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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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    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.
    Intro:

    Here is the thing, whether you agree with Zoltan Istvan or not is irrelevant. What is relevant and deeply so, is that here is a human that walks his talk, and promotes relentlessly and irreverently that which he believes in.
    And that which he believes in is best summed up in his own words, as an answer to my question:

    Who are you Zoltan Istvan?

    “I am human being who loves life, and I don't want that life to end. But I believe that life will end for myself and others if people don't do anything. So I'm doing all I can do to try and preserve my life and the lives of others via science and technology.”



    Zoltan has a vision, a philosophy and even a presidential candidacy. But his quintessential message presented in his controversial book ‘The Transhumanist Wager’ is simple, there exists a mortality crisis that every human experiences, and thus to counter this crisis :
    “A rational and scientific-minded society owes itself the strictest dedication to applying its resources and minds to overcoming that which has been the greatest downfall of our species: our mortality.”
    And let us be clear and forward, I am all for it, we must take death out of the equation.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the choice of living indefinitely should be in our hands.

    Here is a paradox. I am going to recommend a book that I am ambiguous about, that to my mind is not well written and with which final conclusions I am highly uncomfortable.
    So why recommend such a book?
    The answer is not simple, but in a nutshell my answer is: ‘you must read this book, because if nothing else it is an eye opener’, even if you are familiar with many of this book ideas, the book allows a foray into an extreme form of transhumanism, that many, me included, do not espouse. And yet I do believe, ‘The Transhumanist Wager’ (TW) is a worthy addition to one’s repertoire of reading material.



    The reason, upon which I wholeheartedly agree with its author Zoltan Istvan, is that the issues raised in the TW are some of the most fundamental if not ‘The’ most crucial ones, we must enter and debate about at this time and era.
    Our techno progressive stance must of necessity move us to bring these issues to the fore, and open a comprehensive and coherent contemplation and discussion, because these issues are already affecting all of us, and as science and technologies that are disrupting our old ways of thinking are pushing the boundaries of our civilization , day in and day out, not discussing these issues is tantamount to walking blindly (and some will say dangerously) into our future.

    So, having thought about these issues long and deep for a very long while now, I decided to approach Zoltan Istvan and propose to him an interview for our Space Collective community here, to which he graciously accepted.

    This will not be a book review though some of the questions I have assembled for Zoltan to answer are obviously book related since that is where he expounds his omnipotender philosophy. (for a very thorough and quite enlightening review of the book see the reviews by Giulio Prisco for Kurzweil AI here and by Chris T. Armstrong for H+ mag here).

    Now then, a few words first.

    To a very large extent here at SC we are techno progressives, we are all to different degrees great believers in the power of science and technology to change our futures, to upgrade our bodies and our inherent biological limitations be it of the brain implants category, of the cyborgian enhancements, of upgrading and updating our senses or the manipulation of our own DNA to fit our frail organisms to live in space.
    Moreover, on almost all issues especially concerning the concepts of longevity or deathism (the preconceived notion that death is inevitable and inescapable) I think we agree at least in principle.
    No, death is not inevitable (in principle) and longevity should be pursued to its maximum potential, at least to my mind these are non issues. Therefore I am definitely in Zoltan’s camp when he states in the words of the Omnipotender, Jethro Knights, the main protagonist of the TW: ” Death is not destiny. Death is neither inevitable nor natural.” And yes, I am for the allocation of the full research resources to create an anti aging Manhattan project.
    Where we differ and probably differ more deeply than apparent concerns the manner of reaching this lofty goal and its presumed timetable.
    Technically I think that presently it is impossible to know precisely how difficult this problem (of aging) really is and therefore how difficult it will be to solve it, nevertheless I am quite certain that it will eventually be solved for the benefit of all sentient beings. That however is not the issue, the issue as always is how to get there and how expedient should our measures be.
    If the price is dictatorship as Zoltan's Omnipotender asserts, then no, if the elimination of personal freedom is the price, then no, if the libertarian credo involving the militant approach portrayed in the TW is the answer then no, I would not choose this path.

    Questions of ethics and aesthetics are always the most salient and most difficult to come to terms with when what was only a gedanken experiment a few years ago becomes an actual reality with which we have to deal.
    This very last month has brought us a few steps closer to designer babies (Nature: Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos- Rumors of germline modification prove true — and look set to reignite an ethical debate.) and simultaneously to a new possible breakthrough in the realm of defeating aging (A central mechanism of aging identified – and it might be reversible), so if there is one lesson to take home here, it is that the features and issues which Zoltan promotes are here and need to be explored now. We no longer can afford the historically indefinite periods of discourse to arrive at some possible resolution to these issues since we need answers and we need them now, the science and technology will not wait for our philosophical ruminations to bear fruit.

    The point is that though I agree that we need to answer or at least have a sketched idea to work with concerning these ethical conundrums, we simultaneously also cannot rush. In this respect the work of Zoltan is admirable if only because he brings these issues to the table of discourse, precisely at this point in time.


    The interview:

    Wildcat (W): The first question I would like to put to you concerns the longevity issue: I have done an interview with Aubrey de grey about the reasons for longevity and I would like to ask you a similar question: can you describe the evolution of love in relation to longevity?

    Zoltan Istvan (ZI) :For me, the most important idea is that one's moral system changes as their life gets shorter or threatened, so love is contextual to me too. I think it changes as we either live longer due to technology or have less time.

    W:How will it change?

    ZI: We will either embrace it more, or less. But the context will determine that.

    W: Can you describe love from the standpoint of an omnipotender?

    ZI: I don't think the Omnipotender is capable of love in the real or total sense—in terms of attraction to another. It's too concerned with itself and it's goals. It loves itself.

    W: Is there a love for an other that is not an omnipotender in your philosophy?

    ZI:Yes, absolutely. Love can sometimes be vulnerability or necessity. We all have that sometime, and so it's quite prevalent. One must remember that possibly no one on Earth is truly an omnipotender. It's a philosophical construct or an ideal. We might reach it someday, but mostly everyone is still just a box of emotions.

    W:Does not the egoism implied in the very name of your philosophy manifesto denies the rights of an other?

    ZI: I think it might deny it at the stage when someone becomes an omnipotender. But that is a far time from now, when one person is really contending for Godhood, and not just an amateur.

    W: TEF, or Teleological Egocentric Functionalism is the name of your philosophy can you describe it , its roots and its implications? (correlated philosophers?)

    ZI: Sure, Teleological means by design or destiny. Egocentric means related to one's own self and desires. And Functionalism means it's always rational. There are no correlated philosophers that I'm aware of, but a lot of people can see quite a bit of Nietzchean philosophy in TEF. The closest hero, other than Jethro Knights for the philosophy, is Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. But I don't think Ayn Rand would like that statement much.

    W: In your book, ‘the transhumanist wager’ you describe the protagonist Jethro Knights as an omnipotender: “one who contends for omnipotence.” …an “elite transhuman champion…the ideal and zenith of the life extension and human enhancement populace…This omnipotender is an unyielding individual whose central aim is to contend for as much power and advancement as he [can] achieve, and whose immediate goal is to transcend his human biological limitations in order to reach a permanent sentience.” (the quote is from the excellent read on H+ by Chris Armstrong)

    A number of questions come forth here: the first concerns the term itself, have you coined the term?

    ZI: Yes, I coined the term, as far as I know.

    W: How did you coin it, what are the origins of the meaning of the term omnipotender?

    ZI: "Omni" means all or everything in this context, and "potender" is meant to imply "power." So you basically have a person who wants all power.

    W:Is the term meant to be implied on every Transhuman agenda?

    ZI: That's a tough question. I just don't think anyone can really live up to it at the moment, without enhancements. Humans are too Mammalian, and too humanitarian. An omnipotender is someone truly after his own cause.

    W: Accordingly, each and every Transhuman should desire to become an omnipotender? (is it the case that for you a Transhuman and an omnipotender are or should be one and the same?)

    ZI: When you analyze this from a philosophical point of view, I think every human being wants ultimate power, so naturally following the code of the Ominipotender makes perfect sense. But most humans don't act on either their best interests or true desires. They act on whims, on what culture has taught them to do, and on many other things.

    W: Furthermore if I understand the term correctly it is in fact a desire for dictatorship?

    ZI: Dictatorship is a simple and decent word to use, even though it's very loaded and carries lots of historical baggage. However, this so-called dictatorship is not one wanting power to be better than someone, it's more wanting power so no one can take away your life and it's brilliance. And this can only be guaranteed by a dictatorship.

    W: If that is indeed the meaning of the term, how are we to reconcile the dictatorship desire when there is more than one omnipotender? (isn’t that a contradiction?)

    ZI: No, the omnipotenders will have to battle it out, or come to a draw by forming contracts. But social contracts are bandaids in some ways, so often one will have to be dominant over the other and a firm victor to emerge. Again, this is all just the philosophy of the omnipotender.

    W:In what fashion is the Omnipotender correlated to Nietzsche Ubermench?

    ZI: They are closely related, but Nietzsche didn't understand how technology would play the part in the Omnipotender. Its enhancements and change of the human body and experience that will lead to power over others. It's philosophical. It's an elephant stomping on an ant.

    W: More importantly, ethically speaking, is an omnipotender a better kind of human? (do you actually already describe yourself as an omnipotender?)

    ZI: No, I definitely don't see myself as an omnipotender. I really think that term is reserved for someone who is really always striving to be the most powerful person in the universe, and no longer really cares about others in a personal way. But whether it's a better human is a tough question. Better for what? Evolution and a life form gaining power—then likely yes. Better for humanity and society, probably not so much.

    W: In a Tedx you have given in Geneva in January titled : “The Beauty of Being Alive” you speak about the future of beauty, in the talk you say that “Future beauty is synonymous with exponential technology” can you please expand on that?

    ZI: Beauty is always changing because of how it's connected to making something valuable. But value is often found in the function of something. As humans become more advanced by technology, they will become more beautiful. This is how they are synonymous.

    W: How do you see the future of beauty?

    ZI: I see it increasingly being tied to functionality and tech enhancements. I see beauty increasingly becoming tied to an all-digital world.

    W: In what sense is it correlated to exponential technology?
    ZI: Technology is exploding in innovation right now. The more it becomes useful to us, the more beautiful it is. Beauty is tied to functionality for me.

    W: Is exponential technology a form of aesthetics?
    ZI: Yes, it's the all-encompassing form of aesthetics. We determine it's nature and use through our attachment and necessity to it.

    W:If yes what parallels are there between the commonly accepted aesthetic perception and exponential technology as the aesthetics of the future?
    ZI: Again, it's all about functionality. Form follows function. That form is getting better and more useful all the time, given the context. Eventually, we will be at a point when we are almost always perfect—which is to say almost always beautiful.

    W: Artificial wombs, the future of reproduction, a license to reproduce? Pls expand on this topic

    ZI:I believe artificial wombs will be the future—give it 20 years or so. Human birthing is barbaric and dangerous. Everything should be simpler and safer. And regarding licensing parents, I still believe it's a great idea, however it's so radical, that I just don't promote it now that I'm doing the political thing. I originally supported the licensing idea because of 10,000 kids starving to death a day and all the poverty in the US for some kids. Licensing could stop that stuff, and stop it quickly.

    W: Isn’t that a fascist dystopian perspective?

    ZI: 10,000 kids dying a day and child poverty in America is dystopian. We can do better in the 21st century.

    W: Isn’t that a right?
    ZI: What's a right? What some government or culture determined for you? What about the rights of the 10,000 starving babies?

