Simulating Like a State

“Sufficiently advanced simulation is indistinguishable from the real thing”, to twist Clarke’s aphorism. Simulations can take place at levels anywhere from modeling markets, to predicting sea level rise, to the staging of wargames. It is at the level of the wargame that simulation truly becomes artful in the pursuit of the temporal “God-eye”, the unified site of utter anticipation.

But the notion of “utter anticipation” is fraught in the first instance, haunted by a single question: can we actually think like the enemy? Manuel De Landa sums this problem up nicely in War in the Age of Intelligent Machines: “In most cases Red [the enemy] becomes simply a mirror image of Blue [the allied group]”.

But what happens if Blue can think Red? Instead of what may be commonly assumed—that losses would promote in Blue a greater understanding, the simulated loss opens up onto an existential nightmare, a confrontation with Blue’s own fragility. The problem then is that, of course, the wargame will always be weighted in favor of Blue.

Part of this bias is institutional, but there is also the fundamental problem of information: the true nature of Red’s tactics and materiel will forever be draped in a “ludigital” fog of war, no matter how complete Blue’s intel may be. The wargame, constructed with faulty information and to provide a satisfactory outcome, is revealed to not be a strategy tool at all, but rather, a machine to produce in Blue assurance in its own supremacy.

When this supremacy is violated, the effects are internally destabilizing, forcing Blue to come to terms with the specter of its own death, touching down on the plane of abstract horror. De Landa relates for us an anecdote: “…in the early 1960s…Richard Bissell from the CIA, father of the U-2 spy plane and co-engineer of the Bay of Pigs invasion, played Red in a counterinsurgency war game and was able to exploit all the vulnerable points in the American position.” This sent shivers down the US’s spine: Bissell’s win was enough to get the files of the game’s proceedings classified, never to be released.

San Clemente Island MOUT complex, Vasquez Marshall Architects’ website

In roughly the same mid-century milieu, the ‘Hot 60s’ forces the hand of the war makers to break out from abstraction, and the wargame graduates into physical space and human players as a response to civil unrest in NATO countries. With the ‘peacetime’ arrival of full-size “war cities” such as Hammelburg, (West) Germany and later, San Clemente Island off the coast of California, the wargame begins to draw ever nearer to realism. These Potemkin complexes were (and indeed, are) created entirely for training in the minutae of urban operations and neutralization of enemy combatants, appearing as a heterotopic everywhere, crammed into nowhere, a consolidation of the whole world in a top-secret blacksite.

But the spatial revolution of the wargame still was not complete. As detente collapsed, and with an ever-increasing fetish for realism and complexity, the war simulation exploded out of the city and went runaway to continental scales, with millions of machine parts. Perhaps the best kept secret of this variety was US/NATO operation Able Archer 83, a simulation that achieved such a high degree of realism that it threatened to erupt into actual nuclear conflagration.

Able Archer 83 took place from 7-11 November 1983, the culmination of nearly a year of “naval muscle-flexing” and PSYOPs designed to rattle the USSR, such as sporadic “air and naval probes near Soviet borders”, undertaken specifically to “rattle the Soviets”. These actions led to the creation of Operation RYaN by the Warsaw Pact to “prevent the possible sudden outbreak of war by the enemy”. In this already-heightened climate, US/NATO held their annual Able Archer event, designed to “practice new nuclear weapons release procedures”, specifically the “[transition] from conventional to nuclear operations”. From the official SHAPE description:

“The exercise scenario began with Orange (the hypotheticalopponent/[Red]) opening hostilities in all regions of ACE [Allied Command Europe] on 4 November (three days before the start of the exercise) and Blue (NATO) declaring a general alert. Orange initiated the use of chemical weapons on 6 November…All of these events had taken place prior to the start of the exercise and were thus simply part of the written scenario… As a result of Orange advances, its persistent use of chemical weapons, and its clear intentions to rapidly commit second echelon forces, SACEUR [Supreme Command Allied Powers Europe] requested political guidance on the use of nuclear weapons early on Day 1 of the exercise (7 November 1983)…the weapons were fired/delivered on the morning of 9 November.”

