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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
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

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    What will happen when for the first time in ages different human species will inhabit the earth at the same time? The day may be upon us when people...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    “A concept is a brick. It can be used to build the courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”

    Brian Massumi - Introduction to A Thousand Plateaus


    The social aspect of the hyperconnected web carries an update to the nature of propinquity. Propinquity is a conceptual brick we need re-acquire and redefine in the era of hyperconnectivity. By allowing the texture of hyperconnected virtuality to gain precedence we will open new realms of sensual experience previously unexplored, these realms offer the potential to explore new forms of freedom not previously accessible or existent.
    Polytopians are Knowmads pushing the edge of texture (of flows of interest) by embodying the new meaning of propinquity.

    1. Proximity means value!?- A no-brainer! Not so fast.

    Propinquity is all about the nearness or more accurately proximity, basically it is a concept that determines the value of proximity, whether the value being determined is one based on physical space proximity such as defined by the study of proxemics or defined by idea of proximity by kinship, group ideology and the like, the original formulation is the same – distance defines value.

    When we say that distance defines value- we imply a number of characteristics that seem obvious on surface:
    The value of my physical neighbor is higher to me than the value of a person living in a different county, country, continent and so on. On the same line, the value of a person is higher to me if we are blood related, clan related, nation related, or indeed if we belong to the same gender, political party, or we study the same subject matter.
    Accordingly people who share similar beliefs, similar taste in music or food are said to have a higher propinquity quotient, such a high quotient apparently prioritizes the value of the relationship and by implication the value of that person to me.
    Propinquity is a very subtle and difficult subject to tackle if only for the immense amount of evidence showing this to be a no-brainer, proximity means value, end of story.

    Not so fast

    Without needing to destroy the almost obvious conclusion that propinquity still plays an important role in our lives, on this planet at this time, it is my understanding that the very nature of propinquity, the inherent meaning of proximity is changing because of the hyperconnected state of affairs we find ourselves in.
    Hyperconnectivity and by derivation, mobility, both physical and memetic, ideological, informational and technological changes the nature of the formula: “proximity defines value” into a new formula: “ intersubjectivity co-extends value”.

    2. Intersubjectivity co-extends value

    From the perspective of hyperconnectivity the value of a network node relies on its texture of interest. A texture of interest is defined here as the availability of weaved interest structure to sensation. To emphasize, the usage of an avatar as the representation of a player in an online game, for example, relies on the creation of a texture of interests for the mind in question. Such a texture made of a narrative, deployed via audio, visual and sensory stimulation to the minds redefines the meaning of proximity and by implication the meaning of value.
    My avatar in game playing is not a representation of me; it is a co-extensive realization of an ‘other me’ in a virtual situation. This ‘other me’ I surmise to be a different kind of embodiment of the concept of propinquity.
    In other words the psychological meaning of ‘nearness or proximity’ in hyperconnectivity has been dramatically altered.

    Propinquity in hyperconnectivity means gradual intersubjective co-embodiment of flows of interest.
    This new state of affairs creates a multiplicity of textures previously unavailable to our minds, and thus a whole realm of sensuality was ipso facto non existent, this new realm of hyperconnected propinquity, demands a new form of discourse to come into play a discourse that will steer the conversation of intimacy towards our desires, fruitful, and urgent.

    3. A difference in Course-plotting the flow of interests

    Knowmads are sensual initiators, new kind of minds that lubricate the gap of meanings, by interposing their own subjective contexts to (apparently) unrelated info forms.
    The difference between simply curating information, a practice well on its way of becoming ubiquitous and interposing subjective contexts is one of quality and not quantity. For whilst it is plain that aggregating infovores are continuously reinventing the art of curation using online engines that have simplified collection of information to a click, Knowmads perform a different trick.
    The trick is subtle and yet profound, it is in fact a paradigmatic shift from the application of the concept of partiality (as in these are my choices of relevant information) to the newcomer concept of this is the worldview of the mind I stand for, this we may dub the creative bias.

    The creative bias in hyperconnectivity defines flows of interest, by that creating a difference in course plotting the flow of interests. This difference is the very engine that allows diversity in points of view to become a significant factor (and not simply an opinion node) in the evolution of the web.

    But there is something even more interesting happening here, hyperconnected minds are weavers of textures not hitherto available for consummation (not a typo- for it is a consummation) and thus not open to exploration. By interposing their worldview bias as the criterion of choice in a continuous fashion Knowmads actually create bridges of value not previously accessible.

    Because of these bridges, value in hyperconnectivity bypasses the original conditions of physical and temporal proximity and redefines propinquity.

    The change in the nature of propinquity, in which minds distant in space and in time gradually become valuable to each other with no old style trappings in between, but the disposition of their flows of interests, represents a new state of affairs of the mind of humanity and indeed the biosphere.


    shortly to be continued..
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    Who are those people?

    They are what remain of the original colony.

    What happened to the rest of them?

    No one really knows, but rumors suggest that they are not far from here, in what conspiracy theorists call the real Vanevar 7.

    But why did they leave? Vanevar 7 is already the most advanced human colony; open sourced government and all, a practical application of utopian technoprogressive transhumanist ideals. (I was repeating the V7 motto of course)

    Yes but it is whispered that some of the original colonists had a vision far greater than and much more radical than what this society allowed at that time, though of course you could ask what can possibly be more radical than Vanevar 7?

    How do you mean?

    Well, considering that V7 is already a posthuman colony in which almost everything is allowed, every ethical boundary we knew has been practically re designed from scratch, every option for human machine symbiosis is being explored, and hybrids are as common as empty space, uploaded and downloaded persons have rights and everything you know.. What possibly could the real Vanevar 7 colonists desire that even the openness of this V7 would not permit?



    I turned, I could play stupid that much. How could I explain to this rich gentleman that what he was going to see had nothing to do with our ideas? What he was going to meet was the required posthuman utopian idealistic ‘better than’ poster society.

    We started the campaign a few solar years back for the express purpose of eliminating the need of people like this to come and poke their noses into our affairs, they wanted to invest, we needed the investment, they got what they asked for, we provided the technology and the dream, now let us do our job.

    He was not completely wrong though, the V7 he was going to see was as real as you like, it was a charade however, a hoax in the deepest sense of the term, meaning it was very real indeed.
    What people could not understand was that V7, the real V7 that is, had a very different purpose; we did not desire to know what we could achieve with advanced technology whilst keeping ourselves human, whatever that may have meant. No, what we were doing was something much more audacious and of course risky, we were exploring a realm of optionality that had in fact nothing to do with humans.

    Those of us that took upon themselves to explore the realm of entanglement made a pact with those that were to be our façade, our galactic face, until such a time that we could offer some tangible entry into the optional. We were not concerned with being more than human; we were occupied with being other.

    So we hide.

    Because though the human race will allow all enhancements, it will not allow a deviation from what they consider the original human nature.
    They are still struggling to understand how human is a V7 cyborg, how natural is a human feline hybrid, or how a multi-gendered many bodied system relates to a single personality.
    Childs play really, all these were experiments we did in the past, entertaining and exciting, as they may have been then, for us, in the real V7, they are almost archeology.

    But it’s a good show I grant you this.

    We on the other hand have nothing to show, not to those simplistic eyes we don’t, we are exploring exaptation to a new degree, it was not there in the original evolutionary blueprint, hence we need to map it, this new realm.

    That is what we do in the real V7 we are explorers! that is all, we simply have no limit.

    (part of the Ultrashort Project)
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    What is so peculiar, even curious in a strange sense, concerning the current events of global unrest is not the actuality of the events themselves but the fact that these events do not coalesce (as of yet that is) around a particular and immediately recognizable leader or agenda.
    In fact to a very large extent it could be called a non-prophet organization, there is no prophet and there is no prophecy, there is also no specific nation to which this is true, the unrest is quite global in its reach and impact.
    I submit to you that the stirring we are witnessing all over the world, is the awakening of a new kind of mind.

    Where is our future?

    Whilst it is true that the levels of inequalities in the modern world have reached new peaks of ridiculousness (see: Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About...) it is also true, at least according to S.Pinker in the economist that the level of violence is the lowest ever( see: Human violence
    Punchline: People are less violent than ever, two authors argue. They just can’t agree why.
    )

    Over at project syndicate Nouriel Roubini states that :
    “This year has witnessed a global wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel’s middle-class protests against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on living standards; protesting Chilean students; the destruction in Germany of the expensive cars of “fat cats”; India’s movement against corruption; mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China; and now the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States.”

    And finally that :
    ” Of course, the malaise that so many people feel cannot be reduced to one factor.”


    (see: The Instability of Inequality - Nouriel Roubini)

    Over at the Washington post an interview with Kalle Lasn, the man behind it all :

    “There’s suddenly a strange, magical occupation in Zuccotti Park, and it inspires occupations around the world, and it’s inspired by people who look into the future and think it doesn’t compute.”

    (Occupy Wall Street: An interview with Kalle Lasn, the man behind it all )

    And :”
    “Occupy Wall Street is essentially leaderless, fueled by social media and collective collaboration, operating on the consensus forged during twice-a-day meetings known as the General Assembly, where all are encouraged to participate.”


    (Time, Global Spin: Occupy Wall Street: A New Era of Dissent in America?)

    Finally maybe the most important bit by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt :

    “No Martin Luther King, Jr. will emerge from the occupations of Wall Street and beyond. For better or worse — and we are certainly among those who find this a promising development — this emerging cycle of movements will express itself through horizontal participatory structures, without representatives. Such small-scale experiments in democratic organizing would have to be developed much further, of course, before they could articulate effective models for a social alternative, but they are already powerfully expressing the aspiration for a real democracy.”


    Occupy Wall Street as a fight for "real democracy"
    By Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

    A world in transit

    The way I see it, is that the current events are an eruption of a general malaise of a world in transit, a humanity caught between its past and its future in a limbo like situation in which it feels but cannot articulate, there is a state of mind here indeed, a state of mind shared by millions around the planet.

    Yes, the state of affairs of the world is one of disarray, but that is not the reason behind the stirrings we are witnessing, it is not a movement born of a demand for better democracy or better government, though all these are implied and asked for.

    Yes there is a humanistic aspect to the stirring, there is a demand for dignity and health care, for jobs and better employment (though these terms are highly contested), there are also demands for culprits to be punished, the so-called 1% and so on.

