Black and Meaningless: Anti-Liberation, Nihilism and Love

What moves the Nihilist

moves the Lover

nothing moves the Lover,

and yet,

the Nihilist is the Lover

who denies that there is

an existence of accessible transcendence

for love and life to be situated upon.

What moves the Nihilist

moves the Lover,

nothing moves the Nihilist;

and yet,

the Nihilist is the lover

who loves immanently,

without reason, or purpose

for both love and life are absurd.

What moves the Nihilist

moves the Lover,

nothing, absolutely, nothing;


the Nihilist is the Lover

the lover who loves meaninglessly

the lover of love

who loves for love’s sake,

the lover of life,

who loves for life’s sake.

The Nihilist is the lover of love,

the lover of life.

                –  the nihilist is the lover

Black Studies is afraid to get rid of the concept of Liberation because Black Studies is afraid of the nihilism that such a move creates. But what this nihilism opens up is an end that is an end in-itself, an end that is teleologically suspended yet future-necessitated, an end that aims towards nothingness. This nihilism must be negated by Black Studies – in any way, shape or form that that Black Study manifest itself – because it is this manifestation alone that arises out of the dust of this World which is both affectively moved and philosophically articulated as a radical insistence to want nothing to do with it or anything that it has forced us to desire. Thus it is the antics of the nihilist that we reject the most. It is what the nihilist does and then, occasionally doesn’t do that worries us most dearly.

The nihilist performs itself in accordance to the logic of the in-itself of desire. This answers the “Why not kill yourself” question.

“Well, my friend, I just can’t quite say that I desire to do that at the moment. Although, it seems as though you yourself might find pleasure in my not being here. I, myself, which is to say whatever this “I” that has been sociogenically structured to be, finds that my desires do not quite fit the action.”

By saying this I am not saying that we Black nihilist are uniquely moved by desire, but rather I am saying desires move everything and to understand the Black nihilist’s actions, we have to understand the way desire flows through everyone and everything as part of parcel of everyone and everything.

“There is only desire and the social, and nothing else.”

– Deleuze and Guattari, “Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia”

I can hear the scholars now: “Now you’re citing white folks to make a claim about Black existence?”

Indeed, and I’m using white words, and I’m using white capital to purchase my clothes, and I’m using white institutions to circulate my opinion on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and I’m using white notions of “property” and calling it “mine” and all of it is blood soaked and violent. So what should we do once we know this? Is it all meaningless? Perhaps. Perhaps, at an ontological level, it is. Perhaps, the metaphysics of what grounds the coherence of me, you, and everything else is so pervasive over our being that there is no escape from it. Perhaps, that is simply true since every word we speak is by necessity both a reminder of a metaphysical violence and a recapitulation of that anoriginary violence. Perhaps, even if we did escape from this ontological abyss we’d be so terrified by what was on the other side that we’d desire to go back, but we could never “go” back since an opening of a new metaphysical horizon is precisely the closing of the possibility of a “back” for Time as time-as-repetition. A new metaphysical horizon closes a certain door in opening another that can only make a “back” for Time as time-as-similar-difference.

All of this, however, for the nihilist is secondary to the suspension of Time from not just it’s linear conception (which all of Black Studies has critiqued) but it’s eschatological conception which very few in Black Studies has critiqued. Liberation is Black Studies’ eschatological premise of coherence. We study Blackness in hopes that one day Black people will be set free. But what is free? And where does free come from? And I ask not only about the desire to be free of oppression – which from any transhistorical lens of phylogeny, ontogeny or sociogeny can easily be stated to have pre-existed currently existing paradigms of violence. In other words, the Enlightenment Fathers did not invent the desire to be free from oppression. But, they did invent a certain onto-epistemologically apparatus from which our current conception of Liberation is indispensable. But if one wants to get rid of the current onto-epistemological apparatus then one must get rid of the concept of Liberation which is indispensable to the Enlightenment project. This means deconstructing the concept of the Human, the Rational, the Maxim of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. A process which is currently unfolding both inside and outside of Black Studies, both inside and outside of the Humanities, both inside and outside of the Sciences, both inside and outside the Academy, both inside and outside of America in multiple different socio-political directions and ideological agendas.

There is no Liberation like there is no World. There is the Earth and everything that exist on the Earth which includes these being-bodies that have come to practice this reproductive experimental art called “Science” which they narrate as the inevitable by-product of their capacity to “Reason”  which they narrate as a form of hightened intuition called “Enlightenment” which they narrate originated in a small fraction of the Earth that they call “Europe” and which at some time during what is now called the French Revolution sparked a desire for an elaborate abstraction that we call “Liberation.”

When I say that I do not believe in Liberation, I do not mean that Black Studies shouldn’t resist the World but that Liberation is part of the World that needs to be resisted. Liberation resituates our desires with the World which is the socius-as-is. But what if we desired more in accordance to the way the nihilist desires? This marks a difference between Black Nihilism and European Nihilism. The former are characterized primarily through what they do and the latter by what they don’t. This is because the former – due to an eroticopolitical worlding – have always been thought to be “desiring-machines” well before Deleuze and Guattari attempted to render it novel in Anti-Oedipus; whereas though the history of the logic of desire in accordance to the logic of Western Logic has always generally been epistemically categorized as lack. The former have too much desire; the latter has too little. The former is despised for destroying what remains of the Black community either through violence or impotence and the latter is despised for not doing anything including killing themselves. I am not going to refute or negate whether or not “criminal behavior” in “black communities” are created by “nihilism” in the Black community as much as I will ask a question that I think is perhaps the more important intramural question for a Black Studies in the 21st Century, namely: What does love look like for the Black nihilist? What would a Black nihilist need love for? And why would a Black nihilist love?

Black nihilist love in accordance to the logic of the in-itself of desire. There is no deeper meaning or purpose to such a love; it is love for the sake of love-itself. It is love that is loved as an end in-itself, an end that is teleologically suspended yet future-necessitated, an end that aims towards nothingness. To love Blackness with a Black Nihilist Love is a blackening of metaphysics because it aims at nothing, not even Liberation. I desire to love Black people not because one day we will be Free but because I desire to love Black people. If it is circular, so be it … let this meaningless World sustain its categories. I am neither divested or invested. If desire is not enough to supplant the World than nothing is anyhow and yet, nothing is without desire.


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