Atopias - Manifesto for a Radical Existentialism
Like life, love, and the universe: Barely contained chaos, indistinct among the quarks, the universe is a system that is far from an equilibrium; it thwarts attempts by contemporary physics to explain not only its origin but also its persistence.
Our world tends to produce flux at a constant speed, like a treadmill, where one advances without taking a step. The treadmill versus the top. Becoming without ever undergoing the test of loss, loving without venturing outside oneself
The owl of Minerva symbolizes in vain while owls in flesh and blood are dying.
Are we not living the end of identity?
—an object, or the “ancestral” (Meillassoux)—exterior to the human brain and the relations it makes with the world
What does it mean to live as out-siders caught in the time and the history of an existential plane?
For thought does not define the outside, but prolongs it, draws it out. Thought experiences the outside around which it is formed; this formation is nothing more than the simple fact of existence.
The concept of the object does not permit us to feel the wind of the outside and to lay to rest an intact humanism.
“Where am I?” asks the sleeper who wakes with difficulty. He doesn’t recognize the room, the furniture. It is too dark; lingering parts of the dream slip into the surroundings, giving them a strangely worrying air. But are we not living the inverse situation today? Prolonged awakening, work without the limit of time, excessive light, surplus of information, electronic links, mechanized solicitations, attentional capture: This is the reality that, penetrating the virtual dimensions, transfuses them with a suddenly flattened aspect—so poor, so slow, quasi-immobile.
1.—But the story continued. It was taken up by one voice, more voices, all demanding a story, an odyssey in meaning and in image. One by one, these existences murmured to each other: What there is takes time, nothing happens all at once, I was born, I notice how long sugar takes to dissolve, I saw my son born, there are beings who come into the world and worlds that demand to open. One by one, they added: I exist, I am outside, I wait for the tramway, I smoke a cigarette, I think of later, how did I get here, am I outside? And they responded, a little later: I’m still coming, I’m not there yet, and maybe this will never end, even if it stops it will start again, elsewhere, otherwise, with someone else—a whirlwind takes up some leaves—and they began to compose a song, an existential one, like in the film Magnolia, film of the world in a film, and then they began to become disillusioned—thus, in turn, simultaneously, in turn, alone and together.
2.—One says: Let’s start again. I exist, I am outside even when I am inside, we call this exile and the right country is only the one that supports me, there is no other, no better, and each country is numerous, we’re numerous outside, even if it’s better to be outside inside when it’s cold, or when there are roundups, the outside insides have to be welcoming, hospitable, there must be thresholds to put me in relation to others, estrange me at the threshold of the Stranger I will never be, these thresholds must be guaranteed, they must be, this is the Justice of the Outside and it’s the only one, there is no other, no better justice, so that those of the outside aren’t sent outside, it’s complicated but it is like this. Another says: To exist, or to be outside, is necessarily to encounter people, to be several, even when I was Inside there were already at least Three. And even if I don’t want to meet them, they will be my ghosts, specters of a renounced common, reduced to silence but full of words that had been said and will maybe be again. Existence will always have been multiple, everywhere. Another adds: There are turtles in the garden, dogs who take the metro in Moscow and get off at the right stations, in Chicago there are over 2,000 coyotes who let out their growls, their huffs, their woofs, their whines, their Theory of the Trans-ject 35 yelps, their howls, and their famous “wow-oo-wow,” it’s raining—we say— cats and dogs, pigeons equipped with sensors collect data on atmospheric pollution over San Jose, look close enough and you might even glimpse a transgenic mouse. And hears a response: There are walls of words in the social networks, web syndication voluntarily set up by computer escorts, electronic chips that blow their noses into the files of the police of the mind, the Internet of Things promoting the last opus of Philip K. Dick, nanorobots in a swarm who cooperate before obstacles, a lovesick android who knows he’s going to die. While another follows: Closer in myself than my own closeness . . . A fortress that compels every entrant to strip even of the One . . . God incarnated to the point of his own death, Light upon Light, Text without end . . . And telluric points, gods even in the kitchen, objects and animals that are more than objects and animals, “smart wood,” Prophets, Shamans, Sorcerers . . . And another responds: Images that are animated, more real than the real, taking the voices and the bodies of dogs, coyotes, or humans, they say unthinkable words at the edge of the void, they announce nuptials and ruptures, they hold their breath when their daimon asks them to, they take part in assemblies, in the creation of laws as in the extraction of new minerals.
