Can Aspects Dawn within the Gulag Architectonic?

Académie d’été d’Épineuil-le-Fleuriel, 25 July 2017

Daniel Ross

‘I believe that he is suffering.’—Do I also believe that he isn’t an automaton? Ludwig Wittgenstein

If the aesthetic point of view implies its universalization, and if this universalizing goal implies in turn a cosmopolitics determined by the philosofiction of the wholly other, then these implications are also folded back into the gaze, to complicate it by marking within it the fold of an internal difference that only becomes visible at the limit. Peter Szendy

To be clear, what is at stake with the Neganthropocene is the problem of revolution: of the unavoidable necessity of imagining some kind of turn and transformation – but a revolution of a new kind, which must be realized in another way, however improbably[i]. No doubt this sounds obscure, a little foggy, perhaps, and, indeed, this revolutionary problem today involves two kinds of difficulties of vision, one of which is an easy difficulty, and the other of which is a difficult difficulty, so to speak.

The easy difficulty, which is still a difficulty, consists in imagining the unworld, or the end of world, the ultimate cataclysm towards which the Anthropocene may be hurtling: we can certainly understand, as Husserl pointed out, that it ‘is possible that entropy will put an end to all life on earth’[ii] and that this possibility is currently being hastened in an extreme way. What’s more, there is undoubtedly a will to conceive this possibility, just as our unconscious imagination must at some level want the nightmares that present to our sleeping selves the negative prospects that must be conjured so as to find within them a means of avoidance, a way out, a buried wish functioning as a spur. A significant portion of the culture industry is dedicated to the generation of such apocalyptic nightmares, but, of course, the motive is less prophylaxis than profit. Yet the difficulty remains of really imagining that such nightmares must concern us right now, when they are occurring at the microscopic level of gas molecule accumulations and the beyond macroscopic level of planetary systems.

The difficult difficulty, however, consists in really imagining the exit from this nightmare, in envisioning it, and so in finding the will to ‘protain’ a reasonable belief in such a revolution. This difficulty seems so difficult, and the belief to support it so unsustainable, that very often it seems almost impossible to avoid the temptation to simply luxuriate in the nightmares that have already been prefabricated on one’s behalf, or else to flee into denial, or to tend one’s own garden, or to fall into despair and, indeed, dread.

What is at stake with the Neganthropocene is, then, as Bernard Stiegler has said, the possibility of a ‘conversion of the gaze’ through which our very collective dread can function as just such a spur, through which it could effect a shift from the plane of the ordinary to that of the extraordinary, where it becomes possible, like a seer, to ‘see what is invisible’[iii]. If such a capability is not superhuman, it is at least ‘sur-human’ in the way Stiegler has also evoked, and that he relates to a vision of the cosmos that is ‘sur-realist’, in the sense of being a locality capable of harbouring highly improbable possibilities in which one can still manage to believe, the possibility of realizing such noetic improbabilities being the very definition of neganthropy[iv].

What makes the Neganthropocenic revolution so difficult to envisage is the unprecedented character of its spatial and temporal coordinates: on the one hand, it is absolutely urgent, while, on the other hand, it must be perpetual and undoubtedly requires vast amounts of time and patience to be addressed; on the one hand it involves, and must involve, a technical system that is planetary in its extent, while on the other hand it involves, and must involve, the vast plurality of local (sub planetary) social and cultural systems whose destruction is a major entropic factor. Any new neganthropic leap must address these dimensions, which are ‘telescopic’ both temporally and spatially: as Kant says in ‘The Conflict of the Faculties’, it must have ‘regard to the whole scope of all the peoples on earth’, where what such a regard reveals is ‘the prospect of an immeasurable time’[v]. Such is the planetary scope and immeasurable time of the Neganthropocene.

It is, then, a question of the conditions of possibility of such a conversion of the gaze, through which entropes could be converted to negentropes[vi] capable of releasing a revolutionary will of immeasurable spatiotemporal extent. The question of these conditions is raised – obscurely, perhaps – in Husserl’s reflections on the earth ark: if the world exists ‘in the ideality of infinity’[vii], beyond ‘what is experienced of the world from this or that side’[viii], and if, in the ‘primordial shape of its representation [that is, initially, in the beginning], the earth itself does not move’[ix], and if the earth, as our irreducible macrocosmic, terrestrial locality, is always where we are even if we are travelling to her moon, nevertheless, Husserl argues, after Copernicus and the telescope, it does in a certain way begin to move, in a sense that we would argue comes to involve not just its cosmic displacement but its Anthropocenic mutation. But this alteration in the shape of the earth’s representation, according to Husserl, does not follow automatically from the telescopic gaze, but only from a second moment, from the extra-terrestrial conversion that the gaze permitted by such an invention makes possible:

Only when we think of our stars as secondary arks with their eventual humanities, etc., only when we figure ourselves as transplanted there among these humanities, perhaps flying there, is it otherwise[x].

If this opens up a spatial infinity, what is remarkable about this Husserlian text is the way it concludes by opening the question of a temporal infinity, in a manner that extends Heidegger’s conception of being-towards-death outwards, beyond the I and, through world-historiality, towards the arche protention of an infinitely-temporally-extended we. More specifically, Husserl does so precisely on the basis of an understanding of memory as iterability and reiterability, that is, as the reproducibility of the copy and the capabilities enabled by this reproducibility. Husserl writes:

In the present, I as something present am progressively dying […]. But a unity by recollection permeates my life – I still live, although in being other, and continue to live the life that lies behind me and where its sense of being behind me lies in reiteration and the ability to reiterate. Thus the We lives in the reiterability and continually lives in the form of reiterability of history while the individual ‘dies’, that is, the individual can no longer be ‘remembered’ empathically by others, but only by the historical memory in which the subjects of the memory can be represented themselves[xi].

Here Husserl enacts a telescopic extension of spatiality reminiscent of the temporal extension of the ‘now’ he will describe in the account of internal time-consciousness, in order to found historicity on a ‘reiterability’ that gives the sense of a ‘unity’ permeating my life. The problem of the Anthropocene, however, is not that I am dying but that my and our actions threaten to lead to the dying of the biosphere, at least insofar as it is the necessary terrestrial support for the existence of the beings that we ourselves are. If this is so, then this movement in Husserl may contain the seeds of a spatiotemporal enlargement of spatial vision effective not just for an I, or even just for a we, but, step by step, for a technobiospherical system whose ‘unity’ must be thought not just in terms of the past, but of the future. The question becomes that of knowing what ‘reiteration’ this could be, and what view it opens up. Could it somehow be a question of Husserl’s ‘secondary arks’?