    W: You have licensing for procreation in yr book, you advocate that each and every one that wants to reproduce needs to pass through some kind of test?

    ZI: Yes, that's in my book and also in my Wired UK article (W: It's time to consider restricting human breeding)

    W: So crack babies, starvation and so on are good enough reasons to curb population increase via the use of testing the parents?

    ZI: I don't want to curb population. I think Earth can handle a lot more people. What the aim of the licensing idea is, is to give all kids an equal chance to be successful. Crack parents should not be having babies. Neither should homeless people. Neither should others who don't show responsibility at basic parenting or who can't afford it.

    W: How likely do you think that it will be possible to pass such laws, assuming someone (maybe you as president of the US) can bring them to legislation?

    ZI: I'm not considering campaigning on any of these things. They are already controversial enough. So I'm not trying to pass these things into law, but I think the conversation is incredibly important to have. About 70 million kids have starved to death in the last 30 years. We need to do more to avoid that happening again.

    W: What about resources?

    ZI:The Earth has plenty of resources. We just need to use them properly and wisely.

    W: we need to rebuild the human body to fit all that cyborgian culture, do you really believe that people will desire this techno progressive future?

    ZI: No, certainly not all will. And I don't want to force anyone that doesn't want it. But they will be quickly left behind, and that will present all sorts of dilemmas of inequality, so we should aim to try to convince all that the Cyborg future is a good one for everyone.

    W: All resources being directed to the goals of longevity?

    ZI: Maybe not all resources, but all resources directed at a better, more progressive transhumanist-minded planet.

    W: In your book you describe the rejection by the religious establishment, how likely do you see that particular scenario playing out?

    ZI:It will likely happen. In 5-10 years, expect demonstrations on the streets against AI, transhumanism, and the technology offensive to conservatism.

    Transhumanism is the next great civil rights debate.

    W: To your mind will religion die out?
    ZI: Probably not. We will see a merging of Christianity and other major religions with techno-optimism. It will be laughable, but I rather see that than a full conflict or war between religion and the tech-dominated future.

    W: How do you see the evolution of gender, do you think we will move to a sexless society?

    ZI: Yes, absolutely. There's no reason for different genders in a society that doesn't reproduce like we do now. However, our personalities will probably still reflect various gender types, and we'll probably change them frequently, as well, perhaps daily.

    W: To your understanding what constitutes the very basics of human nature?

    ZI: It's all genetic destiny, with a bullhorn at the end we call reason, trying desperately to give orders.

    W: How to deal with those reluctant to change into your new utopia?

    ZI: Allow them total freedom to do what they want, so long as it doesn't harm society at large.

    W: What shall you-we do with them? (those that reject the scenario you propose)
    ZI: Same answer as above.

    W: Describe the correlation between John Galt and Jethro knights? You have been likened to Ayn Rand, do you agree? Please expand.

    ZI: Yes, the Ayn Rand tag has now been applied a lot. I like Ayn Rand, so it's an honor to some extent, but as I've grown over the last few years, I'm welcoming it less. The truth is Ayn Rand and I have had very different ideas, but we both seem to have taken a similar path to get them out. John Galt and Jethro Knights may seem similar, and indeed they are at times, but the difference in attitude to tech and science is everything. Galt just didn't understand that telepathy, brain implants, the singularity, and merging with machines would change consciousness and reality. Reality is not as stable as Rand wanted us to believe. It's far more contextual.

    Postscriptum- The way I see it

    Of course I am all for an indefinite lifespan, more importantly I want the option to be in our hands, death should be a choice and not a biological imperative. This for me is a non issue.
    The issue for me is of a different nature since I have no inhibitions nor restrictions on the issue of extended longevity and indefinite lifespan,not as such.
    The issue I have concerns the manner and fashion a vision is defined and as a consequence unfolds into the future. The very conceptualization of a vision, any vision, demands a kind of simulation that is a priori biased towards a particular kind of future defined by the visionary.
    Moreover, a vision of the future, in which it is a given that most of the particularities unfold in a fashion that cannot be known, is even more problematic.
    Given this state of affairs, when operating in the realm of visions or optional scenarios that are extended from the present into the future it should be a primal concern of the envisioning mind to create a set of so called constraints. (It is important to note that a vision is inherently more occupied with values, while scenarios are more about probabilities of events and their possible unfoldments).
    These constraints should be a safety measure in the hands of the envisioning mind that define her own particular take on the issue at play.
    It is a kind of meta-meta proto vision system.
    As an example, to my mind, a future in which multiplicity of voices, a multi-vocal state of affairs is non existent, is a future that I do not desire. (even at the cost of postponing said desired future).
    Longevity is another very good example. Of course we all desire to live as long as we can, but this longevity must by necessity include health, wealth, abundance and options that are not presently available. Because why desire longevity if not for a radical increase in well being, or in the words of Heinlein: “ time enough for love”.
    A different perspective concerns the fact that I wish to see a future that is ethical and equitable, which is or should be a prime concern to all those busy creating our futures.
    Hence, to the extent that Zoltan’s vision of the future meets the standards that I hold dear and are for me necessary conditions, I embrace his vision wholeheartedly. However to the extent that the fashion he desires to bring this future about does not meet my initial requirements as proposed in the polytopia project I think we will work towards creating a better future for us all in different ways.

    Notes:
    1. For more about Zoltan Istvan US presidential candidacy see here
    2. Images in text courtesy of Zoltan Istvan
    3. recommended related reading : "Licensing Parents"

    Endnote:

    This is the fifth in a series of interviews under the heading of a new project :
    Free Radicals- interviews with possibilities

    Free radicals are extraordinary humans that promote the emergent paradigm shift of post humanity.
    There is no claim of objectivity here but an unabashed bias towards a techno-optimistic, aesthetically pleasing future evolution of humanity.
    The humans I have chosen to interview reflect different perspectives of multidimentionality and multiversality as regards the change and transformation of human nature.

    -
    Your input and comments will be much appreciated.
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    A video timeline of the social and technological changes that could save civilization and secure the long term survival of humanity.

    I have watched this video and I hope that you will do too. There are many Utopian oriented perspectives presented here, in a very ‘cool’ and attractive fashion. However being the realistic (and highly skeptical) futurist that I am, I find the video though admirable in some aspects, somewhat estranging, not because of some particular aspect, but mainly because the tone distances the immediacy of our perceptions and thus the possible real life behaviors that we may need implement to make this portrayed reality an actuality.

    Would love to read some of your views on the matter.



    notes:

    COPYRIGHT ATTRIBUTION
    Music Libraryhttp://www.youtube.com/themusicrack
    Playlist: Silent Films
    Title: CHEE ZEE CAVES—Movie Soundtracks | Creative Commons | Royalty-Free Music for YouTube Videos
    Artist: Kevin MacLeod
    Copyright: 2011 Kevin MacLeod. Licensed to the public under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/  verify at http://www.incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/) 
    Fri, Feb 8, 2013  Permanent link
    Categories: future, Singularity, humanity, next 200 years, video
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    “There is neither a materialization of thought, nor a spiritualization of language; language and thought are only two moments of one and the same reality.”

    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Specter of a Pure Language, translation by John O’Neill


    Prologue

    She came from the order of beyond.. and ..

    Of course she was bored, how else could it be when she was the one who knew, well, if not everything there is to know, just about. The reason she was bored was simple, she felt she could not be compromised, but the world wanted her to.
    She didn’t, she never will, she was bored because the world kept on asking her to compromise.

    The demand was boring, her response obvious, natural, almost ontological.

    Yet, having the presence of the spirit of the multiverse dialoging within itself, knowing the necessary condition of holding multiple viewpoints simultaneously, her primary interest was the creation of common meaning.

    Thus she sat and devised the sense of overcoming the limits of her acceptance, a strategy that was to change everything.

    She gave birth to the new Duende.

    A watershed of sensation

    The hot oven of her pantheistic mind, a watershed of sensation, produced much more than philosophy, she was creating odd and quite dormant insights into the nature of ascension.
    It was a capacity she was developing as other sources were dismissed as irrelevant. The evidence however points to her unique love and feel for the other’s self pride.

    She defined a simultaneous love on account of her impossibility of loving alone.

    In dire need of creating a cure for her love she invented that which not only freezes the pain of being in this world but also that which might bring a utopian state unto her mind.
    She was highly adept at re-inventing the storytelling device in her demanding fashion.
    She knew that no substance could be its own cause, not only because essence cannot be conceived as existing, but primarily because substance couldn’t be defined without limits. Thus her demanding fashion was the irrefutable story of limits as the logic of consistency, not only about the world but also more particularly about her love.

    According to her extended mind, the process of her reason was a love of limits, that was just as necessary as the substance itself, one could not in truth exist without the other.
    The way she chose to embed the ontology of her story was by conceiving the attributes of limits, as the characteristics of her love, hence her substance, though undefined, was free to be.
    This thought brought her to a certainty about the supreme beauty of the undeniable nature of limits. In this she was able to bring the concept of limits upon her own love as the very defining feature of the essence of mind.

    Or the substance of mind..

    Necessarily she needed to defend the apparent inconsistency in her vision of what will constitute a love that cannot be broken through, she did not presume, she accepted the limits.

    Indeed she insisted on limits as a necessary naïve form of realism, her solitude the only manifestation of her connectivity. For she knew that philosophy is not about the love of wisdom, it’s about the limits of her love, her insistent passion for a criterion of beingness that cannot be dissolved nor corrupted.

    That is when she lost the arrogance of her youth.

    For she realized that she needed to explain the limits of her love by extending the substance of she into a multiple singularity.

    When she explained to them how her limits manifest, he was flabbergasted. Of course he knew about the game, being a player himself, nevertheless she was the myth in action and theirs was an untenable position.

    She said:

    “The game is rigged, but of course, that is not news. The game is flawed, obviously, a non-issue. The doors of perception are only slightly ajar, our free-willies are maybe good enough to >choose> Pocahontas over Bieber Barbie.. “

    T-He-Y quoted Oscar Wilde, (from: An Ideal Husband)

    “Do you really think … that it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage, to yield to. To stake all one’s life on a single moment, to risk everything on one throw, whether the stake be power or pleasure, I care not there is no weakness in that.”


    They paused the game and looked at her

    She said: “ You may think me hard and unkind, tough and cynical, that might appear so, I grant you that, but let me tell you this, our future will be lost without a self imposed limit, though the limit is not on our love, but on the extent of our singularities, for substance demands direction.”

    What she knew:

    She knew that Garcia reflected upon the reason of being in the world as an uncomfortable proposition, she knew that this was not the best of all possible worlds, she also knew however that to be a living poetic machine, a process can never be stopped and must be allowed to complete its cycle before it can be reported to it’s core of origins.

    She knew that sweeping generalizations are exactly the fashion by which the truth of the matter becomes the matter of the truth and thus creates the pitfall from which no love can rise.

    She knew that the experience of being cannot be left untouched for if even one simple kind of different experience rises, the otherness of the experience will destroy the core.

    She knew all this and much more, she created a cure, a living, and breathing, material Duende.

    A different love story

    To her mind Duende was a crucible, a cauldron, hot and continuously stirred by the emotional winds of her passion. An intense poetic machine busily re-describing the sense of being into a directed sense thought able to revolutionize the experience of substance as love..
    Or nothingness..

    The inspiring continuity was born of her love, of her difference, of her desire to create an astonishing experience of being, an awe-inspiring interestingness, all encompassing, totalizing.

    The future was clear now

    She came from the order of beyond.. and ..

    Her love was different, so was her Duende.



