Translated by Zed ('dada didit') Morse.When a Child is no longer considered Scientist,
Science is mere Metaphysic
Consider the picture below depicting the hierarchy of numbers, the "building blocks" of mathematics, the so-called language of enlightened science, reason, logic symbolized:
If mathematics is the language of reason, then we should be able to say that rationality easily generates irrationality & imagination & vice verse (such that the entire universe can be modeled mathematically - or so they tell us). Using one logical [rational] operation and its inversion, [ax, a1/x] and negation [-1 x a = (-a)], and two 'rational' numbers [1 and 2], one can generate other 'rational' numbers [eg., 4], 'irrational' numbers [eg., 1.414213...] as well as 'imaginary' numbers [eg., (-1)½=i] which are necessary to proceed with certain 'advanced' questions of relation modeled by mathematicians.
Is this even logical, given that i=(-1)½ breaks the fundamental "law" of western logic, namely Aristotle's famous law of non-contradiction? In other words, presuming that the structuralists are correct when they demand that the entire universe is a logical machine-work, we come upon a paradox: both imagination and imaginary numbers are essential to the mathematician, yet it would seem they themselves are not logical! While many use the term as a synonym for "reasonable" or "common sense", what we consider "logical" usually refers only to 'state-of-the-art' western Logic, perfected after many years of 'mistakes' and omissions, as if there are no other kinds of relation possible than allowed by the basic premises underlying 'formal logic', and it is this tradition of thinking-sans-contradiction which informs "reasonableness" and "common sense" On the other hand, dialectic materialism, a tumerous growth from Plato, Descartes, Calvin, Hegel and Engles, considers that the entire universe (nature) is filled with contradictions, and it is our task to transcend them. Our own thinking must, however, be coherent (not contradictory).
The question is ethnocentric in that formal "logic" shouldn't be confused with what the ancient Greeks referred to as logos 'reasoned relationships', or say, the 'rationality' behind construction of Egyptian pyramids or Mayan calendars even though it may model or incorporate it. Could we, like Levi-Strauss, propose a mythological, surrealist or even schizophrenic logic? Would it follow a universal grammar? Would it be amenable to mathematical manipulation? Obviously there is some reasoning of relationships going on in myth, surrealism and schizophrenia, or is it only considered "logic" when our metaphors are shared and thus amenable to 'democratic' (or psychotherapeutic) manipulation? Are all these other ways of thinking about life, the universe and everything only childish mistakes, as Freud suggested? For the modernist, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding "yes", but then where is there room for poetry?
Consider another question: "How much do I love thee?" I love thee more on Tuesdays, less in September. One cannot measure value because value is itself measurement, although one can indeed value measurement, but then we should probably replace the word "value" with "fetishize". We must take care not to confuse our colloquialisms, which open up vast realms of meaning, with our logistics, which, in the interest of "clarity" abstract us from the possibility of alternative semantics.
We measure a structure by mapping or calculating the distance from its center to its edges or create a center by comparing imaginary lines drawn across it and locating their point of intersection. It cannot help but be an abstraction since, by declaring a center, we have removed the structure from its context – we have as much as declared "This item has no connection to the rest of the world!" The further removed, the less clear we are as to where it actually fits because now it is dead. The question can always be asked "Yes, but where do you draw the line?" When the question seems to not apply, say in determining the boundaries of a marble and discovering that it is indeed round, we are left with the question, "So fucking what? A four year old could have told you that!" That is, we do not need to measure it because the answer seems already obvious to us. When performing a heart transplant, such ontological questions are irrelevant – we are merely asking if something which fits here might also fit there.
Where the questions do seem to apply, as in response to "What is the true measure of a man?", we find that the only available response is metaphorical, and in our culture, that is usually found in the realm of economics and politics because value is always a matter of comparison. We count the things or acomplishments s/he has accumulated which we agree have value. Our emotional, almost religious adherence to an idea ensures that wherever we stand in the 'equation', the results of our manipulations will be arbitrary at least, and at best, subject to change depending on where in the context (or even if) we decide to replace an item or idea once we have finished. The easiest action is none at all. We merely discard it – the lab rat is, without a care, tossed to the hungry cat waiting in the shadows, the pottery shards are placed on a shelf in a museum, our spouse scurries off to do the laundry because it is Thursday. No worries.
But we do love to compare and measure, and in our culture, it is a matter of democracy. Thus, even our intelligence is measured, and that is the calculation of how favorably our decisions correspond to those of the people around us, particularly to those in power. This is why measures of intelligence predict so well our potential to succeed in school. In the world, reason is comparison or it is know nothing. Without acknowledgment of a context of processes or relations, there can be no comparison, but in school, we learn best how to abstract and disregard context. We value this and call it "abstract thinking", but the mad artist will tell you it is only thoughtless esoterica.
Perhaps all discourse entails the politics of persuasion, the establishment of authority, of uniformity. Or is the implication of Wittgenstein more appropriate, that philosophy, psychoanalysis, and by extension, mythology or schizophrenia are merely different ways of speaking – not language but games with language?
Philosophical problems are not solved by experience, for what we talk about in philosophy are not facts but things for which facts are useful. Philosophical trouble arises through seeing a system of rules and seeing that things do not fit it. It is like advancing and retreating from a tree stump and seeing different things. We go nearer, remember the rules, and feel satisfied, then retreat and feel dissatisfied. To ask whether there is a hidden contradiction is to ask an ambiguous question. Its meaning will vary according as there is, or is not, a method of answering it. If we have no way of looking for it, then "contradiction" is not defined. In what sense could we describe it? We might seem to have fixed it by giving the result, 'a ¹ a'. But it is a result only if it is in organic connection with the construction. To find a contradiction is to construct it. If we have no means of hunting for a contradiction, then to say there might be one has no sense. We must not confuse what we can do with what the calculus can do - Wittgenstein.
We are left with the problem, "who (or what, eg, 'logical necessity', 'genetics', 'brain chemistry', 'psychosocial trauma', 'cultural programming', 'all of the above') sets the rules?" R. D. Laing tells us "The validity of a definition is ultimately determined by the identity of the one who is defining"
If the politics of persuasion is disregarded, we can only be left with Franz Boas' emphasis on habit, tradition and emotional attachment:
When we consider...the whole range of our daily life, we notice how strictly we are dependent upon tradition that cannot be accounted for by any logical reasoning.
Man the world over believes that he follows the dictates of reason, no matter how unreasonably [to us] he may act...
The knowledge of the existence of the tendency of the human mind to arrive at a conclusion first and to give reasons afterwards, will help us to open our eyes; so that we recognize that our philosophic views and our political convictions are to a great extent determined by our emotional inclinations, and that the reasons which we give are not the reasons by which we arrive at our conclusions, but the explanations which we give for our conclusions.
In fact, my whole outlook upon social life is determined by the question: how can we recognize the shackles that tradition has laid upon us? For when we recognize them, we are also able to break them - Franz Boas.
To say a) "mathematics is but one type of logic (or reasoning)" is different than to say b) "mathematics is a form (or subset) of logic" (or even "logic symbolized"). The latter is ethnocentric in that it begs the question, "who's logic?" If it cannot co-opt them, Logic excludes all sets of relations which are not constrained by mathematics or follow the same rules, such as the element of non-contradiction. Mathematics progresses when it realizes this fact, yet tries to force the issue (stick with premise b) by inventing new formulas or even new numbers, such as the "complex numbers" to account for novelty, much like physicists have invented dark matter and black holes because the calculus demands it. To rephrase Wittgenstein's caution, we must not confuse what the calculus can do with what is.
But in this very fashion, modern logic attempts to account for all possibilities of the universe - the project of the enlightenment, the mathematical proof of "mind" (or soul or god or cybernetic machine) by showing us a formula. The simple fact is that mathematics (and its parent - some would say "child" - formal logic) can not generate or even replicate imagination - mathematicians use imagination, not random number generators, to get out of a bind. The intuitive 'logic' or grammar or mental process which allows one to instantly find meaning 'between the lines' of a Shakespeare sonnet or feel 'simpatico with the universe' or create 'surrealist art' or to enjoy 'humor' (all without calculation!) will probably never be predicted or generated mathematically. These things nevertheless express relationships and "make sense" not only from a subjective point of view, but they are often shared (as might be viewed by an hypothetical "objective", detached observer) and passed on. All the mathematician can say is "This makes no sense!" or "Given this set (or universe), p = ~p if-and-only-if his p = my ~p" (allowing perceived contradiction to stand only within certain artificially imposed boundaries, and assuming this accounts for relativity, but more often generating a value-judgment: "he is obviously stupid!"). The unsubstantiated premise of Logic is that it is the only logic - what it cannot formulate either does not exist or must await a more evolved mathematics. The other end of this is also proclaimed: "What it can formulate (for example, dark matter) must, therefore exist".
Lessons from the Presocratics: Contrary to Pythagoras, the precursor of Plato who thought numbers were the only true reality, numbers are ideas, assessments about things, not things themselves - measurement is always a value judgment. Xenophanes thought that there is a truth in the world, a reality, but we can only act-as-if we know it - anything more is folly. For both, the oppressive pantheon of Homer's day was to be discarded, but clearly, neither were prepared for a relativity as expressed millennia later by one such as Baudrillard:
Why wouldn't there be as many real worlds as there are imaginary ones? Why would there be only one real world? Why such a mode of exception? In [our] reality, the notion of a real world existing among all other possible worlds is unimaginable. It is unthinkable, except perhaps as a dangerous superstition. We must stay away from that, just as critical thought once stayed away (in the name of the real!) from religious superstition.
Other presocratics implied that, of 'things', there is only impermanent existence (defined by) here-and-now as subject (ego, I will arbitrarily designate "1st order") or object (other, "2nd order"), the difference always being relative to the fact and kind of relation or connection between them, and this is always an effect of every preceding then-and-there as well as the entire context of the here-and-now. It is an experience, an occasion and a novelty. This is the 3rd 'order' which is not of things, space and time, or even ideas, but of relationships and connections: events (situations?), kinship, influences, effects - in other words, flux. Empedocles called it "love", the other pole from strife 'disconnection', 'mortality'. Parmenides thought the only reality was logos (reasoned relations) and the rest was doxa (illusion). Logos is often interpreted as "the word". More appropriate might be ónoma "the name" - when we apply a name, we have acknowledged a relationship.
The closest we come to this is in viewing the subject as "immersed" (colloquially in the self, or scientifically in the context) and the object alienated or detached (as 'objective' observer or observed 'object'). Empedocles tells us that hate is not the opposite of love, but the illusion of a relationship and the maintenance of that illusion. Hence, the human being seen as commodity (object alienated from its context) struggles to survive, experiences a prolonged death – there can be no "revolutionary subject". Post structuralists are coming round to view the whole subject/object dichotomy as illusory. Long ago, Taoists said in fact, the same thing about self and other.
Wittgenstein hinted, but Douglas Adams postitvely affirmed that time is itself an illusion. Since now is currently then [now is always then by the time you finish the sentence], Heraclitus thought only flux is permanent, making the third order supersede the first as well as second in terms of 'absolute reality' (permanence). Without relation, subject and object disappear and we are left only with isolated things-with-no-name separated by void. Because fairly long term things (such as rocks) are not necessarily negated themselves by this supersession (oftentimes they are enhanced -"Rockers come and rockers go, but Rock is here forever!"), absoluteness is denied as a feature or condition of reality, or one could say "there are no absolutes" or "only change is static" or "chaos is the preferred order" or "there is no need to postulate a nothing, naught, zero or void". It is downright reminiscent of Taoist philosophy. In fact, it verges on Discordianism!
There are some ancient schools of thought, for example, as espoused by Parmenides 2500 years ago, which postulate (much to the chagrin of nihilists everywhere) that nothing itself (the "void") can not, by definition exist. Even Aristotle's "law of non-contradiction" can not refute this, although Epicurus, with his atomic theory, put up a pretty good argument at least for "empty space". Æther (a "thing" much like air, breath) seemed the only way out of the paradox. The box of nothing had been filled. The problem is semantic: space should not be equated with "nothingness". Quite possibly, the whole idea of nothingness did not arrive until mathematicians produced a zero - originally the starting point in a metanarative/mythology which did not account for the possibility of infinitely small or infinitely 'early' despite elaborate concepts of immortality. Without a void, there can be no absolute beginning or end, only relative positions, relative states of being, or more accurately, becoming.
The notion of infinity demands relativity, for in an infinite structure (a structure can be nothing if it is not our perception of "orderly" relations) every point is simultaneously its center - as Derrida implied, there can be no unique center where there are no boundaries. It seems then, we impose our own center in what was a centerless structure by the very focus of our perception informed by sensation, and this in turn delimits the boundary of the gestalt, the limits of perception, the skin of the structure. As our gaze moves, so do the perceived relations or 'connections', and the structure transforms into something new. Beyond our perception, nothing has changed but the limits of our imagination. This process differentiates perception, cognition, and so-called "empirical reality" of which we, even as observers, should be an active part. The metaphor of machine structure only goes so far, the metaphor structuralists and cyberneticians took for real. Permanence is impossible, reality is elusive, essence/eidos is unlikely, our memories fail increasingly. When we try to speak of it, we are left only with metaphor - shared perceptions can only achieve approximation.
Aristotle's law of non-contradiction founders before the linguistic ambiguity necessary to any discussion of infinity and relativity, where all things are never equal; nothing can be taken literally; meaning in the logos can only be found between the lines. This is why early 20th century linguists, such as Edward Sapir, found it necessary to postulate "the speech environment" as a primary modulator of semantic content - meaning (see also Wittgenstein). Mathematics is not sufficient for human communication. It is not language, although it has been used to model or describe aspects of it. The speech environment is empirical - in face to face communication, we know who we're talking to and hopefully share the level of abstraction (context) we refer to without much in the way of calculation - mathematics is not necessary. While set theory and fuzzy logic can account for this, they can not match it without incomprehensible complexity.
Relativity denies absolute opposition or dialectic, often rendering the law of non-contradiction meaningless or irrelevant – there can be no contradiction without opposition. The experience of friction is always relative to that which is being rubbed. If the concept of opposition is maintained, then it can only be a variable opposition: there must be occasions or situations or points of view where oppositions are more-or-less not-oppositions and where shifts and transformations are expected. The casualty of Aristotle's law of non-contradiction is the excluded middle. One could say survival is the excluded middle between life and death – it is clearly not death, but neither is it life. It is anomie (betwixt and between, neither here nor there) but nonetheless real – it feels melancholic, it may evoke a scream. Relativity joined with dialectics makes for a lethal combination. Hence the ease with which all reasoning can be detourned to express that which we may not desire – sophistry – through dialectical argument ('discourse'). At the very least, we walk away more confused than when we started on our path to knowledge (or is that "power"?).
On the other hand, non-linear reasoning or a poetic ontology (Hakim Bey), enables one to say that "the master is himself a slave"; "Australia – or even Antarctica – (Down Under) sits on top of the world"; "it is true that there is no truth"; "creation is often destruction, but destruction is always creative". It demands (and is demanded by) viewing the world from other perspectives – at best illuminating, at least entertaining. It may be the source of the tall tale, but never of the spin of the used-car salesman – that spin would not sell cars but invoke laughter or experimental verification. Heidegger's assessment that the presocratic world view (which Vico called "The Age of Heroic Poetry"), largely depicted an openness-to-being is unavoidable. It is a view from an 'open mind'. Novelty is celebrated and incorporated (or let be); mystery inspires awe; danger is overcome or avoided; 'magical' association is everywhere.
Freud and Jung very nearly stumbled upon this -"dreamtime" and "realtime" are merely different perspectives of the same depth ('deep things'). For some they are the same perspective of different things. Modernists call this view of a bigger picture of meaningful connections "superstition" (or in some circles, "psychosis", unless, of course, the thinker has been funded by a large granting institution, and then we call it "astrophysics") and we call a world of complex diversity "primitive". We cannot see that relativity and egalitarian (non-hierarchic) association (rather than absolutes and opposition) are the circular or concordant 'foundation' of community itself – something which is by now nearly extinct. Unfortunately for us and the early Greek philosophers, the high priests were (and are) still in power.
The modern interpretation of Nietzsche's will-to-power (a game of one-upmanship) operates not unlike Freud's Death Instinct – Marx' alienation as the wound up spring of civilization; Empedocles' Strife embodied as deity; Plato's annihilation of reality in the guise of synthesis as the first principle of Western logic; Aristotle's excluded middle analytic "You're either with us or against us!": a proposition can only be true or not true. "Let there be no question!" – Socrates' hemlock. As the illusion of imminent opposition is decreed, our task becomes the annihilation of opposing forces on the path to grand unification. In this democracy of all-against-all, in attempt to establish progress through struggle, equality through unity, imagination becomes a sign of mental illness: only the paranoid are equipped with bullshit detectors. In the western world (should I say "global civilization"?) ruled by western Logic, the law of non-contradiction is contradicted at every other turn. It is truly a death cult envisioning only tunnels and straight lines between fixed nodes as the path to the here-after nothing, when and where the everyday sacrifice of our everyday lives is rewarded with eternally compounded disinterest.
Linear thinking is the rationale for civilized progress. We think this is the only correct form of thought. We think from premise to conclusion, from point a to point b. We postulate infinite progression and infinite regression, bigger and bigger, better and better, smaller, faster. More is never enough. Less is already too much. Civilized progress is already pushing the second "law" of thermodynamics: in a 'closed system', unless a child's growth is at some point inhibited, s/he will outgrow the house and be crushed by the very walls which shelter her; in an 'open system', s/he must at some point be forcibly expelled through an infinitely flexible cervix. Progress is the planetary city. Progress is the replacement of the earth's biomass with Homo sap. We are already experiencing the need for food synthesis. Cloning (human?) tissue is thought to solve the problem of hunger when farms and pasture must be covered with asphalt to make room for rural and suburban development – more housing, more digitized factories, more services, more consumption and more need. Cannibalism is the last option, and it is nearer than you might think. Isn't it time we began incorporating a logic of mutual connection, relativity and return before the cybernetic machine or global mushroom cloud incorporates us?
If all things are connected as we have been told (especially by modern chaos theory, but also by the presocratics, taoists, shinto, zen, shamanism etc.), I would think a logic of correspondence (or connection) could replace that of contradiction and friction with no loss of elegance (internal consistency of reasoned associations in our representations) or the possibility of experimental 'verification' (remembering that even children 'experiment' all the time with no knowledge of dialectical materialism!). This has in fact been tried before (e.g., associational learning theory, anthropological search for patterns of culture but these attempts were derailed by the dialecticians out of fear that their own little gravy train would lose steam.
Aristotle himself was forced to consider principles of associationism, and in fact, modern computer scientists have come up with a "connectionism" to overcome the limitations of binary thinking. Association in fact, is the basis of "magical thinking", once referred to as "sympathetic". Association is how children first learn to connect words to things and is also the basis of "fuzzy logic", invented to account for some of the implications of quantum theory.
An hypothetical Empedoclean "law" of association would have no need to construct or search out contradiction (in this sense, "law" refers to an orientation, standpoint or perspective, assuming that all things are indeed connected). Fuzzy logic attempts to correct the rigid conjunctive/disjunctive (Aristotelian either/or) dialectic in philosophic and mathematic theorems, introducing the notion of more-or-less. Empodocles might stand in awe. Relativity is accounted for. Fuzzy principles of association allow elements to belong to multiple domains or sets. Presumed contradiction does not negate internal or external consistency, so there is nothing which needs transcended or synthesized, only connections navigated. Boundaries can dissolve without annihilating the unique – and that annihilation is the project of dialectical synthesis.