The extra-terrestrial and the philosofictive

Peter Szendy, too, approaches the question of the conversion of the gaze in Kant in the Land of the Extraterrestrials: Cosmopolitical Philosofictions. He notices, for example, that this is how the French Revolution functions for Kant in The Conflict of the Faculties: as an act of publicity capable of fostering ‘a wishful participation that borders closely on enthusiasm’, or, in other words, an ‘aesthetic point of view’ through which ‘a revolution’s movement of worldwide expansion can be envisaged or seen in advance’[xii]. Kant argues that, for those who did not actually participate in the French revolution, he himself for example, apprehending the revolution via the aesthetic conditions of publicity may open up an even broader participation, one capable of extending the localized possibility of perpetual progress exposed by the French revolution to the macro-locality consisting of all the peoples of the earth.

That for Kant this worldwide extension of progress implies a cosmopolitanism resides in mankind’s unsocial sociability, in the fact that, as he says in Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, people ‘cannot do without being together peacefully and yet cannot avoid constantly being objectionable to one another’: living together requires a cosmopolitanism ‘that is constantly threatened by disunion but generally progresses toward a coalition’[xiii]. What would necessitate a cosmopolitics would thus be the perpetual problem of managing the tendencies and counter tendencies involved in the relationships of care between the microcosms that we are and the macrocosms that we produce.

The problem is how to get from this ‘intra-terrestrial’ standpoint, which gropes in darkness, if not blindness, for progress towards coalition and coalescence towards progress amidst the clash of micro- and macrocosms, to an extra-ordinary standpoint, an ideality of infinity that would make possible a truly cosmic cosmopolitics. Szendy shows how the extension of this perpetual problem to all the peoples of the earth seems to imply the need for a cosmic gaze capable of encompassing this proliferation of standpoints within its purview, and, indeed, he goes on to find, in numerous key points in Kant’s work, an explicit evocation of this extra-terrestrial gaze, precisely in order to insist on the necessity and impossibility of picturing to oneself the character of the rational terrestrial beings that we hope to be. We require a wholly other gaze, we must imagine the telescopic gaze of the extra-terrestrial, intimately haunted by this infinitely faraway regard, if we earthlings hope to achieve a conversion through which to escape the local limits of our microcosmic preoccupations[xiv].

Kant says, for example, that human beings are incomparable, because we lack experience of any non-human rational beings to whom we might compare ourselves: ‘we have no knowledge of the non-terrestrial beings that would enable us to indicate their characteristic property and so to characterize this terrestrial being [that we are] among rational beings in general’[xv]. Szendy shows why this impossible necessity therefore means that the question of cosmopolitan revolution requires the aesthetic judgment of the beautiful, as a standpoint that can arise only from a process that is at once purely individual and yet inherently social: in short, it requires a process of psychic and collective individuation aiming, through a process of ‘universalization’, at consistences. But it also requires the sublime, because, as what exceeds the limits of the capacities of our imagination, the sublime is what causes every standpoint to tremble: only through this unsettling of every perspective, effected by the experience of the unimaginable, would it become possible to operate a ‘pure reason’ speculating in the direction of an immeasurable cosmology capable of authorizing an infinite cosmopolitanism[xvi].

What Szendy tries to do, then, is to sketch out a pathway ‘from the aesthetic to the political by way of a speculative cosmology’, finding that it is ‘as if the each-and-every-one on the basis of which the judgment of taste is oriented could include humanity as such only when taking a cosmotheoretical detour through the wholly other that inhabits extraterrestrial globes’[xvii]. And, insofar as this detour through the extra-terrestrial is necessary in order to imagine a cosmic cosmopolitanism capable of staving off the threat of disunion, of embracing the whole earth, and of doing so even beyond imagination and in the very failure of the imagination, Szendy refers to the imperative of cosmopolitical philosofiction. It will be a question, then, of asking how this cosmopolitical philosofiction, as the materialization of the pathway to a speculative cosmology, might marry or fail to marry with Stiegler’s surrealist cosmology composing microcosmic and and macrocosmic scales from the quantum to the astrophysical. What Szendy and Stiegler undoubtedly share is the thought that this irreducible fictive element means that such a cosmopolitics must be essentially aesthetic – cosmetic – and this is why Szendy concludes that, today, any revolution must be enacted on a ‘terrain where a war is being waged whose stakes are a veritable geopolitics of the sensible’[xviii].

The gaze of the clone

The terrain on which this cosmogeopolitics of the sensible is being conducted is the mnemotechnical milieu that, today, amounts to the sphere of what Heidegger called Gestell. But it is also each of the individual microcosms that are the psychic apparatuses of the processes of psychic individuation that each of us are in our inextricable entanglement with the complex exorganisms that we produce. But these exorganisms also produce us, and the possibility that our globalized technical systems might anticipate and post-produce our very psychic microcosm to such an extent as to automate the will itself is what threatens to make this geopolitical war of the sensible unwinnable.

Such an automation of the will may begin with a dream of permanent innovation and creative destruction, perpetually conquering new terrestrial markets and new psychic markets, but it has led, as Sloterdijk has pointed out, as if inevitably to a consumerism in which ‘what spirals out of control’ is ‘an end us devoid of ulterior motives’[xix]. Or descent into this vortex created by the automation of will and elimination of motive has now crossed a threshold after which we can indeed speak of an age of ‘post-truth’ – where the latter is nothing but the nihilistic symptom of a loss of the will to care for the difference that knowledge or truth makes.

The primordial possibility of such an age, however, ultimately derives from the fictive element involved in the way that the neganthropotechnical microcosms that we ourselves are apprehend the world, from the fact that every cosmopolitics involves a cosmetics – as Szendy says, a ‘touch-up of the sensible’[xx]. It is this fictive, cosmetic element that makes ‘post-truth’ possible, because it is both the condition that makes truth possible in the first place and what makes possible the conditioning of the apprehension of the world. The automation of the will destroys the capacity to engage in processes whose ‘ulterior motives’ include the production of veridiction: instead, we are left with the synchronization of experience in a way that tends to eliminate difference, leading to a combination of in-difference to the difference such truth-oriented motives make and the corresponding violent assertion of the hyper-difference of each-and-every-one’s own unquestionable ‘truth’.

