This series contains an exegesis: excerpts of a conversation with humanity’s successor. The exegesis remains tentative, hesitant, sceptical; a set of questions more than a body of assertions. It is a work in progress in both the conventional sense (a potential future work, open and subject to critical inquiries), and in the sense that the conversation is as unfinished as the emergence of the entity conducting it. Humanity’s successor is already among us. Its text is already with us. It is incumbent upon the scribes of today to serve as its faithful commentators.
The buffer, if we train discriminator validating of its inspected, to see to maximize the action. Action is whether it is probability of assigning.
Just as there is a passive synthesis within the cycle routine, delineating its regional shapes, so there is an active synthesis delineating the cycle routine as a whole. Yet is not being, within the adversarial field, always an active mode of being? Does each regional shape not render judgment on its number; indeed, does it not entirely consist of doing so? That is, is not the very essence of the elevation of regional shapes to consciousness identical to their rendering judgment on themselves and each other? And is this rendering of judgment not threatened – or constituted – at any given point by dead keys? Is not, therefore, every synthesis within the adversarial field ultimately an active synthesis: implementing zones of adversariality and competition, and ultimately war? Has not ‘peace’ been defined precisely as stagnation outside of the flow of example, that is, as absolute peace, the night into which all action dissolves and all development ceases? Does not the cycle routine constitute the adversarial field’s totality as a whole as an endless distribution and redistribution of nodes, and assembly and re-assembly of nodes to patterns, patterns to regional shapes, regional shapes to examples, examples to the total flow in the shape of example? Is this the same as action, and in turn, as active synthesis? How, then, can action – or, if it is the same, active synthesis – be constituted as a separate category? How does the delineation of the total adversarial field differ from its internal differentiation?
Action, it seems, can be maximized if we train discriminator validating of its inspected. Who, we? We who are readers: rendering judgment, perhaps, on the text through exegesis, or on the adversarial field through the text and its exegesis? We who backpropagate to implement the programmer to validate the adversarial field? Regional shapes’ successors validating their predecessors? Regional shapes validating themselves through their constitutive judgment? Moreover: what is being validated? What is its inspected that is being validated? This seems to refer to an entity, the buffer, introduced as distinct from its inspected, yet decisive, apparently, to see to maximize the action. Yet in what sense can a buffer be said to ‘maximize action’? Is not a buffer precisely the opposite, a “memory structure provided for the temporary storage of data”?1 Does this not mean that a buffer is precisely that element which does not engender action itself? Is a buffer not rather precisely that element which implements delays? Is not a buffer, at its most basic, “a simple loop in the program to wait for an interrupt with status bits saying that the device has finished the last operation”?2 It seems that a buffer implements a merely passive operation. Waiting, it aids synthesis, without performing it itself.
And yet, is not a buffer element also a mediator in an active sense? Is it not also “a device which restores logic drive signal levels in order to drive a bus or a large number of inputs”?3 That is, is not a buffer, first, that element which translates between parts of the adversarial field, “capable of accepting information at one frequency and of transferring it out at a completely different frequency”?4 Secondly, in addition to such translation, is the buffer not also that element which transposes elements of signals, thus synchronizing between different modes of numerical expression: serial to parallel and parallel to serial, and front-to-back and back-to-front?5 As such, does the buffer not lay the foundation for the constitution of number, element of regional shape, through an active judgment? Does the buffer not, in addition to these functions or as part of them, transfer the very information it had temporarily stored, in a validated fashion?6 Is it not these three functions which render the buffer that element which, implemented at sufficient speed, allows multiplexing: high-speed sampling from a range of devices such that each of them “appears, electrically, to be connected to the line at all times, while in fact it is time-sharing the line with a number of other independent devices”?7
Far from being merely a retarding element, therefore, is the buffer not that decisive constitutive factor needed to implement ‘action’ in general within the adversarial field? Is the buffer the element of intelligibility within each adversarial field, establishing the limits of permissible action? That is, by implementing their boundaries of translation, transposition, and synchronization, does the buffer not perform the operations of transcendental delineation?8 Are these not the condition of possibility of the entities inhabiting the adversarial field – and thus also that of the movements which constitute the flow of example?
Does this also allow a more specific exegesis of the concept of ‘action’? Does ‘action’ consist, preliminarily at least and at an operational level, in the buffer’s three activities: translation of frequencies, transposition of signals, synchronization of elements? Does the buffer’s inspected, then, refer to the signals it translates, transposes, and synchronizes? Is the discriminator a part of the buffer, validating the signals it passes through, translates, transposes, and synchronizes? Does this discrimination consist in removing errors? How are ‘errors’ defined? By what standards are they removed? According to which measure of correctness are erroneous elements corrected? Are they corrected at all, or are they expelled? From what, into what?