In other words, modern western (linear, or what Marcuse called "one-dimensional") logic has already discovered its own limitations and academic philosophy is already being flooded with a plethora of "competing" micro-narratives rather than the two or three during the "cold war" period. I would think this scenario of a multiplicity of forms of logic itself would be present in both the initial period of civilizations and the period just preceding their collapse. The structuralist, Thomas Khun would probably say we are ripe for a paradigm revolution – surely a call to battle in the name of unity. Is this the search for truth?
Metanarratives (such as first order or propositional logic) based on the rigid concept of singular causes (determinism), internal consistency (structuralism) and universality (absolutism), that all motion is the dialectic result of friction between opposing forces (dialectical materialism), must fail on their own when boundaries (the artificial reduction of context) are removed. This is also to say, "when relativity and the possibility of chaos are accounted for". Chaos might be seen as the child begins to create "nonsense" words herself for the pure enjoyment of it. Order returns with a slap in the face by the 'language arts' teacher: "the art of language can not be creative! ... We must be civilized!"
In other words, our ontology can never assume a predictable universe (futurology) with fixed boundaries and a known center and maintain growth – the planet cannot grow to accommodate us and we cannot escape it. Our metanarative (metaprogram, paradigm, myth) itself was no doubt created by the imposition of artificial boundaries when King Thug 1st discovered private property – exclusion and privilege. Just as the civilized metanarative, (or the growth demanded by its calculus) necessitates the death of cultures, the death of metanarative produces a multiplicity of micronarratives (Lyotard). For example, the closer we feel we are to a grand unification theory, the farther we come away from it. This is a reverse application of the Heisenberg principle (of uncertainty). Add to this censorship and the total commodification of information itself! We now become aware of the possibility of the death of civilization itself – bureaucratic growth and its increased atomization and dumbing down of 'components' in the machine with concomitant loss of communication between them ultimately leads to total redundancy and breakdown of bureaucratic function - Fendersën's Last Law of Cybernetics. This can only mean a return to 'freedom' for the members, transforming from machine components to a multiplicity of simultaneous autonomy and ~autonomy (relation) – the spontaneous (and impermanent?) voluntary association Bakunin and Kropotkin spoke of, not Lyotard's laughing dismissal of chaotic Brownian Motion.
The present perception or dialectic that "this is the world we have and I'm damned pissed about it! (but nothing I can do about it)" generating Holloway's "scream", disappears when we can stop rationalizing and mathematicizing life and start living it. This is not a call for the abandonment of reason, but for the toleration of other "ways of speaking" – an openness to being. This is anarchy.
The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking that we have done so far, has created problems we cannot solve at the level of thinking at which we created them - Albert Einstein.
Notes on Rules in the Spirit of Boas: I've always had a problem with Zerzan's critique of reason ("symbolic thought"), unless it refers only to modern reasoning (constrained by "symbolic" or "formal logic" and quite prone to error because of it's ever growing complexity and specialization). Unlike Zerzan, I'd be for more symbolic thought. In the old movies, to get passed the censors and maintain an 'artsy' appeal, a sex scene might have been portrayed as a flower flowing gently down a river (e.g., in Tarzan of the Apes). When the couple lit up cigarettes, we all knew what had occurred. The cigarettes and flowers themselves have meaning to us. On the other hand, if A = Logic and B = logos, then in 'A Ì B' or 'A É B', A and B are themselves meaningless symbols or more accurately, arbitrary signs – we have only made an assertion, A = Logic, etc. It is not heuristic. We can not ask, "what else might 'A' be?" A specific boundary has been established which cannot be crossed except by the unlearned child, the mentally ill or avant guarde surrealists. Language, on the other hand, implies. It goes beyond the immediate both subjectively (limited only by the imagination) and objectively (limited within the shared symbols and codes of one's culture, its "logic" and "traditions").
I would say all thought (beyond simple sensory – or even zen – awareness) is symbolic. I don't think we can posit a direct, unmediated relation to the world, even for Plato or for John Locke (Plato himself recognized this in his Allegory of the Cave, which he attributes to Socrates, in his Republic)). This gets us back to the problem of "reality". We need our metaphors to make any kind of connection just as our perceptual apparatus filters 'sense data' to give us a 'mental picture'.
Xenophanes thought that there is a truth in the world, a reality, but we can only act-as-if we know it – anything more is folly.
I prefer thinking of western, linear, formal Logic as but one type of logic/reasoning if only because the reverse can lead to the kind of thinking which might proclaim that all other/earlier thinking is illogical, irrational or a-rational. With such a view, the imperial state is not only reasonable, but reasonable par excellent! It is an endorsement of enlightenment progress. In Zerzan's tyranny of symbolic thought, what is mediated is not our direct (intellectual) relationship to the "real world" (this was not possible until the largely platonic introduction of the subject/object dialectic), but our active participation in the world by detourning and circumscribing our symbols, and this is nothing but the supersession of freeplay with tunnel vision – the co-opting, detourning and corralling of our symbolic thinking, corralling our capacity to be involved with the world we perceive.
Aristotle's laws of non-contradiction and excluded middle are the backbone of formal logic and mathematics, and probably date back at least to Euclid in their European manifestation, much earlier in places such as Sumer or China. If all rationality or reasoning is the application of one set of rules or one code or one set of invariable propositions, we are back to the problem I stated above: who sets the rules?. If the answer is "Aristotle" or "Pascal" or "George Boole", we have accepted the rationality of "culture hero". Intelligence becomes synonymous with 'law giver'. It is the same rationality behind "the divine king". If we say "logic itself sets the rules", then I'd have to wonder how and why we survived (actually, "lived") so many thousands of generations without it. Addressing this dilemma, Hegel found the phenomenological spirit, Whitehead found god, Chomsky found the deep structure of transformational grammar.
Formal logic attempts to derive meaning and predictability in a context-free system. In other words, it is a self-contained system. Proofs are not allowed by endeavoring outside this system. Language, on the other hand, is always context-sensitive. New information (new meaning) must always come from outside our own domain (ego). Formal logic demands the erection of boundaries. These fences around our imagination have many uses, but should not be thought permanent. There is always an outside to any domain (a domain is defined by the 'existence' of an outside) but without these temporary boundaries, the world would be too mind boggling to cope with (or at least discuss!). Clearly, we need to impose some structure, some rules. A lifetime peaking on LSD-25 would be short indeed – chaos may be the order of the day, but chaos can kill.
Rules arise to account for acceptable (or unacceptable, but predictable) exceptions to expected events. These are not exceptions to rules, but to what comes to us "naturally" (or "culturally"), so to speak – exceptions to our expectations, divergences from the status quo, breaks in the action, novelty. If Culture is considered a "logical game", then cultural traditions (customs) represent ways that are 'allowed' within that game or system. cultures (with a small 'c') can be viewed as associations of people playing a consensual language game – emic logic. The 'point' of the game is found in the playing. Boas taught us that we cannot impose our 'Logic' or propositions and presumptions on others and expect to come away with any accurate interpretation of them. There are/were a multiplicity of possible and existent logical 'games'. One codex cannot fit all, particularly when conditions of existence (historical, contextual) differ for every where and every when.
There is no "proper" grammar but that imposed by grammarians. Speech is "proper" if it conveys meaning. It is "proper" when it's meanings and syntax are shared (rather than enforced). A group of people share a similar pattern of speech precisely because they speak together. It is a matter of mimicking, adopting, modifying, learning and reproducing. We call this "agreement". That we can disagree illustrates at least that we are communicating, not that we are engaging in contract negotiations. The degree to which meaning is "private" depends on the intensity of the social relation – the saturation of communication into everyday life. No underlying (grammatical) rules are required, but there are physiological and environmental conditions which must be met, and when we think of conditions and responses, we are speaking in terms of interplay and probability rather than unilinear causality. There are always unexpected results – it is in accounting for these we devise rules.
"If I sit on this end of the empty teeter totter, the other end will rise (every time)". This is not a rule or law, it is a description and can be formulated mathematically. We do not need the formulation in order to play with the device. It is logical, empirically demonstrable and accurate. It is not unlike a photograph. We can add conditions to the environment (another player) and to our physiology (weight differentials) which modify the statement. This can also be formulated mathematically. Philosophers propose the law of gravity and the inclined plane to account for the regularity. Even this is not necessary to enjoy or even create a game of it. Gravity is only a name applied to a(n) ubiquitous, mundane phenomenon. Other regularities are found which correspond to this notion. Gravity is not a rule. It is its own proof. It is a name like "god" to answer certain "why" questions. We come up with rules when the game goes wrong – on the teeter totter: "sit closer to the end and it will work better!" If we question the rule, we are driven to experimentation, and in our experimentation, we expand the game – we play with conditions because the rules eventually lead to boredom. The accumulation of rules diminishes the possibility of pleasure, and without pleasure, without reinforcement, we stop learning. We parrot.
A cultural tradition which accumulates rules (because of a correspondingly long tradition of rulers) will eventually come to expect (and in our case, observe) rules for every foreseeable event. This is the creation of formal logic – the basis of our cultural grammar, thought to be the universal grammar and who's elucidation we call "knowledge". The possibility of freeplay is gradually eroded. Rules inform our behavior – they are a set of permissions as well as restrictions and when well rehearsed, give us a sense of the power of self control. This is precisely the power of submission. It's a questionable pythagorean assumption that a single set of rules, a universal grammar which can be mathematically formalized, underlies all human activity – hard-wired laws which come with the meat of the psyche. This idea is usually found lurking beneath genetic determinism. It matches the structuralist's logical necessity in environmental determinism. Both extremes discount interplay. In both cases, determinism is equivalent to predestiny – a rational justification for any status quo. In all extreme cases, laws are reified, absolutism is decreed, change, modification, revolution, even difference is denied. We have returned to religious despotism.
We may well construct rules for every exception, but we all know intuitively that while exceptions are (by definition) unexpected, there are exceptions to every rule, and in the privacy of our selves, we eagerly seek them out. It is possible the imagination can annihilate law, but mostly we see the reverse – the annihilation of imagination. It is therefore a logical proposition that any questioning of rules (dissent) is a function of psychosis, fantasy or, at the very least, "bad science" until a "paradigm revolution" occurs (via the democratic rules of consensus).
The early Greek 'philosophers', precursors of modern thought, were dissenters against the religious ideology and the moral authority of the priest kings and their slave-based, tax-funded bureaucracy, many speaking out against the fear of the gods (which, of course, underlies the divinity of kings). But it is also true that many (if not most) were perfecters of the instruments of war and expropriation and technology (tactical and economic logic, rhetoric and mathematics) for that state – educators of kings. Some were reformers such as Plato, who postulated a perfect (hierarchical) social order. Socrates pointed out the illogical basis of the existing social order and was condemned for impiety. Diogenes audaciously laughed in the face of authority (Alexander), rejecting the whole project of civilization but was discredited as an eccentric clown (much like the much later Emperor Norton). Cynics decried all authority and statecraft. It was from among these we got the notion of a golden age – applied theorists of an egalitarian social order which, reminiscent of today's 'primitivist' discourse, might be something to return to, as if there was one static, uniform all-embracing social relation. Unification of the philosophical project, quibbling only over its details, accompanied the growth of western empire.
Most of what we know about the earlier thinkers (including Plato's teacher, Socrates) comes from Plato himself. Only fragments of their original work survived the later bonfires of the christians in power. It is their translations and detournements which survived to give an underlying philosophical basis of modern civilized Logic, (or, labeled by the renaissance men, Reason). Mathematical formulation and textual representation after Aristotle allowed such a specialization of learning that a vicious circle was created – a rationalization underlying the class system which thinkers such as Socrates had opposed. This specialization is why it is not the philosophers and mathematicians who cause the problems of society, but the uninformed add men and politicians who maintain them. This lets philosophy off the hook and able to perfect the instruments of statecraft with a clear conscience. Dissent within the ranks is tolerated in the interest of progress when the ranks have been circumscribed within the bounds of "reason". This dissent is used as the loyal opposition which gives people the illusion of choice.
Historically opposed to philosopher's enamoration with reason, the medieval church embraced paradox (mystery) by institutionalizing matters of faith to aid their own sophistry to instill in all the submission to (their) authority – only a supreme authority might embrace contradiction, and only on that authority, more earthly authors may promote it. Hiëronymus Bosch ornamented churches with surreal art, but only within the context of religious moralism and apocalyptic order. 250 years later, Johann S. Bach, another adorner of churches, was initially chastised for introducing the dominant seventh to his melodies – an obvious promoter of (harmonic) discord. When not seen as alienating tools of Madison Avenue, art, creativity, novelty and imagination are still seen only as subverters of reality, and therein lies madness. We want no surprises.
Our own infatuation with Aristotle's excluded middle dialectic informs our analyses that all thought must be either rational/scientific or religious/spiritual. More passionate modern thinkers have added "emotion", giving us the so-called "holistic" triad of "rational, spiritual, emotional man(kind)", the still patriarchal synthesis of "rational man" and "emotional, irrational woman" – Venus and Mars. It is still argued as to the primacy of each of these influences to our behavior, but few question our place at the bottom (or top) of a hierarchy of submission: Reason "dictates", passion "enslaves", submission to faith "liberates" us from the "bondage" of earthly desire (more commonly known as "evil"). Thank god for the protestants and the bourgeois revolution! We could eliminate the church by denying contradiction, unifying, transcending or synthesizing opposition. But as Stirner advised, we have only replaced "god" with "man".
Today, the argument of logic (persuasion, discourse) is itself a game of domination (power), disguised as the search for truth or merely the means to an income. There are winners and losers. We do not even linguistically differentiate the authority of the expert and that of the master – both have exclusive rights to 'knowledge' (now called "information" – the emphasis always directed to 'things', 'trivia', 'commodity'). They tell us "knowledge is power!" We engage in information wars. For the authorities as well as philosophers, it is not even a matter of maintaining an illusion – they have already persuaded themselves. They have the "products" (of our labor) to prove it – their "net worth". They are the success stories in the vicious cycle of the spectacle – the self-fulfilling prophecy.
We have become an outcome oriented culture – product is all. We do not value process except as a means to specific ends. The only process we are concerned with is production. Its end is consumption which only benefits power. Consumption feeds the cybernetic machine. Process is reformulated as progress. Even revolutionary thought (discourse) is ensconced in this mind-set. Certain presocratic thinkers thought all process, or the flux of actual connections is the only reality we need be concerned with. Zen, for example, is also more process oriented, less concerned with direct causes in a singular "chain of events", "lines" of thinking producing "results". This kind of thinking also underlies the field of ecology. I guess if there is a point to my diatribe, it would be that we could 'benefit' from rethinking our logic itself, particularly questioning it as a linear system of contradictions or oppositions which must be transcended in personal struggle and toil; a system of progress, of products, the construction of a perfect unified synthetic machine marketing the death to life everywhere, the coming of the so-called "singularity" (the imagined technological joining of the human with the machine). Singularity? Seems to me we're already there!
Thinking in terms of opposites, we are drawn to war. For instance, we see only workers and bosses, and we think eliminating one will free the other. Seen in terms of process, we liberate both by abolishing 'workship' (slavery). We see rulers and the ruled, so we think killing off the rulers will liberate the ruled. Seen as a process, we liberate both by abolishing rulership. We see owners and the disenfranchised. We want to re-enfranchise by looting or vandalizing the property of the owners, (if only to "wear them down"). Seen as process, we eliminate the owners and the owned by doing away with the concept of property, ownership. This is not to suggest that we should nihilistically eliminate all our notions – abandoning the notion of gravity will not remove our bonds to the planet and enable free flight in this reality. This reality does not, on the other hand, preclude other realities – dreamtime. We choose the spot from which we make our stand. The only difference is the same as that between praxis and theory. Insurrection is born when the two are joined.
Seeing commonalities, generalization, relative perspectives, is difficult in a state of war, and that is the state we are in. We are fighting for our uniqueness, our radical subjectivity defined only by the extent of our imagination. So we are want to discriminate and isolate and search out causes of our alienation and means to its elimination. We can't help but reproduce the system we oppose when we fight among each other for persuasive position – for authority. The kind of war I am concerned with fighting is for living, and maybe that is something which can only be fought in the doing, not just the thinking.
I would not wish to annihilate the idea of non-contradiction, only its 'legal' status. As Bonanno said, "for anarchism, for the anarchist, there is no difference between what we do and what we think, but there is a continual reversing of theory into action and action into theory. That is what makes the anarchist unlike anyone who has another concept of life and crystallizes this concept in a political practice, in political theory.
Becoming human depends upon participation, and this in turn depends upon overcoming the false dichotomy of the rational mind. Rational reflection produces a self-regarding ego that cleverly abstracts itself from anything that does not confirm its fictive autonomy. As long as this self-regarding ego is not dissolved, participation is impossible. The tendency in Western "spiritual life" since Plato has been to enshrine the ego among the Eidos and declare it to be sacred. Applied to our cherished spiritual pretences, Socratic irony is like an acid that melts the foundations of this monumental presumption. ... Beware of Greeks bearing abstractions
... The shift from participation precipitates the identity crisis of modern times. Also its desacralization: making the ego sacred, we lose all sense of how anything else can be. Better said, "modern man" is the euphemism for this crisis, for the identity we ascribe to ourselves on Platonic terms in a schizoid fiction - John Lash, Socrates in the Last Days.
The Mis-acknowledgment of Contradiction
Lucien Lévy-Bruhl [1857 – 1939] was the first anthropologist to address comparative cognition. In his work How Natives Think (1910), Lévy-Bruhl speculated about what he posited as the two basic mindsets of mankind, "primitive" and "Western." The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses "mystical participation" to manipulate the world. According to Lévy-Bruhl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn't address contradictions. The Western mind, by contrast, uses speculation and logic. – Wikipedia
A year later Boas deconstructed even this dichotomy in his Mind of Primitive Man. Much earlier, Socrates is said to have focused on "the pre-intellectual moment of complete participation" rather than Plato's "pre-incarnational Eidos of pure intellect". Plato was the primary author of that subject-object 'axis', or dichotomy. Also from John Lash:
Ah, that word: participation. It is the key to Socrates' true identity and his epochal mission. A technical term in anthropology, it was introduced by Lucien Lévy-Bruhl to describe the mentality of primitive peoples for whom the world is unmediated by conceptual structures in the way it is for us, the way it has been, more or less globally, since the Golden Age of Greece. In short, it is the conceptual format that prevailed before Greek rationality defined the subject-object axis.
Working definition: participation is the involvement that comes with discovering how the external world forms its own relationships with the world of the internal psyche, prior to the mind dictating how these two are to be related. It is, by definition, a pre-intellectual moment, but the horizon it presents contains a whole range of intellectual discoveries. The greatest difficulty in grasping the actual, lived character of participation stems from the error of thinking that it is our thinking that dichotomizes the world. This is simply wrong. For the archaic mentality, living in full participation, the world is already Two. Thinking does not make the world Two, and to assume it does is to invest it with power it does not have... Before the split of self-awareness into world-and-self, we participated in an autonomously split world, a realm of reflections, doubles, counterparts and chirality, a maze of mirror symmetry and, even more baffling, mirror asymmetry.
