- Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation
In a little modification of the Marxian idea of the filtration of death in which it does not simply fall out of circulation but is constantly recuperated and reinscribed into "new places in the arena of circulation vacated by other commodities" [Capital, 114], Nick Land adds his own twist, saying dead "labour is far harder to control than the live stuff was, which is why the enlightenment project of interring gothic superstition was the royal road to the first truly vampiric civilization, in which death alone comes to rule" (TA, p. 79). The Religious history of Capital has yet to be written, yet with Karl Marx and Max Weber, and now Land, we see the outlines of this Puritan disease in its dark commodification of a Gothicism of finitude. As Land explicates:
"This is the initial impulse into capital’s religious history; the sacrifice of all dogmatic theology to the ascetic ideal, which is finally consummated in the death of God. The theology of the One, rooted in concrete beliefs and codes that summarize and defend the vital interests of a community, and therefore affiliated to a tenacious anthropomorphism, is gradually corroded down to the impersonal zero of catastrophic religion" (TA, p. 79).
It is in this absolute zero of capital religion that we discover Land's accelerationism, wherein capital "attains its own ‘angular momentum’, perpetuating a run-away whirlwind of dissolution, whose hub is the virtual zero of impersonal metropolitan accumulation. At the peak of its productive prowess the human animal is hurled into a new nakedness, as everything stable is progressively liquidated in the storm" (TA, p. 80). Benjamin Noys in his own variation of this interesting doctrine tells us that it is "an exotic variant of la politique du pire: if capitalism generates its own forces of dissolution then the necessity is to radicalise capitalism itself: the worse the better. We can call these positions accelerationist." (Accelerationism)
Following Bataille and against Kant's humanism Land continues iterating that the "human animal is the one through which terrestrial excess is haemorrhaged to zero, the animal destined to obliterate itself in history, and sacrifice its nature utterly to the solar storm. Capital breaks us down and reconstructs us, with increasing frequency, as it pursues its energetic fluctuation towards annihilation, driven to the liberation of the sun, whilst the object hurtles into the vaporization of proto-schizophrenic commodification" (TA, p. 84). Maybe what we are seeing in our time is the elimination of the human and its ultimate commodification as a desiring subject just as it is vaporized under the sign of the black sun within an inhuman world of absolute zero.
1. The Thirst for Annihilation by Nick Land (Routledge 1992 )
Sites on Accelerationism: