Paradigms and Cultural Models

Three Models.

What's really interesting from a `self' point of view is what happens when we start to draw on the neural (network) aspect of interlinked computers, and engage the networked, complex (chaotic) model, and apply these ideas to identity. In passing I should note that this use of the work `model' is a reductive replacement of Deleuze and Guattari's `abstract machines'

Manuel De Landa,  in his book `War in the age of Intelligent Machines' asserts that most recent (ie Enlightenment on) western culture falls loosely under three technical models, which also find their expressions in corresponding conceptions of personality, social being, philosophy and the human condition in general. These models are: the clock, the motor and the network.

- yeah?

Abstract Machine: A dimensional and contingent collection of molecular desiring machines in a plane of consistency (phew...)

Manuel De Landa; a contemporary cultural theorist.

1.The Clockwork Model.

The chronometer was the scientific marvel of it's age. As well as allowing voyages of discovery to pinpoint themselves accurately on the globe, the clock allowed accurate timing of all phenomenon and was the scientific instrument par excellence of the Newtonian Age; the clock allowed things to be located in time as well as distance and using simple Cartesian mapping's just about anything could be arranged with a new precision.

De Landa examples the use of the clockwork paradigm in armies, where the `rabble' could be drilled into army units that fought according to a limited set of instructions. Units were given their orders and `set off', their success relying heavily on the quality of the initial intelligence directing them.

`Clockwork' also becomes the dominant way of organising labour as well as describing the laws of physics (where the world is `wound' with potential energy - even entropy has an obvious link to the clockwork mechanism), but also a common view of fate, and the inevitably of events


2.The Motor Model.

Using a military example we can see the deployment of the motor (in it's earliest incarnation of the steam-engine) first occurring in Napoleonic warfare. While Napoleon rejected the use of steam boats as a means for invading England, he embraced the idea of a motor in his methodology of war.

While a clockwork mechanism directs energy along a predetermined path until new energy is imparted to it, the motor produces new motion within itself; it uses a form of difference to extract energy from a reservoir in accordance with a circulation diagram . Thus army units were empowered to renew their orders independently of a prime source. It's interesting that this new impetuous relies on soldiers who are given more responsibility at a time when, fuelled (literally?) by the revolution, the proletariat are gaining more say in politics, making their patriotism the reservoir of the army.

"The new army is a mass army crushing the adversary under it's weight in a permanent offensive, to the tune of the Marseillaise" (Charnot, a French Mathematician).

In the steam engine this is the difference between hot and cold, the reservoir of coal or wood and the circulatory diagram of the piston and transmission.
Clearly, the motor model also implies a new political and personal model. Fate becomes less predetermined; the writings of Rousseau on education become wide spread and it becomes common place for people to reinvent themselves, inserting themselves into the power machine where they serve best, rather than where they were born to.

Ideals become the individuals reservoir, the gap between the ideal and the actual is the difference and personal action according to value systems is the circulatory diagram.

The motor model can be seen to be the underlying paradigm of many large movements, from Marx to the free-wheeling industrial development of America, they all tend to rest on different configurations of difference/reservoir/circulation.

3. The Network Model.

Again looking to the Military/Nation mix, Hitler's Germany is the leading edge of the next model; that of the network. Even though the German war machine was industrial, like Napoleon, Hitler used next-paradigm ideas to achieve an early advantage with the Blitzkrieg method of attack.

Even at the beginning of the war, Germany had far less tanks, planes etc than England, but what it had was a synergistic method born from the unilateral belief in a New Germany. In England the military machine was (and still is) configured along class lines, various units and arms of the war machine were unwilling to co-ordinate with others; this perhaps, is the real reason the Americans won the war - the spirit of republic.

The Blitzkrieg.

The critical intervention is the use of radio in a distributed command network. Every German vehicle had a radio and this, combined with the vital intellectual ingredient of decentralisation of command, was the blitzkrieg  It was also the first implementation of the network model, and is still the dominant paradigm for making war (and money and power-plays et al) in this century, although this is set to change

Implicit in the blitzkrieg is the new definition of `target'; in a sense the material destroyed by the blitzkrieg was a stand in for the morale of the leaders of the country, a deliberate attempt through shock to put the enemies systems into a state of turbulence. Likewise the whole systemic understanding of the pressure group is founded on an identical understanding;

"....the function of the artillery and infantry will be taken over, in the future, by propaganda" Hitler.

In this there is the understanding of the `a butterfly can create a storm' platitude of chaos theory, which is the correlate of the network model.

It's interesting to note that the drug of choice for the pilots was cocaine!

A new paradigm for warfare signals an overall shirt in societal structure: The use of Virtual technologies and the enlargement of the `battlefield' to include bandwidth, indicates that the mix of the military complex and `Silicon Valley' is set to take on an increasing role in the way that we see ourselves as `a people to be protected'. In general this flags the end of the Modern/Postmodern era.

Network and the Postmodern Subject.

The new model shapes the consciousness: if the model of the motor finds it's personality examplar in Freud's depth methodology (reservoir = subconscious, difference = repression/ego, circulation = oedipus complex) then the network model has it's correlate in the horizontality of Postmodern ideas of subject...

The computer; the prosthetic of the network model...
Chaos theory, strange attractors and identity creation...
Another view of Models - point, number, space, information...