

Are NRx people libertarians though? That seems somewhat opposed to the fetishism of Monarchy.

U is unconditional, yes. It's not clear to me what they are or want exactly.

My guess would be unconditional.

Incidentally a nice talk on the topic is about to begin: https://m.twitch.tv/trust_support/profile?desktop-redirect=o...


Could you explain this term?

Left wing accelerationism as pictured by Snircek and Williams in their work is missing a lot. It just references women's issues, minorities' issues and colonial issues but doesn't really incorporate or develop ideas on how to integrate solutions to these problems in an accelerationist, pro-technology, anti-natural perspective.

So there are a bunch of authors and collectives working to enrich, directly or indirectly, this ideological framework to make it more encompassing of different human problems. Xenofeminism is one of them but it's also a lot more than that. While there is a certain dialogue between xenofeminism and the accel world, they don't really pose themselves as "we like these two guys, let's add something to their work" but more as an indipendent field of research and an indipendent methodology.

Xenoaccelerationism is what sits at the conjunction of these two positions, that while similar, can still exist without the other. But to me, it's pointless to abolish work under accelerationism if we cannot abolish gender under xenofeminism. It's pointless to talk about technology repurposing under accelerationism without talking about technology dissemination and hacking under xenofeminism. It's pointless to fight bio-capitalism under accelerationism without fighting the structures that allow it under xenofeminism.

Thank you for the very interesting response.

Most "accelerationists" these days are right-accelerationists, because it turns out it only seems like a good idea if you don't actually care about human suffering.

Perhaps they think suffering under the state is worse.

I think it would me more like "suffering under the current state is worse."

I think it depends on the countries. While I can believe this is true in the USA, for sure it doesn't apply to Italy, UK and Germany where l/acc stuff is being read by many in the cultural elites.

Also mind that l/acc is not an explicit political movement and even if you read and agree, probably you won't identify as a l/acc, something that many regard as nonsensical.

No, it's because they believe that, if the changes brought on by some left-wing policies were faster, voters would reject them. E.g. the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was promised to not significantly change US demographics [1], yet that is exactly what happened. If it were presented to them as "become a minority in one lifetime" [2], the frog would jump out of the boiling water, and the act would lose support.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_Nationality_Ac...

[2] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/14/the-us-...

There's right-accelerationists of libertarians and there's the alt-right/race supremacist "acceleration" towards Helter Skelter race war.

That is very true. I know and follow many Communists and Socialist, and none of them support Accelerationism in any form.

There is left-accelerationism.

Thanks for the downvote and a thorough list of examples proving me wrong.

I didn't downvote, but I will present a blog on the topic. (Like the rest of accelerationism, it's all on blogs)


That's what's called a confirmation bias.

I'm a Marxist and I support accelerationism. From a Marxist framework it makes more sense than activism or other sort of "modern" ways of protesting capitalism. I understand that capitalism is a necessary step for human development and there are no short cuts. Modern Marxism (mostly Marxism-Leninism) is sheer insanity especially those flavors with Third-worldism [1]. If you actually read Marx and later Marxists/sociologists and understood the basic, it's pretty easy to see that you cannot go to an underdeveloped society and bring "socialism". Socialism will naturally occur in an advanced capitalistic society, such as US, not in a third world country like Vietnam.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-Worldism

What do you think of Climate Change and things like UBI?

Acceleration makes sense on the surface, but it seems like Capitalism always adapts, with the current adaption being UBI. You have capitalists like Musk and Yang really pushing it, because it's a way to overcome the problem of automation and keep capitalism going. As Zizek put it, capitalism is "an undead vampire … it returns stronger and stronger."

As for Climate Change, I suppose if we accelerate towards that we may come out on the other side without Capitalism, but there's no way to know, and it seems much of the damage done to the Earth will be irreversible. Seems like at this point accelerationism is a failed idea to me.

Edit: just to add, I do think accelerationism maybe can work in electoral politics. Say for example the general's come to Biden vs Trump. In that case, an accelerationist approach is to vote for Trump, and I see an argument for that as a Hail Mary. Biden would keep the status quo and that's not enough to deal with climate change in time, Trump is more likely to break things and mess with the status quo and there would likely be more push back from the people against him then against Biden. But maybe Biden would be more responsive to any movement by the people? Idk, that's an example of where it could still be applied, but still seems questionable.

Does it really not work? It seems to have done okay in various contexts - Maoism in China and Ba'athism in the Arab world stand out to me. Maoism evolved and became very successful. Ba'athism mostly fell apart with the Arab Spring revolutions (the Syrian civil war is the last stand), but it lasted a long time and brought a lot of improvements to some really weak countries.

Heck, consider Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh's revolution survived years of the most powerful nation on Earth dropping more firepower on the tiny nation than was dropped in all of WWII. They won, America left, and Vietnam is a modern communist state.

