Friday, February 5, 2016

Drawing Down the Truth

(Source: KingOvRats,

It has been said that the universal is a parasite, an inhuman irruption in the mundane order of things, something which grafts itself to the human organism and refuses to let go, sending society into great and terrible eruptions of Virtue and Terror. This designation of universalism as asocial, inhuman, or even inhumane, is an enormously fruitful one. The writer who is perhaps closest to questions of the inhuman is HP Lovecraft. The aim of the current essay is to interpret the universal through the lens of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. To facilitate more efficient communication, I have sought not to adopt the typical tone of messianic and ecstatic prophesy that often accompanies such speculations. That is not to say, however, that those who choose—if choice indeed it is—to adopt that mode of writing are by any means incorrect to do so. Whether I have been successful in this, I am unsure, due simply to the nature of the material to be presented.

The human organism is ruled by particularity, by particular desires, characteristics, molecules, hormones, structures, forces, notions, experiences, and social relations. No concept is yet universal simply for its conceptual nature. No generalization made by any human being has ever once been universal. No abstraction has ever left the concrete behind while yet remaining a product of the human mind. That absolute abstraction can be thought should in no way be confused with the process of its volitional generation out of the concrete, with its subordination to human minds. And nothing is more laughable than the concrete universal. But this is not to say the universal is empty – rather, it is absolute form.

Absolute form is necessarily the act of formalization itself, its own intimate non-relation to the formless. Abstraction, insofar as it is absolute, proceeds not from the particular to the universal but from the formless to the en-formed. It is not mere thought but thought in all its power and glory. En-forming the formless is a lateral move and not necessarily a hierarchical one like the dialectic of universal and particular. The universal is synonymous with the singularization of this cosmic passage, the giving-birth of the formless into the realm of form. The Lovecraftian expression of this reality is without a doubt symbolized by the deformed child of obscene and sorcerous rites.

In Badiou's philosophy, one is seized by a truth. Seized and devoured, we might say. While this process simultaneously engenders and empowers the subject, it is a strange empowerment indeed. In Lovecraft this is represented by the practitioner of the dark arts who can no longer control the beings he has evoked, but must nonetheless persist in his activities, for the truth has come to control him and he cannot tear himself away and return to mundane ignorance. But to speak of control is to remain beyond the reach of truth's tentacles. The individual body is controlled, perhaps, but the subject is always already part of truth itself, existing only in the activity of having been seized, having been devoured. This is the first, necessary moment of the formless en-formed. Truth is a parasite, indeed, and its local name, its malignant relationship to the body, bears the name “subject”. There is nothing more joyous than to proclaim: “I have been seized! I have been devoured!”

The horror of the universal is brought out best by a consideration of Yog-Sothoth. In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”, it is written:

It was an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self—not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence's whole unbounded sweep—the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. It was perhaps that which certain secret cults of earth have whispered as YOG-SOTHOTH, and which has been a deity under other names; that which the crustaceans of Yuggoth worship as the Beyond-One, and which the vaporous brains of the spiral nebulae know by an untranslatable Sign...

All-in-One. One-in-All. Beyond-One. And universal. As the Lurker at the Threshold, Yog-Sothoth exists between form and formlessness, in the zone between duality and non-duality, between the Naught and the Two in 0=2. Escaping definition by both imagination and logic, art and science, Yog-Sothoth defies the categories without collapsing into a non-dual entity lacking individuation. For Yog-Sothoth exists as a discrete entity in one sense, and as non-dual non-entity in another. Yog-Sothoth is the non-duality of duality and non-duality, a formulation that is formally equivalent to the non-relation of relation and non-relation, the doctrine of singularity.

In “The Dunwich Horror”, it is written:

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.

Yog-Sothoth is the key and the guardian of the gate, an answer to the paradox of truths, “Why are there many truths and not one?” The truth is the gate, the in-between, the situatedness or specificity of any given subtraction. And in this capacity, it is also the passage between form and formlessness. It is the Gate to the further step of the formless en-formed. For to en-form the formless, one must first experience/think the absolutely formless. The gods of the Cthulhu Mythos are truths in their obscene proliferation, their parasitism of humanity.

Lovecraftian truth exists not only as a symbolic relation to the truths associated with other spheres and other processes (Badiou's “conditions”, for example), but also with respect to the direct mystical experience of the formless and the universal. Non-duality does not form the end of gnosis, but can be perceived as a stepping-stone to what is beyond it. By these means can Sunyavada be subordinated to the second ruler of Thaumiel, to Universe B. The logico-metaphysical structure of reality must be stripped away in order to produce mystical speculations, to live and experience radically novel logico-metaphysical structures; the formless en-formed. Yog-Sothoth, we might say, is partially in Universe A, partially formless, and partially in Universe B (and C, and D...). He is a being of many dimensions, even many metaphysical structures, many realities. This knowledge is a gnosis beyond gnosis, and its possibility is attested to only in the most obscure and suppressed traditions.

