Nomads: Space, Solitude, Science

Very interesting and useful meditation on the interplay between state science and nomad science (or what we could also call synchronic science and diachronic science) by Joseph Weissman. He argues that the two are ontologically isomorphic, and this is true if you take a static snapshot and compare the two at any one moment. But a few moments later or a few kilometers distant diachronic science has already changes, and perhaps even « corrected » state science on some points, or even totally reconfigured its paradigm. Weissman seems to recognise this because he affirms that despite their « ontological unity » their is a very important « epistemological difference ». This leads him to argue, following Michel Serres and Deleuze and Guattari, that we must distinguish two states of the world. One state (or dimension) is natura naturata, what he calls « the world-as-object » whose properties are encoded in a closed synchronic structures. The other is natura naturans, « the world-as-experiment » or « the world-as-song » whose properties are decoded into diachronic flows. Both are necessary, and one can only give relative and provisional primacy to one over the other, even if from the Deleuzian point of view deterritorialisation is what one could call « first-in-the-last-instance ». Weissman compares this opposition to that of geometry and poetry, and insists that it is in reality a composition of two tendencies. He thus sheds new light on a recent dispute over a fictitious opposition between a synchronic naturalist and a diachronic mytho-poetic approach to the sciences.

Fractal Ontology

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Royal science is inseparable from a “hylomorphic” model implying both a form that organizes matter, and a matter prepared for the form; it has often been shown that this schema derives less from technology or life than from a society divided into governors and governed, and later, intellectuals and manual laborers. …all matter is assigned to content, while all form passes into expression. (Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus)

The difference between state science and nomad science is practice; the difference is as great and as narrow as that between geometry and poetry. The practice intrinsic to each mode of scientific exploration is implicit in their method, in their metaphysical categories, and especially in their respective divisions of labor. Nomad thought works continually against the grain of traditional categories and conventional methods; it upsets orders of scale, imparts unusual rhythms, creates social turbulence and sometimes, if it is fortunate, gives…

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