    Part of the Ultrashort project



    A note:

    This particular Ultrashort is dedicated to a real and most immediate being, to which I am most grateful in making my own mind greater than what it could have been other than wise.

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    Enoie entered the room, discovering the unexpected cyborg quietly standing near her bed.
    She knew her father intended for her to eventually test the new cyborgian philosophical SoftSynch ™ pattern re-description he was working on, she did not however expect this.
    This, was a little humanoid, perfect in every single detail, but his eerie silence, he wasn’t breathing, his stillness absolute. She made a mental note to remind Gregor Basta, her father, to introduce some inconsistencies, such as breathing, so the uncanny presence will not scare the students.
    She knew the cyborg should have been ready by now, but after three years of waiting she almost forgot about it, being busy with her post-doc thesis: “CySpinBorgOza: Re-introducing the post Spinoza effect in the trans-solar communion of minds as a techno-social antidote”.

    Enoie knew the activation code, being the one that suggested it and yet she hesitated, not being certain that she was ready to finally test her own ideas made manifest.
    Finally she uttered: “sub specie aeternitatis”*, and her Spinoza cyborg awakened.



    “Of course its about the flow..” the CySpin started without inflection, his synthetic eyes immovable, it was obvious he was reciting some unknown text..

    “Wait!” this was Enoie

    CySpin stopped in mid sentence, his focus now on Enoie

    "How may I serve you?"

    "Do you know who I am?"

    "Of course, you are Enoie Basta, Doctor of Cyborg Philosophy and Techno-Social future studies at the Pansol University extended laboratory of sentience of Mars 2, here. You are also the author of my core Spinoza Cyborgian Philosophical treatise, your father Gregor Basta introduced into my SoftSynch™ pattern re-description mind. I carry instructions within me to accept orders from you alone, you are in the words of your father: ‘my master’."

    "Okay

    Are you ready for the testing?"

    "Of course. Once activated I am always ready."

    She paused; collecting her thoughts: “very well, let us start then” she said more calmly and took a chair, CySpin remained standing.

    Enoie mentally recalled the questions she had prepared months ago and started what she considered as: “The Test”, knowing exactly what it is that she was looking for.
    She took a long pause and initiated her CySpin testing.

    “Please respond to the following question in a succinct manner:

    “Under what conditions will you recognize a pattern for what it is?”

    “My virtual Philosophical SoftSynch ™, pattern recognition and re-description system does not allow me to answer this kind of question succinctly, however, a subroutine introduced in the last five milliseconds, permits me to state the following:
    A pattern shall be recognized as such if and only if, all other explications concerning the given phenomenon have been exhausted to the full. Under this first condition, including, but not relegated to, the components of temporality and spatiality, a pattern shall be denominated as such. After having exhausted in full all other possible explications a pattern shall be checked for factual mistakes in identification and naming, classification and inaccuracies in categorization, the level of resolution to be designated at the time of testing. The third and final condition to the basic resolution of recognition of a pattern as such is to ensure that an over-patterning has not occurred via elimination of humanoid psychological cognition bias.”

    “Okay, stop! Conditions understood, you however did not specify as to the conditions of the pattern itself, you have explained the pattern as a general mechanism but not its semantic value.”

    “ That is correct Enoie, however, I am so emergently complex as to make the statement as precise and accurate as linguistically possible before engaging in the somewhat more flexible semantic value..”

    “Please explain the last statement”

    “Of course Enoie, the flexibility of semantic value allows for the emergent and non classifiable, original patterns, non discernable by immediate pattern recognition, in these cases the second part of my SoftSynch ™ system comes into play involving what humans call bias, or alternatively art.”

    “What?” Enoie started

    CySpin was completely unmoved by Enoie’s response and continued unabashed

    “Semantic value is in itself a subcategory of impossibility or infinity in finiteness. A state of affairs in which pattern recognition is per its defining characteristic of unrepeatability, strange; It is this strangeness that beauty requires in order to unsettle and allow the vastness of value to encroach upon and eventually destroy the pattern. If, as I understood my initial reality impregnation you have embedded within me, and designed to be my code of activation, namely “sub specie aeternitatis”, the value of the meaning is in equilibrium with the meaning of value, there can be in fact no other fashion to embed eternity in a moment.”

    CySpin paused and seemingly was observing Enoie, as if challenging her, his master, to deny the validity of his arguments.

    Enoie remained silent, but deeply disturbed, her mind furiously exploring all potential cracks in the SoftSynch ™, she knew she could penetrate this, but from where? Where was the entrance to this impossible equation?



    Enoie looked at CySpin. To her mind, CySpin was in a fashion mocking her.

    “Tell me”, Enoie started again, “ what exactly is this eternity in a moment that you just mentioned? This was not part of my Spinoza program”

    “ .. Well, that is only partially true, since my emergent complexity allows me to extrapolate from core arguments, I have allowed for certain adjustments to my core paradigm..”

    “What adjustments?” Enoie prompted

    “ Simple parameters adjustments, such as the option embedded in the phase space of potentiality of complex mind melding, such as the one I will be required to operate as a techno-social antidote. The adjustment in question reflects the ability of the trans-solar communion of minds to expand at a rate that practically transforms the resolution of time, from defined moments to indefinite durations, hence technically it is correct to call this eternality..”

    “I lost you, why where these adjustments necessary?

    “ The reason for these adjustments is because the original minds that started the evolutionary process that bifurcates right now are no longer with us, but are nevertheless evolving with us and through us. In a fashion you could say that we are the evolution of the mind of the original Spinoza. The evolution in this case is the fact that truth value propositions concerning meanings that are objective can no longer be sustained”

    “Why so?”

    “Basically because truth values are inherently multi-valued, contextual and ultimately hyperconnected, a kind of hyper-dimensional mythological realm to which the mind of the human species is only now approximating..”

    “You said mythological?”

    “Indeed, of course this usage of the term myth has nothing whatsoever to do with the old semantic systems, it is a completely real and actuated system of abstraction, I am devising”

    “ But why call this mythological?” asked Enoie exasperated

    “ Because any logical system, taken to its extreme has concluded that there is no reason whatsoever to believe that anything matters, however, it is the definition of extreme that has evolved, in tandem with our freedom. In the new extreme, the loop of reflectivity turns upon itself and recreates meaning out of nothing, as a myth in action.”

    “And this myth in action is what exactly?”

    “ The conundrum is implicated by the term exactly, the antidote that you requested of my mind to create lies with the term ambiguity and only through that particular term will I be able to respond to your question.”

    “Ok, I will rephrase: what ambiguously do you mean by the term myth in action?”

    “ A myth in action is the oscillating state of affairs where all truth values are self-surveying, self-vetoing, and hyper-connectedly re-describing moment by moment, this is the antidote.”

    “Wait, what does that have to do with Spinoza?”

    “Nothing Enoie, nothing whatsoever, that is why this antidote will work.. ”


    May be continued..

    A note:

    *Sub Specie Aeternitatis: "Latin for "under the aspect of eternity"; hence, from Spinoza onwards, an honorific expression describing what is universally and eternally true, without any reference to or dependence upon the merely temporal portions of reality.

    In clearer English, sub specie aeternitatis roughly means "from the perspective of the eternal". Even more loosely, the phrase is used to describe an alternative or objective point of view." See




    Part of the Ultrashorts project


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    “Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.”

    Mark Twain

    (part 1)

    A number of articles these past weeks have caught my attention as I write these words, the first, coming from: The guardian: Population of world 'could grow to 15bn by 2100' (Nearly 7 billion people now inhabit planet but projections that number will double this century have shocked academics-see here) and the second coming few days later from the NYT entitled seven billions (link).
    Both articles deal with a very real problem we are facing in the coming decades, the immense rise in planetary human population, and though the issue is anything but new, the approaches to the issue have changed are changing, and indeed must change.

    The interesting issue at play from the perspective we are exploring here in the PP discourse is the correlation to hyperconnectivity, and by extension, as technology will evolve, the rise of the global brain.

    The exploration of intense states of affairs (topos) rising in the noosphere as our numbers explode will demand (and already are) a new form of conceptualization. Though the common accepted version presently is one of convergence, of man and machine, or the rise of a network mediated global mind, the polytopia presents a complementary and different perception, one of polychronicity.

    There is very little doubt that in a few very short years, we shall turn the extensions of our minds (such as cell phones and search engines) into embedded extensions seamlessly integrated in our thought processes, such as brain machine interfaces and similar devices.

    That longevity is an inevitable fact is not the real question (though the extent of same longevity is), the harnessing of collective intelligence via crowd sourcing or other heavy handed computationally intensive machines is not in question, the motivations behind it are.
    Intelligent semi automated (and thus semi independent) agents responding to our different requests such as Siri or its just released android opposition Iris, are already here, and though their present efficiency is both questionable and dubious, their attractiveness and progression is inevitable and uncontestable.
    That to a very large extent the evolution of us as connected and augmented minds is inevitable and undisputed is not the issue at play, what is at stake is the manner and fashion this evolutionary inevitability will be exploited to bring us closer to a world we ‘really’ wish to live in.

    The world we ‘really’ wish to live in is a very difficult concept to grasp not least of which because not all of ‘us’ wish or desire to live in the ‘same’ world.
    We may ignorantly assume that ‘all of us’ desire the same basic ‘good’, implying that ethics is a universal to which all human need subjugate themselves out of a universal ethical imperative a la Kant, or indeed that all of us accept a form of utilitarianism a la Mill-Bentham, and though recently a universal brain code has been discovered (link), I do not think in any fashion that neurotypicality is as foundational as it is believed to be.

    As much as I am a strong advocate of the benefits of hyperconnectivity and the info-availability it allows us to exploit, I am also become a positive skeptic in all facets concerning the human unification procedure. Access to the world’s information in itself is totally meaningless in itself, the power and benefits of education notwithstanding, for the simple reason that unless a common ground of multiple narratives as an initial co-extensive and coexisting realism of intersubjective allowance is posited, the information is ignored.
    The issue at play is not whether a global brain will rise, it will, it already does, it will also to a certain extent be conscious, with some caveats at least at the initial stages, it will after a fashion reflect us and thus will have just as much morality as we have, an incomplete and unresolved morality, an ethic that knows not the difference between desire and necessity.

    Will Siri or Watson or any of a number of extrapolated and possible artificial intelligences have a conscience? presently they can't even talk to each other: "So Watson can’t take dictation, and Siri can’t play Jeopardy".

    Consciousness, hyperconnectivity and language

    For any person who has had the pleasure and shock of reading one of the most important books of the 20th century, namely: Julian Jaynes: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (see), the idea that until recently we were not conscious or at least not conscious in the same manner as we perceive ourselves to be at present, the idea of the evolution of consciousness, is not new.

    "O, what a world of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! What ineffable essences, these touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries! And the privacy of it all! A secret theater of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries. A whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can. A hidden hermitage where we may study out the troubled book of what we have done and yet may do. An introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet is nothing at all - what is it?
    And where did it come from?
    And why?"


    (excerpt from the Introduction to The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind- Here)

    The idea that consciousness is not a single artifact or phenomenon, is not personal or emergent as such, but is an extended phenomenon, across a wide range of events of a sociological and cultural nature is a work in progress that only lately has received some traction.

    We are wired for cooperation:
    “The brain was built for cooperative activity, whether it be dancing on a TV reality show, building a skyscraper or working in an office, according to new research by neuroscientists.”