Then again, I don't completely believe this... I'm kind of under the spell of Tolstoy right now, and tend to think that history just sort of happens, and we attribute the ebb and flow of it to the success or failure of individual leaders and their decisions, ignoring the broader forces. A lot of what led to success in these countries was going to happen regardless.

preemptive edit: Yes, I know these were murderous dictatorships. No need to mansplain how wrong I am, guys.

What about history not just 'sort of happening' but instead, changes in the means of production lead social change. e.g. Industrial Revolution, Factorization of production.

This is how a marxist views histories progression and I feel it is more applicable and holds up under backtesting than 'history just sort of happens'

Mao was a man of the people, who led his country to greatness, no backpedaling necessary.

Oh, I agree on changes to the means of production themselves (more broadly, technological changes) leading to massive changes in politics and society. But those are in the "sort of happens" category, as opposed to the Great Man theory, where social change is enacted by the decisions (good or bad) of powerful and important individuals.

Read Marx, but read Tolstoy too. Tolstoy argued that we all have 20/20 hindsight, and we like to argue how well our individual ideas or pet theories explain stuff that, well, just happened.

edit: I'm suddenly thinking of Bruce Sterling's novel Zeitgeist, a sort of magical-realism SF set around Y2K. When asked who would win the culture war between Islamic fundamentalism and Western secularism, the central character said "The side with the most televisions".

>a good idea if you don't actually care about human suffering.


I think the whole point is human suffering. Sometimes it's the only way to wake people up to the ills of a system.

That isn't characteristic of the kind of accelerationism as the blogosphere ideal in the OP.

Here is a -great- introduction straight from the source (Nick Land): https://jacobitemag.com/2017/05/25/a-quick-and-dirty-introdu...

The Wikipedia entry is informative and concise but the grand scope and (some would say) madness of Land's vision only begins to emerge when one immerses oneself in Land's writings, starting from "Meltdown" [1]. One doesn't need to be versed in Philosophy, Qabalah, Mysticism, Lovecraft and several different branches of the Occult - although it certainly helps - to grasp what Land is talking about. Just having read and understood Neuromancer is enough. For a more conventional, historical, perspective see [2] and [3].

If you're wondering "is there any value in this" consider the timing. Land may have been a burned-out drug-fueled academic, but some would say he revitalized Philosophy with his willingness to go outside the norm and commune with what lies beyond the human. Reaching the apex in the mid 90s, well before the impact of the Internet was obvious to the mainstream, people laughed at him then, but it turns out, he saw it all coming.

“The definite probability that the allotment of time to decision-making is undergoing systematic compression remains a neglected consideration, even among those paying explicit and exceptional attention to the increasing rapidity of change.”

[1] https://genius.com/Nick-land-meltdown-annotated

[2] https://energyflashbysimonreynolds.blogspot.com/2009/11/rene...

[3] http://divus.cc/london/en/article/nick-land-ein-experiment-i...

Thanks a lot for these sources. I was really puzzled as to why Alt-Righters would claim following a Marxist ideology, but them having diverged with (Left-)Accelerationists as far back as 1968' Deleuze & Guattari makes it way clearer...

Also, now I understand what Charles Stross (and dot-commers) were likely "smoking" when he wrote Accelerando in the late 90's... (and maybe his claim of "being the first qualified cyberpunk author just when cyberpunk died" might have been a bit premature ?)

I'm a scary far-right NRX guy, and the accelerationist idea has obviously been raised in the circles I frequent.

But it generally leaves me cold. This keeps coming to mind:

"Wo unto the world because of offences! For offenses must come, but wo to him by whom the offence cometh!"

You have to be pretty damn sure you can build a better new world before you burn down the old one.

Would-be revolutionists would do better to focus their energies on things that:

- even the "evil other side" could never convince themselves to call a war crime

- are resilient to and helpful after whatever collapse is foreseen

- will have some benefit if the collapse does not occur

- don't make things worse.

It is, in fact, possible to find these things.

The worst-case scenario is that there's a collapse and it brings neither a worker's paradise nor the return of kings, but pointless gang wars. You can build that worker's paradise, or aristocratic character, before the collapse, and if you're right that the system is unsustainable, you'll "start" the collapse in a much better position. Sure, there are likely entrenched obstacles in your way, but making an omelette does not justify killing a few people.

Get to know your neighbors!

> The worst-case scenario is that there's a collapse and it brings ... nor the return of kings, but pointless gang wars.

You do realize that the history of kings around the world has been one of pointless gang wars, right? The great literature of those times (In Europe alone from the The Aeneid to Henry VI to the European empires) is all about battles between the aristocratic gangs at the top of the hierarchy fighting each other and laying waste to territory in the process. Urban II preached the crusade to export the surplus males in the aristocracy who were causing problems fighting for territory in Europe and get them to go beat up someone else instead.

