Sunday, October 23, 2011

Co-operation and Self (Concept)

By James Curcio

A thought occurred to me that I want to share in hopes that it will generate more thought, writing, debate, and the reference of source material, as it is one of several issues I have seen silently begged, if not raised, by the Occupy Whatever movement. It also is an extension of the more general consideration raised in this article. (The conclusion of this line of thought will appear in our upcoming anthology Apocalyptic Imaginary.)

Unicellular to multi-cellular evolution took a seemingly inordinate amount of time, that is, until you consider the systemic leap that is required between a single unit, with a single will, and multiple units with a shared will. This complexity certainly shouldn't be lost on anyone who has tried to make a decision when in a group, and how the layers of expectation and posturing, demand and avoidance, can compound until it is quite simply impossible for the group-as-such to make a decision at all, and it invariably fragments in any number of ways.

This is problematic not just in the most obvious sense - in the sense in which any being that thinks of itself as having a singular will - must attempt to couple that with an overarching group objective. "Agreement" so often demands compromise, conquest, even genocide; conflict is the result not necessarily of flaw, but rather an abundance of divergent wills. The natural world is rife with conflict and fecund birth-conflict-consumption-death for this very reason. Life has always been "against all odds," not an agreement met and reached through parliamentary debate.

It seems almost impossible to avoid an entropic movement toward one of several equally undesirable states in one way or another: fascism, where all individual wills are relegated to the group will, which itself will invariably be co-opted by a singular will, or destabilization, where energy is fed endlessly in the system until it eventually, necessarily, must dissolve, most likely to the mutual disappointment of those involved. This is especially problematic for utopian models, but it is equally problematic for the transition from essential (theoretical) to functional democracy. Put one hundred people in a room, give them a system that forces true egalitarianism, and try to get them to reach a consensus about what to have for lunch and you'll quickly see the problem here.

Political problems are thus social problems, and social problems are thus personal, if we open the supposed "singularity" of ourself as organism into the chaotic array of different bodies that it actually is. The singularity is in fact a recognition of system rather than an individual, and it is because of this that observations garnered from one scale--the biological interaction of "harmful" and "helpful" bacteria within "our" bodies, all so defined from the perspective of the will that defines itself--might be applicable to another, even if some assumption of scalability may be specious or even in error. (For instance, the analysis of matter at quantum and relativistic scales.)

Bazooka Star
This is probably a simplification of several Deleuzian ideas, though I hope even sketches in this direction will be a little more accessible to the general reader than 1000 Plateaus.

Be that as it may, I'd like to present the thought that a consideration of the means by which cells co-operate by design might be studied with the intent of modelling for social and political ends, as we see the structures presently in place, all based on ideals grounded in the long-failed Enlightenment Agenda, tremble and buckle the world over.

This is a request for work already done in this vein, or more of it to be done, rather than a thesis-conclusion formulation of an idea. I would love to hear your thoughts on expanding this into an actual model, either from the other writers here, or in public or private discussion.

[Check out some of the books, albums, and soon movies produced by Mythos Media and our various media partners.]

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...