    In one of the better readings of the current events professor Bernard E. Harcourt over at the NewYork Times says:

    “Occupy Wall Street is best understood, I would suggest, as a new form of what could be called “political disobedience,” as opposed to civil disobedience, that fundamentally rejects the political and ideological landscape that we inherited from the Cold War.”


    And further down in the same post:
    “Ultimately, what matters to the politically disobedient is the kind of society we live in, not a handful of policy demands.”


    Occupy Wall Street’s ‘Political Disobedience’By BERNARD E. HARCOURT

    A hyperconnected world, a hyperconnected mind

    There is a general dissatisfaction here, a grand sensation of frustration and discontent, a deep and highly resonating awareness that feels ‘real’ and actual, immediate and momentous.

    But what is the stirring all about? In spite of all the very real grievances and very real changes needed to, well, to everything more or less, I submit to you that the stirring we are witnessing all over the world, is the awakening of a new kind of mind.
    And this stirring has no reason, no specific reason that is, or at the very least no reason that can be articulated presently.
    Before you jump consider the idea that in our hyperconnected world the ease with which we get access to information and notification is unlike anything we have ever experienced,In an hyperconnected world the mind changes, it becomes a hyperconnected mind, this changes everything.

    "The critical mass of wiki and mapping tools, video and social networking sites, the communal news wire of Twitter and the ease of donations afforded by sites like PayPal makes coalitions of like-minded individuals instantly viable.


    “You’re looking at a generation of 20- and 30-year-olds who are used to self-organizing,” said Yochai Benkler, a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. “They believe life can be more participatory, more decentralized, less dependent on the traditional models of organization, either in the state or the big company. Those were the dominant ways of doing things in the industrial economy, and they aren’t anymore.”

    (As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe- NYTimes)

    Non-Conceptual Content and hyperconnectivity

    There is a real reason why it is so difficult to pinpoint the exact meaning of the global stirring, the precise activity needed and demanded, I believe the reason is one of vision.
    There is a very deep similarity between that which is happening and the theory of non-conceptual content.
    “The central idea behind the theory of non-conceptual mental content is that some mental states can represent the world even though the bearer of those mental states need not possess the concepts required to specify their content.”

    (Nonconceptual Mental Content at the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


    There is such a thing as a global state of mind, the state of the noosphere if you prefer, it was always there to different extents, hyperconnectivity however has made it manifest, the infoverse has given it flesh and action and visibility.
    This global state of mind is presently a non conceptualized content state and thus cannot be articulated precisely, for it is large, all encompassing, interdependent, and intersubjective.
    It is complex and ambiguous, made of all the nodes, that we are, that we have created and that we use, those nodes implicit and explicit, some made of neurons, some made of silicon, exchange information at rates no single one of us can compute privately, but whether we accept it or not, it is humanity accessing a new state of affairs it has created.

    The era of separatedeness is ending, no longer can one event be alienated from another, not in space, not in time, and not in meaning, and unlike Kevin Kelly, I do not think it is a new form of socialism, it is not anarchism, (beside the fact that I have a deep dislike to any form of ‘ism’), it is a new kind of mind, implied by the rise of a cyber unified civilization.

    The stirring we are witnessing though being non conceptualized at present, is one of health, and birth, like all births it is wild eyed and in a sense confused, ambiguous, unclear and at times will unfortunately lash at the world, unwilling to be defined by its past.
    The crisis engendered by this inner stir is here to stay for a long while; it is a period of necessary instability to which we need to learn to adapt and create new language and new tools, made for a new kind of mind by a new kind of mind.

    Patience.
    It is beautiful
    Occupy the Mind, the rest will follow.

    "Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance - these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible."


    Isaiah Berlin


    will be continued..
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    "Dance, Dance, otherwise we are lost.."


    Pina Bausch


    I have finally managed to watch this most fascinating piece of cultural evolution via technology, transposing the tribal effect of dance upon an unsuspecting beholder;
    I speak of Pina, a film by Wim Wenders.




    There are so many ways to understand (or not) this film, as an homage, as a memoriam, as a love tribute from a friend to another, as a monument to a great dance choreographer, as a poem of sensitivity lovingly depicted with images on screen, as an artistic manifestation of technological prowess, as a re-mythification process in which we are privileged to share, as a fresh breeze in the dullness of what cinema has become, as a document of historicity in action, re-enacted in love, as a mode of reflection upon the case of Pina Bausch, as an exploration of the manner of existential realism depicted in the motion of bodybodies,and even as a voyaging examination of what a clan of dedicated humans can accomplish when guided towards a new set of emotions.

    There are indeed so many ways to celebrate the greatness of the human, so many fashions and manners of expression that at times particular instances might be lost to our historical perspective and thus may not be recognized as such.
    Though I firmly acknowledge both my love for the oeuvre of Pina Bausch and my appreciation for Wim Wenders, I think that in the case of this experimental procedure, and procedure it is, the end result is, to put it mildly and unashamedly, exhilarating.

    I am using this film, as I believe it should be used, as a sign, as a stand for, as a symbol, or better yet as a modern and quite revolutionary approach to the transmission across time and spaces of information that has no other way of interpenetrating our subjectivity.

    There is a very specific kind of information conveyed in this cinematic phrase, a kind of information that carries power and empowerment with it and within it. It is not the dance itself, grand as the choreography of Pina is, it is not in the dancers, great as they may be, it is not in the medium (3D) utilized by Wim Wenders and it is not in the factuality of the footages and very short interviews. No, not at all, the magic is in the reframing of the question of viscerality in the age of hyperconnectivity.

    For many the genius of Pina is under proposed in the film, putting her in the backstage and only smuggled in in-between breathtaking scenes of her troupe, barely perceived, almost ignored and yet to my eyes that is where her message and intelligence shine the most. Wim Wenders has managed to postpone the dream of the message long enough for us to be tantalized into an acceptance of factuality; this is a private ritual and only by later recall can the beholder perceive the threat of innovative aesthetics, which has penetrated the veils of banality and changed the beholder.

    There is a revolution of aesthetics going on in the world, under appreciated and mostly ignored by our eyes and minds having become so blasé and so accustomed to see that which was once mysterious as commonplace. The revolution in aesthetics provides a method or a pathway of undoing the obviousness of immediacy, of re-interpreting the common in a manner fitting the mind of now.
    Put differently I think that mediums of communication are deregulating the preciseness of messages, in the process demanding of us to be in greater form of mental gymnastics and we, unaware, are accommodating this demand. This non-awareness I see as highly critical and in a sense provocative and inspiring, for by hiding the message, the obvious is refreshed and re-appraised.

    The hidden message in the case of Pina, is an exploration of a possible answer to the question of physicality by other means, the interpenetration of the beholder in the material procedure of a dancer presented on the screen and yet able to somehow bridge the gap of emptiness and recreate within us a motion inexorable.

    It is high time to move past Macluhan and ‘the medium is the message’, to an ambiguous statement of juxtapositions of messages, transposing realities of old as modern technological propositions of rituals.
    At a time when world events yield new battlefields of us vs. them, the message of multidimensional visceral information being transmitted as an audiovisual representation implies upon us the ambiguity of the borderline, the ephemeral distinction between worlds and states.

    I believe that such is our task, as infovores, as impresarios of our self-description, to allow the bridge of the instinctual to transcend the animal motivations and present aesthetics of transformation as the ethos of the posthuman.

    These are just a few notes as an immediate response to what I have perceived via Pina.
    I am well aware that some of my best friends, being much more knowledgeable than I both in the realm of cinema and the field of dance will disagree with some or all of my reading of this film, I am biased in my excitement, but of course, how could it be otherwise?

    If you have the opportunity, watch Pina, and come here to tell.

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    Exploring the concept of cyber-identities, their application, evolution and necessary reformulation


    "Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be."

    Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game)

    There are many reasons for this essay but the main one is to emphasize why we desire, all of us humans that is, or so I wish to believe, a kinder civilization. A kinder civilization takes into account that an intelligent hyperconnected individual is a nexus of fluid transactions; both internal and external, such an individual is the basis for the cultural, social and aesthetic necessity of having a civilization in the first place. Each and every one of us contains an indefinite amount of possibilities, each of such able potentially to develop an ‘I’ that is consistent coherent and interesting.
    Each of which has or may have a name or a ‘Nym’, as the case may be.

    The infoverse we have created is the place where such development occurs and will continue to evolve, for this, cyberspace need remain wide open and fundamentally unfastened, a habitat for our minds to explore and elaborate all and everything.
    The main issue at play is that our cyber-identities are fundamentally fluid, open and deny nucleic identification , a fact, which by definition provides the framework and horizon from which to exercise our critical thought and in which we oppose or take a stand.
    Cyberspace is not only the new Agora; Cyberspace is the de-facto circumstances of our next step of evolution, as a culture, as a civilization and as individuals.
    Therefore safeguarding the very essence of the infoverse is vital and allowing it the critical dimension of pseudonymous activity is essential for said kinder cyber-civilization to arise.

    Intro:

    It has been a while now that the concept of identity in the cyber environment we exist in has been bundled, unbundled and re-bundled. It will not be untrue to state that very little examination of the very concept of cyber identity has been performed, in depth that is. The search for solutions, the seeking of codes, to answer the needs of corporations and governments has left very little room for the individual hyperconnected mind to find a fully coherent and reasonable approach to the problem of cyber-identity. The immense amount of problems to be worked out has created a situation in which the easiest and most ad-hoc solutions are taken on face value and are not as a rule taken to the deconstruction process necessitated by this new cyber-civilization co-extending our lives into new domains of existence.
    These domains, or infocologies, are new to our minds, fresh to our system of thought and paradigmatically different than everything we knew before hand.
    That is why a deconstruction is necessary so we can build our cyber identities from scratch; reconstructing ourselves into and as the cyber extended minds we have become and are continuously evolving into.
    Identity in the cyber world offers an unprecedented ground of engagement for the renewal and rejuvenation of the concept of the individual. To my mind this particular point is of critical importance if we are to leave the habits of old linear thinking and bootstrap ourselves into a new kind (and kinder) of civilization, a truly enlightened cyber civilization.

    "Sadly, at a time when so much sophisticated cultural criticism by hip intellectuals from diverse locations extols a vision of cultural hybridity, border crossing, subjectivity constructed out of plurality, the vast majority of folks in this society still believe in a notion of identity that is rooted in a sense of essential traits and characteristics that are fixed and static."

