The scenarios of ecstasy

I.

I heard the other day there were no deaths that could be reliably attributed either to merciless sea bandit Edward Teach, the Blackbeard, or to his crew. His key weapons were instead his fearsome countenance and aura, the nauseating smells and the trembling death-flag of the ship, the noise made by his screaming shipmates and their crude explosives and with time the reputation accrued as a laughing death sentence that set his own beard on fire to prove himself invincible. In other words, Blackbeard operated not by production (by making something appear, namely death and horror) but by seduction — by alluding to an infinite violence that can never be fully realized but nonetheless marshals and effects his quability conditions.

True or not, it’s a good story. Variations of this formula have been long been taught in military schools, from the Winged Hussars of king Bathory to the “inverse urban geometry” of Shimon Naveh. Cruder or heavier methods of warfare (guerillas, the Nagasaki bombing) might appear to have aspects of this, but they work at a lower (quable) level. The key point of a strategy of seduction is not shock or surprise, but throwing the enemy’s tempo out of time, thus making space for your timing  (kairos). More simply put, the point is not that the enemy is overpowered, but that he’s made void. This is how Blackbeard (according to the story) realized (a technical term that means “brought from reality”; too many things are technical terms) his plunder, his chrematistics: by making his victims flee their ships without resistance.

Of course, there had to be something to Blackbeard — this scenario of infinite unrealizable violence doesn’t work if the pirate is actually three suburban kids stacked up inside a trenchcoat. The likelier hypothesis is that the violent existential style of Edward Teach gradually but not linearly rolls him down to piracy seas and shortly after crowns him captain. It’s also likely that there’s a much more delicate balance of power in a pirate ship than in the average farming kingdom, and that Teach stands out for his management skills and for the fear that he strikes in the hearts of men. Blackbeard is then not just captain Edward but a full conspiracy to evoke infinite violence and acquire infinite wealth.

Also: maybe the story isn’t true. This is why the Situation, ambient conditions, axiologies, tempo and kairos are all needed.

II.

Chronos/kyklos/kairos are awkward words; they also have some alternate connotations that collectors of Greek antiquities may bug me about. Kyklos finds a good translation in tempo;  kairos has to do with opportuneness and appropriateness and  “belongingness” — it’s about timing and weather fit for battle. Chronos should be “time”, plainly — which brings the same problem we have with words like “situation”, whose civilian meaning correlates but doesn’t really explain the technical stuff we’re trying to code in SATPLAN. When appropriate (i.e. when kairos, weather permit) we’ll try to use the symbolic term dt.

In short: time flows, tempo clicks, timing happens.

There’s a risk that I’m going to make discussion in parts II and III extremely confusing. I apologize in advance, and note that the blog has had ebbs and flows of intelligibility — maybe we come back to this later in a sweeter version.

Blackbeard is not like any one of us writing or reading this — even for Somali pirates, his Situation is uncognizable. His exploits were so long ago that they don’t even appear in sequence; he effectively appears frozen in one “click” of tempo. Everything is blurry enough that we can see the elbow marks of axiology and only the elbow marks of axiology. But if I want to sit here and weave a tale of infinite riches and expect the reader to believe me, the questions of time and timing/weather become unavoidable. Static value and ecstatic (ek-static, sitting besides itself) axiology are scenarios.

In movies there often are these college dudes smirking with desire while watching two girls who are making out. As per the axioms of desire, what the dudes want is nowhere to be found, it is the objet petit a. Whatever subsymbolic stuff runs through their fantasy isn’t of this timing-weather. There’s no opportunity to join in, only scopophiliac enjoyment in a tempo that’s in sync with the tempo of the apparent object of desire. More wholesomely, often patches of the situation are so “in sync” — so many things whose tempo seems to be synchronous, one with the dt, that the observer may as well feel as if they’re in a music video. More commonly the contrary effect is obtained by listening to music; enough of an openness to the tempo of the Situation and you’ll see the clouds move to what’s on your headphones.

