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Google is the latest of the Big techs to step into Financial services. Smallest Black Hole ever discovered represents a New Class. It intervenes as mediator between man and the world; it is, in this respect, the first detached object, since the world is a unity, a milieu rather than an ensemble of objects; there are in fact three types of reality: the world, the subject, and the object, which is intermediary between the world and the subject, whose initial form is that of the technical object.
However, this rupture also produces a deficit: the technical tool or instrument has only retained figural characteristics detached from the ground to which they were once directly attached since they arose out of an initial structuration that provoked the emergence of figure and ground within a reality that had been one and continuous. Conversely, in technics, after the rupture, what the technical object retained and maintained of figural characteristics will henceforth encounter any ground whatsoever, an anonymous, foreign ground.
The technical object has become a bearer of form, a remnant of figural characteristics, and it seeks to apply this form to a ground that is now detached from the figure, having lost its intimate relation of belonging, and capable of being informed by whichever form it encounters, but in a violent, more or less imperfect manner; figure and ground have become foreign and abstract in relation to each other.
Perhaps it does not even come from the reflected and conceptualized experience of technics: before the knowledge of the living being and before the reflection on technics, there is this implicit adequation of figure and ground, ruptured by technics; if the hylomorphic schema appears to emerge from technical experience, it is as a norm or as an ideal rather than as an experience of the real; technical experience, putting into play vestiges of figural elements and vestiges of the ground characteristics gives new life to the primary intuition of a mutual belonging of matter and form, of a coupling preceding all splitting.
In this sense, the hylomorphic schema is true, not because of the logical use that has been made of it in ancient philosophy, but as an intuition of a structure of the universe for man prior to the birth of technics. This relation cannot be hierarchized, there cannot be more and more abstract successive stages of matter and form, since the real model of the relation of matter and form is the first structuration of the universe into ground and figure; indeed, this structuration can only be true if it is not abstract, if it is on a single level; the ground is really ground and the figure is really figure, it cannot become ground for a higher figure.
Furthermore, perhaps it should not be said that the individual being alone has form and matter; since the appearance of a figure-ground structure is prior to any segregation of units; the mutual relation of correspondence of such a key-point and of such a ground neither presupposes this key-point to be isolated from the network of other key-points nor this ground to be without continuity with the other grounds: a universe is what is structured in this way, and not a set [ ensemble ] of individuals; after the rupture of the primitive reticulation the first detached beings to appear are technical objects and religious subjects, and they are charged either with figural characteristics or with characteristics of ground: hence they do not fully possess form and matter.
The dissociation of the primitive structuring of the magical universe entails a series of consequences for technics and religion, and through them, conditions the subsequent coming-into-being of science and ethics. Unity belongs to the magical world. The phase shift opposing technics and religion irreducibly leaves the content of technics with a status lower than unity and that of religion with a status higher than unity.
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This is where all the other consequences come from. In order to fully understand the status of the technicity of objects, one must grasp this coming-into-being that puts the primitive unity out of phase. Religion, retaining its ground-characteristics homogeneity, qualitative nature, lack of distinction of elements within a system of mutual influences, long distance action through space and time, engendering ubiquity and eternity , represents the putting into play of these functions of totality.
A particular being, a defined object of attention or effort, is always considered, in religious thought, to be smaller than the real unity, inferior to the totality and included in it, surpassed by the totality of space and preceded and followed by the immensity of time. The object, the being, the individual, subject or object, are always grasped as less than unity, dominated by a sensed totality that infinitely surpasses them. The source of transcendence lies in the function of totality that dominates the particular being; according to the religious view, this particular being is understood with reference to a totality in which it participates, on which it exists, but which it can never completely express.
Religion universalizes the function of a totality, which is dissociated and consequently freed of all figural attachment limiting it; the grounds related to the world in magical thought, and consequently limited by the very structuration of the magical universe, become in religious thought a limitless spatial as well as temporal background; they retain their positive qualities of ground the forces, the powers, the influences, the quality , but rid themselvesof their limits and of their belonging which attached them to the hic et nunc.
The universe is promoted on the basis of these freed up and, to a certain extent, abstract magical grounds. After the disjunction of ground and figure, religious thought preserves the other part of the magical world: the ground, with its qualities, tensions, and forces; but, like the figural and technical schemas, this ground itself also becomes something detached from the world, abstracted from the primitive milieu. And in the same way that figural schemas of technics, once freed from their adherence to the world, fix themselves onto the tool or instrument by objectivizing themselves, so too the ground qualities, made available by the mobilization of figures through technicity, fix themselves onto subjects.
