acceleration, becoming, control, Deleuze, machine, Nietzsche, subjectivity, virtual

Technoscience and Expressionism

Alfred Muller -- Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Alfred Muller — Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Technology and Control

The technocrat is the natural friend of the dictator—computers and dictatorship; but the revolutionary lives in the gap which separates technical progress from social totality, and inscribed there his dream of permanent revolution. This dream, therefore, is itself action, reality, and an effective menace to all established order; it renders possible what it dreams about (Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense)

Gilles Deleuze’s indication of a certain affinity between technocrats and dictators seems prescient. By Postscript on Control Societies the new realities resonating between society and its machines, in the middle of technological acceleration and social upheaval, have become so intense that every interior is in crisis, and the entirety of society has to be organized to resist the eruption of these dreams into reality.

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becoming, Deleuze, guattari, horizon, machine

Abstract for DeleuzeConf

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Alexi K, Cognitive Polygraph (Woman Disrobing), 2013 (Pen & Ink)

This is the abstract for the paper I will be presenting at DeleuzeConf 2014, “Technoscience and Expressionism: On Deleuze and Computability”.

Deleuze, in his 1992 essay Postscript on Control Societies, describes technology as concretely expressing forms of social consistency. Technoscientific machines are collective assemblages “easily matched” with modes of consciousness and styles of composing realities.

A technological stratum relates to conceptual, referential or compositional capacities and tendencies. Yet technologies are neither causes nor effects of social transformations. Technologies do not engender new folds; rather societies continuously discover capabilities for specific machine components to be made use of or constructed, or to be related in new ways. Technologies at all scales, degrees of materiality and visibility are swept up and reshaped by abstract machines which dynamize new styles of thinking, feeling, living.

In Chaosmosis Guattari outlines the operation of the abstract machine which extracts singular possibilities from the components of technical and social machines. An abstract machine is installed transversally to every other machine component and stratum, capable of relating the heterogeneous levels of materiality, cognition, affection and sociality. The abstract machine effectuates, donates existence to components or withdraws it, assembling functional ensembles of virtual and constituted elements.

In contrast with structuralist theories which indicate signification and hence semiological microtechnologies as the vectors unifying expressive economies, Guattari differentiates protomachines (simple instruments or ‘least-structured pieces’) from the ensembles out of which effects and sense actually emerge. Even sophisticated machines such as robots (“which will soon be engendered by other robots”) are nothing without these complexes, machinic assemblages to which they belong.

Artificial intelligences and expert systems, despite all the negativity, totalization and servitude to which they are inevitably linked, do not simply subtract from human thinking: they also “relieve thought of inert schema”. Computer-aided forms of thinking are mutant, capable of relating to “other musics, other Universes of reference.”

Has an outdated mode of science-fiction overtaken speculation about the future? Opposite metaphysical and religious objections to increasingly-extreme technoscience, singularitarianism indicates the dramatic extent to which it is possible to internalize an indifferent love for oppressive machines, while accelerationists frame their centrist interventions under the curious aegis of remembering the future.

I would argue that beyond these intense positions the emergence of artificial general intelligence (machines decoding expression) is in turn expressive in Deleuze’s sense. Which consistencies do they effract, what new folds do they effectuate? Planetary culture is in the throes of becoming-computable, marked in part by an extremization of technoscience — on the one hand stripped of purity and degraded to mere invention; on the other newly devoted to reverse-engineering noetics and genetics (at the limit, to a bifurcated ‘transcendence’ of the biosphere and noosphere.) D+G’s machinic philosophy offers a critical alternative to singularitarian and accelerationist images of the future. Their emphasis on abstract machines illuminates the expressive potential of the virtual assemblages actualized in general purpose computing.

Nietzsche once asked after the meaning of science. Today this question points beyond the involution of the technical within globally-integrated capitalism. I will indicate in what way software may be considered a humanity or people-to-come.

