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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    Polytopia as Rhizomatic Hyperconnectivity- a new form of wisdom emerges
    Project: Polytopia
    If only you could see what I have seen with your eyes

    The off-world replicants in Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner

    This essay is part one of a new series of writings temporary called: " Philotopia - the philosophy of Polytopia"

    1. Deploying the Mind Simulator

    In what can surely be described as one of the most important papers in the philosophy of mind of the 20th century, Thomas Nagel asks, “What is it like to be a bat? Essentially an argument against total physicalism and apparently dualistic in its approach, I do not think he was a dualist nor do I think that the argument is correct in as much as it concerns consciousness, however I have found the argument interesting from a completely different perspective.

    I refer to the fact of the state of affairs of mind that is represented by the question itself, namely the very fact that we can ask such a question as:” what it is like to be [..insert whatsoever]..?” is to my mind the most salient point at play.

    It should be clear that the evolved capability of our minds to project an idea of ‘what it is like to be something’, that is other than ‘me’ the projector, is the most extraordinary phenomena we can pinpoint with a certain accuracy.

    But what is so special about this particular ability?

    My take at present is that this particular ability of human minds stands erect as the pillar foundation of empathy and recognition, simulation and imitation, and can be said to be the base root of all human communications.
    Furthermore I will state clearly that to my understanding the very fact that our minds have evolved in such a fashion as to be able to deploy an inner simulator of an other, mind, thing or thought, behavior or idea, defines the very uniqueness of sentiency.
    Whether we actually ask the question of:” what it is like to be..” or simply state a negation such as ‘I cannot possibly imagine what he or she is feeling’, or “I have no idea what a bat feels like’ or even “stupid question, there is no such thing as..” this very particular form of reflection represents a process of beingness that acts as the cornerstone of connectivity and by corollary more so of hyperconnectivity.

    The salient feature we need regard here concerns the minds capability to transport a narrative of experience across time and space into another localized and perceived reality or imagined reality and back to us for analysis. This feature of narrative transport, allows us the motion of visions across time, and permits us to in fact position alternate scenarios of conscious awareness as represented by other forms than ourselves (whether these are forms of life or not is a different question).
    The alternate scenarios we construct and posit as extensions in times stand for our capability both as individuals and as a race to devise futures (see futures as such), these futures can be construed to be an ‘other’ than ‘me’ or ‘other’ than ‘us’, as in ‘future me’ or ‘future us’.
    A ‘future me’ or a ‘future us’ is as much an ‘other’, separated in this case by the linear time continuum of perceived experience, as an ‘other than me’ that is concomitant in space and time but differs in perceived form or behavior or indeed conscious awareness.

    Therefore, when we think of devising a future and essentially acting out the futurist in us, we actually use the capability of projection of awareness across time and space into a different reality than the one perceived in and at present.

    In the case I will try to elucidate here, the transport of narratives concerns the common vision of a better world.

    The vision of a better world so common and yet so elusive, is the act of deploying our mind simulator in the question of :”what is it like to be..” But simulated as a future to be envisioned.

    Deploying the mind simulator in this fashion demands of us a very special kind of mindset, a certain very special mindset, a mindset in which the projection of the future human civilization is a direct reflection of our understanding the meanings embedded in the term a better world.

    So: “ what is it like to live in a better world?”

    Let us start by simulating a future nostalgia, the description of which may make all the difference.

    The way we describe our world shows how we think of our world.
    How we think of our world directs how we interpret our world.
    How we interpret our world governs how we participate in it.
    How we participate in the world shapes the world.


    Robert Fripp in a salvaged “Notes to Myself” file, cited in his diary (November 30, 1998) at Entersection.)



    2.Future nostalgia

    Let us for a moment imagine the implementation of our visions, those, without false and undue humility, we may call visions for a better world.
    But first, a relevant question need be begged here: ‘In what fashion are we to understand the term ‘better’ in the context of a ‘better world’? What would in fact constitute betterment?

    Not being a believer in identity in the concept of self, the basic understanding I carry is that identity if at all relevant as a subject of inquiry into betterment lies in the gaps between concepts or in the tension between contexts.

    The meaning of the above is that identity can be described as an event of the gaps.

