culture, machine, ontology, Politics, work

Exchange

“untitled (structure)”, 2007. Jim Kazanjian

Markets effect the generalized dispersion and annihilation of collective power.  Along with the material inputs to industrial production, labor is brutally dismantled by the process, decrypted, dissolved; we sink into the soil or melt into the sky (to become plague-vector of planetary toxicity.) Creation disappears beneath commerce, enfolded within the commodity, its tiny molecular flux occluded by continuous and irruptive exchange. Work in every sense today is turned by the market against itself, against people, psychically, socially, physiologically, and especially and urgently ecologically, against the future of the world.

When knowledge-work predominates, this violent dynamic becomes vertical: ideas themselves weaken and dissolve in the madness of generalized commerciality, they lose their way in the darkness, or are simply reprogrammed. Infected by the plague-core of the commodity. Integrated world capitalism is equivalent with the annihilation of the Ideas; the dismemberment of production; the deliberate dispersion of thinking and feeling; the universalization of a certain narrowly-scoped image of thought.

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corruption, culture, enlightenment, exhaustion, free spirit, Gay Science, individuality, Nietzsche, progress, religion, superstition, war

Nietzsche, Corruption, Exhaustion

In book I, section 23 of Gay Science, Nietzsche deploys a theory concerning the rise of the individual in relation to the signs of corruption in a society. This corruption signifies for Nietzsche the development and culmination of superstition in a culture. Superstition in this text is equated with the “second-order free spirit.” Unlike the religious advocate, the superstitious is always more of a person, meaning that the appearance of this attribute is the development of the progress of the intellect in its movement of becoming more independent; thus superstition is the delight and celebration of the cultivation of individuality and individuals. Similar to his attacks on “the good” in Zarathustra, Nietzsche reminds us that the term “corruption”—which here, as elsewhere, appears as a positive condition (for the growth of ‘riper’ individuals no less)—actually stems from a value judgment made by the religious status quo against the rise of superstition. In this sense, Nietzsche strikes against the reactionary (can we say, re-reacts?) and affirms that, on the contrary, this development of superstition is “actually a symptom of enlightenment.” Superstition and corruption become here the means by which morality, its means of capture and containment, its stratification of the individual, and its disciplinary ‘No’ of auto- and trans-policing all lose their primacy in governing and guiding the actions of the individual, which, to follow Nietzsche, we will interpret as the inevitable symptom of the decline of the legislative and repressive power of the collective.

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art, communication, complexity, culture, energy, form, history, individuation, information, knowledge, legitimacy, narrative, noise, non-linearity, ontology, Science / Mathematics / Technology, self-organization, transcendence

Energy and Culture: Notes on “Postmodern” Science

Science, Information and Time

There are no whole truths: all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.

Alfred North Whitehead

It is necessary to go beyond all the pieces of spoken information; to extract from them a pure speech-act, creative story-telling which is as it were the obverse side of the dominant myths, of current words and their supporters.
It is also necessary to go beyond all the visual layers; to set up a pure informed person capable of emerging from the debris, of surviving the end of the world, hence capable of receiving into the body the pure act of speech.

Gilles Deleuze (The Time-Image)

Becoming unfolds along spatial and temporal symmetries. Biogenesis is the slow process of isolating extensive differences (from a million intensive differences) and making its form hard, becoming like a diamond or like a stone in the river — so that the difference become invisible to the stream, to the flow, but resists and therefore modifies the flow imperceptibly. Continue reading

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apparatus of capture, culture, custom, decay, democracy, genealogy, image of thought, individual, instrumentality, Nietzsche, nomad, overman, Politics, power, religion, society, sovereignty, state, unground, universal, universal politics, utopia, war, war machine, warrior, Zarathustra

Nietzsche and the Capture and Domestication of Peoples

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“You shall obey—someone and for a long time: else you will perish and lose the last respect for yourself”—this appears to me to be the moral imperative of nature which, to be sure, is neither “categorical” as the old Kant would have it (hence the “else”) nor addressed to the individual (what do individuals matter to her?), but to peoples, races, ages, classes—but above all to the whole human animal, to man (Beyond Good and Evil, §188).

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art, counter-symmetry, creativity, culture, difference, divinity, enlightenment, equilibrium, history, image, information, life, nature, noise, probability, revolution, Science / Mathematics / Technology, separation, symmetry, war machine

The Future of Information

In reality, goals are absent.

