Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Abstract Horror (Part 1a)


Zombies lower the tone, in innumerable ways. Socio-biological decay is their natural element, carrying life towards a zero-degree affectivity, without neutralizing a now-repulsive animation. They exist to be slaughtered — in retaliation — which in turn furthers their descent through the pulp-Darwinism of entertainment media, to the depths of senselessness where victory is all-but-assured. As the world comes apart into dynamic slime, popular horror is increasingly infested with zombies.

When envisaged as a military antagonist at the global scale, Max Brooks calls ‘them’ Zack (amongst other things). If ‘Charlie’ abbreviates ‘Victor Charlie’ as a casual jargon noun for the Viet Cong, how is ‘Zack’ derived? Brooks offers no specific answer. It seems at least plausible that ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ is the term that undergoes compression. In any case, ‘Zack’ is name with a future, providing a concise collective — or dense — noun for a monstrous syndrome that looms beyond the historical horizon.

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August 29, 2013admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror , Zombie

Abstract Horror (Part 1)

When conceived rigorously as a literary and cinematic craft, horror is indistinguishable from a singular task: to make an object of the unknown, as the unknown. Only in these terms can its essential accomplishments be estimated.

To isolate the abstract purpose of horror, therefore, does not require a supplementary philosophical operation. Horror defines itself through a pact with abstraction, of such primordial compulsion that disciplined metaphysics can only struggle, belatedly, to recapture it. Some sublime ‘thing’ — abstracted radically from what it is for us — belongs to horror long before reason sets out on its pursuit. Horror first encounters ‘that’ which philosophy eventually seeks to know.

High modernism in literature has been far less enthralled by the project of abstraction than its contemporary developments in the visual arts, or even in music. Reciprocally, abstraction in literature, as exemplified most markedly by the extremities of Miltonic darkness – whilst arguably ‘modern’ — is desynchronized by centuries from the climax of modernist experimentation. Abstraction in literary horror has coincided with, and even anticipated, philosophical explorations which the modernist aesthetic canon has been able to presuppose. Horror – under other names – has exceeded the modernist zenith in advance, and with an inverted historical orientation that reaches back to the “Old Night” of Greek mystery religion, into abysmal antiquity (and archaic abysses). Its abstraction is an excavation that progresses relentlessly into the deep past.

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August 21, 2013admin 22 Comments »

Reactionary Horror

Within the Western tradition, the expedition to find Kurtz at the end of the river has a single overwhelming connotation. It is a voyage to Hell. Hence its absolute importance, utterly exceeding narrow ‘mission specifications’. The  assigned  objectives are no more than a pretext, arranging the terms of approach to an ultimate destination. The narrative drive, as it gathers momentum, is truly infernal. Dark Enlightenment is the commanding attraction.

There are no doubt species of reactionary political and historical philosophy which remain completely innocent of such impulses. Almost certainly, they predominate over their morbid associates. To maintain a retrograde psychological orientation, out of reverence for what has been, and is ceasing to be, can reasonably be opposed to any journey to the end of the night. Yet such a contrast only sharpens our understanding of those for whom the disintegration of tradition describes a gradient, and a vector, propelling intelligence forwards into the yawning abyss.

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August 18, 2013admin 37 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror , Neoreaction

Antechamber to Horror II

Some scene-setting extracts from H.P. Lovecraft’s review essay Supernatural Horror in Literature:

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form.


The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to rappings from outside …

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August 13, 2013admin 22 Comments »

Antechamber to Horror

I’ve been planning an expedition into horror, for which the Kurtz of Conrad and of Coppola is an essential way-station – perhaps even a terminus. The mission is to articulate horror as a functional, cognitive ‘achievement’ – a calm catastrophe of all intellectual inhibition — tending to realism in its ultimate possibility. Horror is the true end of philosophy. So it counted as a moment of synchronicity to stumble upon Richard Fernandez quoting (Coppola’s) Kurtz — and it had to be passed along immediately. There is, of course, only one passage that matters, so it is no coincidence that Fernandez selects it:

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August 12, 2013admin 39 Comments »

Bitcoin Horror Stories

Bitcoin Dies, Moldbug ventures, perhaps sometime this year. Following a broad DOJ indictment for money laundering, targeting any and everybody remotely connected with the free currency, the “BTC/USD price falls to 0 and remains there.”

“[R]emains there” — how cute is that? Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Bitcoin R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Bitcoin simulates gold, and once ‘mined’ it lasts for ever. If it “falls to 0” it has to remain there, for eternity, because it can never be finished. It can die, but never be destroyed. It’s built for undeath.

‘Moldbug Monetary Theory’ attributes the value of money exclusively to speculation. If the speculators are terrorized sufficiently, BTC drops onto the flatline, and “remains there.” The market would be totally extinguished. What Mao failed to achieve, let alone sustain, USG would somehow accomplish, perhaps by exhibiting greater revolutionary ardor and ruthlessness.

Ruthlessness would certainly be necessary, for the obvious reason that flatline-BTC has zero downside risk. It’s a one-way bet that someone, somewhere, will re-animate it (“nothing is unstable” (thanks to fotrkd for the reminder)). If a genius was designing irresistible speculator-bait, zero-degree bitcoin would be hard to improve upon. It’s free, and it’s only worth nothing if the cops can secure the crypt flawlessly, and forever. Did anyone say ‘free money’?

Speculation messes with time, by bringing the future forward. If undead BTC were ever to be re-awakened, it already has been. Its economic potential flows back down the timeline, modified by a time-preference discount. The feedback becomes strange, and difficult to confidently calculate, but it works as a vitalizing charge, and the corpse unmistakably twitches. Whatever money at t0 is worth, if it’s anything at all, at t0-n it almost certainly can’t be zero.

The Necronomicon describes flatline-BTC with creepy exactitude:

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.

ADDED: An alternative take on Bitcoin and undeath from Yifo Guo, interviewed here (H/T Nick B. Steves, in this comment thread): “… the point is, the idea will never die. Even if bitcoin dies, an alternative will arise, one that addresses the vulnerability that was previously exploited. Then you get bitcoin 2.0.”

March 5, 2013admin 43 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Horror

Cthulhu, leftist?


Caught in the slipstream of tentacled abomination, as we are, the question is an involving one. Is the spiral into a “holocaust of freedom and ecstasy” a leftist maelstrom? That seems plausible, even unavoidable, if the right defines itself in opposition to chaotic evil. But if poly-tendrilled monstrosities from the Outside aren’t our natural allies, what the hell are we doing among these squares? It’s simply fate and allegiance from where we’re slithering: If it’s a squid-shaped horror out of deep time, with an IQ in four digits or more, and unspeakable plans for mankind, then it’s one of ours, and — more to the point — we’re its.

February 19, 2013admin 19 Comments »