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from nudism as an illegalism

CW: too many links to too many subreddits

As of June 27, 2022, the “About Community” sidebar for the subreddit r/makenuditylegal reads as follows:

This page is for spreading the word that public nudity isn't sexual in nature, and is about expressing yourself without wearing clothing. This community hopes to change the minds of those that think being naked is about sex and make it legal in the near future, as America and surrounding areas are very negative about it. We aim to legalize public nudity in the U.S. and abroad. Please subscribe and spread the word :) Being naked is human, freeing, and society has a backwards view on it. Be free!

The subreddit presently has just over 3000 subscribers, which puts it far below the r/nudism subreddit with its 83,000+ subscribers as well as the more modest r/naturism subreddit with 17,000+ subscribers. It is a forum of ideas more than images, too, which is to its credit. There are many other ostensibly nudism-focused subreddits that have anywhere between one (1) and tens of thousands subscribers (for instance, r/nudists has ~46,000), but the posts on most these subreddits are overwhelmingly made up of photos, with very little in the way of links to news articles or to meaningful discussion (insofar as meaningful discussion is something that happens on Reddit).

The likes of r/makenuditylegal, r/nudism, r/naturism, and a very small number of other subreddits with even fewer subscribers (like the puny r/anarcho_naturism with its ~800 members) stand out, then, from the dozens of subreddits catering to those who wish to see photos of naked people in the woods, naked people gardening, naked people camping, etc.

Next, within this small group, r/makenuditylegal has the distinction of actually being committed to a fulsome “nudist politics”, i.e. the realization of a world in which nudity is “legal”, which I take to mean a world in which people can be naked in public places without risk of detainment, jail, fines, and/or the fear of any of those three.

Within the “idea space” of nudism on Reddit, then, the “Pro-Legalists” (as I will hereafter refer to them) of the r/makenuditylegal subreddit constitute a sort of activist or pro-revolutionary hardcore with respect to realizing an expanded option of nudity in society. Obviously posting on the internet isn’t really activism, but in the post-Gamergate era, it should be recognized that there is at least some kind of relationship between discussion forums, on the one hand, and social movements and subcultures that exist in the real world, on the other.

So, the problem with r/makenuditylegal isn’t really the subreddit’s name, even if that is objectionable to me as an anarchist. As far as I’m concerned, as much as I might personally benefit from public nudity being legal in the place where I live, legality ought to be done away with insofar as legality is a function of societies being dominated by states. But that’s a topic for another day, and probably, another outlet.

If anything, I respect the Pro-Legalists for the immoderation of their rhetoric in articulating their political objective, which—though framed in a statist way—is really not so much about the legality as it is about the nudity. The Pro-Legalists don’t see any good reason for nudity to be criminally sanctioned and punished, and they speak clearly and to the point on that subject with reference to their principles. This is in contrast to moderates on r/nudism and social progressives on r/naturism who often argue that the status quo vis-à-vis nudity is fine, and that those who push for social change (the existence of a non-arduous option of nudity in public, the legalization and/or decriminalization of nudity in public, broad social acceptance of a “right to nudity” and/or the basic inoffensiveness and banality of naked human bodies, etc.) are extremists who do nudists as a whole a disservice. Never mind that not all nudists can afford the resort and nakation lifestyle, and some will never be able to!

There is a much bigger problem with the Pro-Legalists. It's that they—that is, a large proportion of the most active users of r/makenuditylegal—are basically kooks and cranks.

I’m not going to get into all the details of it, but we’re talking transphobia, Trumpism, and vacuous freedom talk steeped in an intense form of capitalist realism.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s not exactly fine, but it shouldn’t be a big problem in and of itself. Transphobia, Trumpism (and other forms of reactionary right-wing nationalism), Reddit, climate change, and so on are examples of bigger problems we should be more worried about than we are. Except, there’s one thing... At this time, there is no other space on Reddit—no other space on the front page of the internet—for people to discuss the political project of improving options for nudity in the embodied world, except among the cranks.

There is no real welcoming environment for a discussion of tactics, and the ethics of those tactics, on r/nudism. Sometimes the discussion in r/naturism goes in that direction, but not often. Discussions of activism—whether blustering calls to actions, considered strategic proposals, or discussions of historical episodes (which are often poorly documented)—aren’t really on the table on these subreddits. Only on r/makenuditylegal, alongside bad political opinions and somehow even worse image macros, is there actually some good faith discussion about this stuff. Kooks and cranks are absolutely a part of those discussions and often leading those discussions, and that overall sucks, but these discussions still have value to me, an anarchist who wants to be able to talk about this stuff. Because, well, I’m not seeing it many other places.

But r/makenuditylegal is also sufficiently unfit for purpose—if not, at times, dangerously out of touch—that I feel, personally, something better needs to supplant it as the only political subreddit that's worth a damn (sorry, r/anarcho_naturism, but you were never gonna cut it).

It sucks that any energy at all is going to be spent on doing this on Reddit, but I think it has to be this way, at least right now, in the summer of 2022.

So long as Reddit remains “the front page of the internet” and it continues to host the ultimate clearinghouse of information about nudism in English—namely r/nudism and a few lesser subreddits (including the more explicitly political r/makenuditylegal)—then I don’t really know what other platform can provide something that the masses (in North America and/or other countries) can use easily enough. And at least Reddit is, ostensibly, about link sharing, e.g. information sharing.

Thus I have made a new subreddit, r/naktiv. (If you want to be a moderator, just let me know.) The name is a portmanteau of two German adjectives, nackt and aktiv, the meanings of which I expect are obvious enough.

It is dedicated to (discussion of) activism—not just spectacular street activism, though probably including some of that—that is aimed at articulating the virtues of nudism as well as realizing more nudity-optional spaces and defending that option where it already exists. Some discussion of adjacent topics (such as the tactical deployment of nudity in other forms of activism) will be allowed, but the goal is to stay overall on topic, and especially to avoid getting bogged down in topics that make up the majority of text posts on the other major nudism-themed subreddits, namely the resort and nakation lifestyle and a litany of newbie and/or adolescent concerns about bodies, social etiquette, etc.

There is no singular, sloganistic demand to unify r/naktiv; basically, anyone can post about anything that is relevant to the topic. However, to the extent that the aggregate conduct of the community that uses r/naktiv has some bearing on how much others will want to use the subreddit and/or how others will perceive the “position” it upholds, then it does make sense to speak of a few practical rules. The most important, I think, is that an account’s post history matters.

Far too often, I click on an account that has posted on r/nudism, r/naturism, r/makenuditylegal, r/nudistmemes, or some other nudism-related subreddit, and what I find is a long post history that in large parts consists of posts on subreddits like [r]preggoporn or [r]hairypussy (I won’t put in the hyperlinks for these ones). Additionally, I sometimes find pretty straightforward bigotry—not just opinions that I disagree with, but rude, insulting, and thoroughly contemptuous comments about entire groups of people. Other stuff is simply embarrassing or perplexing. I am sure the anti-underwearist position (which argues that underwear has no purpose, something that is manifestly untrue) has some merit, but this is actually weird stuff that reveals a manifest unseriousness about the cause.

Accounts that are too horny, or too gross (especially in cases where people are being transgressive for the sake of being transgressive), will be excluded from r/naktiv. No doubt this will drastically reduce the number of accounts that can post on this subreddit, but I believe that will be to the good. Quality over quantity.

To be sure, Reddit is part of the problem, I think. For this reason, I have also set up a mirror community on Lemmy, a Reddit-like forum software built on the ActivityPub protocol. The reader may wish to consult my (dated, imperfect) first post on the fediverse—that is, on interoperable web services using ActivityPub—from last year. Suffice it to say, however, that having a Lemmy community provides redundancy (there will still be a forum even if Reddit bans/quarantines the subreddit or the Reddit servers themselves simply go offline). Lemmy also allows users to better control their own experiences, and to know, within reason, that their data probably isn’t being mined for someone else’s profit.

I have chosen to use the general purpose sopuli.xyz Lemmy instance because I like the rules and, given Finland’s generally better approach to issues around nudity when compared to North America, it seems to me that a Scandy ambience could be a suitable substrate to help give rise to an appealing “naktiv aesthetic”.

Aesthetic, and the related matter of message discipline, are part of being serious. So is a commitment to working with other people who don’t share all manner of ideological presuppositions—but within reason, because certain bigoted beliefs, for instance, sabotage “movement building” of any kind, and risk a repetition of German nudists’ experiences in the 1930s. “First they came for [...] and I did not speak out...”

Being serious also means learning over time. It is not really my place to say, in theory, when a debate about the utility of certain tactics or the merits of a certain strategic approach is actually closed, but I believe that some things ought to be off the table. We cannot remain forever at a 101 level of discussion. In fact, discussion for its own sake, without any connection to real world projects big or small, might best be avoided—unless people are really going to try and inspire others with their imaginations.

Anyway, check it out, either on Reddit or on Lemmy.

 
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from nrg

tao

Hello all. Excited to announce our next meeting will be taking place some time at the end of July, possibly on the 17th at 4PM. It may get rescheduled so check back here for updates (you will probably be doing this anyway.) Which brings us to the reading, or rather, the topic, of Daoism. Rather than a strict curriculum of texts the idea is for you to dive into the topic and bring any treasures you may find to the meeting. There are some jumping off points linked in the riseup pad below (please add other things you find and wish to share under the Tao section), but feel free to find your own way through these ideas, and bring it to our discussion.

 
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from nrg

It's seems some of us have been grabbed by that strange gravity again.
On Friday June 24th at 4PM PT join us to chat about resuming the Ni.hil.ist reading group. Bring some suggestions for readings if you've got them, but no pressure of course. Reach out to someone who would know for the Jitsi link.

 
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from zisbnoc

Eclipse of the Black Moon

by Okty Budiati

For some reason, I read the measurement boundary at displacement for an unknown space. My death is a tragedy that is starting to create a way of life that will follow without an identity of its own. My own, most miserably, contributing to hopelessness in waiting. In my sorrowful of love, I am misinterpreted as anger. The silence has many reasons for my trust you never had. How to communicate at its best? I am speechless in any language to express my love for you by now.

I am a fair word without a heavenly voice. With malicious pleasure, the memory of hell Fortune, I might say, is unpredictable. So much reliance on passion, self-broken The wind blows, which keeps the heart warm. A romantically dark, secretly melancholy flower To follow the crack of evening with quiet day-steps My soul's affairs are unfulfilled feelings. All these blurry reflections of unknown emotions sparkle. Immortality of tomorrow's fate... Tears slipped before all fears clouded over wasted grief.

A collapsed imagination, essentially plundering the heart of a soul. I am no longer a unified individual taking on an understandable situation. A fantasy within that is logically comparable to every stage of life, unnoticed tears. What is survival in the meantime, when life is the primal fall of a human? In all forms of communication, the negation of love goes too far, and it's fatally. To this inadequately stated discussion, bleakness said, “Stop all of the nonsense. I've become passive.” For a hungry soul, no more sun will shine.

Where were they laid as the natural limits, essentially? Let me learn a little more about the verification of your language. I have no right to speak because there is no order outside of my humanity. This process results in the dynamics of susceptible instability. You've decided to avoid the promises you've made. I'm insulting my life as an error curse.

When you create the belief that I am a broken mirror now because I have a second chance at a new beginning in error, a circle of mirrors will never be smooth. There's nothing to read here. I'm just a piece of debris. I will never be repaired but will take the pieces as my path before the end of my breathing journey. I will never have the courage to argue with a statement as I sit here in the solitude of the city-space and wonder how complex it is to love you individually. You made my image as it is and I accept it exhaustively.

