becoming, event, interconnection, language, philosophy, Politics, self-organization, society

Occupy Theory!

The 99% movement sweeping the globe is indeed something new under the sun. Little molecular revolutions, the occupations are rhizomes; in this clear revolt against neoliberal “realism” who does not see the spirit of sixty-eight, dormant for a long winter of four decades, awakening once more?

Thinkers have not only the opportunity but in many ways a profound obligation to help focus and organize the will of the people, to help inspire and to amplify revolutionary reflection and affect.

While the medium of thinking is primarily writing, nevertheless theory can help crystalize and push complex systems towards transformation — towards becoming-something-else. This transformation need not, as some might have it, be specified entirely in advance; indeed, such a specification is perhaps impossible.

The self-regulated emergence or becoming of the people’s voice through the consensual decision-making mechanism of general assembly, the thunderous roar of the people’s mic, are things that philosophy should not simply note, or even sit back and interpret, but actively encourage and assist.
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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

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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artificial intelligence, complexity, creativity, evolution, immanence, interface, machine, network, nomads, self-organization, virtual

Remarks on Computational Creativity


Artificial intelligence stands in need of a fresh thought: a new thinking of complexity, of the virtual, and of machines. Instead of a virtual founded upon forms which remain forever the same, we need an idea of the virtual founded upon difference itself. We need a creative virtuality.

The task of building a robot demands a lucid and algorithmic way of grasping the frame problem. An adaptive principle of distinguishing problem spaces, some genetic evolution culminating in the capacity to mark a difference. So how do the sense organs evolve? Which is another way of asking: how does experience form?

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dimensionality, fractal space, motion, self-organization, time

Space and Time

‘A universe comes into being when a space is severed into two.’
Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela

(Spacetime ripples from a binary star)

Consider an observer in regular space. The observer induces a coordinate plane (or metric) to be imposed, as though from the exterior of the system in question. As soon as this coordinate plane is imposed, a regular geometry of space can be developed. Space can be distinguished from motion abstractly and precisely. Now suppose the observer positions a mark somewhere in this space. Based on an arbitrary origin-point (the ‘blind spot,’) a coordinate can be determined. A moving mark ‘carves out’ shapes, just as shapes triangulate inner spaces: motion obeys intuitive geometrical principles. All space remains ‘exterior’ due to the fact that shape is dependent upon the coordinate plane (even in higher dimensions,) that is, the coordinate plane is hyper-regulated: a transformation of coordinates results in a re-parameterization, or at worst, deformation. In regular space, then, all motion is abstract, superficial; all durations are qualitatively indistinct.

Now, let’s consider an observer in a fractal space, that is, a space with a self-constructing metric scale. As opposed to a regular or regulated space, we can say such a space (or collection of spaces) is organizing rather than organized, that is to say, it has no ‘origin’: such a space is essentially autopoetic rather than purely theoretical. In a fractal space, positions represent topological structures, and paths or movements represent ways of breaking apart and ways of forming unities. The situation on the hinge, or threshold, where one fractal subspace folds in upon itself, would be a contradiction in regular space, and an overdetermination of coordinate maps. In other words, regular space is too ‘brittle’ to handle such extreme ‘torsion,’ and this sort of infinite spatial intensity between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ would amount to a fracturing of a well-ordered space into an infinitely-ordered fractal subspace/superspace.

Therefore, in a fractal system, where the coordinate system is self-induced, the ‘break’ which would disrupt the metric order is continuously realized and, as it were, externalized from an inner space which has no dimension. In a fractal ordering, a dimensional break exhibits rather an unintegrated, intimate spatiality. That is to say, the dimension of a fractal system is that quality of space which is aroused by motion. More simply, movement is the evolution (and so coordination) of a self-organizing system. As a position is translated through subspaces, it passes through an infinite number of origins, it attains countless numbers of possible coordinate (dis)locations: space radiates from a motion, time radiates through a space. Space and time are not abstract, distinct quantities, but waves which determinstically interfere, overlap, intertwine and unfold. Fractal space is not just knotted; it is broken, a differential transversal, ‘sublimely’ interconnected. Every position is an infinite sum of partial spaces; every motion is the arising of a new coordination: have we finally arrived at the observer, as the autogenesis of self-organizing space, or perhaps more vividly, of an autometric time? At any rate, the observer can only be appropriately considered in the context of a fractal space, as constituting a severance of ordering-rules, or as a bursting of the structural integrity of dimensionality.

