affect, becoming, body, celerity, cosmos, double, event, freud, God, gravity, Interpretation, liberation, machine, model, outside, resonance

Affectivity, or What is an Event?

Events are volcanic. The event opens upon an outside, a beyond, a resonant and enigmatic depth. Events move the world, releasing free and untamed vibrations within and without us. They place being into relation with exteriority. But how does evental resonance work?

When the new breaks free it is almost like it suddenly becomes “permitted” to us to learn to see all over again. Perhaps it would be better to say: we are allowed to learn to feel all over again. Events never fail to connect up with an outside; they are erupting continually from underneath those powerful, serious and “grounding” forces which served to maintain the distance, to suppress the joyous escape of the event.
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abstract machine, antiproduction, body, code, diagram, diagrammatics, flux, idea, language, model, ontology, parasite, process, symbol, text



It is impossible to conceive the assemblage of a scientific experiment apart from a field that generates plans and topological, mathematical, axiomatic and computational descriptions. But sign-machines can function equally well directly within material and social machines without the mediation of significant processes of subjectivation, something which has become more obvious each passing day. The fact that the common essence of semiotic machines and material or social machines proceeds from the same type of abstract machine is the decisive step we must take in order to found a political pragmatics on something other than good intentions.

Felix Guattari, L’Inconscient machinique: essais de schizo-analyse. Paris: Editions Recherche, 1979. p. 67.

That we underestimate machines is an understatement. Human language itself is a code which produces codes, hence an always already over-coded decoding — and the decoding processes, for their part, go as far as you like. Let us be cautious, then, and attempt to linger for a moment on the side of the symbolic. Every discourse, every instance of language, every explicit “saying” — is also implicitly a kind of abstract program. A program gives us in turn the language in which that program is expressed — and also in which completely new programs can be expressed. Finally, every text also contains an irreducible element of pure ontology, thereby encoding — between the lines — the very principles for organizing discourse itself. Whichever metaphor obscurely prefigures the communicative passage, tracing these interdependent “resemblances,” or “differential” networks of “abstract” models, (or even “ethico-spiritual” traces of traces) necessarily takes us on an adventure outside of the text — but mysteriously or ironically, always into other kinds of texts! This infinite indeterminacy — or antiproductive rupture — is the basis of a “parasitic” logic, the logic of interruption, inequality, a constitutive non-determination.

Hence, in addition to these four distinct but interwoven layers or aspects co-existing in even the shortest text — indeed in a single word — it seems we must also suppose some pre-logical flux of intensity, a matrix of differences, in which these varying aspects would themselves become locally codified and relatively grounded. A diagram needs a space in which to be built and materials from which to be constructed; ideas needs relational fields in which they realize themselves sensibly and and dramatize their “break” into reality to one another — how, why and where they fall to their death onto the depths of bodies — but even this as though organically or by divine judgment. Bodies break the recursive cycle of language through the intervention of a partial object (programmer-parasite.) The parasite, the cold body sucking the warmth, writes new programs, and in doing so inevitably scrambles the meanings of the old instructions. The parasite is ontological rupture or antiproduction, phenomenological transduction — its work, grounding relation, is itself grounded only by an act of invention, translation, dramatization. Grounded in metaphor, in a productive diagram, in an abstract machine. Or, in other words: the parasite, whose provisional ground or counter-network is the minimal subject of the abstract machine, guarantees the consistency of the abstract programs’ specific productive diagram simultaneously as (1) a single variation, which is also (2) a model for variations; yet this is model is at once a (3) variable language of models, as well as the (4) machinic meta-ontology pragmatically governing the organizational principles of languages themselves.

affectivity, allagmatic, becoming, Disparation, emotivity, ensemble, form, hylemorphism, individualization, individuation, information, metastability, milieu, model, modularity, ontogenesis, potential, preindividual, signal, signification, Simondon, subject, system, Transduction, transindividual

A Short List of Gilbert Simondon’s Vocabulary


1. Affectivity -This term designates a relation between an individualized being and the pre-individual milieu; it is thus heterogeneous to individualized reality. This is why Simondon claims that affectivity, more than perception, indicates a spirituality that is greater than the individualized being (the Sublime) because perception is merely the functions of the structures interior to this being (L’Individuation psychique et collective, p. 108–hereafter cited as IPC). Simondon writes that affectivity is the ground of emotion, as perception is the ground of action (107).

2. Allagmatic – The Greek word allagma can mean change or vicissitude, but it can also mean that which can be given or taken in exchange, which more genuinely captures the idea of energy exchange in Simondon’s usage.

