Mechanization & Machination

Marx, Deleuze & Guattari, and more recently, Raunig go to immense lengths to elucidate the predicate logic implied by the etymology of machina. Raunig shows kindness to the English-speaking audience by likening this importance to the double signification of invention. Invention may signify: a) mechanization, that is, the solution to a problem, inefficiency, or risk, by enclosing within a complex object the knowledge that typically requires practice and virtuosity; b) machination, that is, the fiction, misleading, plotting, or scheme that convinces an audience of a “false cause” as described by Schopenhauer, a manipulation known to magicians, storytellers, filmmakers, and warfighting.

We will take each meaning within our wave-particle duality as we describe the rhizomatic paths. The strict capitalist treats invention as an object of commerce, systems of analysis are well-maintained regarding assets, depreciation, and procurement. Under arborescence, the invention represents clear intention and value, behaving particle-like in its singular existential instantiation. A more skeptical view, generalizing invention to understand its unintended consequences, shows the wave-like behavior of invention generalized as a system of objects. This wave function is complex because it must trace the path of its rhizomes. The complex function of invention represents holistic probabilities. The wave combines all its real, positive, non-imaginary instantiations, filling in gaps with probability densities. In this way, it reveals the impact on the population of opportunities over time.

Invention, as both mechanization and machination, is the foundation of human socioeconomic progress. Our analysis here will develop a reusable pattern. On the one hand, as empiricists like Hume, Locke, and William James might pursue, the arborescent collection of inventions that allow for the progressive mechanization of human labor. On the other hand, as rationalists like Descartes might pursue, and as Raunig attempts to show in social terms, the abstract machine belies power that humans experience incompletely; the sum of all inventions remains less than the total of all inventions when we include those we have not yet invented. Machination occurs in the abstraction of mechanization, both positive and negative. Mechanization treated positively in arborescence reaches one series of conclusions, while machination treated negatively in rhizomatic moral judgement reaches a different series of conclusions. The full truth-value of semiotic inventions requires a quantum superposition of each and all.

Pure arborescence cares for the strict articulation of aggregated instances exclusively. No accounting for the number and distributions of machines provides for its generalization. The semiotic leap to a generalization occurs prior to the conclusions this abstraction will claim. Mechanization is the collapse of so many truth-value particles. From simple machines like pulleys, levers, and fulcrums, to the machines of the industrial revolution, arborescence accounts for them, in the professional sense of the term, rather than criticizing in the social sense. This generalization through incomplete aggregation tends to treatment of mechanization as an implicit good. The probable semiotic universal becomes tied up with two forms of trust, one of probability and one of morality.

The concept, however, does not remain in the realm of positive particle instantiation. Generalizing suspends disbelief of the sign, bridging the moral valuation-signification along with the semiotic, both molar and molecular. If the moral value held true to the semiotic value, if the wave-particle relationship of generalization remained trustworthy, we would give little thought to the rhizomes. In this case, with Marx, we find a machination born of generalized mechanization. The intended particle consequences of each invention and the actual particle consequences of each invention produce unintended consequences in aggregation.

Simply, we come to a moment when the generalization of the promises of signs, machines, and commodities reveals itself to signify something else, something more, something wrong. Tracing the machinations of generalized mechanization has been the ongoing method of the Postmodernists. The divorce between the semiotic trust and our moral trust, such as the faith that one machine makes labor easier, smoother, and more consistent, but a thousand machines entrap us, enslave us, and turn us all into janitors rather than craftsmen – this we call alienation.

                The school of suspicion in the late 1800’s recognized that the arguments of philosophy had ignored the relationship of trust necessary for the generalization of concepts. Marx explored the alienation of the laborer to the machination of capitalist mechanization. Nietzsche explored the alienation of morality from the instincts that preserve the vitality, ingenuity, and resilience of the species. Sigmund Freud explored the alienation of psyche from its libidinal forces. Everywhere that the particle may accept its singularity of mechanization, suspicion suggests we look for a wave function – not simply to predict with increasing probability the appearance of new concretized opportunities, but to also find emergent anti-patterns in the decentralized wave. Feuerbach, who Engels cites as influential, reveals the alienation of organized religion through (as we are calling it) the backpropogation of the abstraction of deity:

“RELIGION is the relation of man to his own nature, – therein lies its truth and its power of moral amelioration; – but to his nature not recognized as his own, but regarded as another nature, separate, nay, contra-distinguished from his own: herein lies its untruth, its limitation, its contradiction to reason and morality; herein lies the noxious source of religious fanaticism, the chief metaphysical principle of human sacrifices, in a word, the prima materia of all the atrocities, all the horrible scenes, in the tragedy of religious history.”

– Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity

Through the backpropogation of the personal capacity to create particle-gods, concretized to the virtues necessary for a single Lifework, the semiotic abstraction gradually appropriates the morality of the observers into the power of the sign. Then backpropogation of the abstract, in the absence of the trust of mothers and fathers teaching their children the process of god-formation, the semiotic and moral unite to enslave the entire population. Hobbes wants us to tread lightly, as seen in Leviathan, when challenging the moral system in despotic control, fearful that entire system falls apart. Nietzsche blinks in disbelief as he applies the ideas of liberty in British political philosophy onto the recently emancipated serf of Eastern Germany. Writing in isolation in Switzerland, the ideas of utilitarianism and the childhood memories of workers in Leipzig left him nauseated, if you believe his account. The dissonance drove the passionate pro-aristocratic sentiment he expressed through praise of the “master morality” of Greek and Roman virtue ethics and the “slave morality” of institutionalized monotheistic religion in the Judeo-Islamic-Christian tradition.

For the 21st century reader, two glaring sources of ignorant thought occur throughout the skepticism of the empiricists and the virality – flipping the rhizomes up toward a new arborescent analysis – of the school of suspicion. First is the absence of developmental psychology, only later established by Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, and others. The influence Jean-Jacque Rousseau and responses from Mary Wollstonecraft drove this improved suspicion, that parental influence, socialization, and education may play a much greater role in creating inequality of abilities than any genetic inheritance. Second is the insights of Behavioral Economics, in the proof that what many Europeans attributed to hereditary predisposition emerges from climate, population density, agricultural practices, distribution of wealth, and availability of resources.

