I came upon this free ebook, Complexity and Postmodernism by Paul Cilliers (Routledge 1998). From the introduction:

“Complexity and Postmodernism explores the notion of complexity in the light of contemporary perspectives from philosophy and science. Paul Cilliers contributes to our general understanding of complex systems, and explores the implications of complexity theory for our understanding of biological and social systems. Postmodern theory is reinterpreted in order to argue that a postmodern perspective does not necessarily imply relativism, but that it could also be viewed as a manifestation of an inherent sensitivity to complexity.

As Cilliers explains, the characterisation of complexity revolves around analyses of the process of self-organisation and a rejection of traditional notions of representation. The model of language developed by Saussure—and expanded by Derrida—is used to develop the notion of distributed representation, which in turn is linked with distributed modelling techniques. Connectionism (implemented in neural networks) serves as an example of these techniques. Cilliers points out that this approach to complexity leads to models of complex systems that avoid the oversimplification that results from rulebased models.

Complexity and Postmodernism integrates insights from complexity and computational theory with the philosophical position of thinkers like Derrida and Lyotard. Cilliers takes a critical stance towards the use of the analytical method as a tool to cope with complexity, and he rejects Searle’s superficial contribution to the debate.

Complexity and Postmodernism is an exciting and an original book that should be read by anyone interested in gaining a fresh understanding of complexity, postmodernism and connectionism.”

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"Also, we must found the idea of system on a non-totalitarian and non-hierarchical concept of the whole, and, more particularly, on a complex concept of the unitas multiplex as a means of access to poly totalities. This preliminary paradigm is, in fact, of capital social and political importance. The paradigm of holistic simplification leads to a neo-totalitarian functionalism and accommodates itself easily to all the modem forms of totalitarianism. In any event, it leads to the manipulation of the individual units in the name of the whole" (6).

I forgot to link to the article so it's here.

On 6 he talks about interactions as being the glue between parts and wholes. It is highly reminiscent of Bryant on endo-relations and structural organization. Morin coins a neologism for this: organizaction.

Thanks for the link and the snippets from this essay, Ed.  Looks interesting.  I am almost finished with my project and look forward to turning my mind to other things (such as this) for awhile...

Sean has a new blog on Morin, which includes a link to an introductory essay by Montuori (who is also, by the way, an occasional writer on TSK).

Recall my interest in the OOO thread in words and ideas as meme machines with suobstance. From Montouri's article:

"Autocritique (Morin, 2004a) marks an important turning point for Morin. While we normally assume that we have ideas, it became clear to Morin that ideas can also have us—literally possess us. Human beings can literally be possessed by ideologies and belief systems, whether on the Left or the Right, whether in science or religion" (4).

Oh, this term on 5 is nice, uniduality.

Another nice quote consonant with my own observation:

"Morin’s central contribution...must be approached with a radically different way of thinking, a way of thinking that, as Morin states, is not disjunctive (either/or), but connects, without the Hegelian assumption that the dialectic will always lead to a new synthesis" (10-11).

And this one quoting Chambers, reminding me of my recent post on order and dreams:

"The idea of both lived and intellectual complexity...introduces us to a social ecology of being and knowledge. Here both thought and everyday activities move in the realm of uncertainty. Linear argument and certainty break down as we find ourselves orbiting in a perpetual paradox around the wheel of being: we bestow sense, yet we can never be certain in our proclamations. The idea of cultural complexity...weakens earlier schemata and paradigms; it destabilizes and decenters previous theories and sociologies. Here the narrow arrow of linear progress is replaced by the open spiral of hybrid cultures, contaminations, and what Edward Said recently referred to as ‘atonal ensembles’. The city suggests creative disorder, an instructive confusion, an interpolating space in which the imagination carries you in every direction, even towards the previously unthought" (14).

Returning to this article here, a few selections from the conclusions:

"The problem is not to create a general theory covering everything.... Rather, the problem is to consider...all aspects of reality...in the light of the complexity of system and organization."

"Holism becomes a new kind of reductionism by reducing everything to the whole."

"We begin to catch a glimpse of a new form of rationality....[that] allows us to perceive not only the fish but the ocean as well--that is to say, that which can never be caught."

"The system paradigm demands that we master...the desire for mastery." (13-14)

Comments on the above 4 quotes:

The difference between a theory of everything and a theory for anything;

Wiping assholons;

Intergral-aperspectivity founded on the withdrawn;

Stepping out of anthropomorphic correlationism.

"Holism becomes a new kind of reductionism by reducing everything to the whole."


This wiping and smearing activity is what Harman calls overmining.

I found one of Morin's books free at Scribd: Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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