[A magic formula: the Situation is a rhythmic pattern of clicking.]

That, patient readers, is desire and tempoValue and time is harder to analyze; I keep barking that we need to stay abstract, stay on top of the trees not to get lost in the woods, but on its own axiology (not general axiology, which by means of being the most valuable of all axiologies is the general axiology; but then it is an axiology: specific, just impossible to reach) is too generic a concept to Cartesian-multiply. Examples are needed — fierce pirates, homoerotic maidens, Capital.

III.

Many people like to find mysticism in Capital; looking at the mighty works of the Jedi, they theorize midchlorians. But as it turns out, a full metaphysics of Capital-up-to-kairos  has long been available.

Maybe this is an unfamiliar sentence structure;  allow Wikipedia to unroll it for you: “A statement is true up to a condition if the establishment of that condition is the only impediment to the truth of the statement”. A full metaphysics of Capital would be available if the only ambient time conditions were time and tempo. Up to kairos, all captains of Spanish galleons in 1480-1580 were close to infinitely rich. Un-suspend the weather and most ships sink.

But theory is about suspending things, right?

Up to tempo, Capital is the quantitative effect of the force of interest, whose metaphysics is a mathematical theory, fully finalized by Euler, Lagrange and Laplace roughly from 1745 to 1785. This is how metaphysics works at its best: not precluding every thing that has happened before, but surfacing at the precise moment the world-scenario it’s supposed to describe emerges.

Within the scenario of capital, value is very simply a real number (a point in the infinite, infinitely dense number line going from -\infty to \infty. There’s loss of generality in this reductive move, but not so much — in any axiology except the very small ones, some things are more valuable than others; and while there usually are many dimensions to value, in the scenario of capital we imagine they have been sorted out by the social process that enacts large axiologies.

We can therefore theorize value (possibly the value of the whole universe, or a mutual fund; or both, mereology is weird) into the indefinitely long term. This theory could be called anything, but just in case you want to follow along with Wikipedia, we’ll be calling it f. That theory is a function (or assignment or map etc) f\colon dt \mapsto f(dt); it endows each instant of time with a value, effectively writing a full history of the future.

Associated with f(dt) is F(ds), its Laplace transform or “net present value” in MBA-speak. The Laplace transform is not a function of time, but of a relative rate between the future and the present. The higher this rate, the less we value the distance future and more the present. This could imply, for example, not being willing to take a loss in the short term to make more later. For a while I used to insist on Nick Land’s comment sections that to understand Capital he had to read Damodaran on Valuation, a practical manual on these matters. For casual readers, I should just point to professor Damodaran’s website. We’re eventually going to need a lot of his stuff in the implementation stages of general axiology.

Un-suspending tempo is uncomplicated. In the real world Capital is clicky — I can’t loan you money for 0.03 seconds, in usual contract structures interest accrues monthly or yearly. As long as everything clicks in sync, you can use the Laplace transform just fine; otherwise you can use Excel spreadsheets, like every peasant. Time, tempo and Riemann integration: the mystery of Capital, ladies and gentlemen! Up to kairos, of course.

IV.

The Laplace transform is a good example of something that’s far more abstract than what the application requires. For real-valued interest rates, the interpretation of the Laplace transform is (exactly) moneylike; for complex-valued interest rates with nonzero imaginary parts, it allows for theorizing about structures-over-time that oscillate with rate over envelopes that collapse or explode. These do not have moneylike interpretations, but are indicative of how un-moneylike relationships between value and time can be, even under the hackneyed scenario of Capital-up-to-kairos. For a while, there was a lot of hope by good-natured men such as F.A. Hayek that the scenario of markets (the synchronization/orchestration of supply-logistics and demand-axiologistics) somehow translated to the scenario of Capital, where the interest rates would be the “price of capital” for a marginal unit of flow-time dt. Yet the abundant evidence of time-inconsistent behavior in humans should say something about the Darwinian quability of force-of-interest. It does: time consistency implies the Laplace transform.

