Postscript on “the scenarios of ecstasy”

… don’t open your eyes, you won’t like what you see

I’m writing this on my phone. Texts in asemic horizon are usually barely even reread before publishing — at best to harmonize the distribution of masses, on pain of breaking the sequence of arguments at that. Worse yet: this note is moved at least in part by a spirit of gloating — and yet the object of our gloating is a sprawling and sophomoric mess. Still: “The scenarios of ecstasy” presents a handful of insights that are still integral to theory, and like many other cringelike old texts it seems to know (we lack an epistemographology that gives sense to this) more than I give it credit for.

Preliminaries aside:

1. The obvious reason for disinterring that old ugly rant is the parallelism of effects between Blackbeard (as construed there: a constellation of violent attitudes in equi/valence with infinite violence) and the instant fall of Kaffiristan — overrun immediately, before it even happens — to politically organized religious extremism. Now: everyone has takes either on the Kaffiristan story, the Taliban or both; at face value, mine appears to be based on a crappy second-rate Baudrillardian approach to the economy of signs or whatever you like. But Blackbeard is not the point of “The scenarios…”; it merely opens up the door to a concept cascade that include a detour on the mathematics of interest rates and some gasping for air on the nature of time itself. The Taliban-Blackbeard parallelism is not by itself bound to lead to a parallel concept cascade — do you think these people even get turned on by girl-on-girl action — but it can open the door to further chroma shifts. Just don’t get fixated on geopolitics; postulate a scenario that accommodates this ecstasy. Try, try again; see how thin you can make the membrane of meaning that interfaces both world and theory.

2. A recurring theme in asemic horizon is the contrast between seduction (meaning: concealment) and production (meaning: rendering apparent). In earlier essays I motivate this distinction with corny lascivious themes like the bikini which shows the Interesting while concealing the Essential. To the extent that a Taleban/Blackbeard parallelism can be derived — it flows from an absence rather than an appearance.

3. A rather shocking (if buried from the lede) consequence of the theory of ecstatic scenarios is that victimization by Blackbeard-class villainy is akin to yielding to seduction — and, what’s more, a kind of surrendering agency to an overpowering virtuality (rather than being overpowered sensu stricto). But this notion was openly advocated by Joe Robinette Biden himself. Surely enough, in his version there’s apathy and an “unwillingness to fight”, whereas in asemic horizon there’s subsumption: Blackbeard’s signature Baudrillardian approach renders the victim void — it dissolves the virtuality of resistance.

4. “Ec/stasy” literally means “standing besides oneself”. If it has overtones of “delight”, it’s because pleasures are only really experienced when we realize we’re really experiencing them. Here parallels to human sexuality are somewhat illustrative, but also limiting: yes, there’s some kind of generic Zizekian-Reznorian point to be made that people can derive perverse enjoyment from their subjugation, but ecstasy points to a much more generic structure of participation in a scenario of inevitability. And isn’t this the key word (the keyword, the password, even) of this whole fiasco? Isn’t there something fundamentally reassuring about being yanked out of one’s own tangled ethical position — in the original post, suspending the quest for sexual opportunities in favor of leering at two women who are making out (for their exact gaze — this is the whole concept of Situation, omnia est machina).

5. We are going way too fast here — each sentence cutting hard 90 degrees corners while almost spilling its contents. (There’s a hydraulics to the concerns of the chrema and we’re not doing well right now!) But this text is mainly meant to — at least partially — rehabilitate an old, long essay that’s not close to our top 10, but shouldn’t be marred by its allusions to bro scopic fantasy. What, to understand the fall of Kaffiristan, we do need to understand why lecherous men are attracted to young hot women making out and not inviting them…