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ARCHITECTURE OF AFFECTATION The Transformative Activity of Networked Technology by Jason Scaglione A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Sociophilosophy Under the sponsorship of April Flakne Sarasota, FL May, 2010
I dedicate this work to: April Flakne without whose support I could not have found the composure to persevere. Aron Edidin who showed me the great value in sustained and focussed reflection. John Newman who introduced to me the subtle merits of a quiet mind. and to Gabrielle deFiebre who reminds me that virtue accompanies also an open heart. Architecture of Affectation ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS Part One .1 The project...1 .2 Terms & Conditions7 Part Two .1 Twittering thumbs..22 .2 Taking notice..27 Part Three .1 Valued spontaneity.33 .2 We are Anonymous42 Part Four ... .1 The focus locus...51 .2 Valere ex nihilo...62 Conclusions77 Appendix83 Bibliography..88 Architecture of Affectation iii
ARCHITECTURE OF AFFECTATION The Transformative Activity of Networked Technology Jason Scaglione New College of Florida, 2010 ABSTRACT This paper attempts to address the emerging realm of social technology in connection with a philosophical investigation of that social world. It proceeds through examples of recent applications of such technologylike the Iranians' use of Twitter subsequent to their 2009 electionin an effort to first establish these networked technologies as important objects for study in their own right. Alternate with this discussion is an exploration of contemporary valuetheory, and a development of a theory of consciousness that can account for the motivational appearance of human value within the realm of social convention. The author defends this realm as real' despite its dependency on contingent relations for phenomenal existence. It is only at this phenomenal level, the author argues, that a real' can be perceived, as a consciousness becomes related to a perception only through these conventional avenues. Some work is done toward paralleling the activity of new social media with the activity of consciousness so conceived, and suggestions for further study are pointed to in the conclusion. The author urges that specialized knowledge has a role to play in the practical application of these new media, but admits the indeterminacy of such a role, pending deeper investigation. April Flakne (advisor) Division of Humanities Architecture of Affectation iv
PART ONE Preliminary Luminaries .1 The project In his book, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Jrgen Habermas pieces together the historical shift in consciousness that brought about and subsequently evolved the functioning of "the public sphere." Initially, the concept of "a public" as an entity with a distinguished character was non-existent; there were only private persons and public activities. The Habermasian narrative begins with an aristocracy concerned with engaging in such public spectacles of rank and status. This type of publicity soon became centered in the Courts of the day, and the grandeur the nobility embodied became representative of the monarch. As capitalism took root and prompted traders to begin trafficking information through wide communications networks, the news that was passed among them became itself a commodity. Soon after these bits of information went public (for a price), the State administration saw fit to regulate content for the fledgling journals, by way of commissioning scholars to "inform the public of useful truths." 1 Later, this public began producing its own works of interest and debate sprang up in the form of critiques of these work. This discourse was established, as Habermas says, through each private participant's "public use of their reason ( ffentliches Rsonnement )." 2 These discussions typically found their expression in the coffee houses (England) or salons (France) of the day, Architecture of Affectation 1 1 Habermas (25: 1991). 2 This phrase is prevalent throughout the book, but see for instance Habermas (27: 1991).
where those of a particular interest or social affiliation might attend one or a few establishments exclusively. Thus, Tories might frequent their preferred store, Whigs might converse at the tables of another one, and trade-goods merchants may talk business over coffee at still a different location. What the participants may have considered interesting chatter about contemporary happenings was, however, creating something much more than that. As cultural production receded from the exclusive purview of the Churches and Courts of the day, their interpretations lost the rigidity of prescription overseen by those institutions. The private people of the coffee houses and salons, denied an understanding of these new aspects of their culture, had to therefore determine for themselves the meaning of this painting or that passage. Here a rational communication with each other became useful in laying bare implicit meanings, and a cooperative critical examination of cultural products emerged as the right to interpretation became disconnected from those once dominant authorities of delimitation. 3 And of course, these productions were not trifling miscellaniesthey were products of the time, physical expressions of the values of that period. This critical discourse found wider circulation with the advent of weekly or monthly periodicals, which soon became "the publicist instrument of this criticism." 4 As debates centering around cultural output grew, along with the pool of participants, a social awareness began to emerge. What these debates represented, Habermas contends, was a society critically examining itself through the analysis of its own works of culture. With private persons exercising their reason publicly, society was coming to terms with itself as a cooperative Architecture of Affectation 2 3 Habermas (37: 1991). 4 Ibid. (41: 1991).
collectivein one sense as private people cooperating with each other to better understand their society, but also in the sense that society as a whole was becoming aware of its existence as this type of collective activity. Eventually, due to rising literacy rates and the technology of exchange already institutionalized through cultural discourse, the state-governed public sphere became appropriated by a now self-conscious public proper as a domain for the criticism of that same public authority. The public sphere of civil society was born, and its critical analysis became the power to which all other powers were made to submit. 5 Those values that had once been implicit within the activity of cultural critiqueautonomous thought, freedom of speechwere now explicitly acknowledged as legitimate grounds from which to challenge the existing power structure. But the entry of the private citizens into a public sphere intent on effectuating a political purpose set off a cascade of interpenetrations that agitated the equilibrium between public and private, diluting the citizen's power in all of these realms. 6 As the media began to generate content that was expressly for the masses, cultural productions requiring attentive debate were pushed to the periphery in favor of these more readily consumable products. Initially, Habermas reports, the mass press was based in an effort to give the masses a general access to the strengthening public sphere. As that sphere expanded, though, it sacrificed its political character to better implement the "psychological facilitation" of cultural products to the widest base of consumers. 7 A type of storytelling in the news came about, one that, "instead of doing justice to Architecture of Affectation 3 5 Habermas (51: 1991). 6 This sentence condenses a lot, but cf. Habermas (148, 151-2: 1991) for some reference; reproduced in the Appendix, (i) and (ii). 7 Habermas (169: 1991).
reality, has a tendency to present a substitute more palatable for consumption and more likely to give rise to an impersonal indulgence in stimulating relaxation than to a public use of reason." 8 Television and radio programming ("the new media" to Habermas) obscured the distance between their productions (stories) and their consumers, assuming a form akin to "tutelage" where the consumer has no space for critical input. Such programming is public' in the sense that many people may listen to or watch the same program, but the consumption of it does not suggest further discussion beyond comments of opinionand without recourse to reasoned debate, the public are obliged to accept (consume) the story as it is given to them, adopting its observations for their own. 9 As the public sphere assumed this consumerist function in society, the public itself "split apart into minorities of specialists who put their reason to use nonpublicly and the great mass of consumers whose receptiveness is public but uncritical." 10 With the consumer base of society created and partitioned from those specialists engaged in the critical legitimation of social output, organized private interests became able to invade the public sphere disguised as "public opinion." By manipulating the media as a vehicle for consumption, these private interests are presented to the public as narratives that legitimate certain ideas of public welfare. Where successful, these narratives create the illusion that the new object of public interest was freely reached by the critically reflecting private person (when it was in fact given to them, already processed for consumption). 11 The masses are left to a world of information, constantly Architecture of Affectation 4 8 Ibid. (170: 1991). 9 Habermas (166, 171: 1991). 10 Ibid. (175: 1991). 11 Ibid. (194-5: 1991).
compounding in complexity, without sufficient means for discrimination and without reason to suspect that these storied interests they have consumed are not genuinely their own. This cleft in society, between the intelligentsia' as a class and the rest of the public, deserves special attention in the context of our "new media." Contrary to the television and radio programs' manufactured-to-be-obscured distance from the consumer, we are entering a stage of exchange characterized by the participation of the average consumer. There are in these times, as there were in the time leading up to the birth of a politically relevant public sphere, raw, real, but unfocussed potentials that are themselves worthy of critical commentary. I believe we are today poised as a public to appropriate a new domain for ourselves, one that has emerged in cyberspace and is becoming increasingly relevant to our day-to-day lives. While this worldwide web has been functioning for awhile, its outlets have been largely characterized by pockets of users congregating over specific interests. We can confine ourselves and our interactions to particular websites, just as the Whigs might have confined themselves to particular coffee houses. If we consider this Habermasian model, though, the public activity of rational-critical debate converging on objects of interests (where internet usage largely hovers now) may be but one step in a larger process. Like the coffee house and salon cultures of their times, what remains for usthe public of the internetis to attain clarity about our activities on the web as not simply participatory but as constitutive of a new kind of public sphere. Coming into this consciousness would transform the structure of the web as we know it today and revolutionize the workings of techno-savvy society. Sounds rather grandiose, but I hope to show that there is nothing larger-than-life about this. It is not only possiblenot only plausiblebut is indeed already underway. The ground is Architecture of Affectation 5
shifting beneath our feet, and one purpose of this essay is to think about the role specialized knowledge can play in this movement. If properly mobilized, I believe that the minority of specialists still making nonpublic use of their reason can powerfully affect future transformations: they likely (1) already exist within networks of professional relations sufficiently rich in intellectual capital to fuel discussion, and (2) are also tied to institutions with incentive to invest financial capital into ventures with the potential to spark interest in higher forms of learning (via exposure to critical public debate). Given this outline, there seem to be two cases to make: one for the empirical support that the architecture for this sort of transformative activity is already established, the other for the normative argument that this is a movement deserving of our acute attention. Unfortunately we will barely scratch the surface of that latter one, as present constraints do not admit the space for its earnest exploration. We will explicate what we can en route, but will by the end still be left with questions of what ought' to be done about it all. In this respect, when it comes time for conclusions, I will only be able to offer suggestions for further study. We will however encounter some fruitful turbulence along the way. We'll be looking here at the activities of human beings, and any sustained investigation into such social activities suggests a discussion of valuea discussion that is not easily had. Implicit in this activity is an expression of how things ought to be,' since any self-conscious activity requires an effort on our part to move from one state of affairs to anotherwhere this transition reflects a will toward a state of affairs that is not but is nonetheless deemed ought to be This discussion becomes more apparent when we move beyond simple observations of fact-relations (people voted, there is a new president; it is Thanksgiving time, people visit family) and ask for reasons motivating this Architecture of Affectation 6
state of affairswe do not want just a list of events, but an account of how they relate to each other and to us. One of my aims in this essay is to weave this implicit discussion of value into our commentary on fact-relations in as explicit terms as are permitted (given the subject matter). Why did the people vote the way they did? Why do we visit family during the holidays? To answer these sorts of questions we must reach into the equivocal realm of human value, and try to show how a manifest activity connects meaningfully to some ground there. That is to say, what is the value underpinning this activity ? Some thinkers deal with this by positing value as a natural object, entering into our perception through a queer sort of faculty we humans possess. This view can found value on firmly objective grounds, but we'll see that it cannot account for how values structure our activity. Others argue instead that value comes entirely from our emotional responses to a situationand in the last analysis end up denying value altogether. Locating value in our subjectivities like this will help make sense out of the activity manifested by our valuing, but we'll then lose the possibility that our values have any grounds outside of our private preferences. I think the conundrum comes, as many do, from exploiting a confused distinction. I would like to avoid compromising either value's efficaciousness or its objective grounding, as far as this may be accomplished, by articulating a picture that does not take for granted as sharp a distinction between ground ( value as an object) and expression (value as activity ). .2 Terms & Conditions Before elaborating my own terminology, it is important to establish some conventions. To begin, we'll look at those formulations of value that grow out of the distinction between our activity and its object (as put forth above). As we proceed, I want to keep in clear view how this Architecture of Affectation 7
way of conceiving value has constrained our discussion of it, before moving on to think about how to make the conversation more fluid. Take for now the very clearly valued term good.' How can we define it? Presumably we can recognize it if we encounter an instance of it, but how do we explain what about that instance makes it good? For George Edward Moore committing to a definition here is difficult since good' is not definable through an enumeration of its components, as other terms typically are. 12 The Good can be identified as the substantive to which the adjective good' refers, but such goods do not give a definition of good'. Like the photons constitutive of light that facilitate our perception of yellow', we would not define these photons as being yellow. Nor could we arrive at a satisfactory definition of yellow by listing off things like rubber ducks and school busses. Yellow', Moore tells us, is a simple term in a way that is analogous to good', since it similarly cannot be defined by describing those things to which it applies. Our relation to value then, given this problem of definitions, is an intuitive one. When something appears to us as good' it appears as such because our intuitions are wired in such a way that we are allowed to recognize value. So, for Moore, what is happening when we encounter good things in our lives is quite literally a type of perceiving: some aspect of the present situation is perceived intuitively for what it isgood, bad, beautiful, wretched, etc.and our grounds for valuing it comes from the fact of its determinable existence. 13 Trying to move from this intuitive way of knowing value to a discursive way of knowing it violates the very intuition that is its foundation. 14 Architecture of Affectation 8 12 Where we might define horse' as "a hoofed quadruped of the genus Equus" (Moore in Cahn and Markie, 462: 2002). 13 Like our grounds for seeing yellow comes from the fact that when we look, we see yellow 14 For Moore on this, see Principia Ethica (in Cahn and Markie, 461-7: 2002).
John L. Mackie explains some strange consequences to Moore's view: if value was objective like this, it would imply some kind of entity out there of a weird sortsomething which would have to direct our attention toward or away from it, and also motivate us to act on an impulse that the object incited in us. This, in turn, would require us to have some kind of "moral sense" or "moral intuition" with which to be able to perceive such a queer entity. 15 Remember: what we are after is good reason for doing the things we dowe want reassurance that our actions are informed by concepts properly bounded by what's real', and we want to be able to point to those concepts as adequate explanations for what we do. But Moore's model, by Giving us extraconceptual motivations (motivations from outside our realm of concepts), only frees us from blame in that our activity is literally caused by some external force. If you throw a ball into my garden and honestly claim that something about my flowers compelled you to do it, there is a sense in which I cannot blame you for ruining my nice arrangement. However, there is no further content in your claim, and the fact that you were not responsible for your action (that the motive was implanted in you by an alien force) does not do any explanatory work. It locates our reasons for activity in some realm outside our scope of concepts, but access to those reasons was all we wanted in the first place. 16 Well, Alfred Jules Ayer will have none of that. He does not find any queer entities out there that motivate us by their appearance and, moreover, is unconcerned with violating something as absurd as moral intuition. To Ayer, Mackie's argument from queerness yields a pretty clear result: we cannot find these queer entities because they have no reality. On his account, any Architecture of Affectation 9 15 Mackie (587: xxxx) [full citation unavailable at time of writing]. 16 cf. McDowell (5-13: 1994) for a more comprehensive discussion of the problems with this sort of extraconceptual content.
propositions that deal in value-termsterms that, upon his examination, refer to nothing amount to little more than emotional outbursts. Values, it turns out, are subjective posits with no reality beyond our personal emotive preferences, and all talk of them is more distracting than it is useful. 17 Our activity is structured as such because it issues from our reactive emotions, and there is simply no ground for our values beyond these emotions. For Moore, value is something objective : it has an absolute existence that is findable in an independent reality. For Ayer, value is entirely subjective : any instance of it is relative to someone's particular emotive preferences, which is incommensurable with an instance of a different value for someone else (there being no outside standard to which both agents can refer for comparison). On Moore's account value is out there in a reality independent of our subjecthoodGiven to our subjectivities through sheer perception. Ayer on the other hand would tell us that the only values we ever find are entirely dependent on our subjecthoodonly Given to our subjectivities by our own emotional reactions. Moore might charge Ayer with taking away any grounds for judgement; if there is no basis for value, how can we pick between any two choices with confidence that one is better than the other? In this culture, parents always eat their first-born child as a sign of respect for each other. Are there no grounds for criticism of this practice outside of my own emotional (subjective) response? A position closer to Ayer's might attack Moore on the basis that his view breeds intolerance; appealing to a Given reality for value suggests a correct perspective from which one can view any situation. This would allow all manner of violent and coercive behavior to be justified (e.g., that culture eats babies and eating babies is wrongtherefore we are permitted to invade to show them how to behave Architecture of Affectation 10 17 cf. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic (in Cahn and Markie, 487-493: 2002).