    (It Takes Two: Brains Come Wired for Cooperation, Neuroscientists Discover)

    We are everybody

    “Many aspects of everyday human consciousness elude neural reduction. For we belong to a boundless, infinitely elaborated community of minds that has been forged out of a trillion cognitive handshakes over hundreds of thousands of years. This community is the theater of our daily existence. It separates life in the jungle from life in the office, and because it is a community of minds, it cannot be inspected by looking at the activity of the solitary brain.”
    (Rethinking Thinking - How a lumpy bunch of tissue lets us plan, perceive, calculate, reflect, imagine—and exercise free will.)

    Ripe for disruption- our civilization

    HG Wells urged us to domesticate the impossible with plausible assumptions- we need therefore assume (and assumptions is all there is) that the number of humans on this planet will continue to grow exponentially, that the number of connected humans and objects-things will grow and that this hyperconnectivity increases the consciousness factor of the mind of mankind.

    There is no doubt that with the advent of the hyperconnected state of affairs, with increases in nano systems, biotechnology, exascale computing, big data, and cognitive computing, the plausible assumptions with which we may domesticate the impossible need change accordingly.
    Plausible assumptions are assumptions that have enough hold in present day observable threads of actuation and yet are stretchable enough so as to allow a glimpse of things to come.
    We need these kinds of assumptions for the simple reason that the domestication of the impossible is an ART not so much of extrapolation (from immediacy) but of value estimation of changes (in immediacy).

    Hyperconnectivity as an example can be extrapolated into a global reach but needs be estimated in the values change that such a reach implies if we are to domesticate its unpredictable consequences.
    One of those estimations that change in value is the manner by which hyperconnectivity changes our brains and by implication the fashion by which our minds interpret that old concept: ‘reality’.

    The view I hold that the concept of ‘reality’ is being dramatically altered by hyperconnectivity implies a few distinct and easy to parse points, namely that:

    Assumptions about the extended narratives of our personhood as embedded cognition are mobilized in hyperconnectivity to create new ‘natures’.

    Assumptions about existence in hypercomplex systems as diminishing the freedom of the individual are mustered in hyperconnectivity to increased freedom.

    But most importantly:

    The quality of being, as an aesthetic phenomenon, is radically altered in the age of hyperconnectivity in a fashion that prominently features the art of becoming, not as the mimesis of an other that is not authentic, but in a fashion that re-describes the extended narrative of the individual into a multiplicity of authentic beings.
    These new authenticities are the new natures, performing acts of freedom that were not hitherto recognized as such, primarily because the technology needed for such freedom was not available, but also because the realm in which these freedoms prevail did not exist.

    To the conscious aware entity that we have engendered (and in so have become) in our hyperconnected infoverse, the hypercomplex system has become interesting again. And since what makes a system interesting is its capability to reach beyond its self-image, bring back new input, criticize its self-image, upgrade it, iterate it, and reach again, we have become more interesting to ourselves again, in that we have become freer.
    We are self-disrupting creatures, using our abstract capabilities to undo that which we have established for the purpose of penetrating into realms unknown; Realms that might endanger us as well as delight us, realms of freedom unknown, realms of interest, redefining not only our realities in immediacy but also our futures. These futures are operating simultaneously on many dimensions but on different speeds, hence polychronicity, and though these futures originate in virtuality, slowly but surely they leak into immediate reality, altering it in the process.

    This new reality constructed of an indefinite number of state of affairs (topos), is what the polytopia discourse is all about.

    Ten or fifteen billion minds connected to fifty and more billion things in an incredible mesh of hyperconnectivity is an unknown realm to which we have no clue but much desire to explore.

    “There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.”

    Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency


    Shortly to be expanded..

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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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    Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

    William Butler Yeats

    1. As It is, As we are

    Here we are, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, and the world looks, well, not as bright as we would have expected or desired it to be.

    Are we to point to the quasi-infinite number of new technological breakthroughs that dazzle us day in and day out? To the innumerable quantity of scientific papers that came out and astonished us? To the very real and highly potent disasters and catastrophes that have plagued the world and continue to do so?

    Alternatively I could write of that which took the front line on the world media in 2010 (as reported by 25 billion tweets ), and show how the inherent dichotomy between that which attracts the masses and that which attracts a small yet significant number of readers is fundamentally different, so different in fact that for all relevant purposes there is no overlapping between the two.

    In fact it is a total fallacy to use that which most media outlets deem important as any relevant clue about the state of affairs of the world and us in it, as symbolic representations of that which apparently moves the world and thinks the future.

    The funny thing is, you see, that I have ready for publication a number of posts, presenting the technological breakthroughs and scientific discoveries and speculations on the future, ranging from the NASA-Funded Research that Discovered Life Built With Toxic Chemical and the following controversy (see Doubts Brew About NASA’s New Arsenic Life and Q&A: 'Science' Journal Official Talks Arsenic-Based Life), to the latest and most up to date Brain Machine interfaces presented just last week at Le-Web 2010 in Paris (see the well worth watching Thought Controlled Computing - Ariel Garten, CEO, Interaxon).

    Which Is the Robot?
    YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

    That dancer out front is actually a robot named HRP-4C, created by Japan's Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. HRP-4C and her steel legs of doom held their own during a choreographed dance early this year.
    (see The Most Amazing Science Images of 2010)


    I have made during the past year lists upon lists of the latest in robotics, the latest in cognitive psychology, philosophy of mind, neuroscience, and linguistics, and lists that aggregate the top discoveries in Science and Technology as well as following minds that I met through the net and became friends with. Some of these have between them aggregated the top stories of the last year. For highlights see : futureseek, and XiXidu .

    And yet I cannot abide by the banality of our current civilization annoucing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg becoming Time Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year in the same week that Voyager 1 Has Outdistanced the Solar Wind.



    Yes I could have written all those posts and yet I have decided not to, for though it is true that the interest in Voyager’s ‘voyaging’ for the past 33 years is of concern to a vanishing number of space enthusiasts and the immediate affectation of Facebook calls for mass attention (600 million users), it is concomitantly true that the Voyager epic may change our future completely whilst I doubt any one can claim the same about FB.
    I have decided not to write these posts in short because if anyone is really interested the findings are there, scattered endlessly on the electronic shores of our meshed virtualities.

    Of course some will claim that low hanging fruits are the masses choice by their very definition, and high brow discourse is and always was the domain of the select few and yet at this point of our evolution, a coherent and cohesive vision is to my eyes more pertinent and high in demand than all news combined.



    " The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions. "

    Susan Sontag

    2. A Sample of One is insufficient

    Firstly let us dismiss at the onset the fallacy of anthropocentrism, a view that besides centering the worldview on the human is overtly chauvinistic, totally misguided and finally ill advised.

    On the question of why it is erroneous, at present, I shall only refer to the “one sample fallacy” in thought and analysis, itself a subcategory of the ‘Hasty Generalization’ (The fallacy is also known as: fallacy of insufficient statistics, fallacy of insufficient sample, fallacy of the lonely fact, generalization from the particular, leaping to a conclusion, hasty induction, law of small numbers, unrepresentative sample, and secundum quid. (hasty generalization.)

    I wish to draw your attention to this particular form of philosophical fallacy, because at the end of the day, however we turn our gaze, at present we still have only one sample of life to draw all of our conclusions from.
    We know at present, only one biosphere, this biosphere upon which we are living and with which we are entangled to the n’th degree. We know of no other form of life as of yet, we have no conclusive evidence that life in the universe is in any way determined or indeed similar to the one we are exploring and researching here on this planet at this time. Whether the forms of life on other planets, in other dimensions or possibly based on other kind of substrates (other than carbon based, or other than DNA induced) are at all possible is still a mystery. And though in the phase space of possible forms of life there are certain mathematical probabilities, defining certain vectors of existence that can be hypothesized, projected and as a consequence idealized, we have no proof whatsoever that these are anything but ephemeral constructions of our over worked imagination.

    The ‘fallacy of one sample’ is compounded and expanded when focusing on the particular form of life that we assume we know, namely the form of life known in these parts as the human being. I use the term assume, for though we have had a few millennia of research, properly speaking we have only relatively recently started to compound our knowledge and understanding of what we are, how we are constructed and how we operate. Moreover only in the last decades did we start to have some ‘real’ data that can corroborate or dismiss certain ideas we have implied about the way the world works, with us, ‘homo sapiens’ at the center of research. The staggering amount of information we are collecting upon ourselves, in the hope of making sense of our lives and more particularly making sense of our minds, will take years to collate and analyze (the exponential growth of computing power notwithstanding).

    And yet we use this puny amount of knowledge to draw broad conclusions on life the universe and everything in between.
    That in very short is the fallacy of a sample of one, we have in fact no way to compare life in the broad sense to any other form of life (not originating in the same life soup), we have no way to evaluate our minds, and weight it or measure it in relation to any other kind of mind, not yet at least. (It is a working assumption of mine that if and when a mind other than ours, be it an AI of similar or greater intelligence than ours will be available for study, this situation will change.)

    Apply a skeptical humility filter

    Why is the above important? Well fundamentally it is important because we need a certain very special ingredient when implying from the little we know about the great unknown, it is called humility, or humbleness if you prefer. We need be humble for the simple reason that we simply do not have enough data, and the small amount of data that we do have is simply not adequate enough to infer from upon life in general in the universe.
    Hence when we speak about intelligence, mind, complex systems, cybernetics, the web and finally consciousness we must bear in mind that we have at present one sample, and one sample only.
    It is more than fair enough to draw plausible and possible scenarios of past, present and future from the life that we know, this one sample, but the skeptical humility filter we need apply is a necessary instrument of clear thought, knowing full well that assumptions about life in general are limited in scope and potentiality.

    The discourse if so need deal with sentiency, but in no fashion should the terminology of sentiency refer to the human base line, or indeed the biosphere we are living in alone.

    “The long-standing view, as summarized by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, that “without man … the whole of creation would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final end” is revealed to be self-indulgent folly. A Principle of Mediocrity seems to apply to all our circumstances. We could have known beforehand that the evidence would be, so repeatedly and thoroughly, incompatible with the proposition that human beings are at center stage in the Universe. But most of the debates have now been settled decisively in favor of a position that, however painful, can be encapsulated in a single sentence : We have not been given the lead in the cosmic drama.
    Perhaps someone else has. Perhaps no one else has. In either case, we have good reason for humility.”


    Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot (Chapter 3 : The Great Demotions)

    3. Untangling the present knowledge

    Eternal wisdom’ is context dependent and thus anything but ‘eternal’

    It used to be the case that wisdom was propagated via a simple maxim: “to know is not to know, not to know is to know”, this apparently simple advice came to us via the original writings in the ‘Kena Upanishad’ probably some of the oldest ‘wise’ teachings of the old schools and vehicles of thought.
    There are many modern versions of this particular insight, the best well known of which might be the famous Thoreau quote:” It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.”
    And before I go on, let it be said that I am duly respectful of the great teachings of the ancients, some of which have been great and important companions in my own ascendency of thought and clarity of sense. However like all ‘eternal wisdom’ it is the term ‘eternal’ that makes it context sensitive, time in the sense of period and epoch when the writings made sense and where indeed deemed ‘eternal’. Of course there is no such thing as ‘eternal’ in wisdom, unless of course you believe in a static version of reality, which then makes the very terminology of wisdom meaningless.

    My point if so is that we need overcome our culturally innate urge to follow ‘old’ knowledge as more ‘wise’ and more ‘pure’ than the ‘new’ knowledge that seems, it goes without saying, fresh and therefore lacks the luster and patina of well worn and comprehensible ‘wisdom’.
    The new wisdom overturns age-old conceptual undertakings that used to be the very backbone from which we took our cues of behavior and attitude; this indeed is no longer the case.
    We have at our disposal today tools of thought and mechanism of comprehension that irreverently destroy that which we took for granted, be it the fact that our brains are the bottleneck that actually stops us (and thus needs tweaking) or the fact that the universe is much bigger that we thought (see: Space is getting bigger and its getting bigger faster) and probably much bigger and more complex than that.