    Identity as an Event of the gaps

    As a start let us consider that identity in the abstract sense needs a concurrency and congruency of contexts working in tandem under the aegis of a particular mind (itself at present subjugated to the body sustaining it). Though this is not a dualistic approach it will make sense to reflect that the existential space we claim as our own is not confined to the localized sense thought perceptions of our own materiality or mentality.
    Between the axis of objectification (or the demand for such) and the axis of subjectivity (or the belief in such) lies an insurmountable gap, an event of emotionality that we call identity.
    The gaps between contexts, the void between sense-thoughts, in and within the stream of our minds might be the only space for chaos to preside, we may also call this the choice event.

    The choice event

    Though neuroscience is increasingly performing the task of demonstrating that the concept of free will is outdated (at least as it is commonly used), the actions of performing decisions of directionality still (and for an extended future will) bear relevance, especially as concerns the extension of our identities (as the event of the gaps) into the infosphere. The relevance pointed to here is concerned with directions of what we perceive as enhancement of our state of affairs, decisions and choices, which we ‘believe’ will make our world better.

    Hence the correlation to the betterment concept;

    To reiterate then, our identity can be said to lie as an event of gaps, gaps between concepts, gaps between contexts, a tension between the desire of objectivity and the belief in subjectivity. If as I surmise above, the very directionality of our actions finds its core in the event of gaps, it follows that the influence of certain particular concepts, in this case the concept of ‘better’ is particularly strong in the event of gaps.

    The important thing is to understand life, each living individuality, not as a form, or a development of form, but as a complex relation between differential velocities, between deceleration and acceleration of particles. A composition of speeds and slownesses on a plane of immanence.


    Deleuze

    What does this mean?

    It may mean that we need reconfigure our understanding of the semantic phase space in which resides the term ‘better’ to fit a different understanding of the concept of identity. The reason we need do this is implicit in our desire for betterment as relayed by the term: ‘a better world’, for how can we perform the activity required of and for a better world, if we have no comprehension of the meaning we ascribe to and in the term betterment?

    At present my take on the issue is that the meaning we ascribe to ‘a better world’ is a direct manifestation of the inherency of the event of the gaps. Put differently, since we exist as an event of gaps, there is no meaning to ascribe that is not already in the interrelation of all our conceptual semantic phase space. And again, ‘better’ in the semantic phase space of the event of gaps means simply the free flow of in-betweens.

    Of course it follows that not only that there is no ‘self’ to speak of, there is of course no such animal as a ‘true self’ or correlated derivatives, what there is, if ‘isness’ as a signifier is to be invoked at all, is a metamindsphere of events of gaps, or an ecosphere of identities, all flowing as a mind stream of in-betweens, a flow of gaps and voids if you like.

    Taken together then, a better world as a statement carries the potential meaning of a clearer stream of in-betweens, the stream of in-betweens is a manner of describing the flow of events in a clear fashion, a fashion which can potentially allow us to re-describe the future we desire.



    3. A clearer stream of in-betweens.

    The fact that we have evolved the mental emotional capability to ‘put oneself in somebody else’s shoes’, as the common folk saying goes, is nothing less than tantalizing, even if the mirror neurons theory is correct it still remains somewhat of a mystery.

    The reason it is such a mystery concerns what is commonly called the paradox of change, or relative identity in identity theory:

    The Ship of Theseus Paradox:

    "Imagine a wooden ship restored by replacing all its planks and beams (and other parts) by new ones. Plutarch reports that such a ship was "… a model for the philosophers with respect to the disputed arguments … some of them saying it remained the same, some of them saying it did not remain the same" (cf. Rea 1995). Hobbes added the catch that the old parts are reassembled to create another ship exactly like the original. Both the restored ship and the reassembled one appear to qualify equally to be the original. In the one case, the original is "remodeled", in the other, it is reassembled. Yet the two resulting ships are clearly not the same ship. (See the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy for more)"


    The ship of Theseus metaphor is possibly the best illustration we can use to describe the kind of mind we are and the kind of world we live in at the beginning of the 21st century.
    We are a mind in flux continuously changing, evolving and mutating, a mind coherently and consistently influencing and being influenced by a world that is itself continuously in just such a flux, being transformed, evolving and mutating.
    How much more of a truism the above is when it comes to the hyperconnected infocology we have evolved to exist in.
    The fast pace of innovation, the tantalizing scientific discoveries, the rapid advancement and introduction of new technologies, and above all the hyperconnected infosphere all in tandem, have increased the speed of fluctuations, the actual flux of existence of our minds and identities, to such an extant that for all immediate purposes the stability of our old conceptual frameworks has been shattered.
    Our dilapidated contextual and abstract frames of reference have been shattered and yet we still use old formulations to speak and contain a new state of affairs.
    None more so perhaps than our old perspectives on what it is like to live in a better world.

