Sunday, December 30, 2012

Coldness and Cruelty in Metal Gear 4 or: How Many Angelic METAL GEAR REX Could Dance Atop the Head of a Pin?

To Colonel Negarestani,  from the deepest depths of the moon gulag, yours faithfully, ya charosh kosmist, ya charosh situationist too,

"Kekule dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used.”
-          Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

"It was there in that state that they found her. ‘They?’ Niwetukame the Divine Mother and the snake from the message service. Had they come together? Were they in cahoots, the serpent and the goddess? What was said? How was the playing card dealt?"
-          Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

In Coldness and Cruelty Deleuze tells us that the clinician “does not invent the illness, he dissociates symptoms that were previously grouped together, and links up others that were dissociated. . . Progress from this point of view generally means a tendency towards greater specificity, and indicates a refinement of symptomology. (Thus the plague and leprosy were more common in the past not only for historical and social reasons but because one tended to group under these headings various types of diseases now classified separately.) Great clinicians are the greatest doctors: when a doctor gives his name to an illness this is a major linguistic and semiological step, inasmuch as a proper name is linked to a given group of signs, that is, a proper name is made to connote signs.”[1] The intellectual entreat of Coldness and Cruelty could not be simpler, do not confuse the abused subjects of von sacher Masoch with the abusing subject of de Sade. The old joke, a sadist trying to play abuser to a masochist ‘I hate that you’re liking this’ and the masochist, ‘it’s alright. You’re not doing it right anyway.’ A sadist doesn’t want to abuse a subject like a masochist, who would enjoy it (which would be repulsive to a sadist), nor does a masochist want to be abused, strictly speaking, by a sadist, as a sadist wouldn’t punish and diminish the masochistic subject in the particular way that they would have themselves be punished and diminished. But who is the clinician of the subject who surveys the sadist and masochist together, their unfulfilling one another’s needs, and the subject who desires themselves amongst them? Is not there a pathology appropriate to the perception of this split whilst simultaneously trading within it? There is. The clinician of this set of symptoms, this consideration of signs, this implication in wounding and being wounded, this asymmetrical taking and giving of pleasure, in all its manifold negotiations and political ramifications, is Deleuze himself.

‘Deleuzian,’ subtype of pervasive developmental disorder: To each sadist, as to each masochist, according to their needs.

Another clinician of the same condition is contemporary artist and philosopher Hideo Kojima, of the Metal Gear franchise. The Metal Gear franchise has indeed afforded Kojima an unprecedented capacity as both a clinician and auteur of symptoms that express themselves in the experience of playing a video game, though I’ll assume for convenience you haven’t played them, indeed it is better if you haven’t, Kojima trades in the disquieting, disorienting feeling that you don’t know what’s going on, why shouldn’t I? I believe there is no one who recognizes this to be inherent in making video games to a greater extent than Hideo Kojima, for all his manifold faults, this he recognizes, certainly.

Kojima’s Metal Gear trades on its capacity to radically destabilize the spectator’s notion of self and other, it spews codes that can be read in many ways, and intentionally so, especially in the names: Solid, Solidus, Liquid, Naked, The End, The Fear, The Fury, The Sorrow, Revolver, Boss, Big Boss, Zero – surgical subterfuge of cognitive dissonance. Consider the line spoken by Big Boss to Solid Snake, “Zero and I, Liquid and Solidus, we all fought a long, bloody war for our liberty” – this is guerrilla education at its finest, isn’t it? Is this plot or speculative philosophy of the schizic self?

‘The consideration of yourself in lucid schizophrenia.’ Symptom, ‘Deleuzian.’