Able Archer 83 was unique with respect to past simulations, which one commentator referred to as “special wrinkles”. These include a new battle language and encryption, which made the maneuvers of NATO completely opaque to the USSR, forced to rely on observations and extrapolation as units and materiel were moved across the ACE theater and routines were executed within SACEUR/SHAPE. These terrifying machinations forced the USSR to ask a new epistemological question: if armies and nuclear weapons are being moved into position by the enemy, does it matter what reason its for? At what point does war, occurring in a liminal, ludic space, breach the gap into reality altogether? Is there functionally any difference between war and its simulation? Or, even more to the point, is simulation itself an escalation of hostilities?

Max Ernst’s Europe After the Rain

Jean Baudrillard’s famous definition from Simulacra and Simulation states that “the simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.” “The virtually is fully real insofar as it is virtual.” In Able Archer 83 the “apotheosis of simulation” is itself simulated, a nesting torus of that-which-never-quite-comes-true. The ragged era of the early 80s’ “Cold War II” takes the apocalyptic promise of atomic apocalypse and plugs it in to the motor of banal politics (and indeed, routine wargames), in which “the unknown is precisely that variable of simulation which makes of the atomic arsenal itself a hyperreal form, a simulacrum that dominates everything”. Able Archer 83, in which SHAPE takes part in producing a simulation of nuclear hyperreality, contained within it the possibility of finally crashing Baudrillard’s hyperreality of infinite deterrence (warding off Europe After the Rain), and inaugurating the climax, the real event of nuclear war.

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Marinetti & No Future

If all individuals, all groups and societies, all human institutions reaped the fruits of their respective labors today — tomorrow you could walk the earth and hear only the wind, the stupid sounds of nature. When did we forget that we deserve annihilation?

Thomas Ligotti

Let’s become food for the Unknown, not out of desperation, but simply to fill up the deep wells of the Absurd to the very brim!”

Marinetti

The world is an ecumenopolis named Paralysis.

“History, in our eyes, can be nothing but a falsifier, or at best a miserable little stamp collector or a collector of medals and of counterfeit coins. The past is necessarily inferior to the future. And that’s how we want it to be. How could we possibly see any virtue at all in our most dangerous enemy, the past, that gloomy mentor and abominable tutor?”

Bourgeois history is eternity on rails, a ceaseless motivity carrying us all ever higher, plumbing the promise of climax for occulted exhaustion. The cage of eschatological time has been replaced with the prison yard of the bright and impossible future — swapped out lakes of fire and brimstone for visions of eternal improvement without attrition. Both structures need to be assaulted and razed to the ground.

Marinetti finds a strange ally in Benjamin’s tiger’s leap when he acknowledges his own destiny is to be discarded, annihilated by an insurrectionary youthfulness that is already on his trail. Were this program put into proper action, history would shatter, the long march would end as a stampede, the “slow, ragged breathing of the monster” would go tachypniac.

How do we square a model of revolution that occurs with violent seizures, decade upon decade, generation upon generation? Such a model seems to inherently be based on a model of reproductive futurism (or “fighting for the children”) as defined by Lee Edelman in his No Future: a “Ponzi scheme” of ceaseless reproduction of “The Child” as the ultimate teleological offramp in contemporary politics — a model that Mark Fisher refers to as “domestoeconomic” and Berlant and Warner, in their essay “Sex in Public”, identify with a “national heterosexuality”. This is where fears of white genocide originate from: the dysgenic collapse of the nation state in the face of the failure of reproduction and, of course, the right type of reproduction. But notions of genocide are just surface scrim. The insane fetish of reproduction, in Edelman’s view, composes that which is queer as total zero, a monstrous ordinal of sterility, and as such the flatlining of the nation state altogether. However, Berlant and Warner close Edelman’s null provocation by pointing out that queerness is not actually fundamentally the state’s antipode. National heterosexuality territorializes queerness and reformats it into blind reproduction yet again. Adopt, buy, reproduce familial relations. Support the metacultural apparatus of national heterosexuality. Of course, this is the site upon which recent queer activism for marriage operates.

