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Re: <nettime> There are only Vectors
human being on Wed, 12 Mar 2003 11:35:45 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> There are only Vectors


  If I am to understand your reply, McKenzie, you quoted from a
  book (that I'm assuming you're the author of) and then referenced
  other texts for further definition of the vector's specific 
definitions.

  The text was understandable, up to a point, and the idea of the
  'vector' was understood in a limited fashion, but halfway through
  your book quote, my understanding receded as 'vector' began to
  replace other words that would have better described the situation
  based on the reasoning used, for instance:

> We are not entirely without resources for
> thinking about such things. The Canadian media
> studies scholar Harold Innis had the idea that
> the types of vector people use will not only
> shape certain kinds of culture, but will offer
> different possibilities for the shape and
> durability of society, economy and nation. His
> famous example, to put it in a very crude way,
> was to think about the way ancient Egypt built
> itself out of media with very different
> properties -- stone and papyrus.

  Did Harold Innis actually use the word "vector" in his
  writings and reasoning, or another terminology, which
  you are interpreting with the idea of the vector? Does
  "vector" originate in 1950s Canadian Media Policy, or
  in your most recent work and Virilio's? This is partly why
  it is difficult trying to understand, as planting "vector" in
  another context makes it hard for those who do not know
  what this "vector" idea is, its background (as a word, coined/
  defined by whom, its genealogy of sorts), and its purpose.

---

  [Someone, possibly you] write in the book quote:

>  I'm interested in the way the vectors along which
> information moves separated out from those
> that move things. Information can now almost
> always get there before you can ship your
> goods there, or dispatch a division. Third
> nature is fast; second nature is slow. Third
> nature seems increasingly to be in control of
> second nature. We no longer have roots we
> have aerials.

  It is understood up to this point (I think it is here) then I
  get totally lost in the 'vectorialization of the vector'-speak,
  and I realize this was written in 1997 but I do not believe
  scholarship is any more in-depth today about these same
  subjects to think understandings have significantly changed.

  I am left to wonder about this whole 'telegraph' as a defining
  moment of the vector, in its definition, as what were smoke-
  signals or other signaling systems used by the military, such
  as flag patterns and raised semaphores used to send coded
  messages via a distance, faster than any material being could
  walk, run, or ride, during the pre-telegraph days? It is information
  but is it possible it is also 'medium-bound' in that information is,
  as far as I know, not floating around invisibly, or at least this is
  another very big question. If anything, I would argue that it is
  very difficult indeed to separate the information of a global
  telephone call from the atoms and electromagnetic carrier
  waves for the phone signal routing over global satellite and
  microwave repeaters, until they reach the end of this 'vector'
  of information. The information may travel, but is it ever by-
  itself, in-itself, separated? It is this idea of separation and
  also the preclusion of 'fixed length' that baffle me entirely.

  Though the idea of 'vector' is not meant to be dismissed, by
  this questioning, as it is appreciated that you've shared more
  data about what it is to define. Its seems parts space, parts
  time, (spatio-temporal) and parts information and virtuality.
  That is the sketch that is received, at least for this person.
  And it makes me question, how does 'vector' relate to the
  idea of 'vector-based' graphics software, such as Adobe's
  Illustrator and other programs, as its definition seems to be
  similar to that versus bitmapped programs. I'm unsure if you
  have read of Japan's overtaking the supercomputer market
  with an old-style method of computation, beating the USA
  as a result of a vector-based supercomputer. For me, it is
  unknown if this relates to 'vector' as defined by you and how,
  and yet from your definition it certainly seems it would. Plus,
  supercomputing itself, as far as I am aware, is based on the
  plotting of data points (possibly vectors) and their calculation
  in relation to one another (such as weather, oceanographic,
  nuclear detonations) and so if 'trajectory' is its definition it is
  also seemingly literally related to the tangible developments
  of such knowledge. It is unclear if 'vector' is being used as a
  descriptive metaphor or if it is also the mathematical version.

---

  I've been imagining it must be related to geography, as
  I thought that was what your work was about but maybe
  this is mistaken (though space-binding and time-binding
  are fascinating to consider). It is the specific definition of
  'vector' by Virilio and yourself that causes me confusion:

> A word on this word vector. I've borrowed it
> from the writings of French urbanist and
> speculative writer Paul Virilio.  It is a term from
> geometry meaning a line of fixed length and
> direction but having no fixed position. Virilio
> employs it to mean any trajectory along which
> bodies, information or warheads can potentially
> pass.

  The crux of my basic confusion with your most basic
  definition is 1:1 relation to geometry and the idea of
  fixed-length. I am left to guess if 'information trajectory'
  is closest to a definition of vector. For if I am to consider
  'vector' as information, in its own curious behaviorism,
  I am confounded by the idea of fixed-length & information:

  Information A = between Information 'A starting - A stopping.'

