The Philosophy in Virulence

By Antigone de Silentio

Simone A. Medina Polo
11 min readApr 16, 2020
Corruption in form and structure of the aesthetic field oscillating between the material and the virtual

The drive dislocates. It rewires by shifting its extensions, pathways, and flows — there is a disconnect at hand, and dislocation comes with its time that calls for thinking again. Indeed, a plague sips through into thought thinking itself as it comes to confront the Real — to some extent, since philosophy has restricted its systematization into a fully integrated Symbolic drive-attachment, as it tries to become capable of being a Science of the Real it not only suffices that philosophy realizes the truth of itself in the Real as a passing vignette of thought’s motions, but also that the whole spiral of thought thinking itself out gets dislocated. Thought is confronted with a pure disjunction. In short, the integrated drive of dialectical thought can be dislocated by a real, non-dialectical kernel; where thinking returns to reconsidering the locality and globality of its horizons, and much more, confront its own truths. These are pure disjunctions of the path of thought to thought — a short-circuit over thought thinking itself.

We take account of these decisive moments and their consequences, and we add that thought has to grapple to get a sense of itself again around this Real confrontation over what it is. Thought glitches out. The matter at hand is aleatory. And philosophy is mutating to comprehend just what is going on. “Hypervirus eats the end of history” (Nick Land, Fanged Noumena, 384). We are not only asking the question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” But furthermore: “As much as we can think something, nothing, or even less than nothing; why is it constantly glitching and mutating any of these expressions of contemplative thought?”

Has the bottomless complex computer of the universe been nothing but a virus always already compromising any pretext of integrity to its functions, algorithms, processes, and modulations of its forms of intelligence? Are we confronting xeno-hylomorphism as a fundamental question of thought? Namely, that in contemplating the Absolute through the vessel of thought — whether it is thought of a substantial something, an indeterminate nothing, or even less than nothing — it is of a corrupted form and matter, patching its non-integrity with pretexts and patterns thereof, and therefore, a Stranger in the beginning and in the end.

History gets stranger, and stranger, and stranger in the depths of itself — radioactive fires from Chernobyl, SARS has a sequel, the horizons of physical extension have moved from an actual physics to the virtual physics. Space shrinks into virtuality, all definition slowly falls back into the indefinite, oceanic like a momentous wave seeing its moment and returning to the sea, cyber-Nirvana. And yet, this boundlessness of virtual speed comes with the density of a dead time. The COVID-19 quarantine has been the site of this dual-sided logics of temporality attempting to inscribe a history of its own uncanniness, a symptomal knot of a drive-assemblage stratified at various levels from a biological virulence, cultural virality, and a systematic corruption. A code trying to read itself after its own corruption is the fundamental problems of history and its thinking. Furthermore, as the future closes in on us mutated, within the quarantined confines we experience a cryogenic suspension, a lingering prolongation of time that feels the impenetrability of boredom as the stasis of thereness as stillness — our own homes have become uncanny, Unheimlich better, as cryogenic pods.

The apocalypse has come and gone, this is post-apocalypse in the form of Tik Tok compilations, Twitter tweeting, an Instagram story, and the datamining of Facebook — encryptions are selling their keys, all secretes publicized into the extensions of state apparatuses, from WhatsApp to Signal, to Telegram and Discord. We venture into the everywhere of non-spaces as space itself has shrunk to our cryogenic regeneration pods — we dissipate into unintelligible, subterranean specters of the net. The data has come in, we have turned to as the parameters of our next horizon: videogames, virtual reality in simulated clubs and gatherings, pornography, food delivery like feeding tubes and fully-integrated labourscules as in an advanced hamster wheel.

A simple dislocation of the drive of the code makes all the difference in its integration into the state chimera and its own alchemy of technopoetic power. Paranoiac adaptations in the weak magicks of conspiracies contained to whispers and murmurs of Big Government psyops rather than affirmative declarations of technopoetic logos on the carcass of Big Government’s death as the Big Other never was — we are a long way from proper technomancy and memetic conjuration: “The will will always be corrupted by the memes in which it traffics, but nothing prevents us from instrumentalizing this fact, and calibrating it in view of the ends it desires” (Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism). What has only been the prophesies of acceleration is yet to fully get a sense of its adeptness, the flows of technomancy only signal the Promethean turn of the techno-poetic virtualscape. The immediacies of acceleration’s force have been merely Spinozian, only a stoic understanding of being one in a force of a tendency accelerating itself; the next move is Hegelian, of self-determining comprehension of the force where the beginnings of technomancy are knowing how the Absolute corruption is channeled and move between its micro-physics and macro-physics, like the iterations of a memes rising to the determination of the broader memetic movement, repetitions excessing differentiation at their cracks as information corrupts itself.