Returning to Raunig and the invention of abstract machines, we now face a question of whether we treat society as a system of signs, social machinations, or as the enslavement of machine enclosure, social mechanization. The digital age compounds the need for a superposition principle of meaning and significance. The moral, political, economic, and mechanical have networked into an inescapable matrix, more now than even Rousseau once described.

The line between mechanization and machination blurs the moment acceleration becomes virtualization. Baudrillard shows how the question of absurd morality and the authentic life as described by Camus becomes inaccessible when the system of signs becomes indistinguishable from the machines of reality. We must toil on this question, else it drives us to despair. Having established our hermeneutics and heuristic of meta-suspicion, we must endure our time in the desert.

Forests of Observation

Philosophy is an inferential act of observation that builds a system of values from experience, abstraction, and discourse. We collect and reflect on arguments regarding the nature of being and becoming (ontology) and the nature of knowledge and understanding (epistemology). Unsurprisingly, an initial analysis of will-to-power likewise particularizes expansion into an arborescent network of truth-values. Every tree of knowledge we plant and nurture takes on a life of its own, in a singular pursuit of the sun. The philosopher is never content with the shade of a single tree and thus becomes an arborist, studying and cultivating entire forests of observation. The trees of knowledge become a matrix of superimposed and entangled, grafting observations of observations and observers. Pruning these abstractions and derivations must become logocentric to bundle itself into a cohesive package. Arborescence commoditizes these conclusion-options.

The role of the philosopher is to comprehend the health of the forest, caring for its streams and soil. While W James’ The Meaning of Truth begins the journey microeconomic information, his final work, Some Problems of Philosophy, scratches the surface of the macroeconomics of ideas though it lay prior to the forest of knowledge we possess. Taking the challenge of an economics of ideas, we can apply unusual fields of enquiry back upon ontology and epistemology. The first problem is that of generalization, in which we collect differentiated singularities in a way that allows homogenous treatment. We may learn from mortgage-backed securities in this regard, along with the hazards implicit in abstraction. The second problem is that of derivation, in which we backpropagate pattern recognition into action that shapes new patterns. Again, semiotics may learn from finance and the rise of algorithmic trading. The third problem is that of systems resilience, in which contemporary computer science, chaos theory, and ecology may assist in the development of better knowledge process control. The fourth problem is that of purpose, in which evolutionary theory, corporate strategy, and principles of warfighting converge upon what genetic “wealth” humankind amasses in its labor of language and reflection.

Even with such a large forest of observation, we must stop enjoy the holistic environment developed else the labor lack meaning. We will thus surf along rhizomatic value-tendrils, following little deer paths, wandering but not lost. However, when we find a new place for knowledge, the horizontal transfer always plants a new tree. The shooting-upward in our analysis of observations, striving toward the sun against the force of gravity, will be helplessly arborescent. To the extent we are conscious of the non-observed, recalling the paths not taken and their legitimacy for other wanderers, we will attempt to highlight non-conformities against the hegemonic system we produce.

Fractal Cascade Ontology

To say that the Observer is at the crossroads between wave and particle would be only partially correct. We have no indication that there is any distinction between wave or particle without the act of observation. In other words, the Observer is not only standing at the crossroads, but also supplies the road and the intersection as well. This is a probabilistic derivative inferred from an axiomatized truth-value. We should thus ensure, however elegant a fractal might make our ontological theory, we treat it as a hypothesis with an open suspension of disbelief; we never embed it into a closed system and work on faith.

Confusion of levels occurs in pure arborescence. Over-identification with the superposition observer-in-itself, leads analytical philosophy to the observer as an abstract totality. Due to this, the Platonists and Rationalists abstracted categorical traits of observer superposition and miraculated them into the metaphysical realm. This abstraction prunes the category of the context of its subordinate probability waves – gender, race, class, religion, era, creed. By removing what is not contextual, the starting point of most dualism is inherently flawed. Whether splitting Spirit into Mind/Body, or a superfluid into wave/particle, these dualities miraculate the Observer by removing the coordinating system for the system of coordinates. The observation removes itself from the observed. Anywhere a deity becomes named as causa prima, as if engaged in Oedipalization of an intrinsically dualistic cosmos, we should suspect the text’s intentions. The Observer is right there, subjective, lensing while triangulating, overcoding while projecting, whether a single statistician or a thousand mathematicians.

Wave-Particle Semiotic Generalization

Schopenhauer showed that the problems of semiotic representation does not occur in the act of conceptual generalization or the development of rationalist systems; rather, the problems arise in taking the derivative inferences of abstraction and applying them directly to perceptual reality. Moreover, while many semiotic representations show nothing that the mastery of practice already knew, conceptual generalization is essential for communication across space-time, like the reliance of an architect on the axiomatics of math and physics when building a house.

We have progressed significantly from communication of plans to the prediction of probability densities. The advances of calculus, statistics, and quantum mechanics give renewed hope in rational us of the outcomes of abstraction applied upon our perceptual flux. Throughout this book we will attempt to overcome the problems of the law of non-contradiction through wave-particle logical dualism in semiotic systems. Although we cannot expect the isolated objects of perceptual experience can ever break the law of non-contradiction, the path to logical universalization requires conceptual generalization. We do not build generalization from one existential instantiation to a full categorical relation, but attain semiotic force through probability density.

This means that objects in being will consistently act particle-like, in fixed definiteness of identity, coherence, and space-time. To generalize our abstractions, semiotic representation requires the assumption of large numbers, opportunities of becoming, giving wave-like behavior to our conceptual understanding. This again matters exclusively for our capacity of prediction and communication, making wave-particle semiotic generalization in principle useful to us only through applicability in practice.

When we discuss pure arborescence, we mean the practice of continuous reification that humankind completes in semiotic generalization. Arborescence develops objects of existential instantiation into generalized systems under perceptual analysis. The law of non-contradiction we apply throughout to gain certainty of truth-value, as well as derivative methods of predicate logic and capitalism. This process forces the semiotic representations to behave particle-like. It is particle-like because the concept has continuous irreducibility and equilibrium-stable signification. However, this certainty is fleeting, because the conceptual validity is an emergent power-law dynamic that decays without maintenance. The particle-like representation is only relevant while it expands, accelerates, and predicts the outcomes of perceptual flux.