  Information, can it be separated, completely from matter
  and energy? I don't comprehend how, else why would
  concepts such as noise and data corruption exist? It can
  be transferred (trajectory) but can it be separated? With-
  out an extended proof of this idea, and assuming it is so,
  is to bring back an idea of a separated physical and non-
  physical world, which is refutable by the nature of matter,
  energy, and information itself. The global phone call is
  little different, in foundation, than what is being stored in
  one's brain during consciousness and communication,
  via electromagnetic particles, fields, & storage mediums.

  If information was separable from matter and energy, by
  itself, maybe it would be floating around in thin air (the
  idea of the aether, as I've understood it, but open to others
  interpretation). The idea of a philosopher's breath being
  of the same air we breathe today, so too, maybe there are
  ideas hanging invisibly in the air, embedded or embraced
  or entangled, which we walk in and through, catching the
  thoughts as fields and notions and ideas, as if our brains
  are motors whose gears move as they move through the
  charged particles which make up the Earth's atmosphere,
  which enables us to live, as sentient beings. This may not
  be far from common sense, if one considers that like phone
  calls, the air is a medium in which information can travel,
  just as with airplanes so too with broadcasting signals and
  their receptive antenna. Though, most 'aerials' are for the
  mass monopolization of information and its broadcast, and
  so individualizing of the idea of 'roots and aerials' while it
  is quite meaningful, makes me consider whose 'antennae'?
  [For instance, micropower broadcasting of TV/radio signals].

  From this it makes me wonder about information decay and
  entropy or half-lifes, versus something of fixed-length and
  (possibly, virtually) a fixed-trajectory. This all relates to the
  idea of media archaeology which deals with information and
  not only of the theory kind, but also library science and also
  information archaeology itself, dealing with information and
  archives and how to span not decades but centuries. Maybe
  it is to stop the process of a type of pre-electronic/telegraph
  information, which could degrade as papyrus and stone, and
  now has an entirely new set of contexts and variables with
  which to figure out not just information supply and storage,
  but information endurance. Though, 'vector' seems far from
  being equated with its definition as an 'information trajectory',
  or so it seems. It is hard to know and maybe I am missing it,
  unable to see because I use other words or concepts or ideas
  for the same thing, but it seems what you've written is some-
  thing else, and yet when I try to write toward what it might be,
  as I am capable of understanding, I get lost in these words.

---

  For instance, once again, if taking the title of the book "The
  Virtual Republic", this may explain a lot and yet within its
  title is the word virtual, which in my statements above I've
  tried to create a context which may challenge the notion of
  the 'virtual' as being something other or else altogether, in
  that it may be the same stuff (only a different nature, in a
  different spatial-temporal information binding) such that
  a loop between what is 'actual/real' and 'virtual/imagined'
  may be a process, at times, as that between metaphysical
  and physical or mind and body dichotomies. This is to say
  that everyone may be able to say, yes, people who believed
  in Zeus constructed Zeus and created an environment based
  on this. It was the cosmology and the order of things, and yet
  today that world is almost virtual, something if looking back
  one could say 'people's brains believed in Zeus and they
  processed information in their brains and bodies about Zeus
  and this cosmology' to some extent, and it was a predominant
  belief system, and yet today our primary understanding of, say,
  why lightning bolts strike down upon us have a different way
  of perception and understanding, and if judging peoples' minds
  back in those days, what was being processed, as the reality
  of the world, it may be overwhelmingly fiction and virtual-reality
  in the human mind, as an electromagnetic space-time machine.
  [or media machine, to be less specific, but also post-telegraph.]

  If one looks at brain studies today, they are using brain imaging
  (and it may have been referenced on list, recently) for everything
  in order to define the realm of the human mind (virtual's vestige)
  with economics, sociology, psychology, and other sciences. If a
  scientist, by studying the brain, can restore sight to a blind person
  through using a metallic plate on their tongue and an array of
  sensors for an eyeball, or have people 'think' and thus 'move'
  objects via electromagnetic nerve and thought impulses, and
  that this is defined in such a way that 'information trajectories'
  (not sure if this is vectors or not, in your definitions) are 
controlled
  as are outcomes, as is the 'human subject' (as objectified being),
  and as such, becomes a common empiricism in which people
  with epilepsy or brain or nerve damage may be 'regenerated'
  in some sense, literally reconnecting nerve connectors (vectors?)
  and creating paths to restore abilities to some basic extent.

  The radio, television, computer, et cetera, also are like the brain
  as information devices but less complex and less mysterious
  (though Craig Baldwin's film, Spectre of the Spectrum, and it
  seems Erik Davis' written work on the same subject detail how
  there is a great wealth of missing information, adding complexity
  and social-economic-political context and import to these devices).
  To consider these media architectures (say, living media archaeo-
  logies) or space-time machines or whatever (media vectors maybe)
  is not so different from that of the specificity of the human brain,
  though less complex, and with information, not the center of the
  information universe, media, it is proposed, but that the medium,
  in this case human beings may be at the center, not 'new media'
  or 'plasma screen TVs' as a long-term organizing device of data
  about human beings. It is human beings which define humanity.
  The human can be considered as a space-time machine, and as
  such, equally so but loses a lot of its richness when compared in
  its entirety to a video-game console, a cellphone, or film projector
  in a 1:1 empirical relation based upon information-based analyses.

