Unconditional Acceleration as a Framework

I’ve dabbled a bit in the past with Left Accelerationist tendencies mainly through stressing the development of productive forces as a necessary part of Marxist praxis, although in many ways I see this as much a part of orthodox Marxism as of accelerationism. With Marx and with Marxists more broadly, I feel there’s always different viewpoints, different approaches and different focuses and with Accelerationism being at least partly based on Marx it was unsurprising that it would branch out in some many different directions. My principle interest in acceleration, however, isn’t so much within its emancipatory possibilities, but more as a framework to understand certain contemporary trends.

Srnicek and Williams work in capturing the energy and vibrancy of the nascent philosophy in the Manifesto for An Accelerationist Politics highlighted one particular path whilst in some ways defining another, Left Acceleration refuted the idea of Capitalism as the engine of acceleration noting that it’s deterritorializing tendencies were met with reterritorialization and indeed the capitalist paradigm that had come to define as the terrain of a Right Acceleration, where engine of acceleration was capital itself, would, rather than breaking apart the social, economic and political spheres appeared in many ways to capture them within certain measures of economic growth and social invention.

However for me what is more interesting is perhaps the unspoken route the unconditional. Not for any question or desire rather because both Right and Left veer towards some form of praxis, whilst Unconditional Accelerationism is in many ways the process itself, the jangling of the nerves and furthermore the feel of modernity. This can be responded to in a number of ways, its premise can be rejected. Or responded to by reasserting the need to steer what seemed like a headrush, a charge towards a new horizon defined by both Left and Right Accelerationism. However, if we consider at first Land’s definition as simply the domination of positive feedback mechanisms within the modern landscape, there’s perhaps another way to think through the premise of accelerationism which is simply the increasing prevalence of these positive feedback mechanism over any trend towards normalized homeostatic processes.

Now if for argument’s sake we return to capitalism as a motor for accelerationism it’s possible, as many have done to extrapolate some trends and define a set of frameworks. The rapid growth of interconnectivity formed by the generation of faster and more intertwined communication networks has gone incredibly far in defining a new commons and new hives of collaboration and communities, however, always in the background of this is that expropriation of value which against retrenches the boundaries of capital even within new collective spaces. The same goes for collaborative worker spaces, run by rent-seeking capital.

Rather than defining expropriation and retrenchment of capital relations within these new spaces or territories as a leash however what perhaps can be seen instead is an acceleration of the formation of new social relations, the tearing down of old social relations and space for new possibilities for what Deleuze and Guattari called lines of flight, or to phrase it another way avenues of escape. The question then becomes what, exactly is escaping, for right accelerationism, the answer would be AGI, the singularity, the basilisk’s final form. However, when Iooking to define unconditional acceleration as a framework what I believe should come under more consideration is this unassailable drive towards lines of escape and how it’s endless decoding, destabilizing and deterritorializing tendency, affects political, social, technological and economic space. Drive in the Lacanian sense is possibly another way to conceptualize this as rather than being marked by a particular goal ultimately its aim is to circulate back to itself. The enjoyment experienced by it’s human subject, therefore is not in the attainment of a particular state but in the repetitive movement within a closed circuit.

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