The technical objectivation that leads to the emergence of the technical object, mediating between man and the world, has religious subjectivation as its counterpart. In the same way that technical mediation establishes itself by means of a thing that becomes the technical object, religious mediation appears by virtue of the fixing of the characteristics of ground onto real or imaginary subjects, divinities or priests.
Religious subjectivation normally leads to mediation through of the priest, while technical mediation leads to the mediation through the technical object. Technicity retains the figural characteristic of the primitive complex of man and the world, while religiosity retains the character of ground. Technicity and religiosity are not degraded forms of magic, or relics of magic; they come from the splitting in two of the primitive magical complex, the original reticulation of the human milieu, into figure and ground.
It is through their coupling, and not in and of themselves, that technics and religion are the heirs of magic. Religion is not more magical than technics; it is the subjective phase of the result of a split, while technics is the objective phase of this same split.
Technicities - Edinburgh University Press
Technics and religion are contemporaries of one another and, considered on their own, they are impoverished with respect to the magic from which they come. Religion thus has by nature the vocation to represent the demand for totality; when it splits into a theoretical mode and into a practical mode, it becomes by way of theology the demand for a systematic representation of the real, according to an absolute unity; through morality, it becomes the demand, from the ethical point of view, for absolute norms of action, justified in the name of totality, superior to any hypothetical, i.
The religious inspiration constitutes a permanent reminder of the relativity of a particular being with respect to an unconditional totality, going beyond all objects and subjects of knowledge and of action. Conversely, technics receive content that is always below the status of unity, because the schemas of efficacy and the structures that result from the fragmentation of the primitive network of key-points cannot apply to the totality of the world.
Technical objects are multiple and fragmentary by nature; technical thought, enclosed within this plurality, can progress, but only by multiplying technical objects, without being able to recapture the primitive unity. Even by infinitely multiplying technical objects, it is impossible to recover an absolute adequation with the world, because each of the objects attacks the world only in a single point and at a single moment; it is localized, particularized; by adding technical objects to one another, one can neither recreate a world, nor recover the contact with the world in its unity, which was the goal of magical thought.
1. The Notion of the Phase Applied to Coming-into-Being: Technicity as a Phase
In its relation to a determined object or to a determined task, technical thought is always at a level inferior to that of unity: it can present several objects, several means, and choose the best; but it nevertheless always remains inadequate to the whole of the unity of the object or of the task; each schema, each technical object, each technical operation is dominated and guided by the whole from which it derives its means and its orientation, and which provides it with a never attained principle of unity that it translates by combining and multiplying its schemas. The vocation of technical thought is by nature representing the point of view of the element; it adheres to the elementary function.
Technicity, by introducing itself into a domain, fragments it and leads to the appearance of a chain of successive and elementary mediations, governed by the unity of the domain and subordinated to it.
The element, in technical thought, is more stable, better known, and in a certain way more perfect than the ensemble; it is really an object, whereas the ensemble always remains to a certain extent inherent in the world. Religious thought finds the opposite balance: for religious thought, totality is that which is more stable, stronger, and more valid than the element.
Technics bring, as much in the theoretical domain as in the ethical domain, a concern for the element. In the sciences, the contribution of technics has consisted in allowing a representation of phenomena taken one by one according to a decomposition into simple, elementary processes comparable to the operations of technical objects; such is the role of the mechanistic hypothesis that enables Descartes to represent the rainbow as the overall result of the point by point trajectory of each luminous corpuscle in each droplet of water in a cloud; it is according to the same method that Descartes explains the functioning of the heart, decomposing a complete cycle into simple successive operations, and showing that the functioning of the whole is the result of the play of elements necessitated by their particular disposition for example that of each valve.
Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida
The application of schemas drawn from technics does not account for the existence of the totality, taken in its unity, but only for the point by point and instant by instant functioning of this totality. In the ethical domain, technical thought not only introduces means of action, which are fragmentary and tied to the capacities of each object becoming a utensil, but also a certain duplication of the action by technicity; a definite human action, considered in its result, could have been accomplished by a determinate technical functioning going through different stages; elements and moments of action have their technical analog; an effort of attention, of memory, could have been replaced by a technical operation; technicity provides a partial equivalence of the results of an action; it accentuates the awareness of the action by the being who accomplishes it in the form of results; it mediates and objectivizes the results of the action by comparison with those of the technical operation, performing a decomposition of the action into partial results, into elementary accomplishments.
Technicity presupposes that an action is limited to its results; it is not concerned with the subject of the action taken in its real totality, nor even with an action in its totality, insofar as the totality of the action is founded on the unity of the subject. The concern with the result in ethics is the analog of the search for a howin the sciences; result and process remain below the unity of action or of the whole [ ensemble ] of the real. The postulation of an absolute and unconditional justification that religion directs at ethics translates into the search for intention, as opposed to the search for the result that is inspired by technics.