    Bell Hooks (Art on My Mind: Visual Politics)

    What is Identity?

    As always it is good to know what one talks or writes about at least in as much as language provides us with a tool that can to a certain extent be validated and accepted across a wide enough range so as to be domain universal.
    Identity if so, comes from Latin, from the term Identitas (Idem) that basically means: being the same, sameness, repeated, identical to itself and so on. (For an extended list of definitions see here).
    However if there is one issue about which our modern lexical vocabulary is quite certain it is that identities are anything but identical to themselves across time.

    “Heraclitus argued that one could not bathe in the same river twice because new waters were ever flowing in. Hume argued that identity over time was a fiction we substitute for a collection of related objects” (Identity over time- Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy )

    As a first approximation let us posit that the correlation of an identity to a particular person-body is a feature of the material world, based on the infrastructure of the world and the way things operate in what is commonly accepted under the (erroneous) term:"the real world", as it is now.
    However, cyberspace, the infoverse and all correlated terminologies that have at base the concept of information (and subsequently the virtual) do not lend themselves to this closely coupled relationship. Information is fundamentally disembodied even if at base apparently substrate dependent, or as the case may be supervenient.

    As a second approximation let us posit that an identity is a social artifact construct, a bundle of traits and characteristics that may or may not be relevant with respect to a particular situation we find ourselves in. moreover if we accept that identity is a set of perceived characteristics (and perception here is a critical aspect of the definition) we must also accept that first person subjective experience does not pertain to this set if only for the simple reason that at present our thoughts and dreams, inner vision and so on is only accessible to our sense thought. We thus come to the point that is generally accepted as identity, a third person so called ‘objective’ representation of that same set of characteristics and traits that are recognizable and re-traceable (to the originator or bearer).

    Fundamentally the persona is nothing real: it is a compromise between individual and society as to what a man should appear to be. He takes a name, earns a title, exercises a function... In a certain sense all this is real, yet in relation to the essential individuality of the person concerned it is only a secondary reality, a compromise formation, in making which others often have a greater share than he. (Jung, 1935, p. 158)


    As a third approximation let us posit that an identity is a multiplicity of differences, different traits and characteristics, that do not necessarily attach themselves to the originator person and-or are not desired to be associated with other identifying characteristics and traits of that same person by that same person (irrespective to what others in her social circles may desire). Additionally it is a fact that different kinds of identities (such as political identity, national identity, sexual identity, ethnic identity and the like) are not and should not by default and necessity be compacted into a ‘one size fits all’ system of recognition. (Further down I shall argue that bundling these identities under one canopy namely ‘the real name’ of the person involved is tantamount to the arrest of the social development of our cyber civilization).

    Finally identity as it is used presently in cyberspace is far removed from the manner by which it is defined in dictionaries and commonly used in ‘normal’ speech. In fact the manner hyperconnected power users of the cyber civilization are using the concept of identity is much closer to the philosophical than to the social; it is therefore detrimental to our evolution to extend linear configurations belonging to the ‘real world’ into cyber space. Furthermore, as the hyperconnected infoverse increases in size and complexity, linkages and devices that are 24-7 online and thus reporting ‘back’ to some unknown central node, our cyber identities become more and more crucial, to our self descriptions and by extension to our self determination.

    Therefore a new definition of cyber identity is necessary, a definition that will permit a fluid, developing and emerging, de - centralized, manifold variable, ever iterating, descriptive and context sensitive.

    Nyms

    In cyberspace identity plays a role that is of a different nature then what we are used to in physical space. In a very simple manner of presentation I would say that a cyber-identity not only doesn’t push us away from the ‘real’ our cyber-identities are the means and tools for extending our semantic multiplicities, our multiple personas, meaningful personas, into the electronic light. In other words cyber identity is a process of opening up, of liberating a set of traits and characteristics that is already there or is in the process of developing that has or had no other means of exposing itself to critical thought or reflection.

    Herein lie a great misunderstanding; the point is that extending our minds into personae-s in cyberspace, is not a linear process and therefore, linearly extending that which comes from physicality into cyberspace (namely using all the basic traits and characteristics associated with the particular person, such as ‘real name’ and the like) is actually not a sign of integration but discontinuity. As I see it an integrated person is able to maintain a wide variety of interests and thoughts which are not necessarily coherent and or cohesive in the common manner of understanding, these may be ambiguous or outright contradictory and yet be given their proper due in her mind.
    A multiplicity of interests is a fundamental of an intelligently active mind, smartly exploring whatsoever that mind finds exciting at the time of exploration. Tracing back that particular interest to a particular embodiment in a vain attempt to narrate a whole that is fixedly contoured is not only erroneous in the sense that it violates the principle of multiplicity but is also unnatural in that the mind in question in its process of self-description requires space that are fundamentally disassociated from said embodiment.

    In fact to my eyes the falsity of so called integration between the physical world and cyberspace is exactly that which implies sameness (identity) in a dimension that is utterly non-identical to the point of origination. Cyberspace is NOT identical to the physical world and therefore should not be subjected to the same norms of identity recognition we commonly superficially apply in every day material interactions. It should be clear by now that my argument for the usage of Nyms (as pseudonyms are currently called) is not based on a need for privacy and any other consideration that is relevant (though these are highly important and necessary) but is about the future of the individual and the potential to re-invent ourselves as the infovores that we are.

    My sympathetic consideration of and for a pseudonym is as an expression that allows for a fluid reality in which you don’t have to present a fixed identity statement before entering a social interaction. Not only do I advocate the ‘privilege’ of pseudonymous activity and social interactions, it is my view that pseudonyms should be encouraged to all spheres of the infoverse, cyber-life and related infocologies.
    The pseudonymous argument is an argument against identity specificity: it fundamentally claims that I am a person with multiple identities and have desires of self-description that inherently carry a variety of ways of manifestations. A pseudonym is an argument against a basic foundational normalization, meant to extol the virtues of the multiple, the fluid, the emergent, the creative, the unknown and the serendipitous.

    A Nym is not a hiding place, it is not a secret, it is a representational image reflecting a particular form of interest exploration, an emotional transport system that carries ideas and reasons that are of critical importance to the originator. That this originator is a bundle of sense thoughts, a particular set of traits and characteristics that can (presently) be traced to a particular embodiment in the material world is insignificant in relation to the manner this individual desires to self explore in cyber space.

    Most forms of identification contain more information than is needed for any transaction. The unbundling that is possible in cyberspace allows portions of identity to be disassociated and verified by a third party. This not only creates the ability to verify via the least revealing means, but it also creates the framework for anonymous transactions - it is possible to merely verify the proper information without ever distributing the name characteristic. Further, cyberspace users have control over the strength of the link between their real world and cyber-identities.


    #3 (Professors Hal Abelson and Lawrence Lessig-10 December 1998)

    Self as practice- Nyms as performance

    Cyberspace and its technologically mediated environments gave birth to new paradigms of subjectivity and identity (Mansfield 2005). Cyberspace takes the fluidity of identity that is called for in everyday life even without computer networks , concretizes it, and challenges us to revisit the question of what we mean by identity and to think about identities in terms of multiplicity, as boundaries between the unitary and the multiple self are eroding ((Turkle 1996a; Turkle 1995, 9). As we shift, in cyberspace, through series of virtual personae, a fundamental shift happens in the way we create and experience human identity. We assume personae of our own creation, inventing ourselves as we go along, becoming authors of ourselves. We build a self by cycling through many selves (Turkle 1995, 178); thus, in this game the self is constructed and the rules of social interaction are built, not received.

    The factuality of shifting between personas, images, avatars and indeed Nyms, can be said to be the next step in the evolution of our self representation, self description and self determination, in fact it is the manner by which our minds re-organize the ‘real world’ of our inner workings, using the hyperconnected infoverse as the main tool through which we come into being, indeed through which we become ‘real’.

    The shift to multiple online personas is a cultural shift, in its infancy at present yet ordaining a new fashion of becoming. No longer are we to accept the closely coupled, body to identity attachment, for the self and by consequence identity is neither substance or being as such but a performance, a practice, a mind in action in its never-ending process of self-description. It is precisely because we have the privilege of using multiple personas in the hyperconnected infoverse that we can finally unbundle some of our traits and either eliminate these from view (and eventually at all) or insert other in their stead.

    Cyber identities are therefore a modern manner of intra-weaving a multiplicity of sense thoughts, involving an indefinite amount of impressions and de-centralization, implying a new manner to practice the self as a work of art (following Foucault).
    Moreover as the hyperconnected minds increase in connectivity the newly minted Nyms may take a life of their own and increasingly will come to provide fresh venues in which and by which we will extend ourselves as aesthetic works of art. In that Nyms are only the tip of the iceberg of the future of individuation.

    What is it like to be a Nym ?

    To be a Nym is to subjectively self describe in a virtualized environment based on hyperconnectivity. To be a Nym is to practice an aesthetic art of becoming through multiplying images of self-description that have at core a fluid and highly de-centralized economy of interests.
    Cyberspace is the fluctuating environment for the free flowing economy of interests, in that the hyperconnected infoverse allows the emergence of co-extensive infocologies in which and by which we trade in interests, ideas and sense thoughts, for the benefit of all. For this Nyms are an increasingly interesting practice allowing interactions and intersubjective co-creations in manners not previously possible.

    In a previous essay concerning the relationship avatar originator I have written:

    ..The hyperconnected virtually enmeshed infocologies, upon which we are projecting our newly minted avatars, are oscillating representations that slowly but surely are disengaging from their points of origination.
    This disengagement process, itself part of our cyborgization becoming, opens new options, fresh possibilities and a wide array of potentials for the evolution of our self-descriptions into new horizons of freedom.

    (Read: the Luxurious ambiguity of intelligence in hyperconnectivity)

    But beyond freedom and the necessary market place of ideas posited originally by Stuart Mill in ‘On Liberty’ and the autonomy argument necessitating anonymity I see the Nyms-Avatars challenge as an aesthetical vehicle for expanding the language of the mind in its social, cultural and indeed performative applications so as to allow a kinder cyber-civilization to rise healthily.

    To be a Nym, can therefore be said to be a statement of realization, an ideation in practice, a method of self-description, a soft designator of a field of interests, a continuity of exploration, a declaration of envisioning and a pointer to an artistic process of becoming real in the virtually enmeshed hyperconnected infoverse.