correctly). So from Ayer's side, any activity undertaken in the name of your values' is truly just an assertion of preference. Neither of these directions will be satisfying for our purposes, and this debatein these termsis not going to lead us much farther. Analytically cleaving a subjective expression of value ( activity) from its objective grounds leaves us wondering how these two are connected. We are obliged by the way this debate is framed to account for how our subjective response seems somehow caused by objective forces, but we are by the same stroke denied a satisfyingly robust resolution. What compels us to gather together on symbolic days? is a question that cannot be easily addressed from either Ayer's purely subjective or Moore's purely objective standpoint on value. This mode of distinction, John McDowell warns, presents a danger of "falling into an interminable oscillation" between both extremes. 18 We recoil at the notion that our subjectivities are in no way bounded by an independent reality, but appeal to a myth of a Given reality that does not appease our demands for justified activity. I think the trouble is in part because we are looking for too thoroughly a causal connection between these twothe objective and the subjectivewhen they aren't exactly linked this way. The constraint on our subjectivities is more rational than causal, and it is a different sort of value that enforces these limits. 19 Value as it's used here, is not limited to ethico-moral considerations, like "This is good" or "This is bad." I would argue that human value affects quite a larger range of experiences than the ones insinuated by these strictly moral terms. In order to move beyond the Architecture of Affectation 11 18 McDowell (9: 1994). 19 cf. McDowell (41: 1994).
debate outlined above we will need to expand our discussion of value to allow it a bit more room to maneuver. First it may be helpful to transition from speaking of a noun (like The Good'), to a verba transition that we will see manifest later as we speak in terms of affects' rather than effects'. Our valuation of what the holidays call for is a matter of limiting our responses to certain possible expressions of activity. These activities must appear to us as relevant avenues for action, which depend on our understanding of the parameters of our experience. These parameters aren't set up only by a subjectivity, either. I go home for Thanksgiving because that action seems relevant to my valuation of what that holiday entails, but I am also expected home for it from my family's side. Our valuation of the holiday experience apparently converges on something outside either of our subjectivitieson a culturally established arrangement of valuedimensions that inform our perception of avenues for activity. This kind of value does not fall clearly on either side of the objective/subjective distinction, and it must not for reasons I hope will become clear. Our power to act comes only from our capacity to dynamically define ourselves in relation to an unspecified but constrained set of actionable directionsMcDowell, with Kant, would consider this capacity our faculty of spontaneity. 20 For Louis Althusser this is first a matter of becoming subjects under an ideologythat is, taking up a perspective from within a realitydefining framework. Ideology acts like a paradigm, relating its concepts to each other in some meaningful arrangement. Crucially, ideology here is not simply a tool of obscuration, adding a layer of separation between a person and their reality. Ideologies are, as we will see, a fact of Architecture of Affectation 12 20 Ibid. (5, 24: 1994), reproduced in the Appendix, (iii) and (iv).
anyone's experienceindeed, the very facilitators of experience. Althusser uses the Law in his example of how our subjecthood is brought into being (interpellated) by ideology. Walking past a police officer, suppose a man hears the officer shout "Hey, you there!" after him. He turns around to meet the approaching authority. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject. Why? Because he has recognized that the hail was really' addressed to him, and that it was really him who was hailed' (and not someone else). 21 The man in this example, by responding in accordance with the Law's ideological constraints, has identified himself as a subject within that ideology. Being a subject under the Law, like any ideology, enables activity by defining what avenues are actionable. We can appeal to an officer for protection if we find ourselves in a troubling situation, but we must also acknowledge ourselves as subjects within their authority. The man in Althusser's example, upon hearing the words of the police officer, recognizes the authority carried by them and for that reason turns around to meet the hail. If he had no recognition of his position in relation to the officer and the Law that she represents, the man may not turn around. He may be too busy to address whatever this hailing person wants, or he may not even recognize himself as the subject being hailed. For our purposes, Althusser's ideology represents a form of valuation, limiting our perception of actionable courses to the arrangement of concepts offered by the ideology. We must acknowledge that we bear certain relations to our present situation in order to act, and ideology offers a perspective from which these relations are clearly defined. McDowell explains similarly that a perceiving subject experiences the world according to their movement through it. "Such a background can be in place only for a subject with a selfArchitecture of Affectation 13 21 Althusser in Zizek (131: 1994).
conscious conception of how her experience relates to the world, and we cannot make sense of that in the absence of conceptual capacities in a strong sense, a faculty of spontaneity." 22 The attention we give to aspects of our experience establishes certain objects for our subjectivities: the man hailed in Althusser's example relates himself to the officer, who represents a certain position (or object) within a familiar ideology (Law). From these objects, through valuation, we map those actions which pertain relevantly to the present experience: in the man's case, being a subject of the officer's Law, it behooves him to respond according to her demands. Finally, whatever activity we undertake subsequent to our valuation is the expression of value : the man stopspossibly out of a respect for justice, fear of losing freedom, what have you. There can be no apprehension of value separate from that activity, and others might exhibit the same activity for entirely different, equally valuable reasons; the stoppage is linked to a perception of certain objective events with an understanding of their potential consequences, and it does not need to be linked to anything more to find validity. Such value is not lodged in ideology per se, but the concepts which bound its expression are certainly informed by ideologies. Rather, this is a sort of value that we can only know through action, as it is only realized in our activity ( as our activity). So it may seem then that Ayer was right to limit our talk of value to the realm of subjective expressivitybut he took his insight too far. As humans we find ourselves inheritors of a social consciousness that has always-already been shaped by the historical contingencies of its development. Importantly though, such conventions have existence for us as non-existent things Architecture of Affectation 14 22 McDowell (54: 1994).
cannot issue any sort of affect (e.g., a unicorn cannot knock over my coffee). 23 Candrakirti, a Buddhist scholar in the seventh century, likens such conventional phenomena to a mirage. 24 Mirages exist, and so do the misconceptions about them. A thirsty drifter can be compelled farther into the desert by virtue of such an appearance, though the appearance is to her (the subject) conceived as something other than it is. 25 Conventional phenomena, from yellow to goodness, all appear to us in this way: suggesting an existence beyond our conventions, but possessing none. 26 We appeal to a level of reality outside of conventional existence in an effort to establish our experience of the world on defensible groundsthe worry being that otherwise our valuation has no basis in reality at all, but this need comes from misunderstanding our relation to that world. The ultimate grounds we seek are de facto inaccessible to the ends for which we seek them because all of our ends are necessarily conventional. A mirage appears out of an objective complex of variables (sun, air, light, heat, etc.) interacting with our capacity for sight, and our valuation of the event impels us across the desert because we recognize the relation our subjectivity (as thirsty) bears to the appearance (object). From the impact of this object on our subjectivities, other objects will appear to us as possibilities (perhaps as goals or ends), and it is along the line which connects the event-object to an end that our activity flows. The activity itself is the expression of value insofar as we can trace its course from our standpoint to its apparent object, to an end that is defensible as Architecture of Affectation 15 23 Now I, distractedly thinking about a unicorn, can knock over my coffee, and in this sense thoughts of non-existent things can have efficacious existence. Thinking about a unicorn can excite me, depress me, etc., but my thoughts obtain existence in a way that the unicorn does not. 24 cf. citation in Tsong-kha-pa (144: 2000); alternatively see Appendix (v). 25 A mirage is not a pool of drinkable water, despite its inviting appearance. 26 There are of course some important differences between yellow as a mechanical phenomenon and goodness as a dynamical one; these will be explained below.
rationally related to the appearance. The relation our subjectivity bears to its objects is not mechanically causal like the mirage itself, but dynamically rational: nothing about a mirage necessitates a particular valuative response (in the way the interaction of the above variables necessitates the appearance of a mirage). We orient our thirsty subjectivities around the understanding that there appears to be water over there, and this orientation enables our activity by limiting our considerations to those relevant to this situation. This limit is rational in the sense that it delineates which objects for analysis (choices) appear meaningfully connected to our present circumstance. In this desert example, for instance, the outcome of a recent football game might not enter into consideration while we decide what to do about our dehydration. 27 We have excluded it from our analysis because it does not bear on how we'll handle this situation. Value exists for us in this way, erupting out of a constellation of objective variables (time of year, associated historical events, present cultural context, etc.) and their interaction with our capacity as subjects (as a spouse, as the only woman in a bar, as a citizen under law). Value is the force that structures our activity according to the relation this subjectivity bears to the apparent event, and it is only perceptible through its adherence to the activity it structures. The pitfall we are trying to avoid appears when we separate too strictly our subjective responses from the objective force being responded to. Committing to either side of this cleavage obliges us to seek for the establishment of these conventional phenomena in an ultimate status of realitywhether that ultimate is objective or subjective. Talking about our relation to value as one through which it is Given to us objectively in perception, or as one by which it comes only from our subjective responses, misdirects our inquiry toward a too narrowly defined Architecture of Affectation 16 27 It's not impossible that it might, but let's forgo this for the argument's sake.
causal linkage between the two realms. We are accustomed to these kinds of causal explanations from our Newtonian existence, where we live out our lives experiencing a mechanical sort of cause-and-effect: when we hit the cue ball on a billiards table and it rolls to strike the one-ball, the transfer of energy that takes place causes that yellow ball to move. There are three distinct objects for analysis on this account: the cue ball, the one-ball, and the energy transferred between the two. If we conceive of value's expression as distinct from its underpinning, like a cue ball and its colored brethren, then there must be a similar type of causal mechanism that transfers affects between the two. This is why it's important that we maintain a way of speaking that does not recall such coarse causality, where transitioning from a noun (effect) to a verb (affect) dissuades a conception of value as an object separate from its expression. Talking of causal relation is only a metaphor for our valuation, and we should be careful not to overextend it what is caused is our valuation of present events (establishing ourselves dynamically in relation to a set of actionable parameters), not some particular expression of value (where some event mechanically elicits from us a definitive response). These are different: valuation is a spontaneity involved in our perception of affective avenues for action (activity affecting the world); value just is the action, informed by certain conceptual parameters. When we say that valuation is caused, we are saying that the impact of some affectation has set off our spontaneous organization of concepts with an eye toward finding out what sorts of actions are available for our taking. Value, then, is what moves us in one of those directions, and is bound up with the relation this subjectivity bears to the event under valuation. Because of this misunderstood causality, we end up searching for something to link our conventional phenomena like value into an ultimate reality, but there is no missing link for us to find. Architecture of Affectation 17
Indeed, the medium through which we typically attempt to establish our conventions among some ultimate is itself a convention: language. In fact, language is meaningful for us precisely for this reasonif it did not function within our conventional realities, it could not serve us the way it does. As we proceed we may speak of collections of affective forces (affectations) as if they were nouns, but such designations are a necessary convention, and should be harmless as long as we remain aware that we are speaking of the movement of these forces together, as a unity. Thankfully language can serve this conventional function, but, as Emile Benveniste tells us, we should not misconceive it as a mere tool for our use: tools are fabrications, but language "is in the nature of man... he did not fabricate it." In our terms: these conventional phenomena we experienceyellow busses and good feelingsare not fabrications of a freely working subjectivity. We exist in the realm of these conventions, where this is the only realm within which a thing can meaningfully be said to exist. Outside of it, existence' is a term without value and things' are (impossibly) objects without efficacy. Only within our realm of conventions can we establish ourselves in meaningful relation to others and to our world. According to Benveniste, this has everything to do with language: "It is in and through language that man constitutes himself as a subject because language alone establishes the concept of "ego" in reality, in its reality which is that of the [human] being." 28 In effect, language brings us into being at this most basic level, which recalls Althusser's interpellation of the subject. On Benveniste's account, language itself establishes a subjectivity through which we may value our experience, and according to Althusser we are not capable of escaping this process at any level. One is born into the world under the conventional Architecture of Affectation 18 28 Benveniste (224: 1971)
expectations that they will speak their family's language, that they will receive a particular name, that they will be legally designated a certain sex, etc., and all of these will constrain an individual's actionable directions. Althusser's ideology' as it is used here is not meant as something diabolical or deceptive, but is on this account a fact of existence. We should distance our usage of ideology' from that idea brought into vogue by Marxists as something of a deliberate illusion. It is not (necessarily) tied to personal or classed interest, and indeed there is nothing mere' about ideology in the sense we're using here. Our position as subject' within a web of meaningful relations enabled by an ideology (like language) is a condition for our agency. Only within such a web do we become empowered to take action, capable of interfacing with the objects of an ideology according to those connections illuminated by it. 29 Were we not interpellated in such a way, we would not be brought into any such realm of affective existence and apart from this sort of affective existence, there is no existence Althusser makes our situation rather explicit: "[I]deology has always-already interpellated individuals as subjects, which amounts to making it clear that individuals are always-already interpellated by ideology as subjects, which necessarily leads us to one last proposition: individuals are always-already subjects ." 30 Taking Benveniste into account, we may also assert that language, as an ideology, has always-already interpellated an individual as a subject within its mode of existence (which is conventional). Architecture of Affectation 19 29 "Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence," says Althusser, in Zizek (123: 1994). 30 Zizek (132: 1994).
So we are always-already viewing reality from our standpoint as a subject within a convention: language (at the very least, not to mention culture, gender, religion, etc. 31 ). In McDowell's words, "We have no point of vantage on the question what can be the case, that is, what can be a fact, external to the modes of thought and speech we know our way around in, with whatever understanding of what counts as better and worse execution of them our mastery of them can give us." 32 And the point is that this is an okay arrangement We don't need to dissociate our valuations from our subjectivities in order to feel justified in the act of valuing. It turns out that Moore was half-right when he said that perceiving value in our world was a matter for the intuition. Our world is constituted by our position in a vast network of relations that we share with others, and what we perceive as valuable have as much conventional existence within this network as any other phenomenon. Where Moore faltered was in considering these values as Given by a reality entirely independent of our subjecthood. Their existence is importantly apart from our standpoint, just not utterly separate from it. Moreover "[t]hese seeming objectivities need not be a shadow or reflection of a selfcontained subjectivity" either, McDowell assures us. Understanding them "may be understanding an interlocking complex of subjective and objective, of response and feature responded to." 33 So it turns out that Ayer was half-wrong when he relegated values exclusively to our subjectivity, for he neglected to consider those objective components of a situation that our emotions are responses to Emotions have phenomenal existence just like anything else, and so are within a web of relations according to which they may be drawn into operation: when they Architecture of Affectation 20 31 All of which are arguably constructed linguistically. 32 McDowell (164: 1998). 33 Ibid. (166: 1998).
become operable they must be responding to something equally real', and so these outbursts' cannot be expressions of nothing. What Ayer got right, though, was that our responses figure heavily into our values existing in the way that they doour responses are part of the network of relations that give meaning to our experience by facilitating our affective possibilities (valuation). Althusser helped explain how these networks (ideologies) enable such possibilities by bringing us into being as subjects under their jurisdiction (so to speak). As long as we are within these recognizable bounds, we become able to perform actions according to the dimensions set up by that paradigm. This subjecthood is necessary for our agency, and Benveniste pointed out that language itself is the convention through which we constitute ourselves as subjects in relation to our world. Conventional existence being the only mode of existence, always-already possessing subjecthood in this way affords us the possibility that our experience (as subjects within this world of relative objects) is grounded in the only way it is possible to be grounded': within a world of efficacious existents. From here, I'd like to look into that world and begin making my case for the empirical reality of our new media's transformative structure. This valuative process, however, will remain at the forefront of our analysis in an effort to understand how these networks facilitate and build upon their users' expression. If we can come to a working understanding of this expressive activity, we can suggest possibilities for evolving the practice into something with perhaps a bit more power and precision. Architecture of Affectation 21
PART TWO Reflection and Connectivity .1 Twittering thumbs There is a lot of information available for perusal on the internet, and a lot of people accessing that information at any given time. Many websites now allow for the interaction of their users, whether it be through a comments' section attached to administrator-posted stories, or a user-devoted section of the site (typically forums'). What is of primary interest for our purposes is the emergence of sites built entirely around user-generated content (a.k.a. Web 2.0 sites). Virtual locations like Facebook, Wikipedia, or YouTube function only because of people's input, existing as this input. That is to say, these sites are their user's activities If users never uploaded videos to it, YouTube would be empty of all content; if no one was interested in editing the entries on Wikipedia, there would be no information there to consult. With this in mind, I want to examine some of the more importantly practical applications sites like these have expressed, beginning in Iran with Twitter. On Friday June 12, 2009, Iran held its 10th presidential election since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. 34 Two hours after the polls closed Iran's state-run news agency reported a landslide victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent president. 35 The announcement did not sit well with supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the main opposition candidate. Many felt that something was amiss since voting began on Friday, when text messaging services and many proArchitecture of Affectation 22 34 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2009). 35 Fathi and Worth (2009).
