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.”

Mechanistic metaphors–structural insecurity, etc.

Stability, instability, balance, imbalance, structure, etc., are mechanistic metaphors that don’t fit social theory very well. For instance, structural instability is a bad quality in a bridge or tall building, but it’s necessary for autopoiesis to happen. Structural instability, in a social sense as well as a linguistic sense, is generative. Structural instability is a quality of any dynamic, evolving, or “living” thing.

More on structural coupling

The health system translates the science system’s information into treatment-related information. Science knowledge for its own sake has no value for the health system. In a similar way, engineering is sensitive to (has resonance capacity for) information produced by physics, as well as chemistry and other subsystems of science, but only insofar as this information contributes to engineering as a communication system—i.e., as the information contributes to the autopoiesis of engineering communication.

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