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Comment on The Luxurious Ambiguity of Intelligence in Hyperconnectivity

starwalker Sun, Jun 5, 2011
Thank you for the wide and absorbing view, the implanted lines of thought are many and active. Pausing a moment on the mechanics at play in this open redefinition of identity.

One of the reflections the essay brings to my mind is correlated to the kind of bias commonly at play while extracting order from information, the bias that brings one to locate rigidity - or constant order - before fluidity – or flow of variation, not necessarily a hard-wired bias.

From a different standpoint, a recent lecture of Metzinger on the illusion of self, presents some experiments around the ability of a human to recognize something as part of her - as herself. In the specific example the subject is as if tricked through her perception to perceive a rubber hand as hers and thus react when witnessing the stimulation of it.
What in my eyes is striking in this instance, and which connects me with the above reflection blown open in the present essay, is that the operation of recognizing something as part of one-self is, compared to what one would expect to experience or describe, surprisingly flexible and quick enough to recall an almost fluid quality. I would say even that ‘the system’ seems as if it is pre-disposed, if rightly stimulated, to acquire/internalize/recognize different items, whether items of description, impressions or objects, as parts of itself.

writing ‘the system’ because in this context it is not relevant, nor currently possible, to clearly define what it is, but at the moment looking at a multidimensional complex network of connected nodes out of which the ‘sense' of existing, or, the ‘subjective' experience emerges, the sense that somewhere along the last centuries we learned to call ‘self’.
The impression is as if this sense of “self” is pre-disposed to expand and include relevant items that participate/filter or augment ‘self’ presence and expression. And one of the way we use the physical body is to discipline this expansion back to the contours of a specific identity and form (thus the need for the rigid designators) unless in very special circumstances or unique cases.

Within the paradigm of self, this tendency to expand and internalize is described both in language and attitude through ‘possession’ or ‘ownership’. Said otherwise the overall phenomena of ownership can be looked at as a smaller case of a naturally expanding sense of self, a ‘network’ constantly creating new connections, which acquires and owns indiscriminately ideas, objects and personas, creating between them an emotional communication for as long as they are connected.

Yet when correlating this surprising ability of subjects with the concept of possession we sharply back off and take our distance, and one can clearly understand why, in actuality it is very easy to see how this representation can make co-existence of more than one sense of self (two or more conscious agents) in a room either impossible, or futile (either a war of ownership or a virtual split of universes)

Yet what brought to light by the process of virtualization of identity brings a new and fundamental difference into view

W: Whilst embodied identities maintain a formal highly structural and therefore rigid set of indicators, defined primarily as body, gender etc., our virtual identities are factually indicated in a fluid manner and thus pertain to the flaccid designators category. The initial condition of the human thus has changed and can no longer be theorized based on immovable objects of identity. What the Polytopian stance suggests is that our virtual identities are in fact social entities in and of themselves allowing a co-present, inter-subjective, hyper-connected, state of affairs, radically rewriting the codes of social encounters.


Part of what am reading in it is that appreciating the change in paradigm brought about by the virtualization of identity, and thus allowing a gradual release of the aspect of ownership from a centralized self within the equation of who/what we are, situate the tendency of a multidimensional complex network to dynamically include and internalize, once allowed the necessary ambiguity to operate, as yielding some very new properties and begging a re-definition of both individual and interaction.

Possibly what we mostly need is not enacted codes of confinement and contouring (though this seems the current ‘natural’ reaction present everywhere in our interactions), as much as to re-engineer the description of the emerging subjective "sense”, building a corridor from the paradigm of ‘self’ having a loci and a center, towards an iterative landscape of intelligence allowing to know by processes of simultaneous overlapping – in interaction – via fluid affinity, as opposed to via ownership.

Would you correlate the process of simultaneous overlapping to what you point to as intersubjective?

looking forward to further elaborations on this line.