    A Nym may also be looked at as a self-created niche of activity that may engender the experience of transgressing the boundaries of the old habit of thought in which identity was bound to body-person. It may in fact very well be the case that multiple forms of self-representation in virtuality are the hallmark of the evolution of the mind. Nyms if so may create (and to my mind already are creating) a new ontology, consistent, cohesive and coherent, designating new approaches to the critique of diverse inquiries into the possible.



    Relating to the current conundrum concerning G+ anti-pseudonimity policy

    Most of you are probably already acquainted with the recent debates (see endnotes for an extensive reading list on the subject) concerning Google + anti pseudonimity policy. And yet, notwithstanding some amazing commentaries on the subject I think that a philosophical debate is in order not least of which because though Google is a private company and can in principle do whatsoever it wishes (within the legal limits) its influence on the future of the net, cyberspace and the hyperconnected infoverse at that is as great as they come. Because of its vertical and horizontal all pervasive integration Google has a huge say in the matter, and because many of us are its users, our say and stance matters or indeed should.


    will be continued..


    Endnotes and correlated readings of interest:

    1. The title of this essay is a play on the famous T. Nagel paper (pdf): “what is it like to be a bat?”
    2. This essay was prompted by the latest conundrum of G+ concerning ‘real names’ and ‘pseudonyms’ (a.k.a. ‘Nyms’) for some extensive documentation of what is now termed PlusGate see : “Posts on Google+ Anti-Pseudonymity Policy”. Also Here and here.
    3. The most exhaustive paper on cyber-identities I could find: Digital Identity in Cyberspace(White Paper Submitted for 6.805/Law of Cyberspace: Social Protocols)
    Professors Hal Abelson and Lawrence Lessig-10 December 1998
    4.Preserving the Online Public Sphere and the Ethical Value of Anonymous Speech-By Stephanie Parker-Stanford University, Class of 2011-Ethics in Society (scribd)
    5. Google stumbles over identity - techliberation
    6. Highly recommended Alexis Madrigal - The Atlantic

    The Spartacus Effect:
    I'm Spartacus
    Violet Blue at My name is me
    Kee Hinckley

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    Come visit us- We Give Style to Character

    (A Crystomeme Advert )

    The song reached us before Someeven approached, by now we knew how to recognize his immense tetrahedral shape basking in its flamboyant colors. We still did not appreciate, however, that the changes to his melody were more than just fine-tuning his attentive-empathic cingulate cortex.

    That we could see his chosen hyper-dimensional structure was beside the point, it was not the decoration that we were following, though it need be admitted that Someeven had a set of adornments the like of which we had never sensed before. Of course Someeven was special, he had invested all of his light cone credits into what he termed the re-beautification of ethnic ethics and as a result his cultural purpose status had risen incalculably. That made him the de-facto leader of our little pod, not that it made any difference, it was more of an aesthetic declaration of intent when inserting ourselves into other pods, which, as all bio-photonic reproduction procedures go, was a permanent alteration of the communal retinal effect of bias, after bio-photonic interweaving you simply saw things differently.

    In most cases in fact our pod was the primary beauty effectuator, resulting in crystomemes being passed for our consumption by all other pods at the fifth Lagrange point.

    We all considered Someeven as the preeminent expert in low-level bio-chemiluminescence procedures, knowing full well that the hacks to his Tattooex were far from regular, Someeven was not only the leader in the field, he had practically invented most of the upgrades we were sporting, and being in his pod we always had them first, rhythming our thoughts to his impossible cadence.

    So when Someeven presented to us his latest insight into the nature of Tattooex, we were excited but not yet surprised, he was explaining how whilst we mind meld via our exoskeleton tatooex we could in principle engender a low level field of intentional consciousness that will for all practical purposes be disembodied. That was the first step, the second was much more difficult and more risky, for Someeven wanted to create what he jokingly called a conscious catapult. Basically enclosing the low level field of intentional consciousness as a contoured concept of beauty and as it were, catapulting it to other pods, bypassing the empty void of space and inserting ourselves en masse into an other pod. And yet we needed to fully consider the implications, for in bio-photonics sex, the revision and modification of bias was generating a change that could not be turned around.

    In short we would be ‘illuminating’ (as was the term we used for bio-photonic penetration) a part of the other pod mind meld, we were thinking about Almass as the candidate, and altering its conscious conceptual structure, irrevocably and without its consent.
    Someeven was not concerned, he argued that all bio-photonics interweaving is an alteration of bias and therefore there was no ethical problem but only an aesthetic one, was it beautiful enough?
    In retrospective we the Beluga pod think that we did no wrong, we simply poised the intent of beautification as an alternate module of sight, transposing an advanced conception unto Almass and attending to the result.

    It was an artistic plan, meticulously designed and perfectly coordinated, we had chosen to illuminate Almass with elegance and in so doing we annihilated Almass and ourselves as well.

    The result we were reborn as and now attend to is called BelugAlmass the elegant, we are situated at Lagrange point five.

    Come visit us- We Give Style to Character
    -


    # Crystomemes: a neologism created in 2119 by the Regyt Corporation combining the terms of crystal (for memory crystal) and memes. The Crystomeme is in fact a memory crystal containing a unit of cultural aesthetics that is the de-facto resource of the current solar civ. Crystomemes (CM) can be exchanged for LightCones credits (LCC), present rate is approximately 1 CM= 700 LightconesCredits.

    #Lightcone credit(s): the monetary unit of our present solar civ- basically representing the amount of time invested by any pod resident in the welfare of his pod. Lightcone credits can be earned only be being received by other members of same pod.


    Part of the Ultrashorts project




    Endnote:

    This ultrashort sci-fi story was inspired by a number of ideas that came rushing through, it primarily concerns the development of a some news from nanotechnology:
    Tattoo Tracks Sodium and Glucose via an iPhone-Need to track your blood oxygen levels? There may soon be an app for that.
    and
    ‘Tattoo’ may help diabetics track their blood sugar : Carbon nanotubes could be injected under the skin to measure blood glucose levels” and then I remembered that a few years back Phillips had a nice intro to the idea of Electronic tattoos:” Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self-representation; a visual language communicating personality and status. Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring.
    The Electronics Tattoo film expresses the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers.
    Watch the film.
    Finally as my readers would know the future of social interaction is always in my thoughts, hence this little story, I hope you enjoy it.
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    "Oh, to be alive in such an age, when miracles are everywhere, and every inch of common air throbs a tremendous prophecy, of greater marvels yet to be."

    Walt Whitman

    And what marvels we have in front of our very own eyes! Marvels of technology and science we could not have foreseen but always desired, marvels of understanding and knowledge we could not fathom just a moment ago, and yet in a very real sense at least for some of us, rational beings in the age of hyper-connectivity, most of these are expected if not outright obvious, the problem of course is that obviousness and banality take huge chunks of our time and attention, diminishing as it were the possible amount of serendipity which is in a sense the reason we apply ourselves to the seeking of the new , of the curious, of the inexplicable and perchance the delightfully illuminating.
    It is my view that the freshness we desire in our thought and the sensations of enchantment we experience in positive surprises are the foundations of a healthy mind leading us towards a healthy civilization.
    In this regard the rise of our cyber-civilization, admittedly in its embryonic stage is but a small step towards a greater nuanced understanding of the world we live in, and a deeper comprehension of our peers and ourselves; a small step but carrying immense implications.
    With this I think that we have developed a certain blasé’ attitude, a confident nonchalance with regard to that which may make a difference, and by this attitude we may perhaps gain an infinite amount of knowledge at our fingertips but lose the original reason for which we have developed all this.
    At present we are in fact worshipping the obvious to such an extent that for all practical purposes, we rehash that, which is apparent, understandable and palpable, to the detriment of our exercise of innovation.
    As I see it, part of what may change this attitude of nonchalance starts with:


    Un-worshipping the obvious

    I love the term serendipity; it is one of those words that carry a certain mystique to their construct, as if somehow, somewhere, there exists a realm of fairies ready to show us the way in unexpected fashion.
    Serendipity is quite unlike any other word in that it points to a real world phenomenon of mind that seems to provide us with an indication to something else.
    This ‘something else’, carries a set of characteristics that are not immediately apparent, yet I think them important in our quest for ever-increasing discovery, innovation and fresh insights.

    According to the online etymology dictionary ( ) the term serendipity: was coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) in a letter to Mann (dated Jan. 28); he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of." The name is from Serendip, an old name for Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), from Arabic Sarandib, from Skt. Simhaladvipa "Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island."

    Assuming for the moment the initial definition of serendipity to be:
    “The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way” I think we can start and deconstruct the term to better fit our needs.

    As I see it we first must clarify what exactly it is that we desire to designate using the term serendipity, are we implying that somewhere a goddess of fortune has favored us or made us favorite in some unfathomable fashion? Do we believe that some unknowable force has created some opportunity for us? Alternatively, is it pure chance, a result of random tossing of a universal coin? Or better yet, a deeply hidden intuition, totally opaque to our immediate conscious aware perception, but that somehow result in our ‘accidentally’, encountering the unexpected?

    Do note that in most definitions serendipity involves the terms: happiness, fortune, favor, accident, chance, value, unexpected, unsought, discovery and more..

    What is so fascinating in this collection of words is the ineffable feeling that something is going on, something to which we do not have access or immediate explanation but something which might if the conditions are right, become extremely valuable to us. There is no doubt in the value of serendipity, in the history of science especially, but also in almost any field of human endeavor, the number of examples is immense and often quoted, some of the most famous examples:

    “It is true that my discovery of LSD was a chance discovery, but it was the outcome of planned experiments and these experiments took place in the framework of systematic pharmaceutical, chemical research. It could better be described as serendipity.”

    Albert Hofmann

    This is a fine example that shows some of the necessary ingredients for serendipity for it is quite obvious that was Albert Hofmann not performing said planned experiments and not containing in his intellect the required framework, the discovery would not have happened, same goes for the following example.

    “Another example of serendipity in science is associated with Alexander Fleming and his discovery of penicillin against the serious diseases at the time. He accidentally left a petri dish of Staphylococcus bacteria open and a mold had got inside which had appeared to have killed around the bacteria. It turned out that it was the fungus Penicillium and he turned the fungus into a groundbreaking antibiotic. (see)

    These two examples are of a very particular kind of serendipity to which I apply the more exact terminology of “ Framework serendipity” .