Mousavi websitesoutlets heavily utilized by Mousavi's supporters leading up to the election were found to be down or difficult to access. 36 Come Saturday afternoon, when the election results were certified by the government, thousands of Iranians took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with an election many thought illegitimate. 37 But something else happened that afternoon in the background of it all: [On] the day after the elections on June 13th at 1:30pm GMT (9:30am EDT and 6:00pm Tehran / IRDT), Iran dropped off the Internet. All six regional and global providers connecting Iran to the rest of the world saw a near complete loss of traffic. 38 Arbor Networks' Craig Labovitz considered three areas in his assessment of Iran's internet traffic during this period: web (websites), video, and email. 39 After the roughly forty-five minute internet blackout, Iran popped back onto the grid with decreased activity in each of these sectors. Traffic to websites generally ramped back up almost to normal rates, but access to video feeds never returned to pre-election levels. Email experienced a similar cap on activity after coming back online that Saturday. 40 Traffic levels remained reduced by about 30% or more for the next several weeks. 41 Without getting bogged down in technicalities, what was happening here was a combination of filtration and monitorial mechanisms, presumably put in place by an Iranian government Architecture of Affectation 23 36 Associated Press (2009). 37 Al Jazeera English (2009) 38 Labovitz (2009A). 39 In addition to providing security and network management solutions for international networks, Arbor Networks conducts comprehensive flow-based observational analysis. The company analyzed the flow of internet traffic into and out of Iran from June 7 to July 23. 40 Labovitz (2009B). 41 Labovitz (2009C).
concerned with containing the information-sharing capabilities of its citizens. And the government was right to worry, if the protests in Moldova earlier in the year were any indication of the organizational potential of leaving these capabilities intact. On April 6, 2009 in a Chisinau cafe, 42 twenty-five year-old Natalia Morar and some friends decided to hold a peaceful protest against the recent re-election of the Communist partya victory in what they felt was a rigged election. "It just happened through Twitter, the blogosphere, the internet, SMS, websites and all this stuff," Morar told the BBC in an interview. "We just met, we brainstormed for 15 minutes, and decided to make a flash mob [internet-organised spontaneous public gathering] In several hours, 15,000 people came out into the street." 43 Fifteen thousand people notified, organized, and mobilized within hours? It would be no wonder if the internet was a major concern for an Iranian government trying to preserve itself in the face of reformist sentiments. So intraconnective sites like Facebook and YouTube, or informational channels like the BBC Persian-language service went down in Iran that Saturday, 44 but Twitter, being more of a networking tool as opposed to a networking site remained operable throughout. 45 This distinction is important: Twitter offers a different kind of social networking than sites like MySpace or Facebook. These latter two each function as a social world unto themselves: the world Facebook sustains is a digital one that revolves around access to the Facebook site itself. Facebook, for all its social connectivity, is utterly dependent on its members logging into their accounts through the various portals provided by Facebook.com. If Architecture of Affectation 24 42 Chisinau is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. 43 BBC News (2009A). 44 FOX News (2009). 45 Cohen (2009).
Facebook.comthe websitewent down or was blocked, Facebookthe social network would not function for those affected. Likewise for MySpace. Twitter, on the other hand, provides the infrastructure for the functioning of its social network, without being tied to a web domain per se. This is how it works. Your Twitter account can follow others or be followed by others. When you type a tweet' (consisting of 140 characters or less), that tweet is sent to anyone following you (and you also receive the tweets of anyone you're following). These tweets can be viewed in aggregate by accessing the Twitter website, but the crucial difference between Facebook.com and Twitter.com is that Twitter.com acts as a display for one's (and one's follower's) account activity. The activity itself (tweeting) can be gone about via other mediums, the most notable of which is by texting with your phone where you can also receive updates from people you're following. Twitter does little else but facilitate this type of limited exchange of information, and it need not do more than this to excel as a relatively pure social tool. There are no games on it, no appsnothing to distract from the user-user interaction. Because of how Twitter as a tool for exchange is structured, even if the Iranian government were to shut down Twitter.com, the connectivity the service provides would not be compromised. And it wasn't. Tweets were heavily utilized during the aftermath of the election in Iran, and are today still being used to coordinate action and discussion. 46 Supporters kept each other informed about upcoming protest locations, important new developments, and even about fake tweeters Architecture of Affectation 25 46 Before writing that sentence I searched Twitter for the #iranelection tag that users include in their tweet to label their subject (#topic is how Twitter allows users to organize their tweets). I was hoping to find some tally of how many tweets had been tagged with #iranelection so I could give some idea of the magnitude of use we are talking about. Twitter does not give such a tally, but in the course of writing that sentence and this footnote, Twitter tells me there's been "243 more tweets since you started searching" and the number continues to rise steadily.
looking to use the medium to spread disinformation. 47 The only way to shut this network down would involve shutting down the Twitter service network from their sidewhich was actually scheduled to happen during peak times in Iran on June 16, the Tuesday following the election. The U.S. State department contacted Twitter Inc. to highlight for them that Twitter had become an important medium for communication in Iran. The people at Twitter were already on board, and delayed the scheduled maintenance to an hour that would not disrupt its use in Iran. 48 "We did it because we thought it was the best thing for supporting the information flow there at a crucial time, and that's kind of what we're about supporting the open exchange of information," Twitter co-founder Evan Williams told BBC Two's Newsnight. 49 The kind of service they were providing is not something that can be censored in the same way that MySpace or Facebook can be censored, and so it provided Iranians with a way to stay connected with each other and with the outside world. I do not mean to overstate the role Twitter played in mobilizing Mousavi-sympathizers in Iran post-2009-election. Certainly those tech-savvy enough to find ways around the censorship were in the minority, other forms of more traditional communication doubtlessly played an important part, and, after all, the movement failed in its goal to have the results annulled in favor of a recount. There are however two aspects of this case that I want to recognize and bring together in the following section: (1) that Twitter did prove integral as a mode of enlisting Architecture of Affectation 26 47 Twitspam (2009). 48 Reuters (2009). 49 BBC News (2009B).
international opinion, and (2) that there was an overwhelmingly sympathetic response from those abroad seeking to help Iranians desiring it. .2 Taking notice Where I think current social networking technologies really show their practical application is in the kind of attention they can generate for some affectation. Now drawing attention to something does not quite necessitate action, even if our attention becomes focussed on a specific impact. We will see later how this focus importantly conditions our activities, but for the moment we need to concentrate on the affectations themselves. To continue: we may not become cognizant of all the things which affect us, but we can only ever be cognizant if we are conscious of something affecting us. In other terms, we do not take notice of things that we are not affected by, because our experience is predicated only on such affective objects. Your experience of reading-this-paper is predicated on how light reflects off paper and into your eyes, on your awareness of the presence of the symbols (words) that appear because of that process, and your engagement with understanding the symbolism in terms which are meaningful to you. These become arranged in the form of your experience (where reading-this-paper is the ideal unity of all these aspects in view of your consciousness) because they are more salient affectations than, say, the hum of miscellaneous noise going on around you. Even though that noise was in a sense already there', its affects are only properly experienced once they're acknowledged. If your attention shifts to them, then your present experience shifts with it. The unity of your-reading-this-paper unravels and recedes from awareness, even though all of its components may still be affecting you (light is still entering your eyes, the page's markings are still perceived as symbols, etc.). These dispersed affectations become indeterminately related to Architecture of Affectation 27
your consciousness (in that they are no longer unified under it as an ideal object), but we will say more on this later (Part Four.1). John McDowell explains that this kind of perceptual experience is already conceptual. "A judgement of experience does not introduce a new kind of content," he says. "But simply endorses the conceptual content, or some of it, that is already possessed by the experience on which it is grounded." 50 So when our attention shifts to the hum of the air conditioner or the ticking of the clock, we are endorsing an experience already possessed of the kind of conceptual content required for our understanding of it. If they were not possessed of content in this way, our experiences could not take root (so to speak) and we would have no perception of ticks or hums at all. When we hear such noises we can be, at the bare minimum, confident enough in the experience to assert something like "I am hearing this noise." And we say this presumably with some concept of what this noise is that we're talking about, even if we don't know anything about air conditioners or clocks. The capacity to embrace such unfamiliar affectations in our thinking (even just as something like this noise) must therefore already be conceptualand so must not be a matter of funneling a present perception into a preconception. That is, we are not receiving raw experiential data that we then file away' under our preconceived notions about the world. By the time any data reaches us it is already imbued with contentand this content is conceptual. The apprehension of some affectation, then, is a matter of endorsing some aspect of that conceptual content, where this content is only made available in the act of apprehension itself. 51 Architecture of Affectation 28 50 McDowell (48-9: 1994). 51 We will explore this last point later, but cf. McDowell (58-9: 1994) for his own explanation involving color.
What is interesting in the case of Iran is the way Twitter was used to capture the attention of the world, less by way of reporting hard facts than by circulating links to images and video. The Tuesday following electionsafter video footage had emerged showing violence erupting at a pro-Mousavi demonstrationIran's government banned international media from covering the protests, saying that the coverage was biased. 52 In line with the heavy limits imposed on video traffic already mentioned above, there was obviously something about the way still and moving pictures impacted others that the government wanted to keep under control. There is nothing deeper that needs discovery in a video of a girl dying in a pool of her own blood, gunshots heard in the background. 53 Perhaps there are unrepresented facts standing in relation to the moving images, but: no matter one's level of comprehension of her context, regardless of whether or not one understands the frantic shouts in the recording, a graphic representation such as this can carry an affective force that demands attention. Indeed, amateur videos like that of the dying Neda Agha-Soltan and pictures of other powerfully affective scenes drove the international community's uptake of Iran's controversial vote. 54 It would be as if while reading this paper, you suddenly heard screams and gunfire coming from outside your window. Your attention to the present affectations involved in reading would almost certainly dissolve as you shifted your focus to this intrusive new force. You don't have to know the specifics of what's going on to feel an affect. We are interested for the moment in this force's ability to call attention to itself and, moreover, elicit a directed response from those affected. A response is directed' in that it is not Architecture of Affectation 29 52 CNN (2009). 53 YouTube (2009A). 54 BBC News (2009C).
something like the near passive response' of shifting one's attention to an affective source, but rather it is itself an affective force set into motion by the impact of the first, and this with the intention to affect. It is the expression of value flowing from an agent conscious of being affected by some force, and in response to that force. So, to be specific, this is the valuejudgment, and not in the sense of "This is good" or "This is bad." Again, value' here is not an articulated or reified abstract belonging to a fully-formed subject (like My courageousness compels me to do this "). Rather I mean this more as an ad hoc burst of guided action, a direction for activity requiring initiation' by some external stimulus. Such values don't stand behind activity, propelling it forward, but might instead be imagined as far ahead of it, illuminating pathways according to which our activity might flow. A directed response is informed by an agent's valuation of their situationitself ignited by an affectationand sent in the direction of an end perceived as related to the source of affectation. 55 For our hypothetical example, this would be whatever activity you undertook in response to those screams and gunshots outside. For a less open-ended illustration, we'll turn back to the case in Iran. One thing I have yet to explain is how videos and images from citizens found their way around the Iranian government's censorship protocols. Twitter itself does not have built-in support for posting pictures or video to it, so one of the primary ways to share these via the service is by posting links to other sites hosting the content. With the ejection of foreign journalists, this means that people within Iran were somehow getting their footage through the Architecture of Affectation 30 55 I labor here once again to find differentiation from mechanical causation. When something stands in mechanical relation to something else, it is implied that one is necessarily entailed by the other (like hitting the cue ball at this angle will predictably send it in that direction). Not so for a directed response: there is nothing in an affectation which suggests how a response may derive direction from it. The agent has the power, in other words, to absorb an impact and then to choose a direction for the force's response (as if the cue ball had the option to move totally perpendicular to the angle at which it was hit).
firewalls and onto these sites in the first place, but how? One of the first public responses directed at overcoming censorship in Iran came when legions of Internet activists configured their home computers to act as proxy servers for Iranians trying to access restricted sites. 56 A proxy server acts essentially as an intermediary between a client and their requested resource (i.e. access to the photo sharing site Flickr ), making the request for this resource on behalf of the client. By standing in for Iranian computers making such requests, these proxies allowed them to bypass the restrictions imposed by the government and get their information out. As the government started cracking down on even these methods, Wired Magazine's online component suggested that bloggers from around the world change their location to appear as within Iran. "Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches," the article reads. "If we all become Iranians' it becomes much harder to find them." 57 Perhaps one of the biggest initiatives to enable the constrained Iranians was Austin Heap's project, Haystack. Haystack is a computer program, executable without installation or configuration from a variety of PC, Mac, or Unix compatible media, that allows full, uncensored access to the internet even in areas with heavy filtering. 58 It obfuscates the user's information so that they appear to the censors as participants in normal channels, making approved connections to innocuous sites. The cryptography is practically perfect On his blog, Heap took a moment to acknowledge those who helped make the project possible. "From the Twitter support, to the incredibly supportive donations, to private organizations volunteering, people donating their time in real life to help this come together I'm just amazed at the willingness of people to come Architecture of Affectation 31 56 Bray (2009). 57 Shachtman (2009). 58 Haystack (2009).
together to make this project a success." 59 With tools like these the Iranian people were able to express their experience, and have a part in shaping world opinion of it. The question still remains, though, how does such a network operate? We are affected all the time by all sorts of things; sometimes, like in Iran's case above, we are stirred into action in accordance with a set of parameters. These parameters themselves are established as actionable as we are impacted by a certain combination of affective forces, but how does such an amalgam of personal activity like the internet become aligned according to these parameters at all? These people are strangers not just to each other, but often to those immediately affected by the force which is being responded to. How is it that some affectations bring people together such that they direct a response cooperatively toward a goal seen as common? The next part of this paper will explore some other cases that may help to shed some light on the shape of this network and its connective functions. Perhaps if we can understand what is taking shape, we can see more clearly the future potential of its formation. Architecture of Affectation 32 59 Heap (2009).
PART THREE Becoming Present .1 Spontaneous valuation Let's step back a few pages to your hypothetical reaction to the gunshot and scream heard outside the window. If we shift perspectives to the scene unfolding outside seconds before the sound meets your ears, we find a huge wooden board full of nails thrown precariously into the middle of the street. A sports car comes barreling around the corner and runs both its front and rear left tires over the obstruction, pop, pow comes close to losing control and narrowly avoids hitting a group of young girls walking on the sidewalk. They scream Those sounds, the pop pow and scream travel from their source to your ear, and vibrate your eardrum in phase with these incoming sound waves. This vibration, the moment where these waves touch' your eardrum and alter it, is the moment of affectation. There is no value in it, no meaning, there is only this oscillation of pressure transmitted through the gaseous medium of Earth's lowest atmosphere. Such a pure moment of objective affectation we can never experience because as soon as it enters into our awareness as experience it has been mixed with our conceptuality. Vibrations of this sort in our ear, in other words, are heard as sound and never perceived as mere vibration. 60 We can once again speak of this in terms of McDowell's "conceptual content." The capacity for arranging our conceptual worlds (our spontaneity) has a receptive, as well as an active component. When we perceive aspects of our world, these Architecture of Affectation 33 60 Indeed, a vibration in the ear of one who cannot hear sound admits no perception whatsoever. Even if we do not give the sound any attention as it affects us, it came to us with a kind of content besides its mechanical vibrations.
impressions on our senses are, for McDowell, "already possessed of conceptual content." 61 By the very fact of our perception of them, even though the experience is passive these impressions have drawn into operation "capacities which genuinely belong to spontaneity." 62 While I agree with McDowell that this receptivity of (always-already) conceptualized content is a part of our spontaneity, to avoid confusion I will hereafter refer to this capacity simply as receptivity'. Such capacities are indeed conceptual, but belong to a wider network of capacities for active thought (what I'll call spontaneity). To engage this wider network, and to properly become a unified object of experience, an affectation must take over our attentionwhere this may be accomplished merely by its force or facilitated mediately through reflection. In the first case, as in our hypothetical, an affectation may enter forcefully into our awareness by virtue of its sheer contrast to our present experience. Like the obtrusive noise forcing itself into the quiet ambiance of your workspace, the oversized bird that flies into your field of vision as you lay on your back gazing at a cloudless sky shifts attention to itself on the basis of relative novelty. Your initial attention to a sound has nothing to do with the thing making the sound. The fact that the bird interrupting your view of a clear blue sky is a bird, and not a plane, doesn't matter. The form of existence an affective force expresses is contingent in a way that its mode of affectation is not. While a shift in attention is not inevitable here, these kinds of examples are meant to illustrate how our attention can be guided to present affectations by the sheer force they exert on our sensibilities. 63 Architecture of Affectation 34 61 McDowell (17: 1994). For a bit more explanation of conceptual content from McDowell, cf. Appendix (vi). 62 Ibid. (13: 1994). 63 I must acknowledge but in the same breath exclude from discussion those certain states of attentive awareness in which the possibility of distraction becomes distant. Such hyper-focused states are not typical in the ways I am concerned with here, and an exploration of them would only take us off course.
