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Future of Philosophy in the New Conceptual Media (1)

My purpose is to reunite a series of texts under this title, in time, as soon as history allows their appearance. These texts will totally belong to the present and will constitute an attempt at configuring a possible itinerary of what the philosophical approach will (or could) be within the contemporary electronic media. It does not aim at embracing "the whole" that seems to embody vaguely into the "silicon" space; on the contrary, it should be a Baudrillardian chronicle of events reduced (or brought again) to the fragmentary essence that characterizes them "a l'aube de l'histoire".

My discourse will not be conclusive and won't have a definite finality but it will be always "under construction" like a Web page. The (apparent) lack of conclusions may shock the people accustomed to be given solutions within a theoretical frame. We can only take these conclusions as such and use them. Here, we will really have much more "use" of the discourse, as the data offered to the intellectual senses find a sampling and re-processing liberty. The first text in the series won't but "get the field ready" for the following ones, as it presents simple (new) ontological modalities of the present, without specific names or data, everything in a kind of continuous flow of writing. The ebb that will follow will leave behind something that cannot be perceived on the wave's surface: the shore loaded with words' carcasses and book covers.

All these are surfing on the sensitive membrane of a possible ocean turned into a "medium of culture" and a "culture's medium" in all the meanings of the phrase. As one has probably noticed so far, I am not an apologist fanatic of the Internet but this fact does not impend my true and objective critical reflections (and ebbs). I would underline "critical" because the philosopher has to keep - even in the middle of "new conceptual media" - a difference, a step behind, a distance to the point of reference, meaning what is offered to him as space of thought.

Firstly, the philosopher of today is no longer a Renaissance man of the whole, of the total openness to cognition because he "cannot" and "does not want" to be so. He cannot because he does not want and he does not want because he cannot. The quantity of information does not have to be reviewed as system nowadays but only as part of the whole, as quality monad. So the philosopher will work with samples and not with organisms.

As an organism is essentially functioning in its parts, easy to deconstruct and theoretically analyzable. The contemporary producer of philosophy is concerned with the atom as viable unity and with the functional qualities. The immense amount of information leads to a pressure (more precisely, to a cleavage) upon the critical faculty. To explain it in terms of the physiology of sensation, one is driven to the maximal "absolute threshold", over which perceiving becomes almost impossible. It is as if you tried to pour one liter of a liquid into a test tube of only 1,0 % of this capacity. Supposing (absurdly) that the test tube could hold consciously its capacity, it couldn't quantify - once filled up - the rest of the liquid, as it considers it negligible and unusable.

Once the information level has been surpassed, the rest of it has become almost of no importance, as long as it cannot be perceived as such. So the philosopher will appeal to an archaeology- operation, to a qualitative stratification (strictly subjective) of the information. The same goes for the server as metaphor of the brain - human - memory. A 100 GB memory cannot contain "the rest" that in most cases leaves behind the measurement / reference unity.

It is thus required an acceptance of the fragmentary as philosophical technique, an acceptance of the fractal thought that does not decompose infinitely the information by processing it but recognize its "patterns". A splitting into categories of the "trees of knowledge" type (P. Levi) is not possible as infinitely extensible ramification but only as segmentation of the quality in modules. The philosopher will thus become a modular thinker who will process, build and use modules in his conceptual constructs. Although I do not promise any conclusion, a fact must be kept in mind for further performance oriented uses: the modular quality of thought is the new media-communication modality in the field of contemporary and future philosophy.

 

Miron Ghiu

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