18-06-2014 - London - A Thousand Plateaus

This entry goes back in time.

On June 2014, I was at Enterprise Architecture Conference Europe in London to present my work on the theme of cybernetics, called Viable System Model meets Enterprise Architecture. During the preparation of the presentation, I moved to a co-work location in Leça da Palmeira, Portugal, to isolate my self from bias an influence.

During my stay at the co-work lab, which I sat side by side to a digital graphical designer, a kind of digital artist, I talked with one resident about the concepts of cybernetics. During the conversation, I was exposed to the concept of the rhizome, created by two French philosophers, Deleuze and Guattari, designed to bring some random pointers about complexity theory, deeply related with the challenges a cybernetician like to reflect on.

The rhizome was brought to life in a book called A Thousand Plateaus, that according to the authors, was written in random mode. Every day, they decide in which part of the book they will work on with no direction, rejecting ‘the law of narrative order’, like Robert Musil’s masterpiece Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (the man without qualities), that by coincidence, was one of my inspirations for the talk at the conference.

A thousand plateaus is broken down is many directions, that I would like to point only some, as follows:

  • Epistemological - how the models we create to understand the reality are fit in terms of meaning, completeness and de-territorialization (what Deleuze and Guattari refer to the true meaning of systems out of context of operation);
  • Ontological - how the meaning of concepts evolve in a way they are the result of constant change;
  • Anthropological - how human beings are able to interpret signs that will tell about the necessity of change. A theme I explored with Amy Santee in February 2015, when I was in Seattle;
  • Social - how individuals can self-organize in a knowledge oriented world, contrary to Kant's ideas of following the natural order of laws, rules, regulations and procedures.
The emergent self-organization is a matter in focus in which it materializes in the concept of chaosmos, that explain the functioning of the universe as a meta-system composed of abstract machines, very well aligned with cybernetic principles.

I am still in the first chapters of the book, and reached an infancy strange of such dense work, but with allusions of so many pointers I stumbled in the last years, with so deep reflection impact like Glen Gould - about the subtle differences on playing piano sonatas, Jack Kerouac - random life on the road and Elias Cannetti - studies on human organization, exciting days are coming.

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