When we discuss rhizomatic networking, we may imagine the wandering of trails in a forest without looking at our smartphone map for a long while, content to become temporarily lost in our hope for a new discovery. This method was the essential art of Deleuze & Guattari in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus and their philosophical lineage. A more recent example is in Gerald Raunig’s A Thousand Machines, a name in homage to its predecessor. A similar approach may be seen in this book, in which we are content to meander in the flux of uncertainty, tracing lines of thought, exploring histories of representation, and behaving wavelike in our certainties.

Our Arborescent Conscious and Rhizomatic Unconscious are two strategies of semiotic networking. They deal in the free play of the same nodes, but arborescence intends certainty, order, and consistency emerge while rhizomism desires completion of connectedness, never leaving behind a node. The switch between a centralizing network to tangling network we will call virality.

When arborescence forces itself into contradiction, it asks “What have we forgotten?” It then traces the work completed, the assumptions and generalizations, the moral character of this tree of knowledge. Then, finding a new and better soil, a new generation of tree springs up, an attempt at a better series of branches. This horizontal transfer, like a bird carrying the seeds of fruit tree far from its parent, we call virality.

When rhizomism spreads so thoroughly that patterns begin to emerge that represent either opportunity or risk, we suddenly have incentive to take these wavelike nodes and coordinate them toward some goal, through analysis, logic, and consistency. We may liken this to the landscaper who plan out an elaborate maze of surprises in the garden, taking the rhizomatic Bluegrass and standardizing its presence as part of an overarching system of meaning. This horizontal transfer of species across the palette of cultivated Earth we again call virality.

To the plants, if they were democratic humans, this gardener engages in totalitarian despotism, fascist paternalism of the most dangerous kind. Yet, as Hobbes might say, this says more about the belief system of the plants than the legitimacy of the gardener’s efforts to create beauty. Nietzsche might beg us to question, why does intention change the moral character of identical consequences? Darwin would answer that whether birds, squirrels, weather, or humans complete the work of shuffling the seeds of plants in horizontal transfer over the Earth, rotation, diversity, and new opportunities expand and accelerate the resilience of the system. The Intention of arborescence becomes fascism when it breaks the essential principle of nature, the minimum viable residence of genetic capitalism. The Desire of rhizomism becomes anarchy when its communal spirit forgets the superior force of combined will-to-power.

Rhizomatic Unconscious

Rhizomes behind our selfish, despotic, machinic, consistent, conscious analysis; we should explore what good such an idea does for us in practice. If we are hard agnostics of metaphysics, we must assess what we gain if we assume the abstract potential presence of other alien observers, applying logic and connections within. Even methodical naturalism gains creativity if we add, to our stubborn certainty of objective focus, a suspicion of what may loom outside our frame of reference.

Vitalism interprets the individual person according to the continuous irreducibility of Machinic Agency that bears a name. Each vitality plays on the stage, costumed as member of a socioeconomic ecopolitical system, masked observations of this homogenous collection of woman-particles and man-particles. From a distance, as a population, how uniform it all appears in abstraction, how easy for the simplistic to reduce billions of particularized lives into no less than two engendered masks!

Conceptual abstraction could be left to the morons and bigots, were it not for their tendency to backpropagate bad conclusions as causa prima. These power-law dynamic vectors of identification appear, under observation, to follow their causal becoming under unwavering mechanical determination. Becoming-woman, becoming-man, reproduction, death. So also the Spectacle thrives on the Circus of Values when simpletons debate their palettes of predeterminism; gender, race, orientation, class, sanity… often in that order, according to mass media.

Stochastic analysis provides pragmatic predictions in terms of probability densities, answering only where one ought to look; one is already certain the probability is possible. The opposite, to treat an emergent normal standard distribution as a caste system, has been the justification of every cruelty imagined by collections of political economy.

Appearance as particle is deceptive when we cease observation of the totality of the population or experience it from the inside – the experience that is most intimate to us! Only then do we find that free will experiences itself as a continuum of power, of many forces in dynamic relation and opposition. Causal Agency is an uncollapsed wave of indeterminate probabilities. Observation collapses these, with an accompanying sentiment of mental empowerment, as teleonomic leadership of the body or conducting the dynamics of thought, memory, emotion, and drive like an orchestra. If we rush the orchestra, the music becomes disjointed; if we stop conducting many well-practiced melodies might be played without additional effort.

Applying logic to an entire system of truth-ideas is an effort in projecting consistency and unity to our understanding. First, we must forecast many particularized hypotheses and assert their abstraction as a universal value. Next, and most fundamental to the entire history of philosophy, we force upon the systems of abstract signs a single axiomatic of all logic, the law of non-contradiction. The law of non-contradiction first espoused by Aristotle states that a proposition and negation cannot be simultaneous true. If I say, “The cat is black; the cat not-black,” the good logician immediately clarifies if I am being poetic, lack logical intelligence, or need to provide more details. For instance, “The cat seemed perfectly and consistently black from afar, but now that it is in my arms I see white and grey hairs spread about sporadically. Thus, even a black cat may be imperfectly black-haired.” In every philosophical debate, sifting through the technical and formal meanings of statement and applying the law of non-contradiction accounts for most of the leg work.

This law of non-contradiction, however, is precisely the a priori argument we must now question. The Uncertainty Principle provides a complex function that may at last span the wave-like properties of the rhizomes. This is the purpose of Quantum Liberty, to find Machinic Agency in the rhizomes. The remainder of our exploration applies quantum physics as an improved tool where we once applied the emergent power-law of non-contradiction.

Logic, capitalism, paternalism, these all thrive on forced non-contradiction. Deleuze & Guattari went to great lengths exposing that, while many philosophers and scientists take care to apply the law of non-contradiction with as little prejudice as they can manage, society has no patience for unanswered questions, doubt, minority values, or “deviant” opinions. We will thus take up a more strategic approach built upon their work exposing the rhizomes, admitting the two flaws in the system in an effort of critical leadership. First, as shown by Stiglitz and others in Behavioral Economics, that being watched, money, contracts, and cuing social role, can shift individuals toward rational self-interest, logical positivism, and objectification. Then, that the system as a whole acts upon truncated data, leaving without record any content that cannot be expressed according to currency, typography, mathematics, and the law of non-contradiction.