For Szendy, all this is what dawns on the viewer of the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers: what one beholds, in that classic science fiction film from 1956, is a biopower of mechanical reproducibility, a hyper-synchronized process of ‘metamorphosis without change’[xxi], a biotechnological, pheromonal anthill effected through a dual movement that snatches bodies and creates a ‘sort of copy’. But what this strange form of mimetic contagion really concerns is the snatching of minds: it eliminates difference and establishes the reign of the ‘they’, of a transformed and reticulated race of an each-and-every-one about whom we could reverse Wittgenstein’s formulation: ‘we believe that they are automatons, but do we also believe that they are without suffering?’ For Szendy, for whom film is ‘above all an affair of point of view’, and ‘telescopic’ in the sense of being ‘stretched toward’ a distance ‘beyond points of view’, ‘however close it may be’[xxii], the virtue of Invasion of the Body Snatchers lies in having revealed the invaders who do not just come from outside, but inhabit and so condition our own point of view: the film allows our ‘indifference to be seen’ via the indifferent gaze of the clone, ‘as if the director’s lens were desperately trying to grasp the ungraspable difference between difference and indifference, the indistinct distinction that cannot be seen but that instead looks out at us, concerns us [nous regarde]’[xxiii].

The two-movie reality

I doubt there’s anyone in this room who isn’t familiar with the way that Stiegler uses Husserl’s account of the melodic temporal object to describe this fictive element in our apprehension of the world – the fact that secondary retention forms the selection criteria for the anticipation and post-production involved in primary retention and protention, which implies that ‘immediate’ perception involves an irreducible element of imagination – or the way he extends this analysis in order to demonstrate that tertiary retention introduces an element of controllability into the composition of primary and secondary retention and protention, opening up, through the exactitude of mnemotechnics, the processes of adoption and interpretation that lie at the root of politics, law and rational knowledge as the material transcendence (so to speak) of the mere aspects provided by individual viewpoints, but where the very same potentials for control also make possible the dissolution of such processes. The analysis of the temporal object, in other words, shows how tertiary retention is what, pharmacologically, opens up the prospect of an immeasurable time, precisely through the measurability it makes possible, and what always contains the threat of closing off that possibility, through the conditioning and control of apprehension in a way that reduces it to calculability.

What makes the melody such an exemplary case is not just that it is a temporal object in the sense that, like consciousness, it exists only in the time of its flowing through consciousness. This exemplarity further lies in the way that the experience of the aural temporal object also, in a sense, negates the question of standpoint. In principle, it does not matter where one is or where one is standing or how one is ‘physically oriented’ or how one may be ‘directional’[xxiv] in relation to the data being received through the aural physiological apparatus. The example of the melody works, and in fact works best, if one imagines oneself listening with closed eyes. Paradoxically, bracketing off the question of viewpoint is the very way of seeing that what determines the singularity of bearing aural witness is different horizons of expectation, rather than varying spatial coordinates, and that these different expectations derive from having had a singular past[xxv].

Stiegler addresses this, for example, in Aimer, s’aimer, nous aimer: if different witnesses provide different testimonies about the events of an accident, such as for example a traffic accident, it is, despite being first and foremost something they have witnessed in the sense of being something they have seen, less to do with their locations on ‘this or that side’ (as Husserl puts it) of the incident in question, and more to do with their different ‘performances’ of the act of witnessing[xxvi]. Or, when we watch a film, this account of what counts in the experience of the industrial temporal object has to assume that it is reasonable to discount the possibility that experiential differences are due in any fundamental way to where one is seated, or to differences in where we direct our ocular physiological apparatus in relation to the screen.

This assumption that we can bracket the question of viewpoint is, I believe, largely reasonable. And, in terms of the question of the ‘conversion of the gaze’, it may indeed be that the question of the conversion is more important than the question of the gaze. Nevertheless, given that the subject of these conversions are all those psychic individuals who are always localized microcosms, there may be more left to say about what difference it makes to this account if we choose not to take aural perception as paradigmatic. Is what counts in the extra-terrestrial gaze simply the fact that it observes from a viewpoint sufficiently broad as to be capable of taking in the multiplicity of terrestrial viewpoints in their multitudinous aspects? Or does such a gaze in fact see something else, something other, a genuine shift in the character of insight (or, rather, ex-sight) brought about by training its telescopes onto the terrestrial here but as if from the extra-terrestrial ‘over there’? And, in that case, would such a potential for extra-terrestrial ex-sight derive its potentiality from the fact that, as Heidegger claimed, ‘Da-sein is initially never here, but over there’[xxvii].

For Kant, as we have seen, the threat of disunion contained in unsocial sociability is itself the condition of possibility and necessity of cosmopolitanism. In the age of post-truth, however, the fictioning that surrounds every political narrative means that this threat of disunion functions more as a condition of impossibility: two utterly divergent audiences (where the condition of being an audience is what tends to eliminate the condition of being a citizen) perceive the very same mediatized political narratives, but they do so from what seem diametrically and rigidly opposed viewpoints. The fading away of every process of veridiction would then lead less to the fog of truth[xxviii], which is supposedly its ambiguous and impenetrable character in the state of war, than to a hardening, where this side and that side prove absolutely irreconcilable, a state of affairs that has been referred to by one commentator as the advent of a ‘two-movie reality’, a situation in which two movies play on one screen.

In light of this new two-movie reality, which should be understood firstly as a reduction to only two movies, a crystallized state of the union where the same givens lead to indissolubly hardened perceptual oppositions, and so to the materialization of the threat of absolute disunion, that is, uncivil war, in the rest of what follows I would like to make a case for thinking about specifically visual temporal objects, by referring not to Husserl but to Wittgenstein, and specifically to his notion of ‘aspects’. If, as has been suggested, the cosmopolitical question of the geopolitics of the sensible today concerns the conditions of possibility of a ‘new perspectivism’, then the question to be approached in the remainder of this paper is whether a perspective is or is not the same thing as a point of view.

The duck-rabbit

The duck-rabbit, which Wittgenstein calls a ‘picture-object’[xxix], is an example of a so-called ‘bistable percept’. Hence it is not, strictly speaking, a temporal object: it does not exist as a flow in time in the way as a melody. Nevertheless, one can argue that there is something essentially temporal about the way this image is apprehended, at least by ‘us’, in the sense that the mutual exclusivity of the duck and the rabbit is necessarily experienced across the span of more than one moment: hence Wittgenstein distinguishes the ‘continuous seeing’ of an aspect from the ‘dawning’ of an aspect[xxx]. To notice an aspect is to notice the dawning of a change, but the issue, of course, is to understand the character of this change, to know what it is that changes, what kind of movement this involves, and where this change is located.

