Optimizing Intelligence: Time, Technology, and the Human Condition

“It is not possible to step twice into the same river.

—Heraclitus

We always get back to this definition: the machinic phylum is materiality, natural or artificial, and both simultaneously; it is matter in movement, in flux, in variation, matter as a conveyor of singularities and traits of expression.

—Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

For Heraclitus the river fragment is not that all things are changing so that we cannot encounter them twice, but something much more subtle and profound. It is that some things stay the same only by changing. There is something in the process of change that stays with us, that moves even as we move but is stable through all the multifarious motions of time. In this sense Heraclitus believes in flux, but not as destructive of constancy; rather it is, paradoxically, a necessary condition of constancy.1 Shall we call it intelligence?

Deleuze was not a vitalist as some would have you believe, rather as he and Guattari would have it “there is no vital matter specific to the organic stratum, matter is the same on all the strata. But the organic stratum does have a specific unity of composition, a single abstract Animal, a single machine embedded in the stratum, and presents everywhere the same molecular materials, the same elements or anatomical components of organs, the same formal connections.”2 In this sense matter is a form of intelligence rather than a vital vibrancy. It moves, it connects, it thinks… but not in the human sense.

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The Disinheritance

The acceleration of scientific and technological development has become so obvious that one does not have to be an expert to notice it. This disruption to the models of activity and their ideals by the very element of constant mutation is actually masked by another process, one that is more distinctive and that certainly has more serious immediate consequences. This process involves accelerating the oscillations of the self-awakening system of positive feedback…

—Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologiae

Positive feedback is the elementary diagram for selfregenerating circuitry, cumulative interaction, auto-catalysis, self-reinforcing processes, escalation, schismogenesis, self-organization, compressive series, deuterolearning, chain-reaction, vicious circles, and cybergenics. Such processes resist historical intelligibility, since they obsolesce every possible analogue for anticipated change. The future of runaway processes derides all precedent, even when deploying it as camouflage…

—Nick Land, Fanged Noumena

If as Nietzsche proposed over a hundred years ago that modern capitalist democracies are nihilistic (i.e., based on the very notion that there are no objective standards or valuations upon which truth can be based), then its’ not doxa (opinion) that is the cause of stupidity but rather the very democratic processes that have reduced humans to a flat world of equalization. The notion that there is no ranking system, no hierarchy of value, meaning, thought: that by its very nature – a nature under modernity that has no eidos (essence), the liberal modernisms of our world have tried to universalize a singular instrumentalist reason that negates all normative and classical values in the defense of an equality that has brought about the very stupidity and ignorance that it sought to transcend.

In their bid to destroy Western classical reason and cunning intelligence our Enlightenment forbears began a process that has devolved and left us without an arbiter, a “filter” by which to think or reason (i.e., without an objective standard of values there can be no consensus). It the sciences were at one time based upon objective knowledge and consensus, this is no longer so. For knowledge even in the groundless for we discover in quantum theory is based on probability and statistical equations, invention of theoretical entities that must be tested against reality, etc. There is no static, grounded reality of values against which a mathematical equation can verify its truth or validity (One reason why the observer (subject) has become a part of the very equation). The whole movement of modern sciences and philosophy has been to destroy the logic and metaphysics of the classical world. What do you think that would do to those who have come late into the game? We are the product of two hundred years of destruction of Classical Mind, Self, and Thought.

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Babalon Rising: Amy Ireland, Artificial Intelligence, and Occulture

Conspiracy: to conspire, to breath together, to play the world upon the windpipes of time uniting the disparities of madness and order, conjuring or coniuracioun (Old Latin: “conspiracy”) out of nothing the veritable power of the abyss a machinacion (Old French: “device, contrivance, plot, intrigue”). There’s a sense that conspiracies always begin in the dark, in secrecy, in the unbidden zones of the hidden worlds below the threshold of culture, in that zero world of the occult or occulture. Science, politics, religion, and magick seem to play havoc, combine, and re-combine, bind and unbind the black codes of an energetic cosmos that few would admit exists, and even more would fear as the cold and impersonal power of the Abyss.

When an otherwise rational creature, a scientist begins delving into the dark arts, into High Magick: its rituals, invocations, conjurations – we begin to wonder whether the forces of the irrational cosmos have suddenly absorbed his mind and brought forth strange worlds. Amy Ireland in her essay on e-flux Black Circuit: Code for the Numbers to Come (here) conjures the events of Jack Parson’s short life in the realms of occulture. This term, a neologism which first emerged in print in Evil and World Order (1976) by cultural critic William Irwin Thompson, would gain a wider audience in the work of Simon Dwyer’s Rapid Eye:

“Occulture is not a secret culture as the word might suggest, but culture that is in some way hidden and ignored, or willfully marginalised to the extremities of our society. A culture of individuality and sub-cults, a culture of questions that have not been properly identified- let alone answered- and therefore, do not get fair representation in the mainstream media. It is a culture that has been misinterpreted. Not because it is ‘evil’ or wrong, but because it is generally apolitical and amoral, unashamedly artistic, experimental, undogmatic, intellectual and oddly evolutionary. It is a sub-culture that is forming a question that ‘reality’ alone cannot answer.”

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