The exceptions to the rules, the amount of unexplained complications and complexities do begin to pile up! No wonder so many knowledge workers prefer the safety of specialization, hoping that enough trees of knowledge, branching selfishly, somehow forces the environment into a healthy ecological system. Equally true of forests and our own mind, pure arborescence as a categorical imperative leaves the health of the system unmanaged, and certain to degrade and collapse.

Our physicists look beneath the superficial flux of perception only to find a socioeconomic and ecopolitical system of molecules made of atoms. Particles seem to follow rules. Then we look deeper, subterranean as it were, and then we lose ourselves in quantum uncertainty. We ought to applaud the virility, obstinance, and confidence it took to produce the first Higgs boson after a century of elaboration. The role of the Observer throughout makes the cosmos participatory, capitalistic, though we mean two kinds of observation. This begs the question if we can logically treat the two as one. Machinic Agency would treat false the faith that human observation and material observation deserve any distinction.

Social systems throughout universal history, with effects of space-time projected onto each point, make human vitalism mere particles in the cosmic body-system, co-determinant with all possible subjective universes. We should conclude there is mind and free will, not only all the way up, but all the way down as well. That is to say, there is no difference between these perceptual machines in operative fact, only in our strategic commitment to one form over all others.

In the post-Marxist methods of Deleuze and Foucault, they should loudly to us that exceptions and deviations will expand our axiomatization; that rebellion and social progress keep us all locked in place as part of the machine. They call this subjectivation, because the subject-object relationship is given to the winners and losers as if implicitly true. We are made cogs in a machine that produces terrible unintended moral consequences. How much more, as Schopenhauer felt, the cosmos or the body! Metaphysical agnosticism leaves no escape. Each of us bear the burden of moral responsibility, although not at fault and without confidence in our wisdom.

We are in need of an uncertainty principle in philosophy. Anything we perceive as an individual, as a vitalism, a component in the system, a particle; they imply with elaborate efficiency an entire class of particularized objects, behaving on a long enough time scale to have 50/50 uncorrelated probability for any binary outcome. The stochastic philosopher may then play a game, treating all such particles as free agents that act to exchange at their level. Not only do we not know if their freedom or randomness is intrinsically different from what we feel, it also seems to make trivial difference in practice.

Another way to express the tendencies of our Rhizomatic Unconscious by contrast against statistics themselves – the pinnacle of arborescent consciousness. The “law of large numbers” that we apply to population dynamics, predicated upon a simple trait, the dichotomy manifests itself as axiomatically true. This only works when we define the population we wish to observe in advance. Observation is first a teleonomic prejudice of constraints. Science succeeds best when it is double blind and relies upon uncertainty to produce probability! To succeed, we need a memoryless queue of opportunities, and an agent that acts with uncorrelated probability at each opportunity. With enough opportunities, we find the risk of error diffuses into obsolescence. If we want to predict with confidence, we must first break assertions into tiny homogenous slices for which our incorrectness about one does not affect the outcome of the next.

The arborescent conscious builds a hegemony of the majority around which all exceptions are related, within the logic of the observer, as normalized standard deviations from the average. The law of non-contradiction is not a priori knowledge, it is strategic axiomatization.

In contrast, the rhizomatic unconscious is the cumulative deviation that grows in a series of observations within a universe of thought. While uncorrelated probability allows us to wait until enough opportunities pass, waiting for the long-run probability to minimize risk of tiny components secured within the huge system, cumulative deviation is like placing a bet on that same coin toss repeatedly – we can predict with the same certainty what the probability of the next conscious event will be, but we cannot predict how many opportunities we would need to restore our winnings or our debt to zero. This restoration is the realm of morality, the critical leadership in pursuit the cultivated universe.

The unconscious of our social systems, easily expressed in narrative form, is every opinion and method of living that privileged agents leave unrecorded and untold; liberalism pursues the shouting of uniqueness and the failure of false conformity. The impact of a personal unconscious, of the feelings, impulses, ideas, and memories left for later, uncategorized, outside our narrow focus, we will return to later.

Arborescent Consciousness

Although we can properly say little about what consciousness is, we can begin like Kant by describing its modes of operation. We may hold thought as a strategic trait, then elucidate what it gains in practice. Machinic Agency sustains the tension between feeling free and observing determinism, feeling optimistic when surrounded by entropy. Just as quantum physics relies on the assumption of uncertainty to produce probability, the assumption of freedom within a system of rules itself produces liberty. In each case, the Observer plays an active role in framing and anchoring the system of values. Wherever there is observation, the combination of intelligence and consciousness, there is arborescence.

Arborescence is the branching of representations that occurs under the generalization and abstraction of semiotic analysis. Analysis splits perceptions repeatedly, creating dichotomies even where there is no perceptible opposite. This long series of breaks when drawn begin to look tree-like. The Observer creates many trees of knowledge. Philosophers are interested in cultivating these forests.

That which appears as power-law and arborescent when we focus on a trait of a population disappears into chaos and nonsense when we are not looking. That is not to say that there is no existence when we are not the Observer, but that our mind filters, prioritizes, and obscures experience like the lens of a camera, and it narrows perception through framing as well. We overlay representation in the act of analysis, and do so with increasing selfishness and optimism unless some other tree of knowledge competes for the light of the sun.

It should not surprise us that we find fractals and branches everywhere we focus, recording causality and determination along the plane of observation; these are the operative processes of the human recording of production. Moreover, we can fully expect that consciousness will succeed in making sense of what is under observation at the expense of what is not under observation. Patterns suddenly come into focus. Melodies suddenly fall into proper rhythm, shutting out contentious noises. Analysis gives us a normal distribution, spreading, branching upward from the trunk of paternalism. It is the stubbornness of the Observer to remain at the trunk once so many branches have spread that drives the role of paternalism and centralization.

