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“…the One is not the transcendent that might contain immanence but the immanent contained within a transcendental field. One is always the index of a multiplicity: an event, a singularity, a life.”- Gilles Deleuze in “Pure Immanence: A Life”
“Is the syntax that requires beginnings, developments and ends as statements of fact, the only syntax that exists? That’s the real question. There are other syntaxes. There is one, for example, which demands that varieties of intensity be taken as facts. In that syntax, nothing begins and nothing ends.”-Carlos Castaneda in “The Active Side of Infinity”
“Since the beginning of Western science, we have believed in the “simplicity” of the microscopic—molecules, atoms, elementary particles. Irreversibility and evolution appear, then, as illusions related to the complexity of collective behavior of intrinsically simple objects. This conception—historically one of the driving forces of Western science—can hardly be maintained today. The elementary particles that we know are complex objects that can be produced and can decay. If there is simplicity somewhere in physics and chemistry, it is not in the microscopic models”. -Ilya Prigogine in “From Being to Becoming”
“Time is the Mind of Space”.-Samuel Alexander in “Time and Deity”
“Arms that chain us, Eyes that lie, Break on through to the other side”-Jim Morrison
The Age of Materialism is over. Or did it ever really begin? Was modernity always just a fantasy? A vigorous but naive attempt to ground reality in the visible light of a universal sense? An attempt to break free from the insular dream of medieval consciousness into unlimited possibility? One which was, perhaps, bound to stumble, striving towards an impossible new beginning, but with every attempt to break with the past, only obfuscating the continuity and context upon which all reason depends?
Has it now, with the arrival of technocracy, achieved its wish for an authority and ground of truth free from the arbitrary conventions of culture and history, only to find greater constraint in the dogma of a brute factual existence, with no ground at all save the quantification and management of random events, without significant cause or history, with no reasons or meaningful context for anything? Has the attempt to liberate humanity from the power of obvious material constraints and the caprice of individual humans, only paved the way towards our subjection to something immaterial and inhuman?
However you frame it, the lucid dream of modernity is wearing thin, as all lucid dreams do when they go no deeper than solipsistic projection—when they merely turn a strong ego against the depths, and receive only a subjective liberty lost in shallow reflections, precluding any clear path through time’s prism.
As the depths are now striking back, and pulling us deeper, humanity may not be waking up anytime soon (whatever that means), but our relative lucidity is now making one thing more apparent: that we are indeed “dreamers” navigating a reality far stranger and more fantastical than we had supposed. Like it or not, we are all “New Agers” now. Not because we have reached some kind of lofty spiritual transcendence, but because the ground has dropped away; not because humanity has transcended “materialism”, but because “matter” is losing its meaning and interest.
Materialism—that is, the reduction of much of the world’s social value to the production and consumption of material goods and services, as well as the political conflict over the means of their production—has seemingly given way to a power struggle over attention on, access to, and control over the main product of this era of vigorous material production: the digital medium.
This ever-mutating medium is now uniformly organizing and quantifying most contemporary values according to an ever-present logic of power long obfuscated by derivative concerns over material utility. However much we may deplore the colonizing momentum of this evolving ecology of disembodied and decontextualized information, we cannot help but entrain to its logic or rhythm—that is, not without digging deeper, not without finding and embedding in the rhythms of longer-wave cycles moving through the centuries, and joining the play of that deeper, longer game.
As long as we continue to think of power in material terms, operating according to the designs and desires of discrete embodied entities struggling for temporary control over fleeting material conditions, we cannot hope to resist the movement of that which seems to have no definite edges, no origin or goal of movement, nor even any need of particular things to do the moving.
In fact, the word resistance implies too much the game of force and counterforce, rather than power’s process of fluidly organizing and redirecting any field of forces. For though power has effects that distribute throughout the game of forces and material relations, it is not essentially a control of, or over, people or things, or their apparent movement at all, but rather, over their possibilities.
Forces clash in the material trenches, at the front of a bottomless war stretching from every heart and soul backwards and forwards in time, into and over the bases and barricades of possibility. Power works from its command centers, weaving together the threads of what could be and is, with what has always been but never fully realized in its endless potential. To the extent that power is concerned with what actually happens, it is most importantly a “meta”physical concern with how what happens can change what can happen, with how every event may alter the structure of existence and the endless games played upon it—a structure that is power’s essentially eternal, but eternally changing spiritual domain.
The forces we see acting on or initiating events, or the ones physics postulates as ruling what is possible, do not emerge like magic from some realm of arbitrary eternal laws. Nor are they merely wielded by wholly autonomous beings from the whims of their will. Wills obey power; they emerge from a coherence created by power and seek increased territory for that coherence. All force, likewise emerges from power; properly understood, force is not primary but merely a shear strain between motions always already in progress, and which power has brought together; and it is power which forces will serve no matter what the apparent effects. The shear strains and lines of force define the limits and horizon of power, but power does not grow its coherence through direct force upon an obdurate substance. It builds its empire through the leveling chaos and equalizing character of conflict, or the creative coherence of harmonizing forces.
Power may seem to emerge through the forces through which it manifests, but it’s becoming depends on prior becomings, on some alignment of what is to come with what has been—though not necessarily in the world we know. It is both revolutionary, as its growth depends on novel mixings of forces; as well as conservative, as it needs a base of power from which to grow, even as it feeds on the breakdown of other powers pulled down into the circle of conflict. To maintain its status as power and not a mere struggling force, it must maintain a confidence in obedience to the structure of a will or vision always bound, more or less, to some prior power. Therefore power is not really a possession of any force or thing, but is rather, that which animates and connects everything, and possesses everyone, more or less. It is the consistency and coherence of wills with no source or terminus, only nodes with more or less density, more or less participation in the pattern that connects—that is, that which includes and recycles what has been previously made possible into endless extrapolation, consolidation, and reformulation.
Power, in any decent account, is mysterious and elusive, with no beginning and no end. To human beings, doomed to die in a matter of decades, especially ones who believe their existence is neatly confined to the brief period of their short lives, their quest for power and influence can sometimes seem a bit odd. It is true that being doomed to die can drive us to seek a feeling of lasting power by “making our mark” on the world in some way. And while fame is more or less fleeting, the draw of its power makes sense as something resembling a legacy transcending death. Any attention or sign that suggests to us that our actions are having some kind of effect on the world, and especially on people, plays on that primordial impulse of life towards power, which is not only its vital will to expand its being in space, but the egoic need to prolong one’s self through time.
Yet to the modern ego bereft of belief in anything beyond a more or less doomed humanity fated to succumb to the material forces of entropy and eventual disorder, the vital will of expansion usually contributes more to the power seeker, than does any reasoned will for a legacy. In fact, as most ideologies, whether religious or humanistic, increasingly ring hollow in terms of purpose, the vital expansionary drive comes more to the fore, shorn of any tie to human values, beyond those, often unknowingly, which can be made to serve power, and, perhaps, a power beyond the merely human. It can even seem as if much of modern humanity’s apparent progress is little more than the progress and expansion of this strange inhuman power, masked as potentially beneficial things like social justice and technological advancement, which, ironically, have mostly just increased power’s reach by bringing more into its fold.
