Originally published by Tzvetnik.Online in December 2020, this version contains some minor grammatical changes and phrasing edits.
A decade ago I began developing Post.Consumer.Cult, a transmedia content cloud which, like the Ship of Theseus, can have its parts infinitely replaced, edited, remixed, revisited and physically produced if required – it operates as somewhat of an information system that desires negentropy whilst subject to changing environmental states. It was featured in Katja Novitskova’s Post Internet Survival Guide in 2010:, where I intended to include an accompanying essay but failed to do so. I felt as though the content and subject matter I was dealing with at the time was very new, experimental and somewhat controversial and I didn’t then have the tools to contextualize it with words.
Aside from a few edits here and there, the project had been more or less untouched since 2010, but then 2020 happened and a decade later I decided to revisit it with a developed understanding of why I believe it is significant and worth a re-examination. What follows is that essay, which I was finally able to write, along with updated 2020 content for Post.Consumer.Cult.
Is the Western system collapsing? Is the Global system collapsing? – It seems as though we are currently undergoing profound regime change as the entire liberal, atheistic, post-enlightenment worldview is now unravelling by the minute along with the free-market Neoliberal model of capitalist growth. It is perhaps not only democracy that is under threat as current events unfold but a collapse of the entire American and Western Empires. Whats-more, it may eventually turn out to be the collapse of Global Civilization itself if the East Asian and developing nations befall the same fate as the West – After-all Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson speaking at the Center For International Governance Innovation (Is this a One World Government?) foretold of predictions that model a total collapse of the global population as the planet urbanizes and develops.
The philosopher John Gray had argued that we should not expect the progressive project to continue indefinitely – he had warned that all of the old poisons would return. As we now know, he was right. Nick Land had said, “nothing human makes it out of the near-future” and described a world where capital accelerates exponentially, churning up human beings and turning them into biofuel in the process. The conspiracy theorist David Icke, along with Alex Jones who have now both been de-platformed from many social media sites had warned of a Global Orwellian fascist state which is not dissimilar to what the cybernetician Norbert Wiener described as a “fascist ant state” – which he suggested could occur if human beings submit to computational feedback and total technocratic control in a data-driven society.
Post.Consumer.Cult is orientated towards the aesthetics of dissolution, It’s a representation of the fallout of liberal progressivism and the onslaught of the post-industrial tech revolution, computational automation, technological acceleration and cybernetic control. Terms like blackpilling – which describe waking up the realities of civilization decline can result in the adoption of radically anti-modern and super-reactionary worldviews such as those which were held by traditionalist philosophers like Julias Evola and René Guénon, or those recently adopted by Land and Curtis Yarvin in the form of Neoreaction (NRx). But on the flip side, these same disillusions with the current paradigm can result in hyper-progressivism, as is the case with those perspectives held by perpetrators of the Transhumanist movement. These ideologies hope for the development of a world where everything is possible – they confidently suggest that technology will free humanity from evolutionary constraints such as biological sex, age, disease, political tribalism, economic and social inequalities.
John Zerzan, the anarchist-primitivist ecophilosopher suggests we have a somewhat simple choice in these matters; technology > yes/no? – If yes, we undoubtedly accelerate towards a post-human future which he believes is inherently destructive to humanity and endlessly detrimental to our well-being, or we disregard the whole technological project altogether; in so doing we should reject digitisation, industrialisation and even agriculture.
Zerzan of course, would prefer a more liberal, equal and collectivised anarcho-primitivist hunter-gatherer society rather than submit to the inegalitarianism envisioned by the traditionalists. And maybe, if pre-pottery late Neolithic hunter-gatherers really did build temples such as Gobekli Tepe; then this societal model need not be a ‘return to monke’, but Instead, could be something quite sophisticated.
