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Showing posts from February, 2017

The end of the universal

Read this piece about big data and the company that helped Trump to get elected by directing each of his messages directly to those who wanted to hear them. Dude in the company declares at some point in the text that "My children will certainly never, ever understand this concept of mass communication." That is, communication is turning local, maybe personal, but clearly not universal. It's not about what everyone thinks, it is rather about what a group believes that is a matter of information. Information ceases to be universal because the medium is the message: there is no universal information if there is no universal communication. We inform some about the beliefs of some. There is no mass information, there is no mass communication. As a consequence, there is little room for independent standards - and little room for belief-independent standards. This explains why now the right can freely talk about preferences and even prejudices: there is nothing that can rule ho

Interruption, diffraction

A major issue being developed in my book on interruptions and co-existence is to determine whether the other as such – as what I am not – can be fully made justice in the framework of monadologies. Levinas has critiqued the monadological way out found by Husserl in his fifth Cartesian Meditations because it commits itself to the idea of an alter-ego, of another ego. If we unpack this critique to find the inability of an alter-ego to genuinely interrupt – the inability to do no more than be part of the ordinary course of actions of an agent – we envisage a problem for monadologies that could seem to be remedied by approaches like Whitehead's but not completely. Whitehead understands his actual entities to be oriented towards self-satisfaction given their specific creative capacities and their sense of purpose.1 He can accommodate the other by means of a becoming-other, but not in terms of an interruption. I suspect this poses a general problem for monadological approaches to agency