It is metaphor to say that the conscious mind is arborescent, even more to speak of an unconscious at all. These are expressions. When we apply observation, gather data, select a plane of significance, truncate outliers, cancel noise, homogenize particles and investment vehicles, we as the Observer are generating the Fractal Ontology we find, creating but also projecting logic where we have no evidence of design. Just outside the peripheral vision of the mind is everything that does not need observation for The Moment. Concentration, consistency, coherency, abstraction, derivation – these are paternalistic controls over representation. The more we develop our semiotic system, the more repressive it becomes in the service of the Observer.

This implies two basic universes of thought become possible. First, we can imagine consciousness like an astronaut recording a video, floating, spiraling in space; if we keep turning we get a 360-degree image of what surrounds us (consciousness) but understand only derivations of the role or substance of the camera itself or the person recording the images. This places the intelligent observer at the center of a personal universe of representation. Second, we can imagine walking in a circle around a fixed center until we observe the entire 360-degrees available by looking at or beyond the central axis point. In this case unconscious remains in the feeling we can never attain full confidence that behind us, beyond the limits of our peripheral vision, there may not be something we are missing. In either case, Observation is the strategic outcome of the thought-drive, operating like the drive for hunger or sex. We continuously record, focus, frame, anchor, and bias our experiences (consciousness) until the moment our thought-drive must recuse itself and ask “What have I missed? What lurks in the shadows? What if there is something just behind me? What if I am dreaming and great danger awaits my body in the real world?” We can see the immediate value to the Observer of this continuous experimentation with uncertainty, lest he get so lost in his forests of knowledge as to be eaten by a cougar or bear!

The “trunk” of these two conceptions digs into something, remaining unseen but that our observable universe of thought convinces us must exist. It is the prerequisite for sense-making, this assumption that either the world “behind” our representations has substance or spirit, or that the world “within” has equivalent constituents or a ghost. We are never content, except with enormous discipline of practice, to believe that either there is no soul in our machine; or that there might be many forces working in concert, like a well-formed orchestra no longer in need of a conductor; or that this identity itself is the great lie, that we have no soul to lose or preserve at all.

This is the Rhizomatic Unconscious in which we never fully understand our own camera or relate it perfectly to the film, and can never fully incorporate into the image all the elements not captured in each shot. In this way, we observe logic and perfection in the universe not because it is there, though it might be the case. We only know that we observe an apparent logic, but wonder if we ourselves create it. We try to overcome the uncertainty principle, a mathematical solipsism of sorts, through combined will-to-power. We say, “If several observers stand in the center together, looking outward, while even more observers stand in a circle around them, looking at them and beyond them; then we can get a perfect and complete view! Then we can be sure there is not threat or uncertainty!” This very combined effort makes the feeling of liberated will at odds with the determinism of collective observation.

This has always been the goal of our institutions, from the nomadic tribe or primitive commune to our most advanced scientific laboratories and most complete mathematical models. If we work as individuals, we can take greater risks with potentially greater rewards, but if we work collectively we can attain more complete information regarding potential risks and opportunities. We tend to oscillate between extremes, both in single lifetimes and as a species.

In the meanwhile, wherever we focus, we axiomatize. The only method we have found as a collective to help the individual with their unconscious is to shout at them from across the circle, hoping they will believe us if we describe the bear behind them with enough intensity. Unfortunately, many never turn around in time. Death has already come for them in their ignorant distraction.

Truth-Value in Pragmatic Epistenomics

“For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.” – Erwin Schrodinger

Pragmatist Epistemology, developed initially by American psychologist and philosopher William James, explores the value of an idea based on the difference it makes in practice. Two or more people can observe the same events with wildly different facts. Large groups can produce data that bias skews in favor of an incorrect conclusion. We might discuss truth as the extent to which a cohesive network of ideas related to verifiable facts, but philosophers have invested heavily in casting doubt. Perception can become distorted. Large groups appear to have believed intricate systems of ideas to which no one would now ascribe. Philosophers in epistemology took great please in showing how often additional information forces a paradigmatic shift.

Some conclusions regarding perceptible events continues to push the curtain of physicality further into generation by our own mind. Psychological dysfunction exacerbates this issue. Therefore, William James needed to help patients question what is “real” when validity may be impossible to confirm – opinions, feelings, superstitions, and so on. Our brains skew the interpretations of data in the production process of reproductive-survival information. Much of human history across segregated populations produced incommensurable ideological systems that only gain temporary resolution through war. If truth is a form of militarization then the validity of beliefs must play some darker role than we often hope.

We can see why James, working toward an understanding of human psychology, just after the birth of our nation, would have such a concern. When we carefully listen to people who have ideas that do not agree with our own, exploring their explanations, empathizing with their biases and the pains of their past, hopes for the future, we find that the distinctions of observable reality can be intricate. In quantum terms, the more look at one particle the less likely we feel it could be participating in a rational system of laws; in economic terms, the more we observe one person’s financial decisions the less we would feel anyone is acting rationally or in accordance with long-run self-interest.

When James developed the underpinnings of functional psychology, we see a nation of immigrants participating in an industrial revolution together. They came together in that proverbial melting pot of the American Dream. The hectic life, adventure, and opportunity made it clear that in an environment of constant change, crowded together as a population, needing to get along despite opposing views, placing truth-value outside humanity was dangerous. Entrusting reality to the alien dark matter of Kant’s metaphysics places it outside the moral responsibility of humanity. Any “truth” as aspired to by Hegel, who few could claim to understand, as the knowledge spirit gains about itself through associations justifies all forms of terrible actions to the extent they inspire their own antithesis.

In his treatment of patients, it must have been painfully clear that the ancient Greek challenge of the skeptics had little relevance to daily life. From then to know, we deny that any component of a rock possesses hardness itself, we only know our own painful experience in kicking it, as one network smashing against the resistance of another network. Something remained unanswered for James, the debates of the empiricists and rationalists of Europe helped little.

James made an argument based on what we may now call a functional system. As we explore Fractal Ontology while maintaining Metaphysical Agnosticism this functional resilience will be the measure of an idea’s value. Instead of Epistemology, we do better in calling this Epistenomics, the rules by which knowledge expands.

