Will. The question of the will is not whether to emphasize cycles or fluxes (identities or events, structures or processes, concepts and percepts or acts and effects); still less how to conduct a grand unifying synthesis of the two — events and processes as differing stages or aspects of what is ultimately some overly ideal dialectical Unity; the question is rather, first and foremost, to determine how we can possibly proceed (vis a vis the unconscious) given the radical discontinuity between the two accounts of thought and existence. A theory of the will (a diagnostics of the sick will and a genealogy of the healthy, that is to say the real analysis of the unconscious) must affirm the divergence of a purely ‘immanent’ theory of flows and a purely ‘ideal’ theory of machines. Yet the very difficulty in convincingly theorizing the will is precisely the fact that these two modes of interpretation beg one another and are ultimately cut from the same cloth; a successful account of the will cannot disguise the deadlocks which have hitherto almost completely blocked the progress of understanding the unconscious. (It was owing to the sterile dogmatism wherein both accounts decayed for centuries, each thinking itself “complete,” that their kinship and even mutual implication had been able to go so long unnoticed.)
Resemblances. The event has an excess over existence, as a surplus; must this intimate some radical intervention of Truth or more simply, an intangible and virtual dimension of immanence — that the event happens to return, perhaps without limit, breaking with the continuity of resemblances, linking up with a pre-individual and differential flux?
Ground. Becoming can also be understood as a terrible guest: a noisy, ill-mannered, and parasitic inhabitant of beings. Both noise and parasites (and bad manners for that matter) indicate pathways to grasping becoming — these transversal or transevental vectors each affirm a dangerous divergence from the smooth severity of the host or background. Becoming fractures (a) being into a prism: it is precisely the assemblages of parasitic flows of matter and of life which collectively constitute “becoming,” the eruption and eviction of Being; and yet, in another sense, the singular, material and sufficient cause of existence.
Degeneration. Growth (whether cosmic or vital) is never simply a question of similarity, it is not a matter of the general but rather precisely of the repeated: not of convergent series but “degenerate” planes and lines which expand only through a rigorous fragmentation, a limitless mechanism of tortuous recurrence. What is ontologically primary are these infested and “aware” surfaces, the resurgence of certain parasitic elements within the event, the systematic degeneration on the part of the surface of being, the positive knowledge of our incapability to maintain the stability of the surface against the rising ground.
Responding to a question concerning the loss incurred by the sexuation of living beings, Lacan correlates the opening and closing of the gaps of the unconscious to the opening and closing of the orifices of the body. This inter-relation is real because it is in the unconscious the presence of the living being becomes fixed.
The erogenous zones are indissolubly linked to the unconscious, the organ of the libido itself. At the level of the drive, the relation between the drive and a specific action or passion is purely grammatical — a support, an artifice, literally a machine whose functioning coincides with the outward-return movement of the drive. Re-articulating this machine allows Lacan to indicate not only his tension with Freud, but even to raise concerns regarding the — perhaps masochistic — desire for psychoanalysis as such:
“Today I have shown in the most articulated way possible that each of the three stages, a, b, c, with which Freud articulates each drive, must be replaced by the formula of making oneself seen, heard and the rest of the list I have given. This implies fundamentally activity, in which respect I come close to what Freud himself articulates when he distinguishes between the two fields, the field of the drives on the one hand, and the narcissistic field of love on the other, and stresses that at the level of love, there is a reciprocity of loving and being loved, and that, in the other field, it is a question of a pure activity for the subject. Do you follow me? In fact, it is obvious that, even in their supposedly passive phase, the exercise of a drive, a masochistic drive, for example, requires that the masochist give himself, if I may be permitted to put it in this way, a devil of a job.” [Jacques Lacan, “The Deconstruction of the Drive,” The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis]
The driven-subject or the field of the drives, or what Lacan claims is pure subjective activity, must be rigorously distinguished from the desiring-subject, the lovers and the field of love produced, characterized by inconsistent reciprocity of loving/being-loved. A dimension of eternal force and a plane of inconsistent passion. The question becomes: what is lost in the passage from the drive to its other side which makes sexuality present in the unconscious itself, and what remains? What, then, is left of the sign — and for whom?
One way of approaching the difference between knowledge and learning (so profound in our opinion that, despite their entanglement, there can be postulated neither a material nor conceptual ground which could ever serve to unify them) is by considering that even while wholly disparate, they are not in the least opposed for that reason. To learn and to know are two divergent operations, contrapositive dynamisms, which are nevertheless always both active simultaneously, as the “cutting edges” or ungrounding machines of cognition. A thought is grounded not in abstract oppositions, but in concrete forces traversing real problematic fields.