Kojima is an artist who paints with subjectivities, crafting a subjectivity that is both witness to the incongruity of sadist and masochist amongst themselves, from within and without, desiring for their reparation, though never itself satisfied, never itself sated. In the Metal Gear Solid franchise you ‘play’ – i.e. experience – as at first the son, then as another, then as the father, and then as the son again. In Metal Gear Solid you are Solid Snake, cloned in the Enfants Terrible Project with your brothers Solidus and Liquid, from the DNA of a then terrorist, Big Boss. You experience the damage and devestation that your father wrought, the pain and suffering, ‘why would he do this?’ you ask, only to be answered by later subjectivities. In Metal Gear Solid 2 you play – i.e. experience – primarily as Raiden, a character introduced in that game – and who is slated to be the protagonist of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, to be released in 2013. When it was revealed in 2001 that the subjectivity that you were ‘playing’ – read ‘experiencing’ – in Metal Gear 2: Sons of Liberty was not entirely, or even primarily, ‘Snake’s, well, Kojima’s audiences were outraged! But why? Is Raiden’s subjectivity any less valuable than Snake’s? No, and Kojima knows this, which is precisely his clinical genius in articulating a subject who views their own scum and villainy from the outside and in. In the midst of this bizarre incestuous mess, cloned sons all yearning to be real, you, ‘as’ Raiden, feel helpless occasionally, but then occasionally less so. And in Metal Gear 3 Snake Eater Kojima executes what GameSpy correctly identifies as “single coolest thing Kojima could have done in MGS3” and forces you to play – i.e. to ‘experience’ – as your own father. . . or brother? Naked Snake, the ‘original’ to whom all the others are clones, even yourself, if you are Solid Snake – or not if you are Raiden – though in what sense is Raiden not simply a ‘clone’ of Solid Snake? – or the you who plays, that ‘you’ too, haggard and weary. ‘Why had you done this?’ You asked yourself, playing – ‘experiencing’ as the father – Knowing full well that you had, in essence, killed your own ‘mother’ in the figure of ‘The Boss’ and gone on to rule the most feared paramilitary force the world over, ‘why, why had you done this?’

It is the ‘you’ who steps to the podium at the end of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, isn’t it? – at least ‘you’ no more and no less than anyone might say ‘I’ or ‘they, or ‘we.’

‘The consideration of yourself and others in lucid schizophrenia.’ Symptom, ‘Deleuzian.’

“We will forsake out countries. We will leave our motherlands behind us and become one with this earth, we have no nation, no philosophy, no ideology. We go where we’re needed, fighting not for country, not for government but for ourselves. We need no reason to fight, we fight because we are needed, we will be the deterrent for those with no other recourse. We are ‘soldiers without borders’ our purpose defined by era we live in. We will sometimes have to sell ourselves, and services, if the times demand it, we’ll be revolutionaries. Criminals. Terrorists. And yes, we all may be headed straight to hell, but what better place for us than this? It is our only home, our heaven and our hell. This is Outer Haven.

“Seremos lo que los tiempos pidan: revolucionarios, criminals, terroristas. Y si, probablemente vayamos de cabeza al infierno. Pero que lugar es major que este? Es nuestro unico hogar. Nuestro paraiso y nuestro infierno. Esto es Outer Haven.”

Do ‘I’ agree with this? No, obviously not, but ‘I’ can see, so to speak, where ‘I’ went wrong. The brilliance of Kojima is indeed that ‘I’ know profoundly and intimately just how wrong ‘I’ am – having ‘experienced’ and hence cognisant simultaneous with the experience of the son, Solid Snake, and outsider, Raiden in Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2:Sons of Liberty respectively. The condition that Kojima and Deleuze describe together is the re-opening of Oedipus in Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus Rex, and Antigone, but a radical re-opening. Indeed if Kojima is to be understood to be a clinician of the order of Deleuze – that they might share in the diagnosis of the ‘Deleuzian’ subject – Deleuze as the ‘self,’ Kojima as less popular other, as Raiden – it must be in this: indeed that ‘I’ know precisely the degree to which ‘I’ am wrong in the very moment of my having been wrong. The ‘operational’ insights of a guerrilla, Outer Haven, is precisely what ‘you’ are fighting ‘against’ as Solid Snake, and as Raiden. To suffer as a ‘Deleuzian’ is to know of the psychic and real wounds of Oedipus the King, Oedipus Rex, what is within, and to not immediately tear out one’s own eyes, and assert your capacity to harm yourself from without, Metal Gear REX:

To consider what can be done with one’s eyes; to consider what can be done with one’s anything. ‘Would you like to tear my eyes?’ Oedipus does not offer them to his mother, selfish prick.

[ps. Remember when you licked my eye? Sigh.]