Then there is a mediated way that our attention becomes consumed: through reflection on an affective object. This ensures that, although we may not immediately be aware of everything we are affected by as we are being affected, we may recall and thereby bring an affectation into our present awareness. Reflection of this sort is a matter of producing for ourselves a force of affectation which is not de facto present. I watch a busy scene from my window, looking over countless people walking the street below. After spending some time scanning the passers-by I languidly turn away, bored with the scene. A moment later I am struck with an I Think : "I think I saw my friend Paolo out there," I say to myself, and so I call out to him. There was no dynamic change to my scenery, and the affective force involved in light's contact with my eyesimply my manner of seeingis not itself responsible for my thought. My focus sharpens as the presence of my friend among that throng of people is realizeda physical presence which had already affected my eyes, but was by itself insufficiently forceful to pique my attention. Through reflection on that indeterminate conceptual content impressed upon my receptivity, my attention becomes focussed on certain meaningful aspects of that amalgam. As my attention determined Paolo's presence out there, my friend (as a unified object) became precisely related to my present consciousness (as a unified subjectivity). Once I have entered into this relation with some object, I am capable of directing a response according to whatever impact I felt from the initial affectation. Recognizing Paolo as my friend, for instance, initiates my calling out to him in the way I did. We might say, then, that the impact incites a value toward which I orient myself. I must reiterate though that this value is not coming from Paolo but is a response to my recognition of him, and it is not some thing besides a suggested direction for activity. Architecture of Affectation 35
I am in some way responsible for the force that strikes me here, in that Paolo's appearance to me as my friend was facilitated by my reflection on some indeterminate set of concepts. But that force was in another way independent of me, in that the content which determined Paolo as my friend was in a sense already available for my apprehension (in the form of those indeterminate concepts). In picking him out of the crowd below I am struck with this force that, by its impact, obliges me to direct my energies toward it. In this way, the opportunities for action that my valuations present must be rationally linked to my present perception of the situation. Through the spontaneous organization of concepts, I (as a subjectivity) enter into a web of relations between objects that appear relevant to this present circumstance (like Paolo appears relevant to my knowing-of-him). This is a dynamical process. Recognition may be a matter of a (mechanical) computation taking place within my fusiform gyrus, but reflection is a matter for my (dynamical) spontaneityorganizing my concepts in relation to this circumstance, allowing for the unification of certain of these into proper objects (like in this case, of my friend Paolo). This reflective act is the mediator through which our attention may become focused when mere affectation does not carry enough force to accomplish this on its own. As has been the case from the outset, we do not not want to get more explicit in our talk of value' than we need to. All we must commit to for now is the idea that value is a structuring force, not an object, in accordance with which we orient our activities. It is the force that excites my valuation of possible activities, moving me toward one of those possibilities and only expressed by that same movement. Either of these modes of our attention's sharpeningthrough mere or mediate affectation are not mutually exclusive operations. When you heard sounds coming from outside your window, the obtrusive contrasts they brought did the work of capturing your attention, albeit Architecture of Affectation 36
without offering any information about what was going on. This receptivity was in a certain sense passive but nonetheless engaged those conceptual capacities inherent in the sheer perception of stimuli like these sounds It was then an active spontaneity which organized the experience for you, arranging its concepts according to relations which were at that moment meaningful for you. Maybe you heard gunshots because the tires exploded while you were reading about violence in Iranbut what is the connection here that allows this mistaken conceptualization to understandably follow? It is the interaction between an affective subjectivity and an objective affectation. Our experience is based on the commingling of these two, neither of which have ever or will ever interact within these present dynamics again. Hearing tires pop at some future time need not incite within us the same valuation. As we've said: an objective force does not entail a subjective response the way it entails an objective e ffect. In this sense the value we express in our activity appears to be ad hoc, as it structures our possible responses in accordance with a web of very specific relations, the totality of which only bear on this case. Such dependency points to the impossibility of reducing the social to a science, as there could be no true reproduction of original conditions for experimentation. What's more, an attentive investigation into a suddenly apparent object of experience may not yield any meaningful relationalityin which case one would experience a moment of confusion: when attention turns to an object within which it finds no meaning. This can be confusing because there isn't enough conceptual content here on which to base a comprehensive or relevant valuation. A sound may be striking enough to focus our attention, but our present subjectivities may lack the valuative suggestion that makes it meaningful enough to orient activity toward. 64 If Architecture of Affectation 37 64 Alternatively, we may simply lack interest in this sort of affective object, itself being irrelevant to our present activities.
I, sitting in a park nearby the car incident, suddenly heard those same sounds but was unable to define myself in meaningful relation to them (through spontaneity), I would not be in a position to act in accordance with this new experience (the possibilities of which would be mapped by valuation): I would have to direct my attention on to other matters. Dwelling here long enough thoughdue to our (passive) receptivity's link to our (active) spontaneitymay produce an incorrect judgment, where we fit the stimuli into the web of relations currently structuring our activity (like mistaking the sounds for gunshots). 65 Organizing one's experience like this ipso facto delimits the realm within which one may direct a response, necessitating that activity be directed toward an end understood as relevant to the situation. In other words, your understanding of a situation dictates what courses of action are available to you, because your activity will be limited to those kinds of actions that make sense for you in that kind of situation. If there is no sense in a situation for you, you cannot do anything. I call out to Paolo because that response coheres with my recognition of him as my friend in a way that punching myself in the face does not. 66 So there were two sharper aspects of value that we can tease out of the above: (1) it is ad hoc, and (2) it guides our activity by setting up parameters for it. We'll incorporate these two points into the noncommittal definition of value given previously, and thus offer a more specific definition here: Value is a structuring force, erupting from an admixture of a present subjectivity and some objective affectation, which motivates activity toward an end established by valuation as actionable. Value in this sense Architecture of Affectation 38 65 This kind of incorrect endorsement can lead to an engagement with irrelevant or impertinent activities, the way endorsing a mirage as a pool of water can lead one farther into a desert (perhaps away from drinkable water). 66 Not to say that doing so could not cohere with some valuation of him as my friend, just that for this instance it was not stipulated as relevantly actionable.
can be understood, reiterating McDowell, as "an interlocking complex of subjective and objective, of response and feature responded to." 67 Spontaneity organizes our concepts in relation to a present subjectivity, forming out of its conditions unified objects which bear on this situation. Valuation is what establishes those objects, according to their spontaneous arrangement, as amenable to certain courses of action. Value, then, is the subsequent movement of an agent through the worldwith this guided expression of agency the only sense in which value' takes form. On this account it both guides expression, and just is the expression being guided: if we avoid making it an object, we can avoid committing it to a single form. This activity could manifest as something simple, like shifting our eyes to gaze at a bird in the sky, or something more complex, like pioneering a nonprofit organization to create and distribute a computer program that circumvents censorship protocols in a foreign country. To ground this further let's examine another instance of censorship, this time in Pakistan. In 2008, the government there requested its Internet Service Providers to block its citizens' access to YouTube due to objectionable content on the site. 68 One of its providers facilitated this using a peculiar mechanism: it advertised itself as YouTube. 69 As packets of data queried the network looking for YouTube, they stopped at the impostor as if they had arrived at their destination, where the ISP promptly threw them away in order to effectuate the block. But this advertisement did not stay in Pakistan. Its echo reached another provider in Hong Kong, who subsequently advertised it to more providers, who themselves advertised it to still others, etc. 70 And within Architecture of Affectation 39 67 McDowell (166: 1998). 68 Jan (2008). 69 Zittrain (2009). 70 van Beijnum (2008).
two minutes YouTube was down for everyone everywhere in the world. 71 YouTube, and its parent company Google, were powerless to stop it. This is how internet infrastructure works; data is routed following mechanical processes of affectation, like the eardrum that mechanically vibrates in phase with any incoming sound wave. Thankfullynecessarilythere is another dynamical element: the human element, including spontaneous valuation and value-expressive actions. The North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG), a type of forum frequented by engineers who deal with Internet routing, restored YouTube to proper working order in a couple of hours. Someone on there pointed out that packets of data querying for YouTube were being routed to Pakistan without response, and the community discussed and coordinated their efforts to neutralize the censorship's overextended affects. 72 To reiterate for emphasis, NANOG is not a company that pays these people to monitor and fix network disturbances. The group's website describes NANOG as "an educational and operational forum for the coordination and dissemination of technical information related to backbone/enterprise networking technologies and operational practices." 73 Their collectively directed response to the affect of YouTube crashing worldwide was to coordinate their efforts to fix it simply because it was in need of fixing. Jonathan Zittrain frames this humorously by using the metaphor of a house catching on fire. "The bad news is: there is no fire brigade," he begins. "The good news is: random people apparate from nowhere, put out the fire, and leave, without expecting payment or praise." 74 Architecture of Affectation 40 71 Brown (2008). 72 Massar (2008). 73 North American Network Operators' Group (2009). 74 Zittrain (2009).
The impact of YouTube's crash ignited a valuation of the event by NANOG members that defined what actions were now relevant for them. Discussion brought to the table a variety of courses, and eventually yielded a coordinated response from the group, where this coordinated response was itself the upshot of several individual responses directed toward affecting the shape of discussion. What I want to acknowledge here is the complex interplay of affective forces that managed to aggregate into a collective directed at an affective end. The particulars of the solutions suggested by each participant certainly differed, so what came out of the discussion was a solution that addressed the problem from a multitude of angles. 75 It was not a convergence of opinion so much as a convergence on a direction The members of NANOG in this case oriented their activity toward "Getting YouTube back online" because the impact of its blackout set off a valuation which stipulated this direction as actionable. 76 Before YouTube was knocked off the internet, this course was not relevant to any valued situation. This alignment of purpose was all that needed to happenthe network experts at NANOG took care of the rest. The way we've been talking about value here, as a force, might suggest as much, but should be kept within strict bounds (lest we slip into thinking of value once again as mechanical). It is the nature of forces that for every affective exertion, there is an equally affective force exerted in response. Our privilege, as agents, is our ability to channel these responses and direct them toward ends of our own making (perceived through spontaneous valuation). Our sovereignty, however, ends there. We have no power to guarantee the effects of our directed responses because we send them out into a realm of complex interactions, the Architecture of Affectation 41 75 Massar (2008). 76 Other directions were of course actionable, but suggestions like "Maybe we should block Pakistan" didn't carry an affect forceful enough to warrant orienting activity around it.
mercurial dynamics of which we cannot control. All we can be certain of is that we will have some effectall we can do is send out our affective force in a direction we suspect will be pertinent to our ends. The YouTube hijacking above provided a pretty straightforward case of affect and response. In what follows I want to examine a more radical instance of spontaneous valuation, and suggest some implications of the kind of activity we're seeing take place all around the internet. .2 We are Anonymous This next complex of directed forces was also initiated by censorship (itself a curious coincidence worth reflection elsewhere). On January 14, 2008 a promotional video for Scientology featuring Tom Cruise was posted to YouTube. 77 In it Cruise talks about his being a Scientologist, and his thoughts on supporting the church. According to Cruise, being a Scientologist is both a privilege and a tough responsibility, one which no identifier can shirk. "Cuz I won't hesitate to put ethics in on someone else, you know, cuz I put it ruthlessly in on myself," he tells his interviewer. His tone is one of unshakable certainty, and he goes on to list the merits of Scientology's tech': "We are the authorities on getting people off drugs, we are the authorities on the mind, we are the authorities on improving conditions" 78 Intended for internal use only, the video quickly came under fire from Scientology's lawyers, issuing cease and desist orders to any and all carriers of the interview. 79 Given the church's litigious history of silencing critics by directing its formidable legal force against them, such a move was hardly Architecture of Affectation 42 77 Wilkinson (2008). 78 YouTube (2008). 79 Denton (2008).
unexpected. Critics of the church are referred to in Scientology jargon as Suppressive Persons (SPs), and the church stipulates that such influence need be eliminated for the sake of Keeping Scientology Working (KSW). At the peak of its legal activity in the 1990s, as it fought for taxexemption status as a religion in addition to its typical measures against opponents, the church purportedly devoted $30 million in a single year to litigation. 80 Having extinguished the video from most major outlets, it may have seemed to the leaders of Scientology that this incident was just business-as-usual, and their push for censorship succeeded as it always had. But then, without any precedence or warning, something pushed back. The video resurfaced immediately all around the internet, posted and reposted and linked by "members" of a "group" calling themselves "Anonymous." I must immediately qualify, however, that this name does not designate a "group," per se, because Anonymous has no defined "membership." Going forward, I want to make clear that the above terms are used only as devices for talking easily about this collection of directed activity. These people have no common affiliation beyond their aligned activity. Jamie Wilkinson, of Rocketboom video blog spinoff Know Your Meme introduces Anonymous as merely a label applied to the aligned activities of this "group". "Its membership is ad hoc, it has no formal organization, it has no central decision-making apparatus," he says. "Anonymous exists as a continuous, spontaneous mass action, whimsically directed toward oft changing goals." 81 It is imperative for our purposes not to lose sight of this articulation, and I will do what I can to maintain it throughout. The simple reposting of the original Tom Cruise interview was accompanied days later by a video Architecture of Affectation 43 80 Ibid. 81 Wilkinson (2008).
declaration of invasion by Anonymous. It contained imagery only of landscapes and time-lapsed cloud formations, with a machine-read message to Scientology. Hello Leaders of Scientology. We are Anonymous. Over the years we have been watching you: your campaigns of misinformation, your suppression of dissent, your litigious nature. All of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who have come to trust you as leaders has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of [hu]mankindand for our own enjoymentwe shall proceed to expel you from the internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We recognize you as serious opponents, and do not expect our campaign to be completed in a short timeframe. However, you will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your choice of methods, your hypocrisy, and the general artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell. You have nowhere to hide, because we are everywhere. You will find no recourse in attack, because for each of us that falls, ten more will take [their] place. We are cognizant of the many who may decry our methods as parallel to those of the Church of Scientologythose who espouse the obvious truth that your organization will use the actions of Anonymous as an example of the persecution of which you have for so long warned your followers. This is acceptable to Anonymous. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs [Suppressive Persons]. The robotic voice drones on: Over time, as we begin to merge our pulse with that of your church, the suppression of your followers will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Believers will become aware that Salvation needn't come at the expense of their livelihood. They will become aware that the stress and frustration they feel is not due to us, but a source much closer to them. Yes, we are SPs. But the sum of suppression we could ever muster is eclipsed by that of your own RTC [Religious Technology Center, holder of Scientology trademarks, responsible for litigation]. Knowledge is free. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Architecture of Affectation 44
Expect us. 82 Some rather playful attacks against the church ensued. Scientology centers began receiving prank calls, unsolicited pizza deliveries, and endless streams of solid black faxes. 83 Members of Anonymous sent packets of data en mass to official Scientology websites in what is known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacka cyber warfare tactic that burdens a target with queries until its server crashes, successfully knocking the sites offline until its administrators moved them to more secure servers. 84 "Secret documents" pertaining to the higher levels of Scientology's operations were also apparently acquired by the group, and put into unrestricted circulation via filesharing networks. 85 This sudden burst of directed activity garnered some attention, but most outlets misconstrued Anonymous as an organized group of hackers or as "online troublemakers." 86 One of the people who saw more than this in Anonymous was Mark Bunker, long-time opponent of Scientology and operator of XENU TV (a website that aggregates cases of Scientology-related fraud and abuse). Bunker put out a video on January 27 addressed to Anonymous, commending their willingness to act, but condemning their methodology. "It may seem like fun and games," he tells the camera. "But Scientology is serious, and you have to be prepared." He expressed sympathy for their cause, and spelled out some courses of action for them to considerlike holding peaceful protests or seeking legal means to revoke the church's tax-exempt status. Having fought Scientology for over a decade, his main concern was that Architecture of Affectation 45 82 Anonymous (2008A). 83 Wilkinson (2008). 84 McMillan (2008). 85 Danos (2008). 86 cf. Singel (2008) or Vamosi (2008).