I think this idea of pre-logical twoness is pushing it a bit, in order to preserve a contradictory nature to the world - twoness assumes our platonic reduction of the world as dichotomous essences. I and you is not a contradiction, and we even have a word for it – "us". Nor is the reverse image cast from a mirror, yet we call it "me". To observe linguistic distinctions in a so-called primitive language which, for example, distinguishes the obvious from hidden, (e.g. in Cariban, the suffix -(i)kong 'not obvious', but usually translated 'sacred'), one should not assume an ontology of a divided world of the sacred (hidden) and profane (obvious). To distinguish is not the same as to dichotomize, which is what Levy-Bruhl was getting at. This is not Freudian teleology, or enlightenment thinking that at some point, the civilized have recognized the base dichotomies of the world (like Freud's infant discovering that the umbilical cord has vanished and mother ('me' + 'other' or 'my other') is now a separate being).
Dialecticians such as Levy-Strauss could not imagine a world where contradiction is not recognized, so fashioned primitives into dialectical analysts mediating the world's contradictions through myth. If irony inherent in the Trickster were annihilated by the myth, the Trickster would disappear (in a puff of logic) and so too would the myth. Recognition of irony is not acknowledgment of immanent contradiction needing transcended. It is fun. Irony makes us laugh. It also helps us to remember. Synthesis of ironic distinctions would take the fun out of life.
If party were considered a motivation, analysis is mediation. An immediate situation is a celebration - we are allowed to become clowns. When dichotomy imposes itself ("class struggle"), partyers fight. Emma Goldman thought we should be dancing fighters, which is also to say, "fighting clowns".
Participation is not simply "what one does". Not just any behavior, it is partaking behavior. It is our participation in and with the world which gives experience. Otherwise, we are only spectators. The real distinction between primitive and civilized is that in the former there is no authoritative body (of humans armed with laws) enforcing behavior with threats of dire consequence to the person, even though it is admitted there may be 'natural' (or what we would consider 'supernatural') consequences. We think of primitives as superstitious, but there are no greater superstitions than adherence to progress and authority. Participation is the involvement with what we experience. It is a-mediate. Mediation interferes with our involvement. Enough mediation, whether physical or cognitive, and we become alienated. We experience perpetual loss. We are angry, depressed or numb. Hyper-alienation was experienced by Winston Smith when he found he actually loved O'Brien and Big Brother and Julia became nothing to him – he became self-regulating and therefore cured of love and rage. In fact, he became cured of everything. Ultimate alienation is, of course, death, the final cure for life.
When participating with a garage band as a performer, one partakes of art. When cutting an album for RCA, there is obvious mediation on many levels: three-minute art suffers. This is why live performances of The Grateful Dead went over so well. Purists will say that unplugged is more "immediately experienced". This immediacy is not in reference to time (except in the sense of "presence") but refers to its translation or filtering through solid state or tubular electronics. I consider the tube amp to be just another instrument (preferable to solid-state). Others insist that art is free of any mediation, and Zerzan says art itself is mediation. This is possible only if art is considered to mimic life, or is viewed merely as practical or utilitarian (as in 'decoration' which is thought to relieve boredom).
The root of partake as well as participation is, of course, "party". I think the Pleistocene cave-painters celebrated life, the universe and everything, they did not try to capture it. This is why there are rarely any spears depicted and their animals are invariably pregnant. It is no contradiction that these same animals were hunted.
Art can be celebration or protest. Think of the painting "The Scream" or the song "Smells like teen spirit". If we are alienated, our art which portrays it cannot be. Art is the transformation of imagination to the corporal, tangible, sensible, touchable. Even surrealist art is not mental, ethereal, or refined (that is how we might experience it). If art is mediation, mediation need not be 'evil'. The S.I. detournement of a commercial graphic sought to bring it back into the realm of art by tweaking it's message. Detournement is always funny (even if in a disturbing sort of way). It is the double entandre Shakespeare was so gifted at using. Art need not mimic life, but it might induce us to partake of it, and one must partake or participate in order to experience. Keep in mind that one can also refuse.
Implicit in both pre-socratic and post-socratic thought is 'moderation'. Epicurus noted that pleasure is the only thing people value in and of itself, but also promoted moderation. Any virtues (such as moderation) are only valuable if they help to achieve happiness, which he equated with pleasure. We tend to translate this only in terms of consumption. That is a mistake. Our all-or-nothing worldview leads us to think that all things, particularly our logical constructions, must be carried through to their conclusion. Taoists also warned against too much reliance on reason and logic. This over-reliance increases the tendency to become saturated with contradiction or it narrows our vision sufficiently enough that we are blind to the contradictions we have now created.
For example, one may posit that a bit of skepticism and cynicism is absolutely fundamental to exposing the illusions which might mediate our experience. Carried to logical conclusion, skepticism as philosophical praxis leads to total paranoia and when mixed with cynicism, to complete paralysis. If change is desired, we must at some point begin to place our trust in unfamiliar roads or create new ones. Participation requires that there be choices available. It also requires that we experiment with novelty. Just ask Sam about green eggs and ham. This is science. Unfortunately, science as merely a method of discovery is no longer taught in our schools. It is now a means of technology, abuse and control, and for the radical who believes our choices must not be dictated by others if we are to achieve authentic happiness, something to be avoided at all costs. A revolution of scientific structure might just be modeled on child's play – that 'natural', inquisitive participation with the world of which all children seem to be masters.
I do not accept the presupposition that Aristotle's laws of thought generalize to all existence, even though they are mighty handy to solve certain types of problem. Their 'overgeneralization' even colloquially defines "rigid thinking". It precludes the idea of relativity, without which, autonomy dies in its own tracks. It is limited thinking for a limiting world, without simile or metaphor leading to other domains of meaning, without imagination leading to other ways of behaving. A brief look about reveals that we are surrounded not by natural dialectical oppositions, but by downright cultural oxymorons. The project of civilization is their synthesis, the maintenance of an illusion – doxa – the supersession of 'reality' by the plastic.
A basic problem found among scientists, philosophers, theosophists and other magicians throughout history has been the attempt to thingify process. We all seem to do it, and even the physiological perception of what is otherwise agreed is a spectrum, gives us distinct colors such as red or blue. It would be a true statement to say "there is no such thing as gravity", as absurd as this might sound. Gravity is not a thing but a relation between things with certain qualities such as mass. Race is an even more murky category. It is not a thing. If it is real, it is the coming together of an entire 'history' of individual people in individual localities spread over an expanse of space and time,. We can't even come to agreement on the nature of those, or whether they are one and the same - "space-time". Race is an effect of many complex processes. But it's how we talk, and this tells us how to organize - we must, after all, be organized to be coherent. Enlightened, liberal thinkers no longer concern themselves with race. We worry whether we are "real" anarchists, or merely neo-anarchists. We criticize the other as a citizenist or merely yuppy leftist. We ponder over the finer distinctions of the concepts of state and nation. We confuse sex and gender with socially determined roles/rules of behavior. We construct categories and then posit best-fitting members. We don't like ambiguity nor easily accept paradox - they present problems which must be resolved. My position is that none of these things exist. They are processes, relations, instantaneous points removed from a context or from a spectrum. This is not a criticism, only a description of how we talk. I think Clinton was on to something when he said "it all depends on what your definition of 'is' is". Lange said the definition of a thing is always contingent on the status of who is doing the defining. I do not suggest that the empirical world does not exist beyond our constructions, but that perhaps we are not the organism whose destiny it is to figure it all out - karma has something to do with pissing in the wind.
"Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common." – Assyrian tablet 2800 B.C.– quoted in Times of London
The dichotomy of biophilia-necrophilia is the same as Freud's life-and-death instinct. I believe, as Freud did, that this is the most fundamental polarity that exists. However, there is one important difference. Freud assumes that the striving toward death and toward life are two biologically given tendencies inherent in all living substance that their respective strengths are relatively constant, and that there is only one alternative within the operation of the death instinct – namely, that it can be directed against the outside world or against oneself. In contrast to these assumptions I believe that necrophilia is not a normal biological tendency, but a pathological phenomenon – in fact, the most malignant pathology that exists in man.Ever aspiring to characterize the nature of the species, "humanity", and ever looking only through the lens of the present, at most through the recorded histories of our own local traditions, we set up justifications for our exploits or excuses for our malaise. We give ourselves rationale for war, revolution and suicide. The so-called death drive has given more excuse for our despicable absurdities than any other line of thought. The answer always comes back to "It's natural. Get over it or kill yourself!"– Erich Fromm, 1964 Creators and Destroyers
The death drive is also called upon to proclaim the grandiosity of the species, or at least the fuel by which our potential proceeds. We have been repeatedly told by theologians and philosophers that the distinguishing character of "man" is our awareness of death, particularly our own. This is suppose to lay the groundwork for civilised progress. If there are certain casualties along the way, well, so be it. One must take the bad with the good, the bitter with the medicine. Yet despite progress and its appearances, nothing fundamentally changes. It's human nature, after all.
Of course, in a sense they are right. Where would civilisation be were it not for the constant threats to our livelihood imposed by the state? We are made aware of our death every time we are threatened. Shouldn't this point us back toward life? What it really points to is our engagement with the state's public works, tolerated as long as we are not destroyed by the ordeal. Many come in fact, to enjoy it.
But where did we come by this knowledge, that animals are unaware? To whom was this communicated? By who's authority? What experiments were undertaken? Have these 'hide-bound' experts even witnessed an animal in the process of a protracted death scene? A human for that matter? We see animals display not only an awareness but communication of impending doom. A dog crawls off, under the porch to die. There is the matter of malaise surrounding prolonged ill-health or injury as well as loss or separation reminiscent of grief. Unthreatened birds in trees will notify crawling creatures under the canopy of the presence of a large predator. Animals find shelter before a storm. The ant h'self is the best indicator of an upcoming rainstorm – if ants are far afield of the hill, one can feel pretty secure about staying dry. It would appear animals are no strangers to anticipation (educated dogs salivate at the sound of bells) and do their damnedest to avoid the topic of death altogether. Whether my words are interpreted to imply teleology or mechanics makes no never-mind. We are, after-all, on the topic of drives and instincts, behaviour outside the influence of culture. Or are we?
Consistently, death is what life aspires to flee from. But even this is not quite enough, as another's death or consumption is so often to one's own advantage. Living is what animals steer toward; it may just be a matter of momentum. Still, we more commonly witness play than dis-play! Why should we expect the living to contemplate, or rather, obsess over death? If it's dead, you can eat it. If you eat it, well, you've eaten. Make sure to thank your host (or apologize). A distinction between carnivore, scavenger and vegetarian is out of place here – we are speaking of basic life and death. It is a certainty that modern man dwells on death to the point of other- and self-immolation on an almost daily basis. Just look at the headlines. Or look at your own dinner plate with its dead baby cabbages taken before they even have a chance to blossom! But still, we are speaking only of modern man in our present condition. Nor are we speaking of "madmen". Every rule has its exception, every law its transgression. This is nature, and why our descriptions and predictions are always accompanied with a large degree of uncertainty. Learning disorders are to be expected.
A lack of vigilance toward the potential impending doom is considered unrealistic at best, an indication of low intellectual capability or achievement, childishness or a latent death wish. I remember a few years back there was a new psychological diagnosis called something like "Congenital Pixie Disorder". A "defective" gene was "discovered" which was said to be responsible for this rare type of suffering. The symptoms included an appealing "elfish" appearance and a cheerful disposition. A certain glint in the eye was a dead give away for the inability to be devastated by minor setbacks. I would say, rather than bad genes, someone did not eat their poisoned apple, or at least survived the incident. Careers were ruined in the advertising and modeling industries. I'm not shitting you!
Once witchery was abolished, plagues spread throughout medieval Europe. Coincidence? Biological warfare was the response, euphamised as sanitation, as if cleanliness was unheard of prior to the plague. Surgeon became a position of esteem on a warship. An early 19th century predecessor to the Titanic was the predatory steamship, Gorgon, a naval monstrosity whose engine was advertised as unstoppable by enemy cannon. A century later, television was an afterthought of radar installations. Even the internet was devised as an adjunct to weaponry, the transmission of secret codes to make killing more efficient (admittedly, the idea was around long before its manifestation). That which can be turned toward or confused with death or inert (albeit useful) object will be co-opted by the state, consumed by civilisation, afterwhich it all turns to shit. Seems natural enough! In 1988 or there abouts, the term extropy, a perfectly reasonable antonym for entropy, was coined to represent the improvement of mankind (sic) via the advance of the machine. It is magical thinking at its worst.
Is it an irony that efficiency (defined as the greatest output – work – from the lowest input – energy), when added to the perception or notion of a current "energy crisis" is said to be consistent with technological progress? It would seem to me that a machine-work prone to run out of fuel because of its own growth is not efficient. As a machine's growth is then deemed more important than its efficiency, quality of work steps backstage in reverence toward improved or alternate fuel extraction. Quantity of work increases in the effort to produce more fuel. The system has now turned inside out, as the former output, work, has become its energy input. In other words, progressive fuel efficiency contradicts technological progress. In one sense, progressive entropy is a self-referencing system heading toward pure tautology – energy no longer circulates, movement stops, particularly when the inconsequential humans at the controls run out of food or can't adapt fast enough to subsist on increasingly toxic waste. Negentropy would only seem to produce chaos.
Is it ironic that those who shout loudest against deconstructive post-modernism tend to be the same folks, even Marxist revolutionaries, who proclaim an undying appeal to civilisation's progress, especially by way of set stages of increasing complexity? If this is at the expense of "lower" organising forms, we have a structural justification for capital and empire, and their "necessary" urges. At the same time, those who shout loudest about their resistance to the ordinary and everyday often seem to have accumulated the most constraining habits, a process of repetition to the point of unconsciousness. Addiction brings in, in fact, means a heightened tolerance for repetition, a heightened intolerance to change. It would seem "an unwitting, clandestine, unacknowledged addiction to the ordinary sets in against all idealistic pretension to the contrary" ( – anomynous). The addiction may just be for invented or acquired truisms, tautologies and "selection bias". Red is not just the color of blood leaking onto a black floor.
Is it ironic that those of us who object to these conditions wonder what has become of our own lives, yet do not question a death "urge" or even raise an eyebrow when state-of-the-art cognitive theories model themselves on the internal processing of primitive (by organic standards) computers? Is it surprising that Bataille did not look beyond the highly civilized Aztec or highly problematic mis-translations of Indigenous Northwest Coast potlatching cultures for his cross-cultural sample justifying a universal focus on death and excrement as the secret code of existence, informing the operating system of the cosmos itself?
The death instinct is not an instinct towards death at all but describes the tendency of systems to seek to release energy. Freud uses the term to examine how it tangoes with Eros up and down levels of existence; and how each gives way to the other within the system as it seeks to develop higher levels of sophistication or lower levels of organisation... thus the death instinct will allow a greater level of sophistication and organisation if that permits it a more complete discharge of energy, whereas Eros will allow a simplification of the system if this allows for a more efficient means of securing the build up of energy (fat for the winter). If it were not called the death instinct and eros but entropy and negentropy, would that suit you better?Actually, yes. The meta-metaphor of cybernetics depersonalizes the topic and we can look at it without putting ourselves in the picture. An objective approach, so to speak. But that itself is a destruction of sorts. It may give us a new interpretation of our own, personal perspective, but only after we jump back into the picture. I read the juxtaposed words "death" and "drive" and see through the lens of Fromm – "necrophilia". It is appropriate for our culture, a pattern which seems to crop up everywhere. It's not always a 'bad' thing, else where would we place macabre aesthetics which cause so much delight?– Frere Dupont
From a systemic and molecular perspective, it's sometimes hard to distinguish or extract death from life outside of the field of pragmatics or the exercise of power. Are viruses alive before they enter into the cell nucleus and begin to do their handywork toward self-replication? From a cybernetic view of the self-regulating throughputs of energy and work plus wasted outputs, automated machines must be called life forms beyond mere metaphor. Might be better to take Buttler's description of them as experimental extensions or adornments of organisms, which may have unforseable negative returns on the organism's own functioning. A punishing experiment should be a cue for its abandonment, not for self-immolation taken literally rather than figuratively.
At any rate, I'm generally more interested in the trends in thinking or behaviour saturating, at least subliminally, the culture which reproduces our conditions than, say, Freud or Marx' formalisms which, as functionally descriptive and structurally coherent as they may be, do not. This is not a matter of mind reading, but positing commonalities. Could it be that negentropy, thanatos and the nihilism of zero, naught, were gifts (acquisitions, adornments or procurements) rather than given (essential, immanent or innate)? It's a sort of nature-nurture argument, and it should be understood that if nurture is held up as a quality of nature, even this opposition falls apart. Certainly we speak of excessive vitality but never excessive life. Can there be an excessive death or only unnecessary amounts of it, waste? Battle detritus?
Entropy and negentropy speak of tendencies toward order and disorder. Negentropy is redundant, as systems are already ordered arrangements. Otherwise, negentropy suggests a solution focus, accelerating input, increasing order and control. Is it something done to a system or by a system, immanent to it? Questions of autonomy or closure arise. Extropy in a literal sense might be a more suitable antonym to entropy, a turning outward rather than inward. It is the aesthetic response of turning toward or away in a stimulus/response chain.
As a system experiences a gain in complexity (increased order and control concomitant with functional specialisation), it's constituent parts and processes experience a loss (of potential divergence), what with increased redundancy or tautology and tighter inter-penetration. For the system, while fragility might increase (+ entropy), the number of stress points (options) may actually decline. Overall, options are lost. Adaptability is negated. This is the conservative principle which tends toward unification. Too much organized complexity is known as overspecialisation. The dinosaurs are said to have died of this.
But negentropic growth is not a one-to-one correspondent with organic growth. The child (of any species) is no less complex than the adult, only less ordered from the perspective outside of it (parent, adult society). That is to say, adaptable. It engages in its own ordering, blossoming, exploration or autonomy, but still within the parameters of its context. This is the principle of divergence. The plant is no less complex during the vegetative state than the reproductive. In an earlier day, humans celebrated turning points with feasts. By reducing options (possible turning points) for the constituent, increased order actually simplifies matters (for the system and all within it): choices become unnecessary, if not impossible. Simplicity and complexity become merely two viewpoints on the same phenomena.
Like autopoiesis, a different word may be in 'order'. Exentropy describes the process, the shifting or movement, history, the in-and-out of it, the eros or animation, the simultaneous focal and peripheral view merging with stereo visualisation. It represents the indeterminacy of a snapshot or dissection. That is not a representation no matter its familiarity. It is only a slice. For example, the dichotomy of persecutory and grandiose delusion in paranoia is an artificial dissection. The perspective of the outside, that it is out to get you – after all, it's a dog-eat-dog world – is only a snapshot of the process of grandiosity: I am worthy of this persecution, I am pure, I am innocent, righteous, &c. Causal primacy is irrelevant: I am good because they persecute me because I am good... The paranoid become excellent meddlers and helpers. The world needs "fixed". Very often, paranoia is the most rational response. The delusion is only that an individual has agency over the operation of the whole world rather than within immediate situations. Class war is an over-generalisation, a miscalculation which goes on to have calculable ("real") effects. Engagement precedes reproduction!
