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.

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.