This more or less continuous progress of power is obvious when one recognizes this growth of its machinery into every corner of the globe, but it becomes obfuscated when one focuses on the relative power of individuals within the system and the uneven and fluctuating levels of equality and access to the power of the system. In modern technocracy, no matter what level of power within the machine an individual has, they can seem to have little agency outside the logic and momentum of this monolithic bloc. So when the standards for social justice are judged relative to individual inclusion and equality rather than in the possibility for alternative ways of thinking and living, and not just styles of living (true difference, not skin-deep diversity), an escalating increase in subjugation can easily persuade us that the opposite is happening.
Yet an inclusion in power does seem to benefit people, and so included, one would think they could shift power’s nature from within. It is true that to imply power is some wholly external, repressive, and inhuman corruption of some essentially human or subjugated liberty, is to go too far. What is at stake is not a threat of contamination by a novel or alien force, nor is it the possibility of freedom from power of any kind. Power grows, as it always has, through the desires and actions of people. And though it can extend into and become predominantly something quite monstrous and otherworldly, its growth into these extremes does not necessitate people explicitly seeking or wielding extreme or capricious power. Power grows through its potential to seduce and inspire us all to expand ourselves and extend the reach of our wills in various ways.
As humans come in contact, struggle, and build on structures to mediate that struggle, power of some sort, and the mechanisms of power for all sorts, will necessarily grow as the structure of knowledge and society grows. The question is always the same, but becomes even more important as the mechanisms of power grow: what is the character of power playing through any given field? Is it guided and checked by the values it professes, or does it merely use them?
More often than not the nature of power is determined by its own vital impulse—an impulse that thrives on heterogeneous forces and their values fighting and consuming each other, ultimately serving a homogenous common denominator of a will to power; as opposed to, or rather, contrasted by a coherence always being created anew across heterogenous impulses, characters, and forms. The latter is not in opposition to the former because to oppose directly is to fall into the field of forces, which is more easily co-opted by a power regime that cares not which values win, likely finding new territory through the power vacuum opened up by the chaos of conflict.
Dualistic moral schemes can of course be problematic; but this stems mostly from their reification, from treating some values as good and others evil in some absolute context, when it is precisely how they are used that is important. Still, even without the notion of some absolute good opposing some pure evil, too trenchant a moral distinction between modes can be misleading. However, some dichotomy is unavoidable in any evaluation, for decisions inevitably have a polarity to them. But unlike a creative and contextual evaluation, moralistic schemes are, ironically, the easiest prey for exploitation and cooptation.
Decisions of any kind made without an understanding that can determine the forces and powers at work in any situation, remain imprisoned within prefigured dualities—the convinced/ unconvinced, good/evil dichotomy of generic representations served up by a covert context. In contrast, a mode of decision that does not judge so much as assigns an order of value to the unique possibilities of the situation, may still be motivated purely by power, but it is more likely to lead to a malleable creativity and improvisation than it would to an exclusive and irreversible conquest.
Of course, in humanity and most human situations, any value or philosophy is inevitably bound up with a power drive that simulates them for its own sake. But it would be a mistake to think that the power and dynamic polarity of a creative coherence cannot be separated or distinguished from the basic power drive towards obedience. It can be easy to confuse the two, or be seduced into thinking we have separated one from the other when we have not. This is most likely to happen if we imagine that the good and bad are essentially separate forces or moralistic or epistemological essences (the good/bad or true/false representation), rather than what they are: divergent trajectories building different power blocs.
As we approach the frontier of global coherence, everything hinges on the spiritual character of the integrating power, mediating or controlling all differences in the planetary system. And while a global culture and integrated consciousness can take many forms, there will likely come a point where the planet will be consolidated under one kind of power or another, reflecting one side or the other of the polarity of collective consciousness. One mode finds a deeper continuity cutting across diversity, encouraging and coordinating improvisation and divergent experimentation, the other encourages an atomized diversity so that it may consume it to shore up and expand an entrenched occult regime of control into new territory.
The seduction by this vitally dominated form of power is not just a reduction to a destructive or instinctual drive, or an evil confined to the sociopath bereft of human compassion. It is the nature of our will to seek power and to seek it for what we think are good reasons. Consequently, distinguishing between the vital will in service of a creative continuity and evolution, and that in service of merely a larger vital will to power can be difficult, since both can justify themselves with reasons and an intuitive appeal appearing as some kind of progress or a higher purpose.
For even the most self-absorbed power player does so not solely out of base pleasure-seeking selfishness. Power inherently transcends the cultural-ego and the merely sensual, rooted as it is in an occult libidinal economy. For hidden within even sex or fame’s fleeting pleasures, and propping up any doubts the power-seeker has concerning the stability or extent of their cultural legacy, there is a kind of occult sense in the feeling of power that reassures them that the game is worth playing—that even if they are forgotten, or if their accomplishments are lost, the expansion of self they feel is more real and lasting than the world itself.
Without such a sense, the attention-seeker would never become the seeker of the power of real social control, overcoming any desire to be known, as such things rarely coincide with stable lasting control. Even power for the sake of self-determination seems mostly incompatible with the kind of power wielded by even the most independently-wealthy modern capitalist, for the most obvious and cliched of reasons: great power implies great responsibility—uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. This is true, even if one uses it to selfish ends; the power the selfish person wields extracts a heavy toll.
It often seems as if humans will endure all kinds of hardship and forgo all kinds of ease and pleasure for a kind of power that seems at first to have no real rewards, or in some cases appears to give no material sense that the particular self of the power wielder is expanding its range. Even if rulers are able to impose their own character on history, and not just be a node in the power nexus, lasting effects are rarely colored by traits unique to one individual, and history is rarely kind to the legacy of those imposing their eccentricity.
But, one might ask, is the motivation for seeking a part in directing or drastically affecting people and history, beyond temporary pleasures, and the not much more lasting promise of a legacy, really so occult? Is it not still just an exaggerated form of mundane seeking for self-importance, and the propping up of a fragile sense of mortality? One might say there is nothing to power-seeking beyond human psychological needs, which indeed include not only basic drives and deluded ambitions, but the legitimate desire to excel and prove one’s self only to one’s self.
Indeed, the simple pleasure of accomplishment is reward and explanation enough for power’s motivation. One need not have any delusions of immortality to feel motivated to achieve, even the rather dubious achievements of control over people. Still, despite and deeper than conscious motivation, the pleasure in mere accomplishment falls flat, even to the vanity of the intelligent ego, when seen in the light of inevitable mortality. For if we are only fulfilling some inherited or determinate potential, or merely filling a role that could have been filled by anyone with a similar set of skills or talents, what is the point?
No, the game of life and the many kinds of power that are its reward, inspire and seduce our souls, not only because we want to perform ourselves well, but because we want to become more than we are. We want to connect ourselves to and perhaps make some kind of mark or difference within the larger development and growth of the universe, however this growth is conceived—even if it is purely an instinctual feel for the occult economy of power and value playing out in all human drama, present even in the life and mind of a dogged materialist. What matters is the feeling of becoming, of the individual’s insertion into an open system of increased capacity and significance that whispers some assurance of their being’s continued existence within another’s.
