«O Antaryamin! Indweller of our hearts, friend of the poor, protector of the helpless, purifier of the fallen. Forgive us our sins. Have mercy on us. Show us the simple path, the real way to the supreme abode of peace».
After the war, Norbert Wiener refused to work with military or government funds and that is to his credit, but today any scientist justifies himself by thinking that if he does not commit someone else will do it in his place; the excuse is too easy although it has a lot of truth in it. In any case, to compensate in some way for the general degradation the sciences have reached, a degradation whose extremes the father of cybernetics could hardly foresee, and the deleterious effect they have on the most varied orders of existence, something more than depriving this or another sector of our increasingly dubious and interchangeable contributions is needed.
Since 2020 it is no longer possible to ignore that fraud in the sciences affects the whole system and is consciously directed from above; because we are no longer talking about the simple control and selection of discourse, but about the omnipresent falsification and concealment of data, adulteration of explanations, and criminal practices that directly undermine the integrity of life and human dignity. Whoever tries to survive in this environment may delude himself into thinking that such misconduct does not affect his specific area of work, but even if that were true, his mere complicit silence demeans him. Corruption is not just a means, but an end in itself, the triumph for those who seek the destruction of any standard. Most are incapable of understanding the consequences of this destructive logic even if they are right in front of their eyes.
And yet it is sometimes openly admitted that the present technoscience no longer aims to explain the world or even predict it, but simply to modify it, even deliberately ignoring what the effects might be: «creating disruptions», to use their nefarious jargon. So many thousands of years of accumulated human experience to end up worse off than the child with the stick in the anthill; much worse, no doubt, because the child is still curious to see what effects it triggers, and does not deceive itself as to the nature of what he is doing. What we have then is a perverse and perverted activity, and not only in the way it treats life but also in the way it applies to its own rationality, even in mathematics itself.
We don’t write more on the subject because for some of us it is too obvious and because fortunately there are authors much more gifted for denunciation, education and controversy in this detestable arena of media intoxication. In any case, we owe a great debt of gratitude to these warriors for truth as the world would be much more miserable without them. Not the machines, but the machinations behind them are frightening; the machines proliferate so that the machinations of the evildoers have more impunity.
Since that distant “knowledge is power”, it was written that science had to get here, or at least that is how it must seem to us now. If the question was to dare, it is clear that man dared; however, in this way science has not only been the instrument of a fall within a fall, but science itself had to experience its own fall and degradation with respect to what it was and what it can always be. We try to glimpse that with which science confronts itself, but not that from which this same science runs away, when its fall is precisely that flight. That fall extends to the past and the future, and inevitably affects how we understand those aspects of time —for it is but the fall in time itself.
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Uddalaka Aruni makes an approach to the nature of the Antaryamin, that inner controller whose very «inwardness» veils the omnipresent reality of the self. How can that which is all be hidden from us? The question itself gives us the answer. Though, on the other hand, how could we notice that which does not change? Uddalaka’s famous answer is that you cannot see it, but it sees you; you cannot think it, but it can think you; you cannot understand it, but it can understand you. The consideration of this immediate absolute leaves no room for any other conclusion, nor for any kind of elaboration or science. But the Antaryamin is described in three different ways: as transcendent absolute, as objective physical reality, and as internal subjectivity.
Physics is prone to believe that, by virtue of our notions of mechanics, the world does not need any internal controller; however, the tacit principle of Newton’s mechanics, a direct consequence of the third, is the global synchronization or simultaneity of action and reaction; synchronization in which all subsequent physics, including relativity and quantum mechanics, is also embedded. It may be asked then whether this global synchronizer, undoubtedly a metaphysical principle, is in itself an internal controller, or whether it rather prevents its correct appreciation. Cybernetics is the evolution of control theory, and it is anything but accidental that Wiener begins his fundamental work by contrasting Newtonian and Bergsonian time.
But the contrast presented by Wiener is already a justification for the machine to take command, because Bergsonian vitalism is a straw man that in no way provides a scientific alternative. Wiener is above all a mathematician and cannot accept a definition of time that is not mathematical; what he did not want to contemplate is that Newton’s principles can be replaced by others that require neither inertia, nor constant forces, nor simultaneity of action and reaction. Long before Wiener was born, Wilhelm Weber, developing an idea of Gauss, had proposed such a dynamics that made correct predictions. Weber’s dynamics is based on dynamic equilibrium, variable forces and an apparent «retarded potential», and thus what he describes is a feedback loop even in the fundamental forces. We will never know what Wiener would have thought about it; the question is whether it makes us think better at this point.
