The important thing is to know how to practice terraism. The practice of terraism is three-dimensional. First, there is an analytic dimension. Analytics consists of cartography. There is always a geography to worlds or regimes of attraction. This geography consists of how things are put together, the relations between elements, and the careful mapping of relations between elements. It is never the case that everything is related to everything else. This is why people starve to death. If everything were related to everything else then there would never be any hunger, any poverty, any lack of opportunity, any loneliness. Nothing, things are always selectively related and only interact along vector-paths. Because the anarchic heteroverse is material and only material, moreover, there can only ever be real connections between things. There can never be any action at a distance, but must always be some thread that allows two or more things interact. My voice needs wind to carry it and even then it can only travel so far before it is exhausted.
At any rate, because not everything is related to everything, there can never be cartography or geography, but only cartographies and geographies. Space-time is topological such that some entities relate and others do not. Here our language often misleads us. We think, for example, that because a place has a single name it constitutes a single cartography. Yet as Mieville has taught us in The City & The City something can appear to be a single cartography when, in fact, there is more than one distinct topological space, regime of attraction, or network present. This is why some people– the queer –can seem to be in a particular place, to occupy a particular place, while nonetheless being entirely outside of that regime of attraction altogether. The plight of the alien.
Without cartography nothing is possible. Every military leader knows this. You need to know how the nodes are related, what the supply lines are, what the channels of transmission are, and so on to act on these assemblages. Without that knowledge all is for naught. It is for this reason that semiotically driven modes of critique so often miss the boat. They treat the signifier as if it were everywhere, as if it pervaded the entire social field, forgetting that signifiers too are material things and thus must be transmitted throughout the world. Cartography or geography, it turns out, is the First Philosophy of political practice.
I hesitate to use the term, but perhaps the second dimension of terraism is deconstruction. Like Joseph K. in Kafka’s novels, we often find ourselves trapped in larger scale objects that use emissions for us in their own ongoing autopoiesis or self-reproduction. As so many of us experience under capitalism, this can be a tremendously oppressive and alienating state-of-affairs. Cartography gives us the map that allows for the possibility of deconstruction. Here deconstruction should be understood in a far more material sense than we often understand it. While textual deconstruction is, indeed, an indispensable form of terraism, opening up lines of flight by revealing the margins in networks of meanings, there is also material deconstruction as well. If you cut the phone lines the message cannot be sense. This is a deconstructive operation with respect to a particular regime of attraction. Marx was a great cartographer, showing us that the production of surplus-value is always a process, that it can only exist in process, such that if this process is interrupted or broken, value no longer exists. In other words, value is not intrinsic to the things valued, but only exists in the process. This opens the possibility of deconstructions. The Occupy Wall Street protesters, for example, might organize ten or twenty thousand people to withdraw all their money from the banks. This would interrupt the production of surplus-value through finance capital. I suspect were some action like this to be taken you’d encounter corporations and government far more willing to make concessions in the interest of the working and middle class. In any event, deconstruction is that dimension of terraism that severs “supply lines”, interrupting those energies and communications necessary for hyperobjects to continue their autopoiesis.
Alternatively, deconstruction can consist in the traversal of lines of flight in holey space. There is never a regime of attraction so total– as Luhmann and the structuralists sometimes seem to claim –that there is no path of escape. Because only matter and void exist, everything is porous. Not only are objects withdrawn such that they are never entirely reduced to elements of hyperobjects, but there are always gaps and opportunities within any regime of attraction. Recently we have seen this with the creative use of new communications technologies by rogue objects in various activist movements. We saw this in the use made of Twitter by the Egyptian revolutionaries during the Arab Spring. This allowed them to organize in ways that voice alone wouldn’t enable, while also transforming the events into a world spectacle, bringing international pressure to bear on the government. We see this in the use the Occupy Wall Street activists are making of the internet to get around the closure of mainstream media systems, allowing what is taken place to get out to the public and catalyzing further organizing. We see this in the way many marginalized thinkers and theorists make use of the blogosphere, circumventing university systems of journals, conferences, and institutions. These are all holes allowing for lines of flight.
The third dimension of terraism is composition. Composition is terraforming. To compose is to construct or build. Composition is the activity of building new geographies, new cartographies, where a separation of topologies takes place and different regimes of attraction are produced. The work of composition involves a variety of elements. There are affective components (in both the traditional sense of the term, and Spinoza’s), signifying components, images, bits of steel, paper, pulses of electricity over fiber optic cables, bits of programming, animals, microbes, houses, etc. The work of terraforming is always the building of new paths of interactivity and connectability, coupled with the formation of new elements or identities. It is what the part-no-part does when it has traced a line of flight. It is the creation of alternatives.
Each dimension of terraism has its own affective attunement and counter-attunement. Cartography, of course, is characterized by wonder and perplexity, while its counter-attunement is that of indifference and the sentiment that the way things are arranged is obvious and natural. Perhaps deconstruction is characterized by the affect of indignation, though in its better moments it’s characterized by humor. It’s counter-affect or counter-attunement would be the bureaucratic mania and sadistic relish in ensuring that parts do not step outside of their assigned role as elements. Finally, the affects that characterize composition are those of joy, sympathy, generosity, and fraternity. It is the gregarious activity of building new collectives with others and with allowing one’s self to become-other in working with others.