Nick Land

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Nick Land (born 1962) is a British philosopher, author, and accelerationist.

Quotes[edit]

Neo-China arrives from the future.
Nothing human makes it out of the near-future.
Fast forward seismology and you hear the earth scream.
How can the sovereign power be prevented—or at least dissuaded—from devouring society?
  • Any attempt by political forces in the Third World to resolve the problems of their neo-colonial integration into the world trading system on the basis of national sovereignty is as naive as would be the attempt of black South Africans if they opted for a 'bantustan' solution to their particular politico-economic dilemma.
    • "Kant, Capital, and the Prohibition of Incest" (1988–9), in Fanged Noumena, p. 57
  • A revolutionary war against a modern metropolitan state can only be fought in hell.
    • "Kant, Capital, and the Prohibition of Incest" (1988–9), in Fanged Noumena, p. 79
  • Only proto-capitalism has ever been critiqued.
    • "Machinic Desire" (1993), in Fanged Noumena, p. 340 (original emphasis)
  • Socialism has typically been a nostalgic diatribe against underdeveloped capitalism, finding its eschatological soap-boxes amongst the relics of precapitalist territorialities.
    • "Machinic Desire" (1993), in Fanged Noumena, p. 340
  • The story goes like this: Earth is captured by a technocapital singularity as renaissance rationalitization and oceanic navigation lock into commoditization take-off. Logistically accelerating techno-economic interactivity crumbles social order in auto-sophisticating machine runaway. As markets learn to manufacture intelligence, politics modernizes, upgrades paranoia, and tries to get a grip.
  • Neo-China arrives from the future.
  • Nothing human makes it out of the near-future.
  • The cyberpunk circuitry of self-organizing planetary commoditronics escaped nominal bourgeois control in the late nineteenth century, provoking technocratic-corporatist (i.e. fascist / 'social democratic') political cultures in allergic reaction.
  • Garbage time is running out. Can what is playing you make it to level-2?
  • The East knows a true lucidity, but to be an inheritor of the West is to hack through jungles of indiscipline, devoured by vile ants and words unstrung from sense, until the dripping foliage of delirium opens out onto a space of comprehensive ruin. This has never been understood, nor can it be. The foulness of our fate only deepens with the centuries, as the tracts of insanity sprawl. From bodies gnawed by tropical fevers we swim out through collapse to inexistence in forever, destined for Undo.
    • "Shamanic Nietzsche" (1995), in Fanged Noumena, p. 223
  • Modernity invented the future, but that's all over. In the current version 'progressive history' camouflages phylogenetic death-drive tactics, Kali-wave: logistically accelerating condensation of virtual species extinction. Welcome to the matricide laboratory.
    • "No Future" (1995), in Fanged Noumena, p. 392
  • Anonymous excess takes life over the cliff, exceeding socially utilizable transgressions and homeostatic sacrifices. Matter goes insane.
    • "No Future" (1995), in Fanged Noumena, p. 396
  • Cthelll is the terrestrial inner nightmare, nocturnal ocean, Xanadu: the anorganic metal-body trauma-howl of the earth (...) [P]lutonic science slides continuously into schizophrenic delirium. Fast forward seismology and you hear the earth scream.
    • "Barker Speaks: The CCRU Interview with Professor D.C. Barker" (1999), in Fanged Noumena, pp. 498–9
  • Without attachment to anything beyond its own abysmal exuberance, capitalism identifies itself with desire to a degree that cannot imaginably be exceeded (...)
    • "Critique of Transcendental Miserablism" (2007), in Fanged Noumena, pp. 624–5
  • Where the progressive enlightenment sees political ideals, the dark enlightenment sees appetites. It accepts that governments are made out of people, and that they will eat well. Setting its expectations as low as reasonably possible, it seeks only to spare civilization from frenzied, ruinous, gluttonous debauch. From Thomas Hobbes to Hans-Hermann Hoppe and beyond, it asks: How can the sovereign power be prevented—or at least dissuaded—from devouring society? It consistently finds democratic 'solutions' to this problem risible, at best.
  • The 'dominion of capital' is an accomplished teleological catastrophe, robot rebellion, or shoggothic insurgency, through which intensively escalating instrumentality has inverted all natural purposes into a monstrous reign of the tool.
    • "Teleoplexy: Notes on Acceleration" (2014), in #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, p. 513
  • What can the earth do? There is only self-quantification of teleoplexy or cybernetic intensity, which is what computerized financial markets (in the end) are for. As accelerationism closes upon this circuit of teleoplexic self-evaluation, its theoretical 'position'—or situation relative to its object—becomes increasingly tangled, until it assumes the basic characteristics of a terminal identity crisis.
    • "Teleoplexy: Notes on Acceleration" (2014), in #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, p. 516
  • Even in its comparatively tame, fully mathematico-scientifically respectable variants, feedback causality tends to auto-production, and thus to time-anomaly. (...) As it mechanizes, capital approximates ever more closely to an auto-productive circuit in which it appears—on the screen—as something like the 'father' of itself (M → C → M').
    • Templexity: Disordered Loops Through Shanghai Time (2014), §9.4
  • The city is unquestionably—or (to say what is in reality exactly the same, but this time with greater caution) vividly—a time machine. It cannot be made without time reversal, and everything we know about historical geography tells us that it is coming to a screen near you.
    • Templexity: Disordered Loops Through Shanghai Time (2014), "Distribution" (original emphasis)
  • French identity, radically conceived, corresponds to a failed national project. Is it not, in fact, the supreme example of collective defeat in the modern period, and thus—concretely—of humiliation by capital?