The technical literature on time inconsistency has accomplished a lot of what technical literatures are prone to accomplishing, but hasn’t allowed for the idea that time is inconsistent. The fact that different cultures synchronize to common tempos differently (not only how long after 3PM is “late”, but what’s the value-over-time structure within that structure of indifference) is proof enough that the common tempo is as much a cultural construction as the common writing system. Which implies: tempo is an object of large axiologies. How do we construct a theory of large-axiology-value over endogenous tempo? How do we reform a country’s pension system? There’s a lot to go through.

So how were we even able to hold up Capital for discussion for so many paragraphs? Primarily thanks to godmen like Euler and Laplace, but also because we allowed Capital to be an ecstatic scenario rather than a real social (and therefore large-axiological) phenomenon. The college dudes from the movie situation with pastiche homoeroticism know this — they’re not in any kind of psychoanalytic denial about the nature of their desire — they merely enact a structural scenario of ecstatic desire (but rarely an ecstatic scenario). Desire for what? Objet petit a, get with the program.

To borrow from Slavoj Zizek: an analogy can be drawn between the object cause of desire and the plastic trinket inside a Kinder’s Surprise Egg. To believers in a clean delineation between subjectivity and objectivity, the goal of eating a Kinder egg is getting to the middle and enjoying the toy hidden in it. But (Zizek presents this as an ethical program but in my view is a higher order structural affair having to do with diplomacy between axiologies) the token trinket is precisely that – a token – ie an excuse for eating the chocolate. Similarly the point of having been defeated by Blackbeard is not that he could have harmed you, but that you were scared.

If we could obtain the permission to sample the audio of Zizek’s Slavic-inflected phrase “in a perverse way” in Slavic accent, we would continue, musically – in sync. In a perverse way, we do not thirst for the fruits of capital intensification — not even in the ultimate form of the Singularity (which is infinity-for-free). In a perverse way, we invite acceleration (the future, sooner) because we desire to be giddy in the process and court the chance of finding kairos. Even the girls who, in a perverse way, kiss each other for attention are not the point of the male gaze’s interest.

The end goal of any such scenario is not satisfaction — the point is ecstasy, ie to having been there. That’s what an ecstatic scenario is: a type of seduction, attached to a type of chrematistics, attached to a sequence of increasing axiologies. In general axiology ecstasy is finally true.

Kyklos/Kairos

I.

A hidden consequence of this intense focus on axiology as a prime sequentiating thread is that what theory exposition teases at is a world that is “whyness all the way down”. It leaves nothing to explain except systemic settings and proximal reasons. But note “whyness” and not “meaningness” as per current vogue: the discourse of theory is technical and void and radically apraxic.

Even then, theory realizes (this is a technical word, it means “brings something from reality”) itself only to the point allowed by reigning constraints of interfacticity. For example, we’ve been happily talking about larger  and smaller axiologies and leaving pregnant silences about the resulting mereological issues. And it’s not that there isn’t a way out, it’s that theory can only be said to be realized if it’s understood by someone else and can potentially be explained to a third party and so on. So like seduction in the classical sexual context, theory depends on this dance. Am I saying Harsanyi type spaces will make us infinite? Only as far as possible under reigning constraints of interfacticity.

If our project was philosophical, we’d have to decide at this point which grand gamble to place: either generic structure is apraxic (the Parmenidean option); or either there is something fundamental about “coping” (the Heideggerean option) that mends the apraxia of theory with the mundaneness of everyday (ambient) conditions. But a man once wrote a poem that said theory is waiting, la théorie est attente, établissement de l’hômme — du réel sans chair, sans phrase, sans monde, l’acte sans pratique, la formule sans discourse… this man, Gilles Grelet, gave us something else to do rather than philosophy: to suspend the shitmess that is praxis.

