Talking of Post-Modernists

“It’s like receiving a threat from a post-modernist gangster, who makes you an offer you can’t understand.” – Charlie Stross (via Jeff Vogel, via Jacob Haller, via “kibology”, via Jorn). [Link omitted intentionally. I’ve not ventured into kibology yet, whatever that is, but the time may yet come.]

Seriously though, I re-read most of Joe Powell’s “Postmodernism” last night, much more enlightening having now read Foucault. I can see Derrida (“Of Grammatology”) being next, followed closely by Deleuze and Guattari (“Forget Foucault” and “Rhizome”). Interestingly although the deconstructionists seemed to turn against Foucault – they look like a logical progression to me – all that’s missing is something to re-construct with !

Foucault’s archaeological journey makes a big thing of the much neeeded demise of “tables” in organising knowledge going foward. (Ref Bacon’s tables, Linnaeus’ classical taxonomies, and Roussel’s operating table – grids in “space” in which to organise things.) The others simply go one step further and attack any kind of tree / hierarchy / ontology – hence rhizome. Of course Foucault himself had already suggested the web analogy in his “Semantic Web” earlier in the discourse. What a great deal of fuss about not a lot – No need to diasgree with, or denounce one “ism” before adopting another, so much better to build on relationships. Who needs binary opposites ? (Quantum computing again ?)

It is pretty credible that whilst ontologies (trees / taxonomies) are useful they are in no way fundamental in themselves. Rhizomes, Fractal Thickets (Jorn) and Groves are closer to the truth, but clearly the cross-linking of relationships on multiple levels of intent in a web is even closer. – Question is, is there anything fundamental about the “levels” to choose, and any fundamental order in these ? Enter Pirsig again, and Maslow and Foucault, and Cuvier. A FRACTAL WEB in fact too – scale factoring in fractals must bear some relationship to the levels chosen.

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