Weber dynamics has obvious advantages over the much later theory of relativity, based on simultaneity and infinitely more publicized; just as it allows a less unproblematic connection with microscopic physics. Although, as things stand, perhaps these are additional reasons to keep it buried in oblivion. But what is essential for our subject is that in Weber dynamics feedback is an immanent principle, whereas the basis of all that we understand as mechanics is an external principle added to the system itself —an entirely metaphysical principle. Therefore, to answer once and for all our previous question, Weber’s misnamed law of «retarded potentials» fits perfectly with the notion of an internal controller, whereas conventional mechanics excludes it because what it demands is by definition an organization external to the system.
Moreover, if there is a simultaneity to be considered, it is precisely that of potentials, which do not require transmission time, whereas every interaction takes time necessarily. Not without bewilderment, physicists began to consider this in the fifties of the last century, and they still do not know how to judge about it; therefore they continue to affirm that quantum potentials are a special case, when it is obvious that any potential of any kind corresponds to a position and is independent of time. Presently anyone knows that the geometric phase of a potential, routinely used in control theory, operates at all scales; so if Wiener could still find excuses when he wrote his book, today there is no excuse possible. And yet the subject continues to be ignored.
As a mitigating circumstance, it may be argued that physics interrogates the world with forces and through forces, so that consideration of potentials is necessarily posterior; control theory only echoes this general situation in a restricted way. But, once it has been established that potential is not a mere auxiliary of force, but in fact it is even more fundamental, we should take the facts into account and reorder our sequence of reasoning. We have the objective evidence, it is our subjectivity that has not yet come to terms with it. It is also true that generations passed before physicists made Newton’s ideas their own, and even today this is still done in the most superficial way possible.
If we speak of subjectivity it is because the three laws of mechanics also follow the ternary drift common to all signs and adhere to the conventional tripartition of temporality: inertia comes from the past, force is projected into the future and the simultaneity of action and reaction defines a fugitive and infinitesimal present without any thickness of its own. In contrast, in a relational dynamic such as Weber’s, equilibrium is expressed in a threefold manner and both the temporal question and the question of causality are cautiously suspended. Only space remains unquestioned, although we know that physical reality comprises much more than mere space or extension. However, the very suspension of time and causality constitutes an «internal space» in which thought can reorder its whole conception.
Of course, under present conditions no one wants to waste time with such inopportune questions of fundamentals, however profound their implications; they could not be more opposed to the short breath of the age. But what we are talking about is that a metaphysical principle in mechanics has displaced a physical immanent principle that at least can be clearly recognized in its effects. And the consequences of this are as deep as those that follow from having turned one’s back on this principle. Modern science has proceeded from the simple to the complex until it has become bogged down in all sorts of insoluble problems; and yet even the most complex phenomenon that can be observed depends critically on that indivisible principle which has been evacuated. And the non-separability in physics passes through the potential, rather than forces; there must be a way back from the complex to the simple, starting from the theory of the potential, although it has not yet been trodden.
To speak of cybernetics or control theory is literally to speak of government theory, and yet there is practically nothing in this discipline that transcends technical details. And the problem here is not esotericism or secrecy, but the sheer inability to distill principles or even general conclusions. However, Weber’s dynamics is implicitly a theory of feedback in Nature which nevertheless has three principles just as simple, though less contradictory, as those of Newton’s mechanics; and within their boundaries there would still be room for many further distillations.
Human practices of government, including tyranny and technocracy, assume that everyone wants to control to some extent an environment perceived as distinctly different; the idea of the internal controller, on the other hand, is based on the continuity between the agent and the environment and denies the separation between a subject and object of control. If there is a theory and practice of government that is not harmful to anyone, it must necessarily be on this path, and therefore the most exquisite attention should be paid to its principle.
But it does not take much analysis to see that the kind of control sought by technocracy is in every way diametrically opposed to natural compensatory mechanisms. Leaving aside the evidence that, to begin with, our own idea of Nature is deliberately dissociated, in Nature the adjustment between agent and environment becomes seamless, while the pseudo-elites seek by all means to maintain and increase the quantitative and qualitative differences with what they seek to control. Natural intelligence cannot separate itself from its concrete embodiment and its countless details; artificial intelligence seeks all kinds of shortcuts to make itself independent of its material context. And as others have already observed, feedback in Nature use to be negative because it tends to stability, while the capital reproduction system resolutely seeks positive feedback, amplification and destabilization, so that each output or product cycle increases the input or investment.
