My Rejoinder to @ec0.mars’s Rebuttal to my Critique of Anti-Civilization and Primitivist Anarchists
I’ve been posting some of my thoughts on the app Tiktok (my @ on the app is @solareconomy) to see how people respond and one of them, who’s @ on the app is @ec0.mars, has written a rebuttal to my critique of anti-civilization and primitivist anarchists. I will respond to their counter-critique here.
They first argue that spirituality doesn’t reinforce or perpetuate civilization. But this is not true. The mind-body split is also the spirit-matter split, so when we see anti-civilization anarchists like Baedan and Perlman speak of liberating the mind and the body, we are witnessing nothing but the acceptance of idealism. But it is not only this that alarms us. The idealism found in spiritualism is also founded in its relation to the pure spirit which can never be dirty for the spiritualist because they cannot see the base matter.
Now, this is problematic because the idealist attitude is the civilized attitude, and I’ll explain why in a moment. They ignored the binary I put forward and strawmanned me by positing that I only put forward one option for anti-civilization and primitivist anarchists: spirituality. But I did no such thing. I put forward two choices: 1. Follow a restricted economic attitude, and therefore civilized attitude or 2. Follow a spiritualist attitude which follows the logic of the restricted economy due to its inherent idealism.
Now, they suggest that Baedan and Perlman’s usage of spiritualism is literary but whether this claim is true or false doesn’t really change anything. It changes nothing because literature is, for Bataille, Evil. In being Evil, literature is impure, it is materialist in its heterogeneity which reflects the materiality of the flesh. So, the usage of idealist syntax, literary devices, etc. is nothing more than a domestication of literature. It is nothing more than a civilized and domesticating movement.
Now to explain why the idealist and restricted economic attitude is the civilized attitude. Firstly, the civilized attitude is obviously the attitude of civilization which, for both of us, is a system of domestication. Specifically, they view civilization as the composition of all those structures (this obviously includes ideas/ideology (which under the current mode of production is the rationality of capital)) which enclose, which domesticate. Now, their very own understanding of civilization is where the critique of their position begins.
Essentially, there are three options: the aforementioned two, and then the third option is the acéphaic anti-civilization stance of Bataille (this is my position). Now what this means is either 1. Retain the subject 2. Reject the subject and transcend it via an idealist spiritualism or 3. Reject the subject in the form of an imminent dissolution via an anti-civilization materialism. Let’s go over each option, and each latter option is respective of the former three options.
Looking at the first option, we must recognize that subjectivity itself is a structure of domestication, and therefore a structure of civilization. This is because it is the capturing, the enclosure of the general economic solar flow. In other words, the subject is the domestication, the stabilization, of a chaotic and pre-ontological libidinal energy. Thus, the anti-civilization and primitivist anarchists who do retain the subject then reproduce civilization in that they retain and perpetuate a domesticating structure.
Looking at the second option, we must recognize that inherent to spiritualism and idealism is transcendence. There is either transcendence or immanence, there is no in between, so if a spiritualism is immanent then it is necessarily without spirit and therefore not a spiritualism at all. So, all spiritualism is transcendent and idealist. Transcendence is the motor of civilization in that transcendent structural logics are those which try to put ourselves above that which is perceived as dirty, as heterogeneous, to the clean and homogeneous body. Would the “civilized” colonization of those who are “uncivilized” then not be a transcendent logic of exclusion? Is spiritualism then domesticating in that it itself colonizes the uncolonized? Transcendence is found in so many logics which are focused on the future, which are all security logics . The logic of security itself is also a civilized logic in that it must always produce and accumulate to defend, securitize, against that threatening foreign body. The logic of security is therefore also a restricted economic logic. What the devastating implication of this is that transcendence entails the subject in that it must be projected into the future away from a position of immanence. Thus, spiritualism does nothing more than reinforce the subject. This is also because of the fact that the subject is transcendence. The transcendence of the spirit necessarily entails that domestication of chaotic and energetic libidinal matter. This is to say, the subject is necessarily predicated on idealism in that all subjects are idealism — a libidinal or base materialism could never retain the head, it must always cut it off. Which leads me to my next point: transcendence is not just a spatial position, though space itself is necessarily transcendent, but it is also a “master-position” found upon space. This is to say that the spirit, the high, the ideal, the transcendent necessarily occupy the position of the head. The head is that place of colonizing and civilized reason. Thus, spiritualism, retaining the head, perpetuates civilization. Now, it must necessarily be realized that the mind-body split present in spiritualism is problematic in that there is no mind-body split for Bataille. This is the movement of transcendence par excellence. It is also the movement civilization par excellence in that one is trying to dissociate itself from the materiality and animality of the flesh. Thus, there is also an anthropocentric logic present in spiritualism, and anthropocentrism is a civilizing logic, no? We have thus established the two facts that ‘civilization is transcendence’ and ‘civilization is idealist’.
Finally, looking at the third option, we see a complete rejection of the subject that is completely a-teleological in that it is atheological. Bataille’s movement of decapitation necessarily destroys civilization. But it is also the very fact that he does not try to transcend anything, and in his lack of action (which is not an action in the sense that he is not asserting his subjectivity via negation, he is asserting NOTHING), he necessarily remains immanent. He therefore in no way retains the subject. The subject is not a sliver that is still there, nor is it exposure as Patrick ffrench suggests. The subject is NOTHING.
Thus, Bataille in no way retains a civilized logic nor perpetuates civilization.