Whether or not we can make some kind of special mark on the world, the desire to be at least a part of something that is making a difference, appeals to an instinct that persists even without the illusion that the difference has something to do with an essential quality unique to one’s self. The draw of power goes deeper than any appeal to vanity, pulling directly on the fibers of our precariously sustained mortality. It offers an escape route from a closed system of increasing entropy and incapacity, into a cosmic river of impersonal vitality. But as the intensity and ubiquity of power increases with the progress of civilization, and time and history become reduced to a mimetic shadow of a hyperreal virtual-media landscape, the human itself risks effacement under the unchecked advance of a uniform power, unhinged from any value or culture that could variegate it.
As a power bloc consolidates and extends its reach to saturate every corner of a space, it must find new territory beyond it. As power increasingly learns to grow not only through its animal instinct to spatial expansion, but inwardly into increased intensity—as has happened especially over the course of modernity—the impersonal, occult, and even alien nature of human civilization becomes even more pronounced and obvious. While analysis may see in the higher-order features that “emerge” from the actions of men, nothing but impersonal forces and structures driven by the contingencies of material struggle, the trajectory of society has become in recent years so obviously driven by a momentum robust to any attempt at altering its course, that saying it has a kind of life of its own, and even a nature that is starting to seem quite alien to this planet, is no simple science fiction metaphor.
In fact, the momentum and autonomy of the modern machine has gotten so intense that the academic term “hypermodern” hardly does it justice. This term does, however, capture some of the common sense people have that the machine is accelerating to a dangerously extreme level of intensity. However, given the linear time-sense so characteristic of the modern mind, the acceleration cannot help but be commonly thought as barrelling towards some kind of transcendent singularity; or even if stripped of all mythic, utopian or dystopian value, still culminating in the crash against the limits of materiality—or simply, the limits of capitalism.
Lacking any sense of how patterns connect across discrete lines of material effect and rational influence, our linear time-sense is part of a larger problem concerning modern thought’s inability to plug the two ends of any conceived line back into the overlapping cyclical patterns every development is traversing. The vitally motivated person senses the ideal, or a new line of flight at the horizon; the rationalist, an inescapable limit, or a culminating collapse of concatenated collisions. Yet both the vitalist religion of energy, flowing blindly to its lascivious end; and its mirror, the rationalist faith in originary causes, contacts, and forces, both long to be saved by transcendent abstractions, contributing to the new broad scientistic church of “information”. The potential of everything to be cloned or simulated seems to offer a way out of bare sense-reality’s finite line of brute beginnings and disappointing ends, by offering a fabricated substitution of time’s smooth curvilinear transformations that link each with all, with the square wave of digital abstraction—castrating time’s fertile harmonies into a cold eternal equality.
But coupled to the cold calculus of technocracy is the hot passion of power-drives and new religious enthusiasm, which are combined most notably in the faith people have in the collective machine and its fact-checking fervor. Being increasingly subjected to the rhythms of a digital mode, we have a difficult time finding the music in the math, and the context in the data that could coordinate the chaos of life’s analog mode; so we naturally become more dependent on various technical prosthetics and generically rationalized scripts.
Consequently, with the rational devitalized, and the vital unhinged, it is becoming rare for one to be capable of fully engaging the vital current without being swept up in its primal flow towards exclusive extremes, or more rarely, of harmonizing life and mind to reveal the cycles and patterns from which these flowing gradients are themselves abstracted. Lacking a feeling for how every line traces a path through overlapping cycles, we are easily deluded by the limited momentum of discrete developments, and consequently fall for the trap of techno-solutions based on generic abstractions, which seem to offer an extended life, or an eternal form, for our devitalized developments.
Critics are correct to question dogmatic technophobia, or the inflated importance of categories like “artificial intelligence”, or the myths dramatizing the merger of machines and humans. Indeed these lines of thought ignore the entangled origins of the organic and machinic, or don’t account for the already long history of humanity’s dominance by a kind of “machine intelligence”—what we commonly call “systems”—which indeed have always had quite the life of their own. Nonetheless, there are important points of transition in the relations between life and the machines or systems it constructs, and with which it organizes its societies. And we are becoming surrounded by such points in civilization’s emerging possibility-space.
Though the concept of singularity can be misunderstood as a point of dramatic transcendence— instead of what exists within all life as points of relative divergence and convergence—it is an important concept. It has a broad intuitive appeal because we all feel a point or limit approaching during the experience of “physical” acceleration. For instance, within the common experience of falling or any accelerating speed, we not only sense the danger of collision against the limits of materiality, we may also sense the deeper significance of all acceleration, even what is commonly misunderstood as magnetic or gravitational “attraction”. For what we experience in all these phenomena is the same fundamental motion pulling us beyond all spatial limits and the framework that creates them(2).
There is even something of this in the experience of hearing escalating pitch, or the crescendos of dramatic music, which excite and annoy us with reminders of how little of the scales of intensity our limited senses can handle. While it easy for the rationalist to scoff at the enthusiasm of the vitalist, to reduce the appeal of acceleration and escalating tension to some psychological quirk, obfuscates the important connection between all vital drives and the possibilities of a beneficial transcendence—that is, important points of divergence from the pull of previous patterns. Yet this common dismissal and compartmentalization of human psychological and vital phenomena, also overlaps with the general materialist misunderstanding of the common ground of all “fields” of knowledge and experience, even the “fields” of forces in physics, and especially what gets ignored or ridiculed as vague mysticism, or immaterial spiritualism. Our discordant and fragmented understanding of the everyday forces of modern physical life pushes most awareness of the seemingly invisible half of existence into its mostly opaque and indeed sometimes pathological reflections.
In contrast, what we call material existence and physical forces—properly contextualized by a “metaphysically” grounding coherence—reveals their roots in metaphysical power. We must achieve some coherent understanding of this power if we are to have any hope of giving our world a better trajectory. The metaphysical, properly understood, is not essentially some vague invisible or separate reality, but the meaningful content of all experience, physical or otherwise. It becomes more visible and physical to the extent that we learn to see, connect, concentrate, and even embody the “points” of significant change that are power’s basic “substance”—its dynamic nature as continuous but differentiating transformation, emerging from productive tension and difference.
With even the mundane experience of supposed “attraction” in gravitational phenomena, for example, we can, with the right conjugation of feelings, vividly sense, from the heart of matter, the limits of our discordant material embodiment speaking to us, calling us to break through the essential contradiction inherent in spatial existence and spatialized thought—to nullify the impossibility of two bodies inhabiting the same space, and to conceive their relations no longer as extending across a void that sets each thing against every other thing, but rather, generated from within and by relations of continuity and meaning. For with attraction more properly understood, things move not merely to converge in a space, but to negate the space that their mutual motion is itself creating and which defines their separation—as well as determining their very existence as relatively external identities conceived against the projection of a common container-like background space.
Of course, the danger with surrendering to the vital appeal of any gravitational pull or accelerated momentum, as with following any line exclusively towards an end, lies in mistaking what should be a point of transformation that can reveal an internal landscape of important points of interest and significant relations, for an absolute spatialized point of convergence or escape. We mistake surrender with another in creative extrapolation out from or through a mutually defined center or end, for simple surrender to another, or to a movement given carte blanche out of blind faith in progress or power. Instead of breaking through, we break down, (or only break through into a static emptiness). Instead of making a “friend of the end” and revealing the significance of any change in the light of the relatively unchanging, we merely become a means to an end, or even, simply, come to an end. Instead of finding the dynamic and infinite tapestry of significant differences, we collapse or subsume all difference into and under the service of a single abstract end.