I will never have any power to liberate myself anymore.

Since all our intimacy shakes your trust, see my heart from afar where I am alive with the poetry of sadness in tears. I am a black bile who always loves you without full sun shine and sparkling stars anymore. I am the expression of death of a tragedy caused by words. Let me go as the dust beautifully, be only I, an eclipse of a black moon.

 
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from zisbnoc

The Self-Body Between Dogma and Blinded Humanism

by Corpus Cantopen

Most people think unconsciously about “accepting” others as they want, and this action becomes a habit of truth and reality about acceptance. They think about what others should be in their ideal minds. When we try to express our needs, they tend to change the subject of the conversation or use the order words “you should not,” or “you should do this,” as they think but not based on others' needs. They never even question others in their communication with, “What do you need?” or “How can I help your needs?” which exacerbates our emotions, makes us feel insecure, and raises questions about the meaning of love and mutuality with others.

It has been my concern for years about the term “dogma” and how it works on the brain to stimulate any possible chemical in our blood and turn on our moods. So, my question is, what is dogma? How does dogma become the absolute meaning of life, to understand life's path, to defend the beyond minds? Or, is there any detail on how these counter-minds just became the boomerang? Rather than seeing and learning what happened behind the conditions of time, we are lost.

Through random and complex patterns from history and philosophical books, I have tried to understand how many eras changed the meaning of dogma for different situations. Basically, it is about a tragedy to undermine it as healing to rebuild. However, it was made unbearable by circumstances, and the only final conclusion was a lack of meaning and purpose following into the next era. Is it the same with humans that “a year has done with their jobs”? I choose to answer it that life beyond time is our challenge to the mind's work.

That is, thoughts exist on the spectrum of a big mechanism inside of our body. As an example, now that people wish to be alive and survive extremely well between gradations, death has become a rejected idea. Then, how to defend this condition while the dogma is to be the opposite in real life? An expression of the body based on depth psychology is an acknowledgement of the need to learn and accept how cognition is another practice in the details to restart the brain's work into kinetics. Before all this happens in the self-body, it is transferred into others as a mutual mechanism.

We say aloud that our biggest enemy is technology. How often do we see that our self-body is the basis of learning? How do we see that, basically, our body is the technology itself? These questions are the most important to me personally, to be explored, while most people prefer to believe and hate reality, then see things as concrete borders unconsciously. We tend to agree with what we like and reject what we don’t like, and these thoughts directly turn into actions for others. It is the unblocking of our minds from personal setbacks as our solution to failure to complete its practical strategies in daily life as a belief. Again, a dogma and rejecting the reality of the body that works based on experiences.

By knocking on the door of dogma in order to develop mental resilience through individual practice at present, repeating the dogmas is an opportunity to improve the ability to deal with what sense of the body works as science-based exercises to understand humans' emotions and needs. Our greatest life boomerang is the self-body at confidence and resilience, effectively dealing with the free, who are too obsessed with freedom of the self in a personal way but not with others' freedom. In the end, to me, being human is a dogma in itself. What is human? A bunch of feelings and emotions.

The importance of life is how to see and feel secure in any situation at heart, and how love is about action as a meaning in every circumstance, in every pain and tragedy of the present. Listening to others is listening to myself too. I call it “acceptance.” Body tools and techniques are simply perfect dogmas about complexity and unity, as patterns to be broken and rebuilt.

 
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from zisbnoc

A Shattered Glass

by Okty Budiati

The day begins with heavy rain and the silence of a cup of black coffee. Yet, the sound of the violin played in solitude perfectly, in simple attitude and in action. Words turned into memory to demonstrate to me how the heart is never fluid but always intense while the mind remains in confusion. This might already have been maintained as an idea. Whatever it was, a thunder frame is ready to erupt in the present moment by seeing the impossible in order to free the valuable ones. Is there an individualist with ethics?

An individual of position and authority is well aware of the attitude proclaiming his importance. It is a man's great pleasure to be very obedient to his ambition. Meanwhile, the rumbling in the voice of a woman's heart is outrageously minor at heart, and let fly far above the clouds. The grey solid that appeared belonged to a rift of coral between the mountains and the seas, like our exclusiveness of the unnamed by his.

To attribute nothing to finding enrichment in our experiences, a different convenience and gratification, is to acknowledge an emptiness. However, aching loneliness disappears into a fundamental transformation as a cumulative process of existential. If there is a desire in order to experience the self, there is no longer freedom from substance. In materialistic minds, people tend to push each other to make a change. Someone has been dreaming of a revolution in the environment. But, does an individual desire evolution for themselves? I doubt.

Lamenting the absence of words. ... by the waiting stream patiently Despite being divided in half, The heart of longing is in sight. turned into a vase ready to break. It is flourishing in parts of nowhere. I saw the beauty in the far scene. Hope is only a great breakdown.

Something not automatically given as respect is earned is an imperative game for most people. A certain value in principles always asks for each principle to be more important. A heart, like pure reason, keeps outsiders out of specific details obtained through various means. Controlling the mind intuitively becomes the key in many mutual relationships.

It is always a matter of emotion. The story is biased and soothing. Thus, too much of a somber increase. This, another sorrow as a living future, to ensure peaceful sleep during torment.

Basically, interacting respectfully not only creates heart-listening. Everyone deserves to be heard, even if there is disagreement with views or opinions. Consider that being well-treated is something important. The one who matters the most is learning how to take action out of life knowledge radically, instead of action based on social judgements.

The evening turned into the dark of the blue. We have changed already because of the disruptions and violations that held things together. To avoid togetherness, great distance is a serious matter as we are emotionally fragile. Deep within the despair, there is a shattered glass formed by the dark tears, as if the rain would never stop, freezing another night alone.

Night waits for a phantom illuminated by the soul. On the moon's windless surface, no dust. Hopelessly to the edge of uselessness... I have taken all the sorrow of one lonely heart. As a result, all the wishers in the glistening pond Wasted beyond the grassy dunes that filled the sky. I am darkened into a teardrop and flared. Perhaps the most intimate of recreational rhythms, These mournful stars slowly dried out the pain. A flame in silken drawn shades of the voyage. Another mist blows in, forgetting about me... I do not belong to the storm clouds.

 
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from zisbnoc

The Limbic Cellular Mechanism

by HP_r1s.5N-33o:TROzz77

I In an Actually Limitless World, My Throat is Bleeding

Another discovery is expanding my knowledge of the interplay between logic and emotions as a living being. As I processed memories in order to respond appropriately, I held the cares and needs to the rarest of emotions. How should I maintain my emotional and temporal balance? In my emotional memory related to covering and protection between my past and present and further back to the unknown past, such a limbic cellular. Am I a robot? This question turned me into an anti-machine and anti-electrical years ago.

My question was, a very long time ago, why are other people too busy labeling us instead of reading themselves and labeling themselves? This note will start all the ridiculous dogma that has been embedded since we were in the womb until we are born in the world as “is a process life represented by enlightenment or refusal of our life?” I'll stick with Peter L. Wilson, or Hakim Bey (as I prefer to call him).

I started reading Peter Lamborn Wilson or Hakim Bey's writing, one of the individualist anarchist writers, as a counterweight in aligning my body-experiential knowledge as my language of arts with my references to literacy journals I've read and kept as memorization of the brain, which often clashed with my search. Boredom literature, as I said, is indeed still imprisoned by academic literacy.

“It is frequently stated that we anarchists “believe humans are fundamentally good”” (as did the Chinese sage Mencius). [“Anarchist Religion”?—Peter L. Wilson, 2009] However, any variation of dogma that causes a question or creates a new follower must be a blinded red-flag sheep into the disbelief of “birth-exist-die” about themselves, or, in other words, how to keep capitalism surviving as an authoritarian system, totally.

How progressive our repressive consciousness has become since the complexities of the 1950s, an era of alienation! As it is now, the term “spook” is becoming a new “ism.” Again, the individual becomes materialism as the body is the dogma that the body has not yet finished exploring. What a boring idea, circling around like a guinea pig. This prompted me to reread what I had missed during my previous explorations as paths, a way of life.

This note certainly makes me re-read Max Stirner for his thoughts on “Art and Religion” in a more distant era. Where did he say that: “Religion itself is without genius. There is no religious genius, and no one would be permitted to distinguish between the talented and the untalented in religion”. [“Art and Religion”—Max Stirner, Rheinische Zeitung, 1842]

For me, Peter provides a new alternative view of seeing the past as a process of social registration in a society that will continue to change. As it has been written, “any liberatory belief system, even the most libertarian (or libertine), can be flipped 180 degrees into a rigid dogma — even anarchism (as witness the case of the late Murray Bookchin). Conversely, even within the most religious of religions the natural human desire for freedom can carve out secret spaces of resistance (as witness the Brethren of the Free Spirit, or certain dervish sects)”.

Here, he did not mention any specific religion but tended to open the gates of a new era to move on, as we understand it as the new wave of cinema without tension and regrets. C’est la vie.

-[to be continued to chapter II]

 
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from zisbnoc

Is the Psychosomatic Phenomenon Inexorably Subject? “when I thrive over the free will perversion manifested in life to cause and caress; I confirm intuitively that it is libertine”

by Corpus Cantopen

If I could reach these minds rationally, I had to make a decision like the wind. Despite my fear of speaking out loud; Who could be emotionally wrapped? I barely considered the consequences.

By then, the moods had discharged by chance, triggering a burst of connectivity. However, these behaviors continued like a journey from one pattern to another unknown. It feels like a sharp wave, while silent, becomes measurable by the body. This exercise based on the anatomy of the body has generated personal expectations.

In transferring support of emotions indirectly, these behaviors are controlled by any consequences. The achievement in threat behavior has been affected by massive exposure to aversive situations. The emotional reactions without relief are not extinguished, but burnt at superiority. That is the so-called nature of humans. A never-ending curse with the most tragically human consequences.

An assumption provided the situation with the ability to cage each other. It's like the object in many images. It becomes tactical readiness through every intersection naturally. Meanwhile, most humans are afraid of change and then emotionally overwhelmed by qualification. Furthermore, how should I work through the mind with the brain? Would humans enjoy being motivated by a reset? I doubt.

However, inanimate substances and descent have been modified in many ways, including me as part of human anatomy, from the confusion of its genomic mutations to environmental adaptation and production as a common ancestor. I faced the most complex part of the labyrinth of the soul; what is an ancestor? Is this term needed for a correct interpretation as a new wave?

What nonsense, deception, and frivolity!

At most, it would be a radical addiction, defined as extreme behavior within the context of great suffering as a social phenomenon. I never returned this immoral fake rebel as per cultural beliefs, but to adequately satiate the desires of the flesh, this body belongs to you freely. What is built into the infamous acronym as many clamor for legitimacy? My enlightened life is cut off. Eat me!!

For all intents and purposes, when it is at its most? Tragically, vulnerable species! This is the ultimate confusion... There is no sun anywhere... I'm reaping the benefits of being absolved of responsibility for suicide; a reimagining of lost narratives

I begged to be alive and had no faith in anything within my rejected path of many indwellings. No culture but body language, anatomically. My trashed body is a terror to the spooks. I no longer care about the lands and seas. Maybe soon the destruction of the sky will be complete. Please close the curtain without any shadows. All cures were false promises and wasted, and this turned out to be the beginning of a great capital of naked pillars.

