A litany of mirages.
by Arran James
‘Be abject, and you will be true’.- Michel Houellebecq.
We are seduced by life no more and no less than the client is seduced by the whore.
Knowing that while her touch is real her shrieks of orgasm are all faked and that, sooner or later, she will be too worn-out and jadded to fuck any more. The whore’s fool, the consumer of cinema or pornography, and the woman who wakes up each morning, enters the automaticity of routines, and cleaves her way either happily or miserably through the day: victims of a willing seduction. All that separates these figures from the schizophrenic who believes himself a Christ is the stress, the tone, the style and the level of commitment to his belief. Show me someone who is not deluded, who does not participate anxiously in the defence of their sustaining delusions, and I will show you the meaning of God. Even the suicidal think the world, or their share in its misery, is of so much worth or importance as to warrant an escape.
Yes, I too am deluded. The heights of lucidity being pathogenic to the organism, it cannot help but want to rid itself of its share of such consciousness. Occasionally I wonder if the study of one’s own automatisms, the study of the political situation of one’s age, meditations or the study of the nature of civilisation or of being itself are not of the same order as fondling a blade of grass, of idling reading the ingredients of a shampoo bottle whilst turning red in a too hot bath.
There is an equality among all human action. An equality that springs from the mystery of their motivations as much as in their contribution to the ultimate futility. We do not know why we do the thing it is we are doing and we know that in the end it will come to nothing. This can be said of the activity of woodlouse or a hypodermic needle as much as of the secretary general of the United Nations or the black bloc anarchist.
Given such an equality maybe everything is reducible to aesthetics, to preference. Yet isn’t this to reproduce fascism, or the consumer choice ideology of late capitalism? Some preferences can be accorded more weight, I think. For the question might become one of crafting our delusions, actively choosing a delerium both for ourselves and our age.
I am torn between a politics contrived as the organisation of rage and a life lived in tranquility. Each is of equal worth as the other in the face of the extinction of all living and all existing. I played a videogame when I was younger, Planescape Torment. In it there was a brothel, a ‘house of chattering whores’, these we prostitutes of culture…conversationalist cunts characters would have hired to discuss philosophies or the price of bread with. I find myself locked into multiple conversations at once.
If I must be deluded let me choose my delusions, those that I can. If I must have obsessions let me enervate my obsessions. If I must be seduced by life at least let me believe in that seduction; let me come playing the role of the perfect naive client, full of sperm and feigning the ignorance of prostitution’s ancient masquerade.
But it’s true that lacking a designer our design is ill suited to the task. It comes on you after a time the organisation of rage and tranquility, upsetting nature and living according to it, are one and the same thing; dischord and order are falsities, delusions that we ought to shed because of their refusal to conform to their identities.
The one who wants tranquility wants it because it is lacking. It remains among the goals of collectivities because of its impossibility. Renounce impossible things? Impossible.
We are creatures of destruction and chaos as much as anything else. What is History if it isn’t the tracing of best-fit trajectories of the induced births and brutal murders of everything up to this exhausted moment. Even the most negligent student of History can point to our tendency to break with our own tranquility.
The Stoic philosophy wasn’t one of the slave’s consigned resignation but the very organisation of his rage. It forms a moment in a tradition that has felt and not just known that we are drawn towards tranquility, to peace, to solicitude, to love and always find havoc, collapse, fury and abjection.
‘A tranquil existence is intolerable to us’, said a certain horror writer. Did he mean that it was unbearable? That we would go out of our way to erect tragedies and to launch ourselves headlong into the various quests for Redemption? I don’t think so. I think he meant that we are incapable of enduring it. Or maybe the ambiguous interplay of these two attitudes. We can’t tolerate it in a physiological, organic sense…
Yet we aren’t special in any of this. No ecology ever maintains homeostasis or equalibrium. The entropy of the universe itself writes in the undoing of delusion, of the sustaining illusions that constitute the materials of our reasons for living.
We haven’t even begun to take seriously the purposelessness of nature, and therefore of ourselves. Within this purposelessness all suffering appears as purposeless as well. Imagine a psychiatry or a medicine based on these priniciples? Yet how to go on like that when, against all the evidence, we must go on.
So if we must, we must cultivate our delusions. We must grow rich fields of idiopathic illusions to sustain and nourish our stupid existence. Finally, we must admit that it is these illusions and delusions that constitute our sole experience of reality.
If we are passive victims of a seduction that we nevertheless participate in then let us at least choose what outfit the whore is to wear. If you want to know how to choose…I can’t tell you. How would I know? And why should I care? And if you don’t realise that is the question I have just answered then yours is a stronger delusional conviction than mine.
When we speak of delusions we speak of beliefs. In an exhausted age the difference between them is psychiatry and fashion. It is sane to have no delusions; fashionable to have no beliefs. At least, that is the popular belief of the age.
I am lost for how to end this piece. I have written a mirage of a manifesto. I suppose I should end by reminding whoever reads this that I also believe in truth, in the facts of science, in the materiality of ideas and aeroplanes, in the irreducible equality between human beings (politically) and between all things wrenched into existence (ontologically). I desire no bloodshed. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. A corpse doesn’t worry about making mistakes.