art, ascetic ideal, chaos, efficiency, history, humility, illusion, improvement, irony, meaning, Nietzsche, order, problem, religion, resentment, science, socrates, spirit, will to power

The Meaning of Science

What is the Meaning of Science?
Nietzsche and the History of the Human Spirit

What is problematic about science? What does the “progress” of science mean about human beings? I believe this question turns everything which is unsettling, mysterious, and uncanny about the course of human development (and not only human); who can exhaust what is figured within the folds of this strange question — science thought as a symptom, science grasped as a problem?

What obstructs this question from being thought? How do we interpret this ‘secondary’ problem which intervenes at the critical moment to derail thought — this “problem of the problem” of the meaning of science? At any rate it is clear the difficulty we encounter in formulating this problem are manifold, altogether formidable, but taken separately…? For science itself always already understands, justifies, and regulates itself in turn upon the basis of something non-scientific. Science as such is ultimately foundationless, and furthermore, this is one of its necessary conditions. This is a warning for those who would seek to regulate philosophy by means of “scientific” protocol; for these would in turn require their own justification… Which is not to say that such justification exists or should be sought after — but rather to pause right here, so that we can open up our profoundest capabilities of insight in order to ask: what is science as a problem? What is the meaning of science?

We should stop for a moment and reflect upon this question. We are looking for a meaning specific to science, but the meaning of science as it actually operates in history (and not, for instance, an abstract image of “science” considered in isolation of real problems.) We must try to seek the meaning of science in the more general context of human development, and ask what science means for the human species; or even more pointedly, what it means about what the human species has become. This question should be read as signifying science’s concealed meaning-about-us, a partial truth about what we are becoming as a species. The meaning, if we can but attune ourselves to it, indicates something real — albeit darkly, indirectly and only with constant resistance — about the “rate” and “direction” of human development. In this sense the problem of meaning of science reveals a way to diagnose civilization itself.

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abstract machine, catastrophe, chaos, communication, conservatism, cybernetics, decentralization, derrida, distinction, exteriority, godel, humanity, machine, metaphysics, ontology, spencer-brown, spirit, writing

Deconstructing Cybernetics

Notes on Derrida and Cybernetics

Let us conjecture that the invention of the transistor — an auto-controllable circuit — indicates the attainment of a critical level of development in cybernetics, a “tipping point.” Then for writing the corresponding moment is the invention of the video camera, perhaps more precisely the photograph: now seeing is writing, literally marking. Visio-literature is the only kind that can ever exists for us today — even ancient literature is post-modern for 21st-century readers. We cannot simply forget the history of writing, which is also the history of humanity — a spirit which is more like a ghost successively inhabiting our bodies, then our writing-instruments, then our machines, and next…?

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Anaxagoras, becoming, being, chaos, cosmos, desire, discourse, freedom, infinity, intensity, lacan, morality, morphology, Nietzsche, nous, ontology, phenomenology, psychology, Theory / Philosophy, unconscious

Beyond Desire: Remarks on Nietzsche and Becoming

 

 

Topos (biocosm)

 

 

In the beginning all things were mixed together; then came understanding and created order.

Anaxagoras [1]

What had to be accomplished in that chaotic pell-mell of primeval conditions, before all motion, so that the world as it now is might come to be, with its times of day and times of year, all conforming to law, with its manifold beauty and order, all without the addition of any new substance or force?

How, in other words, could a chaos become a cosmos?

Friedrich Nietzsche [2]

The true difficulty for psychology is that the field of the unconscious is also the site of the production and interpretation of reality. With the unconscious we encounter thoughts and bodies mixed together heterogeneously, without the clear ontological divisions we tend in other disciplines to take simply for granted.

It is no wonder then why Lacan has suggested the reality of the unconscious is the most difficult subject for philosophers to approach [3] — for there is no ontological method which could aim to find handles on this incorporeal assemblage, on this “body without organs.” In the enfolding of the psychic within the material we discover a phenomenological reality of the unconscious which is necessarily presupposed by any ontological analysis. Continue reading

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certainty, chaos, complexity, creative, decay, ontology, Science / Mathematics / Technology, space, structure, symmetry, theory, time, universe

Symmetry within Chaos: On Science and Difference

Symmetric Relations

A scientific theory classifies phenomena based on a universal set of structural relationships. Experiments and theories which deserve the name scientific thus share a coherent set of properties. First, they are systematic, meaning that phenomena as presented possess certain structural or virtual unities despite actual or potential diversities. A fully systematic theory is also complete in that nothing is arbitrarily left out of the universe of discourse.

Events, spaces and processes are presented as approximating a mode of relation which is in every case either symmetrical or complementary, and possibly even transitive (symmetrical and complementary.) Consider the relation between two inter-connected processes A and B. A symmetric relationship could be as follows: A exhibits behavior x when B exhibits behavior x, and A exhibits behavior y when B exhibits behavior y. Complementary relations, on the other hand, could be (for example): A exhibits x when B exhibits y, and A exhibits y when B exhibits x. Complementary relations are characterized by a disjoint or heterogeneous symmetry which distinguishes them from the smooth or homogenous symmetries of the first type of relation.
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abyss, autopoeisis, chaos, creation, death, decay, deviance, fecundity, health, inevitability, libido, life, machine, nature, parasite, space, symbiosis, Thought

Liquid Generations: Decay, Creation and Morphogenesis


Flow

The moment of death is uncertain and inevitable; its shadow approaches from an unknown region like a silent stranger. Death does not need to follow us; it just meets us where we will be. Like a memory fragmenting, bodies rush towards singular points of annihilation, just as the very possibility of negation is implied by the presence of the law. Protection is absurd, insulation a pure minimum; there is but the most fragile and insufficient veil between ourselves and our vulnerabilities.

Even laughter is a deflective shield for the futile anxiety over this very insufficiency. The subject exhausts its becoming and dies; thus until death he is not composed of a lack but indeed an overflowing surplus, of new expressive modalities, energy transformation-processes, event encoding/decoding regimes. Death crumbles the ground beneath us; it is the pure undecodable, it is a decoding space, a pure body with organs, a body full of pulsating acephalous organisms.
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abstract machine, atomism, autopoeisis, chaos, code, complexity, Deleuze, differentiation, digital space, evolution, form, individuation, modularity, molecularity, morphogenesis, network, self-organization, Serres, speed

Machines, Morphogenesis and Complexity


Cellular automata

The harmony of the world is made manifest in Form and Number, and the heart and soul and all the poetry of Natural Philosophy are embodied in the concept of mathematical beauty. D’arcy Thompson

All organisms are modular: life always consists of sub-organisms which are involved together in a biological network. The interrelations between organ and organism form a series of feedback loops, forming a cascading and complex surface. Each organ parasites off the next, but this segmentation is not spontaneous. Rather, it is development itself, the decoupling of non-communicating spaces for the organization of divergent series. Creative evolution, self-organization and modularity are the same idea.

The theory of the development of metabolic modularity is called morphogenesis. ‘Morphogenesis’ in its literal sense means the creation of shapes or forms. But in the (relatively) narrow sense we intend it here, morphogenesis is a self-symmetry of the biological structure (onto itself) which allows it to develop in such a way as to divide while remaining unseparated, that is: to ‘individuate,’ or split apart into fused symmetrical segments.
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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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