And this, I think is where contemporary ‘accelerationists’ need to check themselves before they ‘wriggedy wriggedy’ wreck themselves: Cosmist thugs, moon bullies, the penance for not having recognized yourself in the persona of the occupant of your *laugh-laugh ha-ha* ‘moon gulags’ is that one day you’ll be really there, surveying that moon gulag with a cosmist security badge, driving the butt end of a riffle into the face of a poet who didn’t ‘collectivise’ fast enough, in front of her children, and it won’t be any fun at all. I mean which Marx are we listening to? Karl or Groucho? The cartographer of capital who ran his ship aground upon a fundamental misapprehension of the nature of the nation state, or Rufus T. Firefly who had it pegged dead right from the get-go: “remember! While you’re out there risking life and limb through shot and shell, we’ll be in here thinking what a sucker you are!”

The veil gets pulled back and the Wizard of Oz is revealed as just another man. but what if you were him? Would you tear out your eyes? What if the Wizard of Oz is, in this case, George Sears, Solidus Snake, Soridasu Sunēku, president under Zero’s tyranny, puppet of forces beyond his control. Your brother, your clone, you? Fuck Ke$ha, you’ve witnessed the post-singularity Führer and his name was Solidus Snake.

“Kant’s practical subject already prefigures a deaf führer, barking impossible orders that seem to come from another world.”[2]

Solidus was always better at mathematics than I was, than I am, I envy him that. Brother, son, clone.

“It is the fulfillment of man’s primordial dreams to be able to fly, travel with the fish, drill our way beneath the bodies of towering mountains, send messages with godlike speed, see the invisible and hear the distant speak, hear the voices of the dead, be miraculously cured while asleep, see with our own eyes how we will look in twenty years after our death, learn in flickering nights thousands of things above and below this earth no one ever knew before” as Robert Musil writes in Man Without Qualities. Outer Haven. “If lights, warmth, power, pleasure, comforts, are man’s primordial dreams, then present day research is not only science but sorcery, spells woven from the highest powers of heart and brain, forcing God to open one fold after another of his cloak; a religion whose dogma is permeated and sustained by the hard, courageous, flexible, razor-cold, razor-keen logic of mathematics.”[3]

Musil is a master clinician himself, however, and finds the figure of the early 21st century accelerationist, cosmist, your real Nick Srnicek, Reza Negarestani, Ben Woodard and Alex Williams types – ‘naming names! Blacklist me, yo’ ; ) – in the figure of Ulrich, the 'man without qualities.'

Ah, Ulrich, both brother and sister of mine at once.

Ulrich, “he loved mathematics because of the kind of people who could not endure it.”[4] People like me! 'Me' and all my Debord-reading, Heidegger-loving [Heidegger having already played Kojima’s Metal Gear franchise in 1937, apparently], Tiqqun-appreciating rabble of lumpenproletariat-come-petty-bourgeois with our – in the immortal words of David Rylance – ‘anarcho-syndicalist blooming of consciousness or something.’ It’s not Ray Mears, people, its Solid Snake! Surviving long enough, being enough subjectivities to wonder upon itself, yourself, myself, and both your implication and mine in precisely what ‘you’ or ‘I’ are surviving from, and why ‘you’ or ‘I’ are the ‘you’ or ‘I’ who is both surviving and implicated in what must be survived. The dissolution and disable of violence and negation through the construction of novel situations, not the least of which is experience of the Metal Gear franchise, 'as spectator.' Helpless to 'live through' the lives of Solid Snake, Big Boss, and Raiden, they are nonetheless not you if you do not wish them to be. If not, if your subjectivity is not self-same with the 'others' who you play as – and really, I mean, how could it be? – then I've got a recipe for you, construct better situations.

Ulrich. Cosmist. Accelerationist. The greatest humanist in virtue of his in-humanism.

“He was in love with science not so much on scientific as on human grounds. [Dock note: I know all your Cthulu claws and tentacles bristle with the mere mention of 'human grounds,' as they should, but bear with me here.] He saw that in all the problems that come within its orbit, science thinks differently from the laity. If we translate ‘scientific outlook’ into ‘view of life,’ ‘hypothesis’ into ‘attempt,’ and ‘truth’ into ‘action,’ then there would be no notable scientist or mathematician whose life’s work, in courage and revolutionary impact, did not far outmatch the greatest deeds in history. The man has not yet been born who could say to his followers, ‘you may steal, kill, fornicate – our teaching is so strong that it will transform the cesspool of your sins into clear, sparkling mountain streams’”[5] Indeed when contemporary Accelerationists sneer derisively at ‘folk politics’ it is precisely them sneering at all those surviving in the wake of those men – almost invariably men – who’ve thought that they could tell their followers something to this effect.

