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Friday, 7 September 2012

The ontology of recursive feudalism

One of the greatest contributions to the crossroads (or similarity) of ontology and politics that Laibniz provided is the idea that each substance has a scope for its expression, a jurisdition, a governed area. A body. It is, clearly, a robust way to resist materialism and, as such, I guess it is a useful ingredient for all sort of process philosophy. Each substance governs a territory (a department, is the suggestive terminology used by Deleuze) by making alliances with the local autorities. It is an ontology of colonial powers ruling over local Maharajas or, if we want, an ontology of recursive feudalism. Government is a crucial element of such an ontology. Leibniz had that relations were preestablished and that made the whole (world) prior to each substance as each relation depends on the rest of the world. In a process philosophy take, this virtuality is rather built through alliances and alliances themselves appeal to networks of further alliances recursively.

The government of matter. Monads are there to provide the government of matter. Matter is still merely governed, but it is always full of local governments that have to be taken into consideration in order to govern. It is already an ontology of recursive networks. A feud is a contention, or an enmity expressed by borders: a territory understood in terms of a hostility to what is outside. A border. Surely, in this recursive feudalism, apart from tree-shaped networks, there are all sort of other configurations of alliances. In any case, it is a form of holism.

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