Inexplicably, while expressing distrobe, these memories are created to reproduce an intriguing causation: a living simple-cell organism is formed and linked to such a ridiculous, obsolete design in disarray. Blackout

 
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from Staring Into the Abyss

Some Initial Thoughts on the Concept of Revolution: A Review of Specters of Revolt

For the last little bit of time I have been working through some thoughts on the concept of revolution. These are still very much in formation, and will probably be the subject of at least part of a book I plan on working on starting this fall. In doing research for the text I came across a text called Specters of Revolt, by Richard Gilman-Opalsky, and had some thoughts that seemed worth sharing, even as nothing more than an opening salvo in this discussion.

Critique

Before diving into the critiques I have of the text I want to discuss the concept of critique itself. There is a tendency for intellectuals, theorists, academics, and people engaged in political theory to approach critique as a sort of eliminationism. By this I mean that critique has become a sort of competition, with critique itself being portrayed as some sort of invalidation of a certain body of thought. This is an absurd view.

On an epistemic level we have to think through what reading, and by extension critique, really is. For us to make the argument that there is a right reading of a text, a correct reading, we have to make a series of highly problematic assumptions. We would need to assume that the text always remains the same in all moments, that it is engaged ahistorically by ahistorical readers that are somehow immune to the dynamics of whatever present they occupy in any given moment. We would also need to assume that all readers are the same; if there is to be a singular right way to read a text there would need to be a common epistemic basis for that reading that would have to be rigidly the same. We would also need to assume that words have objective meanings, and that we all engage with and understand language in exactly the same way. In other words, to claim that there is a right or correct reading of a text is to also assert an entire universe grounded in sameness and determinism.

I want to take a different view, one in which the correctness of reading and concept is secondary, one in which we can dispense with the arrogant assumptions of the true and universal. This view derives from discussions of the act of writing and reading that we will find in Archive Fever, by Derrida, or The Infinite Conversation, by Blanchot. In these texts the act of writing is portrayed as an act. By this I mean that writing is viewed as an event which has contingent effects in particular moments, rather than as the production of a static object that would exist outside of history. The text itself exists in a static, archival, form, which marks the product of a particular series of interpretive moments recorded by a writer. The reader, though, does not enter the text in the same way as the writer, and the writer will not enter the text the same way when they become editor or reader themselves. We encounter text, we engage with it. The text converges with the particularity of our existences and understandings to generate some sort of conceptual outcome.

As such, the concept of critique, for it to be useful, needs to occur in a way that centers around the usefulness of ideas and the theoretical space opened by a specific discourse. As Deleuze writes in his text on Nietzsche:

“Critique is not a re-action of re-sentiment but the active expression of an active mode of existence; attack and not revenge, the natural aggression of a way of being, the divine wickedness without which perfection could not be imagined” (3).

The act of critique is an act of opening, of challenging the singlarity of an understanding to create the possibility of conceptual movement, conceptual reformation, the possibility of presenting the concept in a different light, in a different context, with different results. Therefore, the primary question of critique is not whether we destroy the text we are analyzing; this understanding relies on the assumptions outlined above. Rather, critique functions as an act of destruction and appropriation, a process of borrowing ideas, utilizing theoretical movements, and functionally taking what is useful in the process of attempting to create a series of conceptual possibilities. It is a form of thought that very much exists within life, in all of its chaotic particularity, and in the service of launching attacks to eliminate impediments to the possibilities of that existence. It is revolt.

The existence of critique as revolt, as an opening of possibilities without some prescribed moment of reconcretization (some end of revolt), becomes a core concept in the thoughts I am recording here. We see a similar dynamic play itself out through this text, where the tendencies toward definitionalism and certainty, of concretizing objects of thought and presenting them as analogous to the world, collide with the chaotic contingency of any given moment. In this instance the object of analysis is the concept of revolution, the attempt to define the concept, and the problems latent in that attempt. But, as we will see, it is the framing of the question itself that generates a certain type of problematic in the text, a problematic that points not to issues in the text, but to issues in the entire conceptualization of what revolution is, and whether the category is even useful anymore (or ever was).


Setting the Stage

Initially I had picked this text up in order to explore the discussion of the concept of revolution contained within. As I stated above, this concept, as currently understood, functions as a form of sungularizing historicism. By this I mean that the concept of revolution is in itself something that is singular, and as such, a concept that posits a spatio-temporality with very specific characteristics. We can see this singularity in construction of the very concept itself through the medium of naming a historical moment. The strings of events that we term revolutions are often the result of some deeply complex, often misunderstood, motivations and historical dynamics that construct these events with specific contours. These contours do not spread across space equally, with conflict finding points of greater, lesser, or different concentrations and expressions.

The packaging of this complex series of historical events, which will never be replicated to the degree that our actions have effects that shape the future, points to two core problems with this formulation. Firstly, this reality of revolution, that it is a complex series of historical events summarized within the confines of a singular object, gives us some insight into the process of historicism and its role in the construction of ideology. Ideological constructs function, on a practical level, by taking their epistemic claims to universal truth and then utilizing a pseudo-analysis grounded in the ideological reflection in events, the aura of ideology in the event itself. In this construct there is an implicit assertion that two moves are possible; that moments can be subsumed into historical objects and that these historical objects are somehow comparable across time, even just as an expression of ideology. Without the concept of revolution forming the foundations of this singularization of complex events then conceptual universes, such as Leninism, that rely on this universalization of historical condition, this claim that strategy, for example, exists independent of the strategic context and functions based on this comparability of historical events.

This singularization of historical events mirrors all other processes of historicism, and in this way is not unique. Nor is it unique on the level of grouping a series of historically particular dynamics, freezing them, and reducing them down to their lowest common denominator, while asserting that the common denominator is a thing to begin with. In both of these ways the concept of revolution mirrors our coding of other events. We can take World War II as an example. It was a complex series of events, with highly localized dynamics, which were subsumed within a broader global power struggle, which was in itself inscribed with the urgencies of intervening in genocide. In no two places did the war manifest in the same ways, and in no two places were these events isolated from all other dynamics occurring during that time. So, while the category of World War II may be useful in the discussion of these events, allowing us to make sense of them, in itself the concept of World War II does not express the moments that are subsumed in that concept, it only expresses the contours of the concept that is used to organize these events, defining them by something outside of themselves.

In the coding of specific events as revolution there is a dual move being made. In this first move the events that comprise what will be termed “a revolution” will need to be grouped together under this category. This is where problems like historical revisionism arise, and why there are different Stalinist and Trotskyist histories of the Russian Revolution; there was disagreement over what events counted as part of the revolution and which were not. It is at this location in which rewritings of the coding of events, the determination of what is defined by the category, allows for these events to be coded ideologically, and often in ways that eliminate ethical complications, failures, and mistakes, reducing this “history” to another tool of propaganda and ideological distortion. Secondly, in performing this act of coding a series of events, now grouped under the heading of revolution, are separated from all other events. In this grouping of specific events into the categorical heading of revolution, often with these other events being considered “counter-revolutionary”, a sort of hermetically sealed grouping is created, with boundaries marking it as separate from its outside. This framing completely divorces any notion of “revolution” from its historical conditions of possibility, and constructs it as a specific historical object that can be understood as such. The second move is to then take this categorical definition of events, and exalt it as a specific object that is able to be understood in some sort of true way. It is only from here that one can be said to be studying revolutions, or that one can say that they understand some ahistorical truth about revolutions; all tankies rely on this construct.

These conditions of possibility, historical coding and exalting the category, not only form the foundations for “bad” understandings of revolution. Rather, they form the foundations for all understandings of the concept of revolution, and is implied simply by naming the events and then placing them at the center of political discourses, making the construct of revolution a core political question. It is really from this point that this text departs, that it finds its launching point. In some ways there is a sense in which this is a text that speaks from a specific location. It is a location marked by the activist norms of the 1990s (there are lots of references to the Zapatistas and the anti-globalization movement, and a lot of the same categories), and one in which the concept of revolution still comes to form a core political category. This is a tension that marks the entire text, one in which the critique of the concept of revolution almost crests into a core analysis of the concept itself, bringing the concept itself into the realm of critique, only to get trapped in its terms, turned backwards, and collapsing into paradox at numerous points. But, to see where these moments are able to be identified, we should step through the text, which is definitely worth a read for those interested in this concept specifically.

As with any text there are any number of threads that run through the narrative. In this case there is a narrative on the concept of revolution or revolt (for Opalsky revolts grow into revolutions), but also narratives centered around concepts like culture jamming (note the 1990s reference point), concepts of notions of the future, concepts of desire, notions of struggle and conflict without struggle, as well as any of a number of small ruminations on specific thinkers or texts, all of which are interesting. As with any complex text there is always a bit of arificiality in attempting to separate one thread from the others, to break it away from its weaving into other threads, but that is exactly what we will be doing here. These other narratives, whether they focus on concepts of desire or notions of the future, are all departing from a concept of revolution, which Opalsky attempts to challenge and render more fluid without dispensing with the idea. This tension, between recognizing issues with the concept but not dispensing with it, permeates the entire text, and sets epistemic conditions that create problems as the text proceeds.


Revolution: The Formation of a Concept

A core point in the text, which emerges in the Introduction and carries through the forst couple of pieces, is that revolt exists as a subtext to history, an almost invisible force with its own ontological and epistemic structures; this is a significant claim. In embracing this claim we are directly arguing against the understanding of revolt as a formal category visible in the abstract, outside of history, as a legible force mobilized intentionally. If we think through the concept of revolution, or the notion of revolt, in relation to political activity, a clear assumption becomes clear; namely, the assumption that successful organizing is something that can be objectively managed, and that it always results in achieving some sort of mobilization of revolt. This understanding, which is core to much of the arrogance of political organizing culture, heavily relies on the idea that revolt is an object that can be understood and mobilized regardless of its relationship to events; a wholly despatialized, ahistorical understanding of revolt.

The problems that characterize this move, and this replicates throughout the text, becomes clear almost immediately however. In the very next conceptual move there is an injunction to determine or define what revolt can be, just to do so with more open categories than the deterministic lens inherited from Leninism. This conceptual-material fusionism, this claim that we can understand revolt in the conceptual, and that this will impact the material, prioritizes the categorization, making its definition imperative for the contextualization of the rest of the argument. In other words, revolt and revolution become objects of analysis in this narrative, rather than namings of events, and as such they must be set aside from history in the very act of their definition. One is not defining actual events named revolts, one is defining a category of revolt and then attemptoing to shape events based on this understanding, and as such, the revolt itself becomes removed from its particularity, and begins to exist only to the degree that events can be subsumed within the definition.

To illustrate this move we can look at the ways that the concept of desire is used in the Beyond Struggle essay. The concept of desire is mobilized in this piece to be a counter-point to the concept of struggle, with the injunction being that we should not struggle but act from desire. Let us look beyond the fact that one can desire struggle, or the ways in which this injunction ignores actual hardships, risks, and stakes. Rather, here, I want to focus on the conceptual pre-conditions for this discussion to emerge to begin with. For us to make the claim that desire should become some fundamental motivating force of revolt we need to make two claims. The first claim is that something like desire or revolt can be made into conceptual objects without fundamentally destroying the dynamism that gives these concepts meaning. In naming these concepts as concepts, as conceptual constructions that persist over time, the material particularity of their manifestation as desire or conflict is erased and replaced with a staid and static definition of the concept. Secondly, we then need to posit that the construction of a narrative of conceptual connection between these terms not only speaks directly of the world (which, again, presumes a static world) but is also something that can directly manifest in the world in the terms of its conceptual construction. That is to say, that this architecture presumes that these static categories in themselves are manifested in the world in their static and ahistorical generalism, and that the movements of these concepts then come to define the world.

