Simmel and Simondon: From the Ventures of Life to the Advent of Adventure

I have added a strange note to the end of this post that…trails off at the end. When you see it, if you do, good reader, (ha, old conventions are funny), it will make sense that it does not make sense (to which, they replied, you mean the paper or the note?) What a wonderful audience. Anyway, this paper needs to be cleaned up immensely (as I specify later), so please be patient and suspend all belief/disbelief….In any case, I think that ascetically revised and focused, this work dovetails into questions that Laruelle has elaborated concerning the foundations of the human sciences or what he calls sciences of men. On the one hand, the bricolage translation I threw together on Speculative Heresy of Laruelle on Simondon and technics is a good starting point to connect non-philosophy with Simondon; on the other hand, it would be interesting to engage Simmel in the work of non-philosophy (perhaps as material? ha!). All sketchy thoughts, which can be followed if the route is trekked and mapped…

(Reading) Simmel sans Simondon: Part I

            In his chapter “How Is Society Possible,” Georg Simmel inquires into the unity of society on the basis of an analogy derived from Kant concerning the question of the conditions of possibility of nature. While for Kant nature is synthesized by the mind’s activity so as to structure it, Simmel argues that society is unified without the need for an observer, even if there can be an additional synthesis by an outside observer in terms of a spatial metaphor (6-7). In any case, there is arguably no need for an observer because the elements of a society are individuals investing their psychic energies in such a way as to already be absorbed in the relations that unify it (7). Nevertheless, the answer Simmel derives via the analogy with Kant’s question does not necessarily satisfy him from the start, for he declares that the entire contents of his monumental Soziologie will be devoted to it: “it inquires into the processes—those which, ultimately, takes place in the individuals themselves—that condition the existence of individuals as society…not as antecedent causes of this result, but as part of the synthesis to which we give the inclusive name of ‘society’” (8). In other words, Simmel’s question does not allow for a simplistic solution in terms of abstract conditions of possibility, since it continues to question in what sense the “concrete processes in the individual consciousness” correspond with “processes of sociation”, and how these processes inform how there can be a “production of a societal unit out of individuals” (8). On the basis of these reflections, Simmel will argue that sociation or association (Vergesellschaftung) should therefore be conceived as “functions or energies of psychological processes” insofar as it involves the interaction of concrete individuals; nevertheless, in abstract terms that may not necessarily be realizable, it can also be conceived as “ideational, logical presuppositions for the perfect society” (9). In this sense, individuals are the society they deserve, insofar as they are at the basis of their actual interactions and their idealizations of the perfect society which is from the start fueled by their psychic energies.

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becoming, language, metaphysics, ontology





Transiency hurls itself everywhere into a deep state of being. And therefore all forms of this our world are not only to be used in a time-specific sense, but should be included into those phenomena of superior significance in which we partake, and of which we are a part.





Ideas arrest and extrude contents from a flux and thus illuminate forms from chaos. An inversion or involution, not the simple highlighting of a pattern or introducing a context — but rather through a constant, asymmetrical, positive communication with the flux, and so in a sense a commingling with the essence of form itself. Yet a bifurcation defers any discernment of the origin of ideas, they are not a memory


They do not come from you. (A code has an inventor, to be sure; but like a strand of DNA, these codes are always secondary, indirect, relative — a map with moving parts, not the tracing of a blueprint.) Codes ensure the maintenance of a form only to an approximate degree; in this sense they mimic the behavior of soap bubbles which appear spherical — the question is whether an ideal form exists, or whether we are interpreting patterns from the turbulent interaction of forces. 


Does matter dramatize ideas into reality, or do ideas awaken things into being? A code documents a becoming, hence it is not a relationship as such, though it may be connected or disjoined from other codes. What is coded does not necessarily resemble the code which is applied: in fact these cases constitute rather singular exceptions, which have formed the morphological substructure of the concept itself. 

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