Death and the State

comments 2
capital / creativity / death / dirt / freedom / hope / machine / production / spectacle / state / static / terror

Everything about the modern State is false: it is cold, mechanical and monstrous. And there is no hope for disruption: machinic production annihilates life. Capital is the calculated sacrifice of whatever is left of spiritual health: profit in exchange for humanity, slavery in exchange for inner value. The enslavement of free creativity is the only positive operation of capital. Without the knowledge of what it is to think adventurously, to journey abroad, to breathe freely, there is only the madness of anti-production: the state and the market stand as the singular figures of parasitism and death. They are opposed to culture, to freedom, to health. Economy is violence, and mute static has replaced the human spirit. This machine devours humanity: it chews, grinds, enslaves.

Slaves to machines and slaves to capital: everywhere interiority, that is to say humanity, has been digested, ground into piecemeal, subsumed in the pursuit of exteriority. The transitory object of capital is catastrophic failure: the machine only works by destroying health, just as capital only accumulates by terror, shock; it is a violent triumph over the human. Capital means a recession of vitality, the collapse of hope, a spiritual sickness: so what indeed could we hope to say is distinctively ‘human’ anymore? Is this not, after so long, just a fiction within a fiction – which is to say, an impossibility?

A deadly serious fiction-machine: this is the State. The corrupt malice of its officials is intolerable; yet the seemingly ‘innocent’ despotism of the institutional machines which support the state of economic affairs is perhaps yet even more indecent, more conspiratorial, and more terrifying. But what if this terror, this fiction, this impossibility was all we ever knew (or had made!) of humanity? What if the time has not yet come for us to know man otherwise, that is, on the basis of his creativity, his spirituality, or – what is both at once — his health? We feel that we must raise again the question of morality; but it is abundantly clear the parasite has no ears for ethics — its digestion is far too noisy. The State is not culture: it cannot create moralities, only inscribe them upon bodies; it multiplies by subtraction. Its only ethical act is suicide. This is why all states are fascist to some degree, and why there is no jungle where one could escape from its terrifyingly internal urge towards purity, towards death.

Really the machine only produces dirt, the motor only noise: the engine of capital is the engine of death of culture and the decay of humanity – or should we say, its corpse? For humanity is dead: this is the secret meaning of the modern sovereignty of machines. Whereas profit is hysteria unmasked, an open nihilism – it is the armed abstraction of cost into value. Capital is devoid of any claim to ethicality; it dulls the experience of reality while intensifying our abstract enjoyment of it. Profit is hollow, a merely external victory; the inner costs, the destruction of any inner values, are all too plain. Capital never breathes freely: it terrorizes because it is afraid, needs violent cures for imaginary diseases, and makes an intense spectacle of reality to distract itself from itself – that is, from its staleness, mediocrity and colorlessness. There is no hope in the machine, only in multiplicity: and again, a terrifying, improbable hope. The State will not be overthrown, except to be chased out by another parasite; this is the lesson of history. The future is not given. A free society demands nothing less the final death of capital.

The Author

mostly noise and glare


  1. Justin McDaniel says

    On the politics of our day:

    Hopefully I can pursue a valid argument and at the same time skirt the criticism and knee-jerk labeling that comes with defending, to any degree, a now declared ‘enemy of the state’. In either case I feel that I must offer a rebuttal of Colombia University’s president Lee Bollinger insofar as he delved irresponsibly into an ad hominem attack of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a spirit that was wholly unbecoming of the president of one of America’s top universities, Bollinger referred to Ahmadinejad as ” a petty and cruel dictator”.
    I’m in no way attempting to applaud Mr. Ahmadinejad, in fact I would agree with Mr. Bollinger’s statement that by default a denial of the holocaust does make the Iranian president seem ridiculous. However there are a couple of things that make such assaults dangerous and politically naive. The most obvious of these is the ominous military ‘objectives’ laid out recently that perceive Iran as an American enemy, as a supplier of insurgents in Iraq, and also a world-wide threat with an emerging nuclear (energy?) program.
    Considering both the collision course that appears immanent between the United States and Iran, as well as the vast and overwhelming cultural, social, and political differences between our two countries… it is impressive that Ahmadinejad would accept Bollinger’s invitation for a debate. At least he had the gusto to come to a foreign land and (regardless of the validity of his assumptions) go toe to toe in a public forum. This is particularly impressive considering the militant, imperial, and ultimately expansionist approach procured by certain members of the Bush presidency/phenomena.
    Believe me when I say I am not trying to turn this into a Bush bashing festival that desires to utilize declared ‘extremist’ only in order to further beat the dead horse that is G W. Bush. Instead, I feel very strongly that the prevention of war should be the most important goal of any society, in particular one as advanced as the United States. As absurd as Ahmadinejad’s views may seem to us westerners, he never the less is an important figure; at least as long as America is dependent on oil anyway.
    The real situation, cutting the rhetoric, is that we do not have the ability to dominate a whole sector of the world, particularly not the sector that contains the most vital ingredient to industrialized nations: oil. This being the case, more diplomatic measures are necessary for our American continued global hegemony. I’m not exactly sure where our history converted to brute force to sustain itself (though it appears roughly after World War II that we adopted such a strategy, with or without regards to the magnitude following the defeat of Nazism). This particular strategy has lead us into several unsuccessful wars, most notably Vietnam and now Iraq.
    Diplomacy is simply vital in today’s emerging global economy. A key ingredient to success in such a field is tact. Mr. Bollinger simply did not show a presence of this. Instead of inciting a true intellectual discourse, he resorted to ad hominem attacks that do no good in attaining the unbiased ‘marketplace of ideas’ approach deemed intrinsically valuable to the promotion of academic free speech and that is necessary to achieve a resemblance of peace. If nothing more we should appreciate the Iranian president’s effort, and also we should keep in mind that in Iran, it is not the president that is the final authority, nor the most effective arbiter of the public’s will; that honor falls to the ‘supreme leader’: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. At least let me ask, given that the U.S. and Iran have had a history of disagreements, culminating in this recent build up of hype and a marketing strategy that tests our governments ability to persuade the public to authorize the conduct of strategic air strikes in Iran, is it not somewhat admirable of Mr. Ahmadinejad to come to our country and appear publicly to defend his views? Could we imagine G. W. Bush doing the same at a top Iranian university? Would we even want to imagine that?

  2. Hey Justin, great comment! It’s really refreshing to hear you say something intelligent about the Iranian president coming to speak in the United States. Whether it was MSNBC, CNN, or Fox news, all anyone could talk about was whether or not he should have the right to speak (because he’s evil). I’m so sick and tired of people using that word: evil. In politics, this is such a bad move, and we Americans with a little bit of sense understand that Bush is probably more suited to that term (if ignorance and ill-will towards the rest of the world is evil). You said it yourself, and the commentators know this too: Ahmadine does not have real power, he’s a scapegoat and figurehead (another commonality with Bush-the-puppet). So why call him evil? What’s that guy’s name on CNN? Glenn Beck? Is that it or something? He’s such a fucking fascist that it makes my stomach curl. He and Tucker Carlson will give birth to the Anti-Christ that, instead of tearing down Christianity, will resurrect it in its most solemn form: the United States of Orwellfare. *rant becomes inaudible*.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that it’s nice to see people not reacting to this as though it were a travesty to our ethics, morals, all that other bullshit that we say we have when it’s just more words, more abstract bullshit that, when removed from its situation, has no real significance whatsoever. These are the games that the head news companies play. Is it right for America to let a terrorist speak? Isn’t this wrong and bad? Won’t God spank us for talking to the terrorists? Childish filth–we are not yet thinking.

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