Acknowledging the Intellectual Deep Web (before it kills us all)

metamodern shadow
"DO YOU LIKE TANTRA?  How about dialectical critiques of Integral models?  Psychoanalytic challenges to Game B?  Rene Girard's scapegoating theory vs. the boyish optimism of American metamodernists?  Then the Intellectual Deep Web might be for you!"  
Imagine that snippet of boisterous dialogue was the narration for a recruiting video.  Would you be interested in joining that army?  Perhaps you should be...

The Intellectual Deep Web (a name that parodies and transcends the notorious "intellectual dark web") is a contingent of high-powered neo-philosophers lurking at the edges of the so-called Emerge field. 

They are voracious, combative, obscenely well-read, performative, enticing, offputting, fast & deeply attuned to the leading edges of technosocial, occult, spiritual, psychoanalytic and cultural unfoldment.  Their vision of upgrade in a time between worlds is a Dark Renaissance. 

This concept takes archaic futurism, technophilia, phallic vigor, immanent transcendence, interactivity, emergent informational worldviews, artistry, metalocalism and emergent religion and combines all that with an intoxicating affirmation of negation, dissonance, abysses and exclusionary boundaries.  Oh, and don't forget their deep skepticism about the unprocessed sexual and aggressive tendencies that might be locking the rest of us into a toothless and doomed utopianism. 

That's fascinating stuff but we don't see a lot of these people at our "Emerge gatherings" or "Integral conferences" or "Metamodern spirituality retreats."  They're more likely to be making art, re-reading Hegel or howling naked in a psilocybin cave somewhere. 

So we might need to do a much better job at seeing them, hearing them and trying to take some of that energy into our projects.  They are, in a certain sense, the shadow of our field -- and therefore have something important to teach us.

You can glimpse a few of them in scattered podcast gatherings (e.g. parallax) but they primarily seem to communicate through an endless, ultra-intriguing, provocative, highspeed (and, yes, predominantly white/male/intellectual) email chain that both constantly absorbs new members and constantly ejects people through a process of triggering and performative conflict that oddly resembles the antics of professional wrestling.

The persistent anchor and hub is Alexander Bard -- author, tech theorist, neo-tribal masculinist, musician, network philosopher, nudist & Zoroastrian digital shaman -- who co-authored popular books like Digital Libido with his accomplice Jan Soderqvist.

So what?  Well, let's dare to ask ourselves the most pretentious and narcissistic possible question:  What should we do with these people?

Most of the nice folks in our overlapping transformational & developmental communities have not heard even heard of the Intellectual Deep Web.  Those who have heard do not necessarily have access to their discussions.  Those who have access are often put off by the jousting, jargon & philosophical roughhousing.  Those who aren't put off still can't keep up with the constant onslaught of brilliant topics, strange reversals and profound ideas that are typically excluded from general transformational discourse.   

That doesn't give us a lot of options but what we can do is acknowledge them.  We do that for ourselves, not for them.  They don't care about our acknowledgement.  Yet, regardless of how you might personally respond to the tone and orientation of the Intellectual Deep Web, they are clearly a vital, smart and admirably challenging, visionary facet of the general movement that Emerge purports to represent.

And maybe they're pointing to our blindspot. 

(Unless the Intellectual Deep Web & Dark Renaissance are ideas they've already moved on from by the time this article is published...)


Check out the recent Intellectual Deep Web Extravaganza 2 from Parallax.