[NetBehaviour] Insoluble Cases

Bjørn Magnhildøen noemata at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 16:44:22 CEST 2011

Excellent text,
dystopic, futuristic, entropic, apocalyptic.

I was reading 'a brief history of time' recently, for the nth time,
this time the singularities struck me with almost religious bearing
(scientific concepts are often much 'wilder' than religious ones), as
a 'nothing exists fundamentally' - the world, physical laws, not to
talk about cultural habits. The amazing thing remains that we, sort
of, are able to understand this and our situation, at some cognitive
level. And the tragedy/comedy/travesty of it, that we are forced, or
-only able to-, live with ourselves and the world as whole bodies of
experience (where 'understanding' is only a small part, alongside
paying the rent, etc). But this understanding makes us free, as it
views our bodies, or the body of the world, as inherently contingent
and without a firm basis. But do we understand this freedom? Can we
get our bodies to understand/experience this freedom? Maybe this is an
insoluble case. In a philosophical sense, maybe it's also about
whether we have some faculty of understanding that embraces/integrates
experiences from top to bottom (head/body, abstract/concrete,
subject/object) as a whole. Or maybe Sheffer's stroke means that we
don't (not (A and B)). Or again, maybe this negative -is- the whole.
Maybe art can be a thing like that, as insoluble cases, singularities,
based on the freedom of understanding that 'nothing exists
fundamentally' and that whatever exists now will eventually and
entropically turn to dust. (One could think that if there is a
singularity also in the end of the world then entropy might decrease -
things would reassemble from dust - but it seems entropy increases
even if the universe should contract to a singularity). If there was
something art could put its hands on, after being emptied itself, of
form and content, it could be something like holding and researching
this freedom or void that is itself, the world, and its understanding
of both.

On Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:
> =========================================================================
> Insoluble Cases
> =========================================================================
> I've just solved the case: Here's how it happened. (Monk)
> I began by thinking of the collapse of books, literature, theory: not of
> carry-over and interoperability among file formats, electronic productions
> or reproductions, but of the splitting and fragmentation of text and
> theory, the reduction to what I've considered elsewhere as radiations and
> dusts. Thus fundamental physical theory might just reduce to competing
> structures producing equivalent, if not identical results; in which case,
> the concept of the fundamental becomes moot through its splitting into
> entangled at the top, but deeply incompatible at the bottom, predictive
> and coherent constructs. So it goes, just as video, for example, has
> abandoned long-form for splits and bites/sound-bites that will continue to
> shrink. The world's buzzing confusing itself coheres and continues to grow
> and every genre, form, classicism, or medium disappears; even the voice
> channels into text, text into abbreviations, abbreviations into augments,
> augments into part-objects, all against and within the massive violence
> and poverty of the coming-to-age-and-end of a species literally dying for
> a singularity, other than dying.
> Consider new media, practices shadowed by their own future anteriors,
> constant redefinitions and tropes from simulacra through vectors and
> speed, back into the forests of signs and spectacles. Everything is plural
> and always already has been, which cripples the monotheisms of explana-
> tions, explanatory power, and the power that pervades them. Power is
> always a becoming, a leverage; now and forever, power splatters among
> gangs, hackers, corporations, languages, exploits, patches - and patches
> themselves are the new sutures, designed, not to hold subject or subject-
> ivity together, but to bridge monetary gaps in structures ultimately
> doomed to obsolescence or collapse. I've thought long about this, about
> the idea about this and about ideas and idea; these thoughts as well
> transform, are transformed, through radiations. Think of such as literal:
> how much gadgetry now speaks to itself through collocations and designated
> bandwidths, just on the desk or threshold? And think of such as content,
> not in the sense of McLuhanesque media, but in the dissolution of such
> media, everything parceling within electromagnetic spectra that begins and
> ends, usually, with something physical, some manifestation of receiving/
> receiver and transmitting/transmitter. Think further, transmissions of
> receivers, receivers of transmitters, transmissions of transmitters; you
> get the idea, get hold of the idea, and the idea bifurcates chaotically;
> in the end you get nothing, you're swallowed by the waves, by the
> particles constantly in circulation. There's no room for the strictures of
> genre here, for the long-form that's already rusting, corroding at the
> ends, at both ends, throughout the long-form which requires patience,
> silent, and grounding that's inconceivable at this point/plane/dimension.
> For the long-form needs stability just like accountancy; it's the world of
> classical economy, classical accountancy; it requires memory and the
> stability of memory, things that can't, ever, be hacked, things that one
> can return to, two or three hundred pages or notes earlier; this isn't the
> case (for that matter/s, the world is no longer the case/s, if it/they
> ever were) - these arguments and edifices that built up, that led nowhere,
> that promised monotheisms, monotheories, that carefully laid themselves
> out (when not laying bodies) - these buried their internal violence,
> excreted it out the other end. All, everything here, requiring a respite
> from slaughter, extinctions, exponentially-increasing populations on the
> fast-track, these intrusions into the social, which now constitute the
> socials: the strings of the world are pulled by children, and the
> children's children, and ultimately nothing else matters. The children too
> dissolve into radiations and dusts, Fukushima and Chernobyl, but also the
> scatterings of local wars, gang insignia, temporary autonomous zones with
> a vengeance. There are pollutions, mostly invisible, everywhere, permeat-
> ing the world with the stench of death always already disappearing before
> it's presence is felt; we're all embedded like journalists in guerilla
> operations among the enclaves of a collapsing planet. It's too late for
> anything else, but it was always too late; we lived in momentary stases -
> of goods, apparently stable economies and weather patterns, that are once
> again on the fast-forward track. Our books, films, symphonies, portend the
> culture of death which inheres within them. We're watching ourselves
> disappear, and this isn't towards the prosthetic or viral, but rather the
> prion or unstable nanobots: as the atmosphere turns against us, nothing
> happens but fundamental ontology that mirrors and collapses within itself.
> And that's everything - in a sense, what used to be called 'anomie,' as
> long as anomie hearkened back to an inconceivable, inauthentic Eden of
> coherency that never existed in the first or any other place. Think of the
> anomie of anomie, anomie as nothing but the word itself, the inscription
> that's half read, half-disappeared, transformed by the fall of internal
> empires that still seem to hold us as one, together, or in multiplicities,
> or whatever groupings you might think still hold within occasional dream-
> ing. Whatever else, culture appeared thick, with inconceivable depth -
> this is the Castanedan theater, or the primordial or the aboriginal
> habitus, epics and virtual worlds emerging out of it, oral traditions
> miraculously holding forth for generations and so on. We believed that,
> just as we believed the moment from oral to written or written to oral, or
> the primacy of inscription or of things, or of orderings, or of axiomatics
> - even those that were admittedly insecure at the edges, Godel numberings
> for example tending towards the disappearance of moorings. See what can be
> accomplished at a distance, through a telescope or prime number investi-
> gations, but then there are always the problematics of other number
> systems, multiverses, families dangerous and out of control just the next
> block over. The thick was always a sheave, was always abject, always
> required control. Culture not only buried abjection; it consolidated the
> thing floating on top of the muck, cleaned off the shitty bottom. It
> answered, it had answers, if only anti-oedipal. But abjection comes with
> the corpses of extinctions, with local wars, hacking, pollutions. But no,
> it doesn't come with these at all; it's always been there, what's been
> fundamental are the dusts, the pollutions, the radiations, the muck that
> Plato wanted to bury, that D&G dug up again and rubbed in our faces: now
> those faces are gone as well.
> So the ontology, the epistemology, the ontic, the episteme, dissolve, and
> there is no yielding to a new order, though there might be chaos. I think
> of this as 'neither A nor B,' 'not both A and B,' dual and Sheffer-stroke
> lending themselves towards Pales of no concern, maybe A and B just go out
> like lights, maybe they disappear, maybe they were never there in the
> first place, maybe they're our dream of stability. How simple it all seems
> until we look for constant, the thick again, so we can speak, make sense,
> as if it were more than possible to make sense for more than a little
> while, more than the occasion on the corner, the chance meeting, the
> unknown disease or bullet fired in the dark. All of this is up for grabs,
> sites/cites/sights of contestation, but it should be clear by now that
> contestation itself, on local and global levels, among tendrils and
> temporary holarchies, is what roils, what roils within the abject, what
> provides no clear footings, anymore than currency or human exchanges.
> Things are beginning to run out; more likely than not, the singularity
> will be one of scarcity, not the fecundity of technological answers that
> promise immortality to those enclaved lucky few able to afford them. It's
> just a matter of time before immortality as well is swallowed up; even
> cryogenics depends upon the thick, upon basic stabilities, in order to
> propagate itself and the species with the wealthy few.
> So we're left scattered among augmentations, inscriptions, the arrogance
> of chic - and among inconceivable pain and beauty as, not only empires,
> but the very elements of culture dissolve. And we can discuss these
> things; if social networking is the current paradigm, the radiations and
> problematic of paradigms will leave us for some brief moments when we
> might pick up a book, for example, just to feel the weight of it. But more
> likely we'll be listening to tunes of our own mirrored creations, as long
> as the power stays on. (Wait, this isn't right here, this trope.) There
> won't be tunes or books; there might be implants. They might last for a
> while. There might be fetishisms of all sorts, driven not by power, but by
> Lingis' lust, abject and oozing. There might be splits. There will be
> scarcity. There won't be long-form. There will be momentary stases,
> strange attractors. There won't be life-spans; there will be fallout.
> Dusts never die, carry no information, infiltrate driven by no will of
> their own or anyone's. They increase. The appearance of the future of the
> world is Maya. The future of the world is graffiti. That's where it will
> happen, the warnings to vacate the area, that something poisonous and
> deadly is just around the corner. That's where the thick ends up - with
> such unspeakable pain, with such death, that words not only fail - they
> never existed in the first place. And not even that's guaranteed.
> =========================================================================

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