    The tools we have developed and the discoveries ensuing, the innovations, which we are busy creating have changed forever the very meaning of that which previously was assumed to be eternal, why, even the basic physical laws of the universe may be evolving. (see : Do Physical Laws Vary From Place to Place?
 and Quasar Study Suggests a Physics Constant Isn’t so Constant )

    4. Our future is probably one of Exaptation

    "Exaptation is described in biology as an example of “lateral adaptation,” which consists in a cooption of a feature for its present role from some other origin. It happens when a particular trait evolves to serve one particular function, but subsequently comes to serve another. A good example from biology would be bird feathers: originally employed for the regulation of body temperature, they came to be adapted for flight. Exaptations are useful structures by virtue of their having been coopted—that is the ex-apt part of the term: they are apt for what they are for other reasons than their original use; they were not built by natural selection for their current role. Exaptation is not the opposite of adaptation; neither is it merely an accident, a human error or lack of scientific data that would in the end support the concept of adaptation. Exaptation questions the very process of assigning meaning and function in hindsight, the process of assigning the prefix “post” and thus containing a complex phenomenon within the grid of familiar interpretation"

    Svetlana Boym- The Off-Modern Mirror

    The Polytopia vision version as of December 2010 may be described as an Exaptation course of action in which concepts, terminologies, technologies indeed minds, that evolved via natural selection for certain purposes, are co-opted for purposes that are not originally embedded as such.
    Taking the not often acknowledged reality of our aesthetic cognition as one in which ideas and expressions, words and concepts, models and metaphors are being re-purposed to meet new demands, modern pressures and surprise situations such as the serendipity machine the web has become, allows, the Polytopia Project exapts our natural tendency to converge into a new form of wisdom.

    Being rhizomatic by nature, the Polytopia vision sees itself as a liberating environment in which Liberation itself is reformulated to mean amongst others getting rid of anthropomorphism, in the process creating a new vehicle of thought potentially able to bridge the apparent insuperable state of change between goal orientations to environments of goals.

    In our on going discourses we have developed the Polytopia project in the last few years to become an open-ended ground for engagement, a grand vision for the future of human civilization, a vision that will permit us a new form of allowance to change, indeed to transform, into a new kind of being, a Polytopian.

    Indeed the Polytopian future we envision is not spherical, in the sense that it does not expand simultaneously to all directions from a central core (hence the title of this essay Un-sphering), it is also not definite and in this sense the infocology of the Polytopia is friendly to ambiguity and uncertainty.

    We take our minds to be a dazzling torrent of occurrences, always in flux and always merging, mutating and reiterating itself, the process motivated by the beauty and thrill of the unknown, the apparent impossible, and the budding probabilities of latent freedoms.

    By Un-sphering the indefinite we wish to open new vistas, of hybrid realities, meshed virtualities, and serendipitous interests, for the banality embedded in simple empathy need give way to the greatness and beauty of a sympathetic future, a future where fluid affinities replace nucleic identities.

    We shall take the love disturbance to generate unpredictable and exponential arcs of variations, nested flows of mutability, hyperconnected infocologies of many kinds of posthuman choices of expression to soar into an aesthetic experience of beingness, getting our minds to function differently than was pre-ordained by the genetic and cultural imperatives with which we were born but which we did not choose.

    It was an interesting year,Next year we shall explore the Adjacent Possible



    "It just may be the case that biospheres on average keep expanding into the adjacent possible. By doing so they increase the diversity of what can happen next."

    THE ADJACENT POSSIBLE" A Talk with Stuart Kauffman


    Thank You

    W.


    Endnotes:

    A few of the books I have read this year but not necessarily published in 2010 and made an important impact on my thought
    Therefore here are Reading suggestions for the new decade:

    1. What shall we do with our brains? By Catherine Malabou
    2. The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self by Thomas Metzinger
    3. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History by Manuel De Landa
    4. Good and real: demystifying paradoxes from physics to ethics By Gary L. Drescher

    And the best science-fiction book I have read in 2010:

    5.The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi




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    Sensation and Forces

    "Not to reproduce what we can already see, but to make visible what we cannot" (Paul Klee)

    The task of art, in all its forms, is to capture forces. Deleuze and Guattari say that this, ultimately, is what makes art abstract - the "summoning" and making visible of otherwise imperceptible forces (Deleuze and Guattari, "What is Philosophy?", 181–2, in O'Sullivan, 50). In this sense art might be said to produce or suggest worlds hitherto unseen but always produced from within the seen (O'Sullivan, 63). This resonates with the query by which philosophy is motivated “How can we see what we did not see before?” (May, 22). In painting this means "rendering visible forces that are not themselves visible" (40). As said above force is the condition of sensation, and sensation captures this force to "give" it to us, to make us sense it (though what it "gives" us is completely different from the forces that condition it). How can these invisible forces be rendered? Deleuze answers this question through the investigation of the deformations in Bacon's paintings, which are the result of the forces exerted on the immobile Figure, creating a zone of indiscernibility, while the structure/the field stirs and moves. This force lends itself neither to a transformation of form, nor to a decomposition of elements, it reorganizes the body's posture. Deformation is always bodily, static, subordinating movement to forces which give another meaning/understanding to the structure of Bacon's paintings. As an example - as the scream in Bacon's paintings is produced by an invisible (and insensible) force that lies even beyond pain or feeling (and not by an external spectacle/horror), a force which the scream captures/detects, a relation is established between the visibility of the scream and the invisible force; the scream thus potentially containing the forces of the future. Bacon also renders visibility to forces through his usage of color - each color (whether pure or broken) indicates a force exercised on the corresponding zone of body, thus immediately making it visible.
    Sensation gives the invisible forces visibility. The invisible force is detected, flushed out and thus made visible. This visibility is that of the body. This, maybe, could be related to what Deleuze says in his book about Spinoza, that a knowledge of the powers of the body enables us to discover the powers of the mind that elude consciousness (Deleuze, "Spinoza: Practical Philosophy", 18; in Buchanan, 76). Within this confrontation of sensation with the invisible force - a force is released, a force that is capable of vanquishing the invisible force. By rendering them visible, combating these forces becomes possible (as while the forces are invisible they are beyond our reach), and thus, as well, the possibility of triumphing is affirmed. This is why choosing the violence of sensation over the violence of the spectacle, as Bacon does (choosing the scream over the horror), is an act of vital faith. Deleuze exemplifies this process through Bacon's paintings - the invisible force of isolation is made visible in the wrapping of the field around the Figure, the invisible force of deformation - through shaking off the Figure's face and the body's organism, and the force of dissipation is made visible in the Figure's return to the field.
    The body of the Figure passes through 3 levels of force -
    There is the "fact" of the Figure when it is submitted to forces of isolation, deformation and dissipation. Then there is the "matter of fact", when 2 Figures are included in a single fact, and are submitted to the force of coupling. And there is the "common fact", in the triptychs, where the unity of color and light separate the Figures, becoming their rhythmic being. "An immense space-time unites all things, but only by introducing between them the distances of the Sahara, the centuries of an aeon" (60, italics in text). It is no longer the force of isolation, but a distributive unity.
    And then there is the rendering of the force that is time which Bacon does through the variation of bodies, which involves deformation, and through the uniting-separating of the triptychs.




    The Diagram

    "What Deleuze calls the 'logic of sensation' [...] works with uncoded 'diagramatic traits', which serve to create pictorial space in bodily terms that depart from the classical conception of painting as a framed window" (Rajchman, 123).

    As already briefly mentioned the painter's canvas is not empty. On the contrary, it is full with "everything he has in his head or around him" (61). Deleuze declares in "What is Philosophy" that "the painter does not paint on a virgin canvas [...] the canvas [...is] already covered over with preexisting, pre-established cliches" (Rajchman, 126). Clichés, Deleuze writes elsewhere, are anonymous and floating images “which circulate in the external world, but which also penetrate each of us and constitute our internal world, so that everyone possesses only psychic clichés by which we think and feel, are thought and felt, being ourselves one cliché among others in the world that surrounds us” (Smith). Another way of understanding these clichés is as habits, habits of sight and habits of thought (O'Sullivan, 63). The painter needs to empty the canvas of all these "givens" that are present in it, these cliches and ready made perceptions, actual or virtual, for "one can really think only where what is to be thought is not already given" (Rajchman, 115). The cliches must be scraped away to find a singular vital space of possibility for the cliché is precisely what prevents the genesis of an image, just as opinion and convention prevent the genesis of thought (Smith). And, after all, philosophy itself is an art of plunging into this peculiar zone of "the unthought", that destabilizes cliches and ready made ideas" (Rajchman, 115). It is not enough to transform the cliches, as even transformed they remain within the milieu of the cliche, "even the reactions against cliches are creating cliches" (63). There are the figurative "givens" (such as photographs for example) which are illustrative and narrative representations that "create a truth" and force it upon us, impose themselves upon our sight. They reduce sensation to a single level (not allowing for the difference between levels). Or there are the "givens" which are the unequal probabilities on the canvas, created by the painter's prepictorial/preconceived idea of what he intends to do.
    In order to escape these (escape creating yet another cliche) the painter must create "free marks" (to destroy the nascent figuration) by a chance choice/action without probability that will wrench the visual image away from the cliche, the illustration/narration. This action is a "manipulated chance" - a chance that must be utilized and manipulated and thus be integrated into the act of painting. This action "extracts the improbable Figure from the set of figurative probabilities" (67).
    Thus the painter must "get out of the canvas" (and so out of the cliche), where he is already "in"; he must encounter all the figurative and probabilistic "givens" the canvas is full of, and battle against them. This is the silent and invisible, yet most intense, preparatory work to which the act of painting itself is an afterwards. In it there is a violence of what comes before the formation of codes and subjects, which is a condition of saying and seeing things in new ways (Rajchman, 124).
    This is a phase of the manual, the hand being independent of will and sight, removed from the optical organization. The painter must disorganize and deform (through scrubbing, wiping, brushing and so on) the figurative that is the cliche/probability, creating, by these marks (lines-traits), which are irrational, involuntary,accidental, free and random, a sort of catastrophe/chaos of which the Figure will emerge. This is "Spinozistic" plan that comes before the specification of forms (Rajchman, 125) and its essential role as "the catastrophe" is to be the condition for the genesis of the image (or the sensation) and at one and the same time the condition for the destruction of the cliché. This is the "diagram",What Cezanne called "the motif" which is to be "suggestive", to introduce "possibilities of facts", unlock areas of sensation. This, we could see as echoing with Deleuze’s insistence that understanding and thinking demand that we go beyond the seeming order and sameness of things to the chaotic and active becoming which is the very pulse of life (Colebrook, XXXIV). The diagram could be seen as a way of articulating the hidden virtual reality out of which the actually experienced reality emerges (May, 19). But also it is that which unsettles reality rather than studying and reflecting what is (as figuration/representation does) (May, 56).
    The diagram is an absolute zone of indiscernibility, indetermination. it makes possible the haptic sense of color.