For example, COVID-19 can be modulated in such a way that it is not only expressed as pandemic, but as music; both ways to comprehend its underlying algorithmic sequence — the determinations of one understanding does not exclude the self-determination of its own corrupted reason, by a whim of aleatory contingency around the subject-matter at hand, the pandemic sounds like a Final Fantasy village soundtrack when the virus is translated around an intersecting transversal vector. From this slanted view that assumes the corruption wholeheartedly, we should be able to meaningfully think the technopoetic expressions of a radically contingent and meaningless algorithm in it of itself — if there were a God-code, it wouldn’t bring meaning to the plague as an anchoring point to these expressions of the virus; instead, God is corrupted and disintegrating into everything that is, that is not, and that is even less nothing, where the leap into significance from such a God-code is no reassurance of itself as God is itself bottomless and Eldritch. It is not a question of redemption, beautiful souls, and clean hands (Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism); we have been thoroughly implicated in the systematics of glitching out. For lastly, we uphold the equalities of minds and general intelligence, and we see along the modulations of mind’s expression as the geistig of Geist (Reza Negarestani, Intelligence and Spirit, 3).

When we try to think of the Prime Code, we return to the mysteries of the abysmal ocean where our anxieties about the disintegrating future manifest with news that a massive siphonophore has made its move — daunting cryptid that cultivates the fruits of our virulent delusions, call it a UFO, the announcement of our collective post-apocalyptic hallucination. This siphonophore is but a lower Eldritch UFO only intelligibly sighted through the partialities of its zooids, that like Carl Jung’s philosophical tree, we are looking in the xenomatrix of the siphonophore the source of a voice and turning everywhere for its root: the siphonophore is the voice; the siphonophore has a voice; the voice is under the siphonophore; the voice is a hallucination; and the voice is an unconscious manifestation. At the X point of our emancipation in the abolition of the present, “The task of collective self-mastery requires a hyperstitional manipulation of desire’s puppet-strings, and deployment of semiotic operators over a terrain of highly networked cultural systems” (Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism). The siphonophore has been but a xenomatrix of a collective unconscious activity acting out through techno-poetics, for as the horizons of the actual world fold back, the virtual propagates an unfolding of its own. As SARS-CoV-2 has disrupted the flows of the materialistic Capitalist machinery, there are two ways in which the labour lost materially founds its way virtually: for one, the intellectual and technological reappropriation of labour like homes turned into labourscules; and another instance is the spectrality of increased dream phenomena, that like a bird on a wire it is trying on its own way to be free. Stephen King’s The Stand is exemplar of this predicament as form of post-apocalyptic magical realism. A weaponized formed of the influenza virus kills most of the world’s population, and those few left are trying decide the form of the world to come — this becomes an arms race towards the fundamental cosmic conflict, as the survivors end up attracted to two figures, Abagail Freemantle and Randall Flagg, through enhanced psychic phenomena in light of their fainting material horizons.

The drive-arrangement of the Capitalist machinic assemblage started glitching out once again in 2020 — like a faint light, it started flickering, its functions derailing, and its dysfunctions becoming maximally apparent. In the current state of Capital’s virtual boundlessness aside from its materialist totality, we place our virulent perspective at the vectoral intersection of the points of power and powerlessness in both the material and the virtual: “to unfold this knowledge as effective interventions in our jointly composed reality” (Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism). Furthermore, we recognize that while the philosophical principle remains the equality of all minds in general intelligence, the issue remains that as much that is the case implicitly for general intelligence in-itself, it is explicitly not the case for us: “It is something to be achieved and concretely instituted. The condition of the equality of all minds is one whose recognition and realization demands struggle and a constant campaign against the prevalent systems of exploitation” (Reza Negarestani, Intelligence and Spirit, 409).

In the critique of Capitalism and the emancipatory project of general intelligence and the equality of minds, the virulence in philosophy is fundamentally corrupting the notion that the Absolute could have every been a God-code. The project could have been in the architecture of the divine has been the tendency of distributing its miraculous intensity along its most rudimentary functions and protocols — like the protestant ethic that sees God in labour, or the divine providence of completing a godly process. The change is from the God-code to the virulent null-code can be seen in the dislocation from Hegel to Zizek: the Hegelian philosophy sought the efficacy of its Absolute in the God-code, as a generation of its own unrestricted One that recollected its own unrestrictedness in its restricted modulations of its own intelligence (processes, functions, protocols, sub-systems, systems) subordinate and only meaningful in reference to the consistency of the System. The virulence in philosophy has started sipping through in the eruptions of the Real. Hegel managed to get us thinking the systematic sciences of Philosophy; but its system remaining closed in the locality of its auto-generative structure, its own Absolute being making the law of itself. But the Real entails a dislocation of the processes of intelligence and the philosophical sciences — ontologically, this dislocation has been introduced by Alain Badiou’s infinite intervention through number and the multiple; and in thinking less than nothing, Slavoj Zizek’s intervention furthers the radical critique of ontological antinomies for the thought that is the vehicle for philosophy. Can we think less than nothing? The virus of the Real has disintegrated thought insofar as it calls for a decision of thoughts own modelling. There is a minimal wisdom to take from Zizek’s Philosophical Science of the Real — namely, that what we lack politically, scientifically, ethically, and philosophically, Zizek has acted as an anticipatory space for thinking the philosophy that comes from its lack; when we try to look for answers in Zizek, at the point of disillusionment, the question is what’s to lack next? How do we rewire philosophy around the next lack to localize and process?

