Lethal theory 2

by Suspended Reason

And we see here exactly the emphasis on surprise and expectation—on not being surprised by one’s opponent, while trying to surprise one’s opponent—that we expect in adversarial games. As Schelling was (one of) the first to argue, cooperation is founded on a converge in mutual expectations of the kind recently theorized by Karl Friston in Duet For One.” We should expect, then, for players in adversarial games to instead seek an advantageous divergence in priors: to have one’s enemy believe that the poisoned goblet is in front of him, when I believe it is in front of me.

Deleuze & Guattari oppose striated to smooth space. The former is associated with statecraft and institutions, with sedentary lifestyles and cities, property lines and a street address. Space is counted in order to be accounted, carved up to be managed, made legible, discrete, metric, gridded, architectural, fixed, and crystalline. Smooth space, meanwhile, is the space of nomads, the desert and the steppe. It is continuous and flowing, Protean and adaptive, illegible and open-ended. They are polymorphous and diffuse… characterized by their capacity for metamorphosis” (Weizman 2006).

The desire for illegibility is always symptomatic of an adversarial relationship or framework—crucially, insiders in such a nomadic space find nomad norms and spatial organization perfectly comprehensible. Rather, the resistance is to those from the outside who would seek to control or manage the tribe.

There are three origin points for the flux concept in Western tradition: (1) Heraclitus’s river (“one cannot step in twice”); (2) the Ship of Theseus (3) Homer’s Proteus, whom Menelaus wrestles into submission as he changes form.

Proteus is our best metaphor, not just b/c it gives us protean” but b/c of his motivation for change: the river god changes shape precisely so that Menelaus cannot wrestle & pin him down. By morphing, he breaks the fitted grip of Menelaus, tailored as it is to the previous shape.

In other words—transformation is a way of being ungovernable, of staying one step ahead of the managerial and regulatory categories. This is why our notion of authenticity” (and what authenticity looks” like) is anti-inductive: it is an escape from typification.

Taxonomies under adversarial pressure: the schema helps manage via if-then clauses, a protocol for handling each type. Defy the schema, puzzle the manager. Slippery slippery James C. Scott: the preference for the illegible is the preference of those who wish to escape governance.

(This is why teenagers when rebelling go, You don’t know me, Ma.” She answers: So tell me about yourself!” but—kiddo doesn’t want to.) (Twitter)

Thus, the usual taken-for-granted ontology of streets, entrances, addresses, etcetera, which is always (and works by its being) shared among members of a society, must be dispensed with and overwritten by another. IDF Brigadier General Kokhavi, interview with Weizman:

A state military whose enemy is scattered like a network of loosely organized gangs must liberate itself from the old concept of straight lines, units in linear formation, regiments and battalions, and become itself much more diffuse and scattered, flexible and swarmlike…