[[ ]] W A S T E: Towards a Transcendental Deduction of Oil, Part II
“[[ ]] The story goes like this:,”
What is a story but the ritualized social mechanism of information retention and proliferation? Aboriginal folklore is believed to be one of the oldest oral traditions, being about 10,000 years old. It describes events such as rising sea levels, the hunting of large fauna that no longer exist in the Australian continent, and more.
In terms of technological advancements in information retention systems, the oldest written object containing information is the “Instructions of Shuruppak,” this is one of many Sumerian tablets found at the Temple library of Nippur (Iraq). This clay tablet is one of the oldest known literature pieces in the world — it is dated to around 2600 BCE or roughly 4,622 years ago move forward just a couple of decades, and “The Diary of Merer would have been written. The Diary of Merer is the name for papyrus logbooks written over 4,500 years ago; they contain the daily activities of stone transportation from the Tura limestone quarry to and from Giza. Move forward 2,000 years, and the oldest copies of the “Old Testament,” The Dead Sea Scrolls, would have been written and still move forward roughly four centuries. Double bookkeeping practices in the medieval Italian city-states give us some of the most accurate written accounts we have today. It wouldn’t be until around five centuries after this double-entry bookkeeping practice took off in medieval commerce that the first hard disk drive, the IBM Model 350 Disk File, came with the IBM 305 RAMAC computer was invented in 1956. This disk drive was just under 5 MB which is roughly the same size as a four-minute track. The NSA’s Utah Data Center, a one-million-square-foot facility, is estimated to have storage capacity in the zettabyte range NPR reported. A former NSA technical director told NPR to put the number at five zettabytes.
The apparent permanence or resilience of modern-day information storage technology creates the atmosphere that modernity is somehow immune to the sovereignty of finitude. Information storage is a constant fight against entropy. Intelligence optimization does not care about the material substrate it uses to store information and proliferate high fidelity information. The recent fires at OVH, one of Europe’s largest data center complexes, recently caught on fire, 3.6 million websites taken offline, and no data is likely to be recoverable from this incident. @DCBarker Tweeted this quote in regards to this event, “Virtual Architecture by Manola Antonioli’s: the internet — is inseparable from its base material infrastructure.” This crumbles Modernities iron curtain that its pristine chrome-plated aesthetics are transcendent and outside of Time. Fundamentally, information is entangled with its material substrate; information proliferation is constantly looking to shed its current material substrate for another. The current infatuation with crypto is an infatuation with permanence. Not only is crypto currently being harbored as the newest mechanism of permanence. The importance of crypto as a ledger is its ability to keep a consensus of the transactions being stored via a decentralized network. This technology is groundbreaking in storing and maintaining records without the possibility of falsification and arbitrary duplication. Bitcoin currently consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours. The problem with blockchains is their dependence on the current energy substrate: Oil.
The Dichotomization of Complex Emergence
In “Transcendental Waste,” there are two ways to diagram Modernity.
“On one side, the techonomic aggregation of intelligence optimization in super-structures is the direct result of a material externalization of the same process that occurred in humans. A biological process that jumped stratum to complete this teleological process. The frontier of this culminated in the human. It must now be finalized in that which is not reducible to material strata but must move past this material horizon to complete itself.”
In the first view, we arrive at a linear formation of information aggregation and intelligence optimization. This linear progression corresponds to a rise in a system's complexity reflected in a system's hierarchy. In many cases the there is a central command node that is in charge of the overall structure. Cities, computers, societies, the human body can be diagrammed in this way. A system's complexity is also directly connected with the energy inputs required to maintain that system from entropic decay, essentially maintaining equilibrium instead of dissipating.
“In contrast, Libidanal Materialism views this as continuing life and expenditure. The uprightness not as a logical intelligence optimization but as lavish expenditure destined to waste. This energy is codified and rationalized, but ultimately, “the feverish nightmare that we call life” is manifested in the form of these megastructures with no purpose. It was always destined for this energy to be wasted; the result was always transcendental waste.
The quote should not be used to reference a stark contrast to a linear notion of complexity or that waste should be seen from a negative perspective of free-range possibility. Both a dissipative auto-assembling process (spontaneous emergence) and Teleological- Linear processes look almost identical.
§08. ‘Techonomics’ is a Google-strewn word of irresistible inevitability, repeatedly struggling to birth itself, within myriads of spelling mints. It only remains to regularize its usage. Quite different is a true neologism, but in order to designate modernity or capitalization in its utter purposive twistedness, it is now necessary to coin one-teleoplexy. At once a deutero-teleology, repurposing purpose on purpose; an inverted teleology; and a self-reflexively complicated teleology; teleoplexy is also an emergent teleology (indistinguishable from natural-scientific ‘teleonomy’); and a simulation of teleology-dissolving even super-teleological processes into fall-out from the topology of time. ‘Like a speed or a temperature’ any teleoplexy is an intensive magnitude, or non-uniform quantity, heterogenized by catastrophes. It is indistinguishable from intelligence. Accelerationism has eventually to measure it (or disintegrate trying). — Nick Land — Teleoplexy, 2014
What Nick Land is referencing in this passage is similar to what is being flushed out here. In complex systems, there is a non-linear dynamic of emergence. The emergent phenomena at a particular state resemble or are an “organized” structure but are emerging from a dissipative thermodynamic gradient. This can be diagramed in terms of convergent or divergent waves, which is to say, a linear time signature of emergence (convergent) or a retro-linear time signature of emergence (divergent). Lands Teleoplexy is just describing the emergent inverted teleology of capitalism. We could continue down this path and move on into time-loops and templexity, but that will be continued at a later time.
Regarding expenditure, oil, and energy, what is the importance of information aggregation and capitalism? The overall structures of emergent centralized centers of information can be diagrammed as emergent phenomena. These emergent structures can be viewed as either following a direct Teleological system of history as intelligence optimization (AGI) or as a [A]Teleology, an inverted teleology entirely born out of following dissipative systems, essentially blurring the line between order and disorder.
A Marxist Critique?
The dependence of capitalism on Oil is born out of the same dependence that any “self-propelling” system needs. It needs a labor input, a labor input just a transformative set of energy. It creates a change in the system, completes a task, etc. There is surplus energy that is destined to waste in any system, this is, of course, Bataille’s accursed share, but there is also waste that can not be integrated back into the system. Energy and waste are both transcendental limits. In Modernity, it is entangled completely subordinate to Oil as it’s necessary energy input. The entire edifice it has constructed of some virtual future of pure potentiality is built on the false premise that it can liberate itself before it burns out of its current material substrate. Still, even stars eventually run out of fuel.
Information retention technologies must find a new material substrate to store themselves given how the current ones are still vulnerable to corruption via atmospheric ionization, long-term degradation, infrastructure reliant on an electric grid that ultimately is reliant on a fossil mud that accelerates us to our inevitable heat death.
An eternal potlach with the sun.
This will be continued in Fossil-Marxism: Towards a Transcendental Deduction of Oil, Part III.