“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, May 9, 2011

Distributed Mind and Objects

Thanks to Levi Bryant I've now been able to read Andy Clark's and David Chalmers's essay “The Extended Mind.” I must say the argument is remarkably akin to some implications of Derrida's essay “Plato's Pharmacy.”

Not that Derrida spells them out—he studiously avoids talking about what is, a sin of omission if you ask me. But he does argue that there's no sense in which some notional internal memory can be said to be better than external devices such as wax tablets and flash drives. Or more real, or more intrinsic to “what it means to be human,” and so on.

Clark and Chalmers seem to echo this when they argue that the idea that cognition happens “inside” the brain is only a prejudice.

The best parts of deconstruction, for me, are those parts that refute relationism. Yes that's right. For me, it's structuralism that is purely relationist. Deconstruction constantly points out that meaningfulness depends upon 1+n entities that are excluded from the system, yet included by being excluded, thus undermining the system's coherence. These entities can include wax tablets, ink and paper. Whether or not they are “signifiers” is precisely at issue.

Meaning arises from the meaningless, in other words. It's not relations all the way down.

There is no such thing as meaning in a void, which is why I prefer Derrida's re-mark to Spencer-Brown's roughly contemporaneous Mark. There must already be an inscribable surface on which the mark appears. This is the preferred sense in which I take the term arche-writing. Not “everything is signs all the way down”—but everything isn't.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It would be difficult to say something ontologically constructive (or even want to) in the face of post-structural consciousness and bleak existentialism, but there is a brand of "ana-theological" (cf. Kearney on 'anatheism' and Altizer on 'death-of-god theology') "positive existentialism" out there that promises an axiology (and, I daresay, a post-ecological egology or vice versa… a 'post-egological ecology' perhaps?) and generally a way out of the critiques of the information age: specifically, I project, by transfiguring George Spencer-Brown's own Sunyatological, Nietzschean interpretation of his Laws of Form, transforming it into a Poetics of the Will, the likes of which Riceour would have brought to us through his hermeneutic phenomenology of the Philosophy of the Will (The Volutary and the Involuntary, Volume 1, Freedom and Nature, Volume Two, Fallible Man, Symbolism of Evil, an unwritten work on criminology and Jaspersian psychopathology, and the unwritten Volume Three, the Poetics of the Will).

Such is my view, and from here I propose to invert the problems of the use of the word "symbol" in the sense of the interpreters of Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form (the "symbolic logic" which characterizes the cybernetics of the information age) and Ricoeur's use of "symbol" as a Jaspersian "cipher" or enigma. Immanent to every problem is the solution, and through a 'ciphernetics' and worship of 'Lux Cipher', if I may, I propose to found this reading of the laws and Lawgick of creation outlined in George Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form and its commentarial tradition (Lilly, Kauffman, Bricken, Shoup, Varela, von Foerster, and second-order cybernetics) through a novel creation of the productive imagination, a hermeneutic speculum forged by Ricoeur in his quest for the Poetics of the Will, applied to the act of drawing the first distinction, and its identity as pure self-reference (implicit in Laws of Form, redundantly reified by Varela), as an event of the "crossing" of itself, and its response to the enigma of the kerygma (the Biblical "calling") through a Diabolic Lawgick, an axiology and ultimately, the very Holy Dible (the whole Dibla Triptycha: the Holy Dible, Diblenetics, and Diabolic Lawgick). -Randy Dible, L.O.L., Dible.