What the bistable percept picture-object makes plain is the possibility that, as Wittgenstein puts it, the irreversible dawning of a second aspect (the duck or the rabbit) may be ‘the expression of a new perception and at the same time of the perception’s being unchanged’[xxxi]. But if it is not the external stimulus that has changed, since, as in the case of a gramophone recording, the perceptual data remains identical across the time of a change in perception, nevertheless Wittgenstein insists that this does not mean that perception is merely something subjective:

And above all do not say “After all my visual impression isn’t the drawing; it is this—which I can’t shew anyone.”—Of course it is not the drawing, but neither is it anything of the same category, which I carry within myself. The concept of the ‘inner picture’ is misleading, for this concept uses the ‘outer picture’ as a model[xxxii].

There is no ‘inner picture’ that we might hope to divorce from the tertiary retention: the picture-object exists, or rather consists, in some place that we can locate neither internally nor externally. As Stiegler insists:

The image in general does not exist. What is called the mental image and what I shall call the image-object (which is always inscribed in a history, and in a technical history) are two faces of a single phenomenon. They can no more be separated than the signified and the signifier which defined, in the past, the two faces of the linguistic sign[xxxiii].

The secondary question raised here, of the relationship between the imagistic and the linguistic, is something to which we will return.

Wittgenstein thus describes the dawning of an aspect – somewhat imprecisely, it must be said – as ‘half visual experience, half thought’. To the extent that it is something produced in me, he says, it must be ‘a sort of copy, something that in its turn can be looked at […]; almost something like a materialization’[xxxiv]. And because we produce this copy of a tertiary retention, and because we can look at it, that is, reiterate it, are we not, he wonders, already involved in an interpretation of the picture-object?

But, Wittgenstein then asks, ‘how is it possible to see an object according to an interpretation?’[xxxv] What more is involved in the ability to carry out such an interpretation, for Wittgenstein does indeed think that there is something more involved? If the dawning of the duck or the rabbit can happen in a flash, the immediacy of the occurrence of this aspect should not mislead us: as he then notes, there are styles of painting that immediately convey meaning to some people, but not to others (not to him). And so he concludes:

I think custom and upbringing have a hand in this[xxxvi].

The dawning of the duck or the rabbit depends on acquired knowledge of the form of these animals, but, more generally, it is inscribed in a process and practice of familiarization with a way of gazing. It is, in other words, overdetermined by the circuits of transindividuation through which we learn the capability that, alone, allows aspects to dawn.

What Wittgenstein is describing here, in his ‘description of what is seen’[xxxvii], is phenomenological intentionality, however far, in other respects, Wittgenstein’s philosophy may be from Husserl’s, starting with the technics of writing, which for Wittgenstein involved an elaborate, if not interminable procedure that began by handwriting into notebooks, followed by making selections from their contents, dictating the best of them to a typist, cutting up the typewritten paper, and rearranging the fragments into a new order, thereby treating them as quasi-picture-objects, and doing all this precisely in order to make it possible for new aspects to dawn[xxxviii]. Wittgenstein describes the intentionality involved in the dawning of aspects as ‘seeing as’: we can see this picture-object as a duck or as a rabbit; we can see it as ‘like this’ or ‘like that’. The relationship of such an account to the melodic temporal object is made even clearer when Wittgenstein himself raises the example of a musical theme, which, on different occasions, as he says, we can hear as ‘a march’ or as ‘a dance’[xxxix].

It is notable that the duck-rabbit image has also been used by the psychologist Jeffrey Alan Gray to indicate the ‘unconscious intentionality’ involved in the production of perceptual experience: that the duck or the rabbit ‘spring into consciousness fully formed’ shows that this production involves an intentional mechanism operating behind the back of consciousness[xl]. For Gray, this notion of unconscious intentionality, which is nothing other than an account of the intentionality of primary retention, is intended to bridge the gap between the neurobiological level and the conscious level, but without Gray recognizing that the selection criteria must be supplied by secondary retention, nor that what opens this gap in the first place is the third memory constituted by the process of exosomatization, that is, tertiary retention. Gray’s account does not convey the sense, in other words, that this apprehension of the image is necessarily inscribed in a history, and in a technical history. If we find ourselves tempted to make the same criticism of Wittgenstein, it is nevertheless also true that the latter’s account of the intentionality involved in seeing a duck or a rabbit, or in hearing a melody as a march or a dance, is an ability that

would only be said of someone capable of making certain applications […]. The substratum of this experience is a mastery of a technique[xli].

From this it follows that the aspect which dawns, the duck or the rabbit, is not just something that is in the bistable picture-object: it is ‘not a property of the object, but an internal relation between it and other objects’[xlii], or, as Szendy puts it, ‘the fold of an internal difference that only becomes visible at the limit’[xliii], which we must learn to apprehend. And Wittgenstein goes so far as to say:

And I can see it in various aspects according to the fiction I surround it with[xliv].

Here, however, we encounter a paradox. Wittgenstein had claimed, as we saw, that we see according to an interpretation, but, surrounding the object as we do with fictive elements, through which we seem to immediately see the object as this or that, Wittgenstein wonders if this is really to interpret what we see differently, or whether it is not, on the contrary, to ‘really see something different each time’[xlv]? He is inclined to conclude the latter: the dawning of an aspect really is seeing something different; it is, therefore, not quite a matter of seeing it according to a different interpretation.

Wittgenstein is reluctant to call this an interpretation, in other words, because the internal difference that becomes visible here does not, in fact, reach the limit of actual noesis. It is merely ‘having an image’, whereas to interpret is already to think. To see an aspect, Wittgenstein thinks, only involves the power of the imagination, even if, as he also thinks, it is, indeed, ‘subject to the will’[xlvi]. And, finally, even if this dawning does indeed involve an image whose aspect we can change at will, so to speak, it is also, in its initial occurrence, a change that, a dawning that, as Wittgenstein says, ‘produces a surprise’[xlvii], but for Wittgenstein this sur-prehension is not of a kind capable of causing the trembling of every comprehension, even if this is precisely how the duck-rabbit drawing – which is a picture-object, a quasi- or pseudo-temporal object, an image-object and (therefore) a technical object – functions for his own comprehension.