“. . . in science it happens every few years that something till then held to be in error suddenly revolutionizes the field, or that some dim and disdained idea becomes the ruler of a new realm of thought. Such events are not merely upheavals but lead us upwards like a Jacob’s ladder. The life of science is as strong and carefree and glorious as a fairy tale. And Ulrich felt: People simply don’t realize it, they have no idea how much thinking can be done already; if they could be taught to think a new way, they would change their lives.” What is missed is that Ulrich becomes ultimately consumed by his not having applied this critique to himself, the mathematician, the Man without Qualities – who therefore, as Victor Vitanza reminded me recently, makes of himself the Man without Content, cf. Agamben. Missed, that is, until this:

“His Excellency finally parted his lips and said to him: ‘Your dear father. . .,’ only to come to a halt, there was something in his voice that made him notice his remarkably beautiful yellowish hands and something like an aura of finely tuned morality surrounding the whole figure, which charmed Ulrich into forgetting himself, as intellectuals are apt to do. For His Excellency now asked him what he did, and when Ulrich said ‘Mathematics’ responded with ‘Indeed, how interesting, I see, research, university.’ This seemed to Ulrich so natural and precise, just the way one imagines a fine piece of conversation, that he inadvertently took to behaving as though he were at home here and followed his thoughts instead of the protocol demanded by the situation. He suddenly thought of Moosebrugger. Here was the Power of Clemency close at hand; nothing seemed to him simpler than to make a stab at using it.
‘Your Excellency,’ he said, ‘may I take this favourable opportunity to appeal to you on behalf of a man who has been unjustly condemned to death?’”[6]

Giving life to those subjectivities you know absolutely nothing about, your being them yourself notwithstanding, or moreover giving life to subjectivities with, as in the case of Moosebrugger, a redemptive being in the moment of their nevertheless unquestioned guilt! Indeed the only subjectivity that Kojima hasn’t ‘made us play as’ is the mother’s, which is profoundly sad, I think, as hers is equally well active in the ‘Deleuzian’ subject. Isn’t it? Sometimes the camera hangs too long on the back end of Laughing Octopus, or Raging Raven, or Crying Wolf – women whose lives have been torn apart by war and violence and bloodshed. Kojima indicting himself. These beautiful women, real people, subjectivities unto themselves, that you are condemned to gun down in the course of Metal Gear 4: Guns of the Patriot. Pausing, leering, forgetting them, forgetting their suffering, forgetting them in you, forgetting their suffering in you. ‘How can you do this?’ ‘How can I do this?’ / ‘How can you do this and see me this way?’ ‘How can I do this and see myself this way?’

“I like women, I like women, I like the concept of a woman. I like to take that concept and reduce it to an object. I like to take those objects and put them in my videos,” as Reggie Watts so self-depreciatingly sings, entreating the viewer to ask ‘do I like this? Is that what I do? Is this what I want for myself, whoever I am?’ 

Isn’t this precisely the point of a ‘becoming-woman’? That I can indeed consider myself debased and disrespected in the hangs and glances of my debasing and disrespecting myself. To each sadist, as to each masochist, according to their need. In this respect then Kojima’s Metal Gear must  be considered profoundly homosexual – with the ostensible absence of your ability to 'play' – i.e. experience – the subjectivity of a becoming-woman. Or must it?

“The complexity of the Metal Gear series’ plot, legendary in game culture, is impossible to summarize without falsifying the experience of play” as Derek Noon and Nick Dyer-Witheford write, “[an] ‘ergodic’ text, in which the overall arc of the narrative is often not clear to the readers or gamers as they play. [Dock note: I so desperately want to put the word ‘play’ in semi-scare quotes, just like that, ‘play,’ to connote its radical indeterminacy]. Discovery of (and befuddlement by) what is going on is intrinsic to the pleasure of such artifacts. In the case of Metal Gear games, however, the narrative twists and turns, intractably mystifying to many players and happily lampooned in game reviews, are exceptionally Byzantine, involving a vast cast of secret operative characters, intricately related to each other (some, it turns out, are clones of one another, and others become biotechnologically fused!). The multiple betrayals, changes of objective, and switches of allegiance are only gradually (if ever) grasped as the player progresses, not just through one game, but the entire series.”[7]