Anonymous not get embroiled in any illegal activity that would undermine their (and his) cause. "Get the word out there but do it peacefully, do it legally," he warns. "And don't tarnish your reputation: if you do this the right way, you can make a big difference." 87 The next day Anonymous posted another video to YouTube, maintaining the same visual style. The mechanical voice begins with a clarification of intent to a confused media, and goes on in a direction suggested by Bunker. "Anonymous invites you to join us in an act of solidarity," the machine says, naming February 10 as the relevant date. "Join us in protest outside of Scientology centers world wide." 88 The time stipulated for the protest was 11 AM, and as the earth's rotation brought about February 10th's first instance of that hour in Sydney, Australia, upwards of two hundred people arrived at the Scientology center there. They came with their faces coveredwearing surgical masks, bandanas, gas masks, Guy Fawkes masks, along with many other modes of concealment and bearing signs of protest. Elsewhere in Australiain Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and other citiesmasked activists showed up to picket in front of local Scientology centers. As the sun continued its journey over our heads, Anonymous protesters turned up at centers in New Zealand and Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, France. In cities across Canadain Toronto, in Montreal, Ontario, Vancouver, and othersand all over the U.S.DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Clearwater, New York, and many moreAnonymous unleashed an affective force into the world, directed toward a revelation of Scientology's suppressions. 89 Architecture of Affectation 46 87 Quotes from Bunker (2008). 88 Anonymous (2008B). For the complete transcription of the video, see Appendix, 2. 89 Data aggregated at Encyclopedia Dramatica (2009).
When the movement began, the massive membership of this nebulous group admitted little in the way of precisely coordinated action. The extent of their valuation of the situation consisted in something like "Attack Scientology," an end indeterminately broad in its scope. Unlike the narrow lanes of a network technician's directive "Get YouTube back online," a collective as diverse and boundless as Anonymous could not help but dilute their affects as they were extended in any and all directions. It was not until Mark Bunker offered his valuation, as someone not only aligned with their exertion but also familiar with the most affective avenues for it, that Anonymous was able to sharpen its attention to a point that allowed for coordinated activity on a much greater scale. It took Bunker's reflection to produce the kind of affect powerful enough to orient the scattered activities of Anonymous toward it, and the subsequent impact of this directed force demanded response. But the nature of a collective like Anonymous does not make for an easy target in the courtrooms, and so Scientology's most powerful mode of retaliation fell impotent. As more mainstream media began investigating the charges levied against Scientology, the church tried its best to paint Anonymous in negative shades, calling them a group of "cyber terrorists" and describing all kinds of heinous crimes committed by its membersbut FBI investigations into these accusations produced no corroborative evidence. 90 As momentum built over the following months and into 2009, members at all levels of the organization began defecting, and those who had been too afraid to speak out against the church found that it was becoming acceptable to do so. 91 The St. Petersburg Times, with Scientology's Clearwater headquarters in its prime Architecture of Affectation 47 90 CNN (2008). 91 News from Ex Scientologist Message Board, via YouTube (2009B).
coverage area, published an extensive report on Scientology over the summer of 2009, interviewing several high-profile defectors to give "an unprecedented inside look at the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige." 92 More recently, in October of the same year, the French branch of the church was convicted of fraud and fined nearly $900,000 by a Paris court. 93 A week prior, ABC's Nightline broadcast a two-part series reviving the allegations put forward in the St. Pete Times' June report. 94 Protests have been ongoing since February 10, 2008, with the next global protest in planning for May. 95 As this turn of mainstream attention toward Scientology was becoming apparent, Anonymous posted another stylized video late in 2008. It kept with the robotic reading of their message, but featured a single tuxedoed member wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, speaking to the camera over an upbeat tune and in front of a moving background of colorful geometric patterns. The video was titled "WE RUN THIS": Hello leaders of scientology. We are Anonymous. We hope you are having as much fun with this as we are. As you know, we are still here, and with every passing day your failure to account for the fraud and abuse exposed by our campaign becomes more evident to the media, to our government, and to your own followers. Reuters The BBC ,CNN, The London Times, Fox, The Associated Press, Forbes and a legion of local news agencies have chosen to communicate our message about your organization to their viewership. And now the world is listening to usand watching you. The mechanism behind the phenomenal ease with which we have achieved this is simple: We are speaking the truth. ... Architecture of Affectation 48 92 St. Petersburg Times (2009). 93 Erlanger (2009). 94 ABC News (2009). 95 Why We Protest (2009).
Defections at every level of your organization will continue to increase. By now you have most likely experienced the cognition that every action we take deprives you of at least one of the three following things: Capital, Clients, and Credibility. These conditions will continue to exert their pressure upon you and your superiors. The disorder will continue to deepen. We have changed the rules of the game. Growth of the magnitude required to maintain your organization in its present form is no longer possible for you. Your ability to seduce the public has been destroyed. Your survival has long depended on your capacity to suppress the truth of your abuses, and that ability is now gone. We have removed it. Leaders of scientology, the data has spoken. We are at Cause. you are at Effect. Expect this to continue, and thank you for playing the game. 96 Anonymous, as a spontaneity summoned by Scientology's censorious pressures, began its activity scattered and ultimately aimless. The sudden commotion did catch the interest of some media outlets, who seemed to consider the sudden outburst entertaining enough to mention passingly, but off-mark reports of hackers and pranksters were all that came out of ituntil the activities came to the attention of a certain specialist. Mark Bunker, a long-vocal opponent of Scientology, saw in this mass of disorganized bumbling something not even the perpetrators themselves realized was there: a unified purpose. When he issued a video with his valuation of their position in the form of actionable recommendations, he affected that synthetic unity which is the condition for all acts of agency. Unlike an individual's spontaneity, the concepts deployed collectively by the members of Anonymous did not relate either to a precise consciousness or a singular object, requisites for the kind of guided determination an individual agent channels. By his valuation, Bunker unified an object according to which the group could structure their activity (protest' was the particular latched onto by Anonymous). We must qualify, though, that Bunker's perception of a larger purpose within Anonymous' desultory activities was not exactly Architecture of Affectation 49 96 For the complete transcript of this video, see Appendix (viii).
a perception of something already there' within the movement. His discovery of an underlying unity just was his pointing out that unity; or rather, he affected the unity according to his perception of ita perception that genuinely came to be shared with others. In the next section we will explore more directly this kind of affected unity, and what it means for our consciousness, for its objects, and for our lives in this social world. Architecture of Affectation 50
PART FOUR Conscious Movements .1 The focus locus We have been on one level concerned with the fact-relations apparent in our social worlds, on another with the valuative process underpinning the appearance and relevance of those facts. Now it's time to take a step back, out of the world of technology and action we've been scrutinizing, and develop more explicitly the account of valuation I've been suggesting. We will make reference in this section to a Sartrian theory of consciousness, which will hopefully provide us with the framework we need to transition smoothly back into that techno-active world. We'll begin by revisiting Althusser in this new context. Interpellation, we have said, allows us entry into that realm of objective relations where we can affect the world. But this interpellation, broadly effectuated by language, is not thrust upon us exactly in the way Althusser makes it sound in the essay we've drawn from above. In the way that factories facilitate the reproduction of their own means of production, 97 Althusser considers ideology to be engaged with the creation of subjects for the purpose of reproducing the material relations that support it. These subjects themselves are the only guarantee for the material existence of ideology. Absent their practice, ideology would cease to exist in our world (it would not be efficacious). As Althusser puts it, "there is no practice except by and in ideology," and Architecture of Affectation 51 97 Bracketing out the more complex discussion of labor: factories house machines which create commodities, which sell for a profit, which creates capital for expansion (by purchasing new machines, etc.) and sustains the commodityproduction process. These machines and other assets required to produce commodities and generate capital are referred to in Marxist theory as the means of production.'
ultimately "there is no ideology except by the subject and for subjects." 98 While this outline is not categorically false, we must proceed carefully from itideology does not function only for the sake of its own reproduction, us being simply caught up' in its process. 99 Ideology may indeed guarantee its reproduction through practitioners, but we are not merely victims of its process. It does not interpellate us simply for the sake of itself we also seek to interpellate ourselves within an ideology for the sake of affecting our world. Althusser acknowledges as much, as the hailed man himself performs his conversion into a subject under the officer's Law, but Althusser does not go far enough to account for our creative potential as interpellated agents. We are not, as he seems to suggest, helplessly bound up in an ideology's reproduction of itself, though we can say this precisely because we are bound up in so many ideologies. All of the affective content that our spontaneity organizes is conceptually descendant from some or another ideologically defined relation. The fact that we have always-already been interpellated within these kinds of relations affords us now the opportunity for a spontaneous deployment of those concepts, such that we may constitute and reconstitute this present circumstance along with our relation to it. The child designated female' will enter into a set of conventions (ideology) that will shape how she is viewed and how she views herself, but these relations provide only some of her possibilities for entrance into an affective world (she may also have concepts of animality or humanity that may be deployed as she creates herself in relation to her femininity). In general, Althusser says, "[w]hat is represented in ideology is therefore not the system of the real relations which govern the existence of individuals, but the imaginary relation of those Architecture of Affectation 52 98 Althusser in Zizek (128: 1994). 99 We are not abandoning this aspect of ideology entirely, as we will come up against it later. I only wish, as I say, to proceed carefully.
individuals to the real relations in which they live." 100 The term imaginary' as Althusser uses it here does not imply that these relations are inconsequential or illusory (in the sense of nonexistent). He makes it clear that these imaginary relations are always in place as a condition of our affective activities. I do not wish, however, to endorse his idea of a real' over and above (or underlying) a subject's imaginary' relationson the account I've tried to maintain here, all such (efficacious) existents occupy the same ontological level. As analytical devices for Althusser's project, the distinction performs the important function of separating material processes of production from our understanding and interpretation of these processes. But we are pursuing our own project, and these are the sorts of distinctions we must avoid. So while we accept certain aspects of Althusser's theory of interpellation, we depart from him when we say: our interpellation as a subject conditions our act of spontaneity (our agency) a creation of ourselves as beings in a world (interpellation) so that we may interface with the objects of that world (through valuation). For McDowell, this form of spontaneity is the active engagement of our conceptual capacities, the idea of "an active undertaking in which a subject takes rational control of the shape of her thinking." 101 This only occurs within the subject so long as she has always-already been constituted as a subject (in a rationally established, socially affective world). Her control comes from reflection, inasmuch as the affective content she endorses (in constituting her standpoint as a subject) is amenable to her spontaneous valuation of meaningful avenues for her activity. Without a working understanding of her location within the present realm of relations (perhaps as a woman waiting alone for a cab at 3am, with a group of Architecture of Affectation 53 100 Althusser in Zizek (125: 1994). 101 McDowell (60: 1994).
men hungrily stumbling towards her from a nearby bar), she might not perceive certain actions as being relevant to her situation (so her valuation will be deficient). We need to give a clearer sense of how this spontaneity is drawn into operation, and how it establishes our agency in the world. In Part Three.1, we saw how some affectations focus our attention either through their sheer force of impact (gunshots outside of a quiet room) or retrospectively through the act of reflection (recognizing my friend in a crowd). 102 A forceful sound (like gunshots) calls our attention just by aggressively acting on our receptivity to stimuli. But this passive capacity for understanding (receptivity), we (with McDowell) said, is linked into a larger network of capacities for active thought (spontaneity). As I reflect on that bulk of indeterminate content which had affected my sensibility (the crowd), that larger network of capacities is drawn into operation. By spontaneously organizing this content, I come to realize that my friend is among those people, and the force of this recognition narrows my attention. In either case (whether through receptivity or active spontaneity) the same operation is performed: an attention becomes focussed on some aspect of our present conceptual world. This aspect becomes the locus for analysis, the object according to which we will structure our activity indeed, the kind of object that is a condition for meaningful activity. It is necessary, I have said (Part Three.1), that our attention become consumed by an object in order for that object to enter into our consciousness as a proper experience. The miscellaneous noise outside (birds chirping, dogs barking)though affecting my receptive sensibilitiesdoes not figure into my conscious experience of writing these words. It is only when I reflect, referring to the impressed content of those-sounds-which-I-heard, that they become a locus of attention, established explicitly within a Architecture of Affectation 54 102 Where both can operate together as well.
present awareness. Despite their previous affectational capacity, they were not part of the directed activity of writing-this-essay, for that and only that locus was spontaneously established as the object of my consciousness. The miscellanies were outside of it, noise to it, other than it they were not consciously experienced But what kind of thing or process is this attention, such that it seems so central to the unification of affectations under a consciousness? Here we discover that attention as such, has heretofore been insufficiently definedand it is our task now to expose it. I have said before (Part Two.2) that our experience is predicated on our consciousness of some affectationthat is, we are conscious only if we are conscious of an object affecting us. When an object (dogs barking, for instance) enters into our conscious experience, our consciousness just is exactly consciousness of it, without remainder. Though there may have been other affectations acting upon us at the moment the dog barked, their relation to our conscious experience is as yet (or becomes) indeterminate, and will remain so until we reflectively bring them into a present awareness. For example, were we to be scratching our heads at the time we shifted our attention to the dog's bark, the affects of the head-scratching need not disappear to become indeterminately related to our present consciousness. What would disappear is the kind of precision a consciousness directed upon it (the head-scratching) affords (perhaps a deep appreciation of the length of one's fingernails), although it undoubtedly remains affectively related to us (there is still the rhythmic oscillation of pressure on the scalp). We call this relation unreflected', and will say more about it later. In the meantime, when we speak of the ideal unity of experience, we are speaking of the very condition for experience in this world. If our objects were not (ideally) unified under a consciousness, there would be no starting point Architecture of Affectation 55
for active agency: our world would appear discordant, inconsistent, somehow manifold but undifferentiated. This kind of linear awareness has been documented in psychology: the human brain cannot run two processes in parallel, but rather must switch between them, one then the other, if engaged in multiple activities. 103 An object of our experience must be singular, focussedunified. If this paper did not appear as a unified object to my consciousness, I could not accomplish work on it (as a specific) because it would be undifferentiated from the manifold other stimuli I am being affected by. Out of all the refracted light coming into my eyes (the beige door over there, the red blanket next to me) and all the sounds vibrating in phase with my eardrum (the click of the keyboard, the voice on the phone in the next room), I home in on the dimensions that define this paper for me, giving my attention to it so that my subsequent activities fulfill my ends (producing an intelligible final product). I call this unity ideal' because it does not follow only from the object' (it is not Given); it requires a reflective consciousness to affect it through an act of attention. There is more to this paper in front of me than markings on a page: there is a theme to it that does not appear visually, there is a voice in it that does not speak audibly, there is a point to it that is not located spatially. These qualities are as much and as important a part of the world of affective existents I perceive as the more classically objective components of this paper (fibers, ink, etc.). They will condition your act of reading this paper, in addition to my act of writing it. All of these (refracted light, overall style, objective effects and subjective affects) must be unified as Architecture of Affectation 56 103 Jiang, et al. (2004).