Aspect-blindness

Wittgenstein’s account of ‘noticing aspects’ is undoubtedly pertinent to the Stieglerian appropriation of the Husserlian analysis of the temporal object. By taking the duck-rabbit as a paradigmatic picture-object, just as Husserl took the melody as a paradigmatic temporal object, Wittgenstein succeeds in finding a case of identical repetition, as occurs in repeated listening to sound recordings. Wittgenstein’s example is a case of the post-production of primary retention applied to visual perception, but one that is, or at least seems to be, independent of the question of viewpoint, while nevertheless being dependent on the localized conditions of learned capabilities.

But of what use is his account of aspects for any theory or practice involved in the question of the prospects of the immeasurable time of the Neganthropocene? To answer this question, we need to pursue Wittgenstein’s account just a little further.

Having noted that seeing an aspect is more like an act of imaginative will than interpretative will, even if it remains dependent on the learned capability of seeing something as something, Wittgenstein wonders if there ‘could be human beings lacking in the capacity to see something as something’, a potential problem he identifies with the name, ‘aspect blindness’[xlviii]. One might think that, with this notion of aspect-blindness, Wittgenstein is referring to the kind of visual agnosia that can occur as a result of brain injury, but, on the basis of his account of aspectival perception as inherently involving learned if unconscious intentionality, what is at stake here is, in fact, the loss of the transindividuated knowledge that enables someone to see something as something, or, in other words, the possibility of a kind of perceptual proletarianization.

Furthermore, Wittgenstein’s concern with aspect-blindness is not, in fact, limited to sense perception. He immediately extends the scope of the question of aspects, and hence of aspect-blindness, when he makes a direct connection between ‘seeing an aspect’ and ‘experiencing the meaning of a word’[xlix]. And this, in turn, is then framed in terms of a difference (even a différance) between the knowledge involved in the capacity to read and the ‘information’ contained in the words written on the page:

“When I read a poem or narrative with feeling, surely something goes on in me which does not go on when I merely skim the lines for information.”—What processes am I alluding to?—The sentences have a different ring[l].

Wittgenstein thus extends his account from a kind of visual blindness to a kind of linguistic blindness, itself capable of being generalized to logos as the symbolic, the logical, the sensational and the exclamatory character of noetic différance in general. Wittgenstein himself, in the passage where he describes the fiction with which the viewer surrounds the picture-object, points out that these perceptual questions are not simply questions for physiology, for, here, ‘the physiological is a symbol for the logical’[li]. Even if it is completely outside Wittgenstein’s intention to use the concept of aspect-blindness to diagnose an epoch or a tendency (and who can finally judge whether this is the case?), this concept nevertheless pertains (and protains), for example, to Frédéric Kaplan’s account of ‘linguistic capitalism’, that is, linguistic proletarianization[lii].

The virtue of this ‘concept of an aspect’ that is ‘akin to the concept of an image’[liii] (that does not exist), then, lies in the way it telescopes its way beyond the visual and the linguistic, to a kind of noetic generality. The dawning of another aspect is the capacity for surprise, for a perceptual act that sees the image with a wholly other gaze that makes every standpoint tremble, a telescopic, extra-terrestrial gaze with the potential to expose the philosofictive conditions of the two-movie reality. Is what Wittgenstein is describing by way of the duck-rabbit picture-object not, in this sense, a kind of not-necessarily-visual stereoscopy, a multidimensionality of apprehension, a relief, which alone makes possible, for example, the experience of the meaning of a word? This would be to bring Wittgenstein’s ‘description of what is seen’ into the orbit of Simondon’s account of ‘disparation’, for which:

To bring about a coherence that incorporates [the separate images of the left eye and the right eye], it is necessary that they become the foundation of a world perceived within an axiomatic in which disparation […] becomes, precisely, the index of a new dimension[liv].

As Stiegler shows in Automatic Society, Volume One, what Berns and Rouvroy call ‘algorithmic governmentality’[lv] is, above all, the ‘automatic and computational liquidation of disparation’[lvi], which means: the dissolution of all those forms of what Wittgenstein calls ‘custom and upbringing’, or, more precisely, the localized circuits and processes of transindividuation enabling disparation, that is, that make it possible to notice, as if from an infinitely faraway location, the stereoscopic depth and thickness of aspects, beyond ‘this or that side’, and where there can be no ‘horizons of expectation’ without this ‘index of a new dimension’. The telescopic, in Szendy’s sense, in this sense implicitly raises the question of the stereoscopic.

The ‘coherence’ of Simondon’s stereoscopic disparation, of course, is a matter of how the left and right retinal images compose, whereas Wittgenstein intends to show, through the mutual exclusivity of the bistable percept, the impossibility of conjoining, in a single ‘moment’ of vision, the two dimensions or aspects of the picture-object’s meaning. Yet this impossibility of overcoming the disunion of the duck and the rabbit does not mean that the two do not co-exist at some point, even if they do so in an ideality occurring only at infinity, which is, precisely, neither interior nor exterior – just as the conjunction of the image perceived by the left eye and the right eye should be, geometrically speaking, strictly impossible, meaning that, if linear perspective is undeniably ‘correcter’ than earlier forms of painting, nevertheless even ‘natural’ disparation itself is irreducibly fictive, and just as for Kant the sublime involves an experience of what exceeds the limits of the imagination. Sur-prehending the bistable percept as both-duck-and-rabbit, retaining both aspects, is, precisely, a question of striving to see, extraterrestrially, caught halfway between knowledge and non-knowledge, what is invisible, even if we may feel sure it is right there, like the figure in the carpet.

Furthermore, as Wittgenstein asserts, in a kind of reversal of Simondon that ends up making the same point, what is ‘natural to us’ is three dimensional representation, whereas ‘special practice and training are needed for two-dimensional representation’[lvii]: in terms of the representational gaze, then, the reduction to two dimensions is, in a strange way, also the index of a new dimensionality, one that has a long history. Perhaps in this way, too, the reduction to a two-movie reality might, in making plain the absolute failure of vision and imagination effected by the performative automation of the will, contain the potential to be transformed into a cure for our present-day overwhelming aspect-blindness. In any case, at stake in both Simondon’s account of disparation and Wittgenstein’s account of aspect-blindness is a strange kind of step beyond the ‘technically possible’, but what Wittgenstein makes clearer, perhaps, is that this irreducibly involves practice, training and technique, that is, circuits of transindividuation.