  Thus, like the cosmology which centered around the Sun, of which
  the Earth (and Man and his God) was to previously to have defined,
  when taking into account the issues raised (virtuality, say, and also
  electromagnetic matter, energy, and information, in one parlance)
  human beings are at the center of the empirical model, not one kind
  or human being, but a public-private sampling and mixing of many
  into one and one into many, and in the terms of 'the virtual republic'
  and information trajectories, say, it could have a much different kind
  of meaning if it were not based on this but another empiricism, say,
  that of a private cloistered academic theory community which has
  significantly helped define the present, though in a metaphysical
  stage, which is in process of being transcended from virtual->real.
  Else, who's virtual republic? who's vector? etc. If the idea you share
  of the 'vector' is to be given intellectual weight and omnipresence,
  in what terms, this has been the question. And in neither those of
  Virilio nor your own has the rigor been anywhere near to the big
  ideas being addressed, unless there is something implicit but is
  not yet communicated about this idea- to relate it to these things.

  And this is said because people like me would like to know, so as
  to not dismiss it but also to ask for more details, and generalities,
  actually. To maybe have a dialogue about what this is based on.
  Virilio's definition is not good enough to resolve all global dilemma.
  And, thus, maybe in further discussing this as a dialogue of many,
  the points that remain unanswered....

---

  I am not going to read these texts to get basic answers, so ask 
again...

>> the vectoral class
>
> see A Hacker Manifesto:
> http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html
>
>>>  the commodity game of the vector
>
>>> the strategy-game of the vector
>
> see
> http://www.criticalsecret.com/n10/McKENZIE%20WARK/\


I repeat.... based on the following definition...

> A word on this word vector. I've borrowed it
> from the writings of French urbanist and
> speculative writer Paul Virilio.  It is a term from
> geometry meaning a line of fixed length and
> direction but having no fixed position. Virilio
> employs it to mean any trajectory along which
> bodies, information or warheads can potentially
> pass.

How can these following concepts be specifically defined?


> The vectoralization of power

?	 [power as a vector?]

> the vectoral class

?	[class as a vector?]

> vectoralization of world trade

?	[world trade as a vector?]

>  the commodity game of the vector

?	[vectors as commodities]

> the strategy-game of the vector

?	[vectors as strategies?]

> vectoralization

?	[vector as a verb?]

> vectoral transformation

?	[vector as a process?]

> vectoral power

?	[the power of the vector, itself?]

> the vectoral empire,

?	[empire and its relation to the idea of vectors?]


---

  To me this indicates my own ability to attempt to
  understand from the most basic definition of the
  'vector' of which I am still unclear but fascinated
  by its relevancy at the same time, yet confused.

  Is it possible to further define this idea of 'vectors'
  in common language, or how it differs or is similar
  to what is stated above, in order to allow for a base
  of comprehension for its many other word options?

  Where does a vector, as an idea, begin and end?
  Is it the social and cultural response to its use in the
  sciences, a type of conceptual calculation, and as
  such, many things can be considered in these terms?

  In summary, vector as a word/concept does not yet
  carry a type of 'answered/approximated' understanding
  and exists more as a question, such as "Vectoral? Class."
  And, even then, with all words mentioned, especially with
  the enigma that is empire (related to words, not a common
  person) "Vectoral? Empire?" is how it reads to this person.*

  Further definition of 'vector' would help clarify quite a lot.

  bc


  *in terms of empire, as a concept, it has been a wonder
  if it is empirically based (which based on the statements
  sent to the list declares its definition,  more through power
  of statement than any ability to reason in shared truths). If
  empire were Empire, it would seem appropriate that people
  have a shared sense of identity, literally, if it is defined around
  people and not a privatized and thus limited idea or concept.
  This is to say, if gathering under a banner, would it not be one
  of commonality of human beings, human beings wearing shirts
  with their name on it, everyone being the same and equal, and
  this populace standing up, as one, undulating undifferentiated
  mass, everyone with a white or black or grey shirt on, and signs,
  saying human beings, humans, humanity- 'rights' 'peace' 'truth'
  et cetera. This commonality is not found within the rhetoric, or
  so it seems, and thus while co-opted or engineered for this
  very purpose (of power manipulation and management) it is
  curious how the media have taken this on as a 'psyche' which
  is at best delusional, given a common human context, and the
  idea of a 'successful' American Empire. If anything, ideas of
  America as Empire will destroy the country, by the destruction
  of truth through power of programming information and ideas
  into the state: or, the State, the individual and group State. Or,
  the human state & world state. The Amercian State inbetween,
  trying to figure out the balance between public/private e-states.

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