(Alternatively titled: Knowmads, Knowledge and Madness )
“An image of thought called philosophy has been formed historically and it effectively stops people from thinking.”
(Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet Dialogues #1)
Against monotony and boredom, bring the volatile and delicate
Against the citadels of thought and monumental philosophies of Neolithic ennui, we need bring the exuberance of the indeterminate Knowmad, the Polytopian in action.
Knowmads are inherently hyperconnected, though not of necessity through physicality, but unavoidably through the mind-space of the infoverse, itself remotely and yet intimately correlated to the codes of communication. This correlation of senses and of thought mediated through the acrobatics of prime time narratives in minds, accounting for moments of impossible serendipity, of hyper synchronicity, and retro mnemonic realizations, are the fresh hallmarks of the synthetically natural.
The synthetically natural does not necessitate the old forms of consensus, not because consensus is impossible, or even in certain cases desirable, but because in the hyperconnected enmeshed virtualities, representing the new state of affairs of mind (see topos) consensus as such is simply irrelevant.
It is irrelevant in as much as within a given flow of a given infocology, different degrees of partiality to the particular theme (of the given infocology) are an acceptable, tolerated and utterly adequate manner of interaction.
Furthermore, the allowance for different degrees of partiality, the very fact of diversity of biases, is the authentic property of permissibility.
In this, permissibility should be understood as that which replaces law and decree, regulation and authoritarianism.
The synthetic natural therefore can be seen as the domain of enmeshed virtualities, which continuously redefines, re-describes and re-presents the intersubjective desire of cross pollinating beingness.
Cross-pollinating beingness in turn should be perceived as the actual activity of the domain of the synthetic natural where our accreting multiple selves flourish, the fluid affinity domain of in-between as presented in the previous post ‘openness to the traffic of flows a polytopian stance’, and ‘fluid affinities replace nucleic identities’.
In many ways we might describe the actuality of multi modal communication as an enmeshment of narratives.
This meshed hyperconnectivity of symbols of representation, manifested as bits and bytes, continuously and fundamentally re-enacting the stream of impressions, are melting the inside and outside, no longer clearly distinguished, into an amalgam of sensations and thoughts.
An amalgam of sensations and thoughts, in truth an irreducible sense-thought, that I have called elsewhere the flow of interests or fluid affinities.
In this momentary fluidity we recognize that there is no truth to forever, and no finiteness on which to base our moralities, our perspectives or our so-called worldviews.
The irreducibility of the stream of sense thought defined as the flow of interests, or fluid affinities, resulting in multiple personas, correlated initially to a given originator (see the Avatar- Originator as explained in ‘ the luxurious ambiguity of intelligence in hyperconnectivity) , but eventually taking a semi independent social entity status, is what makes this flow of in-between so advantageous.
It is advantageous in as much as it allows a new style of mindfulness to emerge, a style of minding that is critical and compassionate, skeptical and rational yet concomitantly fully cognizant of the great powers of the intrinsically humane, namely the allowance for errors and mistakes.
It is advantageous in as much as it correlates permissibility of biases, and partial consensus, to perform acts of collaboration and loosely defined associations in deed.
Ultimately the advantage is clear if we can perceive an involvement of semi-independent social entities, loosely connected to their originators, and loosely connected to each other, to construct edifices of interest not previously possible.
Do note what Mark Changizi has to say in his blog:
“Scientific communities, for example, chug inexorably forward with discoveries, but this progress occurs by virtue of there being so many independently digging scientists in a community that eventually some scientists strike gold, even if sometimes only serendipitously. Whether entrepreneurial, scientific or artistic, communities can be creative even if a vast majority of their members fail to ever achieve something innovative…”
And further down in the same article :
“With multiple personalities in hand, people can choose to take up creative endeavors they would not have been willing to enter into outside of social media because the risks of failure were too high. Multiple personalities can lower these risks.
One of the greatest underappreciated benefits of social media, then, may be that it brings a greater percentage of the world into creative enterprises they would not otherwise have considered.
This, I submit, is good.”
Mark Changizi is a professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the author of The Vision Revolution (Benbella Books)
It may be argued that all great scientific discoveries and artistic masterpieces, all innovations and philosophies in fact, were, are and will continue to be instigated by the need of independent minds to overcome a certain inherent monotony (and some will add boredom) born of the rigidity of self feudalism, in which the origins of our projections are always individual and thus relegated to our own biases.
