This entry is going to be more of a collage of half-explored thoughts and sketches looking back across the year(s) and hinting at which direction I expect this blog to proceed in in the near future.
The history of White Like Heaven as a project goes back much further than this WordPress blog suggests. In 2011 I started a blog on the micro-blogging platform Tumblr, intended to curate a selection of quotes, art, music and video to function as a sort of mixed media journal. At the time the growing saturation of media seemed to lend itself to a project where tracing out a particular vision amidst the jumble, seemed like a worthwhile pursuit. As time went on I found myself more drawn to music and focused more intently on achieving a similar goal of curating content but increasingly within the musical realm. Like many others, I don’t really have a particular genre of music I listen to, instead whenever I’ve been asked what sort of music do I like, typically I’ve described it as a particular aesthetic, noisy, affecting, melancholic and evocative, which has at various junctures lead met towards the darker genre’s particularly black metal which I’ve regularly covered during my writing for Echoes & Dust.
Despite the curatorial nature of the blog, the approach has often been impersonal. This is somewhat deliberate, there’s something liberating about writing without, at least what appears to be, a specific identity. As time went on this was further bolstered by contributions from friends and associates, of which I continue to be grateful for and one day hope to reward by republishing some of their work. The impersonal approach is also bound up with the project of White Like Heaven more broadly, to reassess and rethink and where possible overcome ontological constraint a key perhaps to understanding the more recent theoretical diversions.
The now more musically inclined project proceeded for a number of years mostly between 2014 – 2018, a rough archive can still be found at whitelikeheaven.com although unfortunately many of the blog posts have now been lost due to technical error. Subsequently, in 2017 the main branch of White Like Heaven finally consolidated itself around a new WordPress blog. Largely this was due to what felt like an increasing disjunction between what seemed like a broadly apolitical creative project and the leanings of its authorship. Remaining apolitical, seemed like misstep amidst rising nationalism, acrimonious sentiment and increasingly exclusionary politics.
Much of the writing that took place early on, on the WordPress blog was spent trying to get a broader sense of the trajectory we were on, we in this case meaning citizens of Western Europe, within this, the series ‘Where Will We Live?’ aimed to look at the housing crisis as perhaps one of the sharpest expressions of growing generational gaps in wealth, this has seemed particularly prescient when analysing the generational divides that appeared in the voting patterns across the recent general election. However, this soon moved on to Brexit which exposed some the growing discontent felt by much of the population over the current political and economic settlement and more broadly the national picture. Subsequent articles on the WordPress blog were geared towards understanding what exactly this meant and where it might lead. The framework that was derived for understanding these changes has been somewhat based on broad empirical approaches to political science, but over time has expanded to include psychoanalysis, economics and political philosophy, particularly Marxism.
The latter perhaps is key to understanding the direction that this project will take in the future. One of the perhaps more consistent issues that I’ve been faced with is one addressed by Baudrillard in his conception of simulation, specifically the reordering of signs whereby the signifier now largely represents the signified, one other way perhaps I considered thinking about this is the triumph of the broader terrain idealism over materialism. The ‘Logic of Marxism’ by George Novack points to a similar phenomenon with, in some ways a similar conclusion. Marxist logic, according to Novack is distinct from formal logic, as rather than being based on what could be perceived as a sealed mental realm of ideas, Marxist logic has its roots in the material. To reinject the real, and the referential against these divisions and reconnect logic to the realities of the social, the economic and the substance of the material, is broadly what this blog aims to achieve.
With this in mind challenges against what has often seemed like ways of obstructing the real has been a continuous part of the theme of this blog, under the spotlight has come vitalism, Malthusianism and broadly naturalistic fallacy. I’ve touched briefly on aspects of Gorzian economic logic, this will be explored further in a forthcoming article on neoliberalism. Also to come are articles on what exactly is meant by Libertarian Marxism and how it relates to the focus of this project and hopefully more consistent attempts to ‘reinject the real’. A large portion of this blog is given over to sketches and exploratory thinking. Whilst I like to remain impersonal it’s important I think to note that the analytical approach is used specifically because I lack much formal knowledge in certain fields particularly philosophy, and have therefore shown a reticence towards a more prescriptivist approach, much of what is written has come out of attempts to improve this, not only through theory and active learning but through activism. It should be noted this blog makes no claim towards neutrality, whilst some of the approaches are rooted in empiricism, the aim is broadly rooted within expanding radically the sphere of human potential. Most of the ideas that come through the blog, whether they be critiques or otherwise follow similar aims.