January 30, 2006

The question of autopoiesis

Isn’t autopoiesis a matter of perspective or rather interpretation: a matter of distance?

Deleuze and Guattari would not necessarily disagree, for there must be some manner whereby new concepts can be created, or must be created. Autopoiesis can be considered an illusion in the same manner that the ‘same’ in Nietzsche’s eternal return can be considered a problematic by which difference can be incorporated and reproduced.

A society can be considered self-positing when considered as an organism; as can the body for it to be a body; as can the polyp when we assume it is one entity: this is nothing new. We create circularities through our understanding: however these circles cannot be closed, for in closing them we lose any new discovery of modes of being and understanding, and in some manner we lose understanding and slip into the senseless as such or perhaps scientifically closed comprehension without distance. Thus ought we replace scientific comprehension (an impossibility) with existential apprehension (impossible possibility: leaps that are perpetually grounded)?
Is distance crucial to problematisation as well as the production of unification and the autopoetic i.e. un-problematisation and solution: dissolution of the problem, its complete disappearance so it may once again reappear as having always been present? Must we ever deepen the problem so as to maintain movement, just as a tree has to grow deeper and stronger roots so as to grow higher?

The notion of a self-positing system or auto-organised entity is problematic insofar as we are in danger of, on the one hand, assuming the cause is within the being as such and on the other purely in our cognitive faculties: it explains nothing once it becomes an unproblematic concept, a given. One could easily arrest thought with a simple notion of autopoiesis insofar as the question of an outside could necessitate or lead us into positing a transcendent we can never reach.

However, perhaps if we are to refer to Nietzsche’s notion of a reality of pure appearance conceived as Schein (GS BK1 A54)—reality continued through the dance (‘masters of the ceremony of existence’ and ‘continuation of the dream’), a relation of forces and combinations (‘dance of spirits’)—one may come to the realisation that an autopoietic entity or concept is so only insofar as we form a dance around an invisible axis which is forgotten in the creation of an articulated movement that is seemingly self-referential. Movement condemned to movement creating distances and apprehensions which at once give the sense of a momentary insight or unification, that can only continue in duration once it is in the same moment differentiated from itself.

This differentiation can be conceived as both belonging to the entity and also to the perspective through which the entity is apprehended. This apprehension necessitates a leap or an interruption: a problem we must muster the energy to continue and once more unify or incorporate. But distance itself re-introduces the problematic in the same moment that it is able to gloss it and precipitate as self-posited concept concealing the problematic. To self posit we must perhaps also deterritorialize ourselves and in this moment re-tie the loss of a ground into a new realisation or insight: a new grounding that un-grounds itself. This can be compared to dissonance whereby noise can become resolved and structured so as to become music, a closed melody built on the condition of unheard noise: the disappearance of noise. But to leave ourselves with one resolved note or tone, tends to senselessness (like the Pythagorean music of the spheres). So we must restructure and recompose the chaos through a Chaosmotic activity whereby we re-discover dissonance so as to make new resolutions possible. Does autopoiesis move against autopoiesis in order to become self-positing? i.e. does self-organisation de-structure itself necessarily in order for organisation to appear at all? Is chaos hinted at by the production, through some lived apprehension, of autopoetic entities?

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