By ignoring the divergent possibilities which help frame the relations constituting any particular point of transformation, we risk a mindless surrender to the trajectory of a seeming totality or seemingly inevitable convergence. It is only because of the tension between the inward convergent motion that negates space (“counterspatial” as some call it)(3), and the expansive creation of space emerging from individuation and changing relations, that we have a world of both stable and changing forms, both space and time. Neither side can be completely negated because they only exist in relation.
There are really no absolute points or lines, no absolute zero or infinity. All quantities are ratios emerging from our sensory selections and their compounding combinations, ratios relative to our collective motion through the rich relational continuum of the universe—life’s meshwork of intensities. The absolute we seem to experience, a maximum intensity of light speed cutting across all reference frames, is best understood first not as a maximum speed through space, but as a fundamental unit ratio of speed relating equal space to equal time—a one from which all other rates of change derive as displacements from unity. Though it also helps to think of light as that which is not moving, and see everything else as moving in relation to it. But really it is neither an absolute line of motion, nor an absolutely timeless reference point, but the unity of proportional equality connecting all things in their relative motion.
Any idea of a fundamental space fixed to a zero point, or even a fundamental space-time fixed to some unified field misses the point. Every space or field of quantified forces is merely one side of a large-scale displacement from unity—a gravity well oriented towards not some space empty of matter, but the null point of pressure mediation, that is both pulling us through time, and attempting to equalize the displacement from unity. Every zero point is just an infinite line from the other side, and ultimately, both lead back to the fabric of changing relations and a proportional equality that maintains coherence through change.
It is from our point of view inside the gravity wells of discordant matter, that all change appears as a kind of displacement from the unity of light. Light itself appears to us as an absolute speed, expanding from its sources in all directions—just as the space more or less outside our gravity appears to do from our perspective, leading to the erroneous idea of some absolute point of emergence from which all matter exploded in a bang. What we see is just a reflection of our own position and momentum within a field of displacements and equalizing compensations that are too slow to keep us above the downward spiral of gravity and entropy.
In our quaint little islands of entropy and limited evolution, we primarily understand change as a motion in the sense that its intensity can be represented as a ratio of space to time (the basic formula for speed like meter per second). This is good as long as we do not conceive of motion as primarily a movement of fundamental objects or of any particular thing. Even what we call matter is built up of patterns of continuous motions—and not motions of any particular object or thing, because these elementary motions are in some sense just our founding abstractions from the richly textured continuum of light. Their simplicity and generality derives more from their fragmented formation than any fundamental atomicity. They remain more like vorticular vectors to the other side—transitory threads or traces hinting at and seeking a hidden harmony—than they do some kind of basic stuff.
They are like simplified symbols of light’s unity of space and time—a unity deferred, broken up into complex patterns in space, and simple copies or reflections of a rhythmic standard of time in atomic oscillations. The rich texture of time becomes hidden in homogeneous durations, anchored to the seemingly generic unit of material particles in space. Space itself is rooted in our spatialized conceptions of atomized time, conceived of as the circle, the repeating oscillation, or the simple spin that turns the spiral of overlapping cyclic developments into the closed loop of clock time. Space is just the other side of time, the tapestry of progressing possibilities thrown back upon itself to create a well of inwardness, with compensating lines of outward motion emerging from the boundary of material stability, reaching for and defining the infinite horizon of the sensible expanse.
It is important to understand that this equilibrium between the outward and inward, between the line and the circle, and between space and time, is what situates mere objects in a space defined by their fall into the gravity of displacements below the speed of light. But emphasizing this equilibrium of opposites as a general principle gets us nowhere. In fact, the very notion of discrete and externally opposed principles—even if framed as a balance of opposites—is a stagnating distortion, rooted as it is in spatial concepts of motion and difference, just like the relations between objects. It reflects the deterioration of creative change into conflict and eventual stasis—into the mutually limiting and relatively closed karmic loops plaguing the game of force and counterforce.
To guide any beneficial development, the notion of opposition needs to be seen as a limit case of what is better understood as a reciprocal relation—not between two equal forces or object oppositions—but between all things and their mutual becoming as they form an open and endless horizon of context for understanding each other. This kind of open-system reciprocity necessitates not equalized oppositions between differences in kind (or any duality), but, ironically, must proceed from a relative but ultimately inexhaustible difference in value, or the level of some value that creates the potential for all activity.
Life and change cannot proceed any other way—not without power, not without some principle of difference in value, some hierarchical gradient of continuous potential prior to the disconnected differences of identity and mere existence. But power is not some sovereign metaphysical force acting on a passive matter. It is an opening of potential above the actual already-constituted reality. Power must impose limits on what is to catalyze the production of what could be. Those limitations open up a new space within the great open-system of the one reality of infinite relation—a contraction of the plane beyond all hierarchy and interiority into a great relay of contracting and relaxing tensions, into a system of boundaries or membranes of productive change.
For though in the last analysis, reciprocity reigns, it is power that mediates the middle in which all things take place. Yet power, in its impositions and inequalities, merely delays and determines the form of the final justice of reciprocal relation. Cutting through the appearance of even the most imbalanced of power relations in localized space and time, is a reciprocity connecting it with its seemingly distant inverse, whose ultimate mutual product is one. But the dynamic activity of the universe depends on this reciprocity getting a complex distribution across the extents of space and time, of local and nonlocal events. A localized balance of separate elements would be a kind of stagnating stalemate imposed from an unaccounted-for third position, a static frame still locked within the materialist model of space and time as a container of objects and their motion, necessitating some transcendent element to set them free.
With such a bare material conception of balance and harmony, cut off from the continuity of a thoroughly relational understanding, we are led to resist change and death; or alternatively, to surrender blindly to its momentum. A mind trapped within such a materialist culture will naturally and simultaneously fear and desire death and transcendence. Consequently, such minds are bound to strive for the only kind of immortality they can imagine, and may build a kind of virtual facsimile of the continuity which arises as an eternal reflection of their own fundamental identities and material attachments. Such a standardized and immortalized mind, as we collectively may soon become, would be in grave danger. Rather than finding or forming a place in the process of continuous transformation, the traps of both fear and desire combine and descend around us as the perfect spiritual prison of pseudo-transcendence of death, and a surrender to the will of a predatory power(4).
To transcend the materialist spatially-dominated conceptions of relation and motion, without falling for these traps laid by fear and a desire for salvatory absolutes, the nature of the transcendent or metaphysical must be better understood, and reframed again and again in each age—especially as people lose touch and a feeling for the roots of all physical life in the greater metaphysical life of the universe. It is a continual challenge to overcome our natural animal predilection towards thinking in terms of objects and their manipulation, always requiring some preprogrammed set of unmoving things to do the moving.