    Framework serendipity has a number of characteristics that can be listed as follows:
    # Framework- or Context need be clear ( ex: chemistry)
    # The person involved need be highly knowledgeable in the given context
    # The person involved need be inherently curious and sensitive to data that does not make sense in context, in this respect I very much agree with - Isaac Asimov:
    “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘That’s funny …’

    For framework serendipity to work the one most pertinent advice therefore could be framed as: stop worshipping the obvious.

    Serendipity means thus Inadvertently sampling the non obvious


    When we stop worshipping the obvious, surprise occurs.

    When we stop worshipping the obvious the first term that comes to mind is therefore: ‘surprise’ as a broad term designating all that which we do not expect yet comes into our field of perception and reveals itself to be relevant.
    Surprise is only one of the characteristics of serendipity and is far from good enough to define what it is that serendipity stands for and yet surprise, surprisingly (pun intended) has a fundamental role to play when it comes to learning, which may of course explain the great delight that minds take from surprise.

    Surprise! learning and prefrontal cortex

    Surprise makes learning more likely, as shown, for instance, by the strong distaste that often develops after a familiar food has made us sick. In a region of prefrontal cortex, brain activity varies with the amount of surprising information available to subjects during a learning task, reports a study in the October issue of Nature Neuroscience. Therefore this brain area may be involved in comparing expectations against actual events, making it a good candidate for the neural basis of surprise-dependent learning in humans.
    Paul Fletcher and colleagues at Cambridge University presented subjects with fictitious case studies during brain scanning with fMRI. Subjects were told that they should imagine that they were working for a drug company and were asked for each case to predict whether a particular drug would produce a certain syndrome. In early trials, when associations were unpredictable, subjects showed high activity in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Then, during learning, these responses attenuated-but reappeared with surprise violations of the learned association. Furthermore, the magnitude of the brain response to a surprise event predicted later changes in the subjects' behavior.

    (Nature Neuroscience ( )

    But is any form of surprise, serendipitous? The answer is no, for within the term serendipity lies the great adjective of ‘delight ’. In fact most of us will define a serendipitous event as a surprising and delightful event, the emphasis on delight describes the joy, pleasure and gratification involved in the new event of discovery.
    Furthermore given that we now have two particular terms to employ, surprise and delight, we need go deeper, for it is quite easy to fall prey to delusions of significance when serendipity occurs.
    We need keep a very skeptical eye concerning the meaning that might be implied by a serendipitous event and for that certain rules of clear thought need be applied.

    Not all events are serendipitous, some are happenstances (being at the right time at the right place) some are accidents (chance occurrences with no apparent value), some are surprising (unexpected occasions of recognition, not necessarily useful). However, we do have this tendency to bundle all of these different cases of events that bear similarity to each other under umbrella terms such as serendipity or luck, but if we do so, we risk the very real danger of flattening our sense-thought procedures.
    Not all random events of discovery are created equal and not all events are serendipity events, we do however desire more serendipity events if for no other reason than the fact that serendipitous events have an inherent tendency to increase creativity and develop new connections where none were perceived before.

    Are all forms of creativity, serendipitous events? Of course not, but we do have this tendency to assign a high level of serendipity to creative manifestations, if only because of the opacity of the creative process in our minds.

    That is why we may need a new definition for Serendipity

    Serendipity a new definition:

    Serendipity is a term designating an event of change, the event cannot be correlated directly to previous acts that lead to it and thus appears to be of an accidental nature or random processes. These appearances lead the person involved to experience a state of joy, delight or indeed happiness. The sensation of experience in these conditions may be left as such or further investigated. However to truly become an event of change a serendipity event need be plumbed and excavated for its hidden resourcefulness.
    A serendipity event contains elements of surprise, but not just any surprise will do, not ‘everything goes’, but only elements of surprise that are highly relevant to the person involved in a context sensitive environment.
    A serendipity event will always delight, by this implying that a serendipity event is simultaneously emotional, sensual, intersubjective and relational.
    A serendipity event is characterized by a juxtaposition of apparently unrelated contexts and forces, engendering inferential insights, potentially changing the goal or direction of the preceding event.

    To my understanding serendipity as such cannot be engineered, what can be done belongs to the realms of Ambientation and Infocology. In other words, it is our task to create informational ecologies or infocologies that are intrinsically geared towards serendipity. We may call this serendipity facilitation, or serendipity enhancement, these will potentially yield a larger number of serendipity events that can be mined for meaning, excavated for patterns or plowed for further research and indications of unseen options.
    Serendipity facilitation is not an exact science for it must follow the unstable and indeterminate motion of our mind narrative, at each junction adding or subtracting from the ambient infocology as much or as little as is possible without destroying the contours of the given context.

    The serendipity event can be amplified or deconstructed but always contains the seeds of a new understanding or a new kind of pleasure, that ‘makes sense’. The correlated infocology need maintain a set of tools that can imply from and entail into a new set of coordinates that may feed back into the event of serendipity.

    Between expectation and surprise therein lay serendipity

    Serendipity and the web

    The net is in continuous flux and thus does not inherently increases or decreases the possible amount of serendipitous events. The fact of having an immense amount of information readily thrown upon us is not in itself a guarantee of serendipity.
    We cannot micro-manage serendipity nor macro manage it; in fact the greatest advantage proposed by the concept of serendipity is that it is inherently unmanageable.

    And yet..

    A while back (that would be September 2010) E. Schmidt of Google said that :”
    “Beyond speed and personalization, the evolution of search will lead us to search occurring when you’re not even using the search engine — autonomous search, Schmidt said. What he meant by this is queries that are constantly running in the background based on activity on your various devices. He called this the “Serendipity Engine”. (via techcrunch)

    And with the advent in the past weeks of Google+ plus it appears that Google indeed desires to dominate if not the social scene at least the concept of serendipity, or so it may seem.

    I have been using the G+ network system (yes I do not call it social, but about this in a following post) for a week or so, trying to observe an increase or decrease in serendipity. As far as I can tell there is no difference at present between the usage of the G+ system and any other so called ‘socnet’ out there, the underlying infrastructure does not presently encourage serendipity events, at least not in the manner I have defined above.

    More soon.


    EndNotes:

    Some suggested readings and watch:

    Science, Serendipity and the Search for Truth (watch on youtube)

    The endangered joy of serendipity

    The modern world makes it harder to discover what you didn't know you were looking for

    By WILLIAM MCKEEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES (Published March 26, 2006)

    Can We Please Kill This Meme Now
    Mon, Jul 25, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: serendipity, event, non-obvious
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    Ironotai was the candy, the toffee in the puzzle box of uncertainty.
    In the rational of exuberance he was the chocolate bonbon, to meet him was like discovering a new planet, to listen to him required of us to accept the elasticity of utopian poetics.
    His was the sense of quiet passions against the lethargy born of the banal, it followed that it never occurred to anyone to ask, what were the origins of justification for his sparkling beingness.
    In his own disturbing self-description of context, Ironotai claimed that he represented the inevitable transitional state, the inexorable progress of feelings into entertaining value-laden spectacles, the epitome of commodification, the very quintessence of life’s currency, he thus self described as the uncorrupted bias or the pure filter.

    Marc Evite
    Project Coordinator- Director of research on extraordinary encounters



    Ironotai told us a story and we have no way to decipher the truth or falsity of it, we cannot at present disentangle the multiple versions he presented to us from that which we deem the real, or at least that which we can agree upon as factual or indeed relevant.
    That he was an entity of extraordinary capabilities is not in doubt, that he knew things for which we had no reasonable explanation is unquestionable, nevertheless we remain bewildered as to his farewell statements before disappearance.
    In trying to analyze the value of his declarations we need depart from what we casually consider as the normative, so, for example, we still struggle with his pronunciation concerning his point of existence in time.

    He did not say that he comes from the future, or from our past, or from an alternative universe, or from a parallel dimension, or from some exotic event horizon, or belongs to a different species from a far galaxy, if he would have said any of that, we could have, difficult as it may have been, make some sense of it all.
    No, what he said made no sense at all, at least no sense that we can perceive or parse at present.
    He said that he is a momentary embodiment of the sensuous endlessness of integrated originality. When we asked what this means in terms of space-time, he laughed. So we tried a different approach, we said that we think he speaks in metaphors, and could he please explain what the metaphor was reflecting upon, to which he replied: “metaphors reflect metaphors”. We still think he was toying with us when he said that.
    Nevertheless being in charge of the research we could not just leave it at that.
    Exasperated, we asked him to tell us anything that he thought might make sense to us, to which he replied:

    “You should ask about the disintegration of the lifeline to reality”.

    So of course we did.
    These are his words, reported verbatim:

    ” I came to delight - dawn you into acceptance of the unassailability of the cryptogram of the lifeline to reality. To metaphor the sciences of endlessness and provide you an intimation of such.
    The flow of asynchronous modulation cycles into synchronous appearances and reverts to separation, discreetness crystallizes and disaggregates, into partiality, re-assembling as joyous moments from which spaces disengage and re-cipher the real, performing the act of opacity, crafting the cryptogram of satisfaction.
    Opacity allows corruption, corruption allows diminishment, diminishment performs slowness, slowness cycles errors, errors contain seeds of instability, and seeds of uncertainty define infrastructure of comprehension, recursive conception involves redundant looping, resulting in fragments of constraints, fragments of constraints cohere into variety, entangled coherence of variety consents sentiency, acquiesce to the lifeline. “


    As this report is presented, we have put our best minds and efforts in deciphering the cryptic message of Ironotai, we make no claim to recognize for certain what he meant, we did our best in trying to understand the communication, our effort is a work in progress, please be advised that what you are about to read is an initial translation and nothing more, it is what we believe he intended. It will sound outrageous and fictitious, improbable and fantastic, and almost certainly a preposterous confabulation or some prank of cosmic proportions, we have no way of validating or discrediting his statements, nevertheless having been asked by the council of security to provide some kind of explanation we have done so.

    In the following translation we have considered and assumed that the entity known as Ironotai knows something for which we have no language at present, therefore using our modern syntax machines, semantic engines and best deciphering algorithms, we have the following transitory translation to offer.