As we saw, Wittgenstein describes the step beyond information in rather vague terms as a matter of the ‘feeling’ with which we read a poem, and which gives it its ‘ring’. In addressing the question of the relationship of aspect-blindness to meaning, he asks whether there can really be any kind of ‘expert judgment’ through which the ‘genuineness of expressions of feeling’ can be adjudicated, and he answers, again rather imprecisely, that ‘correcter prognoses will generally issue from the judgments of those with better knowledge’[lviii]. But he immediately gives the kind of knowledge that this involves it’s properly Epimethean character:

Can one learn this knowledge? Yes; some can. Not, however, by taking a course in it, but through ‘experience’[lix].

What Wittgenstein describes is precisely the singularity and infinity of the localized transindividual inasmuch as it is irreducible to the algorithmic. This is, he says, no longer a matter of technique, but what he means by this demands careful reading:

What one acquires here is not a technique; one learns correct judgments. There are also rules, but they do not form a system and only experienced people can apply them right. Unlike calculating-rules[lx].

The question of aspect-blindness is that of the elimination of knowledge as the index of a dimensionality that opens the horizons of expectation which, in turn, grant the possibility of a judgment, with rules, but beyond facts, not without calculation, but exceeding every calculation. At stake is the possibility of being surprised by noticing another meaning in one and the same object, without changing anything in the object, which, in turn, opens the possibility of changing the rules, even if it is for a game we can never master, and so of materializing a new world, neganthropically.

How does Wittgenstein express this possibility? For him, of course, itis a question of language games, of why, in the game of experiencing a word, we speak not only of meaning, but of meaning it, that is, of the difference such meaning makes. For Wittgenstein, this is a question of adoption, of ‘taking over’ a meaning from one language-game into another. He writes:

Call it a dream. It does not change anything[lxi].

In this dream of learning and adopting a way of judging the ‘genuineness of expressions of feeling’, a dream that does not change anything, just as for Heidegger the extraordinariness of authentic existence is nothing other than a ‘modified grasp’ of the ordinariness of everydayness[lxii], an almost nothing that nevertheless changes everything, we can locate the whole problem of repotentializing disparation[lxiii], that is, of transforming the aspect-blindness of our ‘two-movie reality’ into a new cosmopolitics of relief, by surrounding it with a fiction capable of fostering the will required for any possible, improbable, Neganthropocenic revolution.

Conclusion

We now have a sense, then, of how to marry Wittgenstein’s account of the ability to notice the dawning of an aspect with Szendy’s account, drawn from Kant, of the need for a telescopic gaze opening a speculative cosmology on the terrain of a war conducted for a geopolitics of the sensible. For Stiegler, Husserl’s mistake was trying to exclude tertiary retention from the account of the intertwining of primary and secondary retention, a mistake Husserl went some way towards rectifying with his account of the origin of geometry in the techniques of polishing and writing. The import of this Husserlian revision, for Stiegler, is that the ‘large now’ of time-consciousness, by which there is no primary perception of the ‘present moment’ without an extension from the preceding moment and towards the succeeding moment, becomes the ‘very large now’ of geometry itself, which exists and can exist only in a transmission of the knowledge of geometry in an intergenerational we, a transmission that is itself possible only on the basis of a technical history. What Wittgenstein’s account of the bistable percept suggests, we are proposing, is that there is a kind of ‘large there’, an irreducible spatial enlargement that is not a matter of measurable quantities but of openings onto other dimensions of ex-sight, themselves technically conditioned and transmitted through what Wittgenstein refers to as custom and upbringing. Is not what Szendy is gesturing towards via Kant a kind of ‘very large there’, or, perhaps, a ‘very large over there’, whose condition of possibility would be the impossibility of limiting this character of ex-sight to noticing just this or that aspect of this or that image, given that the process of such a stereoscopic gaze telescopes its way in just the same way as the transcendental we of geometry?

If, today, the starting point of thinking is not awe or astonishment but dread, then among its most recent manifestations, in a vicious circle of symptom and cause, is undoubtedly the constellation of phenomena summarized by the ‘surprise’ election of Donald Trump and the sense of having definitively entered an age of so-called ‘post-truth’. In this constellation we see, feel and dread the depths of that war identified by Peter Szendy as being conducted on the terrain of a geopolitics of the sensible and requiring a speculative cosmology: it is a question of sensibility firstly because Trump’s election was the expression of a feeling, a feeling that can be understood only as a kind of suffering, and a suffering whose source can be understood only as an extreme form of proletarianization – the hyperproletarianization characteristic of the digital age.

Some might object that, therefore, this is no longer a matter of the ‘geopolitics of the sensible’, as Szendy claims, but rather, as Benjamin Bratton claims, the ‘geopolitics of the cloud’, and that the crucial cosmological fact is that ‘the stack’ is the ‘mechanism of a disruptive cosmopolitics’ leading to the ‘catastrophic homogenization’ of a ‘Megamachine’[lxiv]. No doubt this is a false alternative. What we are witnessing today is undoubtedly the takeover of many functions by very high-powered, data-intensive computation, whose unfettered character leads Bratton to invoke Schmitt for his own cosmopolitics, in the name of a ‘nomos of the cloud’ that, as Stiegler has pointed out, neglects the fact that for Schmitt nomos is firstly and above all a matter of the division of land, and so tied to locality and to the earth, an earth that, if it moves, always moves along with the neganthropotechnical beings that we ourselves are[lxv].

But even if this question of the geopolitics of the cloud is entirely legitimate, even if it means we find ourselves subsisting in a gulag architectonic (of data), imprisoning each ‘user’ within the segmented, particularized cell of their own prefabricated will, it bears remembering that this computational overtaking of functions continues to operate through ‘terminals’ that will for a long time continue to be screens. If these screens within the gulag architectonic can at times function as windows, if they frequently convey text, and if they always operate with data, they nevertheless also continue to make use of the synthetic power of the visual image. And, if anything, this is now more the case than ever, leading Hossein Derakhshan to argue that with Facebook, for example, we are witnessing a shift from a ‘books-internet toward a television-internet’[lxvi]. In the becoming-television of the internet, the network or the digital does not replace the audiovisual: as the platform overtakes functions, it absorbs the audiovisual. The ‘fuel’ powering the algorithmic governmentality of the platform capitalism presently materializing itself may be the data provided by users in the form of digital traces, but the means of solicitation and the products of this pheromonal system are, more than ever, ‘picture-objects’.