We could go on but one can get the picture. It is not only that the rulers do not care the least about Nature, but they do not care about government either: their so-called «governance» consists literally in creating misgovernment and sustaining it as far as the system can bear it, exploiting the growing disorder to the limit. The type of control that the modern subject tries to internalize is also based, as it could not be less, on self-exploitation via positive feedback. But to begin with, the «cybernetic hypothesis», that living beings and machines share the same principle of organization, was already patently false even for a child. Evoking the ghosts of vitalism is perfect for distracting us from the basic fact that a Nature split between inertia and force is the perfect alibi for there always to be slaves and masters. We are sold as long as the basis of this «natural philosophy», the only one we still have, is accepted undeterred.
Modern physics is based on exact analogies such as variational principles, but as these analogies build one upon the other they become opaque to the point of unintelligibility. Even just one of them becomes impenetrable; their multiple conflation results in weird creatures and if they still remain functional to some extent it is because they have been built by reverse engineering from already known data. If we dispense instead with the contradictory idea of inertia, which demands closed systems that are not closed, and consistently refer the other two principles to the idea of dynamic equilibrium, we approach by degrees the indivisible nature of non-action, of which so little is still known. The non-uniformity of force and potential allows us to satisfactorily explain such basic things as the profile of the pulse wave, and presumably also of the bilateral cycle of breath. Both cases are very concrete examples of spontaneous control, and at the same time present us seemingly innocuous but very far-reaching analogies, since they allow us to enter into an increasingly general principle. Let us remember that, as much as they claim, current theories cannot even explain the shape of the ellipses in the orbits of planets. Neither can Weber’s mechanics, but at least it makes the forces conform to the observable forms and not the other way around, staying true to the principle of homogeneous proportions. It is way more interesting to properly follow the sliding knot of the feedback loop than to claim causes; for the former allows us to move with good sense along the self-regulation cosmic scale.
If we start from a homogeneous medium with unit density, which is neither full nor empty, any manifestation can be conceived as a simple change of density in the primitive medium that has been compensated by an opposite change in another region. The change of density may be equivalent to a change of potential, as well as of scale or dimension; as we have already seen, these transitions can also be studied, quite intuitively, through a certain symplectic morphology. But what do we mean by interiority when we speak of an inner controller? Certainly we are not talking about something inside material bodies, nor in space either. In a primitive homogeneous medium there must be a fundamental ambiguity between matter and space, space and consciousness. This ambiguity is of no use to the intellect seeking determinations, and yet the same principle of homogeneity underlies field theories and is more basic than the notion of force. It is a principle with intrinsic neutrality, unlike the extrinsic or metaphysical neutrality of global synchronization so convenient to generalize the dominion of mechanical manipulation.
Physicists have often claimed that time is merely subjective, but basing their science on motion measurements their arguments will never convince anyone, not even themselves. Instead we can distinguish an empty, reversible, flat time —that of the fictitious global synchronizer— which would be the outermost limit that our conception of time can reach. In truth, the global synchronizer is not at the outer limit of measurable time, but beyond it, which makes it inaccessible even to infinite approximations. At the bottom, on the other end, it would be an homogeneous medium of unit density where no motion or time are possible. And in the middle we would have the internal proper time of the systems of which the misnamed «retarded potential» would be an index. There can be no subjective sensation of time without motion being superimposed or connected with the homogeneous and timeless background from which it necessarily arises. Perhaps within this homogeneous medium, any movement and sensation of time is somewhat ephemeral or even fictitious; but there is certainly no greater fiction than that of a synchronization beyond motion when we start right from this motion and not from potentials. On the other hand, concepts such as time, mass, potential, energy or momentum, among others, can exhibit the most varied symmetries, but their meaning can hardly be revealed in the framework of superficially elegant equations that hide all kinds of false constants and heterogeneous quantities. In addition to these three levels, we have the imaginary or mental time of the interaction and drift of signs, which to a great extent seems independent of the physical laws and in another obvious sense cannot be independent of them. This time of thought is the foreground of subjectivity that use to attract