Instead we must consider the stable element not to be a static origin or passive end, but a selection, a reflection or model of relevant relations formed of other actions or processes that have been extracted out of the living continuum where all processes are meshed together in mutual implication. Instead of seeing the world merely in terms of our language and sentence structure—subjects acting on a world of objects—it must be conceived that every change is merely a new relation, the creation of new structure in the continuum which alters the meaning of every other relation in its implications, more or less. The nature of the meaning and structure of any change, however, is only given within other selections, reflections, and modifications. Every discrete “subject” or “object” holds its boundaries only against the background of other possible selections, only along certain chains of consequences tied to localized contexts, and consequent considerations of relevancy.
Such a view retains a polarity like that inherent to our common sense linguistic breakdown into subjects and objects. But the polarity here is not merely between separate bodies or things acting on or contemplating each other, but between the two sides of any process, which are always in some sense, no matter how narrowly material the process may seem, involved in a kind of contemplation. However uneven the split between poles may seem in a given process, even a material object sitting in what seems its natural context has a pole in the nonlocal. Even the most isolated object or blandly mechanical process exists not just in a local insignificant space—with any novelty canceling out over time—but is part of a structure of time that is inherently never complete, and open to alignment with some field of power or system of significance. A simple object may seem insignificant, with its temporal oscillations averaging out to a bare repetition, but like the polarity of oscillations in iron, in the right context of coherence, the poles can align, connecting to a greater field of activity.
So while these two sides of process are implied in each other, the relative ratios and proportions of their magnitude in any process can take many forms and values, even resulting in a polarized structure of existence, where one or the other dominates(5). The spiritual realms or “heavens” of tradition are where time turns in endless cycles, and ceaseless change dominates—hence the association of its rhythms with celestial bodies, and their correspondence in astrology(6).
These inner realms are where the inward motion of something is coherent enough to overcome the dominance of entropy and centrifugal forces. This may be because a process is simple and its change uniform, or because it has been brought under the monolithic power of a dominating rhythm. But coherence can also acquire the requisite intensity to cross the threshold through correlated creativity, where the processes involved are not uniform, but coherent enough in their creativity to require no force or resistance that would pull them down into the localized low-speed zones upon which they ride.
It is the uniformly changing cycles of time, however, that not only, as discussed, form simple standards for the spatial basis of material existence, in a kind of “subspace” beneath normal space; but in addition, cycles of all conceivable length, relative to the basic units, form a “spiritual hierarchy” of entrenched standards—archetypal patterns that are coupled to all “material” existence, informing and manifesting through various developments in phase to their cycles, like the planets of astrology.
So-called material existence is a kind of interference pattern of these more archetypal cycles—full of incoherence and conflict, but also regimes of coherence and power as the various cycles clash and compromise, forming a kind of “hyperspace” of competing cycles, tied together in a vorticular landscape spiriting the heart of every being. The frequency of these cycles can even be made coherent and intense enough in an overlapping combination that space and matter can seem to “fold” into the vortices, lifting normal space and objects to the level of nonlocal superluminal existence. This may be beyond the capabilities of humanity’s current physical embodiment, (except perhaps temporarily with advanced technology), but we can certainly experience these worlds through inner experience—even if it is only an intuition of what is beyond every singularity, beyond that speed limit of motion in space that structures our visual experience of the world through the medium of light.
As creative thinkers and gifted intuitives have described it, these worlds on the other side are not defined and segmented from without, but merely variegated from within. And though there are seemingly insurmountable separations between things in our world of discrete objects and extensive relations of distance in time or space, all discrete boundaries, even the “light-speed” boundary that forms a productive polarity across the sides of existence, all separation, is essentially a matter of intensity, a matter of the degree or power of participation in any matter or value. The “intensive” differences that structure and connect all worlds, cut through and across any seemingly “extensive” separation of worlds in space or time.
But given humanity’s long gestation in the womb of spatially-nested rhythms, it is understandable that many people intuit any singularity as a physical limit, as a point of transcendence of space or our experience of materiality. To the materialist that believes nothing exists outside these limits, the same restrictions apply. The price of these limitations become apparent within most of what we could call our society’s “political physics”, its way of conceiving of society and social change according to a mostly materialist tradition of sociological thinking. The materialist imagines the acceleration of the technosocial machine approaching some limit past which we may be somehow ambiguously liberated from capitalism, but materialist myth can no longer convincingly give us anything but a dystopian vision of what’s next.
While many may dream of revolution or a new consciousness, anyone with any awareness or understanding of UFO disclosure dramas (mainstream or esoteric), may sense looming over the horizon of overwhelming acceleration, a proximity to something far more strange. If our larger cosmic situation is not imagined in vague and awkwardly distant spiritual terms, and something of the physics and metaphysics of this “hyperspace” is understood, it still is mostly rendered as a kind of “higher dimension” separate from our own space and reality. Seldom is it thought through or understood as anything concrete always already at work in the world without any need for alien intervention, even if there is that as well.
Singularities are often imagined by believers as a destined future of alien or artificial intelligence pulling us in, or, perhaps, a critical moment of contact already past that pulled us into the hyperspatial game. But what needs repeated emphasis is that reality is nothing but this game. The real has always been a continuum of imagination, more or less dense with singularities—that is, “ideas”, significant distinctions, differences that make a difference. In other words, reality is precisely the game of changing the structure of reality, with its roots not below in the earth but above in what can be conceived and can grow as any good idea does, as it tests itself in the material trenches of competing existential ideas.
But since we tend to assume some substance or space is primary, and time is just movement through this space, we infer that any fundamental change in our world or society must come from something material, or be something wholly alien, as if we have not been importing alien landscapes from “hyperspatial” domains onto this planet for millenia. Just as we find it easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine a positive transformation of capitalism, so it is easier to imagine an alien intervention, or the arrival of some supercomputer intelligence, than it is to look closely at the multiple dimensions and scifi-level strangeness that have been with us all along, but which have been pushed to the margins in the brief time of recent civilization.
The marginal, however, can no longer be contained, as disclosure narratives proliferate and the logical convergence of technologies like virtual reality and genetic engineering, make more and more people wonder about the technical origins of our reality. Popular speculation becomes something real and understandable, as we come to understand that we don’t so much live inside space or move through time as much as they are the way we interpret changes happening in the structure of our reality, and we translate these changes into the understandable motion of objects moving in a space based on the ratios of space to time.
The hyperspace we creatively imagine as being beyond our own, waiting for us at the end of our life or the world’s demise or transformation, exists always already within us and everything as the deeper structure of time and progressing possibility. We interact with this structure more and more as the speed of change intensifies and the centripetal and “counterspatial” forces of temporal coherence cancel out more and more of the centrifugal forces of spatial stasis and material entropy.
The other side of any singularity is not some transcendent reality because the boundary of singularity sits at the heart of every single thing, linking it with every other thing in a tapestry of mutual modulation on each other’s themes and variations. The points of transition are of course important, and are indeed mediated by speed, but not the speed of a material machine moving through space, but the speed of change in an “abstract machine”, a nexus of linked rates of change in the variables of our reality, linked to all other realities through continuous variations ad infinitum.
Thanks to advances in the more thoughtful corners of our culture(7), motion through three dimensional space itself can be understood now not only as a matter of external forces and perspectives, but as a “downstream” projection of changes already determined by the more coherent and therefore faster negotiations of organized intensity. “Matter” itself is a relatively incoherent aggregate of relations, with poorly linked rates of change more or less dependent on the shared fate of falling into the same tangle of material contingency.
