A lot of thoughts about acid communism and not a lot of time to write.
I like this essay: Left-Wing Hypomania. It’s about the bloodlessness of optimism at the second end of history, AKA the post-Trump era. (Both terms are lies).
“From uncertain celebration to fluctuating fixation, it is our inner depressive realists, our exhaustive selves, speaking to our collective effervescence.”
“Collective effervescence” describes acid communism as I and others have written about it. I wish I hadn’t put it that way. There’s no singular affective mode of acid communism, just like there’s no paradigmatic sort of psychedelic experience. Clichés of “the psychedelic experience” are just that.
Clear eyes see the causal connection between capitalism and depression. Sober minds think the affinity between class consciousness and altered states. “Altered states” includes psychedelic inebriation plus every other mental condition that capital can’t tabulate for profit. They aren’t always bright. If anything, the work of acid communism destabilizes and demoralizes, like proper rites of passage or old-fashioned heart medicine.
Growing out of Melanie Klein’s “depressive position,” in which the individual finally faces up to the reality principle, depressive realism is the opposite of enforced optimism. (Melancholy against capitalist psychopolitics).
Its principal incipient observation, inspired by Klein but carried out in experimental studies, was not so much that the depressed had some kind of intuitive understanding of the real world, but rather that “non-depressed people succumb to cognitive illusions that enable them to see both themselves and their environment with a rosy glow.” Pace the preachers of optimism from every corner, they found, much to their surprise, that depression did not inhibit action or perception of capability of action. Rather, it was the “cognitive illusions” and “rosy” outlook of the non-depressed that constantly impaired decision making.
At least one scholar calls bullshit on the psychedelic hype. As she says, meditation and other “alternative” treatments ward off depression just as well. There’s no nuclear option for buying rose-tinted glasses.
I can’t tell if this song is manic or depressive, but it reminds me that sadness is pellucid. To reap its benefits, you have to drink lots of it. Let it tone and fortify until the psychic dregs of blissful ignorance all dissolve in a stream of clear light. (Political thought should have a similar clarifying purpose, but that’s very difficult in a media age).
I don’t mean to make a fetish of melancholy. Acid communism says two things; I’m highlighting the latter — 1: something strange and beautiful lies on the other side of sadness; 2: to safely pass through the vanishing point we have to acknowledge it. That means placing faith in every kind of darkness: aesthetic, epistemic, even moral depravity. Staying with the faith until we’re sensitive to the type of art that defies capture and mechanical reproduction. And then we have to preserve it for other people finding their own way through to it. Trusting they’ll trust the ride like we did.
How Grief Made Me A Person, an interview with Nick Cave