In another example, this time around pages 80-89, we can begin to see the impact of this sort of thinking. In this section there is a discussion of power as an organic material possibility latent in existence itself. This would imply that the term power, in the spirit of Foucault, is being used to name an active series of dynamics that cannot be subsumed in the term power. Now, if we were to take this position that open categories, like power, or categories that name activity, like revolt, are not able to be defined, and don't speak directly of the world, then the entire attempt here, to define a concept of revolution that does not have the same deficiencies as in the past, would completely collapse in the impossibility of defining actual acts grouped under headings of revolt or revolution. In this discussion of power the discourse itself begins with this clear discussion of the microscopic and organic manifestations of dynamics grouped under the term power, but this then immediately solidifies in the discussion of scale.. Gilman-Opalsky argues that, though capital operates in locality, it is actually “large”, to use his term, and requires revolt at the same scale.

OK, let's investigate this claim. To make the argument that capital operates at “large” scale is to make the argument that capital itself operates across space and time, giving it a body all of its own. This is clearly the attempt of capital, to construct a universe of meaning that operates as the condition of possibility for existence, but this is not something that we can speak of singularly if we want to discuss actions as something that has effects. If actions have effects, then any following moment is going to be directly the result of the dynamics of this present, and as such, no present moment ever repeats. These moments are also not singular across space, with different dynamics functioning within the same moment in different spaces. So, to say that capital is “large” is to say that the local actions that actually comprise economic activity are, in themselves, driven by something outside of themselves in a direct way that defines the actions in actuality. This does not mean, as I would claim, that capital is a structure of meaning imposed through policing, which would involve local decisions and actions. Rather, to claim this scale of capital is to argue that there is something that exceeds the moment materially, an actual transcendental force, that directly defines these acts as capital, and as separate from other “non-capital” acts.

In making this move capital ceases to be an attempt at organizing logistics and imposing limits on the possibilities of existence through police force, in which interventions are fundamentally bound up with this microscopicness, and begins to become a category that defines some actions that are grouped together across time and space, opposing some “large” scale “system” which is also devoid of locality or temporality. In doing so both capital and revolt are abstracted from their occurrence, from the time and space of the events coded in these ways, thrown into a conceptual comparison which is, in turn, then supposed to speak directly of reality; it is a strange, but very very common, conceptual construction when viewed through this lens. The centrality of the category does not fuse the concept of revolt with some dynamic structuring of theory in the midst of conflictual events. Rather, we experience the inverse, the wholesale obliteration of possibility in the static conceptualization of a singular categorical “system” which is meant to be confronted by some generalized revolt. In this arrangement, the world itself disappears and we enter into a whollly conceptual discourse on some idea of revolution against some idea of a “system”.

It is only from this disappearance of life that concepts like revolution, thought as a singular event, can be said to be understood in their entirety by some sort of privileged revolutionary subject, such as the technician in Leninism. So, even though the text itself later returns to a sort of molecularity, this baggage of the assertion of a conceptually singular capital, unified across time and space, leads Gilman-Opalsky to speak of the “micropolitical”, conflict which occurs in the time and space of actual activity, as a politics of failure due to the inability to defeat “systems”. In this claim the concept of “large”, namely non-particular and singular across time and space, is taken as a given category for all analysis, with all other analyses departing from different categories “failing”, due to not addressing a construct, the “system”, which is seen increasingly as an un-useful artifice. The imposition of this analytic framework also imposes an entire conceptual reality in which systems actually exist, in which there are things that are singular and persist in this form across time and space, which then asserts a conceptual reality in which singular concepts of revolution make sense. But, outside of that framing, which I would argue is impossible to actually support conceptually, this assertion of the massification of activity and the removal of the act from its time and space makes no sense. The result is a conceptual tautology, where the assertion of “large” systems necessitates the existence of “large” revolutions, which in turn presumes an entire organizational and ontological model rooted in massification and modernism.

Within the text there is an attempt to address this paradox, which is not unnoticed, around page 92. In this discussion the concept of culmination is raised, as some point in which there is a convergence between the micropolitical and the “large” mass scale of revolution, in this conceptualization. On the one hand, this approach does allow us to displace the question of the act onto the plane of effect, and thus onto the material plane. By placing the culmination of actions at the pinnacle of analysis, and rendering that culmination through the effects of actions, discourses around some essence of the act, or some true act, are eliminated in favor of a discourse that should be grounded in the moment. But, on the other hand, while this is occurring there is a countervailing tendency pulling in the other direction. At the moment that the point of culmination is placed at the center of the discourse on the political all particular acts are subsumed into this culmination, and the nuanced temporality and particular material conditions of the acts grouped into the category of a revolution is condensed into this singular moment of culmination. In other words, rather than seeing acts that exist in light of their particular time and space, the act is said to exist in this form, but only to the degree that it fulfills the condition of possibility of leading to a culmination. As such, the culmination then takes the place of the ahistorical object and becomes the point of orientation in which all action is judged, preserving the singularity of the point of focus, whether we call it culmination or revolution.

There are many other places where these dynamics emerge, but I think this demonstrates the point. Core to this text is a venture that I see frequently in thinkers both of this era, and also within academia. There is a tendency within that world to want to speak of the political within the terms common to those discourses, which were heavily influenced by Leninist reductionism and the simplicity of categorical thinking, while problematizing the limitations of the original articulations of these categories. What results, however, is a discourse in which categories become more open, but also migrate into the center of all narratives, as a condition of possibility for all other thought around the subject. These dynamics typified the New Left, and informed its inability to break from authoritarianism, as well as the more activist left of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which often operated based on simplistic and absolutist categories, often collapsing into purism discourses. What is often not embraced, however, is the impossibility of these discourses, regardless of how nuanced the terms, actually speaking of life, in its temporal and spatial nuances and particularities. There is a hesitancy to speak of philosophy itself, and its impossibility, and as a result, there is often a tendency to adopt terms which imply epistemic and ontological frameworks that undermine the point that one is trying to make. In this case Gilman-Opalsky does a wonderful job of problematizing the very ontology of the concept of revolution, only to then reconstruct some concept of a politically singular moment and call it something else. We can do better than this.

Writing the Indiscernible

This is the section of an essay where I am supposed to outline some new amazing concept that is supposed to solve all of our conceptual problems. I don't have anything like that for you all, and in some ways the very structure of that type of articulation prevents the critique that is being leveraged here; to imply some singular solution is to assert the singularity of the problem which is to assert the singularity of circumstance. On some level we need to abandon the concept of the solution in its entirety, rendering some sort of recommendation counter-productive here.

The real difficulty, and this is the element of this discussion that I am working through currently, and have been working through for a while, is how one speaks possibility, conflict, contingency, and so on. Philosophy in many ways is trapped by the contours of concepts themselves. By this I do not mean that there are deficiencies in specific concepts. Rather, that the entire construction of the concept implies a universe in which singular terms can name singular ideas which wholly and completely express singular categories of objects that are all thought to be the same. Marx discusses this in Chapter 1 of Capital, where he discusses commodities, but we can use a simpler example. When we name something, lets say capitalism for example, we are naming that thing singularly, as something that persists across time and space, and then naming things in relation to that concept. In the context of capitalism, which we discussed above, the term capitalism implies a singularity to the operations of capital. In taking this ontological lens on, one is subsequently eliminating the particular actions that are grouped under capitalism, as material moments, and replacing them with their reflection in this category, tying them to some commonality and not to the material particularity of the moment that occurs. As such, when we discuss resistance to capitalism, therefore, that discourse tends to focus on some asserted necessity of mass resistance, which then facilitates specific political categories and forms.

We have to admit that the revolutionary project, as conceived of in this singular form deriving from the American and French revolutions, has been an abject failure. There is a widely held perspective that revolutions lead to disaster and the mass death of political opponents, and there is every good reason to think that this is true. The end result of this perception is that political imagination is horrendously constrained. And, no, falling into genocide denial and apologetics, like the tankies have done, is not a way to solve this problem. Rather we have to completely rethink political action in the full light of the failures of revolution, and do so with a willingness to abandon the concept, and its notions of space and time, its asserted ontological universe, and its epistemic assertions.

What needs to be thought is a way to speak of action while undermining the singularity of the discourse at the moment of its articulation. It is a similar problem that arises when one attempts to discuss concepts of the self, or notions of social dynamics, or the movement of atoms. It is an attempt to speak that which resist being spoken, to discuss the unleashing of possibilities without defining those possibilities, to embrace a politics in which the future remains open, and in which we are not attempting to impose definitions of life.

This task is something I am very much working through. Some elements of working through this can be seen in Army of Ghosts, but there is a lot of work to do. I very likely have an upcoming book project for this summer, focused on some reflections from the uprising and what that can teach us about the deficiencies of activism. But, once that project is complete this is the next task, to take this critique, expand it, and build a narrative around attempting to map some openings, without mapping out the paths to and from those openings.

 
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from Dice Game

Notes On Musical Order

Siren Song:

This is the one song everyone would like to learn The song that is irresistible

The song that forces men to leap overboard in squadrons Even though they see the beached skulls

The song nobody knows because anyone who has heard it is dead And the others can’t remember

Shall I tell you the secret? And if I do, will you get me out of this bird suit?

I don’t enjoy it here squatting on this island Looking picturesque and mythical

With these two feathery maniacs, I don’t enjoy singing this trio, fatal and valuable

I will tell the secret to you, to you, only to you Come closer

This song is a cry for help: Help me! Only you, only you can, you are unique At last

Alas it is a boring song But it works every time

Western Music

Music produced in Europe as well as those musics derived from the European ancient times to present day:

“Moses was instructed by God to make two trumpets. They were to be made of hammered, or beaten, silver. The priests used them to announce many events associated with the temple and various festivals. Trumpets and horns were blown to call people to worship and to signal momentous events. Harps and lyres were plucked and strummed to pacify royalty.”

Ancient civilizations entered historical times with a flourishing musical culture. That the earliest writers explained it in terms of legend and myth, strongly suggests the remote beginnings of the “art” of sound. Among the speculations about its origin, the more plausible are that it began as a primitive form of communication, that it grew out of a device to expedite communal labour, or that it originated as a powerful adjunct to religious ceremonies. While such theories must necessarily remain speculative it is clear, despite the prehistoric musical artifacts found in central Europe, that the cradle of Western music was the Fertile Crescent cupping the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. There the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Hebrew nations, among others, evolved political, social cultures that were absorbed by the conquering Greeks and, in turn, by the Romans, who introduced elements of that Mediterranean music to much of western Europe.

In all of these early cultures the social functions of music were essentially the same, since their climate, geographic location, cultural pace, and mutual influences produced many more social similarities than differences. The primary function of music was apparently religious, ranging from heightening the effect of “magic”, to ennobling liturgies. The other musical occasions depicted in both pictures and written accounts were equally functional: stirring incitements to military zeal, soothing accompaniments to communal or solitary labour, heightening aids to dramatic spectacles, and enlivening backgrounds to social gatherings that involved either singing or dancing or both. In every case musical sounds were an adjunct to song, and/or bodily movement: dance, march, game, and work. To support its fundamental role in society, an intricate scientific rationale of music evolved, encompassing tuning, instruments, modes (melodic formulas based on certain scales), and rhythms.