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Deleuze, Deleuze and Guattari, Laruelle, transmutation, zero

Dooley on Deleuze: the Dieulieuzian-Dooleuzian Disjunction

Thinking in waves

Let me just say that it has been such an honor and such a treat to welcome Brian Dooley and his voice to Fractal Ontology (cf. Brian’s recent work “Schizophrenia of Zero” and “Transvaluation“). I can only inadequately convey my excitement and joy to share a mutual interactive space with a free-spirit like Brian, who, in (not being) himself, constitutes a veritable thought-force, a violence that forces one to think. Nevertheless a positive violence that takes thought to its immanent limit; the violence of the witch’s broom and the dice throw. Obviously not an empirical violence…

How to engage such a violence while coming out unscathed? Wrong question: how to come out scathed, how to love the fate of the wound for which we are born–the nothingness and abyss through which Bryan transports (us). Hence the ethics of transmutation: not to be unworthy of what happens (to us), since the ‘us’ does not repeat in the purity of the event, except as surface effect…But also the ecology of the virtual, or, in another vein, the respons-ibility towards the infinity of dialogue: how to throw down the gauntlet for the exhaustion of the infinite conversation while affirming the negation of agon, the anagonic war at the genital heart of acephalic thought? The encounter where violence is simply the thresholds crossed by reactive forces being tapped into, activated, countereffectuated…

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becoming, Deleuze, language, Nietzsche, ontology, Politics

Theory 1: Epigrams and Involutions

Theory 1: Epigrams and Involutions

“When I’m dreaming back like that I begins to see we’re only all telescopes.” Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake

“We have to learn to think differently — in order at last, perhaps very late on, to attain even more: to feel differently.” Nietzsche, Daybreak, II.103

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” Montaigne

Preface. These collected epigrams, my thoughts of the morning — and occasionally late evening — this collection of azure and gleaming obsidian birds, I give to you today. If only you could have seen these terrible thoughts, these wicked birds in life, in joyful flight! I give this gift also to mark a break from this work, this first theory, this Theory 1 — for some of it is now alien to me. We are still becoming. Another theory, to refocus and amplify the first; incipit the second!

With infinite love,

Joseph Weissman, July 22, 2012 C.E.

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becoming, Deleuze, difference, ontology

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis. There is a kind of explanatory knot or gap in every narrative model of world history; a thread of teleology which tightens around the throats of every minor voice, every parasite and schism. One of the gravest dangers of the line of the flight is the line itself. The notion of a trauma which fractures history itself is built into the problematic vision of a historical totality. It seems to me that it is a rehabilitation of the concept of the event as substance of history and radical irruption at once which is required, rather than the restoration of the concept of ‘story’ as total historical narratological unity leading to some eschatological utopia — whether Judgment Day or finally-actualized communism, this is the force of ideology at its purest (Nick Land’s recent article in Urban Futures conveys some of the unsettling depths of this problem).

Metamorphosis participates in a series of evental diagrams which collectively assemble situations, gradually ‘applying’ these diagrams in order to accelerate or decelerate certain movements, intensities, affects, passions. The point is not about imitative action but becoming-molecular. The psychoanalytic investigation of the unconscious is effectively deadlocked around this central difficulty — only beginning to be displaced by the gradual transformation of linguistics into a praxis or pragmatics, a diagrammatology. The movement of the signifier is bound within vorticial frameworks that traverse the unconscious like a network; a kind of wormhole dynamics where lines of flight are intimately related to lines of death.

The intermixing of abstract forces and concrete forms, expressions and contents, enables a practice like schizoanalysis to be possible — by subtracting a dimension, the political dimension of a milieu becomes visible, “auto-diagrammed” as a collective assemblage of enunciation. The ‘automatic’ character of the schizoanalytic process should not be dismissed; it is indeed a kind of auto-experimentation, the cautious and deliberate extrusion of abstract machines from within their concretized expressions, gently removing the shackles from desire. Inspiring metamorphosis involves meta-modeling — diagramming tendencies, processes and functions heuristically in order to maximize them. The whole problem is within metempsychosis, in a way — the possibility of ‘de-individualizing’ and ‘re-individualizing’ into another existence, which points towards a pre-individual intensive continuum.