Anybody who wants to return to such a state has to be a loony.

NRX is all about romanticizing the history of kings around the world as if their history wasn't one of pointless gang wars. (So is a fair bit of fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction, and so is the Aeneid, really; it's a pre-medieval narcocorrido.) So it's no surprise that neoreactionaries would talk as if these were opposite ends of a spectrum.

Tribes, gangs, kingdoms, mafias, mobs, all the same thing. Centralized authority, including the power to end the life of another human inside or outside of your authority without consequence from within.

What is the natural state of human kind? Is it war? At the very least, it's obedient service to your group. Groups are forming more along ideological boundaries now, rather than racial or ethnic (at least in the developed world).

There's no singular state of humankind, any more than there is a specific "goal" to evolution. But I think Haidt is right about human nature when he calls us "groupish" (or, "part ape, part beehive").

I'm philosophically individualist, yet even that value system can't escape tribalism entirely: in practice, we'll happily form tribes that value individualism to complete against outsider tribes that don't, with no trace of contradiction or irony.

What we can strive for, and I think history has proven successful (or at least capable of being successful), is groups based on voluntary association and/or merit, and inter-group competition that is net-positive, or at least minimally destructive.

What about voluntary disassociation? For instance, parts of California want to be independent states. Is that supportable?

It's a good question. The very concept of social contract theory doesn't really jibe with a purely voluntarist ethic. If somehow, every single member of a polity wants to secede, it's hard to find anything wrong with that; while if 50%+1 want to, that seems unjust to the remaining ~49%.

There are historical instances of peaceful, voluntary disassociation of democratic states; the "Velvet Divorce" between the Slovakia and the Czech Republic comes to mind: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_Czechoslovakia

But suffice to say, it's an open question what threshold of popular support justifies something on the order of California seceding the union. Voluntary association (and disassociation) is merely an ideal to strive for, and we will always fall short of that ideal in the real world.

Heh, right, one might think that in theory, they form the same package, but in practice, thermodynamics means that they don't...

Perhaps you should stop smoking so much Hobbs and try some Rousseau.

You and almost everybody else in this thread are missing the core of the idea, which stems from Land, and tries to hammer in the fact that humanity has no agency. Rather than being a philosophy of our continued evolution - things we do - , it speaks about our imminent transformation/extinction - things being done to us -.

Under that light, accelerationism is nothing else but our collective acceptance we're as powerless against the technocapital positive feedback loop as against the movement of tectonic plates. It's this separation from and casting out of the "human security system", that allows one to look at the phenomenon with objectivity, and it's this separation that most critics and readers that look at accelerationism from the prism of conventional human-centered philosophy are missing.

I can't emphasize this enough. Land had two stages of thought. The first is what's described by armitron in the parent here, and was developed at Warwick University in the 90s. During his time at Warwick, Land developed some substance issues (amphetamines, mostly) and from what I've gathered ended up having a breakdown and moving to China. A few years after that he started writing his Neoreactionary work.

While you could probably draw some links between the two phases of his work if you wanted to, they're at odds with one another. In the Accelerationist framework layed out by Land in the 90s, neoreactionary thought would have been futile - everything, including reactionary social mores, would be deterritorialized by capital.

I don't think it's universally accepted in accelerationist circles that humanity strictly has no agency. Jehu[1], a left-accelerationist, advocates for decreased working hours as that will apply pressure on the capitalist system to drive down labor value even more. This will lead to capitalism's collapse as that will disrupt capitalism's reliance on surplus value (profit) of goods and services produced from labor (based on the labor theory of value). The capitalists will eliminate each other through competition until only state capitalism is left, and then the nation state will be overthrown under the weight of its own contradictions. (This is in opposition to Marxists usually citing the state as a necessity for socialism.) Granted, this tendency will happen whether or not people push for it, but there is collective agency to accelerate towards the next phase of society.

[1] https://therealmovement.wordpress.com/ [2] https://therealmovement.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/exacerbatin... [3] https://therealmovement.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/society-cho...

I don't think I have missed the point. I think you're more versed in Land's thinking than I am, but I have been reading his blog for years, and I've had a good deal of mental anguish over the humanity-has-no-agency problem.

I get it, capitalism is an alien AI and we're just the hardware, and if not capitalism substitute in something like sexual selection instead. And our coordination problems are such that we cut any tall reeds that try to stand against this. Moloch! Nightmare in Moloch! So, OK, "humanity" has no agency.

But I think individuals do. At the very least, they can not make things worse. They can become the kind of people who, if dropped into a perfect society, wouldn't drag it down. And then they can (a harder task, in computation as well as effort!) become the kind that soften the blows of the elder gods, even while paying them proper respect.