To my mind the very activity of innovation, is never designed top down or emerging bottom up, it does not happen of itself nor is it an act of volition per se, but a mash up of flows of interests that resurface the delicate and the volatile, as a sensible multiplicity, apparent in the synthetically natural.
Though this has always been the case, the revolution of hyperconnectivity, of enmeshed virtualities, of cross-fertilizing infocologies, provides a new degree of freedom in and within the flow of evolution of human civilization, on this planet at this time.
There is a new degree of freedom around us, between us, fermenting under and above us, disturbing the old regularity, generating a new kind of volatility and indeterminacy unto the infosphere of our knowledge.
The inherent irregularity of this new game, engendering the fuzzy topology of open structures, enmeshed in virtualities, tolerates a distribution and re-distribution of the elements of individuality — in that -> Knowmads are themselves distributed agencies
Re-introducing the Knowmad, a Polytopian in action, as a pan-symbolist expression of the distributed mytho-poetic narrative of our accelerating times.
“Individuals find a real name for themselves, rather, only through the harshest exercise in depersonalization, by opening themselves up to the multiplicities everywhere within them, to the intensities running through them.”
( G.Deleuze #2)
Obviously we are in the process of internalizing a vast memory bank of new semantics and fresh forms of thoughts, new sensations that had no previous ancestry in our very own private memory; yes it is a process of fragmentation and yet belongs to a greater process of reconstruction.
The original elements of our being are being restructured to fit the new infoverse landscape of interoperability.
Interoperability of what?
Of memory or of the elements of our beingness, that is how the nature of becoming rises to the fore.
The interoperability of memory as enmeshed in hyperconnectivity allows for a new form of organic symbolism, a pan symbolism stretching all the way across cultures, across languages, across times and across spaces in the process melting semantics into the new cauldron of intersubjective realism.
As I dwell upon the many facets of becoming, it appears that only a re-contextualization of the process of existence from the virtual to the actual may provide the necessary famous (Foucault’s) toolbox.
The option I deem best at present is to use the term Knowmad as Polytopian in action, otherwise put, the self-description of intelligent conscious aware systems in becoming.
In a previous post, Knowmads as critical relevancies I have described Knowmads as:
“Knowmads are visceral thinkers, expanded multiplicities, minds nested in vast and complex infocologies.
As such Knowmads herald a new kind of mind, free to be undefined in a polytopian infosphere.
Knowmads are critically relevant in as much as they recognize the vicariousness of their extension-ability in the relevant infocology.
Complex mesh-works, embedded in complex infocologies engender flows of intersubjective co-dependencies; these in turn loop upon themselves and re-iterate the intelligent directionality.
The feedback loop here is obvious, but where is the individual?
Answer: the individual will be extended viscerally across an indefinite infosphere, defined locally by the reflective relevant infocology.”
And in another post Hybrid futures, Knowmads and the notion state:
“Knowmads are substantial agents of change, who drastically alter the infocologies they interact with. The level of freedom implied by the knowmadic state is a new existential virtuality that pushes into the real, in the process transforming and meshing the different dimensions in which our minds operate. Existing as non-localized behaviors of information processing, Knowmads are not consumers and cannot be looked upon as capital. Knowmads are the innovators of thought and vision, using an insight mechanism based on correlated data-spheres of complex infocologies.
Knowmads do not care for labels of old style paradigms, such as gender ,creed, race or indeed status, what Knowmads care about are the pleasures derived in forming new connections, mash-ups and provisional options, innovative solutions for the next step in human evolution.
Our complex neuro-mesh firing in tandem, has produced this amazing property we call conscious awareness, with the advent of 21st century tech, augmented reality apps, visually stunning info-graphics, virtualities at our finger tips, p2p technologies availability and the like we are becoming Knowmads. The value of the Knowmad state is thus in providing a fresh framework and a new narrative to fill our old storytelling needs in our ever-increasing process of self-description.”
As the Knowmad meme increases in propagation and intensity we may now posit a more extensive version of the Knowmad in the process of becoming:
#Knowmads operate on a continuum of apparently trivialized bits and pieces of inconsistent and incoherent signals, seemingly nonsensical information, retrieving disparate slices of fragmented processes and re-arranging these into new coherencies, fresh narratives of interest.
# Knowmads represent a new style of minding that instinctively reflect the thought of non-unitary, non-universalism, and are factually embedding the concept, that there is no One solution, One network, or any ‘One’ for that matter.
