I call a “strategy” the calculus of force-relationships which becomes possible when a subject of will and power (a proprietor, an enterprise, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated from an “environment.” A strategy assumes a place that can be circumscribed as proper (propre) and thus serve as the basis for generating relations with an exterior distinct from it (competitors, adversaries, “clienteles,” “targets,” or “objects” of research). I call a “tactic,” on the other hand, a calculus which cannot count on a “proper” (a spatial or institutional localization), nor thus on a borderline distinguishing the other as a visible totality. The place of the tactic belongs to the “other.”
The functionalist organization [of modern urban life], by privileging progress (i.e., time), causes the condition of its own possibility–space itself–to be forgotten; space thus becomes the blind spot in a scientific and political technology.
The nation, or the nation-state, has been the privileged unit of modernity, but has never ruled out entirely other units of mapping cultures – from the “tribal” units of anthropology to the civilizational units of high cultures. These mappings establish boundaries that are thought to express something about what they contain – more often than not a political unit that derives its identity from particular social and cultural practices, the one not clearly distinguished from the other.
Luhmann maintains that all communication is paradoxical because a communication system is self-generated; it’s a causa sui. As far as the system is concerned, it has no beginning and no end; it has always existed and will always exist. It cannot conceive of its own ending because each operation presupposes a subsequent operation. Nor can it conceive of its own beginning because every operation presupposes a previous operation. This is what self-referential means.
Regarding timelines, we can distinguish between linear narrative and rhizomatic narrative. In the latter, we can never trace an effect back to a single, discrete cause. Laboratories were invented to try to isolate particular causal relationships, but in real life we can never account for all the variables.
In late medieval and early modern Europe, a central dimension of timekeeping was its ‘publicness’: clock time was essentially, and explicitly, a public concept. Clock