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abstract machine, assemblage, autopoeisis, becoming, being, change, communication, complexity, differentiation, Disparation, formalization, French Translation, individuation, information, materiality, metastability, model, modularity, morphogenesis, morphology, ontogenesis, ontology, philosophy of science, production, self-actualization, Simondon, singularities, structure, system, technology, Untranslated Theory

Translation: Simondon, Completion of Section I, Chapter 1, The Individual and Its Physico-Biological Genesis


In the first place, singularities-events correspond to heterogeneous series which are organized into a system which is neither stable nor unstable, but rather ‘metastable,’ endowed with a potential energy wherein the differences between series are distributed. (Potential energy is the energy of the pure event, whereas forms of actualization correspond to the realization of the event). In the second place, singularities posses a process of auto-unification, always mobile and displaced to the extent that a paradoxical element traverses the series and makes them resonate, enveloping the corresponding singular points in a single aleatory point and all the emissions, all dice throws, in a single cast. In the third place, singularities or potentials haunt the surface. Everything happens at the surface in a crystal which develops only on the edges. Undoubtedly, an organism is not developed in the same manner. An organism does not cease to contract in an interior space and to expand in an exterior space–to assimilate and to externalize. But membranes are no less important, for they carry potentials and regenerate polarities. They place internal and external spaces into contact without regard to distance. The internal and external, depth and height, have biological value only through this topological surface of contact. Thus, even biologically, it is necessary to understand that ‘the deepest is the skin.’ The skin has as its disposal a vital and properly superficial potential energy. And just as events do not occupy the surface but rather frequent it, superficial energy is not localized at the surface, but is rather bound to its formation. Gilbert Simondon has expressed this very well: the living lives at the limit of itself, on its limit… The characteristic polarity of life is at the level of the membrane; it is here that life exists in an essential manner, as an aspect of a dynamic topology which itself maintains the metastability by which it exists… The entire content of internal space is topologically in contact with the content of external space at the limits of the living; there is, in fact, no distance in topology; the entire mass of living matter contained in the internal space is actively present to the external world at the limit of the living… To belong to interiority does not mean only to ‘be inside,’ but to be on the ‘in-side’ of the limit… At the level of the polarized membrane, internal past and external future face one another. [Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense. Trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale. New York: Columbia, 1990. p. 103-104.]

Gilbert Simondon, L’individu et sa genese physico-biologique (Paris: P.U.F., 1964), pp. 260-264. This entire book, it seems to us, has special importance, since it p Continue reading

abstraction, badiou, Carnap, Dialectical Materialism, epistemology, French Translation, ideology, marxism, mathematics, meta-theory, model, philosophy of science, Quine, Untranslated Theory

Translation: Alain Badiou and the Concept of the Model: Introduction to a Materialist Epistemology of Mathematics


The following is the first three sections of Alain Badiou’s first theoretical book Le Concept de modèle: introduction à une épistémologie matérialiste des mathématiques. Paris: Maspero, 1968. p. 7-17 and is an original translation by Taylor Adkins [10/17/07].

Editor’s Advertisement:

The beginning of this text continues a talk given on April 29, 1968 by Alain Badiou within the framework of the “Course of philosophy for scientists” given to the National university.

This continuation should have been the subject of a second exposition on May 13, 1968. This day, it is known, the popular masses mobilized against the middle-class Gaullist dictatorship affirming in all the country their determination, and enticing the process that led to a confrontation of classes on a great scale, upsetting the political economic situation, and causing effects whose continuation will not be made to wait.

It is often imagined that in this storm, the intervention on the philosophical front had to pass to a second plan.

This very day, the somewhat “theoretical” accents of this text return to a surpassed economic situation. The struggle, also ideological, requires a totally different style of labor and a just and lucid political combativeness. It is no longer a question of aiming at a target without reaching it.

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abstract machine, biology, cybernetics, form, information, model, ontology, structure, system, theory

Machinic Autopoesis



In Mechanism and Biological Explanation [Maturana 1970], Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela argue that machines and biological forms are very closely related — so closely, in fact, that biologists can reasonably claim living systems are machines. This is not meant merely as a pedagogical metaphor, but rather as a rigorous analogy, which emphasizes important symmetries, and even better, expresses concisely specific experimental and theoretical aims. In what sense, then, are living systems machines?

A machine is defined by a group of abstract operations, satisfying certain specific conditions. An abstract machine is this system of inter-relations which is itself independent of the actual components which ‘realize’ the machine. A fishing boat can be made from many kinds of wood, sailed on many bodies of water, used to store many species of fish; a game of tag can be played with an arbitrary number of arbitrary people in any suitable space. What matters is not the specificity of a given component but the specificity of its relationships. We can define living systems as specific groups of components and their inter-relations, according to both abstract structure and specific functionalities. But insofar as we are only considering their structure, living beings are isomorphic to collections of finite groups of abstract machines: biology considers micro- and macro-structure, whereas systems theory studies inter- and intra-relations.
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