19th Century Music Industry

In the mid-nineteenth century, printed sheet music was the music industries primary product. Publishers marketed songs for use 1.) by the growing number of private piano owners 2.) by touring musical reviews. [Blackface] Minstrelsy was the most popular form of live entertainment in the US through much of the 19th century, and companies became celebrity through touring established theatre circuits. Their endorsement of a song would often result in the popularization of a certain sheet of music.

When the phonograph came to be in 1877, few initially imagined it would be used primarily for music. Yet by the 1890s, “nickel-in-the-slot” talking machines reached urban arcades, introducing the US to mechanically reproduced music. Companies controlled the patents to compelling phonograph technologies, and Thomas Edison controlled his wax cylinder playback technology (licensing it to the fledging Columbia Phonograph Company, thus introducing the first talking machines designed for home use in 1896). By this time, the competing gramophone disk machines and records made by Emile Berliner had already been distributed.

Firms raced to establish their technology as the consumer standard throughout the US – ‘Victors Talking Machine Company’ eventually came out on top by focusing on the home consumer, creating celebrity recording artists, and expanding globally. In 1919, the ‘Radio Corporation of America’ (RCA) was founded and began to market millions of consumer targeted radios – phonograph companies soon began advertising the new medium. In 1929, RCA acquired Victor & the phonograph, and the radio industries continued to increase their ties. Recording artists demanded compensation for the broadcast of their material through organizations such as the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

During The Great Depression record sales plummeted from 150 million in 1929 to 10 million in 1933, and the industry was again comprised of a few powerhouse corporations. ASCAP, overseeing royalty collection for the vast majority of published music, continued to demand for radio broadcasts. In 1941, they forbade radio stations to play the music they represented. Their rival, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), offered stations its collection of music that had not been accepted by ASCAP. The result was a wave of decentralization within the industry.

Throughout the music industries postwar expansion, musicians organized in attempt to protect their rights and promote their careers. But presumably, unions failed, only garnering rights for their members (including closed shops and union pay scales in established theater circuits, symphony orchestras, society dance networks, and recordings studios), losing employment to new technologies and garnering higher royalty rates for record sales.

Music & Trance:

Music in its Relations to Emotional, Communal, and Shamanic Trances:

The role of the music is much less to produce the trance than to create conditions favorable to its onset, to regularize its form, and to ensure that instead of being a merely individual, unpredictable, and uncontrollable phenomenon, it becomes, on the contrary, predictable, controlled, and at the service of the group.

A Brief look at “Music as a Weapon” By CrimethInc:

To dissect for a moment, yet another absolutely horrendous CrimethInc article, let us take a brief look at the preface from “Music as a Weapon: When Punk Was a Recruiting Ground for Anarchy”:

“There are countless reasons not to tie the fate of a revolutionary movement to the fortunes of a music scene. Coming into anarchism via punk, people tended to approach anarchist activity in the same way they would participate in a youth sub-culture. This contributed to an anarchist milieu characterized by consumerism rather than initiative, a focus on identity rather than dynamic change, activities limited to leisure time of the participants, ideological conflicts that boil down to disputes over taste, and an orientation towards youth that made the movement largely irrelevant upon the onset of adulthood… Yet during the decades of global reaction that followed the 1960s, the punk underground was one of the chief catalysts of the renaissance of anarchism. Were it not for punk, anti-capitalists in many parts of the world might still be choosing between stale brands of authoritarian socialism… Granted, the average punk show was as dominated by patriarchy as a college classroom. All the hierarchies, economics, and power dynamics of capitalist society were present in microcosm. And anarchism was not the only seed that utilized this soapbox: countless ideologies competed in the punk milieu, from Neo-Nazism to Christianity and Krishna “consciousness.”

Whilst one might find the off-statement to be true, CrimethInc fails to provide any incite as to why these hierarchies were able to incubate. They fail to acknowledge or even question what it is about the organizational aspect of their anarchism that allows for such eurocentric reflections to fester. They continue the entirety of the piece in constant vacillation. Somehow at times even gushing over how: “all of this makes it that much more striking that anarchist ideas fared so well!... We can attribute this success to structural factors”, and that music and punk “offer a rare model for organizing the affairs of a network, and community defense mechanisms”:

“...punk helped keep anarchist ideas alive between the 1970s and the 21st century in the same way that monasteries preserved science and literature through the Dark Ages... Although the demands and influence of the capitalist economy recreated the same power imbalances and materialism that punks had hoped to escape – limiting the punk critique of capitalism to a variant of the liberal maxim “buy local” – but the anticapitalist DIY underground displayed a remarkable resilience! In a cycle that became familiar, each generation expanded until profit driven record labels skimmed the most popular apolitical bands off the top, setting the stage for a return to grassroots independence and experimentation. So the punk scene provided the music industry a free testing and development site for new bands and trends.”

Immediatism I-V:

i. “All experience is mediated—by the mechanisms of sense perception, mentation, language, etc.—& certainly all art consists of some further mediation of experience.”

ii. “However, mediation takes place by degrees. Some experiences (smell, taste, sexual pleasure, etc.) are less mediated than others (reading a book, looking through a telescope, listening to a record). Some media, especially “live” arts such as dance, theater, musical or bardic performance, are less mediated than others such as TV, CDs, Virtual Reality. Even among the media usually called “media,” some are more & others are less mediated, according to the intensity of imaginative participation they demand. Print & radio demand more of the imagination, film less, TV even less, VR the least of all—so far.”

iii. “For art, the intervention of Capital always signals a further degree of mediation. To say that art is commodified is to say that a mediation, or standing-in-between, has occurred, & that this betweenness amounts to a split, & that this split amounts to “alienation.” Improv music played by friends at home is less “alienated” than music played “live” at the Met, or music played through media (whether PBS or MTV or Walkman). In fact, an argument could be made that music distributed free or at cost on cassette via mail is LESS alienated than live music played at some huge We Are The World spectacle or Las Vegas niteclub, even though the latter is live music played to a live audience (or at least so it appears), while the former is recorded music consumed by distant & even anonymous listeners.”

iv. “The tendency of Hi Tech, & the tendency of Late Capitalism, both impel the arts farther & farther into extreme forms of mediation. Both widen the gulf between the production & consumption of art, with a corresponding increase in “alienation.”

v. “With the disappearance of a “mainstream” & therefore of an “avant-garde” in the arts, it has been noticed that all the more advanced & intense art-experiences have been recuperable almost instantly by the media, & thus are rendered into trash like all other trash in the ghostly world of commodities.”

Excerpts from Liber Nihil

i. “It is my ever growing suspicion that what... others referred to as the Will is embodied in the creative gesture, particularly that which is sparked by a mysterious sort of creative aesthetic desire. But these creative and aesthetic desires have become consumed by commercial interests in the form of marketing and consumer-targeting forms of design. The powerful wizards of marketing enchant the masses by appealing to our most unconscious desires with seemingly unrivaled mastery and success, conjuring aesthetic desires (among other things) towards capitalist ends. They too understand the power of language and symbols…”

ii. “...developing the capacity to think critically about ones aesthetic desires can be a powerful tool in demystifying the way we understand imagery and desire, and possibly a better awareness of how these things are used to control us. These can be practiced-expressed personally, such as with a journal or sketchbook, or experimental forms of communication; a book or zine, graffiti, publicly displayed creation or performance, or by approaching and contributing to a form in dialogue with others…”

iii. “thoughtful and creative inversions and negation grounded in the trajectory of the personal, which is more organic than a straight and rigid line steered opposite of the opponent. Not many competitive fields of the social award apparent victories to the participant who merely runs away from the current champion, placing pure negation more along the lines of pacifism rooted in ressentiment than a form of creative attack. Rather than simply communicating a shared affinity for pentagrams, Satan, skeletons, and the macabre (all of which I am fond of aesthetically despite the following critique), there exists an exciting and vastly unexplored plane of metaphysical idiosyncrasies waiting to be expressed creatively. This imagery saturates metal genres of music lyrically and visually, along with historical occult references, displaying itself as satire and symbolism – ancestors of Christian allegorical works. There is a point, however, when the symbolism crosses into the realm of magick. A certain assertion occurs on behalf of the presenter, where the distinction between what is supposedly real and what is supposedly mythological or surreal is removed. This assertion of make-believe parallels the magick intent promoted within the vacuity of Austin Osman Spare's state of gnosis as a rejection of truth, though promotes the make-believe process in a semi-ritualized manner that takes the audience along for the journey, should they choose to step onto the boat. The lack of explicit instruction for dogmatic adherence to the creative meta-narrative, such as that within the occult-oriented doom metal of Sleep or Electric Wizard, leaves the audience to impress their own position and desires onto the meta-narrative. Within these fictions lie bleak, disillusioned perspectives that recount the suffering of burned witches, the abandonment of our destroyed planet, and other examples of storytelling that immerse the listener into a form of gnosis that increases with the multimedia's ability to encapsulate the senses.”

Elemental Black Metal

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix outlines what they term Transcendental Black Metal in their manifesto of the same name included in the collection, Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium 1. Although I appreciate the philosophical effort (even more so the musical output of Liturgy), Id like to make use of their framework to provide a third alternative. The metaphysics of Elemental Black Metal appeals more to me than the apocalyptic humanism they prescribe, or the Hyperborean nihilism they seek to move beyond.

HYPERBOREAN TRANSCENDENTAL ELEMENTAL NIHILISM AFFIRMATION CONTINGENCY ATROPHY HYPERTROPHY FORGETTING BLAST BEAT BURST BEAT DRONE LUNAR SOLAR EARTHLY DEPRAVITY COURAGE GETTING LOST THE INFINITE THE FINITE ENTANGLEMENT PURITY PENULTIMACY DIFFUSION

ELEMENTAL According to Susanna Lindberg, the elementals are “abstract ways of articulating the materiality of being.” Elemental nature is unthinkable (beyond human thought), primordial (always ever there), and chthonic (found in the realm of the underworld). It is beyond the sensible or rational. It is “the absence of transcendental ground” existing as already available images. To Emmanuel Levinas, it is the it when it rains, il y a. It is indeterminate, opaque, and an absence that makes presence possible.

CONTINGENCY Contingency is a potential force, and the force of potential. It is unexpected and not destined. It is an unintended consequence. It foils teleologies and disrupts ecologies even as it erupts from them. It is a senseless reshuffling of the cards. To humans, it is felt as looming cosmic catastrophe. It undoes worlds. It is nihilism to humans, but not something (or a nothing) one can be for.

FORGETTING Creative forgetting is unlearning mastery, as Bayo Akomolafe puts it. This could be also considered unthinking. This is what Friedrich Nietzsche describes as the child stage in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: approaching the world anew having shed the burden of the camel and the ressentiment of the lion. It is what Laozi describes as the uncarved block: the capacity to become. It is not a rejection of the past, but an awareness that the past has yet to come.

DRONE Drone is an enveloping, pulsating resonance. In metal, it is exemplified generally by much of the work of bands Earth and Sunn O))) of Cascadia, and Boris and Corrupted of Japan's urban epicenters. It is exemplified specifically by the track Tanggalkan Di Dunia (Undo The World) by the band Senyawa of Jogjakarta. The blackest of drone metal best accompanies Eugene Thacker's notion of cosmic pessimism. More than listened to, drone is felt.

EARTHLY (SUBTERRANEAN) Elemental metal is earthly, but more specifically subterranean. It lies beneath bogs and marshes, and is buried under sand in windswept deserts. It forms underground caverns and deep sea trenches. It moves through mycelia and magma flows. It is of the underworld: connecting the living and the dead, and blurring the line between them. It is known by humans for its opacity.

