The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

February 23, 2004

(codework and conflation)

I want to briefly mention another related approach, which I've touched on
- something I developed in the 70s - the notion of interlocking
'hierarchies' which are actually tangled - an 'immersive' and a

The 'definable' follows the laws of everyday life, including aristotelian
logic and its classical laws of distribution. This logic is the logic of
everyday life, the logic of concrete physical objects in the world -
books, cups, etc. Objects are discrete, more or less retain their form,
can be moved from location to location and back again. We depend on this
logic for our everyday activities - if we take a subway somewhere, we
depend on being able to take it back again.

In this logic, if A -> B, we might assume that B -> A. Move a book to a
shelf, remove it, put it back. The hierarchy emerges as follows.
(book to shelf) -> (book from shelf)
((book to shelf) -> (book from shelf)) -> ((book from shelf) ->
   (book to shelf))
and so forth. One starts constructing graphs with equivalent and
reversible states.

Now in the analysis above, I've typed the grouping from "In this logic"
... to "reversible states." This is the experiential level - and I'm
working on a secondary experiential level here. The _subject_ of the
experiential level is the book/shelf transform - say T(b/s). This is the
level of phenomenology which is temporally-bound.

Of course T(b/s) is temporally bound, but reversible. It's aligned and
allied to a non-temporal mathematics or mathematical logic. Once the world
enters into the equation, once time becomes an _intrinsic_ part of things,
the world is different, susceptible to organism among other things.

So say that T(b/s) is a reversible formalism, but that the world of
organism and experience encompasses and inheres to time. This analysis is
necessarily fuzzy (is the book really on the shelf? what if the shelf
falls? what does the book do if it's "half on/half off" etc.?) In fact,
Bohm's implicate order appears everywhere in the real world.

So for example given T(2,2) -> 4, on a formal level then T'(T(2,2) -> 4)
-> (4 -> T(2,2)) and so forth, but the _act of inscription_ inheres to
time, is subject to phenomenological analysis, and, in relation to
organism, implicates desire, apparatus, culture, community, economics, and
so forth. It is here that the 'dirtiness' of codework appears - the
relationship of consciousness to formal systems within a somewhat muddied
hierarchy involving mathematics, logics, the formalism of the classical
lifeworld, and so forth. Codework _as a whole_ presents its object and the
inscription of its object, both taken in the broadest sense; it can
present, for example, a range from the _political economy of the sign_ to
the presumption of abstracted, classical, pure, and 'perfect' symbologies,
sememes, and sign systems.

Codework takes into account that the bookshelf is old, dusty, perhaps
slippery - that the book might well be lost or forgotten there, might
decay there, etc.

Once this rough scheme is in place, it's easy to see that the
reversibility of definable models is counteracted by the implicit
irreversibility of the experiential. Within the experiential, 2 + 2 d
equals 4, but this is a _process_ (both Whitehead's analysis and
intuitionism come to mind here). One might argue that the process involves
issues of genidentity (see Reichenbach) and equivalence - but this gets us
fairly far afield.

In this regard codeworks take into account the act and process of reading
- another conflation, between the presumptive ideality of code and the
responsive organism.

It should be noted in this regard that somewhere, I believe, Heinz von
Foerster characterizes organism in terms of negation - an organism is
something that can _swerve_ or _avoid_ something in the environment - for
example, protists swimming away from a localized patch of polluted water.
An organism can actively _negate_ and discriminate among stimuli. Of
course, even a simple robot can do this, not to mention x- phobic or
-philic molecules.

The interesting thing about von Foerster's characterization is that
codework _in a sense_ underlies organism itself, since negation is an
uneasy logical operator that has been temporalized in the construction of
a world.

In other words, codework is a conflation of temporal processes and spatial
production; of material existence and theoretical idealities; all within
the aegis of consciousness. The political economy of codework is the
struggle for communication itself; its phenomenology is the relation of
consciousness to system and structure; and its form is wide-ranging among
genre and media. Perhaps its main characterization is the messiness of
cross-epistemological and cross-ontological praxis, both of which underlie
mind - human and otherwise - in the world.


Schematic weather reports of worlds    (codework and conflation)

subject <--> experiential

object <--> definable

Rewrite: continuous scan/presentification of subject <--> object in
cyberspace equivalent to presence of subject in cyberspace

(subject/object/Rewrite) reverie cloud of knowing and unknowing

subject = subject = subject   subject reverie cloudy-skies


Generated by Mnemosyne 0.12.