The Burden of Freedom

“The astonishing thing is not that some people steal or that others occasionally go out on strike, but rather that all those who are starving do not steal as a regular practice, and all those who are exploited are not continually out on strike: after centuries of exploitation, why do people still tolerate being humiliated and enslaved, to such a point, indeed, that they actually want humiliation and slavery not only for others but for themselves?”

The Tug of War between Functional Differentiation and De-Differentiation

Whenever people try to undercut the independence of or science or journalism, for example, we see the countermovement of functional de-differentiation. The battle between creationism (or the more respectable “intelligent design”) and the theory of evolution has been an attack on the functional differentiation of science; it’s effort to subordinate science to religion. A closely related movement has been the movement away from public schooling in the form of fundamentalist schools and religion-based homeschooling, which seeks to subordinate education to religion.

Desiring-Machines

Desiring-machines are binary machines, obeying a binary law or set of rules governing associations: one machine is always coupled with another. The productive synthesis, the production of production, is inherently connective in nature: “and . . .” “and then . . .” This is because there is always a flow-producing machine, and another machine connected to it that interrupts or draws off part of this flow (the breast-the mouth).

Michel Serres and Protest Movements

“In a living system, a message passed from A to B consists of a mixture of signal and noise. From the perspective of A, the noise is extraneous, a threat to the successful reception of the signal. But from the perspective of B, this mixture of signal and noise need not necessarily be grasped in the same way. Noise ‘cuts’ the signal in such a way that what is received is very different from what was sent. To put this in a different context, when we listen to what another says, we also take in the hesitations, the changes in emphasis, the slips of the tongue in what they say. For the speaker these are all just ‘noise’ to be overcome. But for us, as listener, these may significantly alter our understanding of what is being said. Noise and signal are differentially distributed depending on the position one occupies in a communicative set up.”

The stories we think with

“Historians and archaeologists sift through whatever they can confirm as facts and tend to seek some sort of meaningful pattern in them–chronologies and more complex matters. This is essentially the opposite of the traditional Indian way. Indians’ history is a story as well, but story comes first–that is, the meaning of a story is originating core. The facts follow the meaning.”

No science of science

Spencer was wrong. There can never be a science of science because there be can be no single, unifying observation–or an observation without a blind spot. All observations are partial, and they all reduce the complexity of whatever they are supposed to be observing. All we can ever have is a plurality of partial knowledges, and these ways of seeing can not be harmonized.

1 2 3 6