    If the flow of in-betweens of our so called identities is in continuous flux and the world in which said identities is in continuous flux, isn’t it time to change our worldviews to match this transition?

    4.Changing our perspectives

    The hyperconnected infosphere has created a new state of affairs in which the question of “what is it like to be..” or ‘putting oneself into somebody else’s shoes’ has been reformulated to mean a hyper-meshing of flows of events of identities, in which not only our motion of gaps as flux has been transformed but also the very meaning we have attributed to the motion itself, namely the meaning attributed to betterment.

    In the new perspective suggested here, the worldview of base is one in which hyperconnectivity as the foundation of thriving in flux infocologies is said to stand as a reflection for the inner event of the gaps described above.

    The correlation is simple enough: the apparent identity of a particular mind as the event of gaps is reflected in the identity of the infocology that same mind resides in as the event of gaps in-between the different minds partaking of the same infocology.

    From a different perspective we could say the following:

    Voids between concepts are the actual spaces where meaning resides; these voids have shapes, tensions and form. The motion of these voids represents the underlying infra-flows of minds in hyperconnected mode.

    Infra-flows and hyper-flows are the two initial states of the infosphere, it is within the exchange of these two flows that we need look if we are to understand the term better in the context of ‘a better world’.
    The clarification of our semantic existential phase space, by which we explicate what we mean and from which we take our motive strengths of action is a fundamental necessity if we are to create a better world.
    Visions of a better world, like Theseus ships, are in constant flux, so are we, so is the world, the hyper-complex intersubjective relationships emerging from these different fluxes need redirect our gaze to a much broader and deeper understanding of that which we are creating.

    Polytopia as a Rhizomatic Hyperconnected state of affairs is the ground of engagement upon which and from which we will eventually rise as a better specie that has in due eventuality created a better world and a new form of wisdom.


    shortly to be continued..

    notes:

    For the term Philotopia (the Philosophy of Polytopia) I am indebted to Syncopath for the actual coining of the term Philotopia in a recent chat.

    Images in text:
    1. Information leak by Richard Evans
    2. Antony Gormley

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    CoCreatr     Wed, Jul 21, 2010  Permanent link
    Thank you for the insights. Looking forward to the next part.

    One question remains, for the space in-between.

    What is it like to be no 'self' to speak of?
    Wildcat     Fri, Jul 23, 2010  Permanent link
    CoCreatr :
    “One question remains,for the space in-between.

    What is it like to be no 'self' to speak of?”




    There are many possible ways to describe :” What is it like to be no 'self' to speak of”
    one way just came up in the definition of David Eagleman :

    “..Possibilian: a word to describe those who “celebrate the vastness of our ignorance, are unwilling to commit to any particular made-up story, and take pleasure in entertaining multiple hypotheses.” (see here for a fascinating exposition of his thoughts)

    So in a sense we could say that having no self to speak of simply means that it is meaningless to postulate the ‘I’ sense, at least in as much as the ascription of continuity is given as such.

    However the above is quite obscure so to give a more coherent answer I need use the tools of poetry and prose, metaphors and the like.

    In this vein then here is a sort of Haiku written just now:


    Turbulent waters of chaos
    Silent
    Immersed in virtual absence
    To have no self to speak of
    Difference


    Venessa     Fri, Jul 23, 2010  Permanent link
    and what, do you suggest, would be the mechanism that would enable one to

    a.) adopt a fully inclusive worldview of all of humanity, if not extending beyond

    and

    b.) to conceptualize that meaning exists in the gaps, and that we are constantly in flux

    i have become myopic in my associations, comfortably locating myself within a community of thinkers with an expansive mindset; sadly, this is not the greater reality "out there" in the world. many firmly adhere to their singular viewpoint, see the world as us vs. them, and do not think about implications of actions, or the driving forces, motivations, and ideologies that influence their own thoughts and decisions. what will it take for this raising of conscious awareness to extend beyond the sphere of our philosophical companions?
    Infinitas     Fri, Jul 23, 2010  Permanent link
    You painted quite the picture, Wildcat. It's not unlike something that I had envisioned in a dream...

