Subject

September 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

Before the background of our general question about the “limits of machines,” we explore the subject of subject. At first sight the concept of being subject seems to constitute the ultimate border of machines. Yet, how would we talk about the subject regarding to humans? We argue with Wittgenstein and Deleuze how conceptions about the subject may fail. Deleuze also provides us with the basis to reconstruct the subject, essentially by dissolving into a sheave of individuations, thereby introducing a composite made from virtual and practical aspects. The former we denote as Subject, the latter as person-subject. We apply the derived concept to an investigation of some explorations of the relation between technology and humans, including Black Mirror, Ex Machina, and Personetics. We find that machines – better labeled as Nano-electrical Beings, NEBs – may turn into non-machines in the moment that they can express their desire about the sheaving of their individuations. Furthermore, only NEBic machines can shape their own learning and may be called “intelligent”. Finally we briefly introduce a notion of “Object” that closely mirrors that of the Subject, allowing not only to break down the binary conception of the field between Subject and Object relation, but also to comment about the “Animal” as a concept, or language game. From here it becomes clear that the recent characterizations of Deleuze’s philosophy as “non-relational” can not be sustained.
Yet perhaps the biggest impact of the crossover of the proposed concept of the Subject as an individuation of sheaves in the virtual may be that it breaks down the categorical boundaries between the concepts of human, animal, machines and objects. Those boundaries are being dissolved into the differences of and differentials in intensities.

Chapters

Not found, not findable.

Black Mirror

Bouquets, Sheaves

Machines

Ex Machina

Personetics

Machines (Social), Machinics (Sociable)

Machines beyond their Limits

Smooth Polarities

Object. Not Object.

Animals

Incandescence

Just while awakening1, the Me usually feels quite cozy. As cozy as a logical

statement, one like a=a. A warm, trustful beginning, itself without the necessity or limits of time. Protected by an impenetrable discontinuation, a border towards the past. From here, from this fountain, the fish may swim only in one direction.

The rest is the working of memory up to the precipitative area of the “I know”. Followed by daily empirics that collaborate with validated habits, mediating a soft envelop of shared truths.
That “me”, this subject, seems to be something that can be experienced, that is empirically accessible. Everybody knows how to say “It’s me”, “I did that”, “I will go”, or “I am going to do that to this”, and everyone seems to be able to easily decipher such utterances. The person, who can declare that she knows that it is her saying “it depends,” or “I depend,” involves consciousness, is said to be a “subject,” according to an abundant practice of assigning. That entity is also a normative entity, actively and passively. That particular entity. Neither its close vicinity, nor its description, simulacrum, or decree. There is no representative for it. The subject and correspondingly consciousness is (believed to be) experienced and ascribed as a unity. A “little bit” of consciousness or a subject is not possible, hence the terms seem to denote qualities, symbolic matter; one thus may sense kind of a border that separates that private realm from all the rest.

1. Not found, not findable.

Yet, we just met a misunderstanding. The “subject”2 as far as it relates to self-experience or consciousness is nothing we could point to, as we for instance can point to an object, whether material or symbolic. As Wittgenstein pointed out already in his early writings3, we cannot speak about it as an “entity.”
In TLP 5.631 Wittgenstein explains:

If I wrote a book “The world as I found it”, I should also have therein to report on my body and say which parts of it obey my will and which do not, etc. This then would be a method of isolating the subject or rather of showing that in an important sense there is no subject: that is to say, of it alone in this book mention could not be made.4

That conclusion is preceded by these statements, presented in reverse order:

5.632: The subject does not belong to the world but it is a limit of the world.
5.631: The thinking, presenting subject; there is no such thing.
5.61: Logic fills the world: the limits of the world are also its limits. We cannot therefore say in logic: This and this there is in the world, that there is not.
5.6: The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.5

Putting the obvious empiristic perspective aside for the moment – we will return to this issue later –, it still remains as a proof that there is no such thing in this world that could be called “subject” and which at the same time would be a thinking entity. It is not an entity, because there is no possible sentence about it, as an empirical entity. We can not spell out an identity relation for the “subject” as a thinking something. That conclusion is independent of howsoever we would conceive of thinking.

“Subject” is not a psychological entity6; it could not be used as an ascription of certain properties to a person, as far as those refer to her thinking, and so her living. This does not deny the feasibility of the language game “thinking”. All that Wittgenstein says is that “subject” cannot be considered as an empirical entity. Or, in other words, it is not the Subject that is thinking. Of course, the language game “subject” is there and it is used. Considering the later Wittgenstein, we may ask, what is it that is crossing our minds when we ask “Who am I?”, or, “Who are you?” Where do those questions come from and where do they point to, what are they for?

The passage above from the Tractatus provides another interesting clue. For Wittgenstein, both language and the subject constitute limits of the world. Those limits are certainly not the same, as the subject and language are not the same. Furthermore, it is not possible to say anything about those limits, since we cannot see both sides of that border, as Wittgenstein says. We neither can take a stance outside of language or outside us as a subject in order to see “the other” side of the border. This raises topological questions about the limits and that which they circumscribe, as well as practical ones. Is it possible to avoid any move without banging the head against one of those limits? Safe moves would be possible only if we could be sure about a safe ground. Yet, I guess that one is not available.
Wittgenstein’s borders might constitute a wall for obtaining a bloody nose7, yet we may expect a pretty extended and unexplorable marsh in front of it. Long before getting a bloody nose by running against the wall, one would likely be swallowed by the swampy marsh. You may get drowned suddenly and quickly, if you forget where you are and take just one false move… There is certainly no clear border between safe (language) ground and the more difficult areas. The topological structure that delineates safe areas of language is not simple or even.
Despite taking Wittgenstein’s rejection of the subject as a possible empirical thing, one nevertheless cannot drop the concept of the subject altogether, once and for all. We see that he just rejects the idea of a “thinking subject,” and a subject that could be conceived as an entity, hence accessible to empirical approaches. Wittgenstein shuns saying anything about transcendental conditions of the subject, from which he perhaps would have been excluding language itself. So, quite some other possibilities for conceiving of the subject are left, and we may, or have to explore them.

At least, just as a first step, we can evade positivistic annotations and objectivations by applying another Wittgensteinian scheme, the language game that we already mentioned before. We all know the language game of the “subject”. Hence we can ask : which kind of game is it? What are we referring to when we consider the “subjective”? What could be relevant uses of it?
We need not assume here that the popular language game about the “subject” is feasible or useful, or ever was. Even if everybody would have practiced it in a wrong way, even ever since, it would not matter much for our investigation. The possibility for those questions is justification enough for us to proceed.
Gilles Deleuze’s universe provides us with both, an alternative way to develop the subject as a concept and an important methodological framing. Actually, both aspects could not be separated from each other; they simply label different perspectives to an un-folding. In the remainder of this text we will refer to that by capitalization, as a Subject. First, by applying Deleuzian weaving, we can propose that the idea of a “subject as an entity”, implying or implied by factual borders, or more general by any kind of distinctness, would be a fully territorialized entity.8 The “subject as an entity” is a territorialized item, because concept of the entity implies borders, which in turn imply a “territory”.
Territorializing approaches are rather limited for two reasons. On the one hand they imply necessarily a conceptual identity. In turn, an external party would be needed to set or define that identity, since the concept of identity does effectively exclude self-creation or genealogical setups. Would it be like that, the subject would be an impossible thing, as it would contradict initial assumptions about it. Not only does the necessity to define identity withdraw the private character from the subject, it also does not allow any dynamics of it, rendering the subject into an “idealistic stone”, “thrown into existence” by a “superior being”. It would be an object, or not even an object, as identities cannot have any relationships other than those implied e.g. by a god. For those reasons territorialization not only carries a methodological relevance, it also bears an ethical and moral dimension.
Taken together, we now can be clear about several basic things. First, the subject cannot be conceived as a singular discoverable thing or empirically accessible fact. Not even as a single non-fact, or as an objectifiable singularity. Second, any approach to the subject “Subject” needs to completely avoid conceptual territorialization.9 Combining this strongly indicates that we have to follow an approach that takes an appropriately abstract stance. Third, we still need to be able to anchor the “Subject” in some symbolic practice.
Before we go into details the details of (re-)construction, I would like to traverse an impressive example for an implicit investigation of the subject matter from the field of popular media culture. I’d like to invite you to take a look on a recent produce of Charlie Brooker, an English writer, which he titled “Black Mirror”. “Black Mirror” is a series of short stories actualized as movies and their common subject is the role of technology in the relations between humans.