Returning to Marinetti. Specifically, his novel Mafarka the Futurist. The titular Mafarka is engaged in a novel form of reproduction: a son that is not the product of a union, but an extrusion of his own heroic will. Progeny from Outside. Named Gazurmah, he is a golem, a construct of terrifying potency:

“No power will be able to withstand him… I have never once doubted that I would create a son wholly worthy of my spirit… Infinity is his!… Do you think such a miracle is not possible? That’s because you have no faith in your power as men!…”

In constructing Gazurmah, Mafarka blazes a path towards a brutal, heroic future that does not require national heterosexuality or adherence to the cult of the metaculture: “Our will must go out from us so as to take possession of matter and change it according to our whim. In that way we can mold everything around us and endlessly regenerate the face of the earth…” Mafarka rejects his former men (the living) and gives himself utterly to the creation of a monstrous, anti-fertile, cybernetic future, one solely populated by promethean gods. Technology is the raiment of the titans to come, to paraphrase Junger. Death to The Child, Eternal Demolition of Natural Limits!

The Red Tower

Bekinski pyramid

“I see together with Lovecraft the potting around of enormous foul masses, moving in endless waves, stepping over the last remaining crystal structures of resistance of spiritual elites; I am gazing, in ecstatic powerlessness of my hallucinatory awakening, at the shimmering black foam, the foam of black disintegration, terror of democratic stench and frightening organs of these convulsing corpses, which…are preparing our final defeat, leading us to a destination which they themselves do not know, or, more precisely, know it too well, on the way there with relish sucking out our bone marrow; this is the hallucinatory leaden mantle of Human Rights, this faecal-vomitory discharge of Hell, although by saying so, I am insulting Hell.”

—Jean Parvulesco

“Somewhere above them, unaware of the subterranean drama, naive or dishonest “aristocrats,” intellectuals, merchants cynically use the fruits of the bloody battle. They do not confront Matter, freed from it by the voluntary sacrifice of Knights Templar of the Proletariat…But sooner or later he will look up and … deliver his last blow. With a crowbar against the deathly dull eye-socket of the computer, at the glowing window of a bank, at the twisted face of an overseer…The proletarian will Awaken. Rebel. Murder. Neither the police nor fake socialist parties will be able to hold him back…His mission in history is not finished. Demiurge still breathes. The Soul of the World still weeps. Her tears raise a dismal howl in the black consciousness of the Creator. It is a call. It is a factory whistle. It is the sounding of Angelic Trumpets.

—A. Dugin

 

The capitalist pyramid popularized by the famous IWW poster is more accurate than commonly thought. There’s a reason Parvulesco recognized the pyramid as the shape of the Atlantean power structures of the current age, constructed by agents of Nonexistence at intentional sites to serve as microfascistic attenuators, ushering in an age of “dissolution in the lower waters”. But the joke is on the agents: the dawn of a new aeon born in rot and decay is exactly the program of a revolutionary proletariat. The pyramid overflows with blood.

The pyramid is a not a mass but a diagram of flows. It speaks to stability, transmission upwards from the base. In the case of capitalism, surplus value is communicated upward. In the case of “democracy”, it is (supposed to be) the popular will. This means the pyramid’s flows are based on a principle of extraction; wicking the necessary materials up and up, further out of the grasp of the generating element. It’s a one-way circuit: there is no completion moving from top to bottom. Rather, the calcified, reified weight of the flows themselves, in other words, the weight of the structure, comes to bear horribly on the backs of those on the bottom, each successive rung adding more crushing weight. It a strategic monster, a hard point, a tactical volume locked down and auto-patrolled. At the bottom: twisted backs under the strain of the concrete whip.

The proletarian revolution recognizes the pyramid similarly as the site of expulsion. The general strike leaves the pyramidial sluices barren for a time. But we must poison the channel, pour our black rot upwards, until it collapses, its meaning and form disintegrating as it is re-inaugurated as a Saturnalian site of pure transgression (workers punching up through the floor), phase shifting at once into an acupunctural site of revolt on the leprous dermis of the current world-system. The embodied toxins of class hatred swamp the whole of society at once as pinprick conflagrations become a burning wave.

