Psychedelia

meshed2

Gregory Marks has an excellent analysis of Fisher’s Acid Communism up on his blog (which, unfortunately, I’m just now discovering). As it pays close attention to the question of temporality—special care is given to elucidating the identity of capitalist realism with the postmodern condition—it’s deeply relevant to the question of time, myth and class struggle: “Time stands still. Out of joint doesn’t even cover it”.

How do we escape?

Acid reveals another order of time that works against the time of purposeful production. Against the days of labour are the nights spent under florescent lights, and the repudiation of the workday for this night. Akin to Rancière’s workers of nineteenth-century Paris, whose nights were spent in creative work and refuge from the strictures of labour, twentieth-century psychedelia was a rejection of the predetermination of life by work and toil, and the “the revelation of a different world and the initiation of a new kind of relationship between beings”

[…]

Fisher makes clear that the altered perception of psychedelia is not an individuated escape from this rhythm, but a political refusal to participate. Far from being a hedonistic pursuit of pleasure, and ultimately assimilable to capital, psychedelia is a libidinal re-wiring of desire and re-weirding of experience. As Acid Communism, this refusal is also what dispels our capitalist realist stupor, and opens us to the arrival of something new. It is the making weird of our lives and our worlds, which uncovers the absurd machinery which keeps us in servitude.

[…]

The weird does not wake us, but makes us disturbingly aware that we have never been truly awake, and that other dreams are still possible. The weird does not transcend the psychic and libidinal structures that it disturbs, but remains immanent to them in its stark lucidity. The experience of the weird can be horrifying, but it can just as easily fascinate us as it draws us out of our preconceptions and awakens in us an awareness of the unnatural forces which inhabit us.

In this very last quote, we catch a glimpse of the continuities that stretched across Fisher’s thought, with the constructive implex of (re)weirding calling back directly to the the Spinozist core of the Cold Rationalist program. As he described in a 2004 post titled—so appropriately, in retrospect—Psychedelic Reason, the philosophy of Spinoza “tells you not to get out of your head but how to get out through your head”. Given that this ego-annihilating process was to intended to make one a conduit for the Lemurian signal (“the ultimate interests of any body lie in having no particular interests at all – that is in identifying with the cosmos itself as the BwO, the Spinozist God, the Lemurian body of uttunul”), what is happening here can be described as not only something truly weird, but something that is approachable through “awe, wonder and dread”. Since this horizon itself cannot be truly achieved, as Deleuze and Guattari are quick to remind us, these become not the openings to the howling void, but the implements for plateau-work.