On the surface a fantasy of male immortality, Metal Gear has, thus far, booted ‘you’ or ‘I’ terrified, helpless, and unwittingly into, seemingly, the subjectivity of HE from Lyotard’s ‘Can Thought Go On Without A Body,’ with ‘you’ experiencing the limitations of that fantasy ‘as’ at first the son, then the outsider, then the father, and then again, merely, the son. Credit to Kojima, the collection of symptoms in the story he crafts are psychoanalytic, they correspond to particular subjectivities within a psychoanalytic framework, but taken together they are the experience of the Deleuzian, wondering why I am not myself the mother, widowed and impregnated; wondering to what extent I am in fact the mother, widowed and impregnated. To each sadist, as to each masochist, according to their need.

Ps. Did you know that the argument between Oedipus and Laius that resulted in Oedipus actually killing his father regarded who had the ‘right of way’ while passing each other on the street? ‘Right of way’? Sophocles, is this a joke? What senseless, useless, sexually uninteresting violence this is, how can you joke at something like this? ‘Always. Always to joke,’ says the Sophocles-me, ‘to ‘make light,’ to laugh like Zarathustra while crying like Antigone,’ and to in the profoundest and most evental of terms ‘reconcile’ yourself. Reconcile (v.) c.1300, of persons, from L. reconcilare ‘to bring together again,’ from re- ‘again’ (see re-) + concilare ‘make friendly’ (see conciliate).

Even to wonder where the mother is, though? Even to be answered in Metal Gear 4: Guns of the Patriot. To ‘be’ a subjectivity – the subjectivity that ‘plays’ Metal Gear – that wonders why ‘I’ cannot experience Oedipus at Colonus from the perspective of the mother is perhaps the single greatest insight that can be gleaned from Kojima and indeed Deleuze. Sophocles had Polynices appealing to his father, desperately: “we both fawn on the world for shelter, / you and I, we share the same fate.”

The malady of the Deleuzian is to then lucidly, schizicly insist that ‘we’ equally well share our fate with Jocasta, the mother, whatever her particular pleasures or pains. From each schizo to each sadist, as to each masochist, according to their need.

‘Deleuzian,’ subtype of pervasive developmental disorder: To each sadist, as to each masochist, according to their needs. ‘The consideration of yourself and others in lucid schizophrenia.’ Symptom, ‘Deleuzian.’

Where is the mother? Didn’t you play her as Raiden? Wasn’t he ‘other’ enough? Credit to Kojima, his franchise has literally reached the point at which its consumers must ask themselves “having been another, why am I not, myself, a mother?” Why can I not be The Boss? Why can I not be Eva? Why can I not literally ‘be’ Eve? Or why can I not be, in turn, the self that contains both Adam and Eve, each themselves potential schizos, sadists or masochists? Maybe the fans aren’t asking these questions of themselves but Kojima is certainly asking them, of Snake, of himself and you, and me. Credit to Kojima he has built an empire – himself very much like his Big Boss, Naked Snake – devoted to the subjectivity that asks “why am I this person or that person? With their multifarious wants and needs. Why can’t I be both? Or another? Or neither? Or none.”

“The shame of being a man – is there any better reason to write? Even when it is a woman who is becoming, she has to become-woman, and this becoming has nothing to do with a state she could claim as her own. To become is not to attain a form (identification, imitation, Mimesis) but to find the zone of proximity, indiscernibility, or indifferentiation where one can no longer be distinguished from a woman, an animal, or a molecule – neither imprecise nor general, but unforeseen and nonpreexistent, singularized out of a population rather than determined in a form.”[8]

She used to hate it when I said I wasn’t a man. When I told her ‘I am just a thing, a thing that desires,’ she would laugh or be angry, though I knew she understood better than anyone else, being herself a Deleuzian. She thought it was a cop-out, to abandon rather than resuscitate masculinity.

As Marx writes, “men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.”[9] Exactly! So who would ever want to be a man!? A lot of work to identify as one with a clean conscience, I used to tell her, laughing.