This entails, of course, the dangerous game we’ve been playing here for the last few months: moving beyond the reality principle.

 

II.

Can something be done about theory? Under truth-rain, the answer is “sort of”. Theory interfaces with coping, which is at once generic praxis, the praxis of praxis of praxis, and minimal praxis in the sense that many other things are practiced. But the failure to cope is death, and there’s nothing apraxic, let alone theoretical about that — death is the limit point of “meaningness”, the boundary layer of truth. This is a trap! It binds us to philosophy.

But there’s a second answer, a confident “yes”. At a cost: we have to brave outside truth-rain. Take care not to lose your soul in the process — this is not for children.

A rough Vedic misreading of Ancient Greek religion is that it worshipped time against chaos. This is literally true in their stories: king-god Zeus himself was the bastard son of Chronos, this principle of tragic sequentiation. But as much as they might have evoked Chronos in their famous stageplay tragedies, the ancients saw their practical affairs as taking place in a much different time, sequentiated in l human fallibility. This is known as Kyklos. Throughout the classical course of kyklos (ie through shitmess of classical praxis) hard times bore strong men who bore good times who bore weak men who bore hard times, possibly with more intermediate, pedagogic steps. (To foreshadow: two questions are thereby posed by those who live in kyklos: how to slow it down, and how to accelerate it.)

If coping is a kind of “degree zero” of praxis, kyklos is the tempo of praxis — implicitly, those who read the Space Opera have been aware of its role in sequentiating the frames of the satisfiability planning problem that technically define the ambient conditions. Kyklos is as easily measured in phase angles as in chronic durations; to misquote a YouTuber, kyklos is the tempo of “the wave; and if you’re surfing you do not confuse yourself with the wave”.

III.

Metabolical creatures such as humans (and unlike, say, lizards) are born with a chronic ticking clock that stops only with death (the crest wave of “meaningness”), but they nevertheless report kyklic variances — anomalous experience of tempo in pace, duration and even order of events. Kyklic anomalies only propagate through interfacticity, and particularly interfacticites incident on kyklic beings; but the phenomenology of this is familiar to pretty much everyone who has been through times of cheer and times of loss.

That the tempo of praxis fluctuates like a jazz drummer should make us suspicious that there is something to reality that is nonpractical, ie something that is not indexed by the succession of frame axioms. Theory (the theory of generic structure) dares by its mere impracticality to suggest apraxic attentats against the the surface continuity of tempo. It dares to pose increasing sequences of axiologies taking place in a time out of tempo, bursting out ahead of disclosure in sheer chronicity.

Also following Ancient Greek usage, we give the name Kairos to the time of apraxic insurrection. The literal meaning of Kairos is weather (a collision that has been kept in many languages, to the point that talking heads say “the prediction of time” on TV). This is synecdoche: the weather is decisive in the opportuneness of action in naval battles — not any weather, of course, but the weather that quabilizes naval battle in pure and akyklic chronicity.

Indeed all sorts of practical pursuits hinge on finding a footing (material balance and ability to dance) in kairos; much of what is called “risk” has to do with hallucinating the presence of battle weather.

But something that is to dance with kairos has to have already lifted off from the surface of tempo. To fly above the surface of tempo one must leap upward into apraxia. Theory is waiting in mid-air.

The sound of music

I.

General axiology is not a get-rich-quick scheme. But it implies one.

That I allude at increasing frequency to its (generically!) infinite possibilities plays a structural role not in theory but in the development of theory. The secret of theory is not that truth can’t be told (this is common wisdom to all philosophical traditions), but rather that theory itself isn’t produced — it is not made to appear. On the contrary, theory operates by seduction. Like in the old joke about how statistics resemble bikinis, what theory shows can be sensational, but what it hides is the objet petit a.