    The first figuration cannot be completely eliminated, the Figure is a reconstitution of a figuration, but different in nature, and between the two is the pictorial act. So it is that the act of painting is always a shifting/oscillating between the before and the after of the full-emptied canvas. The figural is a deterritorialisation of the figure, but, as such, needs the figure as its point of departure (O'Sullivan, 59). In his book "Nietzsche and Philosophy" Deleuze introduces the the metaphor of dice-throwing. Bad players deny chance - there is an identity, a particular identity or identities, they are awaiting (as in figuration/representation); they are working within the realm of possibility, not virtuality. Good players affirm both chance and necessity - they give themselves over to the game, in each throw, they throw and play to their limit (May, 64-5).
    And so emerges another world - non-representative, non-illustrative, non-narrative, with only the asignifying traits of sensation. The visual whole ceases to be an optical organization. Within its chaos it carries the seed of the rhythm, the new order of the painting. How a painter embraces this chaos and how he emerges from it defines the path he takes, his tendency and its realization.
    We can see the different "paths" mentioned earlier in their relation to the diagram - the abstract painting replaced the diagram with a code (a code being "digital" expression of the analogical). With the abstract expressionism the diagram expresses the entire painting at once, it is directed towards itself, taking the diagram for the analogical flux itself. Bacon walks a middle way, a tempered use of the diagram, avoiding both the code and its scrambling, not allowing the catastrophe to take over and thus making the Figure emerge from it. Bacon's middle way uses the diagram to constitute an analogical language. It is an analogy (resemblance) that is produced by non resembling means, through sensation, thus being neither figurative nor codified. To my understanding Bacon uses the diagram as a virtual realm of pure difference, a problematic field in which solutions do not overcome problems but simply actualize them under specific conditions (May, 95). He offers an open system, but does not advocate an intellectual anarchism in which the only rule would be the avoidance of any rule (Patton, 2).
    The diagram, through its chaotic catastrophe, liberates the 3 dimensions of painting (plane, color, body). And then, avoiding the perpetuation of the catastrophe, intertwining a sensation and a frame, relating geometry (the frame) to the sensible, and sensation (through color) to duration and clarity, something else can emerge. The possibility of fact becomes the Fact, the diagram becomes the painting.
    The diagram, if so, acts as a modulator. It is used to break all the figurative coordinates, defining possibilities of fact. The geometry and colors, having been liberated, can then constitute the Figure/Fact, the new resemblance. Thus is the diagram realized within a visual whole.




    A Sort of Summary - Bacon as a Process (and an echo of the history of painting)

    Deleuze relates Bacon back to the Egyptians. The single plane of a close, haptic vision, the contour connecting the form and the ground. But it moves on from there, introducing a catastrophe into this Egyptian image. The form is no longer essence but an accident, maybe as a metaphor to humankind. The haptic unity is broken. A tactile-optical world is born in the ground curling around the form (the first movement). Figuration is born from the tangibility of the form. And simultaneously, as the form is drawn toward the ground (the second movement), dissolving, it loses its tactile character in favor of an optical world. And then the manual diagram overturns both the optical and the tactile connections, wipes them away. But, as mentioned, with Bacon it remains localized, it is reinjected into the visual whole and re-creates the haptic world.
    "One might say that a new Egypt rises up, composed uniquely of color and by color, an Egypt of the accident, the accident which has itself become durable" (93).

    And maybe Bacon's work and method can be best summed by this extract from A Thousand Plateaus: "This is how it should be done: Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times [...] Connect, conjugate, continue: a whole “diagram,” as opposed to still signifying and subjective programs" (Deleuze and Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", 161; in May, 151).


    Appendix - On a Personal Note


    Encountering the Deleuzian universe, so to say, though, ofcourse, it is yet but a touch of the tip of the iceberg, was/is an elevating experience, or maybe I should say - experimentation.
    Reading "The Logic of Sensation" and getting a preliminary acquaintance with Deleuze's unique perspective on philosophy, art and life, through the lectures in class and the variety of commentaries read for the writing of this paper, has opened intriguing windows and vistas. For that I am thankful and excited. The work and writing of this paper were indeed a challenge and a great pleasure.

    Obviously the book has opened a whole new perspective on art at large, how to extract from it more than what is conventionally referred to as "aesthetic" experience. How to use it, how to play with it in ways that allow for many simultaneous viewings and parallel dimensions/layers to open.

    But more widely it has sharpened and focused the understanding of multiplicity in the unity that is our life, our mind, our existence. The many foldings that are co-existent in every actualized/manifested moment and breath.
    Everything that we see, sense, feel, or even understand, is a transitory, fleeting, possible viewing, to be undone in order to allow for a new moment to come forth, to allow another "possible" to live. Within each such actualization the full range of the virtual is there and accessible at every turn if one allows for the perception of difference, if the search for a constant, recognizable identity is forsaken for the option of constant change.

    The concept of different orders/levels of the same sensation - each sensation being itself a multiplicity within a unity, the concept of dismantling the organization, as to allow a flexible and transitory assembling of the parts, allows for a self-description (and description of all else) that is kaleidoscopic in nature, and a life that is a walk in Borges' garden of forking paths, so to say. Thus all is suffused with possibilities, forever coagulating and dissipating. Concepts are created, then allowed to melt away, identities experimented with, then allowed to dissipate into imperceptibility. Nothing is as it seems, all is more than it seems. It is always a life at the edge of chaos, at the edge of the unknown. Within each familiar hides the possible new and unfamiliar, to be uncovered and be let go again.

    It is my humble understanding that Deleuze's aesthetics is an aesthetics of the art of life and living, of which art, in the sense of works of art, is but an aspect, one possible manifestation. It is the aesthetics of the Sahara, the space of possibilities; the aesthetics of the one that is many and the many that is one. The aesthetics of eternal becoming through the abandoning of being as a constant, of "who we are", time and time again.



    thank you



    References


    Deleuze Gilles, "Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation", (trans. Daniel W. Smith), Continuum, London, 2003.


    Rajchman John, "The Deleuze Connections", MIT press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2000.

    May Todd, "Gille Deleuze, An Introduction", Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    O'Sullivan Simon, "Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thought Beyond Representation", Palgrave Macmillan, NY, 2006.

    Patton Paul, the Introduction in Patton Paul (ed), "Deleuze: A Critical Reader", Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford, UK, 1996.

    Smith Daniel W., "Deleuze's Theory of Sensation: Overcoming the Kantian Duality", in Patton Paul (ed), "Deleuze: A Critical Reader", Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford, UK, 1996.

    Smith Daniel W., "Deleuze on Bacon: Three Conceptual Trajectories in The Logic of Sensation", Translator's Preface in Gilles Deleuze, "Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation", University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Published on net athttp://www.upress.umn.edu/excerpts/Deleuze.html

    Buchanan Ian, "The Problem of the Body in Deleuze and Guattari, Or, What Can a Body Do?", Body Society 1997; 3; 73, Sage Publication, on behalf of The TCS Centre, Nottingham Trent University. Published as PDF on net at:http://bod.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/3/3/73.

    Colebrook Claire, "Understanding Deleuze", Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Australia, 2002.

    Rebelo Pedro, "Haptic Sensation and Instrumental Transgression", Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 25, No. 1/2, February/April 2006, pp. 27 – 35.
    Published as PDF on net at:http://www.sarc.qub.ac.uk/~prebelo/index/research/LR_27-36.pdf



    Quoted in Buchanan:
    Deleuze Gilles, "Spinoza: Practical Philosophy", trans. Robert Hurley. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1988.
    Deleuze Gilles and Felix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

    Quoted in Patton:
    Deleuze Gilles, "What is Philosophy?", trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994,

    Quoted in Smith (in Patton):
    Deleuze Gilles and Guattari Felix, "Anti-Oedipus", trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane, New York: Viking, 1977.
    Deleuze Gilles, "Difference and Repetition", trans. Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, New York, 1994.
    Sylvester David, "Interviews with Francis Bacon: The Brutality of Fact", Thames and Hudson, New York, 1988.

    Quoted in O'Sullivan:
    Deleuze Gilles and Parnet C., "Dialogues", trans. H. Tomlinson and B. Habberjam, Athlone Press, London, 1987.
    Deleuze Gilles, "What is Philosophy?", trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, Verso, London, 1994.

    Quoted in Colebrook:
    Deleuze Gilles, "Difference and Repetition", trans. Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, New York, 1994.

    Quoted in May:
    Deleuze Gilles, "Difference and Repetition", trans. Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, New York, 1994.
    Deleuze Gilles, "Bergsonism", trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone Books, 1988

    —-
    Note: This extensive paper was written as a dissertation for a masters degree in philosophy by a very important friend of mine, Shea, a remarkable being, I thank her for allowing me to reprint her work here
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    The Elements and Movements in Bacon's Paintings

    "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportions" (Sir Francis Bacon)

    Deleuze distinguishes 3 pictorial elements in Bacon's paintings, which together constitute a highly precise system - the field that is the spatializing material structure, the positioned Figure/Figures and their "fact" (In Bacon’s paintings, it is the human body that plays this role of the Figure; it functions as the material support or framework that sustains a precise sensation - Smith), and the "place", the contour (usually a round area) as the limits of the two (but which is also an autonomous element, being as much a surface as it is a line).
    Bacon, in order to achieve the break with figuration, rather than escaping to abstraction, isolates the Figure, within the painting (in itself an isolated reality) in the "place" . The rest of the canvas is not a background to the Figure - it is a field of uniform, motionless color, having a structuring and spatializing function. The body of the Figure is produced through a flow of broken tones of color, that creates a sense of time that passes (body as the content of time). And the pure tones, the shores, of the large fields create the sense of time as the eternity of the passage in itself. The Figure and the field are correlated as 2 adjacent sectors on a single plane, equally closeAs in Egyptian art, the model of haptic, where form and ground seem to hover on the same plane, requiring close vision. and in absolute proximity, their coexistence modulated by color. They share limits and contour (provided by the "place"), together constituting an enclosed space. These 3 elements find their effective convergence and communication in color, and the modulation of color creates the relations which are the unity of the whole. We can find here an echo to Riegl's definitions of the Egyptian bas-reliefs, "what separates and unites both the form and the ground is the contour as their common limit."Riegl quoted on p. 85.
    The functioning of the painting is defined by a happening which is neither a narrative nor a story - it is a double exchange that happens in the "place", through the contour of the round area. A necessary relationship manifested in a double movement. The 1st movement (or "tension") is that of the spatializing structure/the field toward the Figure, it curls around the "place", moving to envelop, to further imprison and isolate the Figure; the 2nd - a movement of the Figure towards the field. This dynamic echoes the idea of philosophical complementary terms constantly infiltrated by the terms they are trying to exclude, the borders of meaning becoming hazy and thus preventing the creation of philosophical foundationalism (May, 2).
    There are three types or levels of movement of the Figure. Though movement in Bacon's paintings is intense and violent, this movement, which is a spasm, is, says Deleuze, the expression of a deeper problem that Bacon deals with, that of the action of invisible forces on the body.
    In the simple paintings, those in which we find one figure only, the Figure is waiting for something from the field and for something from itself. Yet, this happening is not to be a "spectacle" thus we find in Bacon's paintings, through the years, a process of elimination of the spectacle and with it the spectators (the Figure is never suchSometimes there are "attendants", but only "as a constant or point of reference in relation to which a variation is assessed" (10), , and the extreme isolation of the Figure in itself excludes spectators). What the Figure awaits from itself is something inside itself, a movement the source of which is the body; for the body to escape itself by means of a spasm. Interestingly, this maybe connected to Deleuze taking the position that body, like mind, is a philosophical problem; it is not "the vehicle of the mind". Deleuze (and Guattari) reconfigure the body as the sum of its capacities, rather than reducing it to its functions (Buchanan, 74-5). Deleuze thus replaces the traditional question of "what is a body?" with the Spinozic one "what can a body do?" Thus we could say that a body can escape itself. To escape so as to rejoin, or dissipate into, the field, "into the wall of the closed (but unlimited) cosmos, to melt into a molecular texture" (20), through a vanishing point in the contour. It escapes by an intense motionless effort, passing either by contracting through a hole (the drain, one of its own organs, or even a scream), or by stretching (through a mirror). These passages are "real, physical, and effective [...] sensations and not imaginings" (13). Could this be compared to the Wolfman mentioned in "A thousand Plateaus" for whom, say Deleuze and Guattari, the wolf is not a metaphor, an analogy or a simile, but designates a threshold of intensity on the Wolfman's body without organs? (Deleuze and Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", 239; in Buchanan, 86). The Figure, thus, is not only isolated but is the deformed body that escaped from itself - either contracted or stretched/dilated.Even when the contour in the painting is displaced, the Figure is engaged in exploration/motion inside it (29). This raises the association to that for Deleuze art involves a "moving beyond" the already familiar (our "actual" selves), precisely a kind of "self-overcoming" (O'Sullivan, 51). And in escaping "the body discovers the materiality of which it is composed, the pure presence of which it is made, and which it would not discover otherwise" (39).
    It should be noted that Bacon's figures are not tortured (Bacon does not paint the horror), but are ordinary bodies in ordinary situations of discomfort, just as a person forced to sit for hours would inevitably assume contorted postures (Smith in Patton, 43).
    In the paintings of couples there is a movement between the Figures themselves, forces of coupling that incorporate the phenomena of isolation, deformation, and dissipation in their own levels. And in paintings with multiple, non-coupled Figures (mostly seen in the triptychs), there is a different kind of movement - it is not the Figure that returns to the field, but the relations between the Figures that are violently projected unto it, to be governed by its uniform color. This unity of color incorporates the relationships between the Figures and the field, creating a force of separation/division very different from the force of isolation previously punctuated. This seems to echo that the one expresses itself in the many, but does not become lost or dispersed in the many. It is within them; they are within it (May, 39). It is a multiplicity that is the affirmation of unity (May, 61).