An idea is a commodity that valorizes only in continuous exchange. It is only through exchange that an idea becomes true. Rather than extensively defining truth-in-itself, we will methodologically apply three variations of truth-in-practice. First, Truth-Value is a semiotic system representation that intelligent beings exchange in accordance with axiomatized socioeconomic rules. Second, Information Dominance is the prevailing system of cohesive ideas regarding a topic that becomes “insured” by Political Economy; in other words, the truth-in-practice that is currently winning in each population. Third, we will update the old treatment of truth-in-itself as a goal that humanity has been willing to pursue great violence to attain, Hegemonic Truth. Although Information Dominance achieves its victory because the system of ideas aims to attain Hegemonic Truth, the final answer, the causa prima of all other valid ideas, we will treat each with suspicion, and prepare ourselves for moral and philosophical wars of our own.

Because we are taking this initial proposition to an extreme logical conclusion, we will supplant what James accomplished while ascribing much to his legacy. A discerning reader will see where we are applying theories that occur only after James’ pragmatism. We will apply quantum mechanics, postmodern critics, behavioral economics, and evolutionary biology to this “free market” of truth-value ideas. As a disclaimer, what follows has little to do with what James argued (or any other author we reference). As frequently happens in philosophy, we make arguments predicated entirely on the significance of originator’s legacy, typically with little regard for their words or intentions.

Systemic Liberty & Component Freedom

Components act as units of teleonomic reproduction. They warrant attention as objects reliable as decision nodes. Complex networks of nodes may develop based on simple decision rules despite the pressures of entropy. If the nodes are not stable enough in the reproduction of decision rules, network complexity will not arise. Node reproduction relies on the equilibrium-stable identity maintained. Free play can generate networks, but continuous irreducibility and consistent rule identities are prerequisites of system regeneration.

Freedom of unrestricted components in any system of exchange manifests as unmanaged, uncoordinated interaction of market tacticians. These desiring-machines are not only homogenous but equally rational, equally information-bearing and equally demand-producing. Lumping homogenous tactical components creates unstable networks but fails to produce stable complex adaptive systems. Complex adaptive systems require objectification of nodes as homogenous resources. Therefore, freedom without accumulation of inequalities produces an enormous, boring aggregate of bacterium, heaped in a pile.

The pressure to submit to rules of objectification arises out of power-law dynamics; will-to-power is this final power-law trajectory of the cosmos. These competing systemic forces shape the success of free play at many levels of continuous irreducibility. Without gravity, magnetism, sexuality, pain, discontent, axiomatic drives so ingrained in our sense of mastery that very few recognize their enslavement, the system breaks out of the cadence of synchronization. Homogenous freedom, perfect equality of all components, results in a non-system.

Morality in practice develops consistent rules of ethics. Politics reproduce these ethical systems. Freedom and equality cannot form a complex system of teleonomic reproduction. The State (as with the body, the cosmos) cannot empower its citizens beyond a certain limit of relative freedoms, disseminated through its system of inequalities, justified by the morality of its axiomatics. There can be no anarchy-state. Any freedom of socioeconomic exchange and any individualization of sociopolitical force is thereby post-paternalistic, all liberation is post-despotic.

We find this easy to accept so long as the law is orders of magnitude away from our daily exchange relations. Systems of relations and variables are always systems of inequalities, not only in the mathematic but also the social phase space. Without these inequalities, there is no differentiation of variables, no separation of space-time, no mass or gravity, no weak or strong nuclear force. It is only through an anti-equality, heterogeneity in four or more dimensions, that the system can intelligibly produce homogeneity of one category versus another.

The supply curve emerges unequal to but continuously relating in juxtaposition with the demand curve. The exponential decay of economies of scale emerge unequal but continuously relating to the exponential growth of inventory holding costs. It is precisely when we chain together the abstraction of any given variable into a continuous function that probable inequality is meaningful despite the complete absence of a single representative for the inequalities of the system.

How silly of us to say, as it were, that this particularized man is a “demand variable” or that particularized woman is a “supply variable” of these socioeconomic networks! This was always the fantastic insight of the economics and physics of the early Modern Era – when we take an economic view of a sociopolitical system, there is no need to find any particularized representative of inequalities. The gradation of ranks emerges without management, though this is frequently a mismanagement. Emergent systems only need continuous sampling to keep the function unequal, and thereby meaningful, in comparison to other functions.

We can see that an increasing comfort with abstraction, probability, and tolerance limits has driven human progress. For example, the ability to symbolize (representation) not actual inventory, nor actual intrinsic worth, nor actual persons who exchange, but the logical set of all items held, all wealth accumulated, all persons who may exchange. Only then does the human symbolization of inventory, particles, and citizens plot into waves of normalized, probable, continuous possibilities.

To the quantum system, truth-value is a particle; but it is only a particle in principle. The statistician’s real and indoctrinated citizen must exist somewhere in this probability density of the population. Is she economic supply or demand? Is he political inventory holding cost or political transaction cost? These systems of inequalities are vectors, but only in aggregated calculation, in sufficient populations, driving us toward that ultimate capitalist conclusion – s/he is a superposition vector

Superposition citizenship, a moving-forward forward concretization, a superposition of a multitude of vectors, functions, calculi, and inequalities. The citizen is a particle of the social fabric, if only in principle. The atomic particle and the quantum particle are likewise citizens in principle. These are all inventions of the human mind, “real” functions, mathematically, but non-actual existentially. How lucky for us that such schizophrenia and bipolarity, such increasing alienation of probability from singularity, turned out to be pragmatically essential to a digital revolution that will self-perpetuate, remembering our imaginary simulacra on our behalf!

However, we come to an uncomfortable relation in singularity. Who am I, in a phase of recursive reflexivity, when my most reliable identity is the one defined by standard deviations from a particularized citizen that is true “in principle” beyond a reasonable doubt, but is axiomatized upon the acceptance that existential instantiation is merely relative? The failure of unquestioned personal morality lies in unquestioning submission to the ethics of the political system. More often, this results in displacement into some invasive ideology as system of denial, because the system of values has become morally bankrupt. This is a pornographization of the soul (even in the absence of gods) that would make the most despotic of the medieval popes jealous. The consumer-citizen no longer compelled to produce or consume commodities; that is a foregone conclusion. The weak, cowardly, distracted soul must now produce and consume itself. This production is relative to the gravitational pull of normalized continuous citizenship waves, again, in principle.