    First iteration

    We believe that Ironotai was either sent or obliged to come to us by a form of existence to which the best applicable currently existing theory is the one of pan-psychism. Furthermore, though none of the team involved in the translation adheres to this view, it is the opinion of few of us (Prof. Jacopo Weinberg, Doc. Stephan Lee and myself included) that this particular perspective may yet yield an important parameter necessary for the comprehension of the Ironotai statement. It is our view that the Ironotai statement taken under the canopy of a pan-psychism outlook may make some sense, we therefore assume that what was presented to us in the guise of the ‘Ironotai statement’ is a cosmological theory of the origins of life using the pan psychism perspective.
    Following the above assumption we now believe that Ironotai meant to explain to us the manner by which the illusion of duration, that which we commonly call time, is impregnated with a proto form of consciousness, but not awareness. Though all of us are highly uncomfortable to follow the pan-psychism doctrine, we must allow for the remote possibility that such a view does in fact contain a hint to a possible interpretation of reality that we have not yet reached or accepted.
    We therefore accept tentatively that Ironotai usage of the term cryptogram points to what we call consciousness, or more widely ‘mental life’ or Mind. We believe that Ironotai implied that mind is the underlying mechanism of life, of everything in fact and that this infrastructure is fundamentally opaque to awareness but more importantly has a causal interrelation with the physical observable universe. (It must be noted and remembered that at present humankind science has no such assumption and the closest we can relate to such a view may involve qualitatively different approaches.)

    We think that Ironotai meant to initiate a thought within current humanity, implying that informational hyperstructures relay certain emergent properties to other assemblages of information, in the process themselves becoming opaque to the assemblage thus born. We think we understand that Ironotai is describing a multilayered approach to reality, which is both complex and sensuous.

    *Further research funding is required for deeper inquiry

    Sincerely,

    Rand Macdigh
    Assistant to the Director of research on extraordinary encounters

    Addendum one:
    Prof. Jacopo Weinberg – (Dept. of Linguistics)

    It appears that in his statement Ironotai meant to convey to us that contrary to our commonly held suppositions concerning consciousness, matter itself is a sub routine of what we should at present for lack of a better terminology call consciousness though in no fashion do I think that his usage of the term: cryptogram, means or implies the same.
    As a linguist I must assume that the language used by Ironotai was a very special case of intelligent application of context to concept and therefore to my eyes what Ironotai was doing is creating inside him a chaotic nature of non-order, thus destroying the idea both of harmony and stability, as consequential events. My conclusion at present is that we must stop channeling the ancestral script of our habit thought, and re-assess truth-value in any relevant epistemic world.
    To me this is completely inexplicable.
    I confess to my inadequacy in understanding Ironotai statement, please accept my immediate resignation. (Relevant papers have been submitted)

    Addendum two:

    Dr. Stephan Lee (Dept. of Physics)

    Having consulted with a few friends, I now believe that Ironotai should not be looked at as an entity in its own right, but what I came to term an inexplicable quasi-object. It appears, at least to our understanding (having temporarily accepted the unorthodox thesis of pan psychism) at present that what we had in front of us was not an entity in its own right but a principle of interaction that somehow (we do not currently have a full explication) managed to be both reflected and de-cohered. We believe though we cannot prove it at present that Ironotai is a quasi-object of identity that apparently became temporarily aware and thus decided to manifest as a cross section of parallel dimensions. We accept temporarily the potential insights that may be hidden in the message, further investigation prevailing.
    Finally what we have to offer as an initial account is that the Ironotai statement should be taken with precaution given the possible implications of Mind as originating matter (if that is indeed what can be understood), furthermore we advise total secrecy so as not to awaken unrest in the non-initiated population at large.
    On behalf of the physics department we request that a transdisciplinary team of experts will be created for the explicit purpose of determining what exactly it is that we call experience, absent this committee, our research will stall.

    Addendum three:

    Marc Evite

    Project Coordinator- Director of research on extraordinary encounters

    At the cost of sounding outlandish and maybe outrageous, it is my desire to propose a different outlook.
    Contrary to my esteemed colleagues opinions and reluctance concerning the doctrine of pan-psychism, I have always adhered to it and firmly believe that we do not currently have an appropriate field of research for this thesis. Though coming from the fields of Exobiology and Philosophy I see no way to explain the Ironotai statement using our current understandings in math, physics, biology and or chemistry.
    We need a new field that will integrate Art and Science, Physics and Linguistics, Philosophy and Neuroscience. I propose therefore the establishment for such a field of research that will try and establish Rosetta stone like parameters that can then be used to further explore the meanings embedded in the original Ironotai statement.
    It is my firm conviction that Ironotai is a product of our collective minds, but unlike the general assumption concerning such, he was not a hallucination but a fully embodied projection of ourselves from a parallel extensible ‘Mind’ or so to speak. I think that we must consider seriously the vast implications of the presently ‘unorthodox’ thesis of pan-psychism, though I do think that the name is inappropriate and should be revised.
    Finally as the director of research on extraordinary encounters I advise an immediate release of all correlated material to the public at large, transparency being of the utmost importance in this matter.

    Addendum four:

    Last note by Rand Macdigh
    Assistant to the Director of research on extraordinary encounters

    Due to the shortness of time in assembling this report, (please remember that less than 24hrs have passed since the Ironotai disappearance), the statements of all involved are sketchy and embryonic at best, I second Marc Evite, both for the establishment of a field of research we do not currently have and for the release of all pertinent material to the public at large.

    A second report - iteration is already in the making.


    part of the Ultrashort project
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    Alternatively titled: Knowmads, Knowledge and Madness

    “An image of thought called philosophy has been formed historically and it effectively stops people from thinking.”

    (Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet Dialogues #1)


    1. Against monotony and boredom, bring the volatile and delicate


    Against the citadels of thought and monumental philosophies of Neolithic ennui, we need bring the exuberance of the indeterminate Knowmad, the Polytopian in action.
    Knowmads are inherently hyperconnected, though not of necessity through physicality, but unavoidably through the mind-space of the infoverse, itself remotely and yet intimately correlated to the codes of communication. This correlation of senses and of thought mediated through the acrobatics of prime time narratives in minds, accounting for moments of impossible serendipity, of hyper synchronicity, and retro mnemonic realizations, are the fresh hallmarks of the synthetically natural.

    The synthetically natural does not necessitate the old forms of consensus, not because consensus is impossible, or even in certain cases desirable, but because in the hyperconnected enmeshed virtualities, representing the new state of affairs of mind (see topos) consensus as such is simply irrelevant.
    It is irrelevant in as much as within a given flow of a given infocology, different degrees of partiality to the particular theme (of the given infocology) are an acceptable, tolerated and utterly adequate manner of interaction.
    Furthermore, the allowance for different degrees of partiality, the very fact of diversity of biases, is the authentic property of permissibility.
    In this, permissibility should be understood as that which replaces law and decree, regulation and authoritarianism.
    The synthetic natural therefore can be seen as the domain of enmeshed virtualities, which continuously redefines, re-describes and re-presents the intersubjective desire of cross pollinating beingness.

    Cross-pollinating beingness in turn should be perceived as the actual activity of the domain of the synthetic natural where our accreting multiple selves flourish, the fluid affinity domain of in-between as presented in the previous post ‘openness to the traffic of flows a polytopian stance', and 'fluid affinities replace nucleic identities'.

    In many ways we might describe the actuality of multi modal communication as an enmeshment of narratives.
    This meshed hyperconnectivity of symbols of representation, manifested as bits and bytes, continuously and fundamentally re-enacting the stream of impressions, are melting the inside and outside, no longer clearly distinguished, into an amalgam of sensations and thoughts.
    An amalgam of sensations and thoughts, in truth an irreducible sense-thought, that I have called elsewhere the flow of interests or fluid affinities.
    In this momentary fluidity we recognize that there is no truth to forever, and no finiteness on which to base our moralities, our perspectives or our so-called worldviews.
    The irreducibility of the stream of sense thought defined as the flow of interests, or fluid affinities, resulting in multiple personas, correlated initially to a given originator (see the Avatar- Originator as explained in ‘ the luxurious ambiguity of intelligence in hyperconnectivity) , but eventually taking a semi independent social entity status, is what makes this flow of in-betweens so advantageous.

    It is advantageous in as much as it allows a new style of mindfulness to emerge, a style of minding that is critical and compassionate, skeptical and rational yet concomitantly fully cognizant of the great powers of the intrinsically humane, namely the allowance for errors and mistakes.
    It is advantageous in as much as it correlates permissibility of biases, and partial consensus, to perform acts of collaboration and loosely defined associations in deed.
    Ultimately the advantage is clear if we can perceive an involvement of semi-independent social entities, loosely connected to their originators, and loosely connected to each other, to construct edifices of interest not previously possible.

    This new style of minding advocated here is already happening in many areas of science and art, and practically in any domain of human interest, simply because of the multiple personas allowed in the domain of in-between, the synthetic natural enmeshed virtualities of hyperconnectivity.

    Do note what Mark Changizi has to say in his blog:

    “Scientific communities, for example, chug inexorably forward with discoveries, but this progress occurs by virtue of there being so many independently digging scientists in a community that eventually some scientists strike gold, even if sometimes only serendipitously. Whether entrepreneurial, scientific or artistic, communities can be creative even if a vast majority of their members fail to ever achieve something innovative…”

    And further down in the same article :

    “With multiple personalities in hand, people can choose to take up creative endeavors they would not have been willing to enter into outside of social media because the risks of failure were too high. Multiple personalities can lower these risks.
    One of the greatest underappreciated benefits of social media, then, may be that it brings a greater percentage of the world into creative enterprises they would not otherwise have considered.

    This, I submit, is good.”

    Mark Changizi is a professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the author of The Vision Revolution (Benbella Books)



    It may be argued that all great scientific discoveries and artistic masterpieces, all innovations and philosophies in fact, were, are and will continue to be instigated by the need of independent minds to overcome a certain inherent monotony (and some will add boredom) born of the rigidity of self feudalism, in which the origins of our projections are always individual and thus relegated to our own biases.
    To my mind the very activity of innovation, is never designed top down or emerging bottom up, it does not happen of itself nor is it an act of volition per se, but a mash up of flows of interests that resurface the delicate and the volatile, as a sensible multiplicity, apparent in the synthetically natural.
    Though this has always been the case, the revolution of hyperconnectivity, of enmeshed virtualities, of cross-fertilizing infocologies, provides a new degree of freedom in and within the flow of evolutions of human civilization, on this planet at this time.