    And if I may share some insight:

    As I try to visualize the concepts, I imagine the traditional plane of space and time. And just as a large mass sits on the plane and creates a curvature due to gravity, the idea of a "self" is identical to the effects of a singularity on the plane. An infinite amount of possibilities exist surrounding the "gap", and all the possibilities of decisions can alter the "directionality" of that singularity. If one were to experience "no self" than there would exist only a "silent" plane.

    In addition and as I have not-so-eloquently suggested in a previous post: this idea of a "plane," or perhaps "existence" would suffice, could be likened to a string, an axis or a line. The wave, or more accurately, the wave particle, along this axis, our present "self," is the variability and direction of our perceived "self" through time. To be just a line would be to have no "self" passing along through existence as nature, perhaps, intended if it weren't for our sentience. And to push it to limit, maybe to be just an unwavering point in this silent vastness would be to exist unhindered by space and time. Isn't that a foreseeable outcome of technology and the virtual? Or even likened to the Buddhist concept of Nirvana, being liberated from ignorance?

    There was something formless and perfect
    before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty.
    Solitary. Unchanging.
    Infinite. Eternally present.
    It is the mother of the universe.
    For lack of a better name,
    I call it the Tao. (Tao Te Ching)
    Wildcat     Sun, Jul 25, 2010  Permanent link
    Hello Venessa and thank you for a thoughtful comment,

    I am quite certain that the questions you ask are in the minds of most of us and are indeed very difficult and expansive points and issues that need be addressed if we are to create or more accurately, allow to emerge, this ‘better world’ we all dream about.

    My first answer to your last question namely: “what will it take for this raising of conscious awareness to extend beyond the sphere of our philosophical companions?”
    Is simple enough and highly difficult to realize, it is a quote from Albert Camus:

    “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

    Albert Camus

    I use this above quote because when all is said and done, when all philosophies and visions are presented and expounded, explicated to the last detail, it is still the integrity of one’s freedom that represents the actual change of the state of affairs of mind. It is only through such kind of freedom that understanding and empathy will become the staples of a future and better civilization.

    We need remember that as conscious aware beings, at least to the extant that between randomness and determinism we allow for the initial conjugation of free and will, we have different notions of what will in due time constitute a better world, our notions of better may very well appear as hell on earth for others, hence lies the problem. (read this simple but clear exposition on the subject: Design your own utopia)

    It is patently clear that, to use your first point, namely :” adopt a fully inclusive worldview of all of humanity, if not extending beyond” we need propose a large enough framework of possibilities of expression and potentials, such indeed is the very fabric of the Polytopia project.

    Moreover the manner of exposition we have chosen for the polytopia project is one of extensive arguments for the fundamental benefit to the future of humanity in the acceptance of the different and diverse. Including all those that at present you refer to as ;” firmly adhere to their singular viewpoint, see the world as us vs. them, and do not think about implications of actions, or the driving forces, motivations, and ideologies that influence their own thoughts and decisions. “

    Change will not happen by coercion but by enticement, not from above or from below, change happens in hypercomplexity by the flirting ambientation of a few extreme propagators of change such as yourself and many others in our so called niche of futurists pathfinders.

    Finally, allow me to say this, as you know I am a great believer in change through language (read this for an interesting take on the difference in cultures born of language differences : Lost in Translation)
    Through the change in language and by consequence its implication both on the particular individual and her conceptual representation of the world change in motivational perspective becomes change in action and behavior and propagates through the different layers of reality.
    We have at present a fascinating experiment going on in the infosphere that does just that, let us be the agencies of freedom that we desire using the language of a future posthuman that finds no solace in old terminologies and the enticement of his comfort zone. In its stead let us use the new language to allow the emergence of the civilization we so deeply desire.

    This cannot be rushed.


     
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