The “ground” of materialist thinking and the politics based on it, therefore, is mostly confined to what has already been determined upstream by the psychic politics of intensity and organized intention. Things at the material level cannot therefore be significantly changed at that level, except in the contingent details natural to physical manipulation. These details can be important and their improvement can set the stage for new developments. Deeper changes can also, of course, be catalyzed or be organized around attempts to change material conditions. But this happens often despite not because of the best of intentions, which fail to understand the powers making use of any contingency.
That which has fallen out of coherent intensive motion and into the stalemate of conflicting forces characterized by gravitational inertia and “mass” phenomenon, is struggling against gravity when it myopically fights at the material level. The material is dominated by the simple uncorrelated ratios of an already determined space, and an already past time. Material existence is, however, the frontier of the universe, since when redeployed by power, the eschewed developmental fragments form the basis for new development, tapping the gradient of chaos and altering the game at higher levels.
What, then, is this power—how can it be known if it distributes itself so well, as it does in our times, when it hides behind the facade of horizontal networks, seemingly with no center or simple point of concentration? Much of its success is due to its apparent novelty in our consciousness, a consciousness used to power being tied directly to material forces, with definite centralized sources and visible applications of repression. But of course, these more obvious applications of power have never been much more than a perspectival mirage, a true but fragmented view of the boundaries between the currents of the ocean of time. Hierarchical striations exist within everything but they are always relative to a greater sea of relations in all directions. They emerge and shift along and around the precarious tumult of material conditions, like localized whirlpools of spiraling time forming upon the more ubiquitous torrent of power flowing ceaselessly within or “immanent” to everything.
This “immanent” power is nothing new in our history; it is the background activity supporting everything in the universe. What we see with the rise of a network-control society is merely a merging of boundaries between different smooth spaces, a lubricated quickening of territorial power that has allowed it to reach a level of intensity that may reveal the deeper layers of fluid power long obfuscated by the rough rhythms of history.
Since it doesn’t repress things that already exist as much as determine or in some cases control what can exist or even be thought in the first place, it is sometimes treated as a psychological phenomenon, or approached as soft power still centered on definite points and lines of force, even if these are admitted to be involved with the more subtle reality of intelligence operations and psychological influence. With the dominance of materialism in much academic social theory in recent times, however, these more subtle or “virtual” dimensions of power were considered secondary functions of the primary material forces determining the play of history. Even the role of capital in determining the structure of the world through deliberate planning and “speculative” finance has often been reduced to a mere “fictitious” by-product of the all-determining reality of material power relations.
These material relations are no doubt important; to simply invert our materialist sociologies back into some philosophical idealism—where matter is wholly determined by the play of a transcendent idea or singular agency—is pointless, even if there is truth in idealism as well. What has become increasingly apparent is that, just as capital has been revealed as a power not contained within in any fixed position lording over a space or quantifiable material, but rather a power wholly dependent on a quantification of the future and a conditioning of the temporal flow of value and distribution of beliefs, so has the futility of any will to power or knowledge still caught up in the spatialized habits of territorial animals, become easier to see. Power is always relative and differential, that is, distributed and dependent through and through on maintaining differences of intensity.
With the right eyes, the increased connectivity and complexity of society has opened a view into the hyperphysics behind our hypermodern(8) world—a world where speed, that is, the intensity of the ratios and proportions of change, is prior to matter and material motion, and where the cosmic game for a higher intensity which determines all existence, is played through coherent connectivity, for good or for ill.
Most academic attempts at theorizing and periodizing our era still focus on material conditions, and so direct attention precisely to what has already been determined, and the linear flow of effects that proceed from that determination, save some kind of radical intervention. The result is an unavoidable pessimism about change, or at least a large gap between conceived alternatives and the material conditions that are supposed to be the cause of any future change.
Faced with the difficulty of changing the direction of a runaway machine, humanity’s impulse towards change is probing a better path, even if hope for radical change continues to spawn various spiritual and political religions. When not merely religious though, but genuinely motivated to understand and change consciousness, when driven not by dogmatic hope or partisan culture war, but an effort to understand the patterns of cultural transformation, the turn to cultural politics can be a good thing.
Unfortunately, with the decline in the academic credibility of large scale historical visions, conceptions of consciousness gets reduced to the psychosocial correlations of material conditions—merely, say, the past or present state of postmodern subjects, or the social structure of hypermodern capitalism, and maybe the material and cultural forces that preceded them, but seldom the structure of possible changes behind the contingent developments of history. Those uninitiated into academic jargon even get confused about whether “postmodern” is supposed to be a critical diagnosis or a positive prescription—a source of much unnecessary resistance to the label as some kind of political program or movement, where it is not necessarily the case at all.
Yet that confusion points to the neglected truth of the metaphysical dimensions of any theory or analysis, the fact that every frame is itself a myth that structures the future, no matter how limited the theory may be to the micro-narrative, or how much critical distance the analysis may claim. Our theories help form the meaning and trajectory of what they analyze; the solution to the problems posed by the context dependency of all meaning and representation, is not irony and diminished scales of thought, but the conscious creation of our guiding myths. To do this is not to abandon truth or render it merely pragmatic, but to guide its development with the potentials and dangers of each path in mind.
Despite the increasingly obvious limits of materialism, materialist posturing by intellectuals, and the importance of material means and their role in history, are obviously not going away. In fact a renewed focus on material history and political struggle can seem like an important form of resistance to the reduction of humanity’s historical and “analog” existence to the closed coherence and shallow temporal horizons of cyberspace. But as power becomes increasingly distributed and delocalized, the material contests of history, with their characteristically localized and linear narratives, are becoming, or perhaps, being revealed, as a quaint subset of a more complicated political physics of space and time.
It is becoming easy to believe that the surface details of events capable of being swayed one way or another by the vain power plays and oppositional movements so important to the short-term fortunes of short-sighted human beings, make little difference in the long-run trajectory of our species. After all that humanity has fought for across the millennia, were we perhaps always destined to end up right here?
Could a different choice or a chance occurrence along the path of history have avoided our dystopian horizon? Or is this emergence of a technocratic prison around us an inevitable consequence of developing structures which have existed at the root of our security-obsessed and doubt-driven thinking since the beginning of rational thought? Since thought and action are always tied up together, it would be a capitulation to the fundamentally discrete nature of the digital medium to say definitively one way or another.
Rather than make more cut and dry distinctions between generic possibilities, it would be better to say that we were always going to have to face some form of this problem as our chaotic and violent existence reached planetary crisis levels and vectored towards the quickest path to global political stability. Perhaps had we not driven the machine of modernity so hard we would not have been pressed to integrate the planet before our thinking had matured. But without this crisis it might have been harder to see the problems that have existed all along.
It has been suggested in the lore of the esoteric tradition, (and expanded on by contemporary ufology), that humanoid species can become diverted from their natural evolution if they choose to depend too much on technology when attempting to stabilize their society and biosphere, or by forcing an increase in longevity, (particularly when developing artificial intelligence and genetic engineering). Whatever the case, it is not difficult to imagine why technocracy might be a likely and problematic occurrence in planetary evolution. Whether there is really some natural course of humanoid evolution, or not, is besides the point, when the obvious dangers inherent in a one-sided focus on stability are extrapolated and implemented so deeply in a society, especially when that stability comes to be seen as best maintained by a supposedly neutral AI.