 Ethics of Flux-Agnostic Systems

“There is no such thing as an independently existing trajectory, but only a trajectory relative to a particular body of reference.” – Einstein, Relativity 1920

We awaken one day and realize we are mid-stream. “Stuck in the middle with you,” as the song goes. Stretching into the horizon ahead and behind in time, spread all around in space, a new bubble in a torrential movement, we are party to a ferocious stream. The most pertinent assessment when a system beholds itself as a stream for the first time become analysis of its political ethics. We ask what addition we will make to the flow of floating values. Some of us awaken in quiet pools of momentary certainty, surrounded by a crowd in full agreement. Others awaken amid violent rapids, where uncertainty, skepticism, and disagreement of all values has become forced violently to the surface. We must answer for and act upon what we believe is the correct sociopolitical current as participant in the stream.

Looking to the Cosmos and the Earth for signs and consistencies, inspiration for better questions we ought to ask, is often our approach to the ethics of sociopolitical flow. To take these perceptions at face value, to trust no fabric of reality hides unseen, this is naïve realism. From this universe of thought philosophers have moved reality further from the Observer on a continuum of over-coding. Berkeley says everything is a dream. Kant would lead us suspect that the 21+ senses do most of the work of painting reality for us out of some alien, dark matter we can never know. Schopenhauer replaces this alien thing-in-itself with the universal will, arguing against Hegel but continuing the line of flight – that every component may reveal the entire truth of the whole totality of the system. Then Nietzsche removes the privilege of one form-of-life over another as granted, weaponizing inequality of morals, believing in better philosophers and species to come, a dynamic interplay of forces. Camus finally says what many young students feel, “This is all absurd!” The absurd is the realm of speculative realism, the overlapping of authentic reality of one system of objects (humanity) attempting to know and survive in another system of objects (reality).

In one of his least precise statement, Nietzsche gives a momentary “smell” of what he hopes but cannot describe. Like many of his words, they become easily misappropriated in the hands of moral prejudice. He begins elucidating a distinction between passive skepticism, a doubt that grows soft; contrasted with hardened skepticism, a doubt that takes a warrior’s attitude toward the dissatisfaction of uncertainty:

“That new kind of harder and more dangerous skepticism [of] daring manliness, which is closely related to the genius for war and conquest […] This skepticism despises and nevertheless grasps; it undermines and takes possession; it does not believe, but it does not thereby lose itself; it gives the spirit a dangerous liberty, but it keeps strict guard over the heart.”

– Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Thus, there is the stoicism that recognizes the stream in its violence and recuses itself to whatever tossing-about it must endure. Then there is the overcomer, who takes hold of Schopenhauer’s inversion of positivism – pain, confusion, and death – and focuses this into laser-like discipline. Camus referred to this as the “authentic” life, but we now run aground! Nietzsche becomes accused of racism and fascism, Camus becomes accused of hedonism and wasted time. Now we at least see what we may add to this exploration – questioning in better forms this stream’s agnostic ethics, in a suspicion that never loses its paternal resolve. Understanding the dangers of pleasant equality, we must find what regimen may we prescribe in guidance of our methodological naturalism. We look for what pain the scientist and philosopher ought to feel, for what death and dismemberment of legacy might sharpen our discipline. As William James, the old mentor in this hero’s journey, called it: we need a moral equivalent of war.

We have already strayed far from the civilized citadels of collective norms. Too close to reality, but not close enough – that is the absurd. The principles that emerge in our absurd desert, the “vegetation” as Camus called it, speculative and inferential, deserves analysis. Through the complexity of systems thinking and the intellectual rigor of quantum and statistical calculi, machinic operability elucidates patterns of intention. This desert too subsists within the stream of simultaneous observation and participation, particles viewing particles. We recognize we are both system and component. It is a complex adaptive system of systems, countless nodes in a distributed network. We find our subjectivity is always in the middle of a participatory universe of thought, though we feel convinced we observe it as an intelligent outsider. In the stream, we wonder if there are a few fundamental imperatives that arise.

The great shortcoming of Kant’s philosophy was its excessive focus on individual morality in the context of logical positivism. He worked toward an ethics of system participation that he never accomplished. His prolegomena argue toward the possibility of Categorical Imperatives, but failed to provide sufficient evidence that any necessary categorical imperative exists through subjective judgment. Moreover, if it were so logically necessary, it falls into a familiar trap – surely everyone already abides by such imperatives, making it an empty prescription. This too has been the trap of “rational self-interest.” What an ethical system may trust either as normative or necessary at the level of components may in fact become the source of its opposite at the level of the system. Such morals are collective in cognitive abstraction but individual choices determine their significance.

Our methods look for predictive imperatives. Quantum Agnostic systems are the realm of behavioral economics and pattern recognition. As Baudrillard showed, constants and consistencies that explain consequences of actions likewise reveal an oscillation of reaction and counter-reaction. The simulation suffers an odd Mobius strip, in which the consequences of work serve the opposition more than our own party. The morality of rebellious components may inflict damage to other components, but they may do so to the benefit of the system they reject. Each action, for or against the system or its components, is an investment in the consistent ethics of the system. We can only add to the stream, in more quiet or loud ways, and cannot guarantee where subsequent generations will carry our legacy in the centuries after our death.

Nietzsche describes our judgement of this continuous revolution as anti-moralist. Moral judgement based on short-run consequences, purity of intentions, utilitarianism, or virtues are all insufficient. Even the modern justice system, as shown by Foucault, takes a hyper-morality approach – past actions and intentions reveal the criminal’s behavior, death or incarceration become justified through prediction in such punitive systems; not based on the crime committed, but based on the crimes the accused is likely to commit in the future. Anti-moralist judgement, rather than looking at intentions, intentional consequences, or character, demands we shoulder with courage and strength the full moral responsibility for unintended consequences. We may call the aggressive skepticism above, in the context of systems theory, leadership. Leadership reveals the valuation and signification of long-run machinic agency.

Judged by the standards of a detective rather than a prophet, can say Kant had a good hunch. However, by looking to his Protestant sociopolitical context for categorical imperatives, perhaps in their monetary pocket, he failed to consider that it was the categories of mind that produce the consistency of cohesive systems of values. He ascribed to the mind an enormous amount of power to create reality out of an alien dark matter, only to deny the mind the power to produce new categories of creation, new signs of significance. He first ascribes morality to the logical universalization of personal values, but requires it apply consistently across all intelligent agents. He denies us, in short, of social engineering and critical leadership.