    There is a new degree of freedom around us, between us, fermenting under and above us, disturbing the old regularity, generating a new kind of volatility and indeterminacy unto the infosphere of our knowledge.
    The inherent irregularity of this new game, engendering the fuzzy topology of open structures, enmeshed in virtualities, tolerates a distribution and re-distribution of the elements of individuality – in that -> Knowmads are themselves distributed agencies

    2.Re-introducing the Knowmad, a Polytopian in action, as a pan-symbolist expression of the distributed mytho-poetic narrative of our accelerating times.

    “Individuals find a real name for themselves, rather, only through the harshest exercise in depersonalization, by opening themselves up to the multiplicities everywhere within them, to the intensities running through them.

    ( G.Deleuze #2)

    Obviously we are in the process of internalizing a vast memory bank of new semantics and fresh forms of thoughts, new sensations that had no previous ancestry in our very own private memory; yes it is a process of fragmentation and yet belongs to a greater process of reconstruction.

    The original elements of our being are being restructured to fit the new infoverse landscape of interoperability.

    Interoperability of what?
    Of memory or of the elements of our beingness, that is how the nature of becoming rises to the fore.

    The interoperability of memory as enmeshed in hyperconnectivity allows for a new form of organic symbolism, a pan symbolism stretching all the way across cultures, across languages, across times and across spaces in the process melting semantics into the new cauldron of intersubjective realism.

    As I dwell upon the many facets of becoming, it appears that only a re-contextualization of the process of existence from the virtual to the actual may provide the necessary famous (Foucault’s) toolbox.

    The option I deem best at present is to use the term Knowmad as Polytopian in action, otherwise put, the self-description of intelligent conscious aware systems in becoming.

    In a previous post, Knowmads as critical relevancies I have described Knowmads as:

    “Knowmads are visceral thinkers, expanded multiplicities, minds nested in vast and complex infocologies.
    As such Knowmads herald a new kind of mind, free to be undefined in a polytopian infosphere.
    Knowmads are critically relevant in as much as they recognize the vicariousness of their extension-ability in the relevant infocology.
    Complex meshworks, embedded in complex infocologies engender flows of intersubjective co-dependencies; these in turn loop upon themselves and re-iterate the intelligent directionality.
    The feedback loop here is obvious, but where is the individual?

    Answer: the individual will be extended viscerally across an indefinite infosphere, defined locally by the reflective relevant infocology."


    And in another post Hybrid futures, Knowmads and the notion state:

    “Knowmads are substantial agents of change, who drastically alter the infocologies they interact with. The level of freedom implied by the knowmadic state is a new existential virtuality that pushes into the real, in the process transforming and meshing the different dimensions in which our minds operate. Existing as non-localized behaviors of information processing, Knowmads are not consumers and cannot be looked upon as capital. Knowmads are the innovators of thought and vision, using an insight mechanism based on correlated data-spheres of complex infocologies.
    Knowmads do not care for labels of old style paradigms, such as gender ,creed, race or indeed status, what Knowmads care about are the pleasures derived in forming new connections, mash-ups and provisional options, innovative solutions for the next step in human evolution.

    Our complex neuro-mesh firing in tandem, has produced this amazing property we call conscious awareness, with the advent of 21st century tech, augmented reality apps, visually stunning info-graphics, virtualities at our finger tips, p2p technologies availability and the like we are becoming Knowmads. The value of the Knowmad state is thus in providing a fresh framework and a new narrative to fill our old storytelling needs in our ever-increasing process of self-description.”




    As the Knowmad meme increases in propagation and intensity we may now posit a more extensive version of the Knowmad in the process of becoming:

    #Knowmads operate on a continuum of apparently trivialized bits and pieces of inconsistent and incoherent signals, seemingly nonsensical information, retrieving disparate slices of fragmented processes and re-arranging these into new coherencies, fresh narratives of interest.

    # Knowmads represent a new style of minding that instinctively reflect the thought of non-unitary, non-universalism, and are factually embedding the concept, that there is no One solution, One network, or any ‘One’ for that matter.

    #Knowmads style of minding continuously adjusts and fine-tunes the velocity of acquired resourcefulness.

    # Knowmads are agents of attenuation; that which is being smoothened is the defining rigidity of characteristics, applied to loci (as body, as nation, as community, as belonging) from which stems the fluidity of self-description.

    #Knowmads simultaneously re-conceive and redesign the connective nature of resource distribution, within infocologies, by that allowing the free flow of ideas to re-narrate themselves into innovative structures, themselves fluid and open to the pressures of the infocology dynamics.

    #Knowmads are immune to boredom; alternatively, Knowmads are continuously bored and thus motivated by interest are finders of the rare, the creative, the non-actualized, the volatile and the delicate.
    Knowmads are explorers of the uncertain, the indeterminate, the ambiguous, the oscillating and by consequence the disruptive.

    #For Knowmads opacity of objectivity transforms into transparent meaning application, a motion of transliteration and translation of different languages occurring naturally in our eco environment and being harnessed to serve the epic of intelligent exploration.

    # Knowmads follow neither the popular nor the personalized, but the dynamics of the interesting and relevant.

    #Knowmads contain an anticipation of the fragment, spiraling in and out of their non formal and decomposed flow, insightfully restocking their perceptual elaboration with fresh winds of entangled sensation, removing the fallacy of necessary correspondence.
    Removing the fascination of antiquity, Knowmads are rhizomatic actuators

    #Knowmads deny the glorification of the mystical, undoing the inherent and incessant self-glory of the romantic, and the greatness of self-perspectivism. This particular characteristic of the Knowmad state defines the knowmad as an anti-silo device.

    A kind of recapitulation

    I have titled this short piece ‘Some will be gangsters of poetry, some will be pan symbolists’, because I see the future we are steadily moving into as an event of interest, that spans an immense yet indefinite number of domains. An event of interest of this magnitude is of necessity, complex and to some extant mysterious. The toolbox of thoughts, the recognizable patterns of sensations, we have at our disposal at present are increasingly out of date and out of synch, and most importantly out of correlativity, which brings most of us into despair of ever catching up to the flow of actuality.
    However, I believe that by allowing a contemporary narrative of the landscape of values in which we co-dependently and intersubjectively exist to refresh our self-descriptions, we might find clarity.
    This clarity, I posit, permits the evolutionary adaptive trait of exploration into the undefined and the unstructured to become a strategic device, a simile of a roadmap. But to allow an uncertain road on an uncertain map, that is being reformulated at the speed of a click, to be somehow manageable, we must reintroduce the function of the mytho-poetic, the narrative of becoming caught in the act of self description. Such an engagement with a meta-narrative, and it is termed Meta because it redefines the very elements of narration, is inevitably irreverent to the themes of the original poem (or the originator of the avatar), hence the ironic metaphorical usage of the term gangster.

    The Polytopia project aims at providing a possible interaction surface in which we may gain all of the advantages of the multiple indeterminate, without relinquishing the rational of the synthetically natural. In a manner of speaking, we are exploring a potential descriptive apparatus, which is both precise and yet by it’s very precision performs an act, as part of a reconstituted narrative, of liberation.

    Increasingly we walk bridges of sense and of thought that appear to be more fragile and more sensitive to variations by the moment, this fragility I think is good for us, for it unleashes kinds of strengths and powers of emotional stability that otherwise will remain dormant.
    There is a deep sense to the madness of our immediacy, and though this sense may yet elude us in its entirety, if only for the fact that it needs unfurl into becoming, we ought jump head first into this transitory knowledge, with passion and clear eyed rationality, for otherwise, we will become obsolete.

    As I see it, the road to posthumanism is complex and open, full of promises and perils, it is not yet a grand thoroughfare but neither is it a side street, it is in fact somewhere in between.
    In this transitory period, I consider the emphasis on the exploratory nature of the Knowmad as a Polytopian in action, a viable option of self-description, of us, the modern consciously aware intelligent hyperconnected entity, in the process of reinventing the very components of our nature.

    Will be continued..


    unrelated addendum

    This just made laugh now:

    “You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”

    (attributed to A.Einstein)








    Endnotes:

    #1. Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet. Dialogues, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), p. 13.)
    #2. G.Deleuze, “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” p. 6.


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    "For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream"
    Vincent van Gogh


    Abstract

    The cyborgization process of becoming in which we presently take part has a long history and a very likely and highly plausible future, including wide arrays of options of radically enhancing our bodies and minds, however, the cyborgization becoming of our civilization is a multilayered, multidimensional progression that can be parsed in many ways, one of which is the hyperconnected virtualized enmeshed reality already in progress.
    Here I am looking at the virtualization of identity as part of the meta-layer of the conceptual framework of cyborgization, a kind of underlying semantic infrastructure of our cyber-evolution.
    More specifically I reflect upon certain linguistic needs such as the clear distinction between rigid and flaccid designators, by which we may, if we can be mindful enough and careful enough, manage a certain ambiguity into a possible liberating procedure.

    (This essay belongs to the thread "Forays in Philotopia - exploring the possible Philosophy of a Polytopia")

    Background

    Not long ago a friend of mine came to ask my advice about an apparently simple issue which started as a local remark and became a deep philosophical conversation between her daughter and herself, and later between us, this conversation prompted this essay.
    Her daughter is a young person about to celebrate her 15th birthday and needed to fill some forms for a coming exam, in the form as is common, she needed to fill the box of gender and almost did, when she stopped and asked her mother:” why do I need to fill the box of gender? Why do they care about my gender in any case? And also what does my gender have to do with my exam, my knowledge and my understanding of the subject matter? (Before you raise your highbrows, yes she is a very bright young person).
    My friend, her mother, answered, that this was the norm and she needn’t make a fuss of it, it is probably used only as an indicator for statistical purposes and in any case it is the norm and accepted form of identification of the person involved and therefore one should completely disregard the meaning of the question and simply ‘get-on’ with it.
    She did ‘get-on’ with it, and proceeded to fill the form, but later that evening the conversation between them resumed to the deeper aspects of the personal identity issue to which ‘gender’ relates as a defining characteristic, and apparently the issue of personhood and its derivative functions in society.
    However the issue became complicated when said young person mentioned that in her online world she plays certain games and uses avatars that are predominantly considered male ‘just for fun’ (her words) she said, but really ‘it doesn’t matter, I don’t care if I play as a male or female, my character in the online game has no ‘real’ gender and even if it does, I don’t play as if I have a gender, I play as ‘me’ and I don’t want to have a gender in the game, its about my know how, my capability as a player and my knowledge, none of which should be correlated to my biology”.

