Physique du rôle – Enterprise edition

I. Clarifications

Bluntly put — if, however, doing some violence to the appogiaturas and rubatos that give theory the effect of fiddling with the frame — the domain of the axiological is the domain of what matters.

In contrast, the domain of the epistemic is what is true. From an epistemological point of view, what matters is an annoyance, a source of minor but painful paradoxes, trolley problems and all such stuff. Then: already in Hume we’re warned of an is-ought distinction, which is to say, of a basic inability of epistemics to conquer axiological matter.

asemic horizon is working in the exact opposite direction. Whenever we did focus on epistemics at all — which we don’t often: truth-rain both suffices and points to the complex metaphysical problems of quability and ambient conditions — we’d highlight epistemorphisms — those specific operators that match something real, something that matters, to something true-valued.

Someone asks: “do you love me?” Here “love” is something that, very literally, doesn’t fit inside a single person — a supernova, an erupting volcano, a thousand collapsing anthills. But the question-format asks for a truthlike answer (which can’t be technically defined in the absence of a true theory of “true”) and the best that can be done under these conditions is to resort to epistemorphic shortcuts. “Yes, I do” is not a statement of fact, it’s a statement of love. Depending on context it can even be a precursor to sex, something that gets a direct physiological value — not true, not false, not neither, not both.

Of course, the grand conceit of theory is that physiology too is something that matters. Not physiology as an object of discourse and higher education, but as the base material for great achievement. This is our Kehre: yes, even bare-life-as-such is an axiological affair.

II. Clairvoyance

asemic horizon does not reach as far as trivializing truth. It says that epistemics is a red herring, a dead end; but it also pays recurrent and insistent respect to mathematics, which ultimately translates (through the etymology rabbit hole) to true knowledge. There’s a beautiful paradox here: the objects of mathematical training are formal and rigorous theories (plural), but these are communicated heuristically, analogically, through gestures and improvised diagrams. The best math-learning experience one can have is a small-ish graduate-level classroom: at the critical point, some Dasein-like feature of the situation overpowers the basic conceit and overall concern with rigor: intuition clicks in the shared mindspace. Mathematics — and this is crystal clear to someone who has had advanced classes — is, then, a sort of mystery tradition; profoundly disconcerting is the fact that this mystical thread has continued to produce true-knowledgeness.

But: the rhetorical implication of this gnostic mystery cult view of mathematics is that there is no true-knowledgeness to be found outside mathematics. Maths would be an embarassing exception to the “axiological turn” if all this gnosticism didn’t mean that mathematics matters – true knowledgeness matters. To the best efforts of our research so far, everything flows from axiologies — everything counts in large amounts.

Now, this discussion both inverts and generalizes some epistemorphic concerns raised towards the end of the original Physique du Role. To recap: after running through a meandering thread of concept-creation in a vacuum of external justification, the original essay ends up characterizing itself as a “flight of hermeneutics”, and proceeds to critique the critiques made by scientific discourse towards hermeneutics by showing science in general being contingent and hermeneutic. But this is a race to the bottom: asemic horizon‘s greatest appeal is its verve and brashness and vatic atittude, as best revealed by its inconsequent approach to proliferating technicall concepts and making just-so stories about topics that interest us.

In other words: what the original Physique du Rôle is too shy to admit is that theory works through clairvoyance. Now, if you have been up to pop-neuroscience, you may be aware of the emerging consensus that the mind works primarily by prediction. This appears to be so close to the Popper doctrine, but it diverges wildly in that Popper seems married to a kind of conjectural nominalism, while the current neuro doctrine is that we predict first — even our bare sensations are not sensations. Anyone who has distractedly driven a car home without even noticing the time knows this to be true: we’re just doing, just being. The just-being of theory is clairvoyance. And we can show that clairvoyance actually works by pointing out that you’re reading this (and hopefully many others). This means, of course — theory matters.

III. Revolution

I have a tendency to insert revolutionary colors in texts that are so concept-dense they appear to appeal to no one in particular. Clickbait? Sure. The ultimate value of our project may be hugely uncertain (probably somewhere between a Curtis Yarvin spin on the Timecube, and an Osho spin on the Moravec transfer), but even by lowest estimates, asemic horizon is criminally under-read. The revolutionary clickbait works; sexuality-based clickbait works even better, but it’s harder to give these people the pay-off they want.

At any rate: our key finding about revolution is that, quote deLilo, it is “crouched and undecidable”. Those who are sincerely engaged in revolutionary work often labor under the impression they have a clear picture past Year Zero. But this is definitionally impossible. Actual revolution both presupposes and implies a rapid change in ambient chromaticity. See: we don’t find revolution to be indecidable because of a future-contingents roadblock (that all we see into the future is modal). No, nena, no: in a world carried forward in clicky tempo, what’s really in a fog of undiscernibility is the present.

Which is to say — revolution is in the waiting. So is theory.

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