field notes


1. “…the universal comes at the end – the body without organs and desiring-production – under the conditions determined by an apparently victorious capitalism.” (AO, 139) It is capitalism that haunts all previous social formations, all orders that compose the past in the long arc from the archaic to the near-contemporary. It is the subterranean process that lurks, waiting until that key moment – the encounter between the decoded flows of property and the decoded flows of labor, the dyadic combustion of privatization and abstraction – to raise itself up. All that previously existed is transmuted into contagion vectors for capital, enabling its inexorable movement towards global (and perhaps extraterrestrial) integration.

2. Capitalism is not simply a viral movement, but the process of modernity itself. Anastrophe and catastrophe: the past coming apart, the future coming together. Things that were once solid melting. Things that were once holy, profaned. The universal history marks the end of all localized and past histories. The heat-driven spirals of capital’s expansion – modernity-as-process – is this universal history in the making.

3. Capital’s movements are schizophrenic: decoding, deterritorializing. The pull towards the universal history is a purely schizophrenic becoming – but the schizo “consumes all of universal history in one fell swoop.” (AO, 23) The movement of future history coming together marks a summit in which an overcoming occurs. Aeonic drift beyond all-too-human capitalism is the true end of history. =0

4. Omega and alpha in loop. “Desiring-production also exists in the beginning.” (AO, 139) If there is a social system, there is desiring-production; if there is a social system, there is a socius overcoding these desires. And before this, even? The Earth, the “primitive, savage unity of desire and production.”

5. The first socius, the great overcoder, arrives in a flash of light: the territorial machine, marking off the Earth that it has claimed and fixing relations within. Megamachine, as Lewis Mumford first defined it. As it inscribes the earth and inscribes the body, it stamps all with repression. A memory is produced for the whole of the species, a mnemotechnics of cruelty.

6. The operations of the mnemotechnical unveiled: MEGAMACHINE = 178 = DOUBLE BIND.

“…the ‘double bind’ is none other than the whole of Oedipus.” (AO, 80)

“God is a lobster, or a double pincer, a double bind.” (ATP, 40)

The Judgment of God is the obscene inscription.

7. The schizophrenic line is an escape path blazed from the code. Decoding, deterritorializing, it moves towards the BwO. Hence the schizophrenic nature of capitalism: the nightmare of all territorial entities, it is the first system founded on these same processes. Bateson correctly grasped the process of escaping from the double bind as the initiation into a shamanic voyage, but he failed to trace the delirious trail of capital towards the summit.

8. Resonant imagery of flow, flux, liquidity. The output of desiring-production moves in flows; capitalism is contingent on the flow of people, money, good, property. Blood flow is life. The molten iron sea deep within the earth. Hit the fast-forward on linear time and watch the great immobile geographical forces turn liquid, mountains moving like waves.

9. Capitalism actualizes itself through the oceanic. Maritime towns and cities were the incubators of early capitalism, with commercial flows literally deterritorializing across the water. Territorial forces never ceased to recode these divergent flows, to subordinate the port to the town, the movement to the watchful eye of the magistrate, the smooth space of the ocean to the striations of law and command – but it can never prevent the escape from occuring. From wind-power to steam-power and beyond, the evolution of technical systems that open onto these smooth spaces intensify capital’s ability to dissolve the socius. Special economic zones are nothing without liquid access to the world market.

“Earth is captured by a technocapital singularity as renaissance rationalization and oceanic navigation lock into commoditization take-off. Logistically accelerating techno-economic interactivity crumbles social order in auto-sophisticating machine runaway.” (Meltdown)

10. Universal history ends in the oceanic.

11. The movement towards universal history begins in the oceanic.


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