In his last book, Chaosmosis (1992), Guattari writes that ‘Among the fogs and miasmas which obscure our fin de millenaire, the question of subjectivity is now returning as a leit motiv …’ He first adds: ‘All the disciplines will have to combine their creativity to ward off the ordeals of barbarism, the mental implosion and chaosmic spasms looming on the horizon.’ Then he writes: ‘We have to conjure barbarianism, mental implosion, chaosmic spasm’.

This last expression marks the consciousness of the darkness, and of the pathology that capitalism is bringing about. In that book Guattari foretold that the millennial transition was going to be an age of fog and miasmas, of obscurity and suffering. Now we know that he was perfectly right. Twenty years after Chaosmosis, we know that the fog is thicker than ever and that the miasmas are not vanishing, but becoming more dangerous, more poisonous than they have ever been.

Chaosmosis was published just a few months before the death of its author in 1992, when the world powers met in Rio de Janeiro to discuss and possibly to decide about the pollution and global warming that in those years was becoming increasingly apparent as a threat to human life on the planet. The American President George Bush Senior declared that the American way of life was not negotiable, meaning that the US did not intend to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and economic growth for the sake of the environmental future of the planet. Then, as on many other occasions afterwards, the United States government refused to negotiate and to accept any global agreement on this subject.

Today, twenty years later, the devastation of the environment, natural life and social life have reached a level that seems to be irreversible. Irreversibility is a difficult concept to convey, being totally incompatible with modern politics. When we use this word we are declaring ipso facto the death of politics itself.

The process of subjectivation develops within this framework, which reshapes the composition of unconscious flows in the social culture. ‘Subjectivity is not a natural given any more than air or water. How do we produce it, capture it, enrich it and permanently reinvent it in order to make it compatible with universes of mutating values?’

The problem is not to protect subjectivity. The problem is to create and to spread flows of re-syntonization of subjectivity in a context of mutation. How can the subjectivity flows that we produce be independent from the corrupting effects of the context, while still interacting with the context?

How to create autonomous subjectivity (autonomous from the surrounding corruption, violence, anxiety)? Is this at all possible in the age of the spasm?

—Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Heroes, (London: Verso, 2015), 218-219.

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