#Knowmads style of minding continuously adjusts and fine-tunes the velocity of acquired resourcefulness.
# Knowmads are agents of attenuation; that which is being smoothened is the defining rigidity of characteristics, applied to loci (as body, as nation, as community, as belonging) from which stems the fluidity of self-description.
#Knowmads simultaneously re-conceive and redesign the connective nature of resource distribution, within infocologies, by that allowing the free flow of ideas to re-narrate themselves into innovative structures, themselves fluid and open to the pressures of the infocology dynamics.
#Knowmads are immune to boredom; alternatively, Knowmads are continuously bored and thus motivated by interest are finders of the rare, the creative, the non-actualized, the volatile and the delicate.
Knowmads are explorers of the uncertain, the indeterminate, the ambiguous, the oscillating and by consequence the disruptive.
#For Knowmads opacity of objectivity transforms into transparent meaning application, a motion of transliteration and translation of different languages occurring naturally in our Eco-environment and being harnessed to serve the epic of intelligent exploration.
# Knowmads follow neither the popular nor the personalized, but the dynamics of the interesting and relevant.
#Knowmads contain an anticipation of the fragment, spiraling in and out of their non formal and decomposed flow, insight-fully restocking their perceptual elaboration with fresh winds of entangled sensation, removing the fallacy of necessary correspondence.
Removing the fascination of antiquity, Knowmads are rhizomatic actuators
#Knowmads deny the glorification of the mystical, undoing the inherent and incessant self-glory of the romantic, and the greatness of self-perspectivism. This particular characteristic of the Knowmad state defines the knowmad as an anti-silo device.
A kind of recapitulation
I have titled this short piece ‘Some will be gangsters of poetry, some will be pan-symbolists ’, because I see the future we are steadily moving into as an event of interest, that spans an immense yet indefinite number of domains. An event of interest of this magnitude is of necessity, complex and to some extant mysterious. The toolbox of thoughts, the recognizable patterns of sensations, we have at our disposal at present are increasingly out of date and out of synch, and most importantly out of correlativity, which brings most of us into despair of ever catching up to the flow of actuality.
However, I believe that by allowing a contemporary narrative of the landscape of values in which we co-dependently and intersubjectively exist to refresh our self-descriptions, we might find clarity.
This clarity, I posit, permits the evolutionary adaptive trait of exploration into the undefined and the unstructured to become a strategic device, a simile of a roadmap. But to allow an uncertain road on an uncertain map, that is being reformulated at the speed of a click, to be somehow manageable, we must reintroduce the function of the mytho-poetic, the narrative of becoming caught in the act of self description. Such an engagement with a meta-narrative, and it is termed Meta because it redefines the very elements of narration, is inevitably irreverent to the themes of the original poem (or the originator of the avatar), hence the ironic metaphorical usage of the term gangster.
The Polytopia project aims at providing a possible interaction surface in which we may gain all of the advantages of the multiple indeterminate, without relinquishing the rational of the synthetically natural. In a manner of speaking, we are exploring a potential descriptive apparatus, which is both precise and yet by it’s very precision performs an act, as part of a reconstituted narrative, of liberation.
Increasingly we walk bridges of sense and of thought that appear to be more fragile and more sensitive to variations by the moment, this fragility I think is good for us, for it unleashes kinds of strengths and powers of emotional stability that otherwise will remain dormant.
There is a deep sense to the madness of our immediacy, and though this sense may yet elude us in its entirety, if only for the fact that it needs unfurl into becoming, we ought jump head first into this transitory knowledge, with passion and clear eyed rationality, for otherwise, we will become obsolete.
As I see it, the road to posthumanism is complex and open, full of promises and perils, it is not yet a grand thoroughfare but neither is it a side street, it is in fact somewhere in between.
In this transitory period, I consider the emphasis on the exploratory nature of the Knowmad as a Polytopian in action, a viable option of self-description, of us, the modern consciously aware intelligent hyperconnected entity, in the process of reinventing the very components of our nature.
This just made laugh now:
“You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”
(attributed to A.Einstein)
#1. Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet. Dialogues, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), p. 13.)
#2. G.Deleuze, “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” p. 6.
Thank you for reading.
I originally wrote this essay a decade ago and published it at Space Collective , in the Polytopia project. At the end of this decade I find its relevancy is as critical to my thought as it was back then, a futuristic approach, hence the sharing.