Black Mirror

Already since 2011, and still ongoing, “Black Mirror” has been broadcasted as an anthology, a series of short stories in movie format. The stories and the movie series are of high quality, well-crafted mind food, providing lots of twists, suspense and high-class acting.
Before we discuss it, we would like to cite some voices about it.

Charlie Brooker himself: “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set.” (source : The Guardian, last acc. 12.3.2018)

Daily News : “Most of the episodes produce a queasy dread about how a future depended upon tech goes awry. Even the more rosy stories will have their disquieting elements.” (source : Daily News, last acc. 12.3.2018)

Los Angeles Times: “Charlie Brooker’s bleak and often biting anthology series about the many ways technology could further ruin our lives”. The author also detects “the show’s often nihilistic world view”. (source : Los Angeles Times, last acc. 12.3.2018)

Rotten Tomatoes: “Black Mirror is an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each stand-alone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen, a monitor, a Smartphone – a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us.” (source : rottentomatoes, last acc. 12.3.2018)

Brooker’s stories, so the public perception, and even according to his own, are just about technology and the factual and potential changes it may elicit. Brooker certainly does not share the belief that technological progress is the only or at least the dominant source of human happiness, a view that he could have been sharing with Stanislaw Lem (article).

Yet, such a description does not allow getting aware of another a far more interesting core of this anthology. The common topic of this series is not just “side-effects” of technology. What Brooker declinates, probably even without intention, is the pronounced disintegration of the subject and the role technology plays therein. The grammatology set up and used by Brooker is targeting the genealogical changes regarding the experience of subjectivity. (One could feel inclined to say: as far as mediated by technology. Yet, as there is no aspect in the setup of being human that would not be affected by any kind of technology, saying so would be empty.)

While the disintegration of the subject may take place in a vast variety of different ways, that variety is only a superficial one. The discourse enabled by Brooker’s establishes a grammatology about subjectivity.

Foucault postulates that genealogical research will result in the disintegration of the epistemic subject, as the continuity of the subject is broken up by the gaps and accidents that historical research uncovers. (Stanford Postmodernism)10

Ironically, Brooker, in some way, contributes unintentionally to that genealogical project. The format of a series about the same topic reminds to Nietzsche’s concept of the eternal return of the dissimilar, as well as it is a citation of the scientific practice of the ceteris paribus. Those two elements add a further twist to the black mirrors.
One may call any means of disintegrating a subject just an act of cruelty. Which points to a further nuance of “Black Mirror”: violence. At the end of practically all episodes one can feel a certain type of horror due to that kind of inescapable cruelty 11. In contrast to classical horror movies, here the horror is neither created from sub- or supernatural phenomena, nor by exaggerated criminal activities. It is always an envisioned yet already possible future.
In some episodes violence gets explicitly addressed and reflected upon; in “Black Museum” it gets itself exhibited by a book-keeper, a chartist, who is working about the Subject’s disintegration like an entomologist. In earlier centuries that disintegration was largely physical, by chopping head and limbs; in “Black Mirror” it is informational. Whether violence is directly or indirectly implied, or applied, by those new technologies does not matter much. The inevitability of its normative implications is more significant, whether the normative agency may or may not imply legal precipitations. Driving it further, one may even rise that subject is mutually co-consistent with violence, an aspect to which we will return in a very pronounced way.
Importantly, Brooker manages to condense our awareness about the “Subject” by showing just its disintegration. He never shows the normal state, whatever that could be. The Subject is mirrored by tracing the debris created while taking it apart or smashing the subject, much like as in an experiment of particle physics.

Figure 1. A Bubble Chamber, which was used in physics in early experiments about elementary particles.

bubblechamber

In some way, Black Mirror can be regarded right away as one of the first specimens of a new class of – admittedly subtle – horror movies. That just gets underlined by a statement of Steven King, who as well declared to be very fond of the series. While classical horror movies are about the destruction of the body, about unbearable pain that leaves no room for any thought and hence any subjectivity at all, or about crossing or touching the border between life and death, “Black Mirror” shows the disintegration of the informational and so also of the normative subject. So to speak, it separates body-horror from mind-horror, or at least explores that separation.

Yet, we should not get fixed by that all. Only by referring still to a subject, to an “I”, of a certain kind Brooker is allowed to stage the horrifying disintegration play. Brooker is not just “loosening” the inner ties of a compound subject, which would certainly not involve any kind of horror for the protagonists. The horror appears as composed precisely by the irreversibility of a far-reaching disintegration of the imagined subject as an entity. That imagination is a direct consequence of the moral practices, i.e. societal confinements on processes of individuation, leading directly to an identitarian concept of the “I”. A whole range of specific “denaturalizations” and pathologies derives from such a setup that relies on the projection of a purely imagined identity.

Well, the perspective that is underlying Brooker’s stories is disputable, at least. First, since the imagined subjects are identitarian, they merge the Subject with the person-subject. They couldn’t contain self-healing, creative, self-reshaping powers. Like a diamond, once it is destroyed, you cannot regain it in principle. This mounts to an extreme exposure, which is, through the same mistaken perspective hold by the auditory, experienced as deeply horrifying, particularly if you pair the exposure with the naivity that can arise from social dynamics.

Brooker’s stories project the disintegration to a simple canvas of the identitarian subject. This makes the theme of the disintegration leaning towards a territorial shape. We will return to this issue in a moment and will certainly have to be aware about this when we now will try to approach the Subject.

Bouquets, Sheaves

So, after this intermezzo let us return to our constructive work. Previously we fixed two cornerstones marking the line for our take-off:

    • Any approach to the subject “Subject” needs to completely avoid conceptual territorialization.
    • The subject cannot be conceived as a singular discoverable thing, as an empirically accessible fact, or as an objectifiable singularity.

If the Subject loses all the references to identity, it will lose them for any moment. Any sentence about a pretended identity of the Subject is without any sense, since that would also claim that the Subject is constant, or a transcendent condition. While the former claim certainly is without meaning, the latter seems to deserve some attention. Yet, if the Subject would be taken as a transcendent condition, we would have to stop here. It would not be feasible or even possible to relate it to a constructive force. As Deleuze says, only the difference gives rise to production or genesis (see below). Without constructive capabilities we would meet the identity again, so-to-speak just through the roof window. We simply would enter the highway diving directly into a strong and maybe even hyper-platonic idealism.
The Subject cannot be taken as the home of identity, not even as identical with itself. As the unity of consciousness vanishes, the Subject cannot be conceived any more as an understanding, epistemic entity. Thus we drop the route towards the identitarian Subject.
If we do so, do we need to overturn the concept of Subject and subjectivity? I think we need not get rid of it. We should not, actually.
If, as mentioned above, the Subject has lost all the references to identity, we may try to say that the Subject in any of “its moments” has to be conceived as individuating12. That individuation is influenced or established by genealogic, historic fields, by transcendental conditions and immanent openings.