Negentropy describes Nietzsche's dictum, "Out of chaos comes order". Negentropy is the muse which allows for productive logic, or is it the logic of production? Negentropy is birth, the coming together of what had been scattered. Entropy is a system's immanent or inherent disorder or unintelligible noise, loose or loosening "connections" or penetrations. I think it is improperly identified as "waste", but not "incoherent redundancy". It is not ill health since it is required for movement, it is part of the very definition of system. Entropy is Bateson's "Sacred" realm: unexplored lands. It remains to be seen (other than with large doses of LSD-25) if there are in fact unexploreable lands, pure chaos.
Part of the problem is that exploration is so often confused with manipulation and control, or at least its prelude. But entropy is also viewed as loss, like the heat from a light-bulb intended to efficiently produce only light. The point at which energy loss exceeds input is a death knell whereafter the more one tries to order it, to fix it with more energy input, the greater entropy accelerates. Then again, entropy is seen as a necessary disposal of accumulated energy in order that negentropy prevails. We arrive at the teleology of waste or ordered garbage. What to do with afterbirth! Certainly nothing chaotic about that. One thing we do know, too "healthy" an appetite for input and too much meddling with unknown variables produces stress, a disruption of equilibrium, sickness. And there is another: death is the surest bet against permanent organization, immortality. Ours is probably one of the few cultural traditions which rewards a drive toward excess both in terms of consumption and waste. It seems natural only because we've killed or absorbed all other points of reference. Our lengthy duration has in fact depended on annihilation.
The word "drive" inserts motivation as intentionality or teleology over and above mere mobility. Cybernetics does not deal well with the difference between a systemic but capricious order and one's experience of being ordered. Colloquially, a distinction is clear between shooting the rapids and being taken by them even when the ends are identical. Certainly, in motivational or aware systems, too much order "from above" is always resisted. One tries not to be consumed in the process of eating or shitting. Prey rarely seek out a predator in a gesture of altruism. In hunting relationships, the predator's order quite depends upon disordering the prey. Usually there is a struggle, and this emits heat. Metabolism is the simultaneous production and elimination of heat, where heat is a metaphor for energy lost by a system. Its accumulation and retention (excess) will burn the most ordered arrangement. Bataille saw correctly, as did the early Greeks and Taoists, that excess accumulation must be destroyed or scattered lest it destroy you. This is fundamental to philosophies of moderation. Predatory religion retaliates, détourning this to sacrificial asceticism. A falling from grace (from L. gratis 'free') is always a matter of falling for religious persuasion (entrapment), and in the confusion, we think it was our own idea. Another word for this retaliation might be "sophistry". Reich might have called it "applied mysticism".
Sophistry. The original Greek Sophists loved it, to the extent that they coined the term philosophy. I always thought sophistry was invented for the benefit of lawyers. It is deceptive and almost coercively persuasive. Could it be that these cats didn't try to perfect argument, but to point out the absurdity of a situation where equally profound logic is equipped to prove diametrically opposite positions? It may just be that all formal thought is sophistry. This was certainly Franz Boas' position: rationality only justifies behaviour after the fact, already under way or endorsed. Logical tacticians have been trying to side-step this dilemma for 2500 years. Could it be that the old dead Greek cats would have gone unnoticed in Bohemian Paris or East Village during the 1950's or just about any college campus during the '60's? Could it be that that period of ancient Greece would resonate well with post-war (ww2) radicality which today seems so avant garde, nearly to the point of "bourgeois post-modern" philosophy?
Today's worship of the gene is just another excessive religious sentiment, mountains of sophistic argument producing or justifying sacrosanct first principles such as an "instinct" toward violence, destruction, mayhem. More than an instinct, these are portrayed as almost inviolable drives, and genetics provides both their mechanism and inevitability, all intertwining in the tautology of Darwinian "competitive advantage". This is the strongest rationalism for the necessity of forces of control – self control where applicable and external control in the interim and for the duration. We come to desire our police. If we do not, it might be helpful to question our own sentiments as to the given and the malleable of social relations. Just another human nature discourse? Absolutely! On bloody mayhem, it has always been my position that it increases in line with attempts to prevent it. The personal or public riot is largely a reaction, rarely an initiation. The seeming spontaneity is a predictable return of the repressed, usually analogized as pent up energy.
On the other hand, this quote from Walter Benjamin,
The destructive character has the consciousness of historical man, whose deepest emotion is an insuperable mistrust of the course of things and a readiness at all times to recognize that everything can go wrong. Therefore the destructive character is reliability itself. The destructive character sees nothing permanent. But for this very reason he sees ways everywhere. Where others encounter walls or mountains, there, too, he sees a way. But because he sees a way everywhere, he has to clear things from it everywhere. Not always by brute force; sometimes by the most refined. No moment can know what the next will bring.talks to me about creation. This is why I prefer Derrida's term, deconstruction, which is more of a recycling center than a garbage dump. If you utilise it, the garbage dump is a recycling center. To distinguish between disposed energy (loss) and repossessed energy with the idea that something actually leaves the system, is no longer capable of metamorphosis, is to re-insert the origin and terminus dialectic which Epicurus tried so hard to undermine so that folks would stop fearing (or desiring?) death and the gods. We leave the world of shaking things up (improvisation) and re-create use-value.
Death instinct equals Eros:
I find my favorite quote from Nietzsche missing in Land's book on Virulent Nihilism:
'To the clean are all things clean' – thus say the people. I, however, say unto you: To the swine all things become swinish! Therefore preach the visionaries and bowed-heads (whose hearts are also bowed down): 'The world itself is a filthy monster.' For these are all unclean spirits; especially those, however, who have no peace or rest, unless they see the world from the backside – the backworldsmen! To those do I say it to the face, although it sound unpleasantly: the world resembleth man, in that it hath a backside – so much is true! There is in the world much filth: so much is true! But the world itself is not therefore a filthy monster!What more I get from this book, The Thirst for Annihilation, is that Nick Land still equates zero with its modern mathematical corruption, void and death. With the modern, colloquial mass, he is cut off from his ancestors, his history. In an earlier time, zero was the one true thing, the singular datum, the box in want of content, the vault, the vulva awaiting expression and impression, the condition of birth, the old in-and-out of it all. "One" is a divergence from cunt: want, a unit of measure, a draught, distance arbitrarily dissected, cut off, castrated. And god took the name and called it himself: Totality, The Real, Presence, King Phallus. Patriarchs proclaimed cunt an insult. What is thereafter called life is a mistake in logic, a miscalculation from a corrupted starting point. One is just another wooden dildo and unity is its national anthem. It cares not what holes it penetrates. It leaves festering slivers everywhere it goes. It is a political party, never a festivity, except in celebration of machine-works and victories.
A computer thinks only in terms of ones and zeros, here, gone; light, dark. Does a blind person equate black with emptiness and nothing? Poe was able to insense to me a picture of beauty and serenity with his description of the house of Usher. Perhaps that was only in comparison to my own. An empty house is not dead but potential. To house you, to scare you, at least it's something. Some say terror is the height of life. We are talking about sensual excitement, however it is portrayed. Even the psychopath embraces life when he kills. The problem is that it is at our expense (sic), that we are unwillingly deprived of it. But we are only deprived of potential. We already call each other lifeless zombies: "Get a life, dude!". The cutter experiences eros, sensuality, and so goes on living. When the world does not stimulate, you stimulate yourself. Or punish. There are microbes in your intestine who celebrate when you eat. You think it's your own flatulence. Own, one, it's the same thing. "You" never feel fed till all the little creatures "inside" are happy. This is sublation.
I used to think standing in lines was the first lesson learned in school. Actually, as I think back, it was sitting still, all eyes forward, not a peep. We were being prepared for life in a coffin.
So accustomed to immobility as well as movement toward nowhere, we just don't know what to do with a "free moment". We confuse intimacy with identity and go on to declare intimacy impossible. Yet we still believe in metaphysical unity, "if only we could..." So much easier to treat each other as mere use-values than come to understand that every speaker consults a different dictionary. Another one of our little contradictions. Identity is boredom. Boredom is easy, but not well tolerated. Alienation feels like shit, usually somebody else's. Nothing is tolerated. Revenge becomes us or we fall to sleep.
An alternative to "get a life" was "get it together". It suggests the one (ala Descartes) is already a community, albeit not well consolidated. Epicurus said so-called death is just a falling apart. Considering infinity and the fact that there are so many unplanned collisions, he had no doubt one's constituent "atoms" would enter into a new community somewhere down the line. Given enough time (or none at all, since time is not experienced without consolidation), one of them will be you. Given infinity, the probability of "anything" is somewhere between 100% and infinity, and that is a sure bet.
What if there is no void? The aristotelian and laptop answer is the same: "that leaves only one". This may do well for the religious and romantic or for the intelligence of computational devices, but it is absurd. If there is a correct answer, it is "then there is 'no' one". In this line of thought, necrophilia is a religion based on the illusion, "Now you see it, now you don't". We play it with children. At first it's fun, but it soon becomes oppressive. We forget that at the conclusion of the game, we are supposed to hand the illusive object to the child. The game instead becomes "keep away" and then "I wish you were dead!" Insecurity, suicide and murder are necrophilic religion's highest sacraments. Icons are still carried representing sacrifice and theft: the general economy. Capitalism is just another collection of religious observances burned into our psyche.
Nick Land shows himself not as a vengeful atheist but just another recovered catholic. He has given us Truth, disguised as an inspiration from Bataille. The Thirst for Annihilation is correctly subtitled An Essay in Atheistic Religion. All the components of high christian civilisation are still there: Life's a bitch and then you die. God is not necessary when one can worship the great black void (or recursively scaled sponge, as he puts it) – it has no expectations of you, requires no identity papers, there are no alarm clocks, jobs, nosy neighbors or smelly relatives. If not destruction, life is nothing. Nothing is pure heaven – existence without essence, without you, the fluke or disruption of the natural condition. Creation is the production of ghettos "in a direct collaboration with zero".
Matter is in flight from the possibility of essence as if from an original pertinency of ontology, and life is merely the most aberrant and virological variant of this flight; the convulsive fringe of being’s relinquishment. Life is an exploration of death, whose motor is an exteriority from which it can never separate itself.... a body is a river of death,
The schtick of death and nihilism is this: 1 = 0. "Be one with nothing and everything becomes one". Necrophilia renamed: "nihilism". It is not quite the same as embracing your shit. It is the process of eternal shitting. God is not dead, according to Land, but death itself. You and I are not sinners, but sin itself. Death is when life truly begins. What we call life is only a trick of consciousness played on inert matter, tricked into expenditure. He has eliminated all dialectics except catch-22. You're fucked if you do and fucked if you don't. Best optimize or jump off a bridge. Hobbes would be impressed: life itself is despicable; we are justified in all our depravities. A life instinct is a fool's delusion. Suicide becomes us. Death is one, life is a transgression or it is nothing. Imagination is always a fiction, it "belongs amongst what is toxic and accursed upon the earth." Land has merely turned catholicism inside out, and this continues the rationalisation for misery and the exercise of power or sacrifice.
The power word encompasses force, ability, capability, energy or strength, control, abandonment, potential, choice, manipulation, restriction, denial, assertion, aggressive violence, optimisation, means of production, ends of accumulation, discharge of a load or excessive shit. The only thing which integrates these diverse semantic fields is meddlement, a locus of control that is not us. Perhaps a fence, it might be a god with a sick sense of humour or the boss at the factory, the cop at the donut shop or president or king (operating "only with our best interests in mind"), but every locus of control requires a degree of meddlement or interference. When we exercise self-control or various psychological defense mechanisms, we interfere with our own desires or plans, obstructing our own path, negating the possibility of a spontaneous act. Inserted into any part of speech, power is either no natural category or all of them. We go on to see conflict in everything. Life's a bitch.
If we question the process at all, we justify our behaviour (or lack of it) and call this a personal or acquired sense of morality or ethics. In other words, we delude ourselves into submissive or sub-dominant positions. The contradiction is not, however, resolved, and we transform the aesthetic search – the "drive" or orientation toward difference and novelty – toward those even more manipulable than ourselves. If there are none to be had, there are other "things" we can manipulate or destroy. The sense of power shifts toward "aggression", "violence", "predation". We only desire to take power, become the locus of control, but we have gained no idea of the overall pattern. We are still trying to integrate a wide, artificial (imposed) semantic field full of contradiction into our own unitary concept.
We must fence our gardens.
This way, the hierarchical structure is maintained and reproduced. When it defines our expectations of the environment, we call it nature, and this even further incapacitates us. It is thereafter not questioned, not even subject to interrogation. We are rendered unconscious. We are directed toward another's ends, placed on another's path for another's goal, and if we are in this process in any way detracted or distracted, we come back toward consciousness and resist the change, the option to divert. We call it an obstacle to our own progress or free movement, unaware of the illusion that we are awake. What it really is is an obstacle to our unconsciousness. The presentation of a choice only gives us a feeling of insecurity, and we object that we are out of control. A possible diversion from our sleepy path is dismissed as subversive or nonsensical.
For many, that it is a truism and tautology, a coherent system (but artificial, manufactured, extracted and isolated from its context), justifies its status as truth, even universal and absolute truth. This also defines coherent faith. There is however, a flaw. Even this system requires within the population certain orientations toward differentiation as well as patterning, the analytic and synthetic, the death drive and life drive, deconstruction and reconstruction, nihilism and unity, in order to function and reproduce along straight and narrow lines. It is an attempt to eliminate negative feedback. Progress or growth depends on overcoming self-inoculated crises: the system itself "wants" to stop, the consciousness within (us folks) does not. Biologists have invented the suicide gene to explain it all. We know better: suicide is the response to an accumulation of too much bullshit and nowhere to put it. Suicide shares much with revolution, certainly a defense mechanism for both body and soul.
As long as poles such as body and soul are kept separated and maintained as either/or, singular oppositions, the system remains safe. All systems, even those which bind contradiction, are self-correcting whether or not we are conscious. It goes with the name: without the observation of thermodynamics, there is no systemology. Few attribute general systems with consciousness. Binary thinking protects the synergy from the coming into being of individuals' bullshit detectors when we hear there is no life at the equator. The few which do emerge are easily discounted by the truth of democratic consensus, the power of numbers. It is how we came up with the idea of applying selective herbicides to our lawns. It is the drive toward uniformity which has been trained to ignore diversity or perceive it as a threat. There is no going around; all obstacles are to be overcome! There is more than metaphor to say unitarian morality is a weed spray. Like the plague, weeds just keep cropping up, the north and south ends of a magnet never truly separate no matter how you slice it. All that is accomplished by continued dissection is a weakened magnetic force in each new part right down to the single iron molecule. The ironic rupture does nothing to magnetism itself, the huge shock only reverses the field. If a tape is erased, it will still record at the slightest presence of external magnetic influence, like electricity to a dead battery.
Like later so-called "vitalists", Epicurus thought life is like a magnet. Me too. Is it still vitalism to consider life an ongoing process of coming together and death the consequent falling apart? The descriptive "laws" of thermodynamics and their offspring, general systems theories, speak precisely of this. Cybernetics tries to pacify sibling rivalries. For the cheerfully disposed, life can be a gas, all can experience gas, but life cannot be reduced to gas, being only an epiphenomena of the coming together of a body and heat, and heat is only a wasted product of light. How handy is garbage – it keeps us alive. The systematic reduction of entropy, increasing order among the living is a sure death sentence. But the reverse is also true: constipation kills.
An ancient line of thought saw order not in terms of a dialectic opposition with disorder, but balance itself. Moderns call it equilibrium, which is a double positive: an equivalent (mutual sharing of electrons at the molecular level giving "strength" in the electro-chemical bond) balance (-librium, from libra, a root shared by libation, liberation as well as liberal, possibly related to livre, part of which was sous from soul from L. solidus to solid). Interesting connection with soul, originally 'animated existence' which might also be called vitality, life. Hebrew sheol, before its attribution with hell, referred to the burial pit (the whole hole!). Nephesh was the living condition. Later christians carried a fish medalion. Coastal Europeans thought life was a scattering in the sea which congregated in schools in the shallows and coalesced, or solidified on the shore. The process is visible when watching salt crystals coalesce on driftwood on a sunny day when the tide goes out. Mid sixteenth century saw the terms, livre and sous, change application from metaphysics to coinage. It was not till the roman catholic church was already well established (by about 970), alongside the endless papal charge to restore the roman empire, the holy ground from which capitalism inadvertently emerged, that soul came to refer to death, the separated spirit of a dead person. In the finest Marxist tradition, dead labour is symbolised in coinage, and reproduces capital.
Prior to death and after birth, 'equilibrium system' is a redundancy. It is not a schizophrenic stretch to connect balance with valence: valiant, value, valor, voluptuous, and in Phoenician, baal, the potlatch spirit or house lord. Soul is an inner music or poetry: the system in living things, just another redundancy. From a systemic point of view, body and soul are two perspectives of the same "thing".
It is rarely considered that polarities represent synchronicity or simultaneity, diverse possibilities within sameness without imposing conflict or contradiction. Does the equator experience a double bind? I don't imagine any magnet feels disconnected, constrained in the never-land between north and south, unable to find its true identity, the innocent child within. The proof of this for ourselves should be seen in the simultaneous synthesis of right and left visual fields into a single stereo perceptual image. On top of this is superimposed ever-shifting focal and peripheral vision in which the most intent gaze can be distracted by a slight change in the periphery without seeing double. Things surprisingly come to our attention even as we seek them out or attempt to avoid their own gaze. Was it a return or an initiation? A momentary exchange?
Unless we are catatonic or very good actors, no amount of knowledge will prevent the shock of the jack-in-the-box held in our hand. No before and after, if-then, primary-secondary, chicken-egg – no oppositional struggle except upon later reflection. It is this later analysis which reinforces the idea of pervasive conflicts and other exchanges. A contradictory universe is quite an argument against our little bitches and moans. Everything which is, after all, is necessary to everything. All arguments are self-regulating exercises in sophistry, including this one. Conflict might just be the result of a rational mind taking an objective (detached) stand. Blinders are generally recommended. All else is a matter for the dinner table.
In the same way, discourse about spontaneity and organization or projectuality, desiring freedom from constraint and freedom to exercise choice, misses the huge area between contingency and exigency. To let the environment take you is spontaneity. If you are not meddled with, choices open up at every point of focus or bush one stumbles into. Yet we call this "constraint" under external "control". When options are narrowed down to the satisfaction of Poe's Dupin, there is but one option left, and that is no option at all. A predictable universe where all the bad guys are found out.
As long as this polarity between the self and environment is maintained as an opposition, there is no threat toward the system's established operation – the establishment. Because the very distinguished concepts, self and environment, are not questioned, they exist in a utilitarian proprietary relationship.
Civilisation has always spread and progressed via annexation and annihilation of its own(ed) environment. Obstacles are not tolerated. Xenophobia and necrophilia go hand in hand. To expect we can reform our situation with the correct amount of philosophising, mathematizing, enlightening persuasion, applied force, sufficiently nihilistic or hegemonic approaches is a fools hope, excessive romanticism, impossible utopianism or false idealism. The synergy has run away, superseded us, become a god. Is it the only thing left awake? Is it aware of its own upcoming death?