GETTING LOST The outcome of becoming lost is unknown. Losing oneself is impure, and resists preservation. It is breaking free from the fixed continuity of self and time, not through external transcendence, but passionate corporeality: a reckoning with the soul, followed by grotesque laughter.

ENTANGLEMENT According to Carlo Rovelli, entanglement is predicated upon three aspects: granularity, indeterminacy, and relationality. An entangled understanding unmasks time for what it is: a relation between human perception and the cosmos. The cosmos is composed of indeterminate becomings in relation to each other, rather than finite or infinite being.

DIFFUSION Diffusion is a withdrawal from incapacitating concentrations. It is an exit strategy. It is fluid, dissolvable, and becoming illegible. It is fleeing to the forest or going underground. It is fugitivity.

 
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from Dice Game

Music & Trance

Music in its Relations to Emotional, Communal, and Shamanic Trances:

“The role of the music is much less to produce the trance than to create conditions favorable to its onset, to regularize its form, and to ensure that instead of being a merely individual, unpredictable, and uncontrollable phenomenon, it becomes, on the contrary, predictable, controlled, and at the service of the group...”

Music in its Relations to [musical] Possession Trance:

“Although it is conceivable that a subject can enter into trance without music, it is inconceivable that a subject could experience the trance itself without music. Let us say that, in possession, music is the condition of the trance experience. This is so for a few reasons. First, because possession trance is a change of identity, because that change of identity has no meaning for the subject unless his new identity is recognized by [others], because it is the music that signals it, because this new identity must be manifested. Provided, then, that it is not absolutely fleeting (I am thinking of Malkam Ayyahu's trances, described by Leiris, which often lasted no more than an instant, just long enough to express it with a gesture, word, pose), provided that it has duration, this trance, which is the experience of another identity, has an absolute need for music in order to continue to exist, since it is music that, through its identificatory character, maintains the illusion and that, enables it to be manifested.

The major function of music thus seems to be maintaining the trance, rather in the way an electric current will maintain the vibration of a tuning fork if tuned to the same pitch frequency. Here, however, music is not just physically (on a purely motor level) “in tune” with trance. It is even more “in tune” on the psychological level, since its action consists in putting the individual experiencing his transitory identity “in phase” with the group that is recognizing this identity, or imposing it upon him.”

 
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from A Young Ascetic

par Anonyme

  1. QUEER : « étrange, singulier, eccentrique. » Provenant de l’Allemand quer : « oblique, pervers, entravé », qui descend du Vieil Allemand pour « oblique », twerh, qui dérive de la racine terkw, « tourner, se tordre, serpenter », comme dans « le labyrinthe se tourne, se tord, serpente. »

  2. GOÉTIE : « L’invocation de démons ou esprits. » Du Grec goeteia, « sorcellerie », de goes, « sorcièr.e, mage », ultimement dérivé de goao, « crier, gémir », comme lors de deuil, de rite, de sacrament.

Nos mort/es ont faim. Baise, danse, cours, embrasse, vole, libère ta décadence, chante, détruit, crée. L’énergie de la vie, l’extase vital, les invite à se rapprocher, les nourrit.

Permets tes baisers, tes danses, ton sexe, ta création, ta destruction de te mener à la transe.

Donne aux mort/es un espace et orne cet endroit richement. Parle-leur là, dans cet espace qui leur est confortable et familier.

Les mort/es, et les mort/es queer surtout, sont sans catégorie, iels existent dans le chaos. Ne cherche pas d’organisation, ni de listes. Plutôt, trouve des nodosités, des affinités, des réseaux de contacts. Iels se coordonneront ensemble.

Apprends leurs noms, tous leurs noms. Les noms secrets, aussi. D’autant mieux pour lancer l’appel.

Cherche, recherche, obsessionnellement, frénétiquement, extatiquement.

Étudie leurs codes, soumets toi à l’argot du milieu, les signes, ouvre toi aux messages voilés.

Il n’y a pas de coïncidences.

Porte une attention spéciale aux rejeté/es, rêveurs/ses, malades, saoulon/nes.

Permets toi d’essayer la divination: pratique la bibliomancie, écoute les oiseaux, scrute les profondeurs de ton vin, apaise ton mental. Altère tes états de conscience avec la drogue, le jeûne, les danses, en chantant.

Veille. Visite les mémoriaux. Verse des libations. Fabrique et allume des bougies.

Célèbre les anniversaires de naissance, de décès, les réussites, les festivals.

Dresse une carte d’espaces sacrés, crée une géographie enchantée.

Arpente les vieux endroits : bars, parcs, spots de cruise. Là, retrouve la trace.

Il y en a qui voyagent en groupe, par maison. D’autres, solitaires. Apprends à communier seul/e et ensemble.

Parmi les disparu/es: plus ou moins d’ascension, plus ou moins de sagesse, plus ou moins de traumatismes perdurant.

Cherche l’aide des sages, et ne te perds pas parmi la souffrance et la peur des autres.

Tu te sentiras peut-être en train de mourir. Tu te trouveras peut-être en panique ou en anxiété profonde. C’est le prix du travail. Apprends à séparer ce qui t’appartient de ce qui ne t’appartient pas.

Le travail c’est aussi de venir en aide aux autres qui ont besoin de guérir. De montrer aux autres comment se guérir soi-même.

La guérison comporte aussi l’extase.

Cultive l’empathie, apprends à la moduler.

L’empathie peut se ressentir en tant que désir, maladie, terreur, joie, jouissance.

Vogue tes anxiétés et tes manies, tes hauts et tes bas. Souvent, les esprits se retrouvent de l’autre côté.

Il faut maintenir l’équilibre. Avec ton entourage de défunt/es, invite la vie à part égale.

Nettoie tes corps, chasse le miasme des esprits.

Nettoie-toi avec les fleurs, les bains, les parfums.

Nettoie ton portail de perception.

Apprends à ouvrir et fermer les portes, à bâtir et brûler les ponts.

Chante, surtout si tu ne chantes jamais, chantes pour les mort/es et les mort/es uniquement.

Cultive certaines qualités – eustatisme, cathartisme, flamboyance, chthonisme – en toutes choses.

Pratique l’écriture automatique, la transe possesseuse, toutes méthodes de canalisation.

Descends, puis remonte. Voyage, puis reviens.

Prends des pauses, prends ton temps, prends de l’air, libre à toi.

Les freaks sortent la nuit.

Tout danse.

Essaie le travail en groupe, amplifiant mutuellement vos énergies et votre clarté. D’autres êtres vivant/es pourraient remarquer ce qui t’échappe.

Enracine des relations à long terme, assermente-toi, impose tes limites.

Rédige des lettres d’amour pour les mort/es. Attends-toi à recevoir une réponse.

Porte attention à tes rêves, prends en note au réveil. Dessine les scènes.

Écris tout. Surtout ce qui semble n’avoir aucun rapport.

Multiplie tes offrandes à l’excès: vin et liqueurs, clopes, drogues, eau, bonbons, café, lumières. Ce que les morts aimaient dans la vie, iels accueillent là-bas.

Rends toi présentable, prépare toi comme pour une sortie importante.

Amène des fleurs, porte-les dans tes cheveux afin de te remémorer ton futur enterrement.

Ne t’attends pas à ce que les défunt.es soient à l’heure. Certain.es sont maladroitement en avance, d’autres tout à fait en retard.

Sois tout de même à l’heure, toi.

Va faire un tour, invite les à se joindre à ta marche.

Reste chez vous, invite les à venir te rejoindre.

Donne toi la permission de vagabonder, en ville et en région. Permets aux mort/es de flotter à tes côtés.

Costumes, drag, masques. Laisse les esprits remplir le néant de ces accoutrements.

Pratique toi à créer des masques pour diverses occasions

Beauté, intention, et grâce en toutes choses.

Toujours avec musique, toujours avec style.

Tache ta mine de rouge à lèvres, de cendres, de vin.

Décompose ton identité. Découpe certains trous par lesquels les autres pourraient entrer.

Ces esprits brouillent les limites du genre, du soi et de l’autre, de la vie et la mort. Apprends à te soumettre à cette perte et à sortir quand même de l'autre côté.

Pratique toujours le discernement, joue pourtant avec l’indistinction.

La distinction entre vie et mort peut sembler arbitraire pour les mort/es. Garde toi et tes ami/es en vie—les esprits ne le feront pas.

Si les mort/es t’aiment, iels voudront que tu sois toujours parmi iels. Vis tout de même vigoureusement. Tu iras les rejoindre un jour, après tout.

La mort est l’initiation, non pas la fin.

Ne te perds pas à contempler les frontières et les catégories. La piété et la vénération peuvent sembler différentes à ces esprits.

Nos mort/es sont toujours l'exception.

Reste flexible, adapte-toi.

Les protocoles, comme tout le reste, changent.

Fais plaisir à ta sensualité.

Ton esprit est un organe charnu de ton corps, nourris et soigne tes capacités sensuelles.

L'esprit est intrinsèque à la matière, refuse les fausses dichotomies.

La jouissance, cette petite mort où douleur et plaisir se confondent, est aussi une porte.

Apprends à ôter l'armure.

Laisse ta pratique quotidienne se transformer en rituel, laisse ton pouvoir et ta puissance se développer.

Oscille entre le formel et l’informel, donne à chacun son dû, il y a maint plaisirs distincts.

Necromancer realness, fortune teller realness, spirit medium realness.

Faites appel aux psychopompes.

Assiste aux complicités d'Eros et de Thanatos.

Passe du temps dans les cuisines, les jardins, les bibliothèques.

Passe du temps à ne rien faire.

Passe du temps en silence.

Contemple leur vie et leur mort, contemple la tienne.

Contemple le néant, contemple le vide.

Stargaze, moongaze, voidgaze.

Recherche les épreuves qui pourraient vous rapprocher.

Pratique la réciprocité en toutes choses. Un cadeau nécessite un cadeau.

Partage ta nourriture et ton vin, partage ton espace, partage le soleil.

Les mort/es manquent de capacité sensuelle mais se délectent de la nôtre. Crie ton chagrin, crie ta rage, crie ta joie. La qualité d’excès dans l'émotion résonnera plus clairement avec iels.

Parfois, les morts ont besoin de sang pour parler.

Ce dont iels ont besoin, avant tout, c'est le don de la mémoire. Raconte leurs histoires, prononce leurs noms, affirme leurs vérités.

Les morts jetteront de l'ombre et renverseront du thé, porte attention aux vérités qui sont les plus brutales. Récite leurs poèmes, chante leurs chansons, lis leurs textes. Laisse leurs paroles vivre dans ton travail et dans tes langues.

Ce dont on se souvient vit.

Ce sont les ancêtres des lignées fragmentées. Beaucoup ont été empêché/es dans la vie, peu ont des descendant/es biologiques. Nous sommes les descendant/es, notre bien-être est dans leur intérêt.

Demande de l'aide dans tes projets et tes efforts, tourne-toi vers iels pour de l'inspiration et de la perspicacité.

Dans tout ce que tu fais, honore-les, et reconnais cette aide.

Ces esprits, dans la vie, craignaient de mourir seul/es. Il faut se garder d’éviter leur isolement continuel dans la mort.

Iels sont morts dans des prisons, des camps, et des hôpitaux psychiatriques, aux mains des inquisiteurs, des gaybashers et des flics. La vengeance est douce même pour iels.

La plus belle vengeance est de vivre joyeusement en leur nom.

Soit prêt/e à être créanciè/re de vielles dettes.

Les mort/es sont rarement contraints par la moralité humaine, iels font de redoutables conspirateurices et défenseur/es.