I tend to hold with Nyan, as quoted in Meditations on Moloch(http://web.archive.org/web/20140801022058/http://slatestarco...):

And then there’s us. Man has his own telos, when he is allowed the security to act and the clarity to reason out the consequences of his actions. When unafflicted by coordination problems and unthreatened by superior forces, able to act as a gardener rather than just another subject of the law of the jungle, he tends to build and guide a wonderful world for himself. He tends to favor good things and avoid bad, to create secure civilizations with polished sidewalks, beautiful art, happy families, and glorious adventures...The project of civilization being for man to graduate from the metaphorical savage, subject to the law of the jungle, to the civilized gardener who, while theoretically still subject to the law of the jungle, is so dominant as to limit the usefulness of that model.

Individuals may or may not have agency, but it doesn't amount to much. Climate change is but the tiniest and most benign of the forces Land is evoking. We're dealing with an emergent runaway overseer: globe-spanning positive feedback in all its doom and glory. Look at the multiplicity of hairless apes around you and subsequently the apes-in-charge of this shrewdness. Do we stand a chance? It is a joke even to joke.

You're not wrong, but I place a lot of hope in "[not] much." One thing individuals can do is act so that groups do have agency.

But I know what you're seeing. I wish I could shake your hand. Best wishes.

I upvoted you.

> You have to be pretty damn sure you can build a better new world before you burn down the old one.

Isn't that just a social version of the precautionary principle?

You can never be damn sure you can build a better world without trying unless you are sure you can simulate that world ahead of time, and you can't be sure of that without validating your simulation. I personally suspect this sort of simulation is simply impossible because of well known "chaos theory" type phenomena like feedback loops in real systems. There is no way to A/B test history.

We now know that Marxist type systems of the sorts deployed by Lenin and Mao don't actually result in a better world and in many cases result in a worse one, but I don't think anyone could have proven such a thing ahead of time had the systems never been tried.

In practice the precautionary principle would lead to a world of absolute stasis since if the burden of proof is 100% on the actor then no action can be taken.

My personal view is that the ideal situation is a stable society with a frontier. That way you can go to the frontier and try new things and then the stable society can import the things that work. This isn't unique to me, and a version of it is called the Frontier Thesis. We once had this in the American West, but no more, so we should hurry up and build more rockets.

> There is no way to A/B test history.

This is the first thing you learn as a Political Science student in university. The "science" half of the name is somewhat lacking when you can't experiment.

> We now know that Marxist type systems of the sorts deployed by Lenin and Mao don't actually result in a better world and in many cases result in a worse one

We don't know this. There's a lot more to economic security and human rights than private vs state control of production.

> We once had this in the American West, but no more, so we should hurry up and build more rockets.

While a frontier can provide some space for experimentation, redundancy is the real cure.

We haven't done this as a society though since there is an advantage to large scale when securing a nation's economy and currency with armed force.

The interesting new technology doesn't seem to be cheaper rockets but instead a new way to make sure our money is valued as we wish. Cryptocurrency's method of securing transactions against counterfeiters using math enables small-scale economies to operate without wasting too much resource on keeping order.

A system where cities/towns have more sovereignty would enable greater diversity and experimentation because a failure would be much easier to deal with.

Thousands of cities with each their own policies of how wealth spreads is the diverse dream I wish for as the world shrinks into fewer languages, customs, and ideas.

That's a nice dream, but I don't see how "keeping order" results from cryptocurrency ? Especially preventing cities from attacking other cities to take their resources...

> > We now know that Marxist type systems of the sorts deployed by Lenin and Mao don't actually result in a better world and in many cases result in a worse one

> We don't know this. There's a lot more to economic security and human rights than private vs state control of production.

We know that Marxism-Leninism didn't result in human rights, either. Neither did Maoism.

Sorry if that point was hazy. I'm in agreement with your comment but those implementations of national economies operating on Marxist principles were stifled greatly. WW2 caused much greater destruction of the USSR than the US. The US' anti-communist military actions, and economic blockades all existed because of a belief that allowing any communism ultimately leads its spreading everywhere.

A rephrasing would be: We don't know for sure that a Marxist type system does not work because we have so few examples. Maybe we just haven't tried enough variations to find a version that compiles cleanly.

Both Lenin and Mao didn't deploy a Marxist system. They did deploy an autocratic system under the guise of Marxism. At best, we can speculate that autocracy is a failure mode of attempts to install Marxism.

That's the problem with all social theories - running experiments on them takes darn long, usually results in piles of disenfranchised and/or dead people, and is in no way repeatable. (Frontier Thesis kind of addresses that by insulating the core of society from the experiments harsh results, but... you still have harsh results)

What does the NRx mean to you? I've never heard of that, some minor googling leaves me confused.