However, there certainly are many ways of implementing any technology, or of organizing a global society; every situation is unique. The conditions here are the way they are because of the countless events of our history, material or otherwise. At the deepest level, nothing in the historical struggle is completely in vain, even if our little battles are often more vain than we care to admit. One reason for this is how little attention we give to the metaphysical dimensions of every event, that is, the structure of consciousness—and therefore reality—being contested within every personal and political struggle.
While many aspects of our consciousness and reality have changed over the millenia, we have yet to face some of the most deeply rooted biases in our thinking and language, and the way these structure our world. The quantitative digital character of the emerging global system was perhaps in some sense inevitable, given the “digital” quality inherent in abstract thinking, a quality that becomes more pronounced as society is rationalized, and more quantitative as the economic necessity arises to calculate the instability of time itself. The rigidity of human thought was bound to become more noticeably problematic as we increasingly structured the world according to the intellect’s prejudice towards fixed relations modeled on spatial relationships, and as we subjected the flow of time to power’s crude calculus of risk assessment—a reduction of creative evolution to mere statistical games in an abstract space of predetermined possibilities.
But even before capitalism turned every conceivable thing into a speculative cypher in the game of power, human beings have, from an early point, extended life’s territorial instinct into the mind’s activity of calculating and controlling the flux of uncertainty. Systematizing life and society cannot be neutral, so a complex society especially cannot help but entrench and naturalize some preference or prior decision about how to cut up the world, a decision not easily examined without threatening stability. Around that decision, and in complex relays of reciprocal determinations, is always some layering of linguistic and conceptual habits that solidify the boundaries of things and events with the seeming permanence of elemental units, or even one elemental unit or fundamental idea of what a thing or “being” is—a generic and unanalyzed simple “one”, counting as the first “digit” serving to root all subsequent distinctions in a spatialized grid, with time and change therefore becoming derivative of what is perceived as the natural order.
A grid of solidified assumptions, whatever form those assumptions could have taken in various historical possibilities, was most likely going to bring us to some version of where we are at, with that grid threatening to become a “Matrix”, or to bring us to an evolutionary dead end, where all genetic variation has been technologically sanitized into sterile combinations, or a monotonous cloning of the same narrow set of preformed possibilities. Our imagination has been warning us of these things for some time, but it remains to be seen how deep we will descend into this madness before we, hopefully, learn to examine our primary distinctions and make them a conscious choice—or rather, a continuous creation in the light of an awareness of the fluid ground from which all distinctions are abstracted.
In a system that thrives on oppositions feeding into the binary logic of a digital consciousness, any alternative needs to go deeper than merely opposing the imposition of a preformed data set of binary choices with another discrete objectified substance—say, opposing the digital, quantitative structure of financial capitalism, with the concrete qualitative values of traditional culture or uncapitalized labor, even if this is supposed to bring some kind of liberatory synthesis.
In fact, it is only with the emergence of corporate capitalism that the logic of capitalism as a quantification of power, and of power itself as the source of all economic value, became easy to see. In such a light, no traditional political project can escape the logic of capital, since capital is already now a ubiquitous coding of all political power struggles through speculative finance(9). Any political challenge to the emerging global system must be rooted in another logic than the narrow field of political economy. It must create value in a way that exceeds the digital (win/lose either/or) logic of capitalism, which turns every amorphous potential into a commodified clone of predetermined possibilities, a mere rearrangement or recoding of the already existent and solely “real” substance of materiality.
To highlight this word “digital” rather than the usual scapegoats of revolutionary narratives, is to undercut not only traditional materialist politics, but, hopefully, the scapegoating process as well. To scapegoat the digital is contradictory, since scapegoating presumes there is some pure other to digitality, like the analog, which it corrupts. But this is itself a digital distinction.
So if the analog is not the opposite or wholly-distinct other of the digital, what is it? If we take the digital to be the mode of organization that assumes, forms, and naturalizes a stratified space of analysis and division, the analog is not then an analog or analogy of some prior distinct thing to which it refers as its model within an organized space, but the very process of making continuously varying connections between the separated elements of any segmented space, or across different spaces, whose meaning and values cannot help but be transformed in the process.
If then the digital is considered a synonym for the “Logos”—the word, being, or logic that creates a world through a primordial split, a division of unity into the one and two, into some kind of rationale or ratio of elements with a common generic unit that relates them, (a “one”)—the analog would not be the opposite of the Logos, not be the absence of logic or language, (which would be alogos), but the Ana-logos, which could be thought literally to mean in sequence or proportion (“ana”) with logos, or just simply, proportion itself(10). The elements of the analog are not then quantities, as in the elements of a ratio, not identities or their attached qualities, nor the static factors of a generic identity (a one), but the proportional relations between any of them.
Proceeding according to an analog mode highlights the connections relations have to other relations by virtue of their being all some variation, not simply of a one as a fundamental substance or primordial identity that is merely divided or multiplied into other quantities, but of a proportional equality. This equality is a unity of sorts in the sense that a fundamental equivalence is revealed across different patterns of relations, a continuity of sense and meaning that emerges as any and all forms are placed into proportions that give each thing a participation in a connected process or continuum of reality.
The point here is not simply that everything is one or equal, or parts of one transcendent or objectifiable whole, but that the patterns of any division need to be put in certain proportional relations for their proper sense to be understood, to be connected and equated with other relations in the context of the continuous processes that formed them, and the ones which they in turn form, without beginning or final meaning. In this sense, everything can find a measure of truth when properly paired and related as to critically reveal its contexts embedded within other contexts.
The digital process of analysis, left to itself, keeps us from seeing or changing the nature of the contextual space of problems and contrasts that forms its background. While the analog is what forms new spaces to begin with; it could be thought of as that which links different discrete spaces into an open system or heterogenous continuum. It connects each of the logics that rules any space, not within an overarching logic or view, but with perspectives that can reveal the paths each space or element took as a modulation of another, as well as paths and potentials for transformation, and openness to the not-yet formed.
It is of course “natural” and unavoidable for us to analyze, just as it is to synthesize, to put together what we have torn apart. But if we merely synthesize what has already arisen “naturally” as practical beings primarily concerned with the manipulation of objects, we will most likely end up “synthesizing” not a higher truth, nor a new and exciting world, but mere synthetic “analogs” of the biases inherited from our history. We will merely move from the “twoness” of digital analysis to the “oneness” of synthetic unity, a oneness that merely reifies the abstractions made in analysis without following the relation which defines and connects both sides of any split into the depth of relations from which it emerged—a third “dimension” of relational depth outside the dyadic ratios of cause/effect, idea/thing, or subject/object, a triadic relation which can transpose one dyad onto another, and can open every arbitrary division and selection up to its alternative histories and futures.