That I keep saying that I don’t have a working theory of general axiology yet, and that a conspiracy is needed to produce it fulfills a triple role: (a) it’s the kind of honest disclaimer by which we allow ourselves to fail completely (b) it performs a kind of dance-of-the-seven-veils that aludes (again, in full honesty) to the structural role of seduction in how theory is performed in public and (c) it tries to seduce the reader to join the conspiracy (itself a “conspiracy-rain”, a surrender to ambient conditions of concert).

Of course, that this all has some performative content does not elude anyone used to philosophical gobbledygook. But the reader that trusts that there’s something consistent to what we’re doing may be inclined to believe that the get-rich-quick stuff [frame axioms] is an application of general axiology, when it’s actually in the stuff of general axiology. Given that no axiology is larger than general axiology, it would indeed be less inaccurate (but still bizarre) to say that general axiology is an application [frame axiom] of the get-rich-quick scheme.

The core of Hindu monism (Advaita Vedanta), at least selon Alan Watts, is that Atman is Brahman, that the jewel within the True Self is one and the same with the universal principle of expansion my intellectual friends like to worship as Reality. This is also our limiting claim: larger ethics subsumes chrematistics and is subsumed by… red balloons all the way up to general axiology.

II.

Common (small-ish, perhaps within the reach of a functional hypomanic) axiology is more or less divided in self-justified tiny, (left or right) half axiologies. The surface tension between these “micrologies” is the origin of larger axiologies: at one level economics and ethics are at odds; the next level therefore carries a (left/intensional) theory of the ethical means of valuing things by economics. But left-half axiologies are toothless; a larger axiology is stabilized by a strong (right-half) extensional means of production, such as the Law.

There’s enough material for a seminar on the origins of the Law (seen as a construct of the axiology machine) in the surface tension between left and right half-axiologies. But we want to talk instead about chrematistics, which is to say, the valuable (consonant to a suitably large axiology) means of obtaining great wealth. The subject is rarely broached in polite (theory) circles; this is partly explained by the availability of economics as a (left-half/intensive) theory where ten million bucks is worth ten times as much as a million bucks and certain works of art may be worth even more.

The overwhelming technical success of economics has made bogus squabbles (such as usury) disappear in sufficiently large axiologies, while making others blurry (which can be empirically verified at art auctions). But it didn’t explain away (1) what is great wealth and (2) how to obtain it. Marx, an early economist, saw this problem on the horizon, answering: (1) labor-time and (2) surplus value and exploitation. The technical problem with this system is that both “labor” and “time” in “labor-time” are too heterogeneous; the resulting practical problem is that this reduces the creation of value to the extraction of stockpiles of time and therefore the obtainment of wealth to its acquisition. Therefore all wealth is the exploitation of finite time, and there’s no valuable path to great wealth — no chrematistics.

(A hypothetical question: didn’t some people at least get rich doing this? Actually they didn’t do it by pure time-theft; they had to provide civilization –some large enough axiology that supports “exploitative” economics. There is a “White Man’s burden” even in rapacious oppression.)

III.

It’s probably clear by now that we have to define great wealth if we are to speak the discourse of infinity.  Several real/quable-life preconditions apply: you should already be on speaking terms with your desire  — you’re truly fucked if you’re stuck dreaming the dreams of others. You should also strive to become increasingly mindful of your Pink Panther,

What might need  insistent and progressive clarification is that the discourse of infinity is a structural affair. If we weren’t so ill-disposed towards abusing mathematical metaphor, we could suggest it’s an algebraic affair. On its apparent quable merits, general axiology is a geodesical dome, a very large yet lightweight structure that spans a surprising volume. Desire (notice singular form; not “desires”) that is structurally compatible with a suitable general axiology is in almost every aspect already fulfilled, met, extinct; general axiologies that fit our desire structure by definition make us infinite — the problem is obtaining one.