Big Boss, Naked Snake – arch priest of the high decelerationist order – asking, begging for forgiveness from his son, his brother, his clone, to whom he is both betrayed mother and betrayed father at once – as though Sephiroth begging Cloud Strife for forgiveness:

“The hatred is gone. All I feel is a deep sense of longing, and pity.  Did Zero really hate me? Only Zero is left. Everything has its beginning but it doesn’t start at One, it starts long before that, in chaos. The world is born from Zero. The moment Zero becomes One is the moment the world springs to life. One becomes Two, Two becomes Ten, Ten becomes One Hundred. Taking it all back to One solves nothing. So long as Zero remains, One will eventually grow to One Hundred again. And so our goal was to erase Zero. . .”

That goal, ‘to erase Zero’ was ill-fated precisely because it ‘took it all back to One.’ ‘Taking it all back to One solves nothing. The ethical edict of Deleuze and Kojima is precisely to wonder after the subjectivities that you do not ‘play’ as. For you to become honed in and precisely aware of their monolithic and deafening absence when they are absent, the ethical consequences of this. The results of Naked Snake, Big Boss’s ‘Outer Haven’ were as disasterous as that of (literally) Zero ‘himself,’ their both having misunderstood the wish of The Boss, a woman, their ‘mother,’ that they might simply be free. Neither Big Boss nor Zero understood the depths of their mother’s sanction, ‘you are free, to do anything, to kill, even me.’

[I’m choking down the urge to quote Obi Wan Kenobi right now ‘If you strike me down. . .’]

“Scholars tell us the first spy in history was the Snake in the book of Genesis. In that story it was Eve who was tempted by Snake in the Garden of Eden, but this time around it was I who tempted the Snake and got away with the forbidden fruit of knowledge, forgive me Snake.”

Sometimes ‘I’ still get email updates from ‘her’ account – it’s ridiculous how much ‘she’ reads – the last was for David Foster Wallace’s Both Flesh and Not: Essays, heck, I only wish I was that smart, the reading she does. [I’m still mired half-way through Infinite Jest, finding myself in familiar company with Dan Mellamphy, having all but given up on it, and strange bedfellows with R. Scott Bakker in trying to penetrate and redeem it, it being on the whole a resolutely paranoiac work.]

You’re forgiven, Eve. How could a Deleuzian begrudge a Deleuzian for wanting to find a sadist or a masochist who fits them just right? A dearth of subjectivities is indeed an ethical indictment. I just wish I’d been more acutely ‘sadist’ in this instance or ‘masochist’ in that one, according to ‘her’ needs, to have understood more why they are not self-identical with ‘my own’ needs. This is why Benjamin is right about melancholia and Lacan is wrong: insurmountable loss isn’t a reduction of multiplicity but a multiplication of multiplicity. Erasing Zero is a fool’s errand [something hammered home by how oddly, disturbingly inappropriate it is when Big Boss actually does it, kills Zero, turns off his life support system while in the moment of his speech about how wrongheaded he was].

Endnotes on Accelerationism: What accelerationists lack is the foresight to be, in the present moment, both the subjectivity that witnesses and is victim to their contrivances, made with the best of intentions, turned ugly and wrong, as well as the subjectivity that contrives – which they’re better at than I am, mathematical vunderkinds, they are – and hence they fail to contrive differently, or contrive less.
Cosmists, consider yourselves as Tiqqun, father and son, clones, Tiqqun consider yourself as Cosmists, son and father, clones, and each go for a puff and – whether you are or are not a woman – wonder for a at least a few minutes over the question “why am I not myself a woman?”

The father, in realising what he’s become, so far from his intent, forgives the son for his murder and betrayal, the mother forgives the father for having become what he’s become, and the son forgives the mother for X – where X is the indeterminacy of the mother’s desire, you could equally well susbstitute X for N+1, or at least the +1 in the N+1 – and the father forgives the mother for having fornicated with the son – ‘after all,’ the father thinks, ‘in the best of my instances she fell in love with him because of a resemblance to me, and in the worst of my instances I am not myself anyway. The love she sees in him is the love she saw in me, once upon a time.’ If you are the subjectivity of all of these at once then the psychoanalytic ‘shock’ or ‘trauma’ shtick is kind of uninteresting, but also kind of not, important still, obviously, but what a marvellously ethical world it would be were we to all suddenly be the subjectivities of all of those that we have loved, or lost, or hurt, or betrayed, if we were to simply be each other’s subjectivities.