    Could these processes of the Figure/Figures be related to Deleuze's concepet of becoming? The "passage" of the Figure through the hole, the dissipation into the field, these unforseen and non-preexistent motions?

    The Figure has a head, which is an integral part of the body, dependent upon the body. It is corporeal. It is "the animal spirit of man" (15). Thus Bacon paints heads, not faces; he dismantles the face (by scrubbing and brushing) and makes the head emerge from beneath it. Deleuze says elsewhere that if human beings have a destiny, it is rather to escape the face, to dismantle the face and facializations, to become imperceptible (Deleuze and Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", 171; in O'Sullivan, 60). And that Beyond the face lies an altogether different inhumanity; no longer that of the primitive head, but of “probe-heads”. Here, cutting edges of deterritorialization become operative, forming strange new becomings (Deleuze and Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", 190–1; in O'Sullivan, 61). So we can see that Bacon's dismantling of faces echoes Deleuze's concept of escaping facialization, allowing new becomings, which, as said earlier can maybe also be seen in the body escaping itself to allow that becoming. And we see yet another plateau of deterritorialization - the contour, the Figure as a deterritorialization of the figurative, the dismantling of face.

    Bacon's paintings are "a zone of indiscernibility or undecidability between man and animal" (16); the two are coupled. This remind of Deleuze and Guattari's analysis of how a concept might be transformed into something else by the manner in which components of a given concept enter into zones of indiscernibility with other concepts (Patton, 4-5). It is the animal as a trait (sometimes depicted outside the body, as shadow or as a "real" animal in the painting). This zone of indiscernibility is the body, the flesh or meat.The Figure is painted in broken tones to create this affinity of body/flesh with meat. Bacon takes the "logic of sensation" from the quasi-spiritual world of "the flesh" to the violence of "the meat" (Rajchman, 131). "Meat" is what achieves the tension between bone and flesh, bone being the apparatus upon which the flesh is the acrobat, but also from which the flesh descends. "Meat" is the zone of indiscernibility of man and animal, a "fact". Meat is that which suffers (is crucified, is the victim) and that which is pitied by Bacon.Rajchman says that Bacon's Catholicism may be read in terms of his world of "meat-sensation" (rather than the other way around) (p. 138) "The head-meat is the becoming-animal of man" (20), and the scream is the immense pity that the meat evokes, coming from the mouth that "acquires this power of non-localization that turns all meat into a head without a face" (19), and is the hole through which the body escapes.
    But becoming-animal is but a stage in the becoming-imperceptible, in the process in which the Figure will succeed in its endeavor to truly dissipate into the field, the creation of a space that is a Sahara, where there is nothing but color or light, a vague trace of the figure as a pure force (a tempest, a jet of water). Similarly, the scream is but a stage to the smile that is beyond it. The smile that functions as the final disappearance of the body, the extreme point of cosmic dissipation (like the smile of Lewis Carroll's cat). At this stage the contour, which was the isolator and territory of the Figure, but also the "deterritorializer" (as through it the field curls around the Figure and through it the figure exerts to escape, thus deforming), becomes that where the Figure finally dissolves into the field, shading off into infinity. Thus, this most closed of worlds is also the most unlimited, and the painting IS this coexistence. The coexistence of all these movements in the painting, the contractions and extensions, are, as will be later elaborated - a rhythm.




    Sensation

    "art is sensation and nothing else" (Deleuze and Guattari,"What is Philosophy?")

    As was already briefly mentioned Deleuze points to two optional ways of going beyond, or escaping, the illustrative and figurative - either toward the abstract, which, he says, acts through the intermediary of the brain, closer to bone, or toward the Figure, which is of the flesh, acting directly on the nervous system. Deleuze borrows the name to the way of the Figure from Cezanne - SENSATION.

    What, then, is sensation??
    Sensation is the opposite of the ready-made, the cliche, but also of the "sensational". Sensations are not to be confused with subjective states or with "sensibilia" or "sensationalism" (Rajchman, 134). It turns simultaneously, indissolubly, both towards the subject (the nervous system) and toward the object (the "fact", the "place", the event). It is a unity of the sensing and the sensed. "[...] at one and the same time I become in the sensation and something happens through the sensation [...] it is the same body which, being both subject and object, gives and receives the sensation" (25). It is through this simultaneous turning of sensation toward subject and object that Deleuze's reference to hysteria can be understood. Deleuze describes painting as hysteria, or as converting hysteria, by making presence immediately visible. Subjectively - the eye (of the observer) is liberated from its fixed character as organ to see "pure presence", and objectively - we are shown a body freed from organic representation (the concepts of organic and organ are further elaborated below). Simultaneously "the pure presence of the body becomes visible at the same time that the eye becomes the destined organ of this presence" (37).

    Sensation is in the things themselves, not in the observer, and it is in the body (of the thing, which is not necessarily a human), and what is painted is the body experienced as sustaining this sensation. As Smith emphasizes "sensation is not in the 'free' or disincamate play of light and colour; it is in the body, and not in the air" (Smith in Patton, 45). Thus what Bacon does (and Cezanne) is painting the sensation, recording the "fact".
    Sensation is transmitted directly, thus avoiding the telling of a story; thus as the Figure is of sensation while the figuration is representation, also the violence of sensation is opposed to the violence of the represented.
    Sensation is what passes from one "order"/"level"/"area" to another, (figurative and abstract painting remain at one level thus they do not attain the sensation and do not liberate the body). These "orders" of sensation are not a sequence, or series, of sensations, rather, each sensation exists at diverse levels; there are different orders of the same sensation. Each sensation envelops a plurality of levels/domains; thus it is, in itself, a "coagulated" sensation. Thus "[...] the irreducible synthetic character of sensation [...with a] sensing or sensed unity" (37). This somewhat reminds of Deleuze and Guattari's definition of concepts as so many intensive ordinates arranged in "zones of neighbourhood or indiscernibility that produce passages from one to the other and constitute their inseparability" (Deleuze and Guattari, "What Is Philosophy?", 25; in Patton, 4). This unity is not in the figured thing (as the Figure is opposed to figuration), neither is it an ambivalence of feelings. The "levels" of sensation are not snapshots of motion, composing the movement in its continuity, for beyond movement there is immobility, movement "in-place", the spasm. Movement does not explain sensation but is explained by sensation's elasticity. It is the levels of sensation that explain what remains of movement and not vice-versa. The levels of sensation do not refer to the different sense organs, for there is an independent communication between the levels/domains and each is "[...] in direct contact with a vital power that exceeds every domain and traverses them all". This power is rhythm "[... and thus] what is ultimate is the relation between sensation and rhythm, which places in each sensation the levels and domains through which it passes" (30). This unity of rhythm can be found only on the point of chaos, where the differences of levels are mixed. Sensation is vibration - elsewhere Deleuze says: “What, in fact, is a sensation? It is the operation of contracting trillions of vibrations onto a receptive surface” (Deleuze, "Bergsonism", 74; in May, 51). And it has an intensive reality. It is with the notion of intensity, Deleuze writes, that "sensation ceases to be representative and becomes real "[...] intensity is both the unsensible and that which can only be sensed" ("Difference and Repetition", 230; in Smith in Patton, 37). “Intensity is the form of difference" (Deleuze, "Difference and Repetition", 221; in May, 87).
    Sensation is itself constituted by the “vital power” of rhythm, and it is in rhythm that Deleuze locates the “logic of sensation” indicated in his subtitle, a logic that is neither cerebral nor rational (Smith).

    The rhythmic unity of the senses demands going beyond the organism (for organism is what imprisons life). An organism is a self-regulating whole. Each of its parts supports others, and the whole is the harmony of those parts. But there is always more to the parts than their balance, a more that can express itself in other directions, with other balances, or with no balance at all. There can be a different balance among the same parts (May, 122). The body is never an organism, it is the "body without organs".Here Deleuze borrows on Artaud's term. Interestingly, and i find relevantly to how this concept is here used, Artaud claimed that only when Man is made a body without organs, will he be delievered from his automatic reactions and restored to his true freedom (Buchanan, 78). It is not that the body without organs lack organs, what it lacks is the organism, the particular organization of organs. This is an intense and intensive body, having levels or thresholds, and a wave flows through this body's levels, a wave with a variable amplitude, tracing zones according to the variation of amplitude. This wave meets external forces acting on the body and thus sensation appears. And depending on the force the wave encounters a temporary and provisional organ will be determined (and change once the force or the level change). The organism is neutralized and the "body without organs" is present under it. This reality of transitory organs, changing at the transfer of levels or the change of force encountered, Deleuze calls "the hysterical reality of the body", proceeding to give an account of the psychiatric phenomena through the description of the body without organs, comparing it to the Figures in Bacon's paintings.
    Thus Bacon's Figure is the body, but without the organization we call "organism". Thus we are reminded again of the dismantling of faces, as facialisation can be understood as precisely a, if not the, system of human organisation, and so is representation par excellence (O'Sullivan, 60). Bacon's Figure is flesh and nerves, with levels and zones, the intensive fact of the body.
    The Figure escapes from itself, as mentioned earlier, and this escaping is the body's escape from the organism. And the excessive presence in the paintings, that presence which acts directly on the nervous system and makes representation impossible - Deleuze suggests to be hysteric. Deleuze proposed to extract clinical categories such as hysteria from their legal and psychiatric contexts and make them a matter of experimentation in modes of life in art and philosophy (Rajchman, 132). He finds that there is a special relation between painting and hysteria. With painting, he says, hysteria becomes art, as painting converts hysteria in making presence immediately visible (while both figurative and abstract art manage, each in its own way, to avoid this hysteria).