The word”chrematistics” stems from the Ancient Greek term for the art of acquiring great material wealth. That there are several small-ish chrematistics whose means for obtaining value are not valuable means has not escaped the Ancients. This is not to say that “axiologistics” has thus disappeared from the theory-making landscape; large axiologies of power and legitimacy has often interfaced with the smaller axiology of war — a form of chrematistics that is submissive to higher-goal is rediscovered there under the soubriquet of “strategy”. But increasingly (for example, in corporate boards) the “why” finds itself as  the core theme of “strategy”-making, whereby fitting strategy to ambient conditions of truth-market-war has the pseudoalgebraic structural role of fitting the desire structure to the general axiology.

A conspiracy — even if just a conspiracy to understand, to figure out if Jair is getting impeached soon or the Supreme Court will be successful in initiating the coup d’état it just announced — needs to go through the work of general axiology. And, at the risk of repeating ourselves, desire satisfaction is key to uncovering general axiologies and working forward towards the theory of generic structure.

The Wave

Let’s try again from the top.

1. Theory is the theory of generic structure (i.e. the theory of the theory of the theory of the … of the theory of generic structure)

2.1. A left (half) axiology is an intensional theory of what’s valuable. Left axiologies can define values but not produce them.

2.2 A full axiology is a left axiology together with a right (half) axiology, defined as an extensional theory of what’s valuable. The extensional theory is able to produce (= make apparent) values. When we say “axiology” simpliciter we mean “full axiology”.

2.3 An axiology A is larger than an axiology A’ if it contains a theory of the valuable means of producing values in A’.

2.4. We give the name general axiologies to the largest possible axiologies. However we have not yet obtained an extensional theory that is able to produce the valuable means of producing a general axiology; therefore we can at best speak of general half axiologies, and this at the risk of any random person exhibit a larger half axiology.

3. Structure is structured as a structure. Generic structure is distinguished by the fact that it is structured as generic structure only. (In contrast the unconscious is structured as a language and statistics is structured as a measure theory over elementary events).

3.1. It may or may not be the case that there is a unique general axiology; but clearly there is a unique generic structure. To wit, two parallel pseudogeneric structures would have the structure of being a generic structure which is the generic structure.

3.2 By construction the generic structure is nonquabilistic.

4. Structures are pure intensional structures (again a recursive definition). An image: structures are pure beings of pure light.

4.1 Quability is the extensional fringe of structures. Quability is what makes angels glow. Technical analogies: satisfiability for Boolean propositions or probability for random events.

4.2. Quables are extensive (= having extension) incidence relations such as: “as a”. Greater degrees of abstraction are achieved by avoiding working with quables themselves and dealing itself in quability conditions (and subsequently the quability conditions of quability conditions…) This is essential in working on social and political issues.

5. What do we want? Infinite wealth and infinite wisdom.

5.1. How will we get it? General axiology.

5.2. Where do we want it? In the asemic horizon?

5.3. When do we want it? Sooner than later, but I might need help. What is needed, after all, is a conspiracy.

The unbearable lightness of Prince Kropotkin in Hi-Z

I

The recursive definition of “theory”: theory is the theory of generic structure. Just leaving this here.

II

A veritable constitutional crisis that has been brewing in Brazil for a while is currently reaching a boiling point. ‘Tis probably none of the things you are thinking about if you aren’t extremely current on Brazilian politics (myself, I’m not — I’m just “well-versed”).

To a significant extent this crisis mode is well-known to the American public, who term it “judicial activism” (wherever they’re even aware of it). But “activism” is a gentle name that alludes to the kind of personalistic, unintelligible personal axiology that leads people to riot, whereas this rift is a structural affair carrying near-tectonic energies.

(It would be a great disservice to the patient reader who keeps being sucked into theoretical texts if I attempted to quickly summarize the literature on the structural fault lines of presidential systems all by myself; the stuff of politics is best explained by professional political scientists. I strongly endorse Scott Mainwaring on presidentialism in/and Latin America; more generally I encourage a deep dive into David Easton, although much of his best work is in paper books not usually found outside university libraries.)

