Or: Why The Enlightenment Inevitably Consumed Itself
Each new system of thought, each extension, each insight, each historical inflection-point and distributed, systemic phase transition or levelling-up of human civilisation and each new branching of the tree of combinatorial (human) possibility – it opens the degrees of freedom, of motion, of growth and – simultaneously – of vulnerability and exploitation, of potential arrival of metastatic cancerous ideology or a self-propagating, lumbering ignorance.
The intellectual tools of rationality and the Enlightenment have formalised a scientific method, with procedural and adaptive variation or refinement, and along with this an effervescent flowering of the (academic) humanities, of scientific creativity and possibility. That focused analysis and scientific tool-set that provides the means of it’s own self-conscious and indefinitely-extensible proliferation, self-propagation is also the means and potentially inevitable cause of it’s own accelerated disassembly.
This is the nature of biological innovation and competition, of (literal) technological, psychological, cultural and ideological competitions – defined by the endless recombinatory patterns and possibilities of complexity, abstraction, information, energy, logic, mathematics and physics.
It is perhaps an inevitability of the intimate, endemic extensibility of all these systems that they should eventually render themselves extinct or at least as retrospectively-invalidated. Not so much a Hegelian synthesis and spiral of development through negation and antithesis as an infinitely self-inflected, inward-falling and indefinitely, infinitely-extensible logical metamorphosis.
This is the logical origami of emptiness, of innovation and the only (relatively) simple pointer here is to Cantor’s diagonalisation method. This is (also) the advertising hook of “but wait, there’s more!” of philosophical, sociopsychological and technological investigation.