An experimental course of study I have been participating in for over a year now, has bought to my attention the work of Professor of Philosophy of Sciences and Technology, Bruno Latour. This man has a lot of novel and challenging ways to re-frame the human condition in light of our current (early 21st century) circumstances. Some quotes I excerpted from a keynote he delivered to the International Seminar on Network Theory: Network Multidimensionality in the Digital Age, in 2010, have become a “wake up call” for me;
To believe in the existence either of the individual or of society is simply a way to say that we have been deprived of information on the individuals we started with; that we have little knowledge about their interactions; that we have lost the precis conduits through which what we call the whole actually circulates. In effect we have jettisoned the the goal of understanding what the collective existence is all about.
Instead of THE “individual v’s society” problem, we are now faced with the multiple and fully reversible combinations of highly complex individual constituents and multiple and fully reversible aggregates. The center stage is now occupied by the navigational tools.
When Lippmann said the public is a phantom, this was not a way to say it does not exist, but on the contrary a plea – and a somewhat desparate plea – to make it appear through the intervention of the right tools.
There is work underway here MACOSPOL toward making this possible through sufficient information exchange, not only qualitatively but also quantitativley. And, there is a theme emerging in my awareness of things from what I consider to be a “holistic” or “global” perspective (something which has been the focus of my personal self-development for decades). The theme seems to be:
“Can we please have a conversation that addresses “the TOPIC”; adequately, sufficiently, concisely, accurately, dispassionately, and COHERENTLY.”
Evidence of this can bee seen not only in Latour’s lab’s project but also in developments of a Game of Understanding at this site and in the work of various others who are in pre-alpha development without public documentation available.
I had put notions of the possibility of a sufficiently developed discourse ever emerging, or of being able to apply the type of thinking that takes “everything” in to account, aside for a while. I have been exploring what it actually takes to legitimize such a direction. Now I am back on track with this work and look forward to following developments as they arise.