Exciting Developments in Networkology Land . . .

So, a lot has been getting done on this end, which is pretty exciting. The manuscript for Networkologies: A Manifesto is nearing completion. The goal is for this to be a short book, the text right now is about 53,000 words (about 130pgs on the wordprocessor), and I don’t see it being much longer than 55,000 or so when done. The goal is a short, focused book. When I was writing it, my goal was to “write my monadology.”

The result? An entire philosophy of networks, the whole thing, a full system of philosophy. Its both speculative and realist. That is, its designed to be compatible with all of contemporary science (realism), to the extent to which anything which cannot be known, or may be knowable in the future, are described plainly as precisely that. There’s no crazy metaphysics here, or rather, not your grandfather’s speculations about things like the noumenal or stuff like that. But with that caveat, there’s still tons tons of good ole fashioned (non-metaphysical) speculation – terms like virtual, for example – along with some neologisms that I found just necessary to make the points needed, such as plexes and matrix, for example.

This is a philosophy which seeks a sort of radical immanence, or rather, to use a term employed by Adrian Johnston in relation to Zizek, a ‘transcendental materialism.’ We’ve got the ‘flat ontology’ here, in a completely relational form, starting with epistemology, then going to ontology, and then to ethics. Of course, these are reworked as ‘diagrammatology, matrixology, and network ethics’, but that’s for later.

But the goal of the whole enterprise is actually radically simple. What would a fully relational philosophy look like? The image and structure of the network is only the means to accomplish this. The inspiration is clearly Deleuzian, but there’s a ton influences from Whitehead, Leibniz, Spinoza, Simondon, and Bergson as well, but also figures who don’t normally join well with these folks, like Hegel, Lacan, and (to my shock and surprise!) a few moves inspired by Kant. Go figure. But writing this has been a real process of discovery. You take an idea to its logical implications, and find yourself in new terrain you never imagined you’d be exploring before, with nothing but your philosophical intuitions trying to guide you in linking your own concepts together, hoping they meet in the middle, and when they don’t, working to figure out why and how to bring it all together. A helluva lotta fun, if you ask me.

The original intent was an expansion of the original networkologies manifesto to, say an essay or so, which would then eventually expanded into a book. Well, the book just wrote itself. But its been an intense coupla months! I may have to remind myself what the sun looks like, but luckily, it hasn’t really arrived here in Brooklyn anyway, though it seems to be peeking out just around the corner.

The last few months have been working the manifesto into a coherent form, in which each term is defined and explained in relation to the others. In the process, there were many times I couldn’t get things to fit, until there needed to be some conceptual creation. There were surprises, like when everything in the section on matrixology went tripartite in front of my eyes in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Of course, this is all quite funny, cause from my recent blog posts, you’d think I was only working on media or gender studies, but I had to do something to keep myself distracted in my downtime!

What now? Well, this whole project came about a journal became interested in potentially publishing the original manifesto, and I figured I’d spiffy it up a bit. The result was this book! I sent them the first section, we’ll see how that goes, but that’s now only about a fifth of the current manuscript.

What’s funny, however, is that I was in the process of proofreading the manuscript I wrote the year before, and took a break from that in order to work on this manifesto. The manifesto book needs about another week of work on the primary text, but once that’s done, there’s basically two full books ready, and all they basically need is a proofreading.

The earlier book “The Networked Mind,” (about 100,000 words) uses findings in artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience to show why a philosophy of networks is necessary within contemporary philosophy. It’s structured around using these areas within contemporary science to show both how binary models of the mind and language are insufficient, and then show what a networked ‘image of thought’ looks like. I end off just hinting at what a fully developed philosophy of networks would look like.

Well, now it seems the results are on the page. And in manifesto form! Which makes it a lot of fun to write. Very exciting. I’m gonna have a whole bunch of papers to grade roll in starting next week, and that’ll likely make things hectic till about the end of the semester. But the goal is to have the book proposals ready to send out to prospective publishers about a week or so after final grades go in in May.

So, very cool, very exciting. More news hopefully coming soon! I’m not sure why exactly I’m writing this all out, but I remember reading Levi’s post on having most of ‘The Democracy of Objects’ done. It was inspiring to see a manuscript there, printed out on the desk. And besides, its fun to get others excited about goodies to come. Knowing that others out there are psyched for the work helps inspire you to keep going a finishing it up even when your energy starts to flag. But one more serious edit for consistency, and its basically done!

Will be fun to actually start presenting on some of the stuff here as well, but first I had to write it all down. Most of this has been created on my own, so I’m looking forward to getting lots of feedback and insights from the SR community and others once this stuff gets out there.

Well, hope its a lot of fun to read. Here’s to getting it out there soon!

-chris

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~ by chris on April 1, 2010.

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