The Dark Enlightenment, sometimes abbreviated NRx, is an anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, reactionary philosophy founded by English philosopher Nick Land and Curtis Yarvin, an American software engineer and blogger. The ideology generally rejects whig historiography[1] — the concept that history shows an inevitable progression towards greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy — in favor of a return to traditional societal constructs and forms of government, including monarchism and other archaic forms of leadership such as a cameralism. [1]


I am genuinely curious - how did you end up with such beliefs?

thank you in advance.

I'm not NRx but I'll answer your question as best I can.

The main thing I think is that we are in an era of profound disillusionment with current systems, some of which is justified. For this reason many people have gone into things like NRx, alt-right / neo-fascism (they are not quite the same), and also into hard left ideologies like Neo-Marxism or even a revival of old school Marxism. People are looking for alternatives. The answer someone might have for "why did you go NRx" probably overlaps a lot with someone else's answer to "why did you go Leninist?"

NRx is particularly appealing to the hacker crowd because its popularizers successfully packaged it as transgressive and rebellious, a packaging that is paradoxically modern. It's also unapologetically elitist. There's always been a strain of that in the hacker world, so it fits that nicely.

As far as why there's so much elitism in the hacker world I could write a treatise on that. Maybe I should. Short short version: many people with these interests were socially excluded as children while simultaneously being told they were super-intelligent, resulting in a pretty serious mind-fuck. If someone asked me to design a brainwashing program to turn kids into sociopaths I'd basically describe my childhood, and I know for a fact that many others in the hacker world have similar experiences. I've worked hard to deprogram myself but I have sympathy for those who haven't as few human beings ever recognize that their youthful neurological imprints are maybe not optimal.

Thank you. It still would be interesting to see how much it resonates with @dropit_sphere personal path.

On a "rising elitists" - you actually made me thinking how much of my own childhood contributes to what I am, albeit from polar experience of "shut up already, be like everybody, why do you always have to ask questions etc". I still have these barriers , for better or for worse - I don't know. Probably kept me "out of sight, out of trouble" more than once, but also prevented me from going faster in life too.

I tend, as policy, not to answer these questions. The fora in which they're asked are often not conducive to actually, you know, thinking about them. Somewhere in this thread someone linked the Atlantic article, wherein you can see greater minds than I refusing to speak with the author.

The answer to your question: how did I get such beliefs---is pretty boring: I read, and I thought. Some things I read I agreed with, others I didn't.

The much more interesting question is: what are those beliefs?

You'll notice that many in this thread are eager to tell you, but the only person who's actually identified themselves as NRX is being cagey. This is not a coincidence.

Outside observers tend to see NRX through their own lens, while one of the chief goals of NRX is changing the lens in the first place.

So someone might ask: "NRX huh? What do you think about <political issue?>" A fully enlightened (tm) neoreactionary will answer, "Why, am I in charge of it?"

Neophyte neoreactionaries see this as a front to hide their plotting. Experienced ones see it as an eminently sensible answer to an insane (though common) question. Who cares what I think? Am I paid, expected, or empowered to run a society? Why do people keep asking me what I'd do if I did?

There's a whole life out there outside of politics.


If you still want to know, go read Moldbug.

thank you

So what's it like being an anime villain for your politics?

The nice thing about civilization is that it's built on failure. One of the things that blew my mind recently is that at one point in the distant past, before ancient Greece and even Egypt, there was a global society that all shared very similar ideas regarding religion.

That society fell apart collectively resulting in the sort of gang world that you're describing. Out of those ashes emerged individual city-states, which then aggregated using the tool of conquest into empire, which got big then fell apart forming the current status quo of nation-states, which technology, sophisticated forms of organization, and plain geopolitical luck allowed some nations to leapfrog the rest.

There really does seem to be some kind of collective human wisdom regarding societal organization. If there wasn't, then we'd oscillate back and forth between two kinds of social organization, likely war bands and empire. We'd reach a point at which no innovation could move the needle and that would be the end of progress.

> at one point in the distant past, before ancient Greece and even Egypt, there was a global society that all shared very similar ideas regarding religion

Do you mean a single global human culture? We don't even know whether religion came before agriculture or the other way round. Citation really needed here.

Excavations at Göbekli Tepe indicate that religion may have predated agriculture, perhaps dating back to the end of the Pleistocene. If a neurological basis for religion exists, such structures would hint at an evolutionary selection which made religion advantageous for survival.

I don't know anything about a single founding culture, but reading about Indo-European root words fires up one's imagination.

If a neurological basis for religion exists, shouldn't religion date at least as far back as modern humans, ~300kY ago ?

No, among other errors this assumes that anatomically modern humans are equivalent to neurologically modern humans, which is unsupported supposition.

But they are, since neurology is part of anatomy ?

“anatomically modern” refers to gross anatomy as evidenced in the fossil record.

