Systems Theory and Postmodernism

Luhmann argues that society equals communication, not narratives, norms, shared memories, etc. Thus, according Luhmann, there has been no actual postmodern change because society still consists of communication. Postmodernism is a theory of culture; however, Luhmann displays little interest in culture. So it’s not that Luhmann refuted Lyotard, he simply wasn’t interested in the theory.

Faulkner’s Benjy as Body without Organs

When other characters interpret Benjy’s sounds–saying what he allegedly means or speaking for him–they are writing on the smooth surface, or turning it into striated space. They are making links or articulations, connecting his sounds to known language or stories, “making sense” of his sounds. The characters thus interrupt Benjy’s sounds, as when Luster tells him to “shut up that slobbering and moaning.”


What makes these QAnon people so pathetic is that they desperately need to believe that somebody is in control of this country or society, even if the ones allegedly in control are evil. They cannot bear the thought that no one is actually in charge—that there are just a bunch of blind particles crashing into each other endlessly. The old God has been replaced with an anonymous cabal of puppet masters.

Bergson and multiplicities

In his “Introduction to Metaphysics,” Bergson gives us three images to help us think about the duration and therefore qualitative multiplicities (The Creative Mind, pp. 164–65). The first is that of two spools, with a tape running between them, one spool unwinding the tape, the other winding it up. Duration resembles this image, according to Bergson, because, as we grow older, our future grows smaller and our past larger. The benefit of this image is that it presents a continuity of experiences without juxtaposition. . . .

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.”

Language is not (fundamentally) informational

” Language is not made to be believed but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience. . . . We see this in police or government announcements, which often have little plausibility or truthfulness, but say very clearly what should be observed and retained. The indifference to any kind of credibility exhibited announcements often verges on provocation. This is proof that the issue lies elsewhere.”

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