3.—A multiple, at least four: human beings, animals, technological individuals, divine assumptions. A multiplicity beyond all count, made up of existents past, present, or to come, stretching temporality in every direction to the point of sending it outside itself. Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, Posthuman; Savages, Barbarians, Primitives, Firsts, Moderns; chimpanzees, dolphins, pigeons; let’s let in the insects and the plants; objects, machines, practical mediations, artificial intelligences; spirits, phantoms, gris-gris, God, gods; works of art, social installations. Hybridizations: GMOs, GMAs [genetically modified animals]; an artificial uterus; a performer who grafts a camera behind his head; Mechs and Shapers; radioactive clouds. Becomings: One never changes without the other changing too. Confusions: The production of substance spilling over its bounds, hardly changing from one difference to another; the unaware crossing of thresholds, as if they were nothing; the abolition of binary divisions without the creation of remarkable singularities—a nightmare that no unity could ever interrupt.
4.—Impossible to know in advance, or even after the fact, what assembled beings can carry as common load, to make reference to the “bearing” 36 Book II [munis] of the word community. We can only consider it. There is nothing outrageous about this: the thought of community will have always called for a metaphysics, that is to say a science of imaginary variations submitted to the Principle of reason. And the Principle of reason opposes the Principle of identity, it only acknowledges that there are some things rather than nothing—clinamen . . .
6.—Things, living or artificial beings, are inclined with/against/on/in/ from each other, using all possible prepositions. If we were to speculate, or to think to excess, we might as well leave free a share for that which leads beings to coalesce. This is to say, never to reduce the common to interests or identical intentions. Let us call coalition this ensemble of beings inclined one on the other, an ensemble bearing uncertainty without undermining the possibility of a being-in-common. From the corporeal absence of the common, a coalition is woven in all material forms, some crystallized by loves, wars, chatter, writings, magazines, assemblies, collectives—but always of the One un-filled several times and in all ways, letting the wild depths that give the coalition its sovereignty emerge.
7.—Let us call the subjective trajectories that advance, thanks to coalition, trans-jects. They advance by their projections, ideal or real. Each coalition goes forward, at the same time, in the form of an endless loop (a spiral), in each trans-ject that goes forward or back. The spiral of coalition and trans-jects is the place of the formation of the double advance. The absence of coalition does not mean the return of a subject to its pre-subjective animality, but reduces the trans-ject of existence to the ideal projection of a subject—its quixotic aspirations, its securing narcissism, its lack of love.
8.—To confused coalitions, which deny thresholds, smother singularities, produce hybrid confusions in which each object would be lost in another object, where the absence of One has become the nightmare of a malleable diversity, let us oppose not clear and distinct coalitions, which would annul community in its very principle, but those that recognize and celebrate their Theory of the Trans-ject 37 excess. Excess of amour fou, exo-realist art, politics that liberate existence, un-institutionalized minoritarian religion, an economy commensurate with the abyss—the trans-ject of existence over wild depth. Or: everything that paid-off experts, immune nations, stolen mediations, private finances, manufacturers of atoms, pharmacies of forgetfulness, controllers of fictions, suppliers of high-quality images, butchers of processed foods, neuro-cognitive specialists, and logicians of the spirit strain to forbid and to make impossible. Rather than these inertial fixations, which produce this intravenous absolute, let us wager on the living flesh of adventurous coalitions.
9.—As a non-state politics, coalition demands organization. But no organization is desirable without the adventure of the collated. Without the free expression of that which is projected with others toward a Good cruelly absent. All alliance must remain an adventure.
the proliferation of places deprived of anything habitable and the lack of any sort of free space, the fragmentation of the world in empty junk spaces and the impossibility of bearing emptiness—
a frozen atopia, full of fears and safety measures, over-territorialized in absolute flux.
the fact of being, for the fact that there is something rather than nothing— that there are other things besides pure identity, pure grammar, the confusion between words and things.
Born of contingent encounter, the subject is caught permanently, until death, in a whirling disequilibrium. When the force of this current favors creative intensities, the subject enjoys her being-towards-the world.
According to the central dogma of molecular biology, it is possible to predict the behavior of an organism using its genetic program. DNA is considered the heart of life, immaterial and immortal, a “digital river” (Richard Dawkins) capable of converting itself indefinitely into multiple forms of life