Minimaxima

I. (Mirror scene)

My twitter bio bears a mangled quote from asemic horizon that witnesses (a phrase is a witness; think of this for a while) to the fundamental distinction between the I and the we voices: it says

Theory is, after all, a praxis of intelligibility; and there is nothing intelligible about the inevitability of revolution.

which, of course, runs counter to my apparent (i.e. ostensible) politics. Personal inclinations, ça va sans dire, are not counter to theoretical investigation; indeed, they are active elements. It was, after all, my openness to Jairwave (something that no other theoretician of revolution could achieve) that got us into the rabbit hole.

Of course, the inevitability thesis is somewhat more subtle: the original source material actually says (emphasis formatting maintained)

Theory is, after all, a praxis of intelligibility, whether sincere or contrived, serious or droll, and there’s nothing intelligible about the inevitability of revolution — where, of course, “revolution” has pretty much been redefined to mean the unintelligible inevitability that looms over our attempts to arrest the [axiology] drift.

This is, perhaps, the finest example of generic formulation: it fits a conservative outlook on social change by suggesting that revolutionary work is unnecessary (but not that this is reflected in the dialectics of collapse in OG Marxism, for example); but this sly suggestion (not fully implied by the quote) in turn implies that counter-revolutionary work is unnecessary.

Inevitability implies an event horizon beyond (my and your) machinations; the aporia in the “sly suggestion” implies this event horizon is directionless and therefore void of meaning — an asemic horizon. In turn, the claim to a genericity that would permit the sly suggestion to arise claims a kind of ecstasy/ek-stasis of theory. And there is the fucking rub: “doing ecstatic theory” presupposes the I/we voice split.

This leaves us running in circles, like in a hamster wheel: the ecstasy of theory requires the voice split, but the voice split is (or tries to be) a filter around what’s lived-context, praxis, typing fingers, and what’s pure and void and thought out. What’s being filtered is theory; but each time something that’s not theory is revealed.

The supremum of theory takes place in the kind of universal algebra where the “smaller” and “larger” of axiologies are formalized (and thereafter erased or colored into the background) as “meets” and “joins”. But this is probably beyond my present effort-investment in asemic horizon, and also virtually devoid of interest to anyone who hasn’t been seduced by General Axiology yet. The infimum of theory is, well, the “take”. In a perverse way, all you get (for the time being) is my take on theory.

II. (Soleá por bulerías)

The hardest known material is not really hard: it’s (our word, not theirs) delocalized:

Our architecture derives its extreme hardness from the local resonance between the embedded ceramics in a flexible cellular matrix and the attacking tool, which produces high-frequency vibrations at the interface. The incomplete consolidation of the ceramic grains during the manufacturing also promoted fragmentation of the ceramic spheres into micron-size particulate matter, which provided an abrasive interface with increasing resistance at higher loading rates. 

Ideas such as decentralization and desynchronization cut a vertical stroke through theory. This stroke touches the very beginning: Macunaíma as the widespread amorality that underwrote the (selectively scrutinized) behavior of politicians. But we grew up fast; decentralizing tempo taught us about the asynchronous structure of actual ongoing conditions; decentralizing relations of proximity and similarity gave us ideas about the very physics that underwrite the ambient conditions. If we weren’t so deeply reverential about the man, this could very well be nicknamed the Deleuze story: not because there is anything rhizomatic about it, but because it builds on local models of the world — graphs and differential geometry, rather than “global” vector calculus or algebraic topology.

But not every concept of theory is local; indeed there is often a deep ambiguity (say, in physique du role) between local and global features. This ambiguity is due to the fact that both “local” and “global” are indexed by an ambient sense of “place”, whereas in the general case concepts are place-less (delocalized). Physique du role is neither in Alice Glass’s withdrawal nor in her lithe contours and minxy allure; it’s not in the reach of her actions, nor in evolutionary psychology, neither in her personality nor in her sexual suggestions. It (the quability conditions of “Alice Practice”) happens to her as much as it does to anyone else.

This false local/global dichotomy has not escaped the daredevil engineers in their quest for hard-to-cut composite material:

Local changes in the microstructure of the ceramic sphere material resulting from localized heating (due to friction with the cutting blade) could enable a phase change and densification of alumina under certain conditions. Such material hardening on the surface of the spheres is likely to further enhance the cutting resistance of our architected material and should be investigated in future studies.

Of course, Delanda has said in his Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy that Deleuze and Guattari should be understood as 24th century engineers. That’s seduction, whereas engineering is concerned with production (to make appear. Yet this kind of Star Trek engineering remains exceedingly rare (while clearly possible even in 2020) because you can’t make people think in new ways. I can’t even show you where I’ve been in my own theoretical awakening — not in theory; not without crossing the I/we split. At best, one can try to evoke a whirlwind and an invitation to a kind of trance experience — an experience of ecstasis, ek-stasis, a state of being beside oneself.

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