On darkness and acceleration

I will not run anyone’s life — nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone — nor sacrifice anyone to myself. (1)

There is no order that does not contain disorder within itself, and undoubtedly there is no disorder incapable of creating order. (2)

If any system has been associated with ideas of acceleration it is capitalism. (3)

Each era first encounters the new as noise, before absorbing it to its perfect pitch. In the same way as music is shaped from noise, shared corporeality churns out bourgeois individuals. Forever in debt, forever condemned to compete with my counterparts, I receive, produce and communicate information, translate and decode significance, curate my selfdom. In a neo-liberal economy the individual freedom ideal is combined with the command for constant self-observation.

Watch your thoughts for they will become actions. Watch your actions for they will become habits. Watch your habits for they’ll forge your character and your character will make your destiny. (4)

No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets or no matter how far you fall, you are never out of the fight. (5)

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind. (6)

Throughout the history of the human race, acceleration and growth have created extraordinary states of imbalance. Only the last two centuries have made this exceptional state permanent: instead of life being driven by seasons, it is driven by production requirements. Work is done round-the-clock, and economy has no other course but the constant breaking of records.

Acceleration is often so slow that it is only noticed once it has swallowed you up. At least this is what it feels like when following the storm that is going to end our era, brewing at the not so distant future. We fly blindly towards that future with open arms, without being able to stop for even a moment to pick up the pieces or wake up the dead.

Like a high-speed train, nothing slows down the progress. It speeds along superconductor rails, hovering lightly at its great speed. Staying on board means leaving everything behind that causes friction or delays the achievement of escape velocity. At the same time, only friction can operate as the emergency brake for history and steer the train off the rails, before it falls over the edge.

Suddenly, immobility no longer has anything to do with the immobility of water on the surface of a lake, or that of the deep time of minerals. It is now the immobility of all possible journeys or paths.What cropped up yesterday, here or there, now happens everywhere at once. The accident to end all accidents spreads in a flash and the centre of time – the endless present – leaves behind the centre of fixed spacefor good. There is no longer any ‘here’, everything is ‘now’. (7)

I often recall a theatrical performance that was one of the first I ever experienced. At the end of the show, the stage and the auditorium went dark and after a minute we heard how the performers used their hands to drum their bodies. In the darkness, the sounds grew bigger than they actually were, making the listeners feel the drumming in their own bodies. In this way, aural empathy extends the concept of corporeality beyond the individual, where experience is shareable in all its indivisibility.

Without moments shared, do we have any other contemporary experiences than privatized dreams on a warming planet in the middle of the accelerating storm?

They rely on the men who have adopted the cause of the absolutely new and have founded it on insight and renunciation. In its buildings, pictures, and stories, mankind is preparing to outlive culture, if need be. And the main thing is that is does so with a laugh. (8)

As the darkness begins to descend, the gaze does not cease, but expands to encompass everything it sees. Darkness around us becomes the dark core of the lens where images shape clearer, as they no longer carry the burden of proving the present. Instead they have the sensuality of imagination that refuses to recognise one core and one perspective.

In the end, scale evaporates, distance disappears. After a moment, it is no longer clear where the sounds come from. Even the tiniest of sounds become basaltic vortexes following the Big Bang. During the course of them acceleration is sideways acceleration, escaping in intensity, the eye of the storm, a place where everything changes, and everything stays as it is.

Klaus Maunuksela

 

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1) Ayn Rand: Textbook for Americanism. 1946.
2) Jacques Attali: Noise: The Political Economy of Music. 1977/ 1985.
3) Alex Williams ja Nick Srnicek: #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics. 2013.
4) Margaret Thatcher.
5) Lone Survivor, 2013.
6) Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto. 1848/2002.
7) Paul Virilio: Open Sky.Translated by Julie Rose. 1995/1998.
8) Walter Benjamin: Experience and Poverty Selected Writings Volume 2: 1927–1934. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. 2014.