In the sciences, religious thought introduces a quest for absolute theoretical unity, rendering necessary a search for the sense of the coming-into-being and of the existence of given phenomena hence answering a why?
In possessing a content that is at a lower level than unity, technical thought is the paradigm of all inductive thinking, whether in the theoretical order, or in the practical order. It contains this inductive process within itself, prior to any separation into a theoretical mode and a practical mode. Induction, in fact, is not only a logical process, in the strict sense of the term; one can consider as inductive any approach whose content has a lower status than that of unity, and which strives to attain unity, or which at least tends toward unity on the basis of a plurality of elements where each is lower than unity.
What induction grasps, what it starts from, is an element that is not in itself sufficient and complete, that does not constitute a unity; it thus goes beyond each particular element, combining it with other elements that are themselves particular in order to attempt to find an analog of unity: within induction there is a search for the ground of reality on the basis of figural elements that are fragments; to want to find the law beneath phenomena, as with the induction of Bacon or J. The elaboration to which Epicureanism submits desires has as its sole aim to achieve the incorporation into the continuity of existence by proceeding in a cumulative manner: for this purpose, each of the desires must be dominated by the subject, enveloped in it, smaller than unity, so as to be able to be treated and manipulated as a true element.
This is why the passions are eliminated, since they cannot be treated as elements; they are larger than the unity of the subject; they dominate it, come from further afield than it does and tend to advance further than it does, obliging it to go beyond its limits. Lucretius tries to destroy the passions from within, by showing that they are based on errors; he does not, in fact, take into account the element of tendency in passion, in other words, this force that inserts itself into the subject, but that is vaster than it, and in relation to which it appears as a very limited being; tendency cannot be considered as being contained in the subject understood as unity.
Wisdom, having reduced the forces at the origin of action to a lower status than that of the unity of the moral subject, can organize them as elements and reconstruct a moral subject within the natural subject; this moral subject, however, never completely reaches the level of unity; between the reconstructed moral subject and the natural subject, there remains a void that is impossible to fill; the inductive approach remains within plurality; it constructs a bundle of elements, but this bundle cannot be equivalent to a real unity.
Every ethical technique leaves the moral subject dissatisfied, because they do not grasp its unity; the subject cannot content itself with a life that would be a sequence of happy instances, even an interrupted one; a life that is perfectly successful, element by element, is not yet a moral life; it lacks unity, which is what makes it the life of a subject. But religious thought, inversely, which is the foundation of obligation, creates a search in ethical thinking for an unconditional justification that makes each act and every subject appear as inferior to real unity; related back to a totality that dilates infinitely, the moral act and subject derive their meaning only from their relation with this totality; the communication between the totality and the subject is precarious, because at every instant the subject is brought back to the dimension of its own unity, which is not that of the totality; the ethical subject is de-centred by the religious requirement.
According to a genetic hypothesis such as this one, it would be best not to consider the different modes of thought as parallel to one another; thus, one cannot compare religious thought and magical thought because they are not on the same level; but on the contrary it is possible to compare technical thought and religious thought, because they are contemporary to each other; in order to compare them, it is not enough to determine their particular characteristics, as if they were the species of a genus; one must return to the genetic realization of their formation, for they exist as a couple, resulting from the split in primitive complete thought, which was magical thought.
As for aesthetic thought, it is never characteristic of a limited field or of a determinate species, but only of a tendency; it is that which maintains the function of totality.
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In this sense, it can be compared to magical thought, provided however that one specifies that it does not contain, as magical thought does, the possibility of splitting into technics and religion; indeed, far from going in the direction of a split, aesthetic thought is what maintains the implicit memory of unity; from one of the phases of splitting, it calls upon the other complementary phase; it seeks totality in thought and aims at recomposing a unity through an analogical relation where the appearance of phases could create the mutual isolation of thought in relation to itself.
Such a way of approaching aesthetic effort would undoubtedly be untenable if one thus wanted to characterize works of art such as they exist in their institutional state in a given civilization, and even more so, if one wanted to define the essence of aestheticism. But, in order for works of art to be possible, they must be made possible by a fundamental tendency in the human being, and by the ability to experience the aesthetic impression in certain real and vital circumstances.
It would be insufficient to say that the work of art manifests the nostalgia for magical thought; the work of art, in fact, grants us the equivalent of magical thought, since it recovers—on the basis of a given situation, and according to an analogical structural and qualitative relation—a universalizing continuity with respect to other situations and to other possible realities.