There is a subtle distinction yet to be made between a contradiction (which comes in two forms — logical or dialectical; the latter requires subscribing to a particular ontological genre, at least locally), a paradox and an aporia. I’m not equipped to put forward a generic theory of this distinction; but from the phenomenology, a paradox is an epistemological embarrassment that points to a deeper unity that’s not yet understood; an aporia, on the other hand, is an impasse on some deeper plane of univocity. An aporia embarrasses Understanding because Understanding realizes (it brings something from reality) that something about the world is not structured in the same way (not by isomorphism nor by analogy) that Understanding is.

The key point of the poli sci literature that has deeply influenced us is that presidentialism, the system of separation of powers, is structurally untenable. This is empirically verifiable — all well-functioning political systems are parliamentary, while most presidential systems (particularly off-OECD) alternate coups, political crises and generalized corruption to keep congress in place. The takeaway of mr. Mainwaring’s works for us is that presidentialism is probably unquable with  (within? the arity of quability still confuses us) the ambient conditions of truth (maybe one day we’ll able to verify this by computer); more importantly, you might need to part ways with the truth-rain in order to fully cope with presidentialism.

To the extent that political representation is even possible, parliamentary representation has the greater resolution; roughly, the greatest entropy-carrying capacity. This is why political systems where mass representation is absorbed by a singular figure are wildly considered “undemocratic”, a ten-dollar word which translates to “bad”. Following this, we could  temporarily suspend all discussion of the facticity of democracy and political representation and assign a type to the word “democracy” without assigning a corresponding value — democracy is of type “large axiology” (large because it’s a higher-order theory of how smaller axiologies can be constructed and/or validated).

All democracies (meaning “all large axiologies attached to claims of political legitimacy”) feature parliamentary representation. This can either be taken as an empirical fact given a fixed definition of “large axiology” and “legitimacy”, or a constraint on large axiologies such that the real world emerges. Presidential systems sport a separate and independent branch of government that  has a claim to equal or stronger political legitimacy, by contrast of the historically clear presidential image and the  dilution of individual legitimacy claims in bodies with as many as 600 members). But this  stronger claim to legitimacy (under quability conditions for “democracy”) is necessarily attached to a smaller axiology that is continually tested for quability with the larger axiology (for journalists: “presidential power is expected to respect the rules of democracy). Therefore structurally (but not in terms of legitimacy and actual range of action) the Presidency are effectively powerless against the larger axiology that may reshape it.

How is it possible then that presidents are actually really powerful and generally held as the foremost leaders of the nations their governments rule over?  An easy answer in common language — the constitution enforces specific attributions and powers to the Bossman. But what is this constitution? On some structural level it encodes some of the meta-values of large axiology (there may be several large axiologies but you come here to learn about Brazilian politics) in prescriptive form (the large morality that lies above large chrematistics). But constitutions are “ill-posed”; they’re overquable, they admit “many interpretations” in more or less the same way a CNF formula admits many satisfiable “solutions”. Is this a problem? Only in the absence of an even larger axiology.

Of course such an even larger axiology exists, right? “The values held by society at large” or whatever Foucault you want to fit in this. Legitimacy is not the source of overconstitutional power — it’s a floating sign that points to the large-scale (large in timespace-length, not in the sense of larger and smaller axiologies) emergent process which dotes the thing of the world with a certain stability and the freedom from utter chaos. But nevertheless the even-larger axiology is powerful enough that mob rule effectively rules over constitutional controls which rules over presidential power.

Therefore presidential power is incompatible with the large axiology. Aporia.

III.