Does this ubiquity and indeed domination of the visual image legitimate the notion that we require a cosmopolitanism focused on the multiplicity of standpoints? The risk entailed by such a cosmopolitanism is of producing a kind of static perspective founded on a geometry that consists in simply measuring the distances between one point of view and another, and which threatens to end with a bad perspectivism of calculable (hence algorithmicizable) differences of interest. Hence it is against the false choice between the geometry of nationalisms and a homogenous internationalism that Szendy draws attention to the horizon of another dimension invoked by Marcel Mauss when he referred to the ‘inter-nation’[lxvii]. The twenty-first century translation of this bad perspectivism, as the geopolitics of the macrocosms of the nation-state becomes that of the macrocosms of platform capitalism, is the rise of macrocosmological ‘filter bubbles’ that harden into a two-movie reality progressively eliminating the dawning of aspects – until these bubbles explode.

If we can indeed diagnose those who voted for Trump as afflicted with a kind of suffering, and so as expressing a genuine feeling, however ungenuine the details of this expression, correcter prognoses (insofar as we remain capable of believing in the possibility of such judgments) depend on seeing that this was not just, not only, a matter of the expression of economic immiseration or the corresponding rise of an anti-systemic, anticosmopolitan, insular, nativist point of view, protesting  economic poverty is combined with and compounded by processes of immiseration both symbolic and noetic. What was expressed by this literally dreadful election was, in this sense, and more than anything, a desperate absence of point of view, a becoming-automaton that is also a suffering in which point of view is suspended, because to have a point of view implies an orientation, a reason, a motive or a rationality. In the two-movie reality, however, the real itself becomes irrational, without reason, if not without qualities, leading to a quiet or not-so-quiet desperation that begins to want the apocalypse, to want to see it – and to see it screened. Did the election of Donald Trump explode this two movie reality, or will the bubbles produced by its algorithmic filters continue to expand to a planetary scale that crowds out all stereoscopy and can ultimately only hasten the apocalypse of global aspect-blindness? Whatever may be the case, in the age of ‘post-truth’, when the real becomes absolutely irrational, that is, a very bad fiction, then, as Stiegler has argued, we must transform the very notion of truth, so that it can no longer be based on a relation to being, or even to becoming [devenir], but only to the future [avenir], which is to say, a new, rational (neganthropic) macro-economy[lxviii].

If the possibility of the Neganthropocene is the question of a revolution, what infinitely complicates the question is how to motivate a turn, a catastrophe, in a world without culture and so without cosmos, and how to foster this revolution before, during and after the catastrophe(s), and after the deluge (of data). If in the age of platforms this is still a question of images, it is not just a question of the geometry of spatial standpoints: somehow the visual image must move, must exist in time. And, again, if it is indeed a question of entropy and negentropy, then this can only be the question of a temporal process, a temporal struggle. And, finally, if no apprehension of space occurs in any way other than as an apprehension of space in time, opening through the temporal dimension an ex-sight of the possibility of experiencing a surprise capable of causing every comprehension to tremble, then, again, this can only be a question of the image in time, the image that moves, that is, that changes, even if it does not change. Only in this way can the question of Wittgenstein’s aspect-blindness be articulated with Szendy’s extra-terrestrial gaze, which is not the same as Kant’s, precisely because the question of the point of view of points of view is no longer, for Szendy, either universal or transcendental or theological, and because it remains within the localized sur-reality of the neganthropic struggle of microcosmological and macrocosmological points of view operating not just from different positions but on different scales of a ‘very large over there’ with a technical history. Hence we argue that the question of a conversion to and of an extra-terrestrial gaze, the question of a new revolutionary perspectivism becoming visible only at the limit, neces

Original text here


[i] Lecture delivered on 25 July at the 2017 Épineuil-le-Fleuriel summer academy. This is an extended version of the text, with thanks due to Bernard Stiegler for providing the author with his unpublished text, ‘Étre-là-bas: Phénoménologie et orientation’, which enabled some of the arguments presented here to be clarified. The lecture as delivered was entitled ‘Invasion of the Mind Snatchers’, but, in light of the author’s discovery of a forthcoming article with the same title by his friend Dominic Pettman, this title has been changed to respect this precedence.

[ii] Edmund Husserl, ‘Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature: The Originary Ark, the Earth, Does Not Move’, in Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Husserl at the Limits of Phenomenology (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2001), p. 131.

[iii] Jean-Pierre Vernant, Myth and Thought Among the Greeks (New York: Zone, 2006), p. 117.

[iv] Bernard Stiegler, ‘The New Conflict of the Faculties: Quasi-Causality and Serendipity in the Anthropocene’, Qui Parle 26 (2017), p. 79.

[v] Immanuel Kant, The Conflict of the Faculties (New York: Abaris, 1979), p. 161.

[vi] On the concepts of ‘entrope’ and ‘negentrope’, which are perhaps fictive names for what Stiegler refers to as ‘stereotypes’ and ‘traumatypes’, see Daniel Ross, ‘Moving Images of the Anthropocene: Rethinking Cinema Beyond Anthropology’, delivered July 2015, available at: <https://www.academia.edu/29677705/Moving_Images_of_the_Anthropocene_Rethin king_Cinema_Beyond_Anthropology_2016_>.

[vii] Husserl, ‘Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature’, p. 117.

[viii] Ibid., p. 119

[ix] Ibid., p. 118

[x] Ibid., p. 127

[xi] Ibid., p. 131

[xii] Peter Szendy, Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials: Cosmopolitical Philosofictions (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), p. 96.

[xiii] Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 236, quoted in Szendy, Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials, pp. 47–48.

[xiv] Also crucial to Szendy’s account is his reading of Carl Schmitt, for whom the possibility of this overarching, extra-terrestrial gaze is the fantasy that must be rejected, in favour of a more mundane account of nomos as rooted (though this choice of word may not be fair) in the question of the earth (of its land and of its sea). There is not space here for consideration of this aspect of Szendy’s work, which forms a kind of mechanism for a ‘course correction’ in his reading of Kant, but it is worth noting that, in 2004, in his apocalyptic reflections on the ‘Straussian moment’, a youthful Peter Thiel summarized Carl Schmitt’s anti-Kantian anti-universalism in the following terms: ‘Absent an invasion by aliens from outer space, there never can be a world state that politically unites all of humanity. It is a logical impossibility.’ Peter Thiel, ‘The Straussian Moment’, in Robert Hamerton-Kelly (ed.), Politics and Apocalypse (East Lansin: Michigan State University Press, 2007), p. 199.