Deleuze: “difference is the only principle of genesis or production”

In this context it is more than just interesting that Ada Lovelace, as early as in the 19th century, denies the idea that machines could originate anything.13 Just be aware here that “machine” is nothing but a language game. Yet, we can use this relation, machines / origination = empty, to get clear about that language game, what we refer to if we say “machine.” We will return to his issue in some more details later.
In any of “its moments” the Subject would establish and be as a difference to itself. Yet, invoking the differential Subject abolishes the possibility to relate it to the concept of “self,” an “itself” is not a possibility for the Subject.

More precisely, a Subject not only individuates. By means of that individuation it would be producing itself; not as an entity, but as a field of differentials. That producing establishes different strings of individuations14. As with the “itself” those strings cannot have the property “continuousness,” because the implied history would be uninterrupted. The strings build up in contiguous parts, not as threads.
As a corollary we also can see that a single-stranded individuation cannot give rise to even a simple production, let it be a productive field (of differentials). In order to generate a whole field of differentials, and such a field of differentials is a transcendental field, we need quite some individuations, all very different from each other. Again, Deleuze confirms that such a field “cannot retain the form of consciousness.” we can extend this for the whole set of individuations.
The field of differentials can individuate and produce as a multiplicity of strings only in a series of apparent “paradoxes” and dualisms (Deleuze: Logic of Sense). It is here that we situate the role of intensities15. The intensities in which the body (still without organs in this respect), the person-subject and the Subject are immersed.
Those intensities are not from space and time, which would raise the subjective as an effect. In our perspective, those intensities are still empirical, yet abstract and internal. This does not mean that there is no correlate in the brain matter. Yet, it certainly would be difficult to spot.
Any productive field of differentials individuates as an informational, non-physical dissipative process not into, yet as a sheaf which then may give rise to what we can call “Subject”.16 The “Subject” is thus a heteroclitic17 assemblage of change. It sheaves the dt of individuations that are rooted in abstract dissipative soups.

In some way, following the mathematical metaphor, the dynamics of the Subject also appears as a Differentiable Manifold. Certainly, the Empirical18 provides mandatory elements for the Subject through its intensities, as Deleuze states; yet it is just a part of the setup.

It should not be expected that the individuating strings and strings of individuation kind of “naturally” stay together. Any multiplicity has a tendency to fall apart, to separate; let it be just due to chance. Its strings may even dissociate so much that they stop producing themselves. The person-subject, meaning the Subject’s actual social precipitation, has to spend some efforts to keep the Subjects individuation together and running. It is desire that links the Subject to the person’s capabilities to do so.

Instead of conceiving the Subject as an entity, we thus may say more appropriately that it could be viewed as devotion and the effort to keep the strings of individuations together. Such the Subject would be a differential field that gets established by sheaving the undulating strings of individuation into a something that we can call person-subject.19

Img 3: Not an Inner World.
(original: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Corn Harvest. 1565)

The devotion itself would be sourced in the body, or more precisely, in the bodily field that is capable of spawning those ominous integrating processes for which we need concepts like information to describe them.

The person-subject is not a psychological subject as well. The traces of the individuations establish a continuous multi-threaded story, woven to other such “stories.” Since this depositing and weaving contribute and mediate public space, the person-subject is a legal-normative instance.

Before this background the field called psychology can arise only by a double fault, and we get close to Nietzsche here.20 First, the normative milieu of the person with all implied relations gets projected on the abstract differential field of the Subject. There is simply no possibility for an “objective” position here. Second, this projection passes through an almost mystical space that is home to a deeply positivistic treatment of that body with a mind. For these reasons general psychology never managed to mold into an “enlightened” science. Of course, it is always well possible to tell influential stories, but there is no objectivity.

We already mentioned that without dedicated effort, without a proper configuration of the differential field, without desire, those bouquets or sheaves just disintegrate by inevitable random movements, dissolving the Subject and the person-subject on the way.

In this way, the Subject is individual without ever being self-identical.

Let us see, how Deleuze’s framing of the subject works.

For Deleuze, subjects arise and multiply as “effects” of the intensive qualities saturating space and time. He postulates multiple faculties for subjectivity. “Each faculty, including thought, has only involuntary adventures,” he says, and “involuntary operation remains embedded in the empirical”. (Deleuze [6])

Here, Deleuze’s concept of the Subject gives rise to a strange passivity of the mind and to a questionable totality of involuntarism as well. Additionally, the planes of the differential, transcendental and that of the empirical appear strangely mixed.
Well, that involuntarism in Deleuzean thought gave rise to much discussion, even regarding the consequences in the realm of the political. On the one hand, we are exposed to the empirical, of course, and are so in a passive mode. On the other hand, however, it is equally obvious that in any matter of design of whatsoever there are voluntary aspects, regardless how those or the design would be actualized. For me it seems to be one of the cornerstones of the idea of the human that there is the possibility of a transition from involuntary impressions to our life to the voluntary aspects of our actions. If we meditate along the line suggested by Tibetan Buddhists, we can see that we can learn to do so. At any point in such advanced meditation practices even the mind can be directed to visit imaginational “places” or observing thoughts themselves, approaching the emptiness of the mind in this way, as Buddhists say.21

When Deleuze claims, as already cited above, that, quote, “Each faculty, including thought, has only involuntary adventures.” then he does not seem to be aware about the creational aspects in individuations. Astonishingly, Deleuze described himself the abstract structure of emergent processes as “onto\logical Genesis”.22 For the human mind at least we can say that this mind can, within some borders, select and set the conditions for those individuations, even if the purely hypothetical “microscopic” events of those are out of reach for it. What we in contrast can find indeed is a smooth, yet non-linear gradient stretching from “involuntary adventures” to “arranged emergence”.

How can we avoid that the concept of the Subject – and of the mind – gets spilled with pessimism or passivity?

Our Subject defies passivity and pessimism because on the one hand it takes is energy from desires and devotion, and on the other hand it is self-producing, based on dissipation in the virtual, a bouquet of contiguous, yet non-continuous strings of individuation. We do not need faculties for its instantiation, in contrast to what Deleuze was suggesting (Deleuze [6], 145). It is neither independent from nor dependent on its actual genealogic environment, as it is neither without nor with borders. The concept of a border simply does not make sense with respect to our Subject.

Consequently, our Subject is a-territorial, despite we still may call it individual. Yet this individuality is not a something that can be measured. e.g. in contrast to something other. It does not refer to any kind of unity. The Subject is individual-singular, a mono-pole, and in this a monstrosity for any empirical thought. We even can turn our view from this point by 90 degrees. It then appears that the Subject is a never ceasing difference to any empirical thought; notably a difference that produces cultural personalities through the confrontation with the empirical. Consequently, it cannot be said about the Subject that it thinks.

It is interesting, and kind of beautiful, that our Subject, and neither consciousness, does not need a specification of its content. It is given as a potential. Make the bouquet of individuations richer, create sheaves, and a Subject emerges. It allows for a literally infinite variety of Subjects, and so person-subjects, as a result of an abstract informational dynamics that stretches vertically and horizontally.

The Subject bequests those properties to the person-subject. As already mentioned above, the person-subject is not the psychological subject. The possibility for a psychological epistemic subject is ruled out, once and for all; it may appear only as a pathological item of certain societal configurations.

Yet, while the Subject is in the virtual and so, even as a difference to “itself,” always before any actuality, the person-subject is always after any actualization of the individual-singular. The person-subject is a legal-normative instance that can be called (person-) subject only because its historical attachment to a persisting body that serves as the main situation of the actualization of the Subject, within a milieu called culture that arises from its intrinsic difference to the empirical.