autopoesis, communication, desire, machine, maturana, meaning, nano-ontology, self-organization, varela


“An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.” (Maturana, Varela, 1980, p. 78)
“[…] the space defined by an autopoietic system is self-contained and cannot be described by using dimensions that define another space. When we refer to our interactions with a concrete autopoietic system, however, we project this system on the space of our manipulations and make a description of this projection.” (Maturana, Varela, 1980, p. 89)

Niklas Luhman works with this autopoesis to produce a quite fascinating model of systematicity. I’ll briefly highlight what’s important from our point of view.

A ‘machine’ is defined by the boundary between itself and its environment; a machine is divided from an infinitely complex exterior. Communication within a machine-system operates by selecting only a limited amount of all information available outside (reduction of complexity.) The criterion according to which info is selected and processed is meaning. Machines process meaning, producing desire; each machine’s identity is constantly reproduced in communication (depending, again, on what’s meaningful and what’s not.) If a system fails to main identity, it ceases to exist as a system and dissolves back into the environment. Autopoeisis is this process of reproduction from elements previously filtered from an over-copmlex environment. The operation of autopoesis can be binarily encoded (in a Spencer-Brown logic of distinction) as a program which filters and processes information from the environment.

OK, taking this from a D&G perspective, the question becomes about this connection or boundary-limit… and I think this is where fractality and cognition exhibit a common transitive structure…

Program-agents connect: machines to flows, flows to machines, flows to flows, machines to machines, events to flow-machines, machines to event-flows; they (1) produce mappings (flowcharts) of these connections, (2) dis-join, decode and fracture these mappings, (3) construct new machines->more or less ‘dense’ networks of ‘tubes’, flows->currents of intensity, subagents->communicate the pure imagistic flow of unconscious symbol-automation, a particular agent constructs a tool (or a machine with a hole in the shape of a ‘problem’) by halting this flow, “flattening” it into (n-1) dimensions, where it can be differentially represented by a self-organizing nano-ontology; these subagents compress reality into their ‘micro-worldviews’ but then uncompress them into signification, a stream of images and words whose true ‘symbolic’ value is not in the individual’s ontology, but in the group; so natural evolution works to point individual ontologies towards the assemblage of the group, but also pushes the groups’ ontology towards more effective ways of responding to events; so all agents are partial agents, but these agent/machine networks are not all at the same “level”; machines can be made up of machines and subagents; all agents are subagents, this fundamental fractality is ultimately what allows these flows to be taken as flows, allows agents to be and to perform; “full” agents that skim the surface of language are precisely the question. up til now we have only considered the deeps. and perhaps this is ultimately all we need consider: merely the most fundamental heuristics of cognition. but what about conceptual metaphors? does the machinic framework provide for the possibility of metonymy? does the fractality of cognition really completely account for linguistic competency…?

What is a subagent?

The task of a subagent is to translate an image (scene) into a problem space, an objectivized or idealized space. Geometric regularity is in fact what is here being auto-regulated: the problem of establishing arbitrary limits is taken up as a recursive feedback loop between the systematic and meta-systematic modes of computation. Intensity, attention, or heat is represented by the amount of ‘noise’ (perturbation) allowed by the meta-system in the description of the problem space. This problem space is then populated by sub-subagents who imagine it, and then create sub-sub-subagents who reify it into a problem space; this gradual decomposition amounts to conceptual simplification, that is, until we find an undifferentiable function which decodes the image, i.e., supplies the solution. The image (collapse of solution space) is transcoded into a new problem-space, or returned as feedback to higher levels of the system, which may be in contact with other subagents inhabiting the given problem space.