Nietzsche

Rivalry is only a spectacle; it is the state of appearance. Equilibrium is phenomenal, and the distance is real. The law of opposition belongs to phenomenology; the law of irreversibility or of falling downstream is real. Behind all representation.

Michel Serres

A Genealogy of Modern Science
Science appears to begin with the Greeks: somehow, somewhere, a resentful pre-scientific impulse begins to criticize the unity of life and culture. Some say that before this interruption, there must be an alien infiltration (the arguments for Oriental contributions to Greek culture,) but ultimately the “true” source is irrelevant, for it is this real criticism, this faithful engagement with the material culture, with everyday life, that is at once of the greatest importance, that is the authentic germ of enlightenment (Greek or otherwise.) For this criticism already contains a larval critique of creativity, of society, and most important for the development of a scientific instinct, a criticism of divinity and images. By Plato and Aristotle, science will separate itself completely from creativity, from works of the imagination and from art. Plato’s criticism of images (what we would call “advertising”) is well-known; Kant’s rejection of the empirical as a source for truth reproduces the same critique in reverse. In short, it is by rigorously separating life and culture that science discovers itself positively (i.e., as this objective dissocation, this symmetrically dis-sociative personality.)

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becoming, chaos, culture, Deleuze, desire, multiplicity, nomad, reason, Science / Mathematics / Technology, Serres, space, state, unity

Nomads: Space, Solitude, Science

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Royal science is inseparable from a “hylomorphic” model implying both a form that organizes matter, and a matter prepared for the form; it has often been shown that this schema derives less from technology or life than from a society divided into governors and governed, and later, intellectuals and manual laborers. …all matter is assigned to content, while all form passes into expression. (Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus)

The difference between state science and nomad science is practice; the difference is as great and as narrow as that between geometry and poetry. The practice intrinsic to each mode of scientific exploration is implicit in their method, in their metaphysical categories, and especially in their respective divisions of labor. Nomad thought works continually against the grain of traditional categories and conventional methods; it upsets orders of scale, imparts unusual rhythms, creates social turbulence and sometimes, if it is fortunate, gives birth to new modes of expression.

The state cannot spontaneously create scientific assemblages any more than it can create poetry; the state struggles only with its habitat, its Other, its medium, never (or only in extreme cases) with itself. And in the end, nomadic science draws the state bloodhounds to its hide-out by its exotic odors. The nomads are not only killed formally and indifferently; they are annihilated precisely for their indifference to the state formalism. Nomadic signals hijack the royal message, forge the signature of the state; such floating signals are seeds, impressions of novel forms, sparks which sometimes inspire revolutions. Conventional science is quite effective at reincorporating these signals, as it is skillful at organizing prepared matter; but minor science contraverts every state by inventing new forms of matter, and just as easily a poet dreams up novel expressions.
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chaos, culture, freud, materiality, metaphysics, Nietzsche, resistance, society, subject-group, time, unconscious, value

Time and the Cultural Unconscious: Nietzsche and the Future

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Woman at the Window Salvador Dalí, oil on board (1925)

What do we understand to be the boundaries of our neighbor: I mean that which he as it were engraves and impresses himself into and upon us? We understand nothing of him except the change in us of which he is cause — our knowledge of him is like the hollow space which has been shaped. (Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak 118)

Stripped of its social connotations, tolerance and democracy mean only a desire to say that the external is gone, what belongs (inside) is all; and there are plenty who say it, whether or not it is true! Our existence as social subjects is socially constructed; thus what once seemed outrageous now seems trivial and preliminary. Perhaps our age, though more complex in some ways, is ultimately not so different from Nietzsche’s: for what always matters more than metaphysics is how we actually measure and compare human beings; and now, being without Gods or absolutes to function as a universal scale, where are we to turn? “Actions are never what they appear to us to be!” (Daybreak 116) Still it is always the same story: we turn away, we cannot bear the intensity of the material, we desperately grasp outside, we look beyond for a vision capable of grasping all of being at once.

Metaphysics is done not from luxury but out of dire necessity: above all, we look away from the world, we repress space (culture-space, nature-space, psychic-space): this need for specificity-within-multiplicity is the name as such, the shape of all social oppression, the very cost of ‘civilization.’ Metaphysics traces lines beyond social forms into the formless, the chaotic and subversive turbulence beneath the turgid surface of politics, the violence beneath the ideal image, the flux between the forms. All language is a struggle between times; a struggle within time to overcome time. Language is temporality posed as a challenge; it is a creative space, positive in its empty smoothness, but eerily mute, insufficient in and of itself to initiate the vibrations of a new becoming.
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