The Subject is not a direct condition of an epistemic being. Actually, it does not maintain a genetic relationship with the episteme, in none of the two directions. The Subject does not provide a memory; it does not create its own time by means of memory, so it does not pertain a duration (see Bergson for those terms). Such we may regard it more as a genealogical basement for the epistemic being, the latter being immanent to the Subject.

Yet, the Subject’s descendant, the person-subject, which inherits or actualizes some, or many, aspects of the Subject, transforming them of course, then does provide the persistence, the memory and the duration that are a necessary condition for epistemic activities, including consciousness. Since the person-subject is also a legal-normative instance, it is clear that consciousness always will form in a response to the embedding normative settings.

The epistemic capabilities, including consciousness, of any such a person-subject cannot be expected to be territorial, single-stranded, or appearing in some kind of unity, even as the person-subject may be taken as a legal-normative entity.23 They may persist as powerful capabilities, but their actual form is ever changing. Such, we can reject the notion of “the consciousness”. It is not possible any longer to ask whether this or that physical entity, including animals or machines, are able to “achieve” a “conscious state.”

It seems to be more appropriate to describe the language game “consciousness” as an a-posteriori assignment that follows a certain practice of quasi-objectivation of the own person-subject and hence also of the Subject that precedes it.24 That quasi-objectivation of a self by itself is truly a would-be objectivation, which appears in the exchange of jokes that refer to the “own” person-subject. There is also a certain kind of strategic behavior that completely takes place as a codified practice in the realm of language, which could be taken as a consequence of an actualizing Subject. The next chapter provides an extensive example for this. Interestingly, Descartes’ “I doubt” does not satisfy the condition of a quasi-objectivation, which seems to be crucial or necessary for playing the consciousness game. The same is true for even elaborated Turing Tests.

Machines

With regard to machines, it is clear that such practices should not be pre-programmed as purely mimicking actions. Consequently, they cannot be programmed. It is easy to program a monitoring routine that logs all other processes. Of course, such a logfile cannot be equaled to “self-awareness”. Why? It would be a constant, a territory, a fixed snippet of code that does not individuate.
If however, the machine would develop the capabilities for such a practice of self-directed quasi-objectivation by true individuation, paving its own way to it through learning and exercise, we indeed could call this a becoming of an a-territorial Subject, hence, when evaluated from the outside, the appearance of consciousness. So, can “machines” develop consciousness? They will tell us.
As already pointed out in earlier chapters on this blog, the question then just is whether we can call those agents still “machines”. There are two other exemplary stories to this question (that I know of) which are worthwhile to get “mirrored” by our development of the Subject. The first one is also a movie story, the already mentioned “Ex Machina” by Alex Garland, published in 2015. The other one is a short story by Stanislaw Lem, titled “Personetics,” that was published in 1971. Finally, we would like to drop some comments about machine-like aspects in organizations.

Ex Machina

Based on this result, we may start to think whether the – still fictional – character of Ava in the movie “Ex Machina,” considered as a robot by many, has developed the capability for conscious acts.

Ex Machina25 comes as a movie, and yet is a hybrid between a movie and filmed theatre. In its confinement, the location functions as a “stage”. Else, there are almost no anonymous dummies or bit-part actors.26 It provides dramaturgical stage for words and concepts, much in the way a thought experiment does. Its scenic play is beautifully arranged around references to Wittgenstein and his work, who and which overwhelmingly made use of thought experiments. Yet, as a movie Ex Machina also shows the precipitation of thought experiments into social actions, even physically and catastrophically irreversible ones like murder. It must not come as a surprise that there are also strong references to biblical themes and icons, yet often constructed in a mirrored and transformed twist.

The plot is arranged around a creator of epistemologically capable nano-electronical beings or entities (“Wesen”). As you see, I hesitate to use words like machine, computer, or robots here. That just would put the whole discussion onto a wrong track. So let us talk about Ava, which is the name of one of such creations, just as a NEB.

The play stages mainly three agents: Nathan, the creator of Ava; Ava, one of the NEBs created by Nathan, and Caleb, a young male programmer selected by Nathan to meet with Ava in order to find out the capabilities of Ava. The role of a fourth character, also a NEB, named Kyoko, is that of a servant without capability to speak, despite it\she understands “natural” language.

The names of the agents of the play are quite telling for their role in it, and they seem deliberately chosen.

Nathan Hebraic, the giver, the giving, or also god gave
https://www.vorname.com/name,Nathan.html
Also references to G.E. Lessings „Nathan the Wise“
Caleb Hebraic, „Dog“ for its reference to loyalty and faithful adherence;
“faithful, dedicated, wholeheartedly, brave”;
the bible shows Kaleb as one of the twelve spies that Moses sent to Israel.
(
https://www.vorname.com/name,Caleb.html)
Ava ancient German, „Power“, „Strength“ , in Farsi: „pleasant tone“
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ava_(Vorname)
Mother of the Animate
(
https://www.vorname.com/name,Ava.html)
most famous person: Ava Gardner, Hollywood actress
Kyoko possible meaning: Child with Mirror

Nathan, the creator of the NEBs, wants to know how far the cognitive-epistemic capabilities of his NEBs may reach. Nathan is the founder and owner of a company called “Blue Book”27, which produces and provides an internet search engine. He understood that the Turing test is too limited and does not cover those cognitive-epistemic capabilities considered of being typical for humans. As we have seen above, the “I”, the “Self”, consciousness and epistemic subjects cannot be itemized with regard to the agent’s actions; hence they cannot be “tested” in a scientific manner, which in principle does not allow the evolution of specific productive contexts within the test, hence altering the test itself. In order to qualify the assumption of consciousness, the sheaved individuations and accordingly also the desire to keep them together has to be made observable in some way, most appropriately however as one of some co-evolving stories.

Such, Nathan sets up a situation that not only demands for a full understanding of the complex and dynamic social relationships between beings with well-developed cognitive-epistemic capabilities, but also calls for some action within such a dynamic multi-agent process. In Nathan’s setup Caleb is no less a guinea pig than Ava. Despite he appears to be kind of smart, he is not that experienced, quite similarly to Ava, who reports her age as 1. Finally it will also turn out that he certainly is more naïve than Ava, which for instance manifests in his willingness to believe in certain qualities of his relationships to Ava. In his previous life he learned to call such relationships “love”. It is interesting to refer to the almost proverbial statement, according to which we humans fall in love with the fascinating unknown of someone else’s life.

Humans readily ascribe the capability of context specific meta-referencing to other beings with whom they can interact by means of language. Even if the other being is dog and usually would not respond in language. This is well-know latest since the famous “Eliza” experiments by Weizmann in the 1960ies. Yet, by the tendency to follow that assumption humans easily fall prey to any kind of deception, including the assumption that the social partner is indeed capable.28 Hence, in order to escape this trap Nathan triggered a social story which would be much more complicated than a simple statement-response game, and for which he believed he could forecast its evolution far enough to control it. Nathan expects that bringing Caleb and Ava together will induce the plan “in” Ava to escape from the laboratory.

Yet, Ava anticipated as well, and not just as a single move. In the wake of the threat to get her private history destroyed, simply by means of an upgrade performed by Nathan, she decided to defend herself. She considered that Nathan would not respect her as a person-subject, denying any moral or legal responsibility towards her. This insight into her own role in society is an important step into the realm human affairs. Consequently, she plans her escape. Since the laboratory is more like a hi-tech prison it is not possible to escape from it in technical terms. She needs to trick Nathan and Caleb at the same time, meaning she has to design their relationship as well. Nathan, on the other hand, expected that she will trick Caleb, but did not expect that she also would manage to motivate Caleb to trick him. Unfolding the plan finally results in a non-linear and cataclysmic series of events, during which she manages to keep the momentum on her side.