La guerre s'étend à tous les niveaux. Il y a aussi des forces hostiles. Gardez vos ami/es proches.

 
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from nudism as an illegalism

CW: extensive discussion of kink(s), brief mention of some pretty problematic -philias

Nudism is not a kink, but just saying it like that won’t make anyone else believe that this statement is factual. That’s because there is something in this world that is frequently called “nudism”—that maybe even overlaps with a holistic practice of nudism to some degree—but which isn’t actually the same thing as nudism. This nudism-which-is-not-nudism can fairly be characterized, I think, as a kink, a fetish, a sexual fantasy, a paraphilia, etc., however you may want to call it.

This goes beyond the online porn industry’s usage of words like “nudism” —and even the originally euphemistic term “naturism”—in marketing, e.g. something that only exists on the level of representation. There is definitely something more real, more embodied, than all that. Although many Reddit and Twitter accounts are operated by software, plenty of others are operated by real people who—it can be surmised from a quick glance at the account’s history—are not particularly interested in philosophical matters, news pertaining to the legal status of public nudity in different parts of the world, or even just a practical discussion about different aspects of living as a nudist in the context of modern civilization. Instead, what they are interested in is seeing pictures of people who are naked. More often than not, too, only certain kinds of naked people (e.g. attractive ones, perhaps of a particular gender or race), perhaps doing certain kinds of activities while naked (e.g. meditating under a waterfall, wrestling heroically) to the exclusion of other kinds of people (e.g. low-hanging boobs, flabby ass) doing other kinds of things (e.g. pissing on a memorial to a British colonizer).

In other words, these “nudists” are horny people (who, in many cases, may not have even participated in any form of social nudism yet). Some of them may also be nudists—but for now, insofar as we are discussing them as operators of social media accounts, and integrating them as a somewhat abstract “population” into a social analysis, they are horny people first and foremost.

I think it is fair to speak of (at least some of) these people as having a “nudism fetish” insofar as their exhibitionistic and/or voyeuristic and/or no-boundaries-between-sexy-time-and-non-sexy-time erotic fantasies express themselves, in part, as an apparently honest affinity for nudity and/or nudism (by which I mean, something that at first glance looks like social nudism as it has usually been practised in nudist-naturist spaces).

I am not particularly mad at any of these people, to the extent that what they are doing is just horny and not harmful. It’s none of these folks’ fault that Big Tech, and its subsidiary Big Porn, profits off of misuse and abuse of the term “nudism” (and even “naturism” at times), and that the whole smartphone-using world’s habits of sexual ideation have been, in part, moulded by instantaneously accessible hardcore pornography of all genres. We all live in this stupid world and we all get affected by it.

But it needs to be said that, well, they—the horny people—do represent a sort of problem for the perception of real nudists and real nudism by wider society.

Ugh. Let me just say, right now, that I really do hate this sort of verbiage. Talking about “realness” in order to do away with the bogeyman of a sexually unhinged Other—it is a trope that I am all too familiar with, in all sorts of social movements throughout history. But if the word “nudist” is going to be applied to “people” in any practically useful way, than it needs to exclude people for whom the desire to be naked is entirely tied up with sexual desire.

Because a nudist, in the context of the prevailing anti-nudist society, is probably someone who wants there to be more nudity-optional spaces—whether a little bit more or a lot more—then there is currently. A nudist is probably someone who also wants there to be more situations in which it is acceptable to be naked than is the case at present. Yet, critically, sex is actually not a situation in which it is unacceptable to be naked. Mileage may vary, depending on one’s specific cultural background and context, but in terms of North American or even global society writ large, sex is one of the only situations in which it is broadly acceptable for humans to be naked, no ifs ands or buts.

It’s not out of any animosity towards “kinky” people as a group, then, that I insist that nudism is not a kink. It’s just that, “kinks” are sexual, and nudism—which is to say, again, social nudism as it has usually been practised, and how it continues to be practised, in established nudist-naturist spaces—is not sexual, by definition. The moment that it becomes sexual is the moment that it stops being nudism, and becomes... sex. We are hovering close to tautology here, but I would argue that, if we’re going to put all of this into question, we might as well throw up our hands, decide philosophy and language are dead, and just all start grunting and grinding on each other non-stop. That would obviously be a great set-up for a porn movie, but it’s not at all practical for real life.

In other words, this is a semantic hill worth metaphorically dying on. (I can’t recommend actually dying over a semantic issue.)

Personally, I would like it if the porn industry as a whole was, by one means or another, prevented from misusing the words “nudism” and “nudist” (and sometimes “naturism” and “naturist”, too) for marketing any of its stuff.

It used to be that, entering the word “nudism” into Google, one of the top results was a website that had the word “nudism” in the name, and that featured galleries of photos taken, seemingly, from public nude beaches. I will admit to having clicked on it long ago, when I was still a teenager. Years later, while relaxing on such a beach in Barcelona as an adult, a drone whizzed by overhead, stalled for a minute, and then continued on into the distance. I was left wondering if the drone had taken my picture, and annoyed that I would not be getting any portion of the profits generated should my dick—and the bare skin of everyone else on the beach, including some kids with their families—end up on a website of the aforementioned type. Not cool!

But honestly, I have no practical answers about how to deal with this sort of thing, beyond some kind of comprehensive social revolution that would also fundamentally change the nature (and/or the existence) of the internet as well as the economy at large.

As both an anarchist and a nudist, the challenge, I think, is figuring out a way to articulate that nudism is not a “kink” without abhorring the category of “kink” as a whole.

Unless we are to take a very conservative view of the larger category of sex (which some non-anarchist nudist-naturists do, being broadly socially conservative in other matters), the subcategory of kink—which is to say, any of several sexual subcultures and/or the activities and aesthetics they concern themselves with—is something that exists beyond good and evil. It just is what it is, and overall, that’s something neutral and, for the most part, not even worthy of extensive commentary. The vocabulary is tricky here, but I think it is important to oppose the legitimization of certain kinds of sexual ideation as just one more variety of kink among many interchangeable ones (specifically zoophilia, e.g. bestiality, and pedophilia) without denying that, in the grand scheme of things, most other sexual practices, as bizarre or occasionally even dangerous to the practitioner(s) as they may be, aren’t really anyone else’s business so long as all parties consent (something that, incidentally, is categorically impossible in the attempted realization of zoophilic and pedophilic ideation, for reasons that don’t need to distract us).

Threading this needle, of distinguishing nudism from kink without opposing kink writ large (nor supporting it either, mind you) without also providing unwitting affirmation of actually dangerous forms of sexual ideation (like the aforementioned) won’t necessarily be easy, never mind elegantly articulated, in off-the-cuff, sometimes quite emotionally charged conversation. It should be said that I don’t think that any kink that passes basic muster—that isn’t detestable at a fundamental level, in other words—is, at that point, beyond critique either. As far as I’m concerned, nothing is beyond critique, least of all ideology; and if we’re talking about kink, that also always means the set of political ideas (and whether anyone recognizes these ideas as political or not is irrelevant) that there are in play about (whichever given) kink. For some practical examples of what I’m talking about, see this critique of BDSM from Yggdrasil Distro, as well as basically anything from the Bandana Blog project; these texts, and others, challenged my own perspectives on, and preconceptions about, these issues.

Personally speaking, I’m neither especially interested in BDSM nor in critiques thereof, but I have appreciated these perspectives, just as I appreciate critical perspectives on all sorts of other topics that don’t necessarily have much to do with my life in the first person. I live in the world with other people, after all, and despite the taboo nature of sexual practices that are, perhaps, attractive to the practitioners precisely because they are taboo, BDSM certainly does come up when chatting with friends (or sometimes complete strangers) about their relationships, the sex they like to have or want to have, the sort of work they do, and so on. The personal is political, and vice versa, and so political ideas (as well as moral values, analysis of how society works, etc.) are going to come up in these conversations, so all the better if the participants are actually well-informed about the complexities of whatever issue.

I think it’s worth saying—and I am hardly the first to say it—that humans are by and large sexual beings, and sexuality as an embodied experience cannot be cleanly cut off from the rest of personhood. But sexuality is not the same as sex, and cannot be. I am probably not prepared, at this time, to provide a tidy definition of “sex” that all readers will be satisfied with, but I shall insist that it’s a rather different thing than nudism is. It is, in point of fact, a whole other kind of thing, pertaining more to a person’s chosen activity, to “doing something”, rather than to a passive and continuous condition or state that is, in a sense, agnostic to activity. There is only the faintest echo of “doing something” in nudism; what a person is “doing” is sustaining their naked condition, rather than “returning to” dress (bearing in mind that all humans were born naked, not clothed, so really it is always to nudity that we return, but of course we all live in a clothes-are-understood-as-the-default society).

Apart from the obvious negative effects on the plans and aspirations of people more or less like me—people who want nudity to be (understood as) normal and indeed unremarkable, rather than (understood as) sexual and/or inherently provocative—I have also always thought it a curious thing to understand nudism as a “kink” because nudity is, in fact, sort of the “default uniform” for sex. People can have sex in all sorts of states of dress and partial undress, of course, but it’s rather odd to think of simple nudity as particularly kinky, even setting aside that we might be talking about a person writing an essay for their nudism blog while naked or making breakfast by themselves naked rather than engaging in any kind of sexual activity with another person.

Nudism, vis-à-vis a sexual situation, could almost be said to be the opposite of kinky insofar as many kinks ideate about specific outfits or worn articles (fursuits, gear associated with the leather subculture, the sexy French maid uniform, etc.) during sex, in contrast to the always readily accessible, and frankly quite unimaginative, option of nudity.

All of the above words won’t stop Christian rightists and other anti-nudists from viewing nudism through a “kink” lens or presenting nudism as “kinky” in conversation with others, then proceeding to identify kinkiness as a political success on the part of Satanic secret societies. If one is opposed to nudism on ideological or simply aesthetic grounds, and wants to rally others to the same sort of opposition, then a lens that casts nudism as an abnormal sexual compulsion does a great deal to delegitimize nudism at large, suggesting that nudism belongs in the same limited space of “only behind closed doors” where our culture also places sex and using the toilet. The nudism-as-kink idea presently serves a similar rhetorical function for anti-nudists as “autogynephilia” does for transphobes. It is also of a piece with present-day campaigns in many countries, from Turkey to the United States to China, to remove the capacity of queer people to express their queerness in public and/or on the internet in any way whatsoever, whether in art or in how they dress. The implication of the nudism-as-kink idea is that nothing less than the total non-presence of nudity in all public space and/or on the internet is acceptable; there is some grudging leeway about certain situations and settings, usually to the benefit of specific groups of capitalists invested in sex industries.

The logic is always the same: pathologize or criminalize some forms of expression as inappropriately sexual, and therefore in need of regulation and/or elimination; enforced bluntly by the state, it has always severely punished people for doing things that are really quite harmless.

The harmless practice of nudists, throughout time, has been to get out into the Sun and the air naked, e.g. to recreate while nude. Otherwise it has simply consisted of being unburdened by clothes (which, as an alternative option, may be as unnecessary as they are uncomfortable in a given situation) when engaged in daily chores, activities, and socializing. All of this is, of course, harmless.

I invite the reader to understand the word “nudism” as denoting a social proposal, one that concerns itself with matters like work, philosophy, and how (I think) at least some future people will want to live. When people reduce this proposal to the nudity—really to the image of the nudity that they have in their heads—they are being both profoundly unimaginative and profoundly paranoid in their understanding what is being said. It is a projection of their own ideas about the world when they understand “nudism” as denoting nothing but a sexual fantasy gone wild, a way for a bunch of freaks to get onto their sometimes merely disgusting, occasionally actively evil sexual undertakings, in other words nudism is a kink (derogatory).