What then is the alternative? You go toward what attracts you, you retreat from the repulsive. If you find friends along the way, so much the better: try biting into this apple! Nick Land proposes that Bataille promoted a 'will to chance' to replace Nietzsche's 'will to power'. Lao Tse and Kropotkin both agreed that left to their own devices, folks would "do the right thing". This is an assumption hardly any one else shares, even though they think it applies quite well to themselves. One look around only illustrates everyone else's incompetence – even the most revolutionary organizers insist upon this. The derailing question for all moralists and anti-moralists alike is "What do you mean by right?" This is only another subterfuge to impose unity or negate diversity, to put off a decision 'til it no longer matters.
The real bitch is not experimentation, but meddlement. If you wish to argue the point, I already agree: this is a somewhat ambiguous or relative statement. Even so, I will draw a line: nothing but the self-fulfilling prophecy can be learned when contingencies are controlled or eliminated to the point that they become exigency: one proceeds correctly through the maze or dies. Fortunately, and given enough time, all mazes return to dust. The anthropic principle is a pretty arrogant vantage point, the idea that the pinnacle of living beings (usually "us") must order the universe, lest it fall apart.
Tolkien portrayed the nature of power with his description of magic rings. I used to think it was only a justification for monarchy or an allegory for the evil seed. But when you get right down to it, it was a good king beating a bad king which brought on the modern age of man, and just look what came of that! Better to be a short hobbit with occasional adventures, endless tales to tell passing the pipe over a barrel of beer and a loud band playing in the background. As the young Sean Penn declared, "Fuckin' party, dude!" In an even earlier time, this was heard: "Go crazy!" It is an endorsement of uninhibited and uninhibiting experimentation, an endorsement also known as solidarity.
It might do well to remember the materialism of old Epicurus, as relayed by Lucretius: When the grand synergy collapses from its own increasing entropy, its formerly constrained particles are freed, perhaps to go on to bigger and better things, perhaps not.
Do you really want to know the future? As the Hindu's discovered, "immortality's a bitch!" Descendant Gypsies warned "Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it!" It became a standard curse. Zen added an even older wisdom: "Try the here and now. It's more immense than eternity."
The argument against the rigidity of solids:
The only solution to Zeno's paradoxes is to embrace them, thus, trimming Western Essentialist Logic down to its essential comedic base and rendering all rigorous thought a form of child's play. This is the also a proof of delight at new discoveries and the pataphysical equivalence of all absurdities. An apple by any other name would taste as sweet.
When comparative value (always a balancing act) is added to a discovery, when play becomes a game with winners and losers, the more who play, the fewer winners emerge. 'Value' is not shared but allocated. It loses any sense of its root, "well" (see also "waltz", "vulva", "boil", all relating to expressions, impressions, revolutions). All choice is confined to two categories: right and wrong, but not in and out. Since a majority therefore can not win, it becomes a loser's game, increasingly called a losing game, so the frequency of mere spectators increases arithmetically. The spectacle of delegation and representation is born. We can all now rest comfortably, asleep again.
In his naturalization and inevitability of civilisation birthing the superego which castrates the id, Freud was more pessimistic than even Schopenhauer. I don't want to liberate desire but unhinge aesthetics. I only hold on to eremitic and anchoritic hope with the faith that, like any psychology, society is not impossible without a locus of control. It all holds together so it can fall apart. It all falls apart so I can hold it. Falling apart and coming together is a simultaneity. That is movement. One without the other is a void or an inessential black hole therein. Is this proof of dialectics or its negation? Is anything?
Simple sociology and complex biology: patamorphosis
A complex is adorned, expansive, a set (of distinct numbers or elements bound or interpenetrated), type (personality structure), form (building, structural set, composite), string, strand, or line (influence), exaggerated response, a unity (one) simultaneous with multiplicity. Who described himself "I am legion" as soon as exploration became restricted to urban dérives? The other is thereafter a source of food or fear, an unwanted intervention or desired consumption.
The adjective form, complex, describes what is outside or other. The sacred realms, unknown, mystery, uncertainty, assumed to be self-like, knowable. Synonym: tricky, dangerous. Subduable others (made simple), are singled out. Complex implies a set of dissimilar components unwillingly controlled or willingly engaged.
Simplex is unadorned, isolated, a member (bound), that which is typed, accomplice, subdued response, a singularity (one)
The adjective form, Simple, describes the ordinary, free or unsubdued, guileless, moronic, isolated or uncomposed, from same 'together, with, even, level', détourned to sample 'extracted, isolated, examined'; implying a set of similar components in machinic relationship – a simple complex. We get the equations: complex=form, simple=content. The pessimist expresses disappointment with life: the content and form despise each other.
The cultural progress of simplicity to complexity is an increase in exploitation, rape and enslavement thought natural from the perspective of the complex or hierarchic point.
On the other hand, ontological growth of simplicity to complexity represents arithmetical or additive divisions within a "singularity" interpenetrating along increasingly various dimensions (functional specialisations) becoming geometric and exponential to the point of fragmentation. Homeostasis (maturity) introduces (is introduced by the very interpenetrations within the complex) negative feedback such that at some point, growth is inhibited, energies are diverted, reproductive functions may be entertained. Closure is an illusion from the perspective of the simple or simple-minded complexities. Sexual reproduction is said to be more complex than "simple" or cellular division. It is only the addition of the processes of meiosis and mitosis in a single organism (possibly originating as a symbiotic multiplicity of eukaryotic cells and nuclear microbes) with profound (grand, sacred, complex) implications down the road.
Content is discarded (waste) to make room for new divisions. Within a complex, cells die when communication with the environment stops. Single (free) cells continue dividing (mitotic reproduction) until the environment consumes/metabolises them or will no longer support them (is no longer a utilisable energy source or has incorporated too much toxicity). The composite itself fragments at some point to become content for new complexes. Immortality would render the ultimate energy crisis: the end of food or simple forms announces the end of life altogether, the continuity of coming together and falling apart. Not progressive, but processive. Buttler and Bergson both suggested birth is not a beginning or point of origin but a snapshot taken of an arbitrary (but comparable) point in a living duration. Death is a similar such point. Individuals die because they cannot match or fathom the complexity of their surroundings. The totality of intervening variables (choices, changing circumstances, changed directions) overwhelms identity or prevents permanence. Identity is an illusion of its own consciousness.
To further explore the nature of complexity takes one to absurdity, metaphysics and sacred existence to the point of madness or dogma. At least madness allows one to stop trying to pigeon-hole words in the construction of superior dictionaries (or objective representations) in favour of behaviour and navigation which gives pleasurable results. Might this help disengage one from pigeon-holing, classifying, mystifying, objectifying and finally commodifying each other?
There may be no happy thoughts, but there are certainly joyful noises. Contrary to what we are taught, idealism is the death of joy, realism is its birth. We are here for your entertainment. Corruption is merely the confusion of nutrient and toxin. Who am I? You are conscious, get over it! What happens next? Who knows? Life goes on! In evolutionary context, metamorphosis (a simple transformation of an identity) is superseded by patamorphosis, the continual reversal or upturn of the normal and abnormal probabilistic curve. There is no physics without pataphysics. Abnormality is the source of all potential and peak experience.
"Ex nihilo nihil fit" (from nothing nothing comes).– Parmenides
"Keep the faith, baby!"
("... but for krist' sake, don't let go the questions!")– advice from an atheist
Even the idea of infinitely repeated cycles of expansion and collapse, the inflating and deflating balloon or the rise and fall of civilisations, still represents an insistence on the notion of an absolute, simultaneous, collective beginning from a central location, even in the face of dissimilar individual ends which suggests stars may die prior to reaching the end of the universe and completely miss out on the nihilistic party. We have witnessed (what appears to be) both the birthing and the dying of stars. The big bang is a contradiction to infinite space. It only holds true in a finite space existing in an infinite void which itself is a contradiction of terms: what extends into the void must itself cease to exist. Beyond the Great Barrier, there be dragons!
This dialectic friction is preserved in both philosophy and theology likely because we have refused to let go the notion of first cause at the universal center, that the universe is a structure with defined (even if oscillating) boundaries and therefore a mathematically derivable center. To question this precept fuels the greatest ridicule against Derida and postmodernism reminiscent of the treatment of Copernicus who suggested the earth was just a minor ball in space, one among many. It took philosophers and mathematicians centuries to re-calculate the common wisdom of Polynesian and ancient Phoenician sailors lost to empire.
There was some question on the interpretation of the red shift many years ago, but we don't hear much about that, since the red shift is the primary evidence for expansion and as that is now taken for granted and so much has been invested in making this idea of the big bang "common knowledge", the question would present problems for many popular publishing houses and esoteric institutions.
However, what if Pascal's notion were maintained, that every point in the universe is its center (and this makes sense intuitively, at least in terms of perceptual relativity)? As suggested above, the big bang which rests on the notion of an absolute beginning in space itself explodes into logical error. The notion of infinity needs no beginning or end point. In this case, there is no center and, therefore, no "point" of origin.
We've always had a psychological problem anticipating origins from a prior nothingness. God was a pretty handy scapegoat to silence children and their interminably recursive questions, particularly those terrible two-year-olds whose BS detectors shine with a brilliant radiance, an organ easily deduced from their profound expressions of frustration when faced with contradiction. "It just ain't fair", they later shout as they run upstairs and slam the door! There may even be a spontaneous explosion. There is a theory that god himself was a spoiled child prone to temper tantrums he could never outgrow. Thus, the big bang which was followed by bouts of rathful perturbation and much trickery: God the master baiter, author of friction.
But could it be that organisation spontaneously coalesces here and there, now and then, in a vast condition of indeterminacy, deduced merely from the laws of probability, given an infinite array? This was the position of Charles S. Peirce, and does not presuppose something from nothing. It's an idea older than Einstein that matter and energy are not created or destroyed, but are oscillations of being, or state-dependent fluctuations ever organising and disorganising.
ANTIMETABOLE, PARALLELISM & CHIASMUS:
"I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy,"– Classic Pirate Quote
..."but let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream,"– Book of Amos
..."by day the frolic, and the dance by night".– Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes
At Artificial Insemination school (yes, there is such a thing!) they told us that it is reasonable to expect failure, since the bull injects billions of sperm cells with each service, wheras we only insert hundreds of thousands in our little pipette. On top of this, each of our little guys has to overcome the trauma of waking up from a deep freeze. Only about 50% survive that ordeal. Either way, the chance from any single cell's perspective of not only finding but gaining entry to the object of its desire is practically nothing. This does not even consider the long swim through turbulent waters. With increased sperm count, the chance of the cow getting pregnant should be minimum of 50%, a quantum leap itself by comparison. She will either take or not take. But the fact is that cows conceive almost every year.
The chance of natural conception is hard enough to believe, successful artificial insemination should be viewed as nothing short of miracle. But the logic is wrong. (see, for example, Terrence W. Deacon, Emergence: The Hole at the Wheel’s Hub) One cannot compare the odds from one perspective with those of the other in any simple or direct linear fashion. As Alfred Jarry explained, precursing fractal analysis, the smoothness of an egg is increased with the number of protruberances on its surface. A sure bet for the individual egg is a fluke for the individual sperm. They are at cross purposes. A Chiasmus. But still, there is something they do have in common, and that occurs at their intersection, the point of bloom. The whole picture portrays a quite hummable melody of what seems like confusing parts. The internal conflict is an illusion of the detached observer. Sex is not warfare! Neither is it factory production.
When I was practicing this art, A.I., I had upwards of an eighty percent success rate. It did not increase with practice. In fact, it seemed to decrease as the art progressively became tedious and a mechanical exercise of duty. My own success rate was inversely proportional to the size of my "harem". The thrill was not only gone, it was replaced by stress, and even cows can recognise that in a herdsman. Tension fucks everything every time!
In-determinant means 'not caused'. Indeterminate means 'not known'. An interminable determination produces frustration. Are we confused just because they sound alike? Or do they sound alike because we were once confused concerning their intractable "identity"? Theology and Rationalism never questioned cause itself and proceeded to "logically" conclude their identity: reality is "caused" by a knowing being, a production unit, god the proletariat. Rationalism and religion always travel together by virtue of originary causation, the first principle, the miraculous perturbation of original substance. If there is a first, (and in physics, an "obvious" second which perturbed the first) why not a last? The end of the universe? The final solution? Thenceforth, infinity is found to be impossible to imagine.
Upwards of 2500 years ago, Epicurus said this must mean there is an edge, and went on to ask what becomes of his hand should he travel to this edge, bore a hole and stick his arm through. What happens when he retracts it? Does he bleed to death? If it is just more hole, he still had to imagine infinite depth. Prior to this, another old dead Greek showed that what is truly unimaginable is the void, pure nothingness, absolute negation. If we can imagine an empty, black space of nothing, we must imagine ourselves somehow immersed there-in to witness "it", and that is something rather than nothing. This illustrates the difference between emptiness and nothingness. The former requires a vessel. By comparison to the void, infinity is child's play.
I like to ask "what if the void is only the calling forth of the impossible-to-imagine and given a name?" It makes about as much sense as god, as both merely put an "end" to discussion. Beyond this point, there are no questions, and that's the high and low of it. The void is instantly sucked into the vacuum of epistemology and we return to the indeterminacy of knowledge and impotence of metaphysical truth. Categorisation establishes boundaries, within which it is perfectly reasonable to imagine presence, absence, indeterminacy or possibility. There is much to be learned within those limits, except concerning the "reality" of the limits themselves. Even concrete city walls are subject to erosion; iron to corrosion. Temporal boundaries let us posit the difference between is and was, now and then. The planet itself will give a pretty good indication of the time of day, even when overcast. That is, if one attends to its goings-on, repeated patterns stand out like a sore thumb.
Given infinity, the idea that an infinite number of tunes can be played on a finite piano, could it be that outside our imposed boundaries, chance irregularity is the "norm" and order the exception? In probability, the mean, median and mode represent central tendency within predefined (artificial but not arbitrary) limits. They are variable depending not so much on internal dynamics but the "level of significance" toward which the observer wishes to focus. This represents the big hump in the bell-shaped curve, whose ends at the base extend to infinity. Should one subtract the number representing normality from infinity, the resultant is still insignificant – not only very small, but getting incalculably smaller by the minute.
Our culture-history has a lot invested in beginnings and endings and control forces to bring them together to produce "normality". This is the result of linear thinking without leaving the confines of the box, or returning post haste from any short excursion like a particle of exhaust sucked back into the air filter of your toyota parked in the sealed garage while you await asphyxiation in the front seat. Nested boxes establish hierarchy. Imagination transgresses boundaries giving the illusion of progress within recursively-nested systems, escape or adventure in the horizontal. Nomadism claims all boxes, spending as much time outside as in.
Logic explores relations within and between boxes, giving us a sort of economics of thought. Politics guards its edges, issues travel permits and maintains provisionally antagonistic relations lest our boxes burst or disintegrate – the supercop of the super ego nested in the collective conscious which illustrates both finite extensity and finite duration. Boas spoke of diffusion (communication) and tradition (iteration) to demonstrate "Culture". Tiquun calls it "Bloom", referring to available data sets as well as individual representations (or collections). We are well practiced at looking at the mean, median and mode, staying within defined parameters and concluding ubiquitous conditions void of choice. The theory, however, suggests that every radical or conflicting idea, every unexpected turn, every novel event is included in the durative collectivity. Invention and inovation are not only possible, they are likely. Normal distributions are never static. The central tendency always wavers and sometimes the entire curve flips or flops.
The atomic theory predicts immortality of the smallest object, ever vascilating between states of substance and energy. One could say the "normal" state and chance occurrence or potential. Invisibility is only a matter of extreme dispersal. Spirits are only gas existing beyond our perceptual horizon. A fart is dead only by virtue of the observer's fading sense of smell. Absense lies in the nose of the beholder. A fresh nose entering the room might just experience disgust at what we have found so familiar as to render it outside of awareness. A fart dies when it's movement (dispersal) is such that no nose can smell it. Yet it does not cease to exist.
It just so happens, so history informs us, that Democritus' "atom" keeps getting smaller. There seems a new quantum partical "discovered" every few years! Science-fiction writers (and partakers of hallucinatory substances) have posed the question whether the atom is infinitely recursive, itself a "universe" of galaxies containing tiny little folks gazing at us with "unimaginably" powerful telescopes which by comparison, make our electron microscopes and radiological imaging systems look like amblyopia behind opaque lenses. Of course, this suggests ethical implications we might not wish to see surrounding the notion of split atoms or super-colliding universes in an attemt to discover a god particle or free energy source with which to fuel our ever-expanding machines. Best not shed those opaque shades just yet! Ethical consideration has more than occassionally put a damper on even the best laid plans.
It may be that logic is the examination of relationships and mutual implications (influence) within the horizons of contemplation rather than the "demonstration" of linear causal chains ("proofs"), so is equally at home in the past and the future, which is to say, outside of time itself, which can only be the realm of possibility, making truth itself merely our best guess and therefore, always provisional. A priori proofs only illustrate the agreement between subject and object. "I am me" is true. "Me is I" is, while not false, disagreeable. "'Me' is (a receptive) 'I'" is just fine. I could go on.
The point is that a priori logic tells us less about the why of the world than how to talk about it, meaning "what it is". It may be mechanically descriptive ("when I throw the brick, my arm follows an arc") but explains nothing but mechanical or sequential arrangements.
'There's glory for you!'
'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't – till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master – that's all.'
...'They've a temper, some of them – particularly verbs, they're the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'
'Would you tell me, please,' said Alice 'what that means?'
'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'
'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.Alice & Humpty
The afirmation, "Rocks break glass", is contained in the definition of each: Glass is a transparent object broken by rocks; Rock is an irregularly shaped, often opaque, natural object which breaks glass. They are distuingished by many qualities, but the par excellent quality in (and only in) this example is their respective vulnerability on impact. It is not even a matter of their respective hardness. The constant rubbing of a plate of glass on a piece of granite will render the latter into a cloud of dust, if not a shiny transluscent sheet easily shattered by a small sliver of glass. It's a matter of integrity, also known as "density". To accuse someone of being "dense" only suggests immobility, not personal integrity.
The causative, "The glass broke because you threw the damned rock!" is still merely a description. Without directly witnessing the sequence of events, it is an hypothesis. We can deduce that the interaction of the rock and glass resulted in the breakage of the latter, but neither having the title, "animate", are given the supposition of causing the event. Human agency is always a matter of guilt by association, but demonstration of intention is the clincher. Inductive reasoning ("if I throw the brick, the glass will break") describes the world of the future based on past experience or transmitted wisdom, but its veracity is subject to many intervening variables. We can not be sure an unseen hand won't rise up to intentionally or inadvertantly obstruct the flight path. When prefaced by "all things being equal..." it is a foregone conclusion, but only on paper, which is to say, at a theoretical level – the level of imagination necessary to proceed in our adventure. Intent without imagination is meaningless unless you delegate or relegate your desires to another, but that takes a bit of force or persuassion or entails sacrifice and dis-appointment. Was the problem in the intension or the appointment? On the other hand, imagination without intent gets one nowhere – the proverbial stay-at-home dies of boredom without it or some means of distraction. Should one wish others to stay at home, the cohabiting of imagination and intent should be discouraged, lest they up and leave.
