Saturday, July 05, 2008

[Rough. I'll fix it later. I'm sick of this shit.]

As always I return to the same points: the necessity for (and the obvious presence of) divided loyalty among individuals [or "nodes"] and the strange willingness of academic intellectuals to accept self-reported data as long as they're the one's reporting it.

No one network can foster both dynamism and stability, only multiple overlapping networks, constructed among the same points. The only way to avoid recognizing this easily demonstrated fact is if out of little more than ideological bias, you choose to see yourself as undivided, as a unified reasoning mechanism. There is no evidence for this in human history.

The definition of a renaissance is of a moment of dynamic tension between individuals and community. It's not freedom that produces such moments. but the discovery of freedom by those still bound by obligation. The dynamism of social democracy is the dynamism of self-interest held in check by community. I've been reading recently that Descartes is associated with the birth of the subject. The only people who could argue this are those ignorant of both Michelangelo and Shakespeare. I myself would say Masaccio, whom Michelangelo revered. Self-awareness begins not with a fallacious clarity but with an acknowledgment of anxiety and doubt.

Why has no one ever responded to my comments over these past few years about my old landlady and our neighbors who refused to charge market rent? There has to be a way to put this data [and it is data!] into an economic model. Why does DeLong throw up his hands in frustration at the existence of the Scandinavian model? The answer is that economists like DeLong and you can't allow for the presence of competing imperatives in the same body: people must be either selfish or selfless, they must make a choice! But they never do. The genius of European social and cultural life is not idealism (far from it) but the pressures that designate money and wealth as vulgar, that keep the fact of it a little below the surface. A community of entirely and openly self-interested monads will fail. So a statement that "all people are self-interested" means nothing, unless it is tied to a further statement "all people are bound by obligation."

Another study someone should make: Compare Google to Apple. Google deals in information and money and in the the esthetic of the abstract and intangible. [On money and invisibility I owe a debt to my old roommate. I'm one of the two dedicatees for that paper so I'm returning the kindness.]

Apple is preoccupied not only with abstraction but with the material presence of it's products, not only with conceptual but physical design. It's an example of a boutique capitalism that's also as a result self-limiting. The only way for Apple to go beyond it's chosen niche would be for it to be joined under a conglomerate cf. Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Steve Jobs will never be as rich as Bill Gates and Apple will never be as malign a force as Microsoft, or this site's chosen idol, Google. You prefer the latter because unlike Microsoft, it's a competent organization, but if anything that makes it more dangerous. Competent hegemons always are, yes?

Again and again: The genius of our justice system is not in complex networks but in the adversarial relations of two: the prosecutorial network and the network of the defense attorneys. The genius of consciousness is not in one complex system but in the overlaying of neural networks of computation with those of conditioned response that compete and contradict.
It doesn't matter how complex your system is. If you're only building one you're wasting your time.

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