Copies of Copies of Copies

The proliferation and procedural evolution of computer games: an evolutionary metamorphosis and constructively divergent variation on a theme of symbolic abstraction and cognitive teleology.

It is quite difficult to directly perceive at times but everything we do, everything we see and think, all of our behaviours and beliefs or patterns of reflex and unscripted living joy (or sorrow) – it is all just a flowing form and effervescing pattern of self-replication. What is really clever about it all, and that is particularly subtle and quite tricky to grasp at first, is that the world around and of which we are mere instantiated microcosms – it is actually much smarter than we are, certainly much smarter than we think we are. If we are to define intelligence as being (among other things) the procedural development of finding or creating optimally concise or efficient solutions to contexts, situations, organisational and self-organisational questions and problems – then the natural world and Universe is much better at this than we are.

Rather than just copy things endlessly – as genetics, memes, symbols, products, tables, people, planets, stars, galaxies, material patterns or laws and identifiable or observational regularities in nature – the world works at the next level of abstraction. This is to say – while we observe the instances and iterative sequences of replication, self-replication and copies of copies with variation and metamorphosis that defines our experience of life as much as it defines the Universe as a container and stage within which this life plays out – the world refines the process of copying.

Our world is not just (or only) a manifestation and aggregate of copies and copying or repetition. It is the procedural refinement of the copying process itself, abstracted, bootstrapped and elevated above and beyond the things which are being copied. The recursively self-replicating pattern of recursive self-replication is itself what is being copied. Beautiful.

2 replies on “Copies of Copies of Copies”

(*Initially replied to the wrong post) Re-Post:
I see two things happening with your procedure that are worth reflection. a. An expansion of the structuralist critique b. in a Hegelian manner of absolutizing the rift. With, and I could see the cultural studies folk balking at the hopefullness of tour conclusion, e.g., the aestheticism involved with the consolation of beauty. I, however, admittedly—affirmatively—an aesthete myself. But before I get ahead of myself—the maneuver I see here of “doubling-down” on our epistemic remove from an explanation of an archè or origin of the “copying” gives me pause. Can we Absolutize the situation? Or rather, ontologize the trace of Absolutism, if in fact our lack of knowledge can be said to be a necessary presence. You see where I’m going? In what might we be committing the Sartrean and de Manian error, e.g., essentializing the inessential: making ‘no essence’ and ‘essence.’ Zizek in his recent opus, “Sex and the Failed Absolute” unpacks a similar insight to yours where he melds both Kant and Hegel (with a favorable view of Kant in mind; I would say he Hegelianizes Kant insofar as he instantiates our lack of noumenal knowledge as a kind of positivity; a ground we can stand on, where this division of the phenomenal/noumenal becomes a constitutive ground for human intuition and sensibility to begin with—or rather, what is necessary to human receptivity and productivity. I see some interesting Post-War themes at play here. That you were also moved to an aesthetic disposition, in a minimal way, for your conclusion, I would contend arks back to the era of celebrated Humanism (of the Existentialist variety, which is not to say that it is a bad move, but that, in conclusion, we should be suspect of capitalizing on our areas of uncertainty as well as the recent, unprecedented trend in Anglo philosophy of deploying Hegelianisms)

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This whole complex problem space and hyper-inflating referential dimensionality is resolvable if we simply accept the reality and necessity of the impossible, of probability and logical negation (as an empty set) as the kernel around which everything is constructed, cultivated, fabricated. Spirals of iteration are one thing, certainly, and we may know them by many names, many labels, many concepts, but – the axis of symmetry around which that (Hegelian) spiral grows is actually and irreducibly a manifest negation and nothing or emptiness, an impossibility and ontological vacuum that generates momentum in and as the world, drawing it into higher-dimensional complexities and abstractions of intelligence, logic and new forms of mathematical (i.e. information) entropy. The beauty of this, though, is that the axis of symmetry is the same spiral. Impossibility, resonant and recursively self-inflected – this is how we can logically bootstrap ourselves above and beyond that binary by and through which we define difference – thus information – and self as reflexively interdependent upon (and contoured around) that which it is not. It is to accept that the metaphysically unknowable is effectively and perhaps profoundly identical to the indefinitely-extensible unknown and unprovable truths that also, always and already effervesces from within, distributed across the entire surface of reality or world just as is the discontinuous twist of the Möbius Strip a constitutively non-local property. Beautiful, really, deeply beautiful.


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