Hm, wouldn't we see skull changes ?

I thought Egypt was the beginning of development, and only then because the seasonal flooding of the Nile forced farmers to cooperate.

Uh, are you unfamiliar with the Fertile Crescent ?

Do you have anything to read more about this?

I really wish I did. This came from an interaction with a Quora user I highly respect. At some point I'm going to be motivated to research this more.

I can say that the context of the discussion was an assertion that I made that the Egypt-Greece-Hebrew civilization is what collectively invented the idea of good and evil. He corrected me saying that it was a major feature of this collective civilization.

Just now I tried going through Wikipedia, and I'm fairly certain what he was referring to is generally called Neolithic civilization. It was much more sophisticated than is commonly understood.

The idea that there was a uniform neolithic culture is... well... sailing against established knowledge. I'd really like to see a citation or two.

Especially since Neolithic civilization spans ~6K years, and appears at very different times in different regions, with cultural artifacts appearing in different order.

As for "good and evil", evidence so far says it probably started with Zoroastrianism, which is really at the tail end of the neolithic. Your Quora user either has access to not commonly available research or is misremembering.

I never said it was uniform. Just that it looked the same all over the world. The same sorts of religions, the same kinds of political structures. It shouldn't be that weird to contemplate. All agrarian empires looked roughly the same. This is because humans have roughly the same capabilities, the math is really hard to overcome to produce something different. It takes the collective weight of thousands of years to specialize so that one civ can leapfrog another.

RE: good and evil, his specific point was that societies were organized around the broad principles of a grand fight of one set of deities imbued with good traits fighting against another set of deities working against the good ones. Zoroastrianism is notable not because it invented good and evil, but because it was the first stab towards monotheism.

"there was a global society that all shared very similar ideas regarding religion."

That's very different from "over a span of 6K years, there were a bunch of local societies at different times and places that all looked somewhat similar"

A difference in degree, not of kind. The societies probably informed each other through trade. Horses were domesticated around this time and were used as pack animals even if they weren't yet being ridden. Aristocracies would have traded ideas along with goods. Advances in governing might have communicated themselves across the whole globe in a few hundred years, maybe even shorter. This is a blink of an eye on the historical time frame.

We really shouldn't underestimate the capabilities of Neolithic peoples.

This is like when Keanu Reeves accelerates the train in order to derail it at the end of Speed.

Though I'm bearish on applying movie logic to social change.

This theory always brings to mind when I worked at a grocery store. I had just gone vegetarian for environmental reasons and a lady came to the cash register with ~20 or so of the 1lb ground beef packets. I asked her what they were for and she said “my dog”. Even at my peak I would eat maybe 2-3lbs or ground beef a week, her dog eats 20X that.

This was maybe 8 years ago, global warming was well known, the horrors of the meat industry were well known. My main gripe with this theory is that it acts like we have a choice about whatever fate our nature is driving us towards.

a prominent adherent to the theory recently noted (paraphrasing): Acceleration has little need for -ism and even less for -ists

Maybe she bought 20 packs because they were on sale and freezes them for later use?

How are you sure that the data you are getting is valid and relative to your existence?

The accelerationist response could have been to offer to shoot her dog.

I think this article has a distinct bias and isn't considering how most people discuss the issue today.

I think that colloquially this word is used both by the left and the right to suggest the political tactic based on the sensibility that the political system is near collapse and attempts to "repair" the system from within are futile. Accelerationists are frustrated with the current system's perceived corruption, injustice, and immovability, thinking that acting in good faith will never attain the progress they aim for. They suggest that it is more valuable to push society and the political system to the point of collapse in attempts to incite a revolution, expecting that rebuilding the system from scratch, or at least in a society in chaos, will allow them to achieve their political goals in the new order.

Accelerationism seems to be the motive for a bunch of terrorism. For example, the Christchurch shooter cited as part of his motives wanting to spur debates on gun control, especially in the US, recognizing that these debates are increasingly dividing the country and pushing the country towards a civil war. Dylan Roof wanted to incite a race war. A lot of Islamic terror is trying to incite a pan-Islamic revolution. Antifa riots, destroys property, and often directly engages with police and right-wing groups in an attempt to weaken the "capitalist" social order.

You had me until Antifa riots. Source?

Is Antifa accelerationist? I think if you asked them they'd say they were "confronting rising threats," not spurring them on. Am I mistaken?

no you're right. Antifa is not accelerationist.


It's in reaction to fascists using violence and intimidation as a political tool.


You keep bringing up the French, but the yellow vests are not antifa.


You mean this? Cause antifa doesn't have a book. This is a book on the history of anti-fascist movements, and while you might not agree with it, it doesn't make it "the antifa book"

The colloquial usage obviously differs from the blogosphere usage, which is where the article's version of Accelerationism originates from.