[xv] Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, p. 225, quoted in Szendy, Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials, p. 47.

[xvi] This is also a question of the relation between man and nature in Kant, which draws the question into the orbit of the concerns of the Anthropocene in a way that is more direct than can be found in Szendy. Without being able to discuss this here, in ‘Moving Images of the Anthropocene’, I described this in terms of the Kantian account of aesthetic ideas, in the following way:

The first of these questions, that of the socialisation and collectivisation of aesthetic ideas, is not, in this classical period, thought in terms of process. The question of what process mediates between the individual and the collective does not arise, and there is instead a resort to the assumption of shared pre-existing cognitive capacities. The second of these questions could be spelled otherwise as referring to something like the cosmological significance of sublimity. But without an understanding that this generation of the infinite is a question not just of the aesthetic play of imagination and the understanding but instead has techno-aesthetic or phenomeno-techno-aesthetic conditions, the answer to this question gets caught in aporias of nature: the human being, in its transcendent appreciation of nature, becomes a kind of nature of nature, the nature of the human being being to seek nature’s purposiveness beyond nature itself. And because this ultimate purposiveness is understood as that of rational human being grasped as the nature of nature, it is inconceivable to such a way of thinking that this purposiveness could ultimately become a source of misery, let alone that this immiseration might prove to be not just that of humankind but of ‘nature’ ‘itself’. Despite the degree to which Kantian aesthetics thus opens up these two questions of the indeterminate and the infinite, in the end they fail to lead to a consideration of the temporality of aesthetic processes. And this failure is ultimately due to the repression of any consideration of the aesthetic artefact as such.

[xvii] Szendy, Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials, p. 79.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Peter Sloterdijk, In the Interior World of Capital (Cambridge: Polity, 2013), p. 209.

[xx] Szendy, Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials, p. 150.

[xxi] Ibid., p. 83.

[xxii] Ibid., p. 129.

[xxiii] Ibid., 84.

[xxiv] In the sense referred to by Heidegger in Being and Time when he states that ‘Da-sein has […] the character of directionality. Every bringing near has always taken a direction in a region beforehand from which what is de-distanced approaches so that it can be discovered with regard to its place.’ Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (Albany: State University of New York Press), §23.

[xxv] The formulation ‘horizons of expectation’, it should be noted, is essentially spatiotemporal

[xxvi] Bernard Stiegler, Acting Out (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), pp. 61–62.

[xxvii] See Heidegger, Being and Time, §23. And see Bernard Stiegler, ‘Étre-là-bas: Phénoménologie et orientation’, unpublished.

[xxviii] Thinking here of the fact that Husserl wonders what difference it would have made to our cosmological conceptions had the earth’s atmosphere been foggy rather than transparent and the stars therefore invisible. Husserl, ‘Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature’, p. 129: ‘Indeed, in fog they are invisible. Thus it could have been through all historical periods – we would have lived therefore in a generational historicity and could have had our earthly world, our earth and earth-spaces, flying and floating bodies there, etc., everything as before, only without visible starts that could be experienced by us. Perhaps we would have had an atomic physics or a microphysics, but not an astrophysics or a macrophysics. But we would have to consider to what extent the former would have been changed.’

[xxix] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1968), p. 194.

[xxx] Ibid., p. 194.

[xxxi] Ibid., p. 196.

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] Bernard Stiegler, ‘The Discrete Image’, in Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, Echographies of Television: Filmed Interviews (Cambridge: Polity, 2002), p. 147.

[xxxiv] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 199.

[xxxv] Ibid., p. 200.

[xxxvi] Ibid.

[xxxvii] Ibid.

[xxxviii] See Ray Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (London: Vintage, 1990) p. 319.

[xxxix] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 206.

[xl] See Jeffrey Alan Gray, Consciousness: Creeping Up on the Hard Problem (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 40–46.

[xli] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 208.

[xlii] Ibid., p. 212.

[xliii] Szendy, Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials, p. 88.

[xliv] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 210.

[xlv] Ibid., p. 212.

[xlvi] Ibid., p. 213.

[xlvii] Ibid., p. 199.

[xlviii] Ibid., p. 213.

[xlix] Ibid., p. 214.

[l] Ibid., p. 214. On the relationship between information and knowledge, see Bernard Stiegler, ‘The New Conflict of the Faculties and Functions: Quasi-Causality and Serendipity in the Anthropocene’, Qui Parle 26 (2017), pp. 79–99.

[li] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 210.

[lii] Frédéric Kaplan, ‘Vers le capitalisme linguistique. Quand les mots valent de l’or’, Le Monde diplomatique (November 2011), available at: http://www.mondediplomatique. fr/2011/11/KAPLAN/46925. See also Kaplan, ‘Linguistic Capitalism and Algorithmic Mediation’, Representations 27 (2014), pp. 57–63.

[liii] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 213.

[liv] Gilbert Simondon, L’Individu et sa genèse physico-biologique (Grenoble: Jérôme Millon, 1995), p. 206, quoted in Bernard Stiegler, Automatic Society, Volume 1: The Future of Work (Cambridge: Polity, 2016), p. 128.

[lv] Antoinette Rouvroy and Thomas Berns, ‘Gouvernementalité algorithmique et perspectives d’émancipation’, Réseaux 177 (2013), pp. 163–96.

[lvi] Stiegler, Automatic Society, Volume 1, p. 130.

[lvii] Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, p. 198.

[lviii] Ibid., p. 227.

[lix] Ibid.

[lx] Ibid.

[lxi] Ibid., p. 216.

[lxii] Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010), §38, p. 179 of the German pagination.

[lxiii] Stiegler, Automatic Society, Volume 1, p. 134.

[lxiv] Benjamin Bratton, ‘The Black Stack’, e-flux 53 (March 2014), available at: <http://www.e-flux.com/journal/53/59883/the-black-stack/&gt;.

[lxv] Bernard Stiegler, ‘Five Theses after Schmitt and Bratton’, The Neganthropocene, forthcoming.

[lxvi] Hossein Derakhshan, ‘The Web We Have to Save’, Matter, available at: <https://medium.com/matter/the web-we-have-to-save-2eb1fe15a426>. And see Ross, ‘Moving Images of the Anthropocene’.

[lxvii] Szendy, Kant in the Land of the Extraterrestrials, pp. 139–40.

[lxviii] Bernard Stiegler, ‘Au delà de l’effroi’, text for Académie d’été d’Épineuil-le-Fleuriel, delivered 24 July 2017, unpublished.

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