Saturday, December 11, 2004

It is, of course, brilliantly argued. Here’s just a few quick thoughts glancing off K-punk’s piece on Bataille as proto-fascist

-- Isn’t fascism precisely the alliance of atavism/abjection and cold rationality? Atavism on its own might produce a pogrom, or an isolated Travis Bickle type paranoid schizo, or a Bataille-style perv. But it takes a dose of cold technocratic reason to create Treblinka (or for that matter the gulag).

---there’s an awful of potent, provocative culture that exists in that dodgy zone between Romantic/primordialist and fascist/totalitarian. In rock alone, there’s elements of glam, Killing Joke, metal, rave, gabba, industrial, crunk, maybe even Roots reggae, that work off those ambiguous energies. Then there’s the whole modernist/fascist mini-tradition of writers like Wyndham Lewis, Celine, etc -- a personal obsession of mine.

--Just because fascism uses the appeal to the atavistic/pagan/primordialist, doesn’t mean it owns those categories (c.f. the anti-natalist argument -- fascist regimes encourage childbirth means breeding is proto-fascist = not very good logic)

-- Isn’t it as facile to say that Romanticism leads to Fascism as the converse argument (advanced by disillusioned French post-marxists in the 70s) that the Englightenment led to Auschwitz/the gulag? There are presumably many mixtures and inbetween states and coexistences that intermingle reason and non-reason. and those are places where most of us live, practically.

--- this is the question I’m most interested in actually, which is appropriate given what this blog is 97 percent about: Music. Where does it fit in the cold rationalist scheme? (Nick Land: "Every theorist who hasn’t a real place for music ends up with one-dimensional melancholia.”)
Seems to me that the way Mark’s thought is developing he ought to end up in a Plato-like stance of being suspicious of music itself as irrational, counter-revolutionary, and so forth. After all, what is Music if not emotion, intoxication, sensuality, violence, the orgiastic? Or more precisely (and intriguingly) perhaps one could say that Music operates at the cusp of the the abstract/conceptual and the sensory/sensual (you have to have a body to be able to hear it; even classical music appeals to the body, works through rhythm and the psychomotor apparatus). Music is always simultaneously a contemplative and physical experience. Moreover all attempts to reformulate music according to allegedly rationalist procedures ended up with things like Schoenberg and the twelve-tone scale ie. music which only Ben Watson (a sort of hot rationalist? he's into shagging!) enjoys? There is an absolute mystery and an arbitrary senselessness to music which invites words like “magic”. (Music is certainly my window to the Sacred, the one thing I feel mystical about). The loveliness of melody, the violence of "annihilating rhythm" -- there are rules that govern how these things work, but the rules themselves in their very existence have no reason to be, they are arbitrary, pointless, non-purposive. (Same applies incidentally to the poetics and musication of language: Rhyme without reason). There is a superfluousness, a futile gloriousness, an excess to requirements, an utterly non-necessary aspect to music--- which relates very well to the Bataillean worldview.

-- via the fact that one “plays” music (as listener or performer), I’d ask where “play” as a concept fits into the CR worldview--“play” and its related concept of “mischief” a/k/a the imp of the perverse. (this is something where having kids, or hanging out with them, is a very useful reminder. Kids being simultaneously Pantheism's angels walking among us, and little devils).

-- finally I do kinda share commentator Axiomatik’s amused puzzlement at how swiftly Mark (and presumably others in the post-CCRU milieu) have junked one entire canon of thought (nietzche, bataille--whom nick land wrote a great book, The Thirst for Annihilation, about--Deleuze & Guattari, presumably Ballard too now as he’s a big fan of surrealism, mythology, etc) for its complete inverse. But I guess it’s all part of the adventure that is the life of the mind.

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