The latter version of Accelerationism is that the current neoliberalism order will "naturally" progress to a next phase of society.

I'm not the best at understanding or explaining accelerationism, but I gather that left-accelerationists usually subscribe to the labor theory of value, and so automation's decrease of labor value to 0 will result in a collapse of capitalism that derives value of goods and services from the labor needed to produce them.

Right-accelerationism seeks to embrace the disruption of technology to a logical extreme for technologial progress. Neo-Reaction wants to revert back to pre-democratic ideals as they see democracy as being incompatible with their techno-libertarian ideals.

I haven't heard of xenoaccelerationism before but upon a cursory glance, it seems similar in that it embraces the disruption of culture and identity politics by technology's increasing encroachment and control on nature. It sounds like an overlap with transhumanism, but I am probably uninformed about the finer details.

Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light was a fascinating novel about accelerationist ideas.

"Accelerationism" in Lord of Light meant making technology, especially life-extension technology, available to the masses instead of restricting it to the elites (who had used Sufficiently Advanced Technology to gain superpowers and set themselves up as Hindu gods, controlling the masses by restricting reincarnation to those who toed the line). It had little to do with the philosophy of the same name described here.

Depends on your viewpoint.

Wow... what did I just stumble into?

Anyone working on AI or robotics is supporting accelerationism, whether they are ideologically for it or not. The singularity will remove the need for white collar labor, and while there is not such a clear turning point for robotics, robotics will eventually replace the need for blue collar labor. When human labor has no value, then only products have value, and the world is divided into those who have the products and those who do not, with no chance for mobility between the two. Class mobility, or the assumption that labor can turn one from a have not to a have, is the only thing that makes capitalism palatable, so I can't imagine that the complete removal of that possibility will go unnoticed.

don't mean to be 'dumb' here, but how is 'left accelerationism' not some flavor of socialism and 'right accelerationism' not some flavor of facism, other than using different words and sounding more 'current'

You’re not being dumb, you’re just noticing that these “philosophers” just really really enjoy endlessly writing jargon and arguing about terminology and the excruciating and irrelevant minutiae of their ideologies (AKA religions).

It’s not intended to be clear. Quite the opposite.

They're not just socialism and fascism (or something else right-wing), they're revolutionary socialism and fascism. The intent is to destroy the existing system and replace it with their vision of what would be "better".

The difference is in technique. Old-school revolutionaries tried to destroy the current system by fighting it. Accelerationists try to destroy the system by trying to make it more what it is.

If you think of the system (current US democracy plus capitalism, say) in the center of a frame, a leftist would view it as being too far to the right, and a rightist would view it as being too far to the left. An old-school leftist would try to shove the whole country to the left. A left accelerationist would try to shove it to the right, thinking that the further right it gets, the closer it is to destroying itself.

Of course, their perspective is a bit off. The left (or right) accelerationist sees the current system as already being pretty far right (or left), not center. They therefore mis-estimate how much further they would have to move it to bring about destruction. If they fail to move it that far, all they've done is strengthen the side they're trying to fight.

Why isn't usury put front and center?

Because nobody thinks that usury is the problem - the one most worthy of being front and center.

Why do you ask? Why do you think this is a relevant reply to my post?

i wanted to ask everyone. looking for any mention. and yeah it should be. it's been the biggest evil in the world.

Left-accelerationism IS some form of socialism. The goal being to heighten the contradictions of capitalism. And yes, an accelerationist tendency has existed for a long time, since Marx I think.

Right accelerationism differs from fascism in its relationship to capitalism I think.

But honestly, I think these groupings are a bit iffy. There are connections between Zelzany, Land, and leftist acceleration, but they are slight.

World's most boring ideology.

Some say that the founder of Buzzfeed Jonah Peretti is an accelerationist.

Peretti's academic writings offer one clue.

In brief, the paper argues that, going forward, capitalism will need to be constantly producing identities for people to adopt at an ever-increasing rate. And now Peretti's at the helm of a firm that's doing exactly that.




> poverty spreads, and pain/suffering become more widespread

They haven't? Both of those have been trending down with no sign of stopping


Isn't that "instruction" incredibly circular logic of sabotage for the sake of "proof" justifting what they already believe because of the outcome they caused?

I recall an episode from a fictional crime show where the obligatory twist behind a horrically toxic water pollution blaming a new industrial operation. It had killed three people and sickened more was a radical environmentalist who wanted to frame a factory they believed would pollute more long term. Ironically one of the give aways to investigators was something the industry no longer used.

This is tremendously foolish reasoning. You're basically saying, "after we burn everything down, people will naturally come to the obvious conclusion that my politics are the Objectively Correct ones".

Which... no. What people want first and foremost is safety and stability, and after everything burns down, the easiest way to get that is by putting an authoritarian strongman into power. Which, historically, has been the outcome of almost every large-scale revolution except the American one.