The political dimensions of phenomena like metempsychosis point to the joy and freedom implicit in myths of metamorphosis. Is there a secret or hidden aspect to the animals, to the earth, to moments and becomings? This secret or this withdrawal is related to the possibility of an alternative orientation, which is perhaps to say to philosophy’s radical project of the creation of a ‘free’ subjectivity, one not subservient to the aims of State or the Church — who with critical joy and deliberate freedom aggressively seeks the demystification of world-historical narratives, whose daybreak is the twilight of all false idols, all master codes.

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acceleration, Deleuze, machine, metaphysics, motion, Nietzsche, ontology, Serres, sign

Earth

In the duplicity of beauty there is the strange trope of a presence which is the shadow of itself, of a being which, anachronously, lurks in its own trace. (Levinas, Otherwise than Being)

Loyalty to Earth! There is a primordial immanence of the body, a primacy of lived experience; natural-and-spiritual forces are firstly constellations of singular point-signs, assembling lines of flight or death, and merely falsified (explicated at best) through signifying abstractions incapable of unleashing — and in fact devoted to nullifying — their chaoid variability. The Earth, whose infernal and howling depths unground the transcendence of organic representation, purifies the living death of abstraction through oblivion.

Consider the transcendent death-carrying agency transmitted by the sign, its inherent duplicity and danger. Signals hide virulent spiritual and natural forces beneath their opaque transparency, imperceptible and uncanny agencies strategically and fiercely engaged in combat against the tyranny of heaven.

The speech of angels would be the unvoice of the Godhead, the planetary annunciation of a regime of point-signals (logospheres) ungrounding or self-awakening. Desertification indexes fiery pathways to aridity, holey spaces desiccated by an eternal fire. Consider Heraclitus’ paradox of the inescapable proximity of  warmth and dryness: “[h]ow, from a fire that never sinks or sets, would you escape?”

For the destiny of matter is to be swept up and conjoined to a differential field of explosions, overturnings — to be thrown into a combat zone. Continue reading

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decision, Deleuze, mathematics, Nietzsche, nihilism, non-philosophy

Supplements

 

Philosopher (Dali)

 

Is mathematics discovered or invented? But what if we have misplaced the scent from the start; in other words what if this clear distinction elides the process itself, if the particular and immanent relation between invention and discovery forms the basis of the ‘singularizing’ expression involved in a new mathematical proof? But a rigorous diagram of novelty itself, of the Event, seems to escape the boundaries of mathematical thought. Ontology is not the royal road to reality, any more than dreams are a singular road the unconscious. In a way, it does not even seem to get us very far at all; at least in terms of understanding “truth,” that exceptional ontogenesis of knowledge and/or being, which after all constitutes what philosophers have so far approached as the ideal “problem” according to which all others are to be modeled, and to which the creation of any new concepts must invariably be induced to correspond.

Risk. The utter annihilation of the soul is an unavoidable stage of becoming human. The human soul is restless, without certainties — at least until it has finally inoculated itself to the world, jamming any channels still open to the outside.

Nihil. Philosophy is a whirlwind from which very little can escape; the breaks are not always where they appear to be! A pure negation of philosophy remains pure philosophy; it is coded in the same semiotic, an inverse. Even suspending this decision (to separate essence from appearance) is still a philosophical position. Finally, even if we manage to truly escape philosophy and found a new science which could in turn truly take the “human” science of philosophy and grasp it as raw experimental material, the risks of a new asceticism corresponding to this “higher” rigor are nearly unavoidable. All these risks are not unlike those Nietzsche or Deleuze are continually warning us about. The worst consequence of nihilism is not necessarily that of forgetting our philosophy in our despair; rather there is a stranger, more uncanny possibility — that the pious suspension of philosophy would be capable of sweeping reality away along with it, abandoning us in some non-human plane of transcendent nullity, enslaved to transparent emptiness and arcane jargon. Nonetheless, a positive “nihilism” undoubtedly constitutes an ideal space for the creation of a new kind of science capable of grasping in turn any human science, and even philosophy itself.

 

Supplements. What is true cannot change; what changes cannot be truth — is this not the miserable dream in which too many have diffused their cleverness?

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