Here they call it COVID-19 which I prefer as a name.  I had an interesting short conversation at a standup pizza gathering with extended family last weekend.  I said, "I wish I knew more biology so I could understand what the hell is going on.  What even is a virus?  What do they do?"  One person, young, who studies bogs, said "They aren't even alive, they're just this floating stuff that attacks and hijacks our cells."  This made me think of shadows, demons, and ghosts.  We talked about "they are the undead."  (This reminds me now of the native American term "indeh" for the dead.)  Then I had an image of something like flaking skin or paper in a copy machine, little bits that floating around and goofed up the printing plans.  Then I thought this was like a cloud-mirror or fugue-plate of unintended consequence itself, the inevitable side effect of events happening in a complex yet finite system.  A bit like static cling, but with biotoxic inflections.  I was reminded of a word I learned recently, "abiogenic."  

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Hi James,

Complexity is a huge factor I agree, for human history writ large but yes also for various economic models.

In a way, both unregulated free markets and excessive central planning are maladaptive, sort of like genetic inbreeding that causes fragility.  The all-or-nothing of Marx v. Smith debate is rather 18th c., frankly reminiscent of antique doctrinal and liturgical warfare.  Networks in nature mix both.  One of my favorite articles of late is:
“Integral feedback control is at the core of task allocation and resilience of insect societies.”  Link:  https://www.pnas.org/content/115/52/13180

Network theory is the key, but it has to get over its digital and cyber fixations as well as its cozy theoretical cocoon and gold-fever buffoonery -- we have to live this stuff!  It was here, analog, in cells and brains long before the first PC or printing press.  The first cave paintings and guttural utterances were about it, and were it.

As we live daily today, network thinking and practice have to be working and evolving at all levels and locales.  You cover your sneeze, I cover mine; don't sell the wild fowl at the market next to the domestic fowl.  It's all network reality.  They call it network medicine in cases like we have today, but just like in category theory once you start talking about relationships rather than objects as the locus of activity you need to go "all the way up" (and as Hemingway said only bullfighters ever live their lives all the way up).  In category theory and the new math of equivalence they call it "infinity categories."  This has a rich heritage however in Ovid and Lucretius plus most indigenous henges and origin myths.  It also means we have to flip a large complex system-pancake; we have to do network medicine, network economics, network math, network literature, network art, network physics, network elementary art education, network cooking dinner, and we have to do them all all at once.

But we don't have to be perfect or pure.  Just apply reasonable amounts of network thinking to all spheres (art/literature/science/selfhood etc.) in just proportion, what the ancient Greeks called "dike," with reasonable consistency (of which we are all a priori capable) and all manner of thing shall be well.  

Today is an important day to remember the Hippocratic Ethos.  Smith wrote that without moral judgment capitalism cannot function, and socialism can also take a lesson from Hippocrates.  This alone is enough to put the battle to rest a bit or at least on hold, but we ought also to ponder mayhaps the dicta "physician heal thyself" and "in this the patient must minister unto himself."  

My other fragmentary hope of late is for Bernie to be like the Hulk and join the Avengers.  🙂

All very best to all,

Max

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Hi Eric,

I cannot recall hearing of schizoanalysis and hesitate to look it up via internet search (how many psychic viruses does that habit create I wonder?) but I think I get the gist.  I have always been phobic about certain theorists and am living out the experimental hypothesis that what is worthwhile in what they wrote can reach me just fine indirectly, by other people and writers; it's a filtration experiment like tracking groundwater migration.

By way of answer, I'd like to type out the following passage I read today on the bus in to work, from a paper book:

"At certain moments I felt that the entire world was turning into stone: a slow petrifaction, more or less advanced depending on people and places but one that spared no aspect of life.  It was as if no one could escape the inexorable stare of Medusa.  The only hero able to cut off Medusa's head is Perseus, who flies with winged sandals; Perseus, who does not turn his gaze on the face of the Gorgon but only upon her image reflected in his bronze shield.  Thus Perseus comes to my aid even at this moment, just as I too am about to be caught in a vise of stone -- which happens every time I try to speak about my own past.  Better to let my talk be composed of images from mythology."

All very best as the world lives its life!

Max

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