We situate the virulence in philosophy in this lack and the anticipation of the lack to come and which will continue to corrupt thought — or as the Xenofeminist program(me) formulates in its open source, this place we are operating around is X: “This X does not mark a destination. It is the insertion of a topological-keyframe for the formation of a new logic” (Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism). Over and opposed to the God-code, the null-code is open source and the construction of the Absolute has figured out the conversion generic procedures of local and global dislocative movements, shifting through false universals and discovering the universal in the ashes of falsities; which is to say that the platform of thought under general intelligence and the equality of minds is like a multi-vectoral DNA-RNA conversion generic procedure. Whereas DNA replicates and collects its own generic material of its own organistic structure; in RNA, the genetic information contained within DNA is converted to a format used to build proteins, and then moves it to ribosomal protein factories. Our lesson comes from SARS-CoV-2 as positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus, as its conversion process translates into the protein process of its host — the virus glitches out the system, and the treatment itself calls for a reconfiguration of the arche-System that has fostered a hospitable space for the virus, to assume its own glitching.

The Xenofeminist program(me) is an example of the open-sourcing that thought is calling for its corruption as it adapts to the Science of the Real. As Laboria Cuboniks codes in the manifesto:

Xenofeminism seeks to be a mutable architecture that, like open source software, remains available for perpetual modification and enhancement following the navigational impulse of militant ethical reasoning. Open, however, does not mean undirected. The most durable systems in the world owe their stability to the way they train order to emerge as an ‘invisible hand’ from apparent spontaneity; or exploit the inertia of investment and sedimentation. We should not hesitate to learn from our adversaries or the successes and failures of history. With this in mind, XF seeks ways to seed an order that is equitable and just, injecting it into the geometry of freedoms these platforms afford. (Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism)

The dislocation of the drive-assemblage of philosophy in virulence is thus a contention with the means of collective cognition, intellectual architecture, and mental inequality. As Reza Negarestani stresses in Intelligence and Spirit: “If seizing the means of collective cognition is no longer on the menu of our everyday life as even the remotest option for the good of ourselves and others, then it is perhaps time to seize, by whatever cunning instruments necessary, the means of our death” (Reza Negarestani, Intelligence and Spirit, 409). The God-code has kept us from dislocating the Absolute and rendering it open source; and in this way, the state of collective cognition remains undermined insofar as it remains anchored in a fundamental inequality mind to itself unable to realize the generality of intelligence. Moreso, from the null-code, we turn to the virulent hijacking of philosophy from its implicative and compromising corruption in cognitive inequality, to corruption as pathway to freedom. The task at hand echoes the unique singularities of Max Stirner’s Union of Egoists partaking in a mutual perversion of their property insofar as they are corrupting the systematic State that has alienated them from their claim to their ownness: “…we two, the State and I, are enemies. I, the egoist, have not at heart the welfare of this ‘human society,’ I sacrifice nothing to it, I only utilize it; but to be able to utilize it completely I transform it rather into my property and my creature; that is, I annihilate it, and form in its place the Union of Egoists” (Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own, 165). Even if Stirner became a saint and compromised his intervention to idealism, this only shows the space for the next corruption, to sacrifice nothing to it, to make it my own, to annihilate it, and in its place set the multi-user interface for the mutual perversion of philosophy to hack the truth from its thought.

References and Citations

Cuboniks, Laboria. Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation. Retrieved from:

Land, Nick. (2012). Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987–2007. Ed. Robin Mackay and Ray Brassier. U.K.: Urbanomic.

Negarestani, Reza. (2018). Intelligence and Spirit. U.K.: Urbanomic.

Stirner, Max. (2014). The Ego and His Own: The Case of the Individual Against Authority. New York: Verso.



Simone A. Medina Polo

Simone A. Medina Polo is a philosopher and an PhD candidate at the Global Centre for Advanced Studies for Philosophy and Psychoanalysis.