Malign Velocities by Benjamin Noys***

Reading dates: 23 January – 15 February 2015

In DiaMat, we are committed to critiquing capitalism, to exploring its transcendence, to think of alternatives. So, of course, the time came to read about accelerationism. Neil chose this book for the purpose as Noys provides a history and a critique of it. It is a succinct book and perhaps some of its problems lie there. There is scope for expanding and deepening every single one of its sections. I found the historical ones (futurism and Russia) the most interesting, as it helps ground current thought. It told me things I did not know about. But when the book addressed things I do know about (psychoanalysis, narcissism, the ego), I found his analysis so cursory it read wrong. I know it is brought about as a critique of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti Oedipus but still, if one is to discuss narcissism and the birth of the ego, better do it properly or not at all. Similarly, I have issues with this concept of jouissance, which is bandied as self-explanatory. Jouissance this and jouissance that without attempting to problematise it, or even refer to Lacan. Still Noys’ call for a reconfiguration of pleasure and of work were inspiring ideas, things that require further and deeper thought, of the philosophical rather than the political kind. I do hope he gets to expand on these (peppered throughout the book and expanded on in the conclusion) on a longer book. I will be reading it to satisfy what Malign Velocities left unanswered.