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Monday, 12 November 2012

Urges and virtuality

The notion of attractor - associated to vector fields - is a central element of the way Delanda presents Deleuze's virtuality. In fact, it is a central element to be considered in a process ontology: actual entities create fields of attraction that would have something to do, I believe, with what Whitehead calls nexus. Attractors guide trajectories - this guiding would entail some sort of instantiation only if the rest of the world is subtracted. Virtuality has to do with the rest of the world - just like any synthetic a posteriori judgment can be taken to be virtual because it depends on the rest of the world. The pattern, of course, is familiar to process philosophers: to bring to ontology what is presented as an epistemological feature. (Contrast this
with some kinds of anti-realist move that would do the opposite movement.) Here, modeling can fail to be implemented because it points at the virtual - at attractors - and therefore predictions can fail. Other parts of the world can interfere. Virtuality is about attraction. What I have once called (in collaborative works both with Manuel and Tomas) a ceteris paribus device - roughly the lie brought up by a law of physics concocted in a lab - is virtual. Models, in general, can be thought as attractors and not as mental projections.

I was thinking of urges in terms of constitutive elements of the world. Urges are pressure points - the subsistence of anything (a community, a society of molecules, a population or a middle-sized object) depends on variables in the ecology of urges. An urge can be resisted and can be countered, but such maneuver involve deviating from an attractor. Sometimes an urge is created (producing economic catastrophes like shocks in the sense of Naomi Klein would be an example) so that other urges subsume or get diluted. The idea here is that urges can fight with other urges - urges claim their hold on trajectories, on what occurs. To change the world is not to change trajectories, but to change attractors and if it is so, it is to act on urges. Make something become urgent. Surely, the effect of urges would depend on the rest of the world - the other urges. Urges are virtual. They shape things by acting on the space of attractors. But can an ontology of urges be lean enough to claim that all attractors are, somehow and at the end of the day, urges?

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