Knowledge is classically represented as a heterogeneous assemblage — our minds are far too imperfect to clearly perceive the pure, homogeneous Truth — which is self-totalizing and self-regulated by an internal learning process, charged with traversing its own experiences (as they are represented and reactivated as memories of varying intensities.) In this sense, abstract oppositions emerge only as variables of these mixed compositions of energetic and entropic flows. This is the illusion of hyper-diagrammatism (implying a kind of super-diagram of “all” thought.) We must try and see that thought isn’t about models and copies, not about identity and ideology — but rather about lines along which interminglings are operative, as though “between” concrete and abstract flows of energy — food for words, money for sex, death for love, virtue for pain, and on and on…
What is produced in this process of establishing communication between incommensurable problematic fields — or learning — should certainly not be characterized as a pure memory, but rather a decentralized and a-subjective cognitive process. “Thought” is not the difference between learning and knowledge, but rather an abstract machine which underlies them while nevertheless separating them, almost as though by an absolute divergence. Learning fights dullness and emptiness with lightning and fire, mortally threatening the stasis and death of “serious knowledge,” which would otherwise totally consume the brave and fiery heart of discovery. So let’s stop asking what “knowledge” and “learning” mean in themselves (and trying to ‘deduce’ the ‘difference’ — and thereby, most likely, only serving to overcode it by an all-too-serious line of death); let’s rather ask: how do these operations work?
The question of vigilance is important. It is as if a demon plays a game with your attention [lit. “watchfulness.”]
To identify a “subject” is not only difficult, but truly impossible: we always only ‘nominate’ in the last instance one of its barriers; or rather, we indicate only what is barred, but we do so by signifying the barrier.
How can we understand this barrier — this imaginary line of symbolic exchange? In what sense does it have an “articulable” structure?
We may risk the following thesis. There are two poles or dissymmetrical operations to metaphor, not quite internal and external, but rather ‘intimate’ or ‘extimate,’ characterizing the relationship of the barrier to what is ‘barred’ (from speech, consciousness, etc.)
For example, we can speak of a line of variation (instead of the ‘actual’ — intimate — varieties of matter); but we can also we speak of multiple figures or forms (instead of the ‘virtual’ — extimate — force of pure multiplicity.)
Thus ‘figurate speech’ is that which thinks by tying together the two figurative series, itinerantly circulating between the extimate and intimate poles of metaphor. The “subject” comprehends and expresses his reality metaphorically; the subject is a metaphor.
Towards a Metaphysics of Noise
Let us return to the ‘alternate’ origin in noise, the conditions for any structure. From background noise to blank nothingness to signification: three distinct moments.
Back again to the process of the development of the other structure: from noise into information.
Mediation: the propagation of light which opens up space by filling it, makes absence present, sensible. The other structure: from spirit to letter; from ruptures, an alien coherence; from the whirling vortex, a noisy dawn.
Noise drives away the parasites — it clears space by infesting it. Noise opens space, provides a substratum for objects. As a condition of logic, a pre-logical polyvalence. The parasite is cosmic, a secret name of God — a profane transcription…
Three aspects-moments in the propagation of noise: homogenization, purification, radial distribution. A convergence of an infintite self-identity into a pure singularity: the monad, logical isolate, fragment and totality.
Remarks on Turing and Spencer-Brown
Computation is holographic. Information processing is a formal operation made abstract only by a reduction in the number of free variables, a projective recording which analyzes from all angles the entropy or information contained in the space. Thus, basing my results partly on Hooft’s holographic conjecture for physics (regarding the equivalence of string theory and quantum theory,) and by extending Spencer-Brown’s work on algebras of distinction (developed in his Laws of Form,) I will sketch the outlines of a new theory of universal computation, based not on system-cybernetic models but on holographic transformations (encoding and projection, or more precisely, fractal differentiation and homogeneous integration.)
Hooft’s conjecture allows us to extend the Laws of Form with an “interface” model where computation doesn’t require an observer, only the potentiality of being observed. In other words, all we need is the construction of a interface (positive feedback system, i.e., an iterative calculation or mutual holographic projection) in order to process information. Light itself can be thought of as encoding information, and in particular, electromagnetic waves form a necessary part of holographically recorded information. In other words, to operate in a formal system is to derive information only from interfaces, simpler than but in some way equivalent to the “real” objects.