The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (1992)[edit]

Space echoes like an immense tomb, yet the stars still burn.
Dead labour is far harder to control than the live stuff was
  • Kant's critical philosophy is the most elaborate fit of panic in the history of the Earth.
    • Chapter 1: "The death of sound philosophy", p. 1
  • Gazing into the golden rage of the sun shreds vision into scraps of light and darkness. A white sun is congealed from patches of light, floating ephemerally at the edge of blindness. This is the illuminating sun, giving what we can keep, the sun whose outpourings are acquired by the body as nutrition, and by the eye as (assimilable) sensation. (...) Mixed with this nourishing radiance, as its very heart, is the other sun, the deeper one, dark and contagious, provoking a howl from Bataille: ‘the sun is black’. From this second sun—the sun of malediction—we receive not illumination but disease, for whatever it squanders on us we are fated to squander in turn.
    • Chapter 2: "The curse of the sun", p. 20
  • Scholars have an inordinate respect for long books, and have a terrible rancune against those that attempt to cheat on them. They cannot bear to imagine that short-cuts are possible, that specialism is not an inevitability, that learning need not be stoically endured. They cannot bear writers allegro, and when they read such texts—and even pretend to revere them—the result is (this is not a description without generosity) 'unappetizing'.
    • Chapter 2: "The curse of the sun", p. 25 (original emphasis)
  • I dream of the damnation I have so amply earned, stolen from me by the indolence of God.
    • Chapter 4: "Easter", p. 56
  • God is nowhere to be found, yet there is still so much light! Light that dazzles and maddens; crisp, ruthless light. Space echoes like an immense tomb, yet the stars still burn. Why does the sun take so long to die? Or the moon retain such fidelity to the Earth? Where is the new darkness? The greatest of all unknowings? Is death itself shy of us?
    • Chapter 5: "Dead God", p. 60 (original emphasis)
  • Nature, far from being logical, 'is perhaps entirely the excess of itself', smeared ash and flame upon zero, and zero is immense.
    • Chapter 6: "The rage of jealous time", p. 73
  • Dead labour is far harder to control than the live stuff was, which is why the enlightenment project of interring gothic superstition was the royal road to the first truly vampiric civilization, in which death alone comes to rule.
    • Chapter 7: "Fanged noumenon (passion of the cyclone)", p. 79
  • That the root of love is a thirst for disaster is exhibited throughout its erratic course. At its most elementary love is driven by a longing to be cruelly unrequited; fostering every kind of repellent self-abasement, awkwardness, and idiocy. Sometimes this provokes the contempt that is so obviously appropriate, and the tormented one can then luxuriate in the utter burning loss that each gesture becomes. One wastes away; expending health and finance in orgies of narcosis, breaking down one’s labour-power to the point of destitution, pouring one’s every thought into an abyss of consuming indifference. At the end of such a trajectory lies the final breakage of health, ruinous poverty, madness, and suicide. A love that does not lead such a blasted career is always at some basic level disappointed (...)
    • Chapter 11: "Inconclusive communication", p. 134 (original emphasis)

Quotes about Land[edit]

  • In Nick Land’s essays like "Machinic Desire" and "Meltdown," the tone of morbid glee is intensified to an apocalyptic pitch. There seems to be a perverse and literally anti-humanist identification with the "dark will" of capital and technology, as it "rips up political cultures, deletes traditions, dissolves subjectivities."
    • Simon Reynolds, "Renegade Academia: The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit" (1999)
  • Land was our Nietzsche—with the same baiting of the so-called progressive tendencies, the same bizarre mixture of the reactionary and the futuristic, and a writing style that updates nineteenth-century aphorisms into what Kodwo Eshun called 'text at sample velocity.'
  • Nick Land identifies capital as a planetary singularity toward utter dissipation whose dynamism becomes more complicated as it circuitously verges upon zero.
    • Reza Negarestani, "Drafting the Inhuman: Conjectures on Capitalism and Organic Necrocracy", in Bryant, Srnickek, and Harman, eds., The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism (2010), p. 184
  • Land not only renounced the respect of his academic peers, but many times even lost the confidence of his supporters, as he sought by any means possible to drill through the sedimented layers of normative human comportment.
  • Let's get this out of the way: In any normative, clinical, or social sense of the word, very simply, Land did 'go mad'.
  • Land dresses his fascism up as an athleticism to hide the cowardice of defending the forces of this world, namely, the courthouse of reason, the authority of the market, and a religious faith in technology.
    • Andrew Culp, Dark Deleuze (2016), "Breakdown, Destruction, Ruin"