File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 60

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 21:18:44 -0600
Subject: Re: more on cyborgs and the inhuman

hbone wrote:

> As for dualisms:  organism/environment, actor/concept, seem obvious as
>breathing out and breathing in, but there may be as many >interpretations as there are people who give thought to those terms.  >In another sense, they are only words.

> I can't imagine how machinic anthropology would relate to today's >social problems.  Organisms are living machines, environments sustain >and destroy them.  Can't imagine either without the other, but await >your exposition.


Consider a man felling a tree with an axe. Each stroke of the axe is
modified or corrected, according to the shape of the cut face of the
tree left by the previous stroke.  This self-corrective (i.e. mental)
process is brought about by a total system,
tree-eyes-brain-muscles-axe-stroke-tree; and it is this total system
that has the characteristics of immanent mind.

More correctly, we should spell the matter out as : (differences in
tree)-(differences in retina)-(differences in brain)-(differences in
muscles)-(differences in movement of axe)-(differences in tree), etc. 
What is transmitted around the circuit is transforms of differences.
And, as noted above, a difference which makes a difference is an idea or
unit of information.

But this is not how the average Occidental sees the event sequence of a
tree felling.  He says "I cut down the tree" and he believes that there
is a delimited agent, the "self," which performed a delimited
"purposive" action upon a delimited object.

- Gregory Bateson

"It takes the whole earth for a feather to fall."

- Charles Olsen


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