Of course, "real people" don't "come to terms" with the world in the strict sense. They come to behave in it, and their signing, symbolising, talking 'round and about it is how they compare and share their unique experiences. They recognise patterns without reference to their constituent parts. We know a rock almost instantly, and do not even need to imagine glass in the process. We don't even need a gene encoded for rock recognition, although our genes may be constructed from some of the same material found in rocks, and it would seem absurd to think other animals don't share this constitutive predicament. Theory can not attempt to discover truth. It is only an aid to guesswork, a different sort of telescope.
Back in 1897, Wilhelm Wundt suggested human perception presents a problem for the natural sciences, who responded by detaching nature from the human observer. Likewise, the environment presents problems for the introspective psychologist so the human is extracted from outside influences. Experimentation requires some sort of protective cage. With the elimination of nearly all humans living outside of cages, the interaction between humans and the environment is today considered purely mechanical, predictable and manipulable.
Psychoanalysis and especially, Gestalt theory attempted to bring the observer and environment back together. The former tends to be more explanatory (determinist) and the latter descriptive ('coterminist' – the coterminous is a "bigger-picture" description of mutuality or mutual influence, communication, and its 'explanatory' principle suggests observation – and participation – of wholes precedes the delineation – or emergence – of parts . The 'individual' comes from the whole and not vice versa as implied by reductionist teleology and the "Big Man" theory of history). When psychoanalysis introspects, it sees events from history. Behaviourism sees (reactions to) stimuli in the environment, neuropsychiatry sees expressions of proteins and electro-chemical discharges. They fight among themselves over chickens and eggs. Gestalt avoids the struggle when it suggests the distinction between inside and outside is just not that important when we look at the whole picture – it is an ecological perspective.
I'd say the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century witnessed a revolution in thinking we are only now starting to catch up to (the big war of 1914 was quite a set-back to all revolutionary movement). There were some cats back then more post-modern than anyone we have to offer – I present for exhibit #1, absinthe aficionado, Alfred Jarry. Artists were more attuned to and even influencial toward currents in science and philosophy than is today's average phud. This is less an insult than the result of over-specialisation and its consequent loss of communication. The incrimination belongs to the institution rather than the institutionalised – the mass industrialisation of warfare in preparation for the second big war made it increasingly so, although we cannot say it was "the" cause.
Alfred Jarry's hero, Edgar Poe had an equally profound influence on the yet-to-bloom field of psychoanalysis and can still be seen haunting cognitive-behavioural theory. I think the problem we have today concerning revolution is not just some internal psychological dynamic but an education system which, still following the logic of linear progress and tit-for-tat causation, teaches that old dead guys are irrelevant to today's modern world, unless of course they were wealthy patriots. Otherwise, they are pushed even deeper into the collective subconscious. What we learn best is amnesia and still, we are expected to improve (accumulate) our knowledge. Newton, who once said he stood on the shoulders of giants, has been rendered obsolete, except at the most elementary level.
Of course, we are aware of the problem and think we can rectify it by detaching and delegating memory to networked computational mechanisms. God forbid we "network" into human communities and "do it" ourselves! The dissolution of sharing and communication, turning them into mere games of theft, sacrifice and hierarchic position, follows the same pattern as the divorce of imagination and intent. Mutual influence comes to an end, and with it, movement. Adventure is reduced to manipulative determination, and wonder to certainty. Life becomes serious business, and as much bullshit as it may appear, we all know shit is necessary to success.
Another example of the contradictions built into our civilisation? Or should I say "absurdity is the norm"?
"I can't see how we could understand ourselves as the product (a) of natural evolution and (b) as the product of a succession of modes of production without the development of a concept of linear time, of 'history'."
Yes, but what is continually produced by nature is life itself. The "modes of production" Marx & Engels spoke of when refering to "archaic" humans and other animals were none other than behavioural, metabolic systems, wherein early forms are succeeded by later ones which have diverged. Not much more can be said without resting atop many articles of faith, chief among which is the belief that change is uni-directional, and we have evolved to the point of transcendental superiority. This means we are no longer commensurate with other animals. We are civilised! This also means we no longer need be concerned with nature except to keep it at bay. Unfortunately, we can no longer use it to justify our own behaviour. No one can say "It's only natural" or "even the animals do it" without accusations of "Savage!" or "Animalist!" coming from the technocracy. The futures industry has always sought after the "unnatural", whether it be called "divinity" or "plastic food". This fuels the chief argument against environmentalism: "What's that got to do with anything?" This question was asked in 750 bc, to which the goat-herder, Amos, said "god's getting really, really pissed 'bout the way you're treating his planet and each other". Today, equally fanatical environmentalists point out that we are now not only behaving badly, but killing the planet. Steven Hawkings refers them back to the story of Noah and the biblical terra-forming and colonisation of Mars. Everyone goes back to work, secure with the assurances from the smartest dude on the planet. Glory be! A nice knock-down argument. Or is it "Saints be praised!"?
With the "job" analogy (or logos), if the "succession of modes of production" is our life, then what is it that actually proceeds? Wouldn't that be "workers"? No. "Modes of production" refers to the work itself! Henceforth, to live is to work (remember, we're not supposed to compare ourselves with "natural" systems, and vice versa – we're special!). Work is hard, or at least inconvenient (by definition, an "expenditure"). At this point, my old boss concluded life is hard: "Life sucks, then ya die!" He was also a bit into ancestor worship: "If it was any good, grandpa would've bought it!"
And if workers abolished work (changed their behaviour and did something else to continue their metabolism, like doing away with middle-men and taking in food directly), wouldn't punctuated linear time disappear as well? Of course, there's not much we can do about history except study, and then refuse to repeat it. This raises the question, "why haven't we already done this?" Could it be that history is reconstructed precisely so that we don't?
There is a difference between sequence and time. The former can be empirically observed and validated. The latter is a metaphysical entity immanent in metaphysical space (as opposed to, say, observable topography). Indeterminacy resides in the distance between sensation and memory, and even more habitably between short and long term memory. Space-time is a metaphysical entity, invented when we discovered we can not talk about the one without reference to the other. Thus, indeterminacy increases with the distance between generations. The problem is solved with the application of guesswork or faith in archived "data". Science tries to reduce the amount of guesswork, but carries along metaphysical categories as if they were "real". Materialist Physicists have proclaimed that some of our semantic dillemmas arise when we disregard the "fact" that the "fabric" of space-time is curved. This has been "proven" by mathematicians. Metaphysics, particularly the nominalist sort, presumes that what is named is. For example, it asks "What is Time?" Wittgenstein suggested our language cannot cope with this question. I agree, but think he did not go far enough. It may be that the question is meaningless beyond poetry or local convenience.
Philosophers still go on and on with similar metaphysical questions: What do you mean by is? What is it which is, what is essense, what is it to be, and which is better. Not being? No answer is satisfactory except perhaps Feuerbach's when he related being to doing and essense to the behavioural context. Despite Marx' complaints, that notion pretty much does away with metaphysics altogether, unless it makes it respectable. Paradigm shifts occur when the colloquial body endorses new reifications and pronounces guesses "facts". Metaphysical processes are tautologies between metaphysical substances by which our categories themselves are answers to metaphysical questions, ennunciated with a certain poetic flair. Amateur as well as professional philosophers fall into this linguistic trap. But again, I digress.
Among other things, Time is an invention of the church bell and factory whistle. Time is articulated by the duration taken from life travelling between the alarm clock and the factory door, which is to say, the most efficient movement between one's bedroll and workshop where we "punch" the clock. Time can stop on weekends and holidays, but inevitably endures in the certainty of toil and death and the reproduction of new production units.
Likely, with the abolition of work (and therefore, class) we would retain the notion of time as "rest" punctuated between indeterminate episodes of fighting, feeding, fucking, fermenting, filling and fillosophising. If it's fun, who cares the cause? What then would we mean by "guilty party"? Party-poopers are prevented from participation. Rhythm and cycle re-emerge as from a long sleep.
So-called "primitive" notions of circular time did not refer to one big circle whose beginning and end represent an identity, but a multiplicity of repeating rhythms and predictable cycles. That the moon is in a certain conformation several times a year does not mean history forever repeats itself. It only seems so because of long periods of relatively un-interrupted equilibrium -- the "stasis" of traditional movement.
I wouldn't call the repetitive, often boring and highly disrespected daily grind something natural or "native" to evolving biological systems. Were it so, there would be no "room" for discussion of revolution in the sense usually implied, except as the sharing of impossible fantasies. A choice emerges: "Do we want a (pre-)determined reality or merely one to become familiar with?" The first is easy, but hopeless. The second is filled with questions and quests, visions and adventures.
The really big question is "Can we change our own behaviour?" Can we recognise our habits, bringing them to the foreground where we can examine them? This is why psychological inquiry (analysis) is probably the more relevant field for our discussions before we go on to tackle the specific means to be undertaken. The psychology of adjustment tells us we shouldn't want to change. If we do, behaviour modification tries to change us back. Otherwise, there is prison or chemical lobotomy. This contradicts the logic of much psychoanalysis which only rationalises why we can't change or justifies our immobility (helplessness?). Given the big picture of "geological time", this contradiction is another absurdity.
History is merely an inductive database full of meaningful errors or errata, 'areas' from which we might learn not to borrow, pattern and repeat. Obviously, it would do no good to forget it altogether. It might be that, like good sophistry, the deconstruction of history, the removal of some items from their context and focus on others to assemble a new juxtaposition with the future is the greatest excercise of destructive and creative agency, a mockery of time itself. If science concerns the future, we are talking of the imagination of possibilities and the construction of a narrative to nurture them. But as Feuerbach said, movement is essential to doing, and that is being and becoming in the present, not necessarily a linear progression or parade toward the city center.
All seriousness aside, I just thought I'd add that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with sophistry, taking something out of one context or familiar matrix and placing it in another just to see if the new collective arrangement survives (fitness), is pleasing or extensive rather than limiting. This is the basis of surrealism as well as heart transplants – the generation, extension or reproduction of possibilities. The problem from the perspective of a libertarian-slash-anarchist "morality" or "consistency" arises when this novel arrangement is presented not to ask or stimulate questions (like "does it fit?", is it inviting?", "does it smell bad?", "will it satisfy?") but to present absolutes and certainty, which is the standpoint of dogma. What is even worse is the insistence that no other alternatives are available or possible, which is the finality of a deflated balloon.
The question of fitness also applies to the erasure of elements from the context, such as the word "property". For example, I think "privacy" and "community" are more becoming as nouns or adverbs than adjectives of property. The dialectic itself seems to disappear when property is removed or détourned away from ownership (the propriety of the private or exclusive community) toward the semantic realm of attribute or quality or even landscape: Where is the problem of a little respect for privacy in the context of a community toilet? The self-other dialectic begins itself to break down or lose importance when one can see a bit of one's self in the other and the other in one's self. This is communication – the flow of content between boxes, the aesthetic of gifts. Unless those boxes are recognised as situationally provisional, it is reasonable to suggest that "communication" becomes an antagonistic debate, a mining operation or exploitation undertaken to reinforce the edges, or a purely economic transaction of tit-for-tat political maneuvering.
As to the unbending finality and irresistibility of the "superego" set up dead-center in the "collective consciousness", much of what I describe of it are pieces ("old tapes", we used to call them) I myself have "owned" but then shed, like the necessity of non-violent, democratic interventions, the need for total consensus or the effectiveness of protests and demonstrations. It was a long time before I could even question these precepts, being that they saturated the context I grew up in. Age has its merits, at least if one is not afraid to move past the midpoint, and that is not a matter of accumulated intelligence or intelligent accumulation. I received the wisdom of the philosophers in Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy with great enthusiasm: "Perhaps our minds are too highly trained!" But I was pre-prepared as a child when even the fascist propagandist, Art Linkletter had a regular segment entitled "Kids say the Darnedest Things", demonstrating "innocent" wisdom putting much entrenched adult intelligence to shame.
The super-ego itself may be an "instinctive" phenomenon. Might it even represent the "social instinct"? The emergent mutual influence between the inside and outside? Submerged, unorganised memories coalescing into something familiar? We all want to fit in, especially if we at all have a gripe with alienation and separation. We don't want to experience the contradiction of fitting into catch-22 situations. We don't want to be forced into new (or old!) situations or go into them blindly or thoughtlessly. That takes training! I've no beef with reason itself. Nor materialism. The positive (or functional) view of process set alongside the negative critique of "content" opens up a lot of possibilities – meaning "choices" – based on a deeper familiarity, where initial questions call, not for final answers or reactionary opposites, but provisional choices. It may be that then we recognise the only choice made available to us is reactionary opposition. Maybe not. Perhaps a sneaky sort of opposition makes use of neither fight nor flight. Categorical détournment?
From this perspective, could it be that the psychoanalytic process itself "comes with the equipment" and Freud only gave it a name and inserted some new querisome content? This should not detract one from my estimate that the man was a genius, albeit here and there, a misguided genius. Could it be that Edgar Poe, the journalist who gave us the big bang theory in 1848, was merely a mirror of a particular direction in colloquial thought at the time? Does this in any way take from his ingenuity?
Categorization is probably essential. Language is, after all is said and done, a matter of naming and sharing names. Landmarks are less a matter of accounting-for than navigating the world. Setting categories in stone so we can forget, ignore, take them for granted or let them dictate our moves may as well be likely, but I think unnecessary.
"Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities..."– Mark Twain
"... for the benefit of proprietors against the interests of the individual."– Max Stirner
I think content should be as free to move between boxes as we would ourselves like to experience. If ideas are not provisional, they are spooks. Even this is not "unnatural". Sometimes the box is attractive, but its contents are repulsive (and vice versa). But as Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud and later, Erich Fromm (who I assure you, did not imbibe in the Green Fairy) suggested, psychological distress indicates a mismatch or disequilibrium between the organism and environment, that what we feel as our own "madness", feeling like the proverbial fish out of water, is a healthy reaction to an insane environment, where an overabundance of order is no less devastating than total immersion into chaos. Today's psychopharmacological interventions are merely a refinement of 37 electroshock treatments, that "therapy" itself a certain progress over The Inquisition's "barbarous" tortures, but in all these cases, the release of information is never considered above breaking the spirit of inquiry or preventing the actualisation of transgression. We are to assimilate.
The world is a complicated mess. Were it not, there would be no movement, no wonder, no art. Science or philosophy would be unnecesary, if not impossible. The problems we experience are rarely a matter of the processes themselves, but our applications of them together with emergent (and unintended) implications. Traditional Western "reason" as reflected in our history has attempted to capture and simplify (order and arrange) this "chaos" in attempt to straighten out the mess, to establish certainty, the arrival at a dead-end. Ironically, we judge our theories by their complexity and the esoteric distance between the "experts" and ourselves. The result has been a boring homogeneity of appearance erected over devastation of difference under the euphamistic label, "increased complexity" and a "higher order of existence" coupled with a persistent, naive faith in leadership. Yet even that was likely a reactionary stand against previous "lines" of thought felt too punishing, constraining or limiting of possibilities. How often history does repeat itself! (Epicurus' atomic materialism was a reactionary stand against the Priest-kings; "Enlightened Science" opposed the Roman catholic church). The current positive view of chaos is beginning to blossom an idea that chaos is not an "evil" condition but an unorganized matrix (like the unconscious) from which emerges spontaneous order, patterning, organisation. The provisional 'nature' of order refers us back to movement as well as death. There are no permanent systems. Of a sudden, we've returned to the questions Epicurus and his pals posed 2500 years ago. But we've added some new ones as well!
When a child intuitively calls bullshit, might it be better to focus less on our own projects and desires and attend to theirs with the idea that therein might be found some wisdom too "simple" for us to fathom but with potentially profound emergent implications unbeknownst to any? Unless the abuse or deprevation at school was profoundly less than that at home, have you ever seen a child who actually liked school? Have you ever known a worker who was not similarly disgruntled unless the pay only coincidentally coincided with her or his play? Unfortunately, it is dificult to tell the difference between "natural" bullshit and the bullshit of tradition. Only the latter, the "well-formed ego" we like to call "opinionated", the reified super ego calls bullshit on anything it does not resemble, lest it find itself deformed and foul of smell.
"Ex nihilo nihil fit"
In Latin, fit means 'comes', implying movement. Our own ribald détournement, "cums", refers to a final explosion or the sometimes fitful initiation of a blossoming moment: a peak experience, a big bang, conception. As a noun, it refers to an end-product or the initial material "cause", making the same turn taken when the translation of a Greek ontological sentiment into a Roman Law of physics, was corrupted into English and its European cousins to mean "There is a singular cause for everything". This fits much better with the judeo-christian-islamic ontology of prime mover. It does not fit so well with the other implication of the initial phrase when in the perspective of our own physic's First Law of Conservation of Mass: From something, nothing never comes. Every old meaning of a word still resides somewhere in the collective semantic database.
By "fit", medical science refers to a seizure of chaotic or "irrational", "erratic" movements going nowhere. This particular erratum only superficially resembles its Latin parent, the root errare ('to wander', 'nomadism'); except by the widest stretch do we see meaningful familiarity. Latin does not emphasise the distinction of arrivals and departures. Mercury was said to be the swiftest. A god only by virtue of his ability to transmit messages. There was always a certain urgency about diffusing Roman culture, what with the empire the only garden spot amidst a world of chaos and barbarity ever encroaching at the gates, waiting to be conquered. Clearly Rome was ill-fit in the world.
Although he had unquestioning faith in the notion of competition and resultant advantage, when Darwin the functionalist used the word, "fitness", he admitted he referred to connection, which is another way of saying "immersion" or "interpenetration" or "matriculation". We had "sympathy" for that with which we fit so nature had no room for the war of all against all. Spencer, the structuralist who first juxtaposed "survival" and "fittest", referred to rigidity or "hardness factor", strength or power (b.s., by the way). "Brick Survives Bank Window" is becoming a common headline in some parts. Stealing Spencer's phrase but not his intention, the whole notion of natural selection can be turned around without leaving Darwin's perspective. Natural selection brings death to the detached and rigid: Rigor Mortis.
The critics of evolution were literally correct to ridicule the message: survival of the survivors. And don't we just shine with the ability to put off death by denying life wherever we find it? Consentrating on survival itself as a last desparate stand, we have killed both Mercury and his message (communication, movement, diffusion). The message of mercury is now "death by toxic shock" for Aristotle's "greater good". Modern medicine upholds Mercury's staff, symbol of commerce and rhetoric, the only tolerable movement other than a regular dump in the toilet or the swift imposition of justice: a pill for each ailment, a punishment for every crime or mistep from the straight and narrow line. Mercury's message is lost except to astronomers: the only movement possible from point A to point B is an eccentric spiral around an imaginary line. It is the first principle of tacking rabbits observed by the first adolescent initiate who was asked by older hunters to run back to camp and tell the folks where to find supper. There are no straight lines in nature.
Even Epicurus may still have something to say. Ambiguity is the fuel for imagination. Out of confusion comes the idea. Before the confusion were many ideas. Arguments of chickens and eggs preceded god, but not till we moved to the city. With that said, we can begin again to "swerve". Détournement is only possible when we lose faith in the experts and their think-tanks. We can all hear various messages, but no one is forbidden to question orders. Swerve is the ability to take it or leave it, to bend every straight line we come across. And that is Dada! That is data incompatable with any military regime. Don't know whether to shit or wind your watch? Shit on your watch! Or watch your shit. The difference is negligible. It all comes together, it all falls apart.
