And so it Ends.
Moldbug’s latest post is also to be his last, as he formalises the extended hiatus Unqualified Reservations has clearly already been on for quite sometime. While it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, it does provide a definite end point to perhaps the most exquisite corpus of political philosophy written thus far this century. While my knowledge of this area of thought is far from complete, it would certainly be true to say that no one has done more to rewire my brain, to relieve me of my evil progressive parasite, to disabuse me of my unquestioning progressive preconceptions, than Moldbug; and by extension his most important disciple, Nick Land, who has taken many of Moldbug’s key concepts and theories and pushed them beyond the event horizon of the Human.
But no one writes quite like Moldbug. Leaving his searing insights to one side for just one moment, when first reading A Gentle Introduction several years ago, perhaps what struck me most forcefully was that this was someone you could trust. The way he talked about other authors and actors from history was perhaps first and foremost in terms of character, asking: were they worthy of your trust, dear reader?
Moldbug himself passed the trust test every time – even though he was simultaneously challenging all your progressive preconceptions. Of course, this is why it was so important that you could put your trust in him. After all, would you allow someone you didn’t trust to perform neurosurgery on you? To rewire your brain? To take it apart and put it back together again? But as a literary stylist Moldbug’s genius was to cut his trustworthiness with a near lethal dose of humour and sarcasm, which at times stretched across the ages. Nothing was taboo, nothing was out of bounds: ‘Joo, Joo’.
He would drop Gangsta slang into political theory so brilliantly constructed and important, with implications so serious, that following the course of action he prescribes may be our best chance of avoiding a Left Singularity (i.e. the death of billions).
At the same time as lamenting Moldbug’s formal decision to terminate communications from UR, it should be noted that in Urbit he is perusing a technological project every bit as advanced, which, if realised, will be of great significance to the future shape of the Internet. Only yesterday I came across what was for me a vital new piece of information, which goes someway to explaining Moldbug’s shift of attention away from text and back towards code. I will not go into what that information was here, but save it for a future post, because my thoughts on its implications are still somewhat raw and inchoate.
But if my suspicion is correct, it means that two of the greatest minds of our time – both computer specialists with a broad base of historical insight – are engaged in a potentially epoch defining game of brinksmanship, the intellectual and technological fruits of which have the greatest implications for the future of us all.