    That is the point when I was asked to give my view of the issue, in light of my working on the Polytopia project.
    It is not my intention in writing this essay to deal with the issue of gender specifically but with the issue of transference (or indeed transposition) of identity designators between the actual and the virtual in general, an issue which I deem paramount for the sane evolution of our intersubjective cyborgization process.



    Rigid Designators vs. Flaccid Designators

    The Polytopian stance assumes a richness of mind that applies the distinction between rigid designators (Kripke) and flaccid designators (wiki) for different configurations of speech and thus dimensions of semantics.
    Rigid designators (rigid designation is a property of the way terms are used, not a property of the terms themselves, - wiki) imply that the same object carries the same identity and thus the same characteristics in all possible worlds. Flaccid designators are fluid and allow for multiple options of descriptions in different worlds. The aim here is not to confront the one with the other but to propose that rigid designators should be left to conventional speech only, for purposes of efficient communication and quick look-up taxonomies. Moreover, rigid designators should not be allowed to imply ontology and / or metaphysics but to remain on the normative dimension with no necessary traceable memory (see endnotes #2). This will assume that proper names have meaning application only in as much as they reflect the necessity of accurate empirical representation. Switching to flaccid designators it is proposed here that fluid terminologies are the way to go when dealing with hyper complex systems such as identity and more particularly identity as represented in virtualities and the inter relation between said identities, especially in hyperconnectivity.

    Within the motion of cyborgization in which we take part we can discern the advent of a semantic transposition from the actual to the virtual. A motion of transference of historical notions into a domain of existential realism to which those notions are not adapted and are factually obsolete. Such is the movement between terms pertaining to the conceptual category of rigid designators based on habitual ontologies that a sense of conflict rises and can be perceived when parsed in a virtual environments. No longer are we able to detect common indicators of identity, manners of representation, and styles of recognition for the simple reason that the virtual does not yield to fixed indicators. It is thus for example impossible solely by the fact of perceiving a given avatar to determine its gender, orientation, age, morphology, race and so on. In fact on first appearance it may seem that due to the motion from the actual to the virtual much information is lost and thus our capability of discernment and discrimination is the poorer for it. However, it is the Polytopian stance that this apparent paucity is in fact a false impression due to an analysis based on rigid designators not flexible enough to allow the creative value of the virtual to come into play.



    At present the fact that our minds are embodied in a particular physical configuration stands as the main culprit in our habitual usage of identity indicators as rigid designators. Irrespective to the future technological possibility of mind uploads and similar post physical existences we need see that already at this stage the networked infocology in which each and every one of us to different extents exists, is already a form of non physical existence. In perceiving virtual existence as a dimension separated from traditional actuality we need assume a different set of contextual representations and thus epistemic structures that though can be bridged to regular style embodiment cannot be fully mapped to said body. This distinction if clarified allows us now to embed a re-definition of the concept of identity on the net that is distinct, different and only partially co-extensive with our physical embodiment. The issue here that we need reflect upon is that certain of our identities in virtuality are not extensions of our physicalities but have as it were, an independent or semi-independent as the case may be (such as an avatar in an online game, or SL ) existence to which, a contextual state of affairs need be defined.

    No longer can we assume a central locus indicated rigidly by our bodily location to which all our identities are bound. Moreover, from a different perspective no longer can we assume that the motion of intelligence is still, in all cases, directed from the actual to the virtual. In fact, in many cases (“you are what you pretend to be … you are what you play (Turkle, 1997)#3) we will discern quite the opposite, a motion of intelligence from the virtual to the actual. And let us remember that though it is an interplay of flows, in no fashion is symmetry implied, quite the contrary in fact, in the relation between the virtual to the actual and the actual to the virtual, asymmetry reigns supreme. In some instances the flow of actuality into virtuality will gain the upper hand whilst in others the opposite will be the case. Nevertheless our effort here must emphasize the tension between those two motions and the clarification of directionality.

    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.

    A number of different perspectives exist as of today desiring different application of the correlation actual-virtual. Some of these would like to maintain a rigid continuity of identification assuming wrongly that only such rigid continuity will allow valid confirmation of identity and thus trustworthiness (see Obama's-internet passport). Whilst there are certain domains to which such view is applicable (banking for example) in most cases pertaining to the evolution of our cyborgization this will be untrue. Same goes for the opposite view that the virtual domain should be totally and uncompromisingly free and detached from any rigid correlation and continuity to actual embodied identity. In fact most of the social entities considered as domains of interest extended in time in the infosphere pertain to neither perspective but to a middle ground grey area which is, to use the old adage, neither this nor that. Most of our cyborgization process of becoming, manifested primarily via the networked hyper-connected infocological state of affairs is fundamentally: ambiguous, uncertain, oscillating and fluctuating, and should be considered as a flow of in-betweens. The flow of in-betweens is actually comprised of multiple domains of interests, passions and relations, but more importantly perhaps, of radical creative encounters. This is the domain where the cross-pollination, cross-fertilization of human endeavor finds its home. This home, at present a fragile realm, fuzzy in its orientation yet passionate in its desire to explode into new forms of life, contains a fundamental structural instability. Though it may seem that this structural instability also called inherent approximation, is a fault line indicating a potential problem possibly degenerating into the chaos of indeterminacy, it is in my view a feature rather than a bug.



    Indeterminacy is a feature not a bug

    I submit to you the idea, that there is no direct continuity between an avatar and its originator, or for that matter the possibility of fully mapping an avatar, as a ‘stand-in’ symbol of representation, to the person that originated that same avatar. (And though at present it probably is possible to trace back an avatar to its originator, it is highly likely that given enough time and diversification, including mutations, alterations and transformations, none such will be possible or indeed desired.)
    An avatar has a quasi-infinite variety of possible interpretations depending on context, on semantics and syntax, but more importantly at this stage is the understanding that the relationship between the avatar and its originator is an indeterminate relationship that inherently exhibits the characteristics of ambiguity and fuzziness.

    Not only do I think that the relationship Avatar-Originator, is inherently ambiguous I propose to make this particular ambiguity, a kind of benchmark reflection on the concept of identity. A radical motion towards a possible liberating procedure, in which our consciously aware usage of the ambiguity of relationship Avatar-Originator, replaces the closely coupled, rigid designations, we still transpose from the actual to the virtual.

    The indeterminacy of our identities in the hyperconnected infocologies we are presently enmeshed in, is, I believe, only an indication or the beginning, if you like, of a much greater fuzziness that is waiting for us in the process of cyborgization, to which the virtualization of identity is a crucial step.

    It is my view that the evolution of intelligence, is currently undergoing a dramatic shift towards a greater uncertainty and openness, a deeper ambiguity and larger indeterminacy, a new state of affairs of mind, through which we may, if sensibly and wisely managed, become more free.

    There are many ways to understand intelligence, and in many contexts, issues of problem solving, capacity of reasoning, adaptability to new environments, learning from experience, pattern recognition, judgment exercising, imagination, originality, artistic and abstract perception, complex interpretation and so on, are all possible interpretations, definitions and usages of the concept.

    However for the purpose of this essay I am using a semi-poetic interpretation of the term intelligence. Here I refer to intelligence as a luxury of mind, a bonus if you like, that I use in a very specific manner. I refer to intelligence as a luxury here because I see the capacity to exist in ambiguous situations, to extract relevant information from fuzzy circumstances as non-linear and highly relevant to the new state of affairs we have co-created.

    The hyperconnected virtually enmeshed infocologies, upon which we are projecting our newly minted avatars, are oscillating representations that slowly but surely are disengaging from their points of origination.
    This disengagement process, itself part of our cyborgization becoming, opens new options, fresh possibilities and a wide array of potentials for the evolution of our self-descriptions into new horizons of freedom.

    Issues of gender (such as the one mentioned in the little anecdote above), of race, of creed, of ethnicity, of status, of age and any other rigid designators, ought to be relegated to the conventional, indeed to the material, as it is now, to the actual. The hyperconnected virtually enmeshed infocologies, present no inherent necessity for such, unless highly specified in functionality (as in the banking example) or so chosen (as in creating an avatar with specifically chosen characteristics). In every other context the disengagement process of an ambiguous identity, is the luxury of intelligence we can finally afford, and to my eyes should passionately apply.

    Finally, whether we are hard core Singularitarian, futurists, Transhuman or Extropians, philosophers, artists, AI designers or just any modern day person, using the mediums of our currently available technologies to hyperconnect we are factually performing acts of luxurious intelligence application.
    It does not so much matter what exactly it is that we believe concerning the coming future of our civilization and our very nature, what matters is the manner we understand the process of becoming a better specie, a better human, a more empathic mind, rational, passionate and conscious, open to the beauty of the great uncertainty that is life.

    “The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.”

    Ursula K. LeGuin

    shortly to be continued..


    Endnotes :

    # 1. Let me be clear here, whilst I advocate a total freedom of self-representation on the net, there are certain kinds of social interaction in which gender representation, as an example, are fundamental for the purpose of the designated interaction. Though a dating site might require the knowledge of your gender, there is no inherent reason for a requirement of gender identification in an online game. Moreover, as I see it, it is high time that we put into question most of our assumptions about identity representation and their correlated implications especially in situations where common sense dictates that no such identification is indeed necessary. This goes far deeper than the privacy versus transparency debate, this goes to the very root of the personhood perception mechanisms that we have put into place, millennia ago and need be upgraded to fit our modern day hyperconnected interfaced minds.

    # 2. No necessary traceable memory I use here to designate the rigid factuality of designation of a particular individual in the original dimension of the actual that does not transpose into other possible worlds especially as refers to the virtual hyperconnected dimension. Hence though it will be true to state that person P is a female in actuality this description may not necessarily be transposed unto the virtual, and thus does not carry traceable memory.

    # 3. Turkle, S. (1997). Constructions and Reconstructions of Self in Virtual Reality. In S. Kiesler (Ed.), Culture of the Internet. Hilldale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    # 4. second image in text: Double Pendulum with LEDs by Michael G Devereux

    # 5. third image Succulus by Robert Pepperell

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