This process is not just some single truth but the doctrine of truth, the Idea of truth itself. If this is heresy, then so be it.

Does the universal precede this process in which the human organism takes part? The human mind is too weak to produce the universal; the contagion must spread from an outside source, the Beyond. For the secular Badiou, truth is a creation of our activity. But in light of absolute form, the projection of logico-metaphysical architecture (otherwise known as reality) is an activity as spontaneous as the emission of cosmic rays by impossibly distant supernovae. This is not to say, however, that the distinction of self and other holds in the vacuum of theory that quantifies over metaphysics as such.

Lovecraft, unfortunately, was too reactionary to see the beauty of this parasite from the stars. In his stories, the dark magicians are wholly blameworthy, ushering in the end-times with their improper speculations. Lovecraft was still too humanist, unable to praise the end-times for their singularity, their self-authorizing and self-legitimating auto-creation. Readings of Lovecraft that reduce the Great Old Ones to symbolic representations of racial miscegenation are perhaps correct on one level, but on another they miss the point entirely.

Does this have to do primarily with the “Other”? Not exactly, since the category of the “Other” is bound up with so many wholly-en-formed social and political identitarian negotiations. And I'd rather not get into Levinas.

The political implications of the foregoing associations are vast. Absolute form can only be generic, the enactment of which is the precise meaning of egalitarianism if it be properly understood. Lateral abstraction, defined by Atus 0 and VIII, is rigorously equivalent to Badiou's conception of truth, as long as it is radicalized with reference to form and formlessness. Truth is the promise of intimate non-relation between form and formlessness. Absolute generic equality, as impossibly organized activity, is the always-incomplete enactment of itself. And here is how formlessness infects forms in their potentialities, their actuality producing its own virtual-in-actual by virtue of the Beyond-One.

But precisely which moment of our process corresponds to Badiou's truth? Truth is what opens onto infinity, the trajectory of an infinite subtraction. Therefore truth is the opening of possibility, the opening onto formlessness which in the end will have produced absolute form itself.

Communism is the domain of Yog-Sothoth. All right-wing readings of the Outer Gods have insufficiently understood the radicality of formlessness and its (non)relation to forms in their bloated overgrowth. Absolute form, as formalization, as the occulted and situationally pathological purification of form, is the assertion of the ultimately incomprehensibility of particularity, being as a result the ultimate and absolute expression of communism as process.

What we have been outlining is a structure or essence internal to the regime of form and formlessness itself. The dialectic of particular and universal has already been shed in the work of Lovecraft, though of course their non-relation remains a major point of interest. The universal must be of another order, and cannot be defined as the result of the humanistic process of abstraction conceived in the usual way. Yog-Sothoth has always already abstracted Himself (is it really a “he”?), affirming that very process as unintelligible in the wake of His success. Did it ever happen? Could such a thing possibly have come to pass?

Yes, Saint-Just and Robespierre were the first confirmed victims of the contagion. The ultimate goal of the epidemic was (and undoubtedly remains to this day) the birth of monstrous forms unintelligible to society. The internality of the procedure, however, is ignored by any and all critiques thereof. It is no mistake, no whim of contingency, that communism is impossible. In fact this is its greatest strength. But how is one to prepare for such a thing, to make one's vessel appropriate to the in-dwelling of truth? The antennae of Azathoth, otherwise known as the backside of the twin petals of the ajna chakra, perhaps provide a mystical key (although the hidden potential of the vissuddhi remains relatively unexplored on this point). Intellectually, we would recommend the generic faculty of speculation applied the study of mathematics and its inherent limits.

Drawing down the truth is synonymous with the taking-root of a sidereal communism, since Yog-Sothoth is above all the Beyond-One. Sothis, the star of Set, the sun behind the sun, is a similar symbol, the point of the Beyond that exceeds the planar and planetary system of association. As the root of the power of formlessness, the rays of Sothis disrupt the regime of form and produce a new extension of intelligibility. And every such extension is simultaneously a disruption or reconfiguration. This is the necessary effect of radical novelty, the inherently excessive formlessness. When philosophers assign novelty to the void, they make an error. It comes not from nothing, but from a lateral, sidereal ontology of formlessness and its bizarre generations, the formal characteristics of which remain to be specified.

It is not that everything has been transcended in this process. That would be an unfortunate reintroduction of duality, that ultimate poverty of form.

It is furthermore a difficult truth that the formal nature of the operations under consideration produces not only formlessness as such, but a universal and therefore in the last instance real en-forming of itself. It all follows from the simple inhumanity of the Ideas. Nothing is as alien to humankind as universal truth, and yet this reality is pitifully misunderstood. With these considerations in mind, we can say with, if not certainty, then at least a certain speculative rigor: Lovecraft was the greatest egalitarian of his time. And no sociologizing opinions can deny us this.

No comments:

Post a Comment