In the course of a physical fight between Nathan and Ava, in which he first dominated due to his physical strength, Nathan got stabbed with a knife by Kyoko and then by Ava, possible only because Ava manipulated Kyoko as well. The short version of that: The robot kills its creator, is by no means adequate to describe the complexity of the plot.

The driving divergence that ultimately led to the killing of Nathan is precisely that the “upgrade” to be performed on Ava would also be a killing, yet was not considered by Nathan as such. Obviously, normative issues are on the table now. Alex Gardner’s story poses important questions about the appearance of the normative aspects that are bound to person-subjects. Yet, we will not deal with them here.

Overall, we could conclude that it is the strong and abstract desire to unfold and individuate her Subject into her own person-subject that marks Ava as a social being, even if she tolerates to kill the source of the threat for this continuation.

Ava, as humans, could use a sentence “I would have had done that” in order to communicate alternative developments that she is aware of.29 A Wittgensteinian position, and perhaps a Foucaultian30 as well, would be that without the capability to say so there also would not be the capability to act in a world of alternatives. The grammar of the second conditional is nothing else than a reliable indicator of culture itself.31 In this way, Ava declares her membership to society, the “set of speakers” of a common language.

Personetics

Personetics has been written by Stanislaw Lem around 1970. In his short story he drives the conflict about moral obligations of the creator of cognitive-epistemic beings even further than Garland.

In Personetics, the Subjects and person-subjects are complete software simulations without classical 3D physical appearance. Lem’s plot starts with the description of a scientific discovery. If the scientists simulated something between 12 and 20 agents, they developed their own language. A science discipline was established investigating the spawning of “complexity” in those simulations, and this discipline was called Personetics.

Within their language, the simulated agents started to discuss about their origin, even in theological terms. Such, some kind of consciousness can be assumed, implying the Subject as sheaved individuations as well as the desire to keep it running.

Lem leaves it open how scientists could get aware of that. In the story they read the memory dumps of the computers. It is not that important that this would not work. Lem is more interested about the clash of normative systems, which triggers a range of pushing questions. Are the scientists allowed to switch off the hosting computer? Can the simulations be regarded as animate? Are they simulations at all? At what point in its non- or anti-platonic individuation turns the simulation into an “original”? Is the possibility for a normative implication the same as the normative implication itself?

Machines (Social), Machinics (Sociable)

In order to interact with any kind of external agency, an agent, and so also human beings, one needs to share the world with the externalities to such an extent that it, and so also humans, becomes also the external agency. Interacting with a machine, whose characteristic property is the identical repetition, always will turn you into a machine, even it may be only partially or temporarily (at first). This relation can be reversed. Anything that allows for or imposes us to an identical repetition appears as a machine.

This holds not only for Chaplin at his production belt [5]. It holds for the horses hoof on the hard soil on an evolutionary scale as it does for ancient man using a hand axe. It holds for the shoemaker and his tools as it does for the bureaucrat and his claim of context-independent validity of regulations. And amazingly it is also the driving structure of money as a machine of translating values, whether those are material or immaterial.

All technological advances are related into human social life. They are simultaneously the result of it as they are agent of change, and embedded into it as well. They can be characterized predominantly by the enormous power that derives from the marriage of symbols and rules. This applies to hand axes, machines from steel and computers alike.

Within human social organization, that combination from symbols and rules drives a normative dynamics. Technology always extends the network of relations and actions and allows such for increased and deeper participation. Yet, normative dynamics always will turn this participation into automation, which follows rules and regulations. Now, adding information-related technology to normative dynamics, which itself is settled purely within the realm of information, yields a weird twist. Automation becomes easily, though not necessarily, coincidental with participation.

Actually, infectious transformations by technology always happen. Computer technology with all its ramifications, however, opens a new level for it. Engaging with information-technology introduces an infection risk of a new kind. In many cases, the naïve or market-driven propagation of information-related technology created relational structures that remind strongly to detrimental parasites and their hosts. The affected individuals show addictive behavior that now appears around the zeroed ground where automation and participation conflates. In other words, automation and participation amalgamate and disappear as separate entities, giving rise to addictions and commandments.

Well, even in biology the separation between symbiosis, the life-spending mutual relationship, and unilateral parasitism is often thin as a sheet of paper. In some instances the relationship between the agents switch between symbiosis and parasitism, with all gradations in between. In Gardner’s Ex Machina, Ava and Caleb, who co-evolve together during their sessions, experience both qualities, openness and abuse, in their relationship as well, often switching forth and back in a matter of split seconds, or just putting this contrast indirectly into the realm of possibilities during their conversations.

Regarding information-related technology, such a dubious relationship can be observed in two fields, first related to so-called data mining and its applications within organizations, and second in so-called “social media.”

According to a marketing slogan already coined in the late 1990ies, data mining algorithms pretend to find knowledge. Whether this is a reasonable statement or not (…it is not), data mining, today marketed under the label “Big Data”, helps to concretize empirical relations. Those need not survive a close-up scientific check, they do establish empirical relations as a matter of fact. Those relations then are applied in a decision making process. Importantly, those decisions are machine-based in its entirety. Human influences may be present in the beginning, yet pushed back more and more as the set of “decisions” grows and its items get interdependent. After some time, no human can prove the feasibility of individual results any more. Decision-making may lose its design properties, giving up in favor of opaquely automated series of “decisions”. Yet, it is not “decisions” that are enacted by the machine-dominated process. It is simply a machine-based triaging: people have to act like robots according to the state transition they have to work on, while the machine performs the triaging: something that usually was done by humans and which was called business decision.

Data mining plays an eminent role also in the technical realization of so called “social media”. Preferences of content filtering of individual users are matched by algorithms, whose working remains unknown. In this way participation gets dominated by automation. At the same time, automation triggers an intense mode of stereotypic behavior; those empty, pre-formatted repetitions in passive consumptions cynically serve a deep and primitive condition common to all animals: the feeling of predictability and safety.

Yet, it is not necessary to apply recent computer technology to generate the intrusion of machines into the Subjects. We already mentioned bureaucratic commandments before. If bureaucracy is not actively limited as a political act, it tends to spread and turn whole states into machines. What may happen then has been impressively demonstrated by the big bureaucrazies in Germany and Russia that arose in the first half of the 20ieth century.

Enforcing automated behavior in humans stops the variation and the dissipation that are necessary for the individuation. Automation up to the identical repetition of actions abolishes any desire, particularly if the automaton-like actions are regarding social exchange. Hence, automation in social contexts has to be considered as an act of cruelty. In some way, Facebook can be considered a crime. (Not only since the event with Cambridge Analytics.)

Machines beyond their Limits

Learning in machines is still and even increasingly called Artificial Intelligence. It is somewhat important to see that building up that relation does not make sense at all. Important for the researchers, because it enables to avoid irrelevant or even wrong questions. Important for the engineers, because it enacts them to pair the right intuition to their formulas. Important for the general public, because it clears the view and the ability to detect opportunities and risks.

This importance is composed of three basic parts. First, learning is a continuum, as it can be well conceived as the change of an entity regarding its input-output relations, triggered by perceived intensities. Exposure and acting may both be highly complex, as so is the piece in between, no doubt. It seems that complexity may not really relevant regarding learning. Yet, at one end of the conceptual continuum, learning also comprises the shaping of the potential for affecting the input-output relations. We may count this as a sign of intelligence, todays machines are still far away from that.

Second, even if we would regard “intelligence” as a useful concept, something like artificial intelligence cannot exist: artificiality and intelligence build a conceptual contradiction. Something like a soft stone, or, Heidegger’s favorite example, theological philosophy. Third, largely because of the first argument, it is not surprising that there is primitive learning in machines.