As we increasingly subject everything, even our analog world of experiences, bodies, and natural technologies to the binary logic of digital technoscience, analog existence becomes merely an analogy, an imperfect clone of our digital God. Yet unlike the earlier eras of our culture that merely fixed all analogies to a transcendent model of a religious God or symbolic truth, we now have the power to make the world in the image of our models. Our techno-gods are coming down to earth, as we abstract everything into the uniform representational space of our analytic mind and synthetic technology, and all nature gets canalized into informatic systems, redesigned to reflect our discordant patchwork of commodified models of life. Yet it does no good to oppose something called “technology” with something we call “nature” since, like all generic oppositions, they presuppose each other in an already constituted space that necessitates them both: nature is always already artifice; any analog continuum presupposes some digital distinction for anything to happen; every synthesis necessitates some prior analysis.
While the material and analog may be in need of reaffirmation in the face of their submersion into mere content for the digital data network, a new philosophical slogan or political movement no longer garners much sincere confidence in the possibility of change(11). And even if it did, for the analog to guide us through digital technology and consciousness, it must not be confused with some fundamental substance, some mere material that we oppose to digital abstraction. There is no escaping the digital, no fundamental outside to the web of systems and abstracting relations, nor any core substance or objects fundamentally inside or prior to those relations. Materialism is not the answer, but the problem—not a problem to eliminate but to transform into more hopeful problems by understanding the inescapable interweaving of our abstractions and foundations.
Beyond all slogans and factional disputes, there are developments all over the planet, in cultures and countercultures creating alternatives more in tune with the proportional equality required for sustainability. They are indeed vital to the hope for any non-dystopian future.
But since they cannot escape the context of the world in which they exist, they must establish some kind of proportional gradient with it, some kind of smooth space through which can flow a new line of intensity—a linking of truths and factors from one system to another as to reveal some measure of the relative intensity each truth or factor has in relation to others. Without forming some plane of transposition and mutual understanding with the emerging cybernetic global-system, all alternatives and lines of escape will surely be short lived.
Alternative culture and niche movements may sow the seeds for a future to arise after some hypothetical collapse, but more often than not, they merely avoid the fundamental problems of power that arise in large scale developments, and which will return again and again until they are transformed by a superior form of power. And while many partial collapses of society may happen over the coming millenia, these will not wipe out the spiritual seeds of humanity’s susceptibility to the old or new gods of power. While certain souls or groups of soul-qualities may follow a different track than the rest of humanity, leaving this planet and its whole structure of possibilities for another planet, or another kind of existence altogether, this planet’s future is an advanced global society, and this necessitates and inevitably produces a certain level and kind of coherence, for good or ill.
Yet even if humanity achieves a superior coherence, individuals simply belonging to a certain level of collective development is not the same as achieving that development on their own(12). Even the most beneficent kinds of power are still power; they still bind us to larger forces than ourselves, forces we may have the tools to navigate, but not necessarily navigate well. A society may be further along certain developmental lines than simpler cultures, but increased complexity obviously brings increased problems. New Age myths seem to think the good is always on the way, but spiritual culture has usually shown itself to be a poor judge of power, often idolizing convergence and coherence without the awareness or willingness to recognize the darker side of “higher” consciousness, power, and its greater coherence(13). It is good to be optimistic, and the good myth-maker knows the practical benefit of belief. But the optimism of a creative coherence is not opposed to pessimism. It embraces the philosopher’s love of problems as the very “substance” of creative life.
(1) see “Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West”
(2) In much of the theory in alternative physics culture, gravity and magnetism are not different forces but different modalities of a similar fundamental “scalar” motion or pressure mediation within the topological medium.
(3)”Counterspace” was developed as an important concept within Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric geometry and has since become important to alternative physics culture, notably through the influence of Eric Dollard on fringe electrical engineering research, as well as through the influence of Anthroposophical writers on Bruce Peret (a menor of mine before he died too soon), who used Steiner’s concept to evolve the physical theory of Dewey Larson that influenced much of the physics in this text (http://reciprocal.systems/)
(4) I am thinking here of Steiner’s development of the theosophical concept of the “8th sphere” into a key point of his mythology, and a potent warning symbol of our potential future
(5)This is key to the physics of Dewey Larson’s Reciprocal System of Theory and the RA Material mythology that references it as the most advanced basic understanding we have produced (Elkins, Rueckert, McCarty 1982).
(6)In using the word heaven here, I am thinking more of the Western esoteric and Chinese traditions than mainstream Christian. The Chinese especially conceived of the heavens as “The Creative”, a doubling of the yang principle, characterized as ceaseless change. In addition to my love of Taoist philosophy, my analysis here of spiritual cosmology and this way of putting it on the same plane as physics, however, owes much to Sri Aurobindo, Jane Roberts, Carlos Castaneda, and Gilles Deleuze, as well as the RA Material and the reciprocal system community. For an early discussion with Bruce Peret on this see: http://www.creativecoherence.org/2018/03/10/conversation-on-the-concept-of-scalar-with-bruce-peret/)
(7)The thoughtful corners of our culture I am thinking of here are most explicitly the alternative physics culture, but also, I believe, the implications for physics implied in the work of academic philosopher Gilles Deleuze, especially as developed by Manual Delanda (2002)
(8)In using the word “hypermodern” I am speaking rather generally than any specific formulation, like that used by Paul Virilio, but I do think that despite the eccentric concept of speed used in this essay, that there are ways to productively connect my understanding of the importance of speed with his.
(9)see Nitzan and Bichler (2009)
(10) I owe much of these insights on the digital/analog distinction to Alexander Galloway (2014), and this lecture he gave in 2019: https://youtu.be/eq4CDLNAvXU
(11)While the analog and the philosophy of Deleuze with which it has long been associated (https://media.icamiami.org/2020/10/816eb033-massumi-on-the-superiority-of-the-analog.pdf), are often claimed as a materialism, I think this owes more to contingent social and academic fads than to any lasting significance of these terms, despite, as was discussed here, the continued relevance of these trends, especially the ideas within them, as the context of materialism changes.
(12) As Rudolf Steiner discussed in this interesting passage:”Consider how in the older civilizations, like those described yesterday, mankind in general perceived — in all the kingdoms of nature, in every star, in every moving cloud, in thunder and lightning — spirit and soul. On the background of this general consciousness the Yoga exercises evolved. As I explained yesterday, the Yogi attempted to penetrate to his own self. Through inner exercises he sought to attain what today is taken for granted because we are born with it: consciousness of the `I’, the feeling of selfhood. This the Yogi had first to develop in himself.
But, my dear friends, it would be a great mistake to compare the ordinary consciousness of self that we have today, with that of the Yogi. It makes a difference whether something is achieved through one’s own human effort or whether one simply has it. When, as was the case with the Yogi, one first had to struggle to attain consciousness of self, then, through the inner effort one was transported into the great universal laws; one participated in world processes. This is not the case when one is simply placed into the sphere of self-consciousness. To belong willy-nilly to a certain level of human evolution is not the same as attaining that level through inner exercises.”
(13)The account given in these paragraphs concerning human spiritual evolution is influenced by Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and The RA Material, all of which give much detail to the dark side and negative potential of higher consciousness. I do not claim any of these sources have value as revealed truth. They have the same potential problems and open-value as any philosophy. The RA Material, for instance, while it falls victim to the common errors of New Age literature in its optimistic prophecies and determinism, also gives one of the richest and deepest descriptions of negative forms of power in any philosophy.