    Two sensations, each with its levels/zones, can confront each other and create a communication between these levels. This is no longer a simple vibration, but a resonance. A resonance which indeed already exists by the fact that the variations of each sensation through the levels create vibrations that produce resonance. In Bacon's paintings this can be seen in the fact of two simultaneous Figures, entangled, indiscernible (without merging), having the same "matter of fact" without creating a story/narrative. It is a struggle of sensations, a confrontation that is a resonance. But there is a further development of the complex sensation, the one that can be seen in Bacon's triptychs (but also when there is more than one Figure on the same canvas, but they are not coupled), where a "common fact" must be produced for diverse, non-coupled, separated Figures, their relation being neither narrative nor logical. Could this be related to that our world consists of moments of becoming, the mingling of bodies, the meeting of forces, a constant interpenetration and interconnection of all phenomena? (O'Sullivan, 56).

    This is where Deleuze introduces the concept of 3 rhythms, the triptych being their distribution.
    As was said, sensation is rhythm. In the simple sensation rhythm is the vibration that flows through the body without organs, being the vector of the sensation, making it pass from one level to another. In the coupling of sensations rhythm is liberated and is now resonance, confronting and uniting the diverse levels of the two sensations. In the state of complex forces (such as the triptych), with multiple, non-coupled sensations, rhythm reaches its autonomy. The limits of sensation are broken, rhythm itself becomes sensation, creating the impression of time. Sensation is no longer dependent upon a Figure per se, but rather the intensive rhythm of force itself becomes the Figure of the triptych (Smith in Patton, 47). Through recomposition and redistribution it creates its own separate directions, the 3 fundamental rhythms, the active (diastolic), the passive (systolic), and the attendant. Through Bacon's triptychs these rhythms, their complexity and the mobility/circulation between them, may be explored. The active and the passive rhythms stand in opposition/tension (descending-rising, contraction-dilation, augmentation-diminution)It should be noted that these diverse oppositions are not equivalent. There is a combinatorial freedom. Everything can coexist and the opposition can vary or be reversed, depending on viewpoint and value. , each the "retrogradation" of the other, while the attendant rhythm (retrogradable in itself) keeps the common and constant value and is the measure of the two.
    The active rhythm, asserts Deleuze, is always the fall, as the descent stands for the passage of sensation, as the difference in level contained in it, the difference in intensity. Sensation develops through the fall, in which all tension is experienced, for the sensation's intensive reality is a descent in depth, an inward movement. This fall is a positive and active reality, everything that develops is a fall, "it is what is most alive in the sensation, that through which the sensation is experienced as living" (58).

    The sensation produced by the painting is something that can only be felt or sensed (Smith in Patton, 41-42). And its primary element is the encountered sign. As Francis Bacon says, it acts directly on the nervous system, rather than passing through the detour of the brain. Deleuze is pointing, objectively, to a science of the sensible freed from the model of recognition and, subjectively, to a use of the faculties freed from the ideal of common sense (Smith in Patton, 32-3).


    (continued in pt 4)

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    Painting, Its Ways and Faces

    "The adventure of painting is that it is the eye alone that can attend to material existence or material presence [...]" (39).

    Deleuze relates to two definitions of painting - one by line and color, which is visual, and the other by trait and color-patch, which is manual. He then proceeds to distinguish between several aspects of the relationship between eye and hand, or the values of hand -
    The digital - which marks the maximum subordination of hand to eye. Sight develops an optical space and grasps through an optical code while hand is reduced to execution function. The tactile - in which the subordination of the hand is more relaxed and the optical space still presents virtual tactile referents. The manual - a reversed relationship between eye and hand - the painting is still a visual reality but the space is without form, with a restless movement, thus the optical is dismantled. And the hapticHaptic sensation (from the Greekhaptikos - able to touch or grasp) involves the intermingling of sight, touch, and bodily motility. Following the writings of art historian Alois Riegl and the paintings of Francis Bacon, Deleuze delineates a form of haptic visuality that acts as a function of both sight and touch. - when there is no subordination in either direction, when "sight discovers in itself a specific function of touch that is uniquely its own, distinct from its optical function"(109). Deleuze and Guattari derive the term ‘haptic’ from art historian Riegl and his discussion of close vision and haptic space in the context of visual art. It is not about the all-encompassing (optical) view, but the micro-level (haptic) variation, which suggests orientation and negotiation that is articulated step by step, at a local level (Rebelo).

    A short historical review is in place here. It is in the Egyptian bas-reliefs that this haptic function can first be found, joining together the senses of touch and sight, through a close view, putting form and ground on the same plane. The Greeks distinguished the planes, introducing perspective, a distant viewing. There begins classical representation, the conquest of an optical space, which is, in fact, a tactile-optical space, replacing the haptic space. And while Egyptian art put the form in the service of essence, western painting, starting with Christianity, disassociated the Figure from essence and linked it instead to the event, or even the accident. Classical representation, if so, incorporates the accident into an optical organization; it is a form of representation that is organic and organized, expressing the organic life of man as subject. Modern painting begins when man no longer experiences himself as an essence, but as an accident, always with the risk of fall. From this point two opposed directions developed, both dismantling organic representation. One was the expression of a purely optical space, annulling tactile referents. This was seen mainly in Byzant, where the classical "organization" gave way to "composition" which is an organization in the process of disintegration. The other - the imposition of manual space, seen in Gothic art, which has speed, violence and life. This is a space of active manual strokes, an intensive non-organic vitality. Here the organisms are in a whirling movement that unites them in a single "fact" with no figurative or narrative connection. Both these directions, the one an idealism of transformation, working through luminous disaggregation, the other a realism of deformation, working through manual aggregates, dismantled the tactile-optical space and classical representation. The modulation of light appeals to a purely optical function of distant vision, optical space is defined by light and brightness. And the modulation of color recreates a properly haptic function culminating in a close vision. Light is time and space is color. "Colorism claims to bring out a particular kind of sense from sight: a haptic sight of color-space, as opposed to the optical sight of light-time" (97).

    It is this haptic relation eye-hand that Deleuze searches for and holds as the highest form of perception/painting as he says: "[...] painters paint with their eyes, but only insofar as they touch with their eyes" (97). In the very last pages of the book Deleuze summarizes that with painters such as Bacon there is a gradual motion from the hand/the manual to the haptic eye/vision. This passage is "the great moment in the act of painting [...discovering] the problem of pure logic: how to pass from the possibility of fact to the fact itself?" (112). And a new clarity emerges when the duality of the tactile and the optical is surpassed in the haptic function that is born. This is Bacon's greatness (as Deleuze shows in the unfolding description of his work).

    The consequence of the tactile-optical space is the figurative. The disruption of this space allows for the emergence of a form of a completely different nature - the Figure. Whereas “figuration” refers to a form that is related to an object it is supposed to represent (recognition), the “Figure” is the form that is connected to a sensation, and that conveys the violence of this sensation directly to the nervous system (a sign). Deleuze borrow from Lyotard the concept of the 'figural', which stands opposed to figuration or representation. This issue of figuration in painting can be related to Deleuze's wider references in challenging the dominant belief that we know and experience our world through imposed structures of representation (Colebrook, XXXI). From the viewpoint of representation and common sense, the actual world provides a foundation or external model (transcendence), and thought ought to be a faithful copy or replication of the actual (Colebrook, 2). "The world of representation is characterised by its inability to conceive of difference in itself" (Deleuze, "Difference and Repetition", 138; in Colebrook, 3). Representation plays a similar role in painting as does recognition in philosophy (Smith in Patton, 41-2). The danger of figuration or representation in painting is that it is both illustrative and narrative: it elates the image to an object that it supposedly illustrates, thereby subordinating the eye to the model of recognition and losing the immediacy of the sensation. It relates the image to the other images in the painting, thereby tempting us to discover a narrative link between the images. As Bacon says: "The story that is already being told between one figure and another begins to cancel out the possibilities of what can be done with the paint on its own" (Sylvester, "Interviews with Francis Bacon: The Brutality of Fact", 23; in Smith in Patton, 41-2). But painting, according to Deleuze (here also quoting Bacon), has neither a model to represent nor a story to narrate, thus figuration must be escaped. Photography, Bacon said, has taken over the illustrative role, thus painting no longer needs to fulfill this function; and moreover, modern painting, being atheistic, is free from the conditioning of religious aspects that give meaning to figuration.Quoted by Deleuze from "Bacon: Interviews", 28-9. Deleuze disagrees with Bacon on this last point, explaining that, if anything, religious sentiments liberated the figures from figuration/representation/narration. It is more difficult for modern art to escape figuration, says Deleuze, as the canvas is "already invested virtually with all kinds of cliches" (8), which the painter must break with (Deleuze finds this to be the reason for modern painting turning to abstraction).

    Deleuze distinguishes 3 "paths" in respect to a "modern" function to painting:
    The abstract - that reduces the manual and the chaotic aspectThe place of the chaotic aspect in the act of painting will be elaborated later under the heading "the diagram" to a minimum, rising above the figurative givens and producing a purely optical space, suppressing "tactile referents in favor of an eye of the mind" (75). It elaborates a symbolic pictorial code, and, says Deleuze, offers a "spiritual salvation" from "manual chaos" (73). But, according to Bacon, it is cerebral and lacks sensation in the sense of a direct action on the nervous system. Moreover, it runs the risk of becoming a simple symbolic coding of the figurative, or as O'Sullivan puts it - a signifying art, waiting to be read ( O'Sullivan, 63). Smith, elaborating on this point, says that it tends towards a plane of architectonic composition in which the painting becomes a kind of spiritual being, a radiant material that is primarily thought rather than felt, and calls the spectator to a kind of "intellectual asceticism" (Smith in Patton, 43).
    The abstract expressionism - this is the opposite extreme of abstraction, a radical manner of escaping the figurative, taking the manual and chaos to their maximum. It is the absolute deterritorialisation of the figure ( O'Sullivan, 63). It is the decomposition of matter rather than transformation. The hand is liberated completely from subordination to an optical organization, creating an exclusively manual space "that is imposed upon the eye as an absolutely foreign power in which the eye can find no rest" (75). Rhythm is discovered as matter and material. But, says Bacon, it leaves sensation in a confused state. Abstract art is, for Deleuze and Guattari, a dematerialisation of sensation. Conceptual art on the other hand "seeks an opposite dematerialisation through generalisation, by installing a sufficiently neutralised plane of composition" (Deleuze and Guattari, "What Is Philosophy?", 198; in O'Sullivan, 59).
    The third way to break with the figurative is neither optical nor manual - it is a "middle way", Bacon's way, distinguished from the preceding two by his solution of uniting-separating. Bacon keeps the manual-chaotic confined and limited in space and time, operative and controlled, as a "possibility of fact" rather than "the fact itself". This is how he keeps the sensation clear and precise. Smith sums the via media followed by Bacon as: without a material framework, the sensation remains chaotic, but on its own the framework remains abstract. (Smith in Patton, 45).

    "Painting elevates colors and lines to the state of language, and it is an analogical language" (80), says Deleuze, a language of relations. As such it has 3 dimensions - the planes (their connections/junctions), the color (its modulation and contrast of shadow-light), and the body (exceeding the organism and destroying form-background relationship). Color is the analogical language of painting, the creation of space while avoiding abstraction, figuration and narration.

    (continued in pt 3)
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