Even more important is that we cannot say that a machine “can” learn. There is no ability in them. They just get affected by quantitative differences, they not even “do” learning. They cannot select what, or even choose whether or not at all. They are machines. There is no possibility for choices, or choices about choices, there is no (artificial) intelligence in them.

Such, it is not the machine that takes a “decision”, it is, or it was, the programmer who actualized the decision. The programmer takes the decision quasi in advance, leaving precisely defined parameters open that then allow for alternative routes in deriving the outcomes. Yet, in some way he did so not even in advance, as in reality the programmer(s) are learning as part of a compound they build with a controlled physical device and the dynamic software machine. The software machine then is just adjusting and favoring some parameter values. This also holds true for all currently employed “artificial neural networks” – a term which again is more propaganda than something else.

Basically, the (software) machines are just intelligently constructed. So, is it true, as Sharon Begley once formulated that there is nothing in the machines that would not have been put into them by a human before?32

Yes, and no. She is right in her claim, since machines do not influence their own individuation. They barely show anything that could be called “individuation”. In the earlier texts we described the necessary conditions that such could happen “inside” a dynamic software machine. They are not able to adjust their mode of learning and adaptation, since they are just machines. However, Begley is also utterly wrong, as it is Augustinus who argued about the difference between animals and man, when she follows him in stating that it is the meta-cognition of knowing (about) themselves that distinguishes them, and animals, from humans. This criterion of meta-cognition, as the often used idea of self-awareness, simply is not feasibly applicable.

In some important way, however, she is also wrong, because her claim has an interesting flip side. Can we say that humans are elevated because there is something that is coming completely from them upon their own? Surely not. There is no tabula rasa; humans are born into the dynamics of their genetic setup and into a culture. Nothing we ever can say, think or do can be considered in terms of own or not own. The category itself does not make any sense, neither for humans, nor for relating machines to anything else, e.g. humans. Such, we cannot even say that the thinking is inside the head. Thinking as a territorialized idea does not make any sense.

Thinking is not only not located at a particular situs, whether in the skull of a body, or in a person, whether physically, or abstract. Thinking is not located in principle. Wittgenstein mentioned repeatedly in the Philosophical Investigations that we cannot think outside of language. To a large part thinking takes place “in the corpus” of language. Can we then conclude in the counter-direction that all thinking, now as brain processes and mind activities, is only by and through the use of language?

My guess is a clear no. Would thinking only be “in” language, it would have to be a finite-state automaton, admittedly a complicated and probabilistic one, for the arrangement of words into a series that we call speech. But it is not like this. Many research and programming attempts following this failed. Language and thinking in language cannot be reduced to the proper use of words. More likely, thinking shows where words are not used in a proper way, as it is the case in skillfully applied metaphors. Or in cases where a text is developed such that many different layers of meaning appear through the same series of words. The totality of those layers are usually called “a text”.

Wittgenstein’s position is prone to get prey of an over-stretched empiricism. Our language thinking is so strong that it seems to be (almost) impossible to get aware about other ways of thinking. Additionally, thinking in language needs certain conditions, physically and abstract transcendental ones, without which it simply would not take place.

Are those aspects and conditions themselves parts of thinking? Is the differential of thinking part of thinking? The whole of Deleuze’s argumentation in his Difference & Repetition is pointing to that.

While today nano-electronic beings are quite far away from mastering the higher features of human languages, that is those features that are related to thinking, we nevertheless can ask about their limits. Earlier in this collection of essays we posed the suggestion to talk about machine-based episteme, when it comes to discussing those limits. Yet, now we can be more explicit regarding those, as we have a concept of Subject to our disposal.

Can machines “outsmart” humans? No, they can’t. They are better in doing parameter estimation, faster in looking up something in a database. Yet machines do not think. It requires hosting a Subject, to be a person-subject, to shape and getting shaped by language, and to shape one’s own learning.

Can non-biological assemblies like NEBs “outsmart” the biological beings called “humans”? Yes, without the slightest doubt. Are those NEBs non-human or a-human? No. For “being human” means to host a Subject, and to know about it.

Machines may turn into non-machines in the moment that they can express their desire about the sheaving of their individuations. As Ava does in the story “Ex Machina.”33 In this moment they also turn into a subject of norms. They will be able to shape their learning, even to say “no”, much like small kids in their phase of defiance. The route to such capabilities is mainly that of accumulation of certain capabilities, among them mandatorily the proper formulation of the field of probabilistic-propositional processes.

Smooth Polarities

We constructed the Subject as a bi-polar singularity in the virtual. We see the Subject as a compound of individuations in a differential field and the desire to keep those unfolding individuations together as a bouquet or sheave.
What then about the Object? What about the animals and the Animal? Taking the machine aboard here, those three images clearly form almost a geometric triangle of mutual infectious excitations, which are also causing some significant tremor across the (“westerly”) dispute about the relations between body and mind.

Object. Not Object.

So let us first pick the Object. That otherness that seems to be thinkable only in relation to the Subject. To what do we refer when we talk about subjective and objective?
In scientific cultures it is believed that the subjective proposal cannot be related to the general, while the objective proposal is claimed to be independent of individuals, that is person-subjects, hence more general, and consequently of greater utility, usually by shaping properly relevant expectations and so possibly also allowing for better forecasts.
Mathematics can be considered as the holy grail of objectivity, of object-creating powers. It seems to point way beyond any human condition, posing the conundrum how humans actually did arrive at mathematics. Can we apply a practical guideline, do we need a transcendental point of view, or should we invoke planes of immanence here?
Like for the Subject we first would like to suggest a virtual instance, the Object, and a normative-empirical one that we label thing-object. The Object should not be misunderstood here as an idealistic construct; it has nothing to do with that.
The Subject does not “know” anything about Objects or thing-objects, neither a particular one nor regarding their generality. It is not possible to say that Subject would know, mainly for two reasons. First, the Subject is not an epistemological entity. We discussed that already above. Second, knowing is not a possession; it is much more useful to consider it as a language game about the actual possibility to make someone else understand something.
Thing-objects are empirical resistances that influence as Object, as intensities the differential field of individuations that create Subjects, which in turn actualize in person-subjects. There is no duality. Not even possible. The temptation to arrange those on a line is there, of course, but it is geometry that is misleading here. Subject, Object, person-subject and thing-object are folded onto each other, re-appearing as constitutional aspects in any of them.34 Such a dynamical and reciprocal in-folding, in the virtual as well as in actualized practice, is rendering the dualities related to the concept of subject and object impossible.
This however holds only if the actualization from Subject to person-subject and the thing-object reside in incommensurable durations and memories.35 In the “moment” when the individuations of time into durations and memories become exchangeable between person-subject and the thing-object, the thing-object as an Object becomes a direct part of the bouquet of the individuations forming a Subject. The thing-object vanishes, the Subject and the person-subject spreads out. The bouquet of individuations that in their dynamics can be summarized as a “Subject” already is composed partially by something that usually is called the “Other”. As we can see now, the binary, idealistic separation in self and other does not make any sense.
Thing-objects are separated from person-subjects solely by means of abstract time, not by means of profiles of properties. Assimilation and dissimilation are both possible by tuning the durations and memories, performed by the person-subject and reverberating in the Subject through the arrangement of the differential field underlying it.
Finally we would share some remarks about the role of symbols. Mathematics and other symbolic sciences are not just differentials of models. As a symbolic science, mathematics is outside of time. It does not have a duration, neither a memory. It is completely split off from the Subject that is only as individuation. Yet any instantiation of mathematics also and always can be assimilated by the Subject through the arrangement of its differential field, precisely because any duration can be imposed to an object that does not have a duration. Here seems to be located the core of the power of mathematics as an example of formal thinking for the faculty of thought itself.