The work of art re-establishes a reticular universe at least for perception. In fact, the work of art above all sustains and preserves the ability to experience aesthetic feeling, just as language sustains the ability to think, without nevertheless itself being identical to thought. Aesthetic feeling is not relative to an artificial work; it signals, in the exercise of a mode of thinking that is subsequent to the split, a perfection of completion that makes the ensemble of acts of thought capable of surpassing the limits of its domain so as to evoke the completion of thought in other domains: a technical work perfect enough to be equivalent to a religious act, a religious work perfect enough to have the organizational and operational force of a technical activity give off a feeling of perfection.
The artistic impression implies the feeling of the complete perfection of an act, a perfection that objectively gives it a radiance and an authority through which it becomes a remarkable point of lived reality, a knot of experienced reality. This act becomes an outstanding point of the network of human life integrated within the world; from this outstanding point a higher kinship with others is created, reconstituting an analog of the magical network of the universe. The aesthetic character of an act or a thing is its function of totality, its existence, both objective and subjective, as an outstanding point.
Any act, any thing, any moment has in itself the ability to become an outstanding point of a new reticulation of the universe. Every culture selects the acts and situations that are apt to become outstanding points; but culture is not what creates the aptitude of a situation to become an outstanding point; it only forms a barrage against certain types of situations, leaving narrow straights for aesthetic expression with respect to the spontaneity of the aesthetic impression; culture intervenes as limit rather than as creator.
The destiny of aesthetic thought, or more precisely of the aesthetic inspiration of all thought tending toward its own completion, is to reconstitute, within each mode of thinking, a reticulation that coincides with the reticulation of other modes of thinking: the aesthetic tendency is the ecumenism of thought. In this sense, beyond even the maturity of each of the genera of thought, there occurs a final reticulation that once again brings the separate types of thought which emerged from the shattering of primitive magic closer together.
Then, through its very development, each type of thought, which initially rejected what is not itself and behaved as a species, after having affirmed itself according to the unconditional monism of principles, pluralizes itself and widens according to a principle of plurality; one could say that each thought tends to become reticular and once more to adhere to the world after having distanced itself from it. After having mobilized and detached the schematic figures of the magical world from the world, technics return to the world to ally itself with it through the coinciding cement and rock, of the cable and the valley, the pylon and the hill; a new reticulation establishes itself, chosen by technics, privileging certain places of the world, in a synergetic alliance of technical schemas and natural powers.
This is where aesthetic feeling appears, in this agreement and this surpassing of technics once more becoming concrete, integrated, and attached to the world through the most outstanding key-points. The mediation between man and the world becomes itself a world, the structure of the world. In the same manner, religious mediation accepts concretizing itself, after a dogmatism that was detached from the concreteness of the universe and having mobilized every dogma to conquer every representative of humankind, in other words religious mediation accepts attaching itself to each culture and to each human group according to relatively pluralistic modalities; unity becomes the unity of a network rather than being a monist unity of a single principle and a single faith.
The maturity of technics and of religions tends toward re-incorporation into the world, the geographical world for technics, the human world for religions. To this day, it does not appear possible for the two reticulations, that of technics within the geographical world and that of religions in the human world, to analogically encounter each other in a real, symbolic relation. And yet only in this way could the aesthetic impression state the rediscovery of the magical totality, by indicating that the forces of thought have once again found one another. Aesthetic feeling, common to both religious thought and technical thought, is the only bridge that could allow for the linking of these two halves of thought that result from the abandonment of magical thought.
Philosophical thought, in order to know how to deal with the contribution of technics and religion at the level of the distinction between the theoretical and practical modalities, can thus ask itself how aesthetic activity deals with this contribution at the level prior to the distinction of these modalities. What is broken in the move from magic to technics and religion, is the first structure of the universe, in other words the reticulation of key-points, which is the direct mediation between man and the world.
And aesthetic activity preserves precisely this structure of reticulation. It cannot really preserve it in the world, since it cannot substitute itself for technics and religion, which would be to recreate magic. Aesthetic reality in fact cannot be said to be either properly object or properly subject; there is, of course, a relative objectivity to the elements of this reality; but aesthetic reality is not detached from man and from the world like a technical object; it is neither tool nor instrument; it can stay attached to the world, for instance by being an intentional organization of a natural reality; it can also stay attached to man, by becoming a modulation of the voice, a turn of phrase, a way of dressing; it does not have this necessarily detachable character of the instrument; it can remain integrated, and normally it does stay integrated within human reality or the world; a statue is not placed just anywhere, a tree is not planted just anywhere.