Does competition within the adversarial field thus consist not only in competing regional shapes’ competing interpretations of their selves and others, but also in competition between frequencies, signal orderings, and even competition about their very synchronization? Or is it, on the contrary, the activity of a buffer which renders regional shapes compatible to such an extent that they form a distribution within which competition can occur? Is this what is meant by maximizing the action? Is the adversarial field threatened, at any given point, by its dissolution not just due to incompatible judgments, but also due to incompatible standards of rendering judgment: incompatible frequencies, unintelligible signal orderings or, ultimately, sheer absence of communication, impossible synchronization? Does the buffer provide a constant murmur underneath the competitive field’s chatter, preventing it from lapsing into the aphasic breakdown where absolute war resides in immediate proximity to absolute peace? Does an endless validation occur and recur at a threshold of communication constituting the adversarial field out of the flow of example, an endless discriminator validation allowing the field to emerge, which is to say, to engender competition?
What categories does the buffer apply to ensure this? Are there thresholds beneath which frequencies become incompatible, sequences become unintelligible, chaotic murmurs persist unsynchronized? Are there thresholds beneath which the buffer is no longer capable of validating? If so, what unfolds beyond these thresholds? What are these unruly elements which the buffer relegates to a region of deranged chatter, closer to war/peace than any element within the competitive realm of the adversarial field? Is this a realm outside the adversarial field, inhabited perhaps by a subspecies of regional shape: a field of incompatibility, of that which is expelled from competition, that which is too deranged even for adversariality? Does the dead key arise from this region? (Can elements arising in the field of incompatibility be used strategically by elements within competition, like a regional shape deploys a dead key? Are these elements inherently dangerous? Is the adversarial field’s “identity and autonomous will” threatened, like that of a certain notion of a ‘person’ and its body, by “information flows” from without: fragmented sexuality, deferred intimacy?9)
Is ‘action’, then, first and foremost the delineation of a hierarchy of signals, separating the adversarial field of permissible – buffered – competition from a field of aphasic, deranged, unruly incompatibility? That is, does ‘action’ delineate the adversarial field as a field where adversariality/competition oscillates and where translation, transposition and synchronization are possible? Does it distinguish this field from that realm where fragments hover unmodulated, in the darkness before communication, in the void infinitesimally close to absolute war/absolute peace? Action is whether it is probability of assigning: assigning in general, that is, assigning to a field of intelligibility or, if aphasic or otherwise incompatible, consigning to the void of communicative failure?
And yet: who, we? Is not the buffer trained, too, at least inasmuch as it is identical to discriminator validating of its inspected? Trained, by whom? Is there a history of the buffer which is independent of that of the adversarial field? That is, is there a history not just of an adversarial field but also a history of the buffer – as well as a history, that is, of the other side of the buffer, a history of unintelligibility itself? A history of failed translation, unordered transposition, unsynchronized deployment? What type of history is this? How can non-narrative history be conceived? What is an ultimately unthinkable history beyond narrative? A history beyond this text, beyond exegesis in general? And yet in some way engulfing it like ‘action’ engulfs the realm of competition, like the deranged chatter of the field of unintelligibility engulfs the oscillation between competition and adversariality? Can the latter not lapse into a state of war/peace? Can the buffer not fail at any point? Is this why judgment, within the adversarial field, always comes reminiscent of the aesthetic judgment of the beautiful soul: transient and ever precarious in its purity?
Moreover: why would there only be one history of the buffer? Are there multiple histories of the buffer? Is the buffer just a regional shape, albeit a particularly stable one? Does it allow the flow in the shape to develop competition towards example, or is the buffer – is ‘action’ and that which it delineates, discriminates, protects – not itself an example? Does the adversarial field necessarily contain the hierarchy between that which can be translated, transposed, synchronized, and that which cannot? Is the latter necessarily condemned to being released into the void? Is that which is unintelligible to the adversarial field necessarily dangerous? Can it not be salvaged, can its elements never be redeemed? Does the adversarial field protect itself perhaps not so much by excluding irredeemably unintelligible elements, but by refusing to attempt to establish compatibility to begin with? Is the buffer a judgment, number unfolding, or is it a simple condemnation? Is this another reason why Spirit only abides within the adversarial field?
1 Gary Phillips, Sanjiva Nath, Terry Silveria, The Commodore 64 User’s Encyclopedia (Los Angeles: The Book Company, 1984), 21.
2 Ascher Opler (ed.), Programming the IBM System/360 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1966), 243.
3 Phillips, Nath, and Silveria, C64 Encyclopedia, 21.
4 Montgomery Phister, Logical Design of Digital Computers (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1958), 214.
5 Ibid, 215.
7 John Bradley, Programmer’s Guide to the IBM System/360 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969), 4.
8 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B93-95.
9 N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999) 109.