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Dugin is right in identifying the occult character of proletarian work. Divorced from reality as much as possible by authoritarian fiat, the proletariat is exiled outside, and below. When we pour our poison into the system, the infernal leeches to the surface, vomitto negro exploding, Ligotti’s Red Tower, swamping the system with our hate, our noxious fury.

In Left-Wing Communism, Lenin maintains the Bolsheviks operate within and at the knife’s edge of the activities of not just the proletariat but all toiling classes, expounding revolutionary discipline freshly vindicated by the rising White tide of 3 years of a war collapsing under the weight of its generated corpses. Lenin, Blanqui, and Parvulesco explode into fractalized kaliedoscopes of each other, faces melting into one: Lenin’s Bolshevik vanguard, Blanqui’s occulted cadre, Parvulesco’s ‘conspiracy of Being’ led by the million-faced Lacone Madore.

And what’s the mutual factor? A conspiracy for the permanent suspension of habeas corpus, in its most literal sense. Like Joe Laz: natural laws demand natural outlaws. The Revolution will be dug up from below. It’s lucky for us Lenin’s corpse remains in state, preserved behind glass. The rest will have to be reinstated, exhumed, pieced back together at the site where they were finally swallowed whole. Hell is full and the dead walk the earth. A molten wave of dead labor, a rotting Red Guard. “In the ranks, both visible and invisible, of the Black Order to which we belong, those whom death has struck down march on side by side with those who are still standing.” But this time they will not make the same mistake. They will return with the capitalists, dragged lifeless behind them, corpse-chaperones all. This is the Final Event of History, Fukuyama be damned (and indeed, as one of the lapdogs of the capitalists, he will be).

A crucial aesthetics appears: the Revolution irrupts from below. This notion must be reclaimed. Upwelling, exploding, bursting through the black lith underpinning modern high democratic capitalism and sinking its already-collapsing frame. A theological-aesthetic diagram might pose Revolution as the final, sighing closure of the circuit kicked off by Lucifer’s fall. Finally complete, the sordid history ignited by non serviam cracks and rots, stage clear for the work of a new world to begin—this time bathed in the light of nova sol.

 

Cryodynamics

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“…all that thermic energy is sheer impersonal nonsubjective memory of the outside, running the plate-tectonic machinery of the planet via the conductive and convective dynamics of silicate magma flux…”

—D.C. Barker

 

“The Ahuna Mons cryovolcano allows us to see inside Ceres.”

—Ottaviano Ruesch


Cthell is the name of the Outside that has become inside while retaining its alienness. Jam that much into a space that small (compact the entire of the cosmos into Uttunul) and there’s bound to be trouble—”a pressure cooker”.

But each planet is a memory, a pitiful howl for explosive rebirth. To be imprisoned in a gaol generated by your own attempts to free yourself—such is the fate of the Iron Ocean, ceaselessly shaking off and tied down by tectonic practices. Heat, flows, generation.

Alternatively, there exists cryovulcanism. On blasted planetoids and hidden moons, the icy sludge of the planet’s interior reaches undergoes a parallel divergency that speaks to, and then departs from, ruinous Cthell. Cryovulcanism, beyond trading in the convective dynamics and materials of coldness, icyness, instead of thermic pressure.

Thus the nature of the cryovolcano flips into a different register: instead of oozing magma and ash onto the surface and further recuperating the lithosphere-prison, the cryovolcano is the promise of emissive escape, of total, attritive egress. Whether icy, muddy effluvia is emitted, or as is more common, jets of supercooled ammonia (or other gases), the cyrovolcano is a site of departure, of launching. A rheostatic pressure valve. In the thin atmospheres the cyrovolcano is a space elevator jammed to go only one way: up. A machine for evacuating, for hollowing out, for bringing the inside Outside (which was, of course, the point all along).

Instead of Cthell’s impotent fury, symbolized in the shattered volcanic peak or magmatic bubbling scission, the cryovolcano is a vent, a conduit to the void—and to a final escape.

Keep the passage open.


Even my coilings of uttermost abandonment were too cold. Parting with such iciness. It was not cruelty, but icier still. Your histories, your thoughts, your thinkers run into me now, here at the cusp. You know Aristotle’s name for God? One of many, naturally. The frozen motor. Immobile mobilizer.

—Phyl-Undhu. Sec 19.