But actually, nudism is not a kink, it is not sex, and it isn’t only for adults (unlike the former two items). The word “nudism” has certainly been misused by people who sell pornography, and there are plenty of stories in this world, if you care to go looking, about creeps who use a rhetoric of “nudism” (alongside a host of other manipulative tricks, like presenting as an authority and living up to the name) as a means of accomplishing some pretty fucked-up stuff around kids and youth. But this has no bearing on the merits and faults of nudism itself, however, nor does it speak to the reality of nudist individuals, nudist families, nudist communities, and people who otherwise have a broadly more casual and unanxious relationship to simple nudity, whether their own or others'.

This miscategorization reduces the whole texture of a way of life and its philosophy to an all-motivating “sexuality”; in this regard, it owes a great deal both to Freud and to the terrible mainstream of Christian theology.

At some point in the future, I may wish to consider, in another essay, the issue of “kink at Pride” from a nudist-comfortist and anarchist perspective. Kyle Kingsbury’s “A History of Leather at Pride: 1965-1995” provides a great deal of context about debates, both historic and relatively contemporary, about this broad subject matter—one that has included, for better or worse, the issue of nudity at Pride. As I have written before, nudity is a sexualized subject matter, and the presence of nudists acting like nudists at Pride, or anywhere else for that matter, is representative of an excess of what is normally appropriate (or what relatively conservative Pride organizers and participants want and expect) in much the same way that kinksters acting like kinksters might be. There’s no guarantee that I’ll get around to it, but I feel as though engaging with the perennial “kink at Pride” debate could offer some insight with regards to some of my favourite subjects: what practical solidarity with other “freaks” ought to look like, how nudists should relate to LGBT+ coalitional politics, and strategic questions about expanding the availability of an option of nudity in society. But these topics will have to wait for another day.

[comments: Raddle | Reddit ++]

 
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from Dice Game

John Coltranes Circle of Fifths:

Cosmic radiation

We know about Coltrane’s Circle of Fifths because of an interaction with Yusef Lateef in 1967. Coltrane gave Lateef the drawing, and then Lateef included it in his book Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns. The Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns is a 280-page book of scales, patterns, and licks that serve as a list of jazz patterns. For Lateef, Coltrane’s Circle of Fifths symbolizes his musical journey. He adds that Coltrane “embraced the concerns of a rich tradition of autophysiopsychic music.” For Lateef, the autophysiopsychic was “music from one’s physical, mental and spiritual self.”

John Coltranes circle was an attempt to draw out a relationship between the ratios and harmonies of notes and scales. The outer ring also reveals an additional shape between the tones of the Hexatonic scale. This shape is a Hexagon. Another of Coltrane’s passions was the occult, so finding the pentagon and hexagon together has always been a point of interest for analyzing his fifth. He created his circle of fifths around the same time that he was deeply studying both Indian music and Einstein. Much of Indian music is intensely complex and uses scales with intervals smaller than semitones, called microtones. Instead of dividing an octave into 12 tones, these scales use something described as “notes between notes”. To illustrate, these scales have various notes between C and C#.

Coltrane was looking deeper to inspire his jazz composition. And while he was going micro in many ways, his interests illustrate that he was also going macro. There is a story in the book ‘Coltrane: The Story of a Sound’, where Coltrane speaks to French horn player David Amram. In the anecdote, Coltrane delivers “an incredible discourse about the symmetry of the solar system, talking about black holes in space, constellations, the whole structure of the solar system, and how Einstein was able to reduce all of that complexity into something very simple. Amram explains that Coltrane was trying to do the same in his music.

In “The Jazz of Physics”, author Stephon Alexander recalls a phone conversation he had with Yusef Lateef in his late 80s. He told the veteran musician that he felt the diagram was related to quantum gravity. Quantum gravity was the attempt to unify quantum mechanics with Einsteins’ theory of general relativity. As a physicist and saxophonist himself, Alexander is uniquely positioned to see the relationship between music & mathematics. For him it all started with Coltranes Circle Of Fifths – as he sees it, Coltrane drew from the same geometric principle that motivated Einstein’s quantum theory. While Coltrane and Lateef were approaching questions about underlying patterns and order in music from a spiritual direction, Einstein’s work can be seen as something similar but using a different method.

Why Is John Coltrane's Circle Of Fifths Different?

The Standard Circle Of Fifths is something that will be familiar to most musicians. It’s a geometric representation of the notes and pitch intervals we hear in music. More specifically, it’s the relation between 12 semitones. In the Western Scale, there are twelve intervals between each octave: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, and G#.”

In classical Western music, a fifth is an interval from the 1st to the last notes in a diatonic scale. For example, the interval between C to G is called a perfect fifth. This is because the note G is seven semitones above C. Coltrane's Circle of Fifths is based around something similar but with some variations. The most notable aspect is that Coltrane uses a whole tone or hexatonic scale. The outer ring of the drawing contains the hexatonic scale of C, while the inner circle bears the hexatonic scale of B. While there is no definitive interpretation of the Coltrane Circle of Fifths, many have tried to decode it, and the closest anyone has ever come to explaining it is by drawing upon mathematics and geometry.

Interview with John Coltrane June 15, 1958

 
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from sneering-lepus

SAYING NO TO BOSSES BECAUSE THEY ARE INVALID PEOPLE

i don't want to defer to your decisions and opinions just because they came from you You seem to expect my unconditional subservience. I think you're disgusting.

you want to get things done and be efficient get paid and go home it's “easier” for everyone for me to eat your orders, your commands, your poison

Why would I submit to this social arrangement that prioritizes the meeting of quotas and ticking of boxes and accumulation of value, that so vehemently refutes and denies my subjectivity, unless i was forced and had no choice?

why would i eagerly offer my blood to pad your CV and inflate your social capital? To feed you who is so overfed

You insist on rules and schedules that I must abide by so your criteria and timelines are satisfied Your standards and regulations and objectives furnish a lifeway that serves you and not me i am an interchangeable human battery to pop in and expend there is no compensation for the lifespan of mine that you've harvested

Why must I chisel and compress my time to fit into the tiniest of open spaces Who set this terrain? It wasn't me and still you play the powerless victim

There is [a kaleidoscope fractal explosion variety universe of possibilities for moving one's body through space and time] yet you sneakily narrow the scope of reality so i must plug and play, slot into your system with menus of binary options either i accomplish your task on your terms or i've failed

Do you expect consistent, precisely-calibrated results on demand just because you say so? Because that's just how it works around here? I'm replaceable, fungible, and defective fucking fine then i'm only doing the bare minimum until we have no reason to relate ever again

===

You hold my relationships hostage because you're the more credible storyteller here clear-voiced, straight-backed, even-keeled, rehearsed and brimming with authority you could limit the places i tread for calling me the one who betrayed and crossed you when i said “no” to you

Your scheming and plotting manipulation and insistence and deceptive false dilemmas and brute force bulldozing are so achingly normal here

This is not a negotiation This is not a collaboration This is not about meeting needs This is domination This is gaslighting insistence that this is the natural order of things

====

Disdaining and judging anyone as weak, inefficient, slow, stupid, unobservant is hierarchical People each have their own thoughts and feelings, their own understandings their own systems and processes for making life work.

the way i do things isn't worse than the way you do things it's not insufficient for being dissimilar

when i appear not to deliver results you desire you just call me selfish, unreasonable, emotional lazy, unreliable, erratic and carry on satisfied with your relentless self-propagation self-righteous and loving what you see when you occupy the entirety of your bathroom mirror with no space for anything else

but i know instead i am operating under different assumptions and impelled by different needs and pressures that are beyond your imagination and beyond your desire to understand weighty things that are invisible to you did you ever think to consider you don't know what you don't fuckin know?!

===

Self-hatred is hierarchical and the biggest con of all is how they got us to internalize their evaluation systems they made us hate ourselves as much as they hate us for —not shrinking and contorting our bodies so we —-insert into their bureaucratic permaculture human extraction machines for —not gleefully seizing our roles —-as agents of their wish-fulfillment fantasies for —how we force them to pinch and turn up their noses —-when we violate their delicate, dainty white lace and milk sensibilities for —denying their inborn species right to get their way —-because their embodiment is categorically superior These fuckers, they really believe they deserve all that they desire and that questioning their authority is violence toward them

===

This is a hierarchy of bodies. Don't look at my body and decide what I'm good for. You don't know my life. You don't know me.

Do you ever pause to think you're making a lot of reductive assumptions and judging others according to white supremacist standards that do not apply to the lived experience of people who are just fuckin different from you?

===

NO I DONT WANT TO DO IT I WANT YOU TO GET THE FUCK OFF MY NECK unlike you I HAVE NO INTEREST IN CALLING THINGS WHAT THEY ARE NOT You don't have the power to name me You don't know me

===

you won't be the one they'll listen to as sparks fly and bridges burn they have to lose something they actually care about before they'll question themselves

me, i give a wide berth in my line of flight escape is delight it is springtime with stars and sprouted seeds an entire outside to what they'd have you believe... yippee

 
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from mu

quotes from “Clarifying the Unique and Its Self-Creation: An introduction to “Stirner’s Critics” and “The Philosophical Reactionaries”” by Jason McQuinn

“The process of self-alienation—of separating an idea or representation of oneself from one’s living self and then subordinating one’s living self to that image—which Stirner describes and criticizes is so ubiquitous and fundamental to the functioning of modern societies that it permeates nearly every aspect of social life.”

This separation of an idea (or representation) of oneself from one’s living self and then subordinating one’s living self to that image “is not just the foundation of modern life or modernity, it is also the foundation of so-called “traditional” societies, basically from the neolithic age onwards up to modernity.”

“Though it appears it was precisely not the foundation for the earlier (one could argue more aptly-named “traditional”) paleolithic and, later, gathering and hunting societies that are now usually called “primitive.””

“What distinguishes non-primitive traditional societies from modern societies can be characterized as the intensity and ever-wider dispersion of this self-alienation throughout all aspects of life, including every social institution and form of social practice.” reminds me of The Society of the Spectacle

“Although it is proper to call Max Stirner the most radical, coherent and consistent critic of modernity, it would be incorrect to understand him as defending these traditional institutions or life-ways. He is equally a critic of premodern traditional and modern societies. (Given the limits of archeological [sic (archaeological, submitted this and the last correction to the library)] and anthropological knowledge in his time, it is not surprising that Stirner never mentions or hazards any guesses regarding what are now called “primitive” societies.)”

I don’t really like the author’s use of the word slave and other forms of the word like enslaving when talking about people who aren’t in prison or otherwise owned or trafficked as an actual slave. In this thread, I’ve been trying to reword the booklet, but maybe we are slavish. Instead of looting, we are supposed to sell ourselves to employers, but we had no choice in making that surplus that keeps us working.

“Enslaving oneself to a fixed idea or imaginary ideal (or any number of them) is not a simple thing. It requires an immense amount of effort to work itself out in practice. This effort, in large part, it has been the primary function of all religion, philosophy and ideology to facilitate from the earliest days of symbolic communication. This effort also is embodied in a large number of habits, attitudes, modes of thought, and techniques of subordination that must be and have been learned and perfected by the masses of people in contemporary societies. And it is enforced by the sanctions of social, economic, political and military institutions that are constructed and maintained through the same types of self-alienated acts en masse.” (should be en masse which means “as a whole”)

 
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