a singular (ideal) object under a consciousness if I am to affect an agency in this world, which is in this case the agency of a writer engaged with writing a paper. 104 The experience of consciousness' itself then, as Jean-Paul Sartre puts it, "is purely and simply consciousness of being consciousness of that object." For this, he claims, "is the law of its existence." 105 That object becomes the locus for attention when our consciousness of it passes from unreflected to reflected (the chirps and barks above made this transition). On the unreflected level, our consciousness of an object (chirps) does not admit any valuation, and so could not be said to truly be consciousness of that object (we have not unified it as an object, and so it is not yet an object for our consciousness). Without appearing to us as this unity, there is no basis for an engagement with that object (closing the window, listening more closely, whistling along are all actions predicated on the chirps as an object of experience). Such engagement can only be accomplished on the reflective level, where becoming established in relation to this apparent object (interpellation) conditions my perception of meaningfully relevant courses of action (spontaneous valuation). Attention is the mode through which this interpellation as a subject is realized. It is an act of creation, simultaneously bringing into being the object for valuation and our position as subject in relation to it. To make this clear we will return to the example of this-paper-I-am-writing. Out of the amalgam of sensory input affecting me, we said, my attention becomes focussed on certain of these stimuli (the refracted light, style, etc.) in order to synthesize them into an object for purposeful engagement. From a manifold of spontaneously organized content, then, I have Architecture of Affectation 57 104 Here ideal' is by no means pure', in that it is not only in our heads: we are affecting an ideal unity of some thing where that thing is quite apart from our minds. We will return to this in full force later. 105 Sartre (40: 1991).
delineated a singular object (via attention) so that I might pursue actions according to it (mapped by valuation), where these avenues for action will themselves be both enabled and constrained by the conditions brought about through the attentive act (interpellation). I was not within these conditions prior to this singularizing attention, and I will not be in them once that focus dissipates. This was one reason we left Althusser: the sense in which we were interpellated by his Ideology was too strong, and it left us too passive. Concrete' individuals may indeed always-already occupy subjectivities within webs of relations, but that is the only place an individual can be. Prior to their interpellation as a subject, in what sense do we speak of someone as individual? Speaking of that person as an individual' we turn them into an object according to which we relatean object of our attention. Speaking of ourselves as individual' locates us within a web of connection which gives meaning to that term (say, as an individual within society). In either sense, individuation does not occur outside of ideology's relationality. We take up a position within these relations in order to exercise a meaningful agency, where this sort of activity is itself only made possible in the context of a paradigm that defines what counts as meaningful' activity (that is, what activity is relevant to this situation). This is all to draw attention to the fact that all manner of being we experience is experience of this type of relationality. In order for there to be experience there must simultaneously be one who is having the experience (an experienc er ) and also the object of that experience (its content). The experiencer, we might say, is posited alongside the experience in the same act of reflection. To be completely outside of such relations is to be (excuse the tautology) non-relationaland what is not relational cannot be experienced, as experience is only ever experience of something. This is exactly why we reflectively create an object-taking consciousness within a world of defined Architecture of Affectation 58
relations (interpellation): a non-relational consciousness would be outside this world, not admitting of much of anything (experiences, objects, subjects, activities, rationality, etc.)pure nothingness, as Sartre tells us. This is how our experience of consciousness can only be a consciousness of being consciousness of that object,' as we said with Sartre said above. All experience is relational in this way. And this applies to any experience, not only the self-conscious experience of a reflective consciousness. Indeed, even on the unreflected level, the level of sheer perception (of receptivity), consciousness remains relative to certain affectations. Now these affectations may yet be indeterminate (like the birds chirping outside), and they will remain so until they are drawn to the reflective level through a spontaneous sharpening of attention. 106 Sartre considered this unreflected level to be non-thetic, allowing for a "non-positional consciousness of consciousness," but I'm not certain this can be admitted. 107 The fact that what was once unreflected can be reconstituted under a reflective awareness seems to necessitate that the affectations be in some way positioned in relation to a receptive consciousness. This receptivity is itself already a part of a historically and culturally (even momentarily) contingent worldan accumulation of exposure to ideology after ideology, interpellation after interpellation which accommodates in even these indeterminate affectations the kind of conceptual content we would need to make sense of them. Because this is the case we can reflect on these impressions later, Architecture of Affectation 59 106 Again, something like pacing while focussed on some other object is not counter to this model. Given that the object of consciousness is some other thing', it may seem like the pacing is a kind of engagement with the affective world' in the way I have reserved for reflective agency. However, I maintain that this pacing is still only indeterminately related to a passively receptive consciousness (the feeling of the ground, the sensation of muscles working), having not yet affected the synthesis required for an agent to determine their own action. In a sense, the pacing would be unintentional or automatic, absent the kind of authorship being affected through the focussed attention of the reflective consciousness (like the head-scratching above). 107 Sartre (48-9: 1991), reproduced in the Appendix (ix) with commentary.
retrospectively synthesizing a complete object for self-conscious appraisal by endorsing the whole or a part of the content entailed with perception. So, though we may not know beforehand what these indeterminate affectations are to us, we know that in principle they might be made meaningful through reflection, where they would enter (with us) into the sort of precise relationality that enables purposeful activity. This might take the form of a realization like "Now that I think about it, those were birds chirping that I heard." Before this I Think the chirps were only indeterminately related to a passive (receptive) consciousness. Our receptivity becomes imprinted with these myriad indeterminacies, lacking the resources to engage the content of the impressions in a meaningful way. It is as we would be if we were tumbling through a giant (people-safe) dryer, thrown in with a number of different fabrics (silk, velvet, cotton, suede, wool): even though we know each of these textures, the way they are relating to each other (and to us) at present does not make sense so long as we are purely passive. And we are not: we also have an active spontaneity, which reflectively organizes our conceptual experience according to the kinds of relations we have known through the overlap of countless ideologies and experiences. As these concepts become rearranged to account for the present circumstance, we invariably fall into a standpoint according to the system of relations being constructed around us. Concurrent with this interpellation, as our subjectivities become precisely defined in relation to these concepts, our attention narrows on some constellation of them that is coming into focus by virtue of the force carried by their unified affectation. This force may be either sheer (like the gunshots) or mediate (like the recognition of Paolo); in either case what is becoming apparent is that this object has some bearing on the present situation. So certain of these concepts are synthesized into a unity, Architecture of Affectation 60
bringing into being a fully-formed (ideal) object while simultaneously creating our standpoint in precise relation to it. Sartre alludes to this when he says "consciousness posits and grasps the object in the same act." 108 This is what we have meant by attention an act which actualizes us as subjects under an ideology (as the object defines in part those relations we can have to it) simultaneous with the actualization of the ideology (in the form that is now present for us). 109 Coming into such precise relations allows us to remain receptive to certain sensible operations which have been created along with the object as meaningful and relevant to that object. We have said above that (upon becoming self-aware of my-hearing-chirps) this would involve operations like closing the window, whistling along, or listening more intently. My-hearingchirps has in a sense brought with it' all of these possibilities according to which I might direct a response, where prior to my focus on that object these sorts of operations would have no meaning (what would I listen more intently to having not heard chirps?). Valuation is what establishes those avenues for activity in relation to the present affective object, and in accordance with the web of relations spun by receptivity and spontaneity. Value moves through us in one of those directions, becoming manifest by our activities in the world. We need not dwell here any longer, so long as this is clear: attention is an act of creation which simultaneously brings into being the object it attends (by affecting that object's synthetic unity) and the consciousness for which that object is present (by occupying a position in view of that object). Through this act the conditions according to which activity might be undertaken (valuation) arise as well, rationally connected to one's standpoint Architecture of Affectation 61 108 Sartre (41: 1991). 109 Althusser himself implied as much, when he pointed out ideology's dependence on practicing subjects.
within these now apparent relations (arranged by our active spontaneity). What remains for us is an investigation into how such consciousnesses (with their objects) become moved according to social parameters, the likes of which we've seen in Parts Two and Three. We have planted the seed for this linkage already, and it will be to its sprout that we return in the next section. .2 Valere ex nihilo In Part One.2, Benveniste pointed out that language itself provided the kind of framework within which our objects might find meaningful relation to each other. These relations are foundational for all types of valuative positions, but we barely glanced how language achieved such a powerful status. In order to understand language's role in our conscious experience we need to formulate more precisely the mechanics of these relations. To this end, we must investigate the link between our acts of attention and the linguistic system. We will begin with references from Jam-yang-shay-ba, a scholar of Buddhism who (c. 1699) produced a work of epic proportions, attempting to give an overview of what he considered the four main schools of Buddhist philosophy. According to his writings (and their commentary by others), the Surtra' school built a theory of language which figures into our present discussion. This school put forward that our conceptual consciousness of some object becomes related to it through a process of linguistic exclusion The appearance of tree' is, they say, "as the opposite of non-tree to the conceptual consciousness apprehending tree." 110 That is, when speaking of that tree the conceptual consciousness apprehends tree' by differentiating it from the grass and earth below it, from the sky and clouds above it, from the house and car behind itthe tree is that which is Architecture of Affectation 62 110 Jam-yang-shay-ba (250: 2003); for the full paragraph in all its impenetrability see Appendix (x).
not all of those things The world around the tree, in effect, is exerting a pressure on it which constitutes its dimensions and defines the limits of its shape before our consciousness. In other words the tree is defined negatively apparent only from its position within a wider context of relations. Almost three centuries later, Ferdinand de Saussure corroborates and expands on this, pointing out not only language's propensity for conceptual differentiation, but also its material dependency on both audible and visual discrepancies. The sound and written representation of the word tree' (what Saussure calls its signal ) contrast with those sounds or representations near it (e.g. three, free, treat). The signal of a word like tree' corresponds to a signification or a concept entailed by that signal, with this concept of course given meaning through differentiation from surrounding concepts. 111 "[T]hat particular concept," he says, "is simply a value which emerges from relations with other values of a similar kind." If that relationality were to disappear, the meaning of the concept would vanish along with it. 112 Taken together, the signal and signification make up a complete linguistic sign where we deploy this unit as a whole (the sign) for our communicative acts. All of the components of a language, Saussure argues, are made up entirely of these sorts of negative relations, where each piece is bounded by the context within which it finds meaning. But to say that in a language everything is negative holds only for signification and signal considered separately. The moment we consider the sign as a whole, we encounter something which is positive in its own domain A linguistic system is a series of phonetic differences matched with a series of conceptual differences. But this matching of a certain number of auditory signals and a similar number of items carved out from the mass of thought gives rise to a system of values It is this system which provides the operative bond Architecture of Affectation 63 111 Similar to the Buddhists above. 112 Saussure (115-6: 1986).
between phonic and mental elements within each sign. Although signification and signal are each, in isolation, purely differential and negative, their combination is a fact of a positive nature 113 Through this web of mutually constitutive, purely negative relationality we arrive at a fact of a positive nature. For Saussure's purposes, this is the fact of linguistic values active within a communicative communityand for ours, it is not much different. The rules of Saussurian linguistics parallel the present discussion of consciousness and valuation for important reasons: utmost of which is simply the fact that we are engaged in a discussion We have tried to uphold this type of reflexive relationality throughout, but speaking of them in the present format (through this paper) has put us at a disadvantage, unavoidably indicating the presence of an agent prior to the relationality of a consciousness in view of its object. 114 It has been difficult to maintain this picture of dialectically performed positioning simultaneous with the appearance of an object, as the kind of reflection we are engaged in presently necessitates a consciousness to have been always-already positioned (e.g. in relation to my-writing-this-paper or you-readingthis-paper). But it could not have been otherwise, as is made clear by Saussure's analysis, and is alluded to by Benveniste. Spontaneity is drawn into operation as an internal discourse is sparked (reflection) in response to some affectation. The affectation is as yet indeterminate (to use a visual metaphor: fuzzy'), until the discourse sufficiently parses its components (by differentiating them from one other). As the picture comes into focus and our position in relation to these affectations becomes more precisely defined, a consciousness comes to occupy this locus as an affective object related to other affective objects: this consciousness is the ego. It is Architecture of Affectation 64 113 Ibid. (118-9: 1986) [ emphasis added]. 114 Where I have to say things like My interpellation as a subject" or My attention sharpens," even though these are supposed to be the actions which create the Me that is interpellated or who owns the attention. When speaking, the I is always-already present.
the creation of this affective ego in the world that Benveniste gave a sense of above (Part One.2) when he said "language alone establishes the concept of "ego" in reality, in its reality which is that of the being." Through reflectiona discourse with ourselvesthe ego is brought into being as a conventional existent so that we may affect our conventional existence. Although predicated on the purely negative relations entailed by linguistic function this conventionality has a positive existence within its own domain That domain is the domain of conventions we inhabit, where this recalls another aspect of Candrakirti's point (from Part One.2) that the existence of a mirage (like our conventions) is duly positive, if only misleading. The mode and scope of a mirage's existence can be known either correctly or incorrectly. There is not water over there, but there is clearly room for a misperception of water there. Misperceiving similarly misleads our investigation into phenomena by prompting us to take that positive existence for grantedwe labor under the assumption that ultimately there must be something underneath it, something even more positively existent than the appearance. There is not. There is only the negatively established relationality of phenomenal components, the consciousness of which is also negatively related to those phenomena (through convention). In other words, it is through contrast that our conventional phenomena are defined, and it is similarly through contrast that our consciousness of them (as observers) becomes possible. Recognizing this does not however sacrifice the relevance of these conventional relations within their own domain, a relevance only had within such a domain (as relevance is by definition relational). The conventional domain, then (as a system built on differentiability) is itself a fact of a positive nature. Accordingly, the perceptions relative to which we outline our affective opportunities (valuation from a standpoint in ideology) are indeed perceptions of that Architecture of Affectation 65
positive reality. They are perceptions of a world apart from uswith the fact of their being apart at once the condition of their existence as such, and also the condition for a consciousness of them ( of those perceptions). The unity of each is affected by the other, with one's unification the reciprocal act of the other's. The positive nature of these conventions allows for the discussion of them we've been having, where I can make reference to events or ideas that you can access from your side. Such linguistic value is the basis of communication within our community, and so also does this value constitute the communicable. Though we are each involved in the synthesis of objects for an affective ego, we affect this synthesis according to the kinds of cultural contingencies we are all a part. Foremost of which is of course language, where our community of English speakers has agreed (through usage) on the kinds of grammatical/ semantic/phonetic approximations that constitute linguistically meaningful acts. But there are others: we have a shared base of traffic etiquette, for example, which synchronizes a great number of us as we hurtle ourselves speedily about, encased in 4000 pound shells; we have a sense of the familial obligations that appear before us as certain holidays approach, with these holidays themselves occupying objective time-space within our historical contingencies. We can also experience together a curiously poignant affectation from a video of a young Iranian woman as her perception dissipates, scattering with it her consciousness of this world. The fact that these affectations are contingent within our conventions is not counter to their reality, it is the condition of their reality It is the locus through which their reality becomes apparent to us, and it is the only form reality' takes for us. Our standpoint in view of certain of these objects is of course particular, as the experiences that inform our unification of them have theretofore been quite precise (insofar as they have been related precisely to this ego). This does Architecture of Affectation 66
not preclude however the possibility of our convergence on one objectafter all, affecting their synthesis brings us within the domain of affective existents: a realm within which all positive natures abide at the same level. It is at this level that our spontaneities do their work, organizing and reorganizing concepts according to a continually shifting perspective, making possible the kind of ideal synthesis required to affect the objects of this realm. 115 A consciousness and its object are on this account part of a realm of shared relations (conventions), and so it is plausible that our consciousnesses can together apprehend aspects of this shared (phenomenal) realm. To give an example in space: we might point out a bottle in the center of the room, around which we are all seated. That bottle becomes the locus for all of our attentions, as it is synthesized and grasped as a unity for our perceiving consciousnesses. This one object now becomes revealed to each of us through different aspects: I see the brand-name on the label, you observe the nutrition facts on its side, a third party perceives the barcode from their perspective. All of these apprehensions are genuinely apprehensions of that bottleit is not that I perceive one bottle, you another, and them a third. Any affective object, as Sartre correctly conveys, "always manifests itself through an infinity of aspects and is, at bottom, only the ideal unity of this infinity." 116 The ideal unity is enacted as the object's relation to a reflective (perceiving) consciousness narrows, and the aspects that become manifest are infinite due to the object's existence as a positive expression of purely negative relations. That is, if there is no positive nature underlying the thing's existence, there is no singular or fixed aspect of it that completes' its expression as what it is. Such a positive essence would reveal itself as absolutely identical to each of our Architecture of Affectation 67 115 Our spontaneity organizes concepts according to a spacio-temporal position, and it is this movement through time that guarantees an always-shifting perspective. I have appended a short discussion of time to the Appendix (xi) that examines its role in our possibilities for affective expression. 116 Sartre (49: 1991).
