This is where I share my current work in progress. I like to see it as a kaleidoscope of notes, thoughts, drafts and inspirations. I invite you touch it, and add your own thoughts; to co-edit, add comments, notes, links, etc.
Thank you, Monique
Reza Negarestani - Speculations on Anonymous Materials
One of the most revolutionary ideas in the field of modeling and scientific intervention, engineering epistemology is the defintiion of the system. The last 30 years has enabled a new understanding of what epistemology of matter is. How can you really render material intelligable. The new understanding of the system is that system is not about intrinsic architecture. It doesn’t need input and output. You do not need to interpret or understand he system in order to act on it. It doesn’t need a certain form of essence. All you need is behavior and functional integration/functional organization. Functions are abstractly realizable entities. They can be abstracted from the content of their constitution. So a functional organization can be merged and manipulated, automated. It can gain a form of autonomy, not because of the constitution in which it was embedded, but in spite of it. Hence function allows for an understanding of the system that is no longer chained to an idea of constitution. A system is no longer understood as a system of rigid systematicity, but as a functional integration. And it has stabilized causal components that are linked by functions.
Behavior is connected to a notion tendency in systems. Systems are sets of tendencies. Tendencies are abstract properties that are responsible for the behavior of the system. You cannot interact with these tendencies unless you single them out and identify them. You cannot identify them unless you amplify them. So there is a certain form of intervention involved. This identification of system according to function and behavior allows for two things:
- Understand of system as a project of selfrealization
- This is not new, this is the classical project of ethics. (Socrates, Stoics & Cynics) In the sense that Self is material. In order to know this material you need to manipulate is. You need to construct it. Hence it becomes the classical Socratic dictom. A philosopher cannot influence others unless she knows herself. “Know thyself.’ But you cannot know yourself unless you construct yourself.
- Hence Self becomes a hypothesis; and object of understanding by way of constructon. By manipulating it. Henxce ethics becomes a program of design of conduct (gedrag) that allows for the constructability of Self.It is no longer bound to an identitarian idea of Self; by a certain form of constitution. It’s no longer moral, contractual, but it is rational and destinal, in the sense of selfrealization.
Once you understand it by way of function as these autonomous entities that can escape the straightjacket of constitution then it starts to selfrealize. And then it becomes neoconfucianism.
‘the totality of the system is illusion’ all it is is the integration of functions. Which is the funamental definition of the modern account of the system.
You cannot understand a system unless you act on it; you manipulate is. Because the behavior of the system is coupled with the concept of tendencies or the abstract properties that need to be amplified. But also functions are manipulable entities. Function organization is about manipulation and you cannot identify these functions unless you manipulate the causal fabric.
Materiality is a certain form of organization, of hierarchy. Hierarchy is the register of complexity of material systems. It has to do with how accumulation of functions, of a structure works. Nested organization of different hierarchies. I.e. in a biologial organism you have traces of inorganic; not toally biological and its not reducable tot he laws pf physics. It has its own inclusive explanatory and rule of governance. You can’t reduce the biological domain to the physical domain. i.e. because physics is about optimization. i.e. the law of the least action. Like how a river always streams the shortest possible route to the sea. Dit soort organization bestaat niet bij biological organisms, beacuse evolution is not about that kind of optimization. It is based on a certain form of ecological fitness that renders the understanding of the effectuve optimization of the laws of physics obsolete. Hence life is not effective. Evolution is not effective in that sense.