“De-oedipalizing, undoing the daddy-mommy spider web, undoing the beliefs so as to attain the production of desiring-machines, and to reach the level of economic and social investments where the militant analysis comes into play.”[10]

Metal Gear 4 sees concluding with the subjectivity of the son, but not the same son, a son redeemed, absolved by the father, a remainder. What remains? The artificially aged body of a geriatric Snake riddled with – not one but indeed two strains of! . . – the dreaded FOXDIE virus, designed to keep you and your clone brothers from reproducing. Your father – having watched you cradle your mother, Eva, in your arms as you watched your brother destroy what you thought to be 'his' body, what you thought to be your father's body [it was actually the body of Solidus, the post-singularity führer puppet, remember him? ‘You,’ do you?] #DecelerationistSoapOpera – wants only that you consider yourself in him, in his subjectivity, in hers, in her dreams and hopes and passions and pleasures, though you know not what they are, for you to consider yourself permanently, inescapably in everyone:

“Boss,” he says in the air, to Jocasta, to his love, “you were right. It’s not about changing the world, it’s about doing our best to leave the world the way it is. It’s about respecting the will of others and believing in your own. Isn’t that what you faught for?”

He turns to you. ‘He’ turns to ‘you,’ the ‘he that he was’ turns to ‘you as you are’:

"Know this: Zero and I, Liquid and Solidus, we all fought a long, bloody war for our liberty. We fought to free ourselves from nations... and systems... and norms, and ages. But no matter how hard we tried, the only liberty we found was on the inside, trapped within those limits. The Boss and I may have chosen different paths but in the end, we were both trapped inside the same cage: Liberty. But you, you have been given freedom. Freedom to be. . .” says old Big Boss, Naked Snake, father-brother-son-clone, to you with a swarthy nod and a glint, recalling when it was true of himself, “Outside.”

Is it true? No, obviously, again. Father-brother-son-clone, nostalgic, trying to explain himself. Here Naked Snake, not Big Boss, flattering you with the exact fallacy that doomed him to his legacy as ‘Big Boss’ – ‘Big Boss’ being the codename his men gave to him for having killed The Boss, his figurative ‘mother’ [as opposed to ‘his’ literal mother who we never meet, or haven’t met yet, or Solid Snake’s mother, Eva, the one who dies in his arms, ‘in his hands’ as opposed to by them]. His dream, Naked Snake’s dream in absolving you, that you might be ‘outside,’ is precisely and exactly what you faught against in Metal Gear (1987) and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990) – not to be confused, or maybe precisely to be confused with the Metal Gear Solid franchise (1998 – 2008) – Outer Haven. The idea that you yourself propose as the subjectivity of father-brother-son-clone Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Soldiers Without Borders, Militaires Sans Frontières, Outer Haven – for all the carnage it unleashed – for him to whistfully suggest that you, the remainder, the son – or daughter – who has been the subjectivities of first son, and then ‘outsider,’ and then father, and then son again, is free to be simply ‘outside,’ it seems now, well, simply a touching reminder of ‘the old man set in his ways,’ misguided by his noble spirit even in the middle of his swan-song mea-culpa. And perhaps this is also a rejoinder to the discussion on Drew Burk’s facebook wall about Fabio Gironi’s Blog Hyper Tiling in his post On Para-academia: some Metaphilosophical Reflections (, that – in having been on the outside for so very long, Outer Haven, just as he would be if he had been purely on the inside for so very long, like Zero – Big Boss is still ‘playing the old tune.’ It sounds good, and you love to see him play it, for old times’ sake, but you wouldn’t play it yourself, however much you may be him, or her, or anyone else.

No, we are not outside, we cannot be, though nor are we inside only – as was the downfall of Zero and The Patriots – we are indeed on the outside and on the inside at once. The subjectivity of all of those who victimize and who are themselves victim, precisely, carefully, surgically, as well as those who abhor violence whatsoever, these too, sexually inhibited though they must be. How ought we act in our being all of these at once? I’d paraphrase ‘who ought we fuck and how ought we fuck them’ but the ethical edict of the Deleuzian subject infuses all relations of sense, not simply those of the register – magnitude? – of ‘fuck.’ Indeed ‘fuck’ is a category of reason, and Deleuzian, as an affliction, bypasses reason entirely.