perceptions, unless we were misled. Without such an essence to stand in for the thing's reality, the possibilities of its expression as a conventional existent become unbounded', in a sense. 117 And so, absent such an essence, we are able to perceive together and communicate about differing aspects of the same object. In Part Two.2, we spoke of responses to such objects in terms of an agent's directed response', where an agent responds to some affectation by issuing their own affective force in a direction of their choosing. We have since learned that the perception of an affectation's content is conditioned by the kinds of concepts that have become meaningfully related to the ego over the course of its numberless interpellations as a subjectivity. These concepts are spontaneously deployed according to their bearing on the present circumstance, referencing a standpoint within which the ego arises as attention delineates both its and its object's dimensions. The object taken, as far as the agent is concerned, just is the affectation that acts on her, with its purely objective components (like the photons touching' our retina) outside her realm of possible experience. Moreover, she is correct in her apprehension of that affectation, as long as she sees (for example) that what is over there is a mirage and is not fooled into thinking that it is a pool of water. With her perception of this unified affectation comes suggestions for an active engagement with that object. Those suggestions are conditioned by the kinds of concepts that her spontaneity organizes in relation to this situation, and so they are conditioned by the kinds of subjectivities and circumstances this ego has found expression in. Bound by these conditions (like say, having some familiarity with optical phenomena), valuation maps the possible routes for activity as they appear rationally connected to this present object. The Mandelbrot set on the Architecture of Affectation 68 117 Though properly bounded' in another: I am not revoking the contingencies just discussed above, only pointing to the dynamism of spontaneity's potential for organization.
cover of this thesis exemplifies this movement of consciousness: with initial conditions precisely defined, the equation organizes its points according to the rational constraint of its parameters its rounded boundary informing the fractal shape it takes within. The fact that the possible position of each point is rationally bounded does not prevent the shape's infinitely expressive form. On the contrary, it is only within such precisely defined limits that the shape achieves its profound complexity: according to different parameters, Benot Mandelbrot's equation will yield an empty plane or some uninteresting lines. 118 We (as social creatures) share in these kinds of constraints for our subjectivities; our experiences have been contingent, but they have been contingent upon similar sorts of things. Not to insinuate a universal, but there is in some sense a world history', where we have shared to some degree in the historical circumstances leading up to our present. This historicity is not meant only as its institutionalized form either (History as a discipline): the formation of this planet was historically contingent upon a very particular arrangement of elements in our solar system, the path of human evolution has been contingent upon a long series of advantageous mutations, on down to the contingent relations which brought you into contact with this paper. We have inherited together the complex momentum of this matrix, finding ourselves alwaysalready acted upon by its inertia. These are the contingencies which make meaningful our existence and provide support for our shared experiences. The pang we feel at Neda's death might be contingent on the incarnations our subjectivities have taken through our biology and within our cultures, but that does not at all disarm the potency of its force. That pang is an affectation available to many of us, together having moved Architecture of Affectation 69 118 cf. Alfred (1998) for a technical (but accessible) discussion of the Mandelbrot set.
through the social circumstances that have made its aspects salientit is an emanation (like a mirage) that can be grasped for what it is despite its deceptively positive appearance. Its positivity is not objective (in Moore's sense) because our motion importantly shapes the social landscape which defines it, but it is not merely relative either (in Ayer's sense) because that same landscape does constrain our movement through it. On this account, homing in on the moral' dimensions of our affectations should be no more questionable than homing in on some aspect of that bottle in the center of the room. Both objects positively unfold' before an investigative ego, and both only according to their position in a web of relations that makes those affectations meaningful to us in the first place. In either case, it is possible for the aspects that we apprehend to adhere genuinely to that constellation of contingencies (in relation to our perspective on it), regardless if that apprehended content is expressed as brand-name' or profound sorrow'. This is the means by which we produce and reproduce the conditions of our material existence, but not to the point of handing our agencies over to the process. We are the process and this is exactly why networked technology is important: it has brought our capabilities for exchange up to speed' with our possibilities for affective existence. Our lives have always been played out according to the avenues of a socio-historically contingent network of relationsonly now we have the potential to map it all in real-time, and to participate in networks not bounded by conventional space. Austin Heap, the impetus behind Haystack 119 was a 25-year-old who had never been to the Middle East. From his home in San Francisco, Heap used Twitter to coordinate like-minded individuals all across his country in a movement toward a shared ideal: freedom of information. Heap's spontaneous valuation was set off by events unfolding on the other side of Architecture of Affectation 70 119 The computer program mentioned in Part Two.2 that helped Iranians subvert their government's firewalls.
the world, and, by confronting them critically, he was able to unify an objective toward which hundreds of others were willing to work. When YouTube crashed worldwide because of Pakistan's sloppy censorship (spoken of in Part Three.1), the North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG) fixed the problem within hours. The people on this forum were not supposed to do things like this: they wanted to because interest in addressing these sorts of technical issues was what gathered them together in the first place. The particulars of each of their perspectives were not important outside of those relevant parts which had bearing on the present situation. They were already aligned with this type of activity, so when censorship patterns from South Asia entered into their realm of relations, they addressed it accordingly. Neither the members of NANOG nor those supporting Iran with Austin Heap needed something beyond an alignment of purpose to coordinate their activity. They were willing to move and act together, in view of certain aspects adhering to these incoming affectations. For Habermas, the publics of the salons and coffee houses began thinking critically about their works of culture, examining and discoursing over the aspects of these works that were principally apparent at the time. Habermas points out that cultural criticism became the standard accompaniment to the cultural works themselves, simply reaching their proper end in the critical journals of the time. 120 This critical absorption by the public of its own cultural output was, he argues, its vehicle for enlightenment, realizing itself as the living process behind its own critical objects (the works it examined). 121 As we saw in Part One.1, the advent of a mass media brought Architecture of Affectation 71 120 This because the works of art or literature were often produced as cultural commentary themselves; once these same products came under scrutiny and their critical threads were made explicit by the journals, the conditions for an appraisal of a work's critical persuasiveness became cleanly established. 121 Habermas (42: 1991).
with it a transformation in function for the public sphere. Instead of an engaging rational debate, television and radio created an unbreachable distance between the source of criticism and the newly created consumer' of it. Habermas likened this to tutelage, in that the flow of information was unidirectional, admitting no critical input from the consumer. 122 This consumerist function brought about a kind of psychological facilitation' insofar as the new media distilled its social commentary into narrative bits digestible by the widest audience. An anecdote might help to clarify this: interning as a copywriter with a prominent healthcare advertising agency, I learned of a certain procedure the work goes through before finalization, called frying'. After some portions of text are written, an account representative performs a simple calculation comparing word/syllable/sentence/paragraph ratios. The work must register under certain criteria in order to move on, and if it does not it is sent back to the copywriter for frying'. The criteria involved are designed to keep any portion of the ad's text within a fifth grade reading level. This goes beyond merely making content accessible: it bottlenecks the possibility for deeper, more meaningful creative expression. This is the sort of facilitation of information the mass media is involved in, distilling our culture down to an elementary level so that it will be palatable to as many people as possible. In targeting this mass' though, these media are just producing new conditions for an elementary mass culture, and then reproducing those conditions subsequently because there is no reciprocal input from the consumer. That minority who still sought a public exercise of their reason fell into the nonpublic niche of academia, where critical journals are still circulated but are largely devoid of the social relevance that in fact birthed them. Architecture of Affectation 72 122 "[The new media] draw the eyes and ears of the public under their spell but at the same time, by taking away its distance, place it under "tutelage," which is to say they deprive it of the opportunity to say something and to disagree" Habermas (171: 1991).
This minority also affects the reproduction of its own conditions, in that the product that comes out of a complete movement through the school system is a degree (a PhD) that qualifies one for entrance into those same institutes at the professional level. An incomplete movement through the system (attaining a bachelor's or master's degree) will qualify one for a number of other careers that vet entrants based on the level of achievement indicated on their rsum. In one case what schooling has prepared us for is a serious engagement with the discussion that has been taking place between scholars for quite some time now; in the other, school has given us a degree which allows admittance into the higher realms of our socio-economic structure. 123 There is something to say from the standpoint we've been developing here about this systematized production of elites (intellectual on the one hand, economic on the other), but we must stay our course past this opportunity. We are approaching this issue with a mind toward the kinds of transformations networked technology presents to the whole public sphere, and this sphere includes academics as well as those consumers of mass media. In fact, recognizing this is the first step in that transformative process. Part of a system orbiting around these rituals of qualification, the peer-reviewed journal remains a primary locus for academic attentiona format that is over three hundred years old. 124 These journals preclude the uninitiated' through (1) heavy reliance on technical jargon or reference to prior scholars, and (2) prohibitive subscription fees for those without ties to an institution. By these and other means an intelligentsia' becomes cordoned off from the public proper, quietly making spectacular use of Architecture of Affectation 73 123 There are of course those tales of the dropout-turned-millionaire, but the social realities surrounding such a situation generally do not align so fortuitously. 124 And for good reason: it works well for professional purposes. I do not want to abolish this, but we are interested here in what else might work in the context of our new media.
their specialized skills. 125 But making this spectacle private (through esoteric language or economic condition) is an affront to the public's possibility for appreciation: rarely is something more enjoyable than observing those who are abundantly skilled engage in a rigorous exercise of their abilitieswhether those persons be athletes or academics. What I want to suggest is that there is use for these skills outside of the realm of academia. Specialized knowledge can often find application in the world around us, without needing to turn in on itself for expression. Brought to its conclusion, a student's path to a PhD sharpens their focus so that they may contribute meaningfully to their fielda field with its own set of precise relations filling out its dimensions. Besides their facility within those dimensions, what informs an entrant's contributions is the unique perspective with which they approach that field's questions. Or, in the vocabulary we've been using, the fact that their ego has found expression within countless other sets of precise relations (ideologies). By approaching some issue from a variety of perspectives, a number of different aspects of that same issue become positively revealed. On this small scale, a single person can offer a spontaneous reorganization of concepts that others engaged in the discussion might not have seen as meaningful. On a larger scale, critiques from alternate viewpoints (like the feminine) can powerfully enter into an academic discourse, capable of offering important new observations in view of already-examined objects (in addition to synthesizing completely new objects for enquiry). So if one's general experience finds use in the realm of their specialized knowledge, the reverse (I am saying) is also true: by virtue of their specialized knowledge, one's contributions can become valuable in general. Architecture of Affectation 74 125 Within their realm of mastery, and able to take for granted their peers' technical familiarity, some specialists do indeed produce works of such ingenuity as to warrant that superlative.
We saw this possibility above when Mark Bunker unified the scattered activities of Anonymous by focussing their attention on the affective avenues he was familiar with. That collective had certain outlets for their activity (Anonymous had playfully engaged others in such ways before), but their objective did not admit of the precision required to align such a group's activity. Bunker's valuation brought these activities in line with a precise goalone that could be achieved through a united movement toward it. It is in this motion that value finds its expression, not as some thing in itself, but as the force which structures this movement. In perceiving certain aspects of a situation (like the fact of Scientology's censorship and its more severe human rights abuses), we are not perceiving value. Those apprehensions are, however, situated within a certain context, as part of that same realm of objective relations that we cohabit. It is this wider context which supplies these affectations with their attractiveness or repugnance qualities that may be collectively perceivable as such or notbut this apprehension does not constitute value, either. When we speak of value, we are speaking of just that activity which moves toward certain unified objects. Seeing that Perseus is courageous, for instance, is not seeing any thing in him or in Medusa. 126 His courageousness is made manifest only by his actions, and can only be perceived so long as he is engaged in those actions. It is a force which moves through him, structuring his activity by informing what avenues appear as relevant to his forward motion. Austin Heap's and the NANOG members' proactivity become apparent with their address of affectations that had not been adequately addressed by others. Anonymous, finally united in purpose and direction by Mark Bunker, prominently exhibited their humaneness through protests in front of Scientology centers worldwide. Our knowing value is in a way Architecture of Affectation 75 126 According to Greek mythology, Perseus cleaved the serpent-haired head of Medusa from her body, using it as a weapon before offering it to the Goddess Athena.
intuitive like Moore thought, but also subjective like Ayer pointed out. Its positive existence is known to us through our own actions, and can be glimpsed fleetingly in the actions of others, though these actions are linked to our subjectivities. Aristotle was perhaps closest to putting it correctly when he spoke of the just and temperate man, who becomes so only by acting justly and temperately. These moral virtues come from habituated activity "Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us," Aristotle says. "Rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit." 127 Our nature is one of socio-historical, not to mention biological contingencies, and it is within these that our existence becomes expressed. It is only fitting that the name we give to such profound activity is one so versatile as value'a word that seems somehow able to express simultaneously the World that Moore intuited and the nothing that Ayer rejected. When we reflect, then, on our social activities through the critical examination of culture, we are, like Habermas pointed out above, engaged in a critical examination of ourselves. The values, the activities we as a society converge upon and support the expression of are just those values and activities we endorse within ourselves. The emerging network of technologically linked relations is not something in addition to this type of being in the world, it is becoming an extension of that beinga form of engagement with our world that communes more intimately with the modes of expression of which we already take part. The intellectual, with a specialized skillset developed through a focussed exploration of conventional phenomena, might be best able to sharpen our use of this technology until it becomes a transparent part of our engagement with the world. Architecture of Affectation 76 127 cf. Aristotle (952-6: 2001).
Conclusions We began this thesis with the aim of laying out the emerging architecture of affectation provided by our new networked technologies. Habermas' chronicle of the formation and evolution of the public sphere' provided a starting point for our venture, but we quickly ran into the philosophical difficulties inherent in any discussion of human activity. We tried to steer a course between talks of events in the world on one handlike Twitter's role in Iran's election, or NANOG's role in reviving YouTubeand enquiries into the nature of our relation to such worldly events on the otherlike our apprehension of their content, or our capacity to direct responses in accordance with our apprehensions. We tried to point to the potential for a specialized structuring of this activityas in the case with the activities of Anonymous and their subsequent refinement by Mark Bunkerbut ran out of room to fill out what that means for the future development of this technology. What remains to this effect is a series of investigations into this kind of specialized interaction. First, we might wonder what type of exchange such technology might engender between professionals who could kick ideas around organically (in real-time) amongst each other, rather than stretching the conversation over the months typically called for in academic publishing. There is also the potential for these professionals to write articles for online communities, where maybe their institutions could host a blog to which each faculty member would post on a rotary basislet the students contribute, let them work with their professors, let them edit posts. These are only a couple of practical possibilities to explore as we move forward. There are also some interesting options for approaching these phenomena academically, like for instance a study of the ideology expressed within a torrent community. Torrents' are files that Architecture of Affectation 77
are shared online amongst a number of users. These users are often labeled as pirates' and classified as criminals accordingly, but there has not been any substantial effort to understand what this sort of arrangement represents. After all, at least one of these users legally owns the file in question, and it is their choice to share it freelythen upon gaining access to that file, others can remain connected to the network, each doing their part to disperse and share that same file. This is just a technologically advanced form of a valuable basic human tendency: sharing with others. Copyright laws are woefully skewed toward maximizing profits had from an outdated commercial model, so the legal discussion has limited value if we want a richer understanding of these sorts of user-user communities. I am convinced there is something to be gained from a more developed exploration of those such file-sharing networks. Is all of this good'? If we are not careful, this question will knock us back into that interminable oscillation between realism and relativism. The uncomfortable truth of relativism scares us with the possibility that the contingent and self-referential nature of value robs it of substance. On the other hand, what is Given by realism is unsatisfactorily a release from responsibility, rather than the kind of solid grounds for value we sought it for. When we ask about good' as an object, we invoke all the relations that give meaning to that debate, and become obliged to speak again in those termsa way of talking that we have been trying to escape. We must address this question from the perspective we've been developing here, and so must do some work if we are to bring it meaningfully into the present discourse. We want to maintain the McDowellian picture advocated above, within which we can legitimately say that the activities we engage in accord with our world in a meaningful way. This accord' is what all Architecture of Affectation 78
this talk of networked technology gets us to, where this is something different from an objectlike good'. The kind of activity an individual expresses in her world is facilitated by the accord of all the cells in her body, the ideas in her head, the context exerting pressure upon her. The collective activities of a group accord with the directions of the agents within it, the alignment of their goals, the bounds within which the group maintains its actions. At each level here there is a harmony of movement: a coming together of forces sustained by the mutual functioning of just these forces (cells in the body working social groups acting ). We are, as we put forth at the beginning (Part One.2), talking about verbs and not nouns Such a harmony is of course selfreferential (the worry from relativism), but we need not avoid it on that basis. If there is an accord to be worked out among us, it would have to come from the kind of conventions and contexts within which social activity finds meaning. To reiterate McDowell from Part One.2, with perhaps enhanced meaning: "We have no point of vantage on the question what can be the case, that is, what can be a fact, external to the modes of thought and speech we know our way around in, with whatever understanding of what counts as better and worse execution of them our mastery of them can give us." 128 What our dynamic communicative exchange brings us, I want to say, is the possibility for the dynamic adjustment (or recalibration') of the present accord (the present harmony) so that its maintenance can be attended to ad hoc. This is what our spontaneity accomplishes for our subjectivityorganizing/reorganizing, deploying/redeploying concepts according to a never-static movement through the world. Only by admitting this level of spontaneity into our social arrangements can our organization be as fluidly expressive as the Architecture of Affectation 79 128 McDowell (164: 1998).