I’m renowned for playing fast and loose, but here we’re being even less prudent than usual. No attempt at a technical theory of larger and smaller axiologies has been made in the space opera.  The quability status of “legitimacy” in formulas involving axiologies and axiology drift is left floating. Why? In an analogy that may in the future be codified in technical theory or plainly forgotten, the fog of realpolitik (which is the continuation of war by other means) presents a high enough level of impedance that a three-valued logic is materially implied  where the quable states HIGH and LOW are complemented by the unintelligible (yet formally perfect) state of HI-Z.

But I do hope the ruse of large axiology in this specific context is clear. We’ve replaced a (necessary but best found elsewhere) theory of real politics by a theory of the value systems that animate the thing of the world. Humans (their vanity, akrasia, lust) are mostly left out of the story. Of course, phenomena like political corruption are perfectly quable to large axiology; the floating sign “corruption” (possibly a hi-Z state in the logic of legitimacy) is fully implied by the floating sign “democracy” (which is replaced by the low-impedance theory of large axiology.) To wit, large axiology contains a large chrematistics — in which lining one’s pocket is usually subordinate to a large morality of political change. As axiologies become larger and larger money loses its end-goal status; in crude analogy it has the role of bowls of condoms in an orgy.

This is, again, not a theory of how people behave, it’s a theory of value, or rather a theory of value theories. With this trick, the bowls-of-condom analogy of money  (i.e. that money is required but not sufficient in the general axiology that will make us infinite points) points to a realist-moralist view of the world. Realist normativity! Paradox.

IV

The breaking point of the constitutional crisis: a petit comité of members of parliament is suing for the impeachment of over one-third of the Supreme Court. The proximal cause: in its capacity as Revolutionary Guard, the Court has decided that the law on hate and violent crimes stemming from racism applies to hate and violent crimes stemming from homophobia. Note well that this doesn’t mean that, in its capacity as the ultimate interpreter (i.e. the ultimate source of quability) of the Law, the Court has decided that homophobia is a type of racism, presumably because they both imply the wrong attribution of moral value to a biological invariant (this assuming the ahistorical view that homosexual preferences are obtained in the womb). No, nene, no — the larger chrematistics contained in the larger axiology (mob rule) has prevailed over the large axiology roughly associated with the word “democracy”. The judges have echoed the theses of the plaintiffs (which didn’t even have a token antagonist; this wasn’t a court case, LGBT interest groups simply bullied the Judges) on the heinousness of homophobia.

[Note how, while lacking technical clarification, the theory (remember: theory is the theory of generic structure) of larger and smaller axiologies shines a light on this crisis as an type of equilibrium solution stemming from the systemic source of quability.]

Of course, “democracy” fights back. Parliament has not been asleep during this naked power grab. The Court’s capacity as criminal court for politicians further complicates the matter: parliament it has not been asleep while their actions under large chrematistics have been criminalized and delegitimized, putting many of its members at the mercy of the Court. Thus the ongoing potential for a constitutional crisis: The relative incompetence of politicians who haven’t been able to operate under sufficient secrecy has empowered the Court in its capacity as criminal court, and it would seem that this newfound legitimacy (i.e. this large-chrematistic engineering) would translate to its capacity as Revolutionary guard. After all, as you might have noticed in Glenn Greenwald’s writings, the Brazilian Parliament kind of sucks, doesn’t it? Each election makes it more and more conservative, how is it supposed to enact mob rule axiology?

By virtue of reflecting this more-and-more conservative weltanschauung, Jair’s presidential victory produces a focal point; it makes criminalizing homophobia an urgent matter (a high-valued action in mob rule axiology). The progressive self-empowerment of the Revolutionary Guard makes them natural allies. Which makes the Supreme Court, in their current configuration, enemies of “democracy”. Contradiction.

IV

(If you have been following us (parts 1234) you’re not naive enough to regex-replace “democracy” for “good”. That’s somewhat akin to investing money in some really bad savings account whose interest rates barely cover inflation. But we haven’t decreed in #NRx style that “democracy” is “chaos” either; we may have no use for that word in the general axiology that will make us infinitely wise and infinitely rich.)