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

biology, crystal, cybernetics, form, individuation, knowledge, machine, physics, psychology, Science / Mathematics / Technology, Simondon, structure, technology, tension

Simondon and the Machine: Technology, Individuation, Reality

Fractal Effervescence (2006), David April


Simondon and the Theory of Individuation

There is something eternal in a technical scheme… and it is that which is always present, and can be conserved in a thing.

Gilbert Simondon

Gilbert Simondon’s reformulation of information theory on the basis of a new philosophy of technology has, in comparison to earlier attempts, at least the following major advantages to its credit:

His thought introduces us to an entirely new way of understanding technology. His earliest work investigates the intrinsic nature of the machine. He asks about the conditions of the genesis of machines in the world, the essential nature of their concrescence from an abstract model.

Continue reading

algebra, complexity, decay, diagnosis, ethics, insanity, language, literature, machine, mathematics, Nietzsche, Politics, prejudice, psychoanalysis, schizophrenia, Science / Mathematics / Technology, society, structure, transformation, truth, unconscious

Cyborg Nietzsche: Conscience, Affect, Transvaluation

Part One: Criticism and Untruth-Machines

A. Neurosis and Transcendence: the Algebra of Bad Conscience

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.  Marcel Proust

For Nietzsche, uncovering the peculiar logic of the unconscious, revealing the function of this or that unobserved striving, would only form part of the analysts’ role. A rich, analytic transformation of the real space of mental (political) activity is the full meaning of diagnostic criticism. Any real diagnosis contains a hard criticism of declining mental (social) habits. Criticism moves towards a healthier biopolitics. Diagnosis isolates cycles, reaction-patterns, irresponsible and neurotic aspects of mental and social processes.

This selective isolation, the method of genealogical deconstruction may seem purely negative and critical; and indeed, it amounts to a profound negation of conventional modes of thinking and feeling. But there is also always a powerfully positive sense of diagnosis: to indicate and affirm the pathways which return us to health, which unhinge our bodies from habit, which bring us to a new earth.
Continue reading

banquet, communication, epistemology, fractal, history, humanities, information, interruption, logic, matter, michel serres, narcissism, ontology, parasite, physics, power, relation, Science / Mathematics / Technology, Serres, symmetry, time, topology, turbulence

Science and Parasites: Michel Serres and the Unification of Human and Natural Sciences

Theorem: the history of science obeys the law of diminishing returns. The first attack on the narcissism of science…

Second: if we examine the set made of the problem and of the actions that transform it, there is no doubt that it is, at the beginning, more complex than the thing itself or the process. Clearer perhaps, yet more complicated. The question can then be reexamined in order to try to illuminate this new complexity and maybe, to transform it. Thus we form a set: the chain seems unending. The strategies of intervention, the interruption of the process or of the thing, observation that seeks to clarify, photon bombardment, the inseparable association of the knowers and the known–all make complexity increase, the price of which increases astronomically. A new obscurity accumulates in unexpected locations, spots that had tended towards clarity; we want to dislodge it but can only do so at ever-increasing prices and at the price of a new obscurity, blacker yet, with a deeper, darker shadow. Chase the parasite–he comes galloping back, accompanied, just like the demons of an exorcism, with a thousand like him, but more ferocious, hungrier, all bellowing, roaring, clamoring.

Have I described the elementary link of a system of knowledge or its pathology? I do not know. Anyway, it makes work, gives sustenance. One parasite drives out another. The second attack on the narcissism of scientists. The shadow brought by knowledge increases by one order of magnitude at every reflection.

Can we henceforth do without an epistemology of the parasite?

Michel Serres, The Parasite 17

Continue reading

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.


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.)

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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

Nomads: Space, Solitude, Science


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.
Continue reading