Random Notes on the Special Case or Loop De Loop

In what total context are we suggesting alternate information networks? What is its mood and purpose?


I. Man is now counted among the endangered species. He has thoroughly fouled his own ecological niche and is well on the way to so effecting every other creatures' niche. Fundamental to his own ecological inter-relationships is the manner in which he collects, assimilates and distributes information. This manner will determine the configuration of his survival or extinction. By utilizing a high variety of conceptual models it is possible to revivify perception and restructure an understanding of the environmental realities apropos of its balanced processing of negentropic with entropic forces. Media Ecology has to do with analyzing and developing methods for the interaction of modes of communication with their concomitant means of access to information.


1.1 The quality and generic relevance of technological spin-off in television hardware is beginning to dissolve the uniform and unidimensional system TV has come to be, and begins to suggest an entire spectrum of prospective application, symbiotically designed, within an ecological framework. Decentralization thus becomes the dynamic in an attempt to re-establish an equilibrium or harmony of forces. Our tools / toys, with they're evolving permutations, when subject to multiple systems of criteria, feedback the data through an exponential curve whose influence is one context for a media ecological method. A second context is the potential interfacing of previously incompatible systems, e.g., videotape and computer terminals, the telephone and the television receiver. Still another context has to do with configuring software entities most suitable for accelerating conduits of access, e.g., "Albums" combining separate audio and video tape, print-outs, etc.


What is the context of the rear-view mirror?

2. Sacred cows now grow from test tubes. Our's is the age of neon-Freud and pop-Marx; of vinyl tulips and fey reactions to the law of diminishing returns. It is marked with its principle of violence while its technology has cancelled the principle's meaning. Its technology, in addition, has supplied the planet with an electronic exo-skeleton conditioned by a supra-network of horror weaponry. Brute force is now suave, an act reduced to the flick of two co-ordinated wrists; and Cryogenics is no longer a remote fantasy. Sanctions governing our very existence are the domain of the rear-guard, while their relations with the effects are vicarious.


2.1 Experience alone will never avail. In the noumena world of things-as-they-are there exists no premium on the measures "proven" in the anthropocentric vacuum of History. "Alarm" as the planet's general state intensifies in direct ratio to reliance upon solutions derived from past experience, past modes, past ideologies. E.g., one of Nixon's various commissions has soberly suggested that the gasoline engine, as we now know it, be phased out of production by the mid 1990s. Its calculations founded and anchored in the ironically combined fears of industrial unions and vested capitalists. The evidence is from the 19th century; the reasoning, that of kleptomania.


2.2 Sacrificial reverence for things past, matched with equal irreverence for the intricate balance of nature, has brought the species to within clear sight of doom. But it has also signaled mutations. Mutations in thought, in alliances, in norms, in motives, in culture. Hence, there is a contest. From the perspective of the entrenched, curmudgeons are milling about the palace grounds, unwilling to accept their assigned role as mere custodians of the technology. While the counter-culture was breaking its cherry on the sixties—awakening to the reality that as the innate product of the new technology it alone was capable of directing it—it entered, quite forever, an historical void unlike anything prior to it, excepting the individualistic insights of solitary monks and occasional philosophers.


From an Anthropocentric towards a Biospheric Space


2.3 There exists in our spectrum of cultural affects claims concerning our location in the program of the evolution of conscious agencies. We are at once the center, and not the center, in an a centric macro-design. As a species we presume to "advance". As a culture we presume to dominate. Our preference for euphemisms as to our past is nonetheless conspicuous. Both as a culture and a species we have tended to divide but not conquer ourselves. "Myth equals Paradigmatic Model" Mircea Eliade tells us; and it is spent myths, fossilizing paradigms, that most structurally define the state of crisis. The counter-cultural response is no mere improvement or alteration of nomenclature. It is at once aesthetically determined and ecologically dispositioned. Its life style is overtly eclectic, while the synthesis of its elements is unique to its case. (e.g., There is a new identification with the land, not only in a return to primitive relations with it, but defining a highly sophisticated responsibility for its fate). The dominant culture has come to the point where it can no longer distinguish the spell of its vices from the maintenance of its virtues. Thus, without root or counter-balance its vices have become synthetic. And it's virtues have acquired the ersatz sheen of its own patina. Snake oil solutions for cleansing itself, for shoring up existing paradigms, have assumed a multitude of forms; some are burlesque while others are lethal (the continued indiscriminate extraction of resources in the service of the "Economy," and the palliative ad hoc schemes for eliminating endemic pollution). The total process is a dredging for answers within parameters no longer applicable to the questions--not unlike attempting to explain Planck's Quantum Mechanics without resorting to mathematical language.


Historicity as Cultural Mode

2.4 Dead systems are defined as those in which it's parameters are directed by a historical environments with memory as the most prominent aspect of the synthesis. Their reality—their influence—lives in the collective memory, history, or unconscious: it lives in doxologies, dogmas, codes, traditions, social patterns, laws. Live systems exist in the relationships discerned from comparing juxtaposed, unconditioned experiences. Experience is herein understood as the substance (or constant stuff) of the present and those factors directly subsumed by it's, e.g., mode, structure of recording (and editing) process, plus motive. Thus, the present (or total environment) is made viable in high degree as memory is directive but non-interactive with experiential items and item patterns, and their permutations. This quality of gestalt immediacy which defines the new technology requires a historical consciousness for its most efficient, natural, and globally beneficent implementation.


Value as the Presence of Event (Art as the Present / Future Tense)

3. "What is happening now has significance in these surroundings. The surroundings give it its importance." (Wittgenstein) "Yesterday don't matter if it's gone." (The Rolling Stones) In the ahistorical attitude yesterday is not a salient condition of the surroundings—reverence is reserved for the immediate. We are the consequence of a technology accelerating toward immediacy, resulting in a heretofore unexperienced environmental fusion of the temporal and spatial. The historical attitude of delayed gratification--as a motivational discipline—forced one to regard the present as past in order to enjoy the future. Full regard for the present contains its own internal discipline. In the present-tensed Eastern yogas (which have a homologous but not analogous relevance) this discipline is confined to the psyche of the individual. The counter-cultural imperative is for the socialization of the awareness—the relocation of the present tense in the index of values through the electronic media. The transition is from the chronic preparation-for-Paradise which defines the historical paradigm, to the identification with Paradise as the very awareness of its process.



Frank Gillette


Radical Software #1 / 1970