‘Deleuzian,’ subtype of pervasive developmental disorder: To each sadist, as to each masochist, according to their needs. ‘The consideration of yourself in lucid schizophrenia.’ Symptom, ‘Deleuzian.’

“Roosevelt was convulsed with such hatred for the species as it is that he wished to degrade it beyond all recognition. ‘I’ll make them cocksuckers glad to mutate’ he’d say, looking off into space as if seeking new frontiers of depravity. So let us all scan the horizon for new frontiers of depravity: This is the ‘Space Age’ and we are here to go.”[11]

What is Metal Gear? A walking nuclear tank or the de-oedipalizing subject (this subject, themselves, already many subjects)?

Suspended in the play between two warring FOXDIE virus strains, this remainder: I am the desire that I never quite myself know, equally well N as +1: the Metal Gear that therefore I am. Is it any wonder that MGS is acronym to both ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and ‘Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia’?

I know you’re all wondering what Edward had to say about all this, so am I, I haven’t seen her for days. Not since it snowed, I'll keep you posted though. I honestly assume that she's huddled up the family and made her way to one of the Idle No More CN blockades, I hope she can come back soon.

Update: So it turns out Edward was at one of the Idle No More blockades after all, though she left her babies here with a friend and has been back to see them for two days now, before heading back this morning. I didn’t notice her upon her return because she was smoking cigarettes beneath a cardboard box. She said that Kojima may very well be the secret Deleuzian pro-situ that I'd described, that in an industry of pablum that he is very good at manipulation of the Brechtian Verfremdungsffektor (‘alienation effect’) towards precisely the sexual and moral sentiments I gestured to, de-oedipalization, the production of desiring machines, deleuzo-marxian bdsm in its political and ethical register, but that an accelerationist would argue that if this is true then it, in turn, ought to be accelerated – mandatory Metal Gear playthrough, required studies, an enforceable program of pedagogy. She noted, however, that ‘mandatory playthrough’ and ‘enforceable program of pedagogy’ are very much the thing that Metal Gear is meant itself to disquiet oneself about, i.e. the *laugh-laugh ha-ha* moon gulags, 're-education,' 'training' as it is in the parlance of Metal Gear. She said it all hinges on the role of negativity, quoting Zizek, “Hegel was not as he is usually interpreted by liberals today, Hegel was not into this dream of a bourgeois society, prose-like, prosaic society ‘the antagonisms are over’ ‘we lead our peaceful lives’ and so on. For Hegel there has to be from time to time a war. Not for any militaristic reasons but for a purely conceptual necessity that precisely there cannot be lasting peace between universal and particular.” She said that, for an afflicted ‘Deleuzian’ the mysterious desire of the mother, the +1 in the N+1, may very well be the ‘desire’ of the Hegelian, a 'desire' for negativity. That a truly destabilizing becoming-woman may draw one into ethical and philosophical parameters that one is not necessarily comfortable with, perhaps even, though not necessarily, a conceptual necessity of war. Before disappearing, and don’t ask me how she knows this, she quoted Metal Gear’s The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Operation Snake Eater – The Boss, Mother of the Special Forces, with whom Naked Snake was more than friend, more than comrade, more than lover, “One must die and one must live. No victory, no defeat. The survivor will carry on the fight. It is our destiny... The one who survives will inherit the title of Boss. And the one who inherits the title of Boss will face an existence of endless battle.”

[1] Giles Deleuze, Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty and Venus in Furs (New York: Zone, 1989), 15.
[2] Nick Land, "Kant, Capital, and the Prohibition of Incest” Third Text, 2:5 1988, 91.
[3] Robert Musil, Man Without Qualities Tr. Sophie Wilkins (New York: Vintage International, 1995) 37.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid, 85.
[7] Derek Noon and Nick Dyer-Witheford, “Sneaking Mission: Late Imperial America and Metal Gear Solid” in Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play Ed. J. Talmadge Wright et al. (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2010), 80.
[8] Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical Tr. Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco (London: Verso, 1998), 1.
[9] Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (Maryland: Wildside Press LLC, 2008), 15.
[10] Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus Tr. Robert Hurley et al. (New York: Continuum, 2004), 123.
[11] William S. Burroughs, live reading, MP3, “Roosevelt After Inauguration” from Word Virus Ed. James Grauerholz and Ira Silverberg (New York: Grove Press, 2000), 112, unknown location.

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