fractal patterns of nature and mathematicsperfectly replicative, infinitely complex. We have to be able to adapt to the types of changes introduced into our social system (our equation') if its accord is to persist. The world we live in is and has always been one of information. Our successful movement through it has depended on the facility with which that information becomes organized, which is just the functioning of spontaneity. Through this functioning avenues for activity present themselves as relevant for engagement, where this valuation provides the basis for our expression of value through subsequent actions. The concepts with which we make sense of the world are inherited through numberless interpellations as subjects within it, but these concepts are not limited in application to the particular relations which outlined their dimensions (we can learn yellow' from a school bus, but still understand its application when we consider rubber duckies). As our cells come together with the amalgam other forces functioning in accordance with one another to make up our bodies, we must find a harmony with this outer world of which we are a part in order to continue existing in it the way we do. If our spontaneous organization of concepts did not accord with this world, we would quickly be forced out of it (if we did not understand the dangers of lying near a crocodile-infested river, for example, the world would not excuse our oversight). In biology this is spoken of in terms of natural selection: nature (the world) selects for organisms better adapted to the rigors of life within itnot on the basis of preference, but out of necessity An organism must be able to accommodate many different aspects of its environment if it is to survive; if it cannot live in accordance with its context, then that organism will be selected' out of the system. Architecture of Affectation 80
The sheer volume of information available to us has compounded greatly since humans conquered nature's selective process, and our communicative technologies finally allow for the dynamic organization of such a magnificent amount of data. Through our networked technologies concepts can find application within a number of different contexts, becoming spontaneously deployed in accordance with whatever system they enter into. We are ordering this information, and we are shaping its expressive possibilities. Humankind's use of technology has been since the beginning a movement toward this kind of increased orderbut this movement is not human-made. From the motion of the smallest microbes to the perfect arrangement of the cosmos, our universe has been involved in a process of self-organization for billions of years, arranging objects big and small according to whatever equilibrium can be worked out amongst them. Our use of technology is but an extension (and acceleration) of this organizational process, a force which is far greater than ourselves. We can choose to be a part of this movement, Kevin Kelly says, "by aligning the technology that we make with it." 129 Or we can choose to ignore it, to remain ignorant of its movement through us to the point of being driven out of its world like any number of other maladapted organisms. This force will continue its movement with or without us, itself a relentless procession alike in kind but counter to Cthulhu's call. 130 We are, however, in a position now to facilitate its structure on our termsto enter into its motion and affect how it becomes expressed in our lives. There is, in other words, a harmony to be had between ourselves and our world, if only we can introduce the spontaneous dynamism allowed for through networked technology into those social arrangements already Architecture of Affectation 81 129 Kelly (2009). 130 In his profoundly unnerving Call of the Cthulhu H. P. Lovecraft's titular monster beckons with a voice unlike any voice, communicating through "a chaotic sensation which only fancy could transmute into sound." The parallel is between that ordering force and this chaotic motion.
over-structuring our connective options. The self-ordering of nature is a fluid process, one that does not admit replication within the kinds of stringent institutions we have built around ourselves. Human civilization has been successful insofar as it has imposed an order onto the world, where Euclidean monuments stand as stark testament to the victory of human design over natural form. But this successful making of a world within our world is not enough. We must make a world in accordance with our worldin accordance with that unceasing, self-organizing force of natureand we must find a harmony amongst ourselves if we are ever to get there. Finally communicative technology has reached a point where we can respond to the social demands exerting pressure upon us as dynamically as they arise, limiting our responses to the context within which they are required (i.e. avoid establishing universal precedent in administering ad hoc solutions). Only by admitting this organic spontaneity into our selforganization will we be able to enter harmoniously into that curiously cosmic movement toward still greater and greater accord. Architecture of Affectation 82
APPENDIX (i) Habermas (148: 1991) "From the midst of the publicly relevant sphere of civil society was formed a repoliticized social sphere in which state and societal institutions fused into a single functional complex that could no longer be differentiated according to criteria of public and private. On the legal level this new interdependence of hitherto separate spheres found its expression in the breakdown of the boundaries of the classical system of private laws." (ii) Habermas (151-2: 1991) "To the degree that state and society permeated each other, the institution of the conjugal family became dissociated from its connection with processes of social reproduction. The intimate sphere, once the very center of the private sphere, moved to its periphery to the extent that the private sphere itself became deprivatized." (iii) McDowell (5: 1994) "When Kant describes the understanding as a faculty of spontaneity, that reflects his view of the relation between reason and freedom: rational necessitation is not just compatible with freedom but constitutive of it." (iv) McDowell (24: 1994) "We must not suppose that spontaneity first figures only in judgements in which we put a construction on experiences, with experiences conceived as deliverances of receptivity to whose constitution spontaneity makes no contribution. Experiences are indeed receptivity in operation; so they can satisfy the need for an external control on our freedom in empirical thinking. But conceptual capacities, capacities that belong to spontaneity, are already at work in experiences themselves, not just in judgements based on them; so experiences can intelligibly stand in rational relations to our exercises of the freedom that is implicit in the idea of spontaneity." (v) Candrakirti in Tsong-kha-pa (144: 2000) "We are not proponents of nonexistence, for we are proponents of dependent-arising. Are we proponents of real things? No, because we are proponents only of dependent arising. What do we propound? We propound dependent-arising. What is the meaning of dependent-arising? It means the absence of intrinsic existence; it means no intrinsically existent production; it means the arising of effects whose nature is similar to a magicians illusion, a mirage, a reflection, a phantom city, an emanation, or a dream; it means emptiness and selflessness." (vi) McDowell (24: 1994) "In a particular experience in which one is not misled, what one takes in is that things are thus and so That things are thus and so is the content of the experience, and it can also be the content of a judgement: it becomes the content of a judgement if the subject decides to take the Architecture of Affectation 83
experience at face value. So it is conceptual content. But that things are thus and so is also, if one is not misled, an aspect of the layout of the world: it is how things are. Thus the idea of conceptually structured operations of receptivity puts us in a position to speak of experience as openness to the layout of reality. Experience enables the layout of reality itself to exert rational influence on what a subject thinks Although reality is independent of our thinking, it is not to be pictured as outside an outer boundary that encloses the conceptual sphere. That things are thus and so is the conceptual content of an experience, but if the subject of the experience is not misled, that very same thing, that things are thus and so is also a perceptible fact, an aspect of the perceptible world." (vii) Anonymous (2008B) "Call to Action" [Transcript of Video] "It has come to the attention of Anonymous that there are a number of you out there who do not clearly understand what we are or why we have undertaken our present course of action. Contrary to the assumptions of the media, Anonymous is not simply "a group of super hackers." Anonymous is a collective of individuals united by an awareness that someone must do the right thing, that someone must bring light to the darkness, that someone must open the eyes of a public that has slumbered for far too long. Among our numbers you will find individuals from all walks of lifelawyers, parents, IT professionals, members of law enforcement, college students, veterinary technicians and more. Anonymous is everyone and everywhere. We have no leaders, no single entity directing us only the collective outrage of individuals, guiding our hand in the current efforts to bring awareness. We want you to be aware of the very real dangers of Scientology. We want you to know about the gross human rights violations committed by this cult. We want you to know about Lisa McPhearson. We want you to know about former members of Scientology's private navy, Sea Org, who were forced to have abortions so that they could continue in service to the church. We want you to know about Scientology's use of child labor and their gulags. We want you to know about Operation Freakout and Paulette Cooper. We want you to know about Operation Snow White and Scientology's efforts to infiltrate the government of the United States of America. We want you to know about all of these things that have been swept under the rug for far too long. The information is out there. It is yours for the taking. Arm yourself with knowledge. The machine then continues in a direction suggested by Bunker: Be very wary of the 10th of February. Anonymous invites you to join us in an act of solidarity. Anonymous invites you to take up the banner of free speech, of human rights, of family and freedom. Join us in protest outside of Scientology centers world wide. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. Architecture of Affectation 84
We do not forget. We will be heard. Expect us." (viii) Anonymous (2008C) "WE RUN THIS" [Transcript of Video] Hello leaders of scientology. We are Anonymous. We hope you are having as much fun with this as we are. As you know, we are still here, and with every passing day your failure to account for the fraud and abuse exposed by our campaign becomes more evident to the media, to our government, and to your own followers. Reuters The BBC ,CNN, The London Times, Fox, The Associated Press, Forbes and a legion of local news agencies have chosen to communicate our message about your organization to their viewership. And now the world is listening to usand watching you. The mechanism behind the phenomenal ease with which we have achieved this is simple: We are speaking the truth. Your efforts to handle this condition are as predictable as they are expensive for you. This pleases Anonymous and we encourage you to continue waging your informational war against truth at great expense to you and at no cost to us. We approve of these conditions, because within them defeat is impossible. Our campaign has been one of constant success, and yours has been one of constant failure. This will continue. Evidence of our victory is everywhere. We are certain that YouTube and Google appreciate your handsome patronage now necessary because of the ubiquity of our message. Unfortunately for you the hundreds of thousands of dollars you now spend every month because of Anonymous cannot change your organization's history of crime and abuse of human rights, nor alter your organization's policy encouraging criminal behavior which are now all available to the public. Your lawsuits to censor these documents will continue to fail at great cost to you just as your attempts to paint our peaceful demonstrations as terrorist activities have done nothing but foreground your tendency to abuse the judicial system to suppress free speech. Defections at every level of your organization will continue to increase. By now you have most likely experienced the cognition that every action we take deprives you of at least one of the three following things: Capital, Clients, and Credibility. These conditions will continue to exert their pressure upon you and your superiors. The disorder will continue to deepen. We have changed the rules of the game. Growth of the magnitude required to maintain your organization in its present form is no longer possible for you. Your ability to seduce the Architecture of Affectation 85
public has been destroyed. Your survival has long depended on your capacity to suppress the truth of your abuses, and that ability is now gone. We have removed it. Leaders of scientology, the data has spoken. We are at Cause. you are at Effect. Expect this to continue, and thank you for playing the game. (ix) Sartre (48-9: 1991) "When I run after a streetcar, when I look at the time, when I am absorbed in contemplating a portrait, there is no I There is consciousness of the streetcar-having-to-be-overtaken etc., and non-positional consciousness of consciousness. In fact, I am then plunged into the world of objects; it is they which constitute the unity of my consciousnesses; it is they which present themselves with values, with attractive and repellant qualitiesbut me I have disappeared; I have annihilated myself. There is no place for me on this level." While this idea is initially attractive, I cannot endorse Sartre's complete formulation of it. The streetcar-having-to-be-overtaken is still the kind of ideal object that requires a consciousness to affect its unity as an activity-to-be-pursued. It's true that this involves becoming a part of the world of objects, but the type of unity we're concerned with cannot function only in one direction (as Sartre says "it is they [the objects] which constitute the unity of my consciousness"). The process is one of mutual constitution with subject and object supporting each otherany other configuration undermines the existence of one, the other, or both. The level at which the me disappears cannot properly be called a level of consciousness on our account. (x) Jam-yang-shay-ba (250: 2003) Note: this excerpt is actually from a piece of commentary by Nga-wang-bel-den "The conceptual consciousness to which the natures [of specifically characterized phenomena] appear as mixed together obstructs perception [that operates] within taking the unique natures of the specifically characterized as appearing-objects. This is because, for example, a conceptual consciousness apprehending tree obstructs perception in which the unique natures of instances of tree are taken as appearing-objects. For the appearance as the opposite of non-tree to the conceptual consciousness apprehending tree is a meaning-generality and is also a generality that applies to the instances of tree, and when the meaning-generality appears to that conceptual consciousness as applying to instances of tree, [the conceptual consciousness] obscures perception of the natures of instances such as shimshapa [trans. note: a type of fruit tree] and juniper due to the fact that the tree-generality that is the nature of a juniper tree, and the tree-generality that is the nature of a juniper tree appears as if it is the tree-generality that is the nature of a sandalwood tree." Architecture of Affectation 86
(xi) Time-relations and the motion of the ego When we affect our syntheses, we are not remaining static in any way. It is not the case that our performance of an ideal unity brings a static object before an unmoving ego. Consciousness (ego), if it is anything, is a movement. The motion of our realms of consciousness is thoroughly temporal, as is the motion of the synthetic unity we affect in our objects. This is how an investigation of an object can unfold': it blossoms infinitely before a consciousness according to the same movement through time as that consciousness. Nature's own objects bring us evidence of this, with the infinite recursion of fractal patterns suggesting the same kind of unrelenting movement. The infinite complexity of natural fractals are not curious flukes or unlikely happenstance: they are the organic expression of the order of things. We could imagine traveling through such a self-similar structure, forever moving forward as the pattern bloomed into itself at every step. This is the same picture for our synthesis, where the object reveals its aspects as it moves accompanied by our consciousness through time. Even when we are misled, we are misled by the positivity of these aspects, not realizing that there is no bottom to their expression. For as long as they are sought by consciousness, our objects will reveal positive aspects for apprehension. Conversely, we should not forget that our ego unfurls along the same route, in relation to its object. As the ego investigates, it is positively defined according to the negative relation it bears to the object it is taking for itself (as an investigat or it is dependent on an object for investigation). The ego is actualized as an affective unity through that investigation, but the possibility of ever completing' its expression remains illusive. Like its object there is no bottom to the ego's positivity, and its aspects will manifest for all eternity if it is so motivatedand like its object, we can just as easily chase after the ego as if it were a pool of water, not realizing that what we pursue is a mirage. Time is the dimension through which these two (the object and the ego) become mutually related. Outside of this temporal motion there could be no motion, but besides the relationality between objects in time there could be no flow of time. Time passes only from the standpoint of the objects within it (including egos). That is, were there no objects whose relation was predicated on duration, duration would lose all application within the realm of existence (and so it would cease to partake of that realm). The passage of time is marked on our bodies and on the objects of our world; we can feel its movement through our minds and beyond the lives of loved ones. Outside these objects carrying temporality, time' would not be (and could not be) expressed in this affective world. The upshot of all this: there is no unified consciousness outside of its relation to objects, there are no objects outside of their unification in view of consciousness, and there is no relation outside of the movement of these two together through time (with time itself dependent on the objects it relates). Within time there is receptivity and spontaneity, ideology and valuation, consciousness and conventionwithin duration, in other words, there is the possibility of our existence. 131 Architecture of Affectation 87 131 We are loosely subsuming space' under this discussion as well. There is of course an important application for analyzing space as separate from time (i.e. by enabling relations between objects occupying the same physical area, like us with the bottle in the room). Without getting distracted by this though, let's just say that space and time are not absolutely distinct here: they are only different aspects of the same movement. I use time for the sake of supplying an example of motion that doesn't common sensically stop' for us (the way we can stand still in space).
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