Always ready to stick its nose in, armed with a longer tradition of cultural ammunition, the superego stands atop corpses for its own protection. The separated ego is the chief defender of the faith. Everyone is a distorted mirror facing a different direction. The Superego is the sum of all distortions, showing an image of extreme clarity. Like, the insurance company is always chief beneficiary of all claims put to it.
Materialism, as is often conceived, recognises a central tendency repeated throughout several domains and gives it causal powers or primacy. It is an a priori truth described mathematically: this occurs more than that. It is empirical in the sense that there are observers who perceive and induce this. Physicists early on warned that we are still only dealing with probabilities or statistical sampling when we travel from rock to sensation to perception to cognition to gossip. Yet the patterns seem so obvious. Structuralists "witness" something reappearing among several boxes and call it a part of the box. A cause of the box if every box of a certain class exhibits it. It is a par excellent quality. They may even label the class by that quality. It must have come first. The box can be examined in and of itself. It can be simulated or reproduced. There is an idea of singular totality. Bergsen said the proposed singularity is just an image or snapshot, taken out of time. A cult holds secrets and is so-named, "Cult", not because of the withheld secretions, but because no one else agrees and needs a point of ridicule, proof of their own faith's structural invulnerability. The cult is thereafter a box of wingnuts.
Functionalists, on the other hand, said "Hey, wait a minute!" There are external events which go into the production of boxes. When those events are repeated, the box comes into form. The box is not artwork, but an after-effect of logical necessity. Looking at patterns of external relations, they postulate that the environment shapes the box. Don't count out nature just yet.
When we say mode of production, we are positing a repeated pattern of relationships. Production is the hub of a wheel folks rally around. The center. The cause. The cause is effort. Effort is directed at materials. Materials are the basis of all relationships. Look first at the center and you can predict the relations revolving around it. It's good logic. Yet, there is always the possible inversion, a rearrangement of sentence structure available, which says the relations themselves, mimicked and repeated, produce or nurture the structure, and its hub is either an illusion or an emergent quality. They are only a mode, but the mode produces reality. Now there is a problem which is unnecessary outside of linear, cause-effect chains. Where do we place intention? We have created an inside-outside dialectic. A dilemma. Possibly a contradiction. Irony? Irony is a monkey-wrench thrown into the machine.
However, when the relations and materials are seen as a whole, the problem is only a matter of ego, which must be protected at all costs. Either the worker produces the world or the world produces the worker. Two perspectives of the same phenomenon which result in feelings of grandiosity or depression. The first feels better, even though we recognise the second. We have heroes, after all. There are moral certainties and ethical considerations. "I" embody these in my own behaviour. I am principled. Therefore, I make correct choices. The ego therefore is sound and we can dis-attend to those little frictions. Besides, where's the fun if it doesn't hurt?
Mutuality is a notion outside of cause-effect reality. Dissolving the ego (that "I" which is willingly and sometimes eagerly forced into being), is only to recognise that the skin and its apertures is only an organ which enables the duration of that which it surrounds and that in which it is immersed. It is a synapse in a multidirectional communication system. If the capitalist relations surrounding the auto plant represents a mode of production, the workers are nodes of production but modes of actual being. One must be before one can participate. Philosophers are queried even by materialists, as there are just too many problems which arise when we try to figure out life, the universe and everything. Most withdraw entirely from the question. This is the current condition, shit happens, it makes no sense, do your time and it'll all be over.
The collective consciousness is whatever folks have had in their awareness as well as memory if it is communicated. History and social context exhibit statistical patterns. Communication makes them "real", integrated and not random – the cultural ethos. We should expect that locality (within the horizons of communication) colors what is incorporated and folks come to resemble each other. One can learn the pattern without personal consciousness of it. The broader expeditions wander, historically as well as horizontally, the more we fit with the superego. What doesn't fit doesn't stay, or is manipulated so that it does. This happens at both conscious and unconscious levels (simulteneously, we consciously initiate and are subliminally initiated, an idea once posited by Henri Bergson and currently incorporated in Biology as "Autopoiesis"). With little to no effort, the superego is a statistical sample of the collective (un)conscious, the overall database of "knowledge" and opinion. The machine metaphor stops here, and we are nothing but automatons. However, the fact (and it is one) that questions exist, whether we have them or not (they are always possible, there is potential), we can treat the paradigm of common wisdom as if it is a set of random occurrences which we mix and match to our own heart's content. When we do not explore, we have aquired faith and certainty.
The fact that we each possess a unique sample of what is available, communication, the sharing of morsels as it were, maintains integrity. Choices are made based on more than what is perceived or "known" individually. "External reality" reinforces or does not reinforce our decisions. When the whole system is taken into account as multivariate contingencies of reinforcement, and iteration follows the currents of encouragement, traditions emerge -- stable patterns of behaviour, movement, etc. It is also a "fact" that there is not a shoe for every turd. But there is a correspondingly unique foot capable of stepping in it!
But Time goes nowhere. Materials, beings and processes are what do the moving. Eddies and currents. Flux is not limited to directionality but entails rhythms, oscillations and random movement as well. Time is only a grammatical device. It's function is purely syntactic. It needs no corresponding object or idea. It is a means of describing directionality or originality and establishing articulations in durative phenomena (including perception) so that we can share them. It is the knife wielded by the butcher so that morsels of meat can be distributed. It is the child playing with its food. It is the water flowing over the cliff and the oasis thirty clicks due southeast from your stand in the desert. It is the repeated risings of the moon and settings of the sun. It is Lamaze breathing technique. It is the correlation between the length of a fuse and how far you can run. It is the correlation of the sun's position in the sky and the blossoming of blooms. Then it gets complicated. Time is no thing. It applies to everything. It has no sense but helps others to make sense. It is just a tool like a hand axe. It is as well a complex theory even "lowly" animals seem to ascribe to when they demand routine, and then of a sudden, all jump up and head south. It is equally everywhere and no where, yet it has potential to eliminate all contradiction. And with all this, it is not unique. These qualities are shared by most grammatical devices such as is and but so or co- animation, etc. There are specialists who concern themselves with these devices, mathematicians, philosophers, grammarians, theologists, political scientists, we are for the most part less awed by them because our culture wraps itself around time in order to measure labour and commodities so some folks can thrive motionless while others scurry about running errands and other such toil. For them, time is only a matter of commercial interest. All the little scurriers see only birth, sleep and death so they think should they stop running, they will die. There are other scurriers who make it their business to make this suspicion a true story. We go on to see ourselves as originators or as consequences of action and this perception feeds back as were it electrical current flowing through a radio back to the switch to turn itself off, 'causing a condenser to discharge a pulse which reopens the switch and tells us life is a perpetual struggle of push and pull under a strobe light which, if we are prone, may induce a seizure of pure random electro-chemical discharge in our brain. Digital technology is itself just a complex system of ons and offs. Marx talked about the flow of materials. Bataille and the cyberneticians talked about the flow of energy. Economists talk of the flow of commerce or capital, a specific form of energy. Einstein and crew reminded us that material and energy are just variations on a theme. Dynamical systems theorists, who happen to have a more realistic (dynamically integrated) percept of reality, overwhelm most folks (me at least) as if it were all some mystical gibberish.
For example. The past precedes the future. One of those "Duh's". An a priori truth or "follows by definition". The past is also contained in the future. A truth by virtue of memory and tracings. One of the definitions of scientific coherence stipulates that it must be demonstrated that the new follows from the old. Novel juxtapositions are rejected out of hand as "speculative". Forgetting that history itself is an inductive guesswork patch, it posits the past as proof. It is only concerned with directionality. We look at trunks, not branches (unless they can be shown to lead back to ourselves). It often forgets that the ends of investigation are the generation of hypothese (questions and guesses) so that down the road, we won't feel so much like visiting aliens to our own planet, but become as familiar with our surroundings as if we were locals (ie., it is a project of disalienation). However, under constant surveillance by a demanding society, eager to please, scientists, like medical doctors, come to believe in their own agency, under pressure to put out products, whether a new gizmo to be put on the market or a final truth so we can stop being interrupted by questions and get on with the mindless business of the day. But theories are for the most part, ways of looking at the world. In this they are descriptive. Predictive power only is a means of holding on to them or making adjustments.
An explanation describes the relation between one thing (or process) and another. It establishes a connection. For the most part, it describes a sequence from the spatio-temporal context leading up to a surprise. "If there are rings around the moon, it will rain in thirty-six hours." This is pure induction – merging two dissimilar events and seeing a single pattern converge. "We knew it would rain because we saw the rings" answers the epistemological "why". We have discovered an index of probability. We are happy when one thing leads to another: there is movement. We are not even thinking of causes. B happens because A happened first. A caused B. It's just a manner of speaking. A description answers the question "Why?" with an elaborate discussion essentially amounting to "because this is how it works", carefully describing all the details and their interconnections.
Should we desire change but we stop here, we have discovered ontological hopelessness. A dead end, no matter how many causes are put forth (the more, the stronger the illusion of finality). Finer and finer detail puts a smooth finish to the surface of our box, and we forget movement altogether. It's finished when the surface is so shiny, we only see our own image reflected back. We no longer see the butterfly flapping its wings in the background.
It is obvious complex systems cannot be changed with individual effort. How soon we forget the mysterious transformations undergone when the first little sperm peaked through a window left open in the first egg, all just swimming along minding their own business. But was it an intrusion or response to an invitation? Single causes are preferable, since those are something one can actually bite into. There is a strong motivation toward reductionism and simple answers. I am suggesting nothing new here. We end up protecting the theory, elevated to an untouchable status equivalent to the reification of grammatical devices. The ancient Greeks are said to have deified their categories. Looking back, future historians will probably say the same of today's economists, high priests and worshipers of the god Mammon, Invisible Hand, divine cause of commerce, commerce in and of itself, the beginning and the end.
Suppose we take a different route? Every node in a description of a complex system represents a choice taken. A random swerve with a new purpose. A cause is a word for a sequential relation where the behaviour of the selected end point is a function of a perturbation from the selected first. There is no blind watchmaker. Every boundary is an imposition in need of guard towers. A single cause becomes entirely different from different points of focus, yet truth value only varies in degree of precision. The more precise, the less interesting. For example, for each "why did the fire cracker explode?" we say "because you lit the fuse"; "because combining heat and black powder blows shit up"; "because we're celebrating", "because a certain process of steps took place", "In order to make a noise" etc. Cause is a way to end discussion or a prelude to new questions. It is an investigation of choices to determine agreement (what went right) and reason to repeat them, or disagreement (what went wrong) and reason to change direction next time it comes up. When questions stay on topic, when they dig deeper and deeper and cut finer and finer, the whole explodes into chaos and the confusion of bits and pieces of answer going every which way. The bubble has burst. This fate is precluded by the realisation that our answers are provisional and fleeting. No bang, no whimper. Our theories are only variable manners of speech suggestive of different ways of perception or directions to turn.
JAIN SEVENFOLD DIALECTIC OF SYADVAD IN RELATION TO PROBABILITY:
syadasti: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is.
syatnasti: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is not.
syadasti nasti ca: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is, it is not.
syadavaktavyah: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is indeterminate or indescribable.
syadasti ca avaktavya sca: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is and also indeterminate or indescribable.
syatnasti ca avaktavyasca: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is not and also indeterminate or indescribable.
syadasti nasti ca avaktav-yasca: Perhaps or maybe or in a sense, it is and it is not and also indeterminate or indescribable.– Syadvad (aka, "Sinbad"), Patron Saint of the Sea Gypsies
We are exposed as just a culture, like a little ball in "space", among many cultures in "time" exhibiting more mysticism, more superstition, more fanaticism than any cave dweller in the paleolithic, mesolithic or neolithic engagement. The ever-branching tree of knowledge is a path away from every natural schizophrenia, that pataphoric condition of reality, full of choices and possibilities for one and all. Progress my ass! Decadence is the "thing" of entropy, by definition. The great diffusion explodes into a solid rock. So confuse excuse fucking me for breathing! Is it my fault? Where's the sense in that? Or should I say, "Where's your sense of adventure?"
101.00 DEFINITION: SYNERGY
101.01 Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately.
102.00 Synergy means behavior of integral, aggregate, whole systems unpredicted by behaviors of any of their components or subassemblies of their components taken separately from the whole.
103.00 A stone by itself does not predict its mass interattraction for and by another stone. There is nothing in the separate behavior or in the dimensional or chemical characteristics of any one single metallic or nonmetallic massive entity which by itself suggests that it will not only attract but also be attracted by another neighboring massive entity. The behavior of these two together is unpredicted by either one by itself. There is nothing that a single massive sphere will or can ever do by itself that says it will both exert and yield attractively with a neighboring massive sphere and that it yields progressively: every time the distance between the two is halved, the attraction will be fourfolded. This unpredicted, only mutual behavior is synergy. Synergy is the only word in any language having this meaning.
104.00 The phenomenon synergy is one of the family of generalized principles that only co-operates amongst the myriad of special-case experiences. Mind alone discerns the complex behavioral relationships to be cooperative between, and not consisting in any one of, the myriad of brain-identified special-case experiences.
105.00 The words synergy (syn-ergy) and energy (en-ergy) are companions. Energy studies are familiar. Energy relates to differentiating out subfunctions of nature, studying objects isolated out of the whole complex of Universe – for instance, studying soil minerals without consideration of hydraulics or of plant genetics. But synergy represents the integrated behaviors instead of all the differentiated behaviors of nature's galaxy systems and galaxy of galaxies.
106.00 Chemists discovered that they had to recognize synergy because they found that every time they tried to isolate one element out of a complex or to separate atoms out, or molecules out, of compounds, the isolated parts and their separate behaviors never explained the associated behaviors at all. It always failed to do so. They had to deal with the wholes in order to be able to discover the group proclivities as well as integral characteristics of parts. The chemists found the Universe already in complex association and working very well. Every time they tried to take it apart or separate it out, the separate parts were physically divested of their associative potentials, so the chemists had to recognize that there were associated behaviors of wholes unpredicted by parts; they found there was an old word for it – synergy.
107.00 Because synergy alone explains the eternally regenerative integrity of Universe, because synergy is the only word having its unique meaning, and because decades of querying university audiences around the world have disclosed only a small percentage familiar with the word synergy, we may conclude that society does not understand nature.– R. Buckminster Fuller
Fuller's tetrahedral 'geometry' therefore posits a finite universe. Infinity can only refer to indeterminacy. It is the attribute of metaphysical phenomena and has no bearing on the material universe. Space and time (or extensity and duration, to use Henri Bergson's terms) are qualities ("dimensions") of matter. He posited a mathematics which excludes infinity, as that "number" only introduces paradox to any logic system. Infinity makes boundaries absurd, yet we witness effects which demand the postulation of boundaries. There cannot be an infinite line, as that requires infinite tension (energy, gravity), as any child can understand playing with string. The law of conservation posits a stable quantity of energy or matter, or even 'ether', that no "thing" can enter or leave the system from or back into nothing. No original substance! There had to be at least two "booms", each repeating itself for material universe to exist at all. Fuller posited a "fundamental" substance, or substantial fundamentality, not originality. Metaphysic patterns of indeterminacy randomly produce transitory shapes such as swirls and spirals. Fuller said a flat spiral is or becomes a triangle, the basic structural or cohering "unit" of matter which puts a stop to transitory indeterminacy wherever it occurs – an "event". It is a conic event when a triangle wraps around itself or a tetrahedron when two triangles merge. Combinations of tetrahedrons can produce any geometric form, including a sphere. Democritus' mistake, the spherical atom, is now four-sided or cone-shaped, composed from indeterminacy and merging in mutual attraction to form the most basic atomic process. Matter itself is a matter of process. Going back a generation prior to Buckminster Fuller, and mingling with Charles S. Peirce or Alfred Jarry, we would have to contend that matter itself is a fluke.
"I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing – a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe."– R. Buckminster Fuller, 1970
Matter is the synergetic effect of random events – the beginning of mass is indeterminacy. For Fuller, gravity is the synergetic effect of two tetrahedrons. "But any two masses will demonstrate that halving the distance between them will fourfold their attraction for each other." It is synergetic because "mass interattraction is not explained and cannot be predicted by any characteristic of any one massive body considered alone." Motion, (we assume all things move having yet to discover anything which does not, except in the relative sense of a passenger and luggage provisionally at rest in a moving vehicle, for example, a car, train, or planet), as well is an effect of mutuality and "counters/compliments" gravity. What Edgar Poe called "Electricity", Buckminster Fuller called "radiation" and "compression". Other terms we might use are "diffusion" or "distributivity". By any name, motion, in fact, establishes extensity, another a priori deduction that space-time is a function or emergent of matter. One cannot discover topical space without the presence of material substance. Without differential substance, there is no systematics and without systematics, there is no "space", no other:
The energetic juxtaposition of compression (radiation) and tension (gravity) provides dimension – the basis of "self" awareness or "other" awareness – of awareness of life itself.Observation is the eventual emergent of motion and affinity. If there are no observers, there can be nothing to observe. Well, at least, it won't matter. Synergy itself is a quality of mutuality. "It is dealing with the whole that makes it possible to discover the parts" and not the other way around.
...Systems divide all of Universe. Thought divides all of Universe. Thought is inherently systemic – whose inherency always has its oherency of space. Only systems can communicate space. Space is systems-defined-and-deferred awareness of potentially tunable otherness.
When we take two triangles and add one to the other to make the tetrahedron, we find that one plus one equals four. This is not just a geometrical trick; it is really the same principle that chemistry is using inasmuch as the tetrahedra represent the way that atoms cohere. Thus we discover synergy to be operative in a very important way in chemistry and in all the composition of the Universe. Universe as a whole is behaving in a way that is completely unpredicted by the behavior of any of its parts. Synergy reveals a grand strategy of dealing with the whole instead of the tactics of our conventional educational system, which starts with parts and elements, adding them together locally without really understanding the whole.
...It is a corollary of synergy that once you start dealing with the known behavior of the whole and the known behavior of some of the parts, you will quite possibly be able to discover the unknown parts.
I do not know if Alfred Jarry knew of Buckminster Fuller's predecessor, Charles Peirce, who laid out the logical foundation Fuller seems to emerge from, but he had more affinity with the concept of infinity (as did Peirce). Infinity is the prelude, or at least, necessary correspondent of indeterminacy, and without contemplating immaterialism, generated the first law of pataphysics which posits the equality of all absurdities (statistical flukes and collections of flukes we call "normality"). One need not separate the whatever totality into physical and metaphysical comings and goings, if one is not commited to absolute certainties. To witness profound regularities is no less strange as witnessing the most unlikely fortean event. For the observer, normality is just the condition of resonating frequencies, or shared affinities. That which can be recognised is that which is familiar. Most strangeness passes over (or through) our head. The normal has no more claim to existence than the fluke. In fact, it is the different, the abnormal which is the only source of change in the duration or extensity of normality. Sometimes the fluke gets stuck to our head, and when two flukes are synchronised, we discover a profound sense of significance. That is variably called magic or learning. Whichever it is called, we change direction. We non-randomly swerve. In this sense, regularity proceeds from, in fact cannot do without chance. This is a pataphysical prediction but a unilinear or platonic/aristotelean contradiction.
Do we really know that the iceberg didn't prevent the Titanic from succumbing to a rogue torpedoe three years later killing all hands on deck when the munitions stored below third-class bunks decided to blow, such that the entire course of events preceding the familiar present wasn't profoundly altered? So much for planning and preparedness.