(As an aside, I don't know if you're American, but if you are, I will note that an unfortunate effect of the American Revolution is that it tends to give Americans a very optimistic view of how well revolutions work out. They don't really realize that theirs is a miraculous outlier; it's almost the only revolution which didn't put an authoritarian government into power for years or decades)

Maybe if America hadn't gotten that optimistic view from a 'good' revolution, America would not be the dominant superpower but the world as a whole would be better off.

For instance, I am starting to think it was a mistake to 'solve' the ozone hole problem in the 1980s so quickly and decisively. I've heard some people try to dismiss climate change with remember all those other things that were going to kill us but didn't like nuclear war and the ozone hole. Maybe if it had gotten bad enough that the effects were obviously terrible and it left a generational scar on humanity, then we'd have an easier time negotiating bigger problems, like climate change mitigation.

If the atomic bombs hadn't been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, then it seems likely to me that an even greater tragedy would have been struck later. Maybe it was the only thing that kept us from an actual nuclear war.

I've been trying to figure what makes America the outlier. One could say egalitarian Enlightenment values, but that didn't prevent the French Revolution from turning into a bloodbath and eventual authoritarianism. Do you know of any theories to explain the difference, well-accepted or not?

I've thought about it a lot and seen lots of theories attempting to invoke this or that historical/material/philosophical reason, but honestly I think America just got lucky with George Washington. Apparently after his second term, lots of people wanted to make him a permanent ruler (which would indicate that post-Revolution America as a whole wasn't really any more resistant to authoritarianism than anyone else), and he refused. After that, the hero worship of him established a social norm against tyrants which became part of the country’s foundational mythos.

It's not exactly a pleasant thing to contemplate, because it basically means the American Revolution was a fluke, but none of the other explanations I've seen are more compelling.

Simple: disparate group of elites that realized monarchy has too many pitfalls and so they worked to create a better system where no one group could so easily dominate the others.

The war itself went well due to the huge geographic separation and the support from countries that wanted to end British dominance. Local governments were already in place, nothing local was "burnt down" except the British tax assayers office, roughly speaking.

I don't disagree, but that somewhat kicks the ball down the road: why didn't a similar disparate group of elites do something similar in France, or any of the other myriad instances of failed revolution? (As an ignorant layperson, I'm sure there are revolutions in recent history that successfully cloned the separation-of-powers model, but there have still been countless revolutions in the past two centuries that skewed authoritarian rapidly, whether or not they wore democratic costumes.)

And the obvious corollary that motivates the question: if one wanted to maximize the odds of a positive outcome to the next revolution (independently of whether one thinks that's a good thing), what ideas/technologies/institutions/etc would we want to promote or enact now, either from within the revolution itself, or in the surrounding cultural ecosystem?

Because France didn't have America's "empty" land...

Re America: that sounds like exceptionalism to me. It's not an outlier. A bunch of rich dudes wanted to avoid taxes (fair enough), and to continue slaving and stealing indigenous land.

Plenty of countries that used to have dictators (absolute monarchs) were able to limit them to merely symbolic figures, and bring in constitutions and strong parliaments. Some of these were also revolutions. See most of Europe and their colonies. Yes some have since regressed, but there's nothing particularly special about the USA besides the fact that it didn't have quite as much entrenched power, at first, and virtually unlimited ability to expand. So it was special in terms of it's early flexibility, but ever since it expanded to fill all its available space, seems to be pretty non-special.

> As capitalism accelerates

Over the long term, capitalism has been increasingly restrained since the early 20th Century (since the mid-20thC, the modern mixed economy has displaced the original system named “capitalism” as the dominant system in the developed world, almost all current “capitalism” is really mixed economies); there have been short-term and local regression, sure, but overall capitalism doesn't accelerate.

Infinite growth in terms of capitalism is not sustainable into the future and as decades go on it will only do more harm than good. I see this weird behavior in our world where growth is equated with progress when infact in a late-capitalism world, growth is actually the opposite of progress.

Sometimes the only way for people to learn a lesson is to suffer .

As capitalism accelerates, inequality grows, poverty spreads, and pain/suffering become more widespread, people's eyes will open to con's as well as the pro's of capitalism.

Instead of walking by the homeless person and saying 'sucks to be them' people actually experience it.

I think alot of people view capitalism as the reason America is so great instead of being the surviving superpower from WW2 and coasting on that for half a century.

Capitalism was pretty oppressive in the early 1900s. We'll see what happens on the future.

So overall accelerrationism is more than just nihilism, it's instructive. Unfortunately, with suffering on a generational timeframe.

It's also, how government has progressed historically via people suffering. Now we're shifting from governmental tyrrany to economic tyrrany. The next few decades will be extremely interesting.

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