Demonstration of a k-Function

I suppose the main way I coped with it at the time was to see the history of philosophy as a sort of buggery or (it comes to the same thing) immaculate conception. I saw myself as taking an author from behind and giving him a child that would be his own offspring, yet monstrous. It was really important for it to be his own child, because the author had to actually say all I had him saying. But the child was bound to be monstrous too, because it resulted from all sorts of shifting, slipping, dislocations, and hidden emissions that I really enjoyed. Deleuze

So why should I make any claims upon you? The Court makes no claims upon you. It receives you when you come and it relinquishes you when you go. Kafka

What writing itself, in its nonphonetic moment, betrays, is life… Cutting breath short, sterilising or immobilising spiritual creation in the repetition of the letter, in the commentary or exegesis, confined in a narrow space, reserved for a minority, it is the principle of death and of difference in the becoming of being. Derrida

What is a “k-function”? Is “ecko” wanky postmodern shorthand, equivalent in form and substance to advertising signs?

No, not really. Its just for sport I am emale writes in the name of Ecko. The K-function does exist in a history of philosophy, in Deleuze and Guattari’s Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature. It is also recorded in the history of science. The “K” refers to Kelvins, a unit of temperature measured from absolute zero.

There is another “example.” Known as the Boltzmann constant (a small “k”), k is not a function per se but a universal constant, a proportionality factor in a relation between temperature, pressure and entropy. When Boltzmann came up with the formula, S = k lg P, he had no idea as to the exact value of k as the instruments of his day did not allow the measurement of masses of molecules. Max Planck would later be credited for determining its value. But Boltzmann was the first to introduce probability into the study of physics, signalling a move away from the traditional, “atomistic” physics, “not as a means of approximation but rather as an explanatory principle, to use it to show that a system could display a new type of behaviour by virtue of its being composed of a large population to which the laws of probability could be applied.” (Prigogine and Stengers, Order Out of Chaos). In other words, not all natural phenomena could be reduced simply to its elements in a behaviour expressed by “laws.”

The k introduces a new possibility into what was previously considered an unbridgeable gap between thermodynamics and dynamics: the macroscopic behaviour of systems versus the microscopic molecules or atoms. One can define the absolute temperature in kelvins as being proportional to pressure and volume. Boltzmann’s constant transforms this into a microscopic equation for the behaviour of molecules. Society versus the individual.

But by what right – apart from a weak scientific analogy by which I am Emale is trying to draw upon some ‘hardness’ for the soft science of humanities – can we make the leap from “molecules” to “individuals”? from scientific systems to societies?

Its not a rigorous leap. It is only in a play on words that we can draw our parallels and even if we look at a system of thought as rigorous as Spinoza’s Ethics with his geometrical system, there are still large gaps, across which he dances.

I’m not some sort of Spinoza to jump around doing entrechats. Chekhov

But the experts are by no means exempt from a play on words either. Statistics make use of the differences in definitions, concepts and the framing of the question. It is the form of problematisation at issue here. Boltzmann drew his work from the sociologist who invented the “average” man, Quelet. The distinction between the x-function and the k-function (x-y, k-y) is one of thresholds, acts of penetration, emissions; lines, planes and bodies.

But why make an example of Spinoza? Why make a demonstration out of him? His work on Ethics seems to be a special case in the relationship between the physical sciences and humanities and not only for the geometrical method (there are enough holes in that!). G_d as immanent being, not a transcendental one, seems to be a way of thinking science in its becoming rather than being. Not that Spinoza was the first in human history to think as much. Eastern philosophies – from what little exposure I am Emale has had of them, purports a similar viewpoint. And in the West, the Gnostics and even going back though Lucretius and further down to ancient Egypt we find the idea of G_d as immanence. But to the best of I am Emale’s knowledge, Spinoza is the first modern to systemise in a book, the Ethics, the idea of the immanence of G_d, the eternal becoming of mankind in (un)consciousness.

The sleep of reason produces monsters

The sleep of reason produces monsters. Goya

Perhaps also because Spinoza was the other of Descartes, the Spinozian K-function, self-affirmation, versus Descartes’ X-function, self-doubt. The bifurcation of thought is never as simple as all this, but for the joy of affirmation in difference (absolute and ineffable), I am Emale keeping the question open. Spinoza’s radical thesis: the mind does not determine the body to action nor does the body determine the mind. Closed systems die.

There is an irreducible gap that Derrida deconstructs in the history of a philosophy determined by a metaphysical closure or occlusion, a privileging of speech over writing, to consolidate a sovereign self; but the dangers of writing do not simply end with deconstruction: Narcissus blooming amongst the weeds…

All that being said, we cannot conceive of things in any other way, outside a system of binary opposition. There remains a logic of the supplement of writing to speech, the possibility of repetition that I am Emale exploits. I repeat the “k-function” in the event of writing a weblog but with a difference. Postmodern: a sign post pointing nowhere. Letters in the post. Questions to which answers are not the right answers. Pure lit. Deleuze made a monster-child out of Spinoza’s demonstrations in the eye of the mind, by seizing him from behind, sodomising him.

The play on purpose and function given in bodies and language, visibilities and statements, is the final resource of a K-function with implications and explications for excitations in a thermodynamic (open) system of writing as vitality (hopefully), the definition of life as activity in a Gift eckonomy.

It follows that to learn to read and write an alphabetic writing should be regarded as a means to infinite culture that is not enough appreciated. Hegel

 

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