Lost in the Maze: Futurity and the Inhuman Economy

We’ve all become mere data points in the consumption cycle, our dividual lives of labor running the course of commodity production and exchange as informational agents and products in a knowledge economy. Sipping at the brothel of capital, neither prostitute nor pimp, we’ve become substitutions and commutations of a hidden financial world: blips in a blockchain, ciphers in a maze of code, transactional accomplices of a criminal enterprise – all absorbed into the endless labyrinths of a world system without beginning or end.

“Neither Saussure nor Marx had any presentiment of all this: they were still in the golden age of the dialectic of the sign and the real, which is at the same time the ‘classical’ period of capital and value. Their dialectic is in shreds, and the real has died of the shock of value acquiring this fantastic autonomy. Determinacy is dead, indeterminacy holds sway. There has been an extermination (in the literal sense of the word) of the real of production and the real of signification.”1

Having severed our relations with the referent there is no inside/outside, the irony has itself vanished and been absorbed into the indifferent and impersonal world of code. “Algorithms are no longer seen as tools to accomplish a task: in digital architecture, they are the constructive material or abstract “stuff ” that enables the automated design of buildings, infrastructures, and objects. Algorithms are thus actualities, defined by an automated prehension of data in the computational processing of probabilities. (13)”2 Prehension in Whitehead’s sense is the experiencing of past events, these being necessary conditions of the experience.3 Yet, there is the possibility of prehending futurity as well. Futurity is, as Aristotle said, potentiality, or as Epicurus put it, a mixture of chance and necessity. The necessity is that the experience must somehow become datum for some further experiencing; the chance, or lack of necessity, is the freedom or indeterminacy as to just how or in just what further experiences this status as datum may be brought about.

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