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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The biopolitics of human microbiota

Thinking about the politics of cure. Ecology is a battleground between the politics of human self-sacrifice and the politics of human self-enhancement. The latter intends to create varieties of population technologies where plants, bacteria, fungi are put to work for the benefit of human life and ultimately of post-human life. A privileged corner of this battleground is the scope of medicine. The scope of cure - in terms of the battle of germs, the battle in the wilderness of human microbiota. A starting point could be Guattari's model of three ecologies: quite literally, the ecology of subjectivity is populated by all sorts of entelechias, the fauna and flora of human moods, of the animal spirits that live around the chemical environment of human fluids where they find and construct their niches. It is a fight with many speeds, included the speed of some sort of subjective ataraxia - what I once called the pulsion for pause (in a video called "Dexistence"). The biochemistry of ataraxia is far from being known, it is an affair in demography. Likewise, the ecology of the socius is a complex interaction of germs transmitted and entrained forms of life where repetitions in the social circles create rhythms within the internal microbiota. The three ecologies knit a plot for biopolitics. They are also the ecology of desire and belief: to desire or believe something is to find something that agrees with one's folds. To agree with one's fold is also to agree with one's microbiota, to find a place in an ecological environment.

The ecology of the microbiota opens the way for a great deal of human enhancement and human capture into Nick Land's PODS, politically oriented defensive systems. The transition between the age of discipline and the age of control is the transition between the media and the farmacopeia - or, rather, the fusion of media and farmacopedia. The dangerous idea behind the ecology of human microbiota is that to make someone believe something is a biochemical enterprise. The idea that body-interference seeks cure presupposes that there is a state where the system can be left alone (well, more or less to care about its own cycles). The idea helps paving the way for all kinds of chemical interventions. But eventually these interventions in the name of cure will become explicit. People will just seek their own overcoming, seek to become more of somethingThis biopolitics is another era in the development of the catastrophe of control but it also opens up new, post-human, elements of resistance. PODS could always be infected by hacking viruses, the microbiota is alive in the general sense that there are ways for it to be up for grabs.

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