His failure paves the way for the ideas that supplants him. Machinic systems are all self-similar material, but equilibrium power-laws emerge in management of “gradations of rank and distance.” Only will-to-power drives the emergence of the entire system. As every moral system is a justification of expansion of privilege, of taking power from other orders of magnitude, critical leadership must look at this with a great burden of moral responsibility. Likewise, the collection of actions, rather than individual decisions, produce the emergent ethics of multi-agent systems. Therefore, a categorical imperative does not imply, “Act only as could be a law for all men,” but should aim to transform the resilience of managed engineering, by disrupting the ethics of the system. We can say instead, as both clay and potter: “Exploit laws that encourage the action of all humanity to expand the long-run viability of the system.” In this stream of material lives we must work with the flow or the torrential currents work against us, in the short-run, long-run, microscopic, and cosmic.

Ethics must maintain operational flow as an open system of continuous experimentation. To halt the stream invites stagnation. Applying methodological uncertainty, moral values function wavelike in principle. Many events are possible for any component of any system. If there are enough components and sufficient opportunities for the system to produce an event, the long-run probability of any binary event is 50/50 – a fair coin toss. Built into this Uncertainty Principle are three axiomatics: homogeneity of particles under consideration, continuous repetition of opportunities, and binary alignment of outcomes (the on/off appearance of the sign). While we may have reasons to gather in brief periods a larger share of the stream, we do well to ensure this not at the expense of the stream itself, or our legacy dies with the stream. More likely, the stream drops us as foolish sediment. While we must exploit power-laws against one another to generate our sociopolitical product, we must also preserve the flow of the production process to ensure future opportunities. The precession of morals evolves through semiotic systems that recognize the freedom of their own relativity.

Because stochastic modelling valorizes comparison of populations and samples, we should aggregate opportunities to reach conclusions. Thereby we can predict population densities that are morally actionable in isolated particles. However, it is an immense breach of critical leadership – one that invites our own collapse – to allow optimism bias, confirmation-bias, blind-faith fundamentalism, or stereotyping to backpropagate emergent power-laws onto the opportunities of particles. Accidental social engineering unveils little more than mismanagement of value creation. Even if there were a consistently identifiable trend for a given particle behavior (including species, gender, race, nation, orientation, genomes), active skepticism never miraculates correlation into causality. In other words, we maintain the discipline of agnosticism continuously, because complex adaptive systems often correct their flow, painfully and violently, at the expense of those who had dogmatic faith in their certainty of causes.

When we find it necessary, for survival, to mitigate risk to our Information Dominance against the flow of the stream, we will succeed best if we follow the principles of flow rather than insisting on Hegemonic Truth. Flow is primary axiom of agnostic systems; this provides our methods of machinic operability. If we assume uncertainty has an emergent 50/50 randomness, methodological chaos, system responsiveness to anything upstream requires that we orient against the flux twice as often as opportunities to harm us, on average, arise. Anything downstream may rebel if we starve or overwhelm component-systems. We must provide ourselves a limit of twice the average input and twice the average output. Together, these two principles ensure that any component, despite its freedom within the flow, will create stochastic liberty for the stream as a whole.

Whatever socioeconomic construct we develop, no matter what sociopolitical product it takes as a teleonomic aim, we must recognize that anti-entropy and its self-managed information systems only survive because they are able to reproduce. Complexity grows and adapts from there, while entropy breaks it down. Nothingness cannot win, so long as the capitalism of will-to-power—representation, expansion, and acceleration—favors payoff asymmetry for information-gatherers over the diffusion of entropy.

Quantum Agnosticism

This may all seem silly, to say that we ought to guide so many of our beliefs about reality by a “playful doubt” that our beliefs are correct or even significant; moreover, that we might venture upon a more aggressive critical exploit. Quantum physics shows us just how useful the pursuit of uncertainty, with pragmatic goals of acceleration and expansion, can be. We analyze reality as information, fundamentally predicated upon stochastic modeling of flows. Regardless of what code, what material, or what product we create, once we see continuous investment is at work we can apply principles of complex probability functions to predict outcomes with reasonable pragmatic certainty even if we establish these predictions upon an assumption of uncertainty, randomness, and chance. What a triumph of the human mind, to axiomatize uncertainty-in-itself to generate confidence of prediction!

Moreover, we do not need to know anything about the code itself or its origins if we can trace enough of its recent history to forecast the near-term recurrent. We do not need to know what the material guided-by-code is so long as a population of observable opportunities can show us the behavior of the exchange of those materials. We do not need to know at all what the ultimate product of the code or material will be nor do we need to possess any information on its purpose, intent, or consequences. Quantum Physics is the ultimate triumph of human mathematics – in response to challengers of Euclidean geometry Leibniz and Newton invented calculus, showing that limits of acceptable certainty free math to represent reality; to the challenges of marrying local, microscopic, and cosmic forces, special and general relativity and quantum physics were born.

The overwhelming consequence of the last 100 years has, in a sense, accomplished Kant’s Second Copernican Revolution better than he ever would have imagined. We can build an entire axiomatic system based on uncertainty, imaginary constructs, unreal events, or unobservable possibilities, then apply this to predict tiny likelihoods with enough consistency to build transistors, compilers, processors, and commercialize technological progress with unheard of ferocity.

What else could we call this, philosophically, except an agnosticism toward metaphysics and an atheism toward a designer-deity? Disbelief is the new morality, as uncertainty is the vanquisher of Chaos and the Dark. Theoretical science has made great strides with a few simple axioms. Uncertainty assumes 50/50 randomness, assumes uncertain arrival rates of varying inputs, assumes trillions of opportunities, and the laws of population statistics quickly fill in the gaps.

Quantum Physics is an embrace of the tension between opportunity and entropy. When we suspend our obsession with the beginning and origin of the stream and equally suspend our obsession with the end and purpose of the stream we can finally experience the stream itself, as a flow we are in, as a flow that defines us! More importantly, we can realize that we guide the stream. We can facilitate each system to ensure that flow remains continuous and smooth, neither violent nor stagnant.