So which way do we go from here? If indeed the future has been cancelled, as the late Mark Fisher suggested, what kind of Non-future are we now embarking on? It seems as though all facets of accelerationism at least agree that we are only moving faster towards technological singularity, but will this process amount to an inegalitarian hellscape envisioned by the Neoreactionaries? Will it be an Orwellian surveillance state where we “have no privacy and own nothing” – as proposed by the World Economic Forum for a Great Reset and a ‘circular-economy? Or will it be a brave new world of infinite possibilities and freedoms as we transition through a 2012 cosmic schism and timewave zero into a 5D awakening as many of those in the Truther, Qanon and New Age movements believe? Could this time of transformation, or Great Filter even be what the Zoroastrians referred to as Frashokereti? – a time when nations dissolve and each human must bear responsibility for the fate of their own soul and the fate of the world simultaneously.
Accelerationism itself has no definitive answers only differing perspectives, l/acc (left-acceleration) perpetrators such as Nick Srnicek had previously argued for state-controlled social media. In 2020 we learn that social media companies are working with governments to control, censor and delete information on their platforms, turning dreams of an Internet free of government control into the nightmarish reality of a World Wide Web which is now acting as an organ of the Neoliberal state apparatus. Since 9/11 America and much of the West has seen a development towards a gradual regime change: increased authoritarianism and state surveillance programs as unearthed by whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have culminated in exploitation of the Covid-19 crisis as a way to further those systems of control, and to further the development of psychological warfare and advanced state propaganda.
A return to Cults
In light (darkness actually) of recent transformations into a post-truth, post-fact era predicted by Jean Bulldrillard As many seem to now worship fact-checking systems and data, we also see a return to cult-like superstitions and increased prevalence for the teachings of religious dogma – as Kanye West proclaimed in a campaign video, he is “stepping out on faith”. In 2020 it seems that for every person who is worried about the very real threat of fascism returning, there is someone worried about the very real threat of communism spreading around the globe. For every person who is obsessively fact-checking and confiding in data, there is someone who is disregarding it all together and adopting a pre-enlightenment, creationist or Vedic worldview that rejects modern scientism. It seems as though we are collectively being pulled apart from everything and everyone – as if we, like The Universe itself, are eternally inflating away from every point in space and time whilst many feel as though they are awakening to cosmic consciousness 👁🔥.
And it seems as though many people are divorcing and decoupling themselves from the world system whilst others are doubling down and trying to conduct business as usual. It appears as though there is simultaneously a collective awakening alongside a world which sleepwalks into total control, domesticity and pacified entertainment. So what is going on? If we can avert all-out civil war or world war, does this mean we end up in a nullified and passively controlled entertainment environment? Norman Cohn, A late British academic, little discussed in liberal-arts circles, who studied the effects of superstitious apocalyptic faith connected medieval heresies to the ideological dogmatism of both Nazism and Stalinism as part of the same pathology – when fear and control leads us to extremism and totalitarianism there is no rationale behind these actions; whether scientific, religious or economically motivated – the path only moves towards intolerance and the loss of freedoms. We are now entering a world that is accelerating and transforming at such a rate of change that we can no longer comprehend it, and as we do so – we are not only in danger of turning on each other but of implementing psychotic systems of absolute control over the population.