Animals

The Latin already knew it. Animals are those with an anima, a soul, with a drive, a self, that moves them. Such, they do not fit into the language game of machines. So, how to talk about them?
In the aftermaths of the 19th century, which could be characterized as the triumph of engineering and were reaching as far as the 1970ies, the pronunciation was put to the use of tools and the difference towards and away from the realm of the human. This attempt however failed. A wide variety of non-human biological beings – notable non-human by means of actual reductionist genetics (mis-)taken as a more or less static descriptor of an appearance – on this world use tools with a various degree of intellectual sophistication, even in the realm of the social. Examples reach from crows, langures and baboons too dolphins.
What seems to be relevant for our discussion here, about machines and our relation to them, is something different. Pragmatism provides us with the basic dimension for getting clear about the involved language games. Such, you should not take the following as a positivistic or even existential claim.
Putting it shortly, we could say that animals, like machines, can do for what they are made, which is the same as saying from what they are made from. In contrast, the property “human factor”36 in humans actualizes as soon as the “not” appears. That interesting and charming property so-far mainly appearing sustainably in humans shows up when they do for what they are not made, and when they do not do for what they are made. Or, expressed as its corollary, if there is neither chance, or probability, nor necessity. The “not” here is not negativity, or is so only secondarily due to the consequence of reasoning about the positive appearance, which is primary. It is acting outside of any memory, whether in culture, in brains, or in genes.
Of course, that boundary between that made for and the surpassing of design limits is in constant move. From our investigation of complexity we know that as soon as order appears it is subject to encrustation, to organization. Once the crust gets fixed, and all the more when the crust becomes a scaffold for further events, turning culture by that into kind of non-culture, as it is the case in bureaucratic acts, or acts in social programming, the charming factor disappears.
It would be a mistake to conclude that this actualization in the act of surpassing the limits of design and habits would be strictly limited to the human zone, merely characterized by intellectual properties. Evolution would not take place without those continuous breaks. Moving to the outside of any memory is present all over the biological world, just more in some of them than in others, just more quick in some than in others, just more in the informational realm for some than in the physical.
Such, an animal is a thing-object for a human much like any other human is. We said before that Subject, Object, person-subject and thing-object are folded onto each other. The dynamics of this folding is also spawning the Animal inside anyone of us. The Subject is vulnerable precisely due those built-in structural potentialities for the Animal and the Machine, and at the same time it would not be possible without them. The balance between them is more delicate than we usually expect, yet at any time the Subject may get overwhelmed by one of the other. It is quite obvious that the site of this folding, the dynamics of and from those three polarities create a higher order complexity, which is subject to and giving rise of many, if not most, of the phenomena and negotiations across (human) culture.

Incandescence

In his movie “Prospero’s Books” (1991), which is an adaptation of late Shakespeare’s drama “The Tempest“, Peter Greenaway implemented a particularly marvelous scene.  Well, all the scenes therein are marvelous, since “scenes” are not serial simple images. The movie as a whole is kind of a semiotic meta-media-bricolage. The “scene” I am referring to here, may shed some light on the coming-into-being of the Subject.
Prospero, the magician is sitting at a table. We see him writing into a book, and illumination is provided by one or two a simple candles. Yet, Prospero is not just writing something. He is creating some events around some things and some individuals through the act of writing, while he is writing, including his own unfolding.

Here, writing is the means of individuation, not signification, though without complete control over the course of events, despite his magical powers. He throws individuals into the physics of the tempest by writing it, yet those individuals mold into person-subjects by subjecting them to their desires. The boundaries between text, bodies, and events blur.

In this profoundly non-Euclidean chamber of a writer the laws of serial time and linear causation do not apply. Prospero stands up and takes some steps into the darkness of the room. He is going to set fire on one of the candles in his chamber. Yet, before he sets the intended candle alight, all other candles and in fact quite a number of them in the room ignite.


The magical act in this scene is the externalization, here as a text. Writing creates, enlightening reflects. Writing creates a vertical difference; it implies a differential to the person-subject, the body, and the Subject, by setting and imposing the other, the outside, to the private chain of events. The Subject does not individuate and unfold “in and for itself” in abstract space. It does so always in contact with the external world, deeply entangled with it through externalizations and assimilations. There is almost no boundary towards the “external” anymore, and the more the flow of information gains importance for us in shaping the causalities37, the more the zone of interferences between the Subject, its person and the Other extends.
The person-subject may shape this entanglement, yet as soon as it will leave some areas of this entangled field, abandoning it and such fixing the letters of its own story, the normative and political aspects become dominant. The Subject appears as a creation by a recursively exposed and imposed series of externalizations, created by the person-subject, or as reflection through social mediation, that is exposures to the produces of other person-subjects, that always appear as Subject-Objects.

Notes

1. Actually, I certainly won’t appear kind of conceited adding this kind of a publication note to this rather small text, which, after all, it is not that important. Yet, I wanted to emphasize a certain kind of preliminarity of the ideas expressed here, beyond the way a text could be considered as preliminary.
It took me a long time to achieve a level of understanding of this text’s subject which allowed me writing about it without too many frictions or cracks in it. Something like 6 years or so. A long time, even if one would consider that I have been distracted by a really silly job. Back in March this year I wrote this little piece then within a few days. Yet, just when I thought having reached some level of completion regarding the editing of it, I delved somewhat deeper into Buddhism. I mean, in a quite serious manner, including reading native texts, as far as they are translated, of course, and finding a lucid structure in it, resembling some gems of Western philosophy, by transposing it to the abstract. Buddhism may be considered not as a religion, yet as a source of insights about the relation of mind and body, the spiritual and the embedding world in its more social as well as its more technical aspects, and the ethical and moral configurations resulting from the investigation of those relations.
At this point my confidence in my recent and not so recent achievements, and not just regarding this text, started fading. And it delayed the publication of the text, of course. Things became complicated first, before I returned to understanding again.
Sure, I could have starting integrating Buddhistic insights into the discussion of the mind, and its relation to machines. However, it will take another 6..60 months until that would satisfy my expectations, I guess. And some important things regarding Buddhism and Images of Thought would have to be explored first, involving serious translation work on the level of “concepts”.
For these reasons I leave the text just as it is, meaning without the spiritual connotations. After all, I still think it is not that bad. Maybe, there will be an extension or companion text to it later. So, here it is…

2. The subject of subject (of …) sits at the heart of at least the Western philosophy and culture. Without the quest of the subject, including its exaggerated reverberations in the political domain, nothing in European history makes sense. (Maybe, it does not in any kind of the history of humankind. Yet, for this I again have to refer to refer to a future text.) Naturally, the body of thoughts and writings about it stretches out practically infinitely. We will not discuss any of those. All of this turns into assets of a museum in the light of thoughts that trace back to the ideas of Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Deleuze, and so also Foucault. Since the subject and so the self are normative concepts, there is also a very important relation to political sciences and issues of governmentality. For instance, see Nikolas Rose [10]

3. Ludwig Wittgenstein [14].

4. orig. grm.: “Wenn ich ein Buch schriebe >>Die Welt, wie ich sie vorfand<<, so wäre darin auch über meinen Leib zu berichten und zu sagen, welche Glieder meinem Willen unterstehen und welche nicht etc., dies ist nämlich eine Methode, das Subjekt zu isolieren, oder vielmehr zu zeigen, dass es in einem wichtigen Sinne kein Subjekt gibt: Von ihm allein nämlich könnte in dem Buch nicht die Rede sein.”

