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<nettime> ultimate manifesto of neoism
cantsin on Sun, 26 Jun 2005 17:25:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ultimate manifesto of neoism


  Two girls wearing silver overalls and Monty Cantsin-look alike
  masks visited Monty Cantsin. The first girl said: "I bet this is an
  allegory." The second said: "You have won." The first said: "But only
  allegorically." The second said: "No, in reality. In allegory, you
  have lost."

Hello and welcome to Neoism, the international movement of games
and total freedom. It may be difficult for the casual audience to
understand or appreciate Neoism because Neoism is the vehicle of its own
understanding. Neoism simply means that what is done in its name is
simultaneously new ("neo") and established ("ism"). It does not imply
that it is original. In this sense, Neoism makes past, present and
future the same, rendering them pointless. With time left behind them,
Neoists find any obsession with freedom futile.  Neoism is not a means
to freedom, but supports censorship as a radically populist cultural
practice. In the same spirit, Neoism prescribes arbitrary game rules to
put the lives of Neoists under the discipline of rigorous combinatorics,
with perpetual permutations. The purpose of Neoism is to reinforce
mnemonic structures on the mental plane and so invigorate culture. Of
all values and norms we believe the value of tradition is the greatest;
this is the one we try hardest to reinforce.

In a Neoist view, the world is not things colliding in space, but a random
array of disconnected phenomena. Neoism does not conceive of the spatial
as lasting in time. Since every phenomenon is irreducible, the mere
act of giving it a name implies falsification. The paradox however is
that names and philosophies exist in Neoism, in countless numbers. There
are Neoists who consider a certain pain, a green tint of yellow, a
temperature, a certain tone the only reality. Other Neoists perceive all
people having sex as the same being, and all people memorizing a line of
Shakespeare as Shakespeare. Another group of Neoists has reached the
point of denying time. It reasons that the present is undefined, that
the future has no reality but as present hope, that the past is no more
than present memory. Yet another group has it that the history of the
universe is the handwriting produced by a minor god communicating with a
demon. Those Neoists think that the world is an emblem with a lost
subscription where only that which happens every three hundredth night
is true. Other Neoists believe that while we are asleep here, we are
awake somewhere else, so that everyone is two. Books are rarely signed,
and the notion of plagiarism does not exist.

Neoism is, above all, a prefix and a suffix without anything in between.
According to Neoist sources, it was founded in the year 1346. Since
then, Neoism has permanently been about to dissolve. Some Neoists even
claim that Neoism never existed and is a mere invention of its enemies,
Anti-Neoists. Since Neoism is indivisible, it cannot grasp itself, and
anyone who wants to grasp it has to be an Anti-Neoist. And since the
Neoists want to create a situation in which a definition of Neoism would
make no sense, attempts to write off Neoism by historicizing it are just
part of the Neoist cultural conspiracy. Obsessed with speculation,
reality adjustment and mad science, Neoists produced nothing but
manipulations of their own and other histories.

When such manipulations make it impossible to differentiate between
words and things, the structure of things must begin to repair itself.
Neoism is here to fix these things once and for all. Neoist names like
Monty Cantsin, Akademgorod, Neoism are regarded not as artificial, but
as tangible symbols so that everything done with them immediately
affects the things they represent. At first, Neoism was probably nothing
but a collection of obscure in-jokes and ironical references. They were
elaborated into fanciful allegories and hieroglyphs whose points only
insiders would get. Later, their hidden allusions were forgotten, and
the signs were taken for themselves. Since they obviously had to mean
something, Neoists had to reinvent their meaning. The remotest analogies
between signs and meanings were constructed until Neoism became an art
of concordant discord, a sphere with as many coordinates as diameters, a
self-refuting perpetuum mobile.

The pompous claims and the solemn pathos of Neoism had an extraordinary
impact on naive people. Rich with obscurity, riddles and esoteric
subtexts, Neoist writing such as "The Disposal of Truth," "Mind
Invaders," "The Seven by Nine Squares," "The Book of Neoism," "The
Universe in Contention" and "Dialectical Immaterialism" tries nothing
less than a complete reinvention of culture.  Neoist achievements
allegedly include time travel, the transformation of blood into gold,
inexpensive telepathic technology and, more generally, collective
control over matter, space and time by manipulating things through their
names. Neoism finally claims to have overcome the parameters of life and
death, offering immortality to everyone: Through the name Monty Cantsin,
Neoists live and explore the paradox of a subjectivity that is one and
multiple, collectively realizing individuality and abandoning it in the
end. The result of this experiment is a simultaneous "both/and" and
"neither/nor" as the principle of all Neoist thinking.