Many things are characteristic of late-stage civilization: unsuccessful foreign invasions, debt-based economic stagnation and artificial inflation, A decline in living standards and social mobility, an increase in addictions and suicide rates, A decline in fertility rates and social isolation becomes the norm. Whats-more a characteristic disregard for male masculinity becomes commonplace. The individualist feminist Camille Paglia describes such a phenomenon; A feminisation process is characteristic of late-stage civilization, you see it in the statues, they become more feminized… and eventually turn… into catboys? I feel the pull of the feminisation process, I begin to wonder if I should give up my performative and obsolete masculinity in the face of social transformation & online behavioural modding to become a femboy, or perhaps even change gender or species altogether. If we are a product of the environment impacting our genetics, why not let the environment mould us in any way it sees fit? But hold on, not so fast, why should we submit to environmental pressures at all? Yet, at the same time, we might ask, what isn’t environmental pressure anyway? And ultimately, we should be asking if the industrial-technological process is leading us towards emancipation or domestication – and to what extent is it contorting and manipulating our self-image…
Jurassic Park (1993) describes a cybernetically controlled environment where all of the dinosaurs are genetically engineered to be female. When you remove the need for the evolutionary mate selection process and control society through cybernetics, you also begin to modify behavioural and evolutionary psychology through feedback loops: changing the desires and psychologies of those who participate in it and removing obsolete modalities. But what kind of environment do we want to shape us? Why is a society which is modified by cybernetic feedback loops and computer control as seen in Jurassic Park, or Twitter any more free and liberated than a society which submits to the age-old evolutionary pressures of mate selection and competition? It isn’t, of course. So maybe, what we need to do is lament for a while, since the breaks aren’t working and we cannot avert collapse it seems out of our control now. But we can separate ourselves from it, we can divorce ourselves from these systems, we can look at them from afar, use different filters and meditate somewhat. We can zoom in and out, we can take our time before reacting or quickly adopting new paradigms, and we may need to because the speed of change is moving faster now than any of us could have prepared for, even the younger generations can’t possibly keep up with it – they seem better adapted yet more disillusioned and unhappy at the same time.
Whilst I was working on Post.Consumer.Cult in 2010 I became fascinated by the Chinese system: many of the images I used are taken from the Chinese Internet and show some aspects of its hyper-capitalist state which is still, at its core, ideologically Communist and vehemently oppressive. Many of these images no longer turn up on reverse-image search results and therefore act as a document and glimpse into aspects of the Chinese system. In 2020 the influence of China continues to spread around the world as parts of the West seem to be edging closer and closer to adopting many similar traits to its model of Totalitarian Surveillance Capitalism: from intensified state surveillance and control of cyberspace outlined in Vision 2020, torture abroad in places such as Guantanamo Bay, moves towards social credit systems, population control and dwindling freedom of the press now seem inevitable.
In many ways POST.CONSUMER.CULT reflects a splintered and dismantled global civilization as it unravels and transitions into a new dark era. The question is, what does this new era look like after we transition? In the case of averting all-out Thermonuclear World War or a Global Totalitarian State which is completely controlled and managed by elites and Artificial Intelligence, I believe we could be facing something that looks quite a lot like The Hunger Games.
The World Economic Forum’s Great Reset vision for 2030 describes a world where the cities harbour a population that has no privacy or private ownership; as such we may envision a highly advanced and technological city organism; a city which itself has become increasingly sophisticated and intelligent, perhaps taking on the characteristics of a life-form. And when we consider the inhabitants of the city, who have no privacy and own nothing, we could also assume that this results in a decline in individuality, autonomy and personal freedom whilst at the same time championing flamboyant liberalism and cosmopolitanism: in effect, we may see something that could be thought of as ‘Beehive Communism’. A system where human beings are reduced to nodes working within a mega-structure that is vastly more intelligent, sophisticated, conscious and complex than they are – a system that constantly tells them they are free yet they are not. Once money has been digitized the inhabitants may move towards a social credit system that incentivizes a behavioural reward model to keep them in-line, this society would be super stable and functional but ultimately oppressive. Then we move outside of the cities, which are now harbouring vast forests that are beginning to re-grow all over the world as agriculture declines and is replaced by hydroponic towers of artificially grown and lab-created food. The WEF describes the people who did not move into the cities as “lost along the way” – these people did not adopt it adapt to the new system. As hard as it is not to picture The Hunger Games and nations dissolved into zones and regions, it’s also not difficult to envision a world where the city inhabitants eventually evolve into a completely new species altogether. We should, of course, assume this all takes place after The Fall.
Norbert Wiener — The Human Use Of Human Beings — Cybernetics And Society. Chapter 3