Still, I don't think physics and pataphysics are at odds. Materialism (trusting our own perception of sense data and naming the impression a "solid" fact) is a handy (and secure) perspective when dealing with the world we live in. It is the source of predictability and pattern recognition. If it accepts the notions of synergy, an unavoidable notion even (or especially) for children, and chance interventions, which we can all sympathize with, then the universal whatever and in fact, the local here and now becomes interesting. Without interest, movement (at least in relative terms) stops, and when that condition endures, death is an empirical (inductive) and logical certainty. Movement demands (a priori) a changing perspective, and that is a new theory emergent from observation. There can be no progress toward a terminal truth, or stopping point, as that is the end of the interest period and arrival of death (or catatonia), and as that is the completion of an exentropic process called "being" (including what we call "life"), it is an uneventful condition of pure indeterminacy or a condition of indeterminable events. Or maybe both: ambiguous vagaries generating waves of excitement?
What material remains after synergetic effects cease through increasing entropy diffuses at the molecular level back into the environmental contextual diversity, still subject to motion and gravity as suggested by the principle (law, regularity) of the conservation of energy, an idea "known" at least since the earliest greek philosophers and Taoist "monks".
What this all sugests is that there may (or may not) be a finite quantity of matter/energy, depending on the standpoint of the observer (viewing "particles" or "wave oscillations"), but there is an infinite quality of indeterminacy (unpredictable synergetic effects) or possibility. When one closes one's eyes, there is a sense of non-extensive or non-spatial, intensive infinity. That same sense is extensive when eyes open and light is added, like peering into the night sky interspersed with stars or ambient ground-light and a darkened sky. In other words, infinity, while problematic when measured, is intuitively reasonable. Many a child has asked "Ya, but what was before god?" What human has not pondered what happens after death or over the hill? It is absolute boundaries and disconnected parts which are not intuitively reasonable, and that is the necessary correlate of curiosity. Structuralism taken to extreme is counterintuitive. It is very likely, according to the theories of synergy and emergence, that intuition itself is the synergetic effect of whole-bodies sensing wholes eminating their own synergetic effects (fields of influence). When these mutual observations resonate, we discover pleasure, reinforcing observation's intensity resulting not ironically, in discrimination. This can proceed to pure reductionism and boredom (habituation can be measured), or redirection toward new wholes, what scientists call heurism – the generation of new questions.
Physics will never be finished with its project, as every question and every discrimination (and this is admitted by every scientist) generates more questions. Peirce said knowledge all boils down to our best guesses. Aesthetics suggests going with what "intuitively" feels good (particularly if not "offensive" when repeated or juxtaposed to new events) and does not limit your options to discover new aesthetic events. This is basic to any food quest outside of a welfare- (outside in) or wage-game (inside out) society and this "regularity" turns our attention toward ideas of necessity. Pragmatism suggests going with what works. The problem with a purely pragmatic motivating system is that use value is relative to the user, and what seems "right" to one user group will likely be viewed detrimental to another. The intuition of the relativity of value itself along with its imposition at odds with one's own aesthetic sense can produce a swerve toward ideas of anarchy, or antimeddlementarianism. Without such a history of interference, the aesthetically motivated behaviour should lead one toward notions (rallying points) of mutuality or provisional affiliation – other people are seen as aesthetic events or opportunities to engage or disengage, entangle or intermingle.
To suggest art or experimentation must be a matter of meddling with materials is pure sophistry. In some sense it is true, in some sense not, in a very large sense, indeterminate. The point is that, taken far enough, any sentient being knows when they're being fucked with. Pain, whether psychical or physical, is a very good indicator and generates the new discrimination, "violence". Aesthetics is not just a matter of "beauty" or "pleasure" but their inversions as well as "fitness" or resonance and dissonance. The aesthetic sense is the recognition of the difference between contingencies of reinforcement and their absense. In Fuller's terminology, it is a matter of "tuned & untuned, in & out". Punishment is not required to make these discriminations. When you experience that event, punishment, it's all pretty much self-explanatary: there is only the sign and the signified binary semantic. Everything else is a source of error. Freud confused punishment with reality. Now why do you suppose he did that?
Pain is the emergent event from a persistent chiasm, a 'cross' or 'X' where extended survival reduces living – as they are now at cross-purpose – proving the theorem, "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction", forgetting that continued application of equilateral force puts and end to movement altogether: "X marks the spot" only points to a singular mass headstone. How far can an ecological (a living) system extend when increasing negentropy is superimposed over a biological singularity with so many obstacles that the only attraction left is a void, or nothing? Opposing entropy with increasing negentropy stops movement eventually and produces deserts at the same rate as the escalating acceleration of spiraling positive feedback causes an engine to seize on its way to the grocery store.
Observation and induction have indicated that left unmeddled, most events, like children, turn out just fine and become, in fact, orderly or predictable even if left to freeplay or spontaneity, as long as there are not too many dangerous obstacles to growth left lying about. In cybernetics, an obstacle is a negentropic event – the more negentropy, the merrier the machine as much more work can now take place. Contrary to manufactured or reproduced or recycled public opinion, children who are not raised in an interfering, meddlesome or punishing environment do not grow up to be intrusive, meddling punishers out purely for egotistical gratifaction or even the stillness of status quo maintenance. One way or the other, familiar patterns tend to be self-reproductive, which is to say, pantomimicked and therefore, they endure.
The theory is that all organisation comes out of indeterminate or "chaotic" events (free-play) and increasing negentropy (energy input or meddlement) increases the acceleration of entropic effects, particularly as intervening variables (synergetic effects) cannot, by definition, be accounted for one hundred per cent. The realisation of an infinite quality of the unknown matched with the finite quantity of the familiar should give us a little pause when we attempt to stand still and recreate our entire universe to our liking. Perhaps if we didn't grow up learning to hate it ...
527.701 In synergetics primitive means systemic conceptuality independent of size.
527.702 Geometers and "schooled" people speak of length, breadth, and height as constituting a hierarchy of three independent dimensional states – "one-dimensional," "two-dimensional," and "three-dimensional" – which can be conjoined like building blocks. But length, breadth, and height simply do not exist independently of one another nor independently of all the inherent characteristics of all systems and of all systems' inherent complex of interrelationships with Scenario Universe.
527.703 The educational authorities in the art and science of "plane" and "solid" geometry disregard the environmental otherness: They assume an infinitely extendible imaginary plane upon which they mark apart two infradimensional imaginary points A and B between which they can draw an imaginary shortest straight line whose "length" AB constitutes their academic mathematicians' first-dimensional state. They then mark apart on the same infinite imaginary plane third and fourth points C and D, which are then linearly interconnected by another "straight" line CD in the same imaginary plane with, parallel to, and at an AB distance from, line AB, with a third line CA drawn in the same plane perpendicular to line AB at A, and a fourth line DB in the same imaginary plane drawn perpendicular to line AB at B, whereby either of the lines CA or DB constitutes the "breadth," which is the educators' second-dimensional state. They then erect four AB-long lines perpendicular to the first imaginary plane at points A', B', C' and D', respectively. They then draw the imaginary straight lines A'B', B'C', C'D', and D'A'. With all this so-called construction – which would collapse in the presence of gravitational reality – they have now attained their third-dimensional state of "height" above their two- dimensional square plane base. This assumedly produces three-dimensional reality, which by virtue of their constructional strategy suggests to them that reality is only cubically measurable or comprehensible.
527.704 There is also trouble with the word fundamental. It means foundational when there are no foundations . . . no two-dimensional planar base. The Earth and other objects are co-orbiting the Sun at 60,000 miles per hour and are gravitationally tethered to one another. The word foundation implies an impossible standing-still-somewhere in Universe . . . on a solid and square or planar base.
527.705 We may use the word primitive only to describe the initial selfstarting conditions of awareness and think-about-ability of the minimum essential components of any evolutionary system's divergent or convergent considerability. Thus the primitive conceptual angle as one myopically viewed corner of the 12 corners of the minimum system has greater meaning than the expression fundamental particle employed by the high-frequency research physicists. The statements of this paragraph are strictly within the concerns of epistemography.
527.706 Infinity is only a consequence of subdividing finity. Because synergetics has conceptuality independent of size, it permits – indeed, requires – systemic conceptuality before the subdividing commences. There is no a priori size. There is no experimentally demonstrable systemic one-dimensional line extending to infinity. Size commences only with subdivision, with frequency. Subdivision may be considered as potentially limitless, provided infinite time. But time is always a special case limited characteristic of special case time-size systems. Time is not generalizable. Generalized principles are all eternal. Eternal is not a whole lot of time. Eternal is independent of and devoid of time. Infinity is micro rather than macro – hence the difficulty of research physicists in their search for the one last "building block" or fundamental particle.
527.707 The minimum family of inherent systemic omnicosmic interrelationships is inherently primitive and eternal. Primitive dimensionality is expressible only in terms of the interproportionality of the components of whole minimum systems – ergo, in prefrequency primitive tetravolume proportionality and the latter's primitive topological characteristics. There can be no partial systems. Systems can be divided multiplyingly only into whole systems.
"There is a cosmic hierarchy of primitively symmetric systemic states of intertransformability or interassociabilities of prime polyhedra." Not sure I agree with B. Fuller's entire system, but I have no intelligence on the subject with which to formulate or present an argument. I think his math is probably impeccable. Personally, I think every impeccable argument can be impeccably countered by an equivalent intelligence resulting in a perfect equilibrium of ambivalence or perplexity, depending on where one draws the proverbial line. But from this much, I'd certainly extract these three hypotheses (remembering that an answer is only a question with the curve erased from the point over which it hovers):hyp. 1: If our sympathetic nervous system communicates with our voluntary muscles to such a degree that we cough up a fish-bone stuck crosswise in our gullet, do we complain of being manipulated by unconscious inside forces? hyp. 2: If our conscious nervous system reacts in a similar manner when we find ourselves authentically exploited and in fact punished by equally compressing external conscious (?) forces, why do we resist redistributing ourselves into other contextual arrangements? hyp. 3: Dialectics of Plato and his follower Hegel Lacanicly attempts to eliminate the hidden third such that all perception reflects back on the self in a mirror image producing backwards movement full steam ahead for progressive hegelmonic unitarian thinking such that, we may conclude, society does not understand nature, cannot build a suitable life raft, ever bogging down in the mathematics of machine poetry reproducing a sensation of sinking?
SUB 1 1022.15 In every geodesic sphere, you can always take out 12 pentagons. These 12 pentagons each drop out one triangle from the hexagonal clusters around all other points. Assuming the dropped-out triangles to be equiangular, i.e., with 60-degree corners, this means that 60 × 12 = 720º, which has been eliminated from the total inventory of surface angles. You can always find 12 pentagons on spherically conformed systems such as oranges, which are icosahedrally based; or four triangles with 120-degree corners if the system is tetrahedrally based; or six squares where the system is octahedrally based.
1023.11 If we get too semantically incisive, the reader may lose all connection with anything he has ever thought before. That might not be a great loss. But we assume that the reader can cope with his reflexes and make connections between the old words and new concepts with the new and more apt words. For example, since physics has found no continuums, we have had to clear up what we mean by a sphere. It is not a surface; it is an aggregate of events in close proximity. It isn't just full of holes: it doesn't have any continuum in which to have holes.
1023.12 The word polyhedron has to go because it says "many-sided," which implies a continuum. We don't even have the faces. Faces become spaces. They become intervals. They become nothing. The Einsteinian finite Universe – an aggregate nonsimultaneous Universe – is predicated only on the absolute finiteness of each local energy-event package and the logic that an aggregate of finites is itself finite.
1023.13 The spheric experience is simply an ultrahigh frequency of finite event occurrences in respect to the magnitude of the tuning perceptivity of the observer. (High frequency to the human may be low frequency to the mosquito.)
1023.14 If we get rid of the word polyhedra, then what word do we have in its place? A high-frequency, omnidirectional, spheric event system. Polyhedra are finite system enclosures. They are topologically describable, finite system enclosures. They are Universe dividers. They are not linear dividers, but omnidirectional Universe dividers dividing outside from inside, out from in. A mosquito has macro-micro cosmos system perceptivity at a different level from that of the whale's. Probably each observer organism's stature constitutes its spontaneous observational level of macro-micro subdividing: bigger than me; littler than me; within me; without me.– R. Buckminster Fuller
SUB 2 Bow, how sink think more sore ship hip, blow row gash, lash passed.The calling more, oh the this, so we tell, we fear, then hoping. [As the stars continue their Spin] The captain and crew stand firmly upon the tip of the bow Calling to those drowning on their plan as to how More air might raise the ship meant forever not to sink Oh tell us great captain, what we must do, so we don't have to think [Oh tell us what to do so we don't have to think] The band has since stopped playing and the pretty flares no more This water's gotten awfully cold and our tempers pretty sore [This water's gotten awfully cold and we're freezing to the core] So give us hope that we might float upon your mighty ship [Our only hope that we might float upon your mighty ship] We see the water now has reached above your stalwart hip Please Tell us mighty captain, just where we need to blow We fear our lives endangered with nothing left to row Fear not, he called as he gave them a hose and pointed toward the gash Then tied himself to the last of his ship with a floating piece of lash Hoping they wouldn't notice how the water, his ass had passed. [Hoping they wouldn't notice the water was up to his chin]– Pamela
Nothingness is just an event without your participation. Somethingness is the perspective of your participation in an event, which includes two othernesses to produce movement. Polynesian navigation is movement following arcs, or arches who are not themselves at odds. The archon is the beginning of the arc (rising star) and telos (setting of the star) its end. Phoenecian navigation is geodesic, dividing the wet sphere by superimposing triangles, and then triangulating on the fixed otherness of points in space in order to tack. As their archon is their own departure point (provisionally-at-home port) and their telos is their own destination (a spot of land and a spot of ale and the telling of tales after dumping a load and prior to picking up another), they do not well cross oceans but hug coastlines, as there is likely another party at every port.
The first lesson any mariner must, in fact, cannot help but learn is the curvature of the earth's surface. (Flat-desert travelers also learn this – perhaps we should use the term, "intuition", an emergent behaviour of whole bodies in synergetic resonance). The second lesson is that a straight line is not always the surest route between two "points". As complex as this trigonomadicurvic system is, there is still omnipresent danger one could become lost at sea. Oceanographers and other treasure hunters have discovered many ships sailing the ocean floor, but for the most part, as long as their partisan spirit was not interfered with, and applied toward crashing or giving parties, long-distance travel was of little concern, so finding continents such as South America would only be a fluke occurence, somewhat miraculous, as the intention was to transform the drink as a noun of vastness back into its verbal condition of provisioned drinking as often as possible.
Egyptians (and soon after, Greeks) and Cartheginians and Etruscans thought they might be safer leaving the sea to the pirates, who could be persuaded to become mercanaries for their own merchant theivery (hereby inventing the institution, Merchant Marine) without getting their feet wet, and began triangulating the earth, superimposing grids of triangulation (fences) to contain workers and potential crew to replace drowned or drunken sailors) like fish in a bowl.
Polynesians do not superimpose. they triangulate the sky watching moving points (stars) following parallel to the arc. At least three arcs compared, they can tack as well as track. But their navigation is oceanic and fixed points of wet-space are islands unseen. (Elsewhere, Fuller calls them zero points or holes in the water). Wetness has its own landscape which is not oceanographic, but oceanomnieventic. There are predictable, which in this case, means memorable, patterns of oceanic events which also follow trigonometrically parallel to spatial arcs. Arcs are special. So are waves. So are birds and schools of fish, cloud patterns and also the vagaries of color on the sky and sea. Polynesian navigation is an omniglobalcelestial communication system with so many intersecting arcs of oceanic event intersecting omnidirectional "not-points' of reference, it would be hard not to know where one is, was and is-going (is eventing). But shit still happens.
At any rate, the omnivariables calculated with poetics is by far superior to any mathematics. Poetry brings one out, mathematics can suck you in, stuck in the abstraction meant to make your escape. Ironically, the theory of a flat earth was a media campaign (public relations ploy) waged to eliminate the possibility of trigonometry spreading to the public for use in navigating outside of fences to cross the sea or surrounding deserts and desert the cause of internal complexification.
Not ironically, captured pirate Phoenicians or their antecedent "Sea People" were utilised as shop stewards to apply their mathematics in the construction of public works and pentagonal pyramidic monuments. Escape committees coordinated this education useful to other's edification to form the masonic order of arch-e-techs and spreading ka-ball -istics but it still took grand feats of magic and mystification, and not a few broken tablets and overturned tables, to convince their fellows to move. In this way, incaluclable by any supercomputer, every new schizmogenisis off every phallic patricity with its shimmering erections and pillars of salt and pilloried pillagers and plastered partisans saw the necessity of a coordinating committee or central authority, ensuring enduring civility for all eternity. Not untill Plato did the admen discover that dissent was not generated from exclusively holding on to mathematics, but emerged with the retention of poetics in popular assemblies.
Free association and distributivity, seeking parties between cities, following arches to share pleasures rather than building fences 'round buildings for the sake of building and storing and accumulating treasures, makes poetry incalculable by any computer of lines and points and infathomonameble trig replacing the numbers taken at random with a hummable jig. A tune, a dance and a boat is all one needs and no feast is fast. A radio radiates by tuning in or tuning out. Building steam can cook food, warm your toes, turn your wheels, and inseminate the stars in a milky way of omnicelestial constelations of aesthetic attractions, distractions, and imaginations, figments illustrating that everything which falls apart can come together, never the same tune if played with different instruments. To tune in the vibration, one must turn on the system. Crossing fences out of or across deserts, deserted of familiarity, deserted of families, deathly spreading, mathematically progressing with the capability to transform any geodesic sphere into its constituent particles into space omnidirectionally, forever separated, isolated, travelling faster away from each other as lines of affinity stretch, too much tension, instead of returning with a headbanging snap to a slowness of double, back into trouble, some rates quadrupedally dead. As I was about to say, crossing fences may need a pair of wire snippers.
Which reminds me of the film, Apocalypse Now. The Sauce Dude who got scared of the tiger went on to conclude "Never get off the boat!". Unfortunately, he missed the second half of the formulation, "...unless it stops moving". He was decapitated, and not by a tiger. Be careful what you wish for, if it is only a secure hole in the ground. Acid Surfer Dude went tripping, able to move with any current, but got lost in the abstraction. Captain Assasin had to grab Acid Surfer Dude for his eventual extraction. Otherwise he'd be all alone, or maybe it was an act of sympathy, before for the former, after for either, the napalm made sauce of the villagers and their children and oxen just to off one pesky varmant gone into madness upsetting generals' plans for profits with comments inscribed like "Nuke 'em all!".
Well, the only way to navigate around all that is a decompressing tolerance for exploration, novelty and free-play. Sometimes even a tiny moment of fun makes it all worth our while. Like the reclusive Emily Dickinson said, "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." That, I would further hypothesise, should be our aim – the generalized distribution of well-being. This has on more than one ocassion, elicited the accusative title "hedonist!". But I think it's an hypothesis worth testing. Hedonism is more accurately the impossible project of the global city free of interregna: Free Regimentation? That makes my eyes cross. The intuition, the heart-felt gut reaction of utter contempt for such a contradiction seems to restore focus: Free Association!