A chief concern of Neoism is to turn people into players. This is to be
gradually achieved. First, Neoism denies there is a game. Second, it
hides the rules from those involved. Third, it gives them all penalties
and no wins. Fourth, it removes all goals, enforces their playing,
inhibits their enjoying. Fifth, it makes them look like players, but
forbids them playing. To make everyone remain a piece in the game, it
permits him to associate only with pieces and denies the existence of

Imagine a house. Six walls. A house, no door, no window. A person inside
that house. The house consists of nine squares, 20 feet across and 20
feet high and 20 feet wide. But the person's diameter is only 19 feet.
His awareness is only 19 feet. Does he see the walls? No! Neoism makes
him think he is a one-lifetimer, and his awareness goes down to 18 feet.
And when it goes down to 18 feet, Neoism moves its walls in to 19 feet.
When Neoism gets him down to the size of a fist, its walls are the size
of stretched out arms, and things have been nicely repaired. And if
anybody jumps out of the line, we got lobotomy, shock treatment, Siberia
- whatever you want, baby, we have it here.

So be on your guard! Watch Neoism. Take it home. Don't be ignorant.
Neoism is compassionate, and it is cruel. Be on your guard! Don't hate
its obedience and don't love its self-control. Don't dismiss it in its
weakness, and don't be afraid of its power. Why do you despise its fear
and curse its pride? It lives in fears and strengthens in trembling.
Neoism is stupid and it is wise. Neoism will be silent among the silent,
and it will appear and speak. Why then have you dismissed it?

Neoism appears when you are away, and it hides when you appear. Take it
home to places which are ugly and in ruin. Out of shame, take it home
and scatter its members shamelessly. Approach it and turn away. Neoism
is the reading that is attainable to anything; it is the speech that
cannot be grasped.

If you want to understand Neoism, differentiate. If you want to know
what it's all about, understand its philosophy. Understand its technical
application, and study Neoism in its own words. Conceptual understanding
is of importance here. Not everything in Neoism is of equal value. Neoism
has its own opinion, and it has a right to keep its own opinion. And boy,
it's got some wild opinions. You oughta hear them sometime. But that's
a different thing... a different thing... and you can tell very easily
when it swings over into its opinion, when it starts rambling about this
or that. Take it as amusing, but it doesn't have anything really to do
with Neoism. Neoism itself is cleaner than a wolf's tooth. There are a
lot of wolves' teeth out there and they aren't too clean.

Neoism is clean because it does not exist except in the reactions it
creates. Some Neoists used the experimental arts to promote the Neoist
values of tradition and speculation. Neoism, in this disguise, was a
movement that created the illusion of a movement called Neoism. After
various mutations, Neoism developed an increasingly complex web of
contradictory self-descriptions, a hermeneutic drift that leads every
Neoist to re-interpret Neoism in any suitable way. Neoist
self-descriptions soon became an impassable maze. This explains why it
is so difficult to approach Neoism whose only work has been a
never-ending monologue about itself. To complicate things even further,
Neoists now refuse categorically to reply to any questions or requests
for information about Neoism.

Neoism is like porn movies: The subject has no importance, logic is
unneccessary, there is an accumulation of well-known things, the focus
is always on the same explicit facts, repetition and boredom rule.
One is tempted to believe that Neoism once had some sort of intelligible
shape and is now only a broken-down remnant. Yet this does not seem
to be the case; at least there is no sign of it. By its own standards,
Neoism is irrefutable, perhaps the only perfection in mankind that has
superseded nature. In any case, closer scrutiny is impossible, since it is
extraordinarily nimble and can never be laid hold of. It lurks by turns
in the stairways, the lobbies, the entrance halls. Often it can't been
seen for years; then it has presumably moved elsewhere. It always comes
faithfully back to your place again. By differentiating a little bit, one
can get the true intention of what Neoism tries to accomplish. Neoism is
sound where there is sound. It really wants to help people and at last
we owe it great respect for that.

Join us, we want war with you. Cursed be anyone who doesn't believe us.

Monty Cantsin

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