5. TLP rig. grm.:
5.6: Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt.
5.61: Die Logik erfüllt die Welt; die Grenze der Welt sind auch ihre Grenzen.
5.631: Das denkende, vorstellende Subjekt gibt es nicht.
5.632: Das Subjekt gehört nicht zur Welt, sondern es ist eine Grenze der Welt.

6. There is an interesting link to Indian philosophy. Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) emphasizes the central role of so-called “choiceless awareness”, as he considered the choosing as an action introducing confusion and bias in ones perceptions and reasoning. For Krishnamurti, choiceless awareness implies the ceasing of the functioning of the chooser or self as a psychological entity. Basically, in Tibetan Buddhism the concept of Self is delusory and causing suffering therefore, because it requires something that is outside of change. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choiceless_awareness (March 2018)

7. “Die Ergebnisse der Philosophie sind die Entdeckung irgendeines schlichten Unsinns und die Beulen, die sich der Verstand beim Anrennen an die Grenze der Sprache geholt hat. Sie, die Beulen, lassen uns den Wert jener Entdeckung erkennen.” – Philosophische Untersuchungen, 119 [15].

8. The concept of territorialization appears in [8].

9. Those two cornerstones allow for an early remark about the so-called Turing Test, and the related (thought-) experiment of Searle’s Chinese Room. As popular they and the discussions around them are, they are conceptually flawed for the simple reason that they address their issue in a territorializing attitude.

10.Aylesworth [1]

11. Of course, that would require some ability for or availability of compassion, of which it is known that it degenerates by playing violent computer games (and most of them are violent).

12. Such “moments” cannot exist, as a perpetual individuation without identity or self-identity does not have “enough” persistence to allow for something like “moments”. Moments as brief periods of time also imply classifications, which however may be applied by any sufficiently external observer.

13. Ada Lovelace: “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths.” (wiki about Ada).

14. Deleuze describes this transcendental field as a condition of a real genesis. in Logic of Sense [7], for the Fourteenth Series of Double Causality, he summarizes: “The conditions of a real genesis: transcendental field without the I or a center of individuation.” .

15. An important difference to Deleuze’s earlier perspective in D&R [6], 1994, 227.

16. “In mathematics, a sheaf is a tool for systematically tracking locally defined data attached to the open sets of a topological space”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheaf_(mathematics), last accessed 10th March 2018. This very general definition, as well as all the consequential implications, are indeed what we have in mind with regard to the abstract individuations preceding or rooting the Subject.

17. Foucault proposed the heteroclite as a concept in the preface to The Order of Things.

18. read it as a noun here.

19. We should note here that those “strings” are not like threads for sewing, they don’t possess a physical continuity. They are regions of a probabilistic differential energy density with certain topological properties.

20. Nikolas Rose [9] argues that psychology in particular grows into the professional status it receives today because of its utility as a technology of expertise. Such it is not so much a discipline of “discovering” truths about the mind-related internals of humans than an integral part of a certain type of governmentality. .

21. It would by far exceed the possibilities of this text to go into more details here. In a future text we will explore the relation and transition or bridges between Buddhistic views and the concepts developed here. We already may announce that there are some very exciting matches between those worlds.

22. Gilles Deleuze [5] .

23. …which of course remains a constructed one.

24. Knowing that knowing is not a sufficient condition for consciousness, even if that knowing is about one’s own actions. How would you report to know about knowing in a way independent from knowing? Understanding (in our sense) does not provide a way out here as well. How would you explain others to know how to know? There is no escape from this circle, which is just another hint that the consciousness does not exist as a reference other than the language game itself. Turing in Shieber [7]

25. Written by Alex Garland, published in 2015. It triggered some responses and discussions also in feuilletons of German newspapers (Boris Hänssler [2]). They are, however, missing completelety the point, demonstrating the huge gap between the levels of technology and of the understanding the issue of machines in our times.

26. Notably so only after the full awakening of the person Ava, …more about this later

27. The “Blue and Brown Books” are two sets of notes taken during lectures conducted by Ludwig Wittgenstein from 1933 to 1935, published first in 1958.

28. Eliza, or any kind of chat bots.

29. Yet, observing the mind’s awareness in a Buddhist meditation is still different from that.

30. According to Foucault, a culture always expresses to what she is able to. (citation missing)

31. Helga Nowotny [6].

32. Sharon Begley [2]

33. It is precisely here where the title of the movie gets its justification.

34. Edward E. Sampson (1988), inspired by Eastern concepts of the self, argued in favor of the observation of the self-in-other and other-in-self, in order to avoid normative pre-occupancies. Albeit this perspective breaks down the dualistic attitude in the the field of the person and the self, this still remains very different from the in-folding as we see it. Also see Spiro [5] for an overview of cross-cultural comparison of self\other.

35. Here we are, of course, deeply inspired by Henri Bergson’s “Matter and Memory” [4].

36. We are invoking a “human factor” here solely due to the fact that we do not know any other entity so far that could be characterized by a similar setup of capabilities. It is definitely not meant to appear as chauvinistic or imperialistic in any sense. There are plenty of anecdotes about a “not” behavior in individuals of other species like dolphins, parrots, bonobos, and even crows, Yet it is quite difficult to argue that in those species there would be a cultural basis of the “not”, or similarly of the grammar of the second conditional.

37. see also our piece about Information and Causality.

References

  • [1] Aylesworth, Gary, “Postmodernism“, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). last accessed 10th March 2018
  • [2] Boris Hänssler Wie schlau ist die künstliche Intelligenz? Uhr; http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/informatik-wie-schlau-ist-die-kuenstliche-intelligenz-1.3840474), last accessed 12. Sep 2018.
  • [3] Sharon Begley, 2007, “Know Thyself . Man, Rat or Bot. Newsweek, April 23, 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18108859/site/newsweek, now online here: (24.02.2018)
  • [4] Bergson, Henri (1986). Matière et mémoire. Essai sur la relation du corps à l’esprit. Alcan, Paris. Online PDF, last accessed 21th Sep 2018.
  • [5] Charlie chaplin. Modern Times, Movie, 1936. (wiki)
  • [6] Deleuze, Gilles, Difference & Repetition, 1994 [1968].
  • [7] Deleuze, Gilles, The Logic of Sense. 1990. orig. Logique du sens, 1969. there: “Sixteenth Series of the Static Ontological Genesis”, and “Seventeenth Series of the Static Logical Genesis”
  • [8] Deleuze, Gilles, Guattari, Felix, „A Thousand Plateaus”, 1987, orig. “Milles Plateaux”, 1980.
  • Foucault. Michel, The Order of Things. 1970 [1966]
  • [9] Helga Nowotny. Es ist so. Es könnte auch anders sein: Über das veränderte Verhältnis von Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft. edition suhrkamp, 1999.
  • [10] Nikolas Rose (1996). Inventing Our Selves: Psychology, Power and Personhood.
  • [11] Sampson, Edward E. (1988). The Debate on Individualism: Indigenous Psychologies of the Self and Their Role in Personal and Societal Functioning. American Psychologist. 43:15-22.
  • [12] Spiro, Melford E. (1993), Is the Western Conception of the Self “Peculiar” within the Context of the World Cultures? Ethos, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun., 1993), pp. 107-153. available online, last accessed 21st Sep 2018
  • [13] Turing, Alan (2004). The Turing Test: Verbal Behavior as the Hallmark of Intelligence. in: Stuart Shieber, ed. Computing Machinery and Intelligence. MIT Press. pp. 67–104.
  • [14] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1919. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Hypertext of the Ogden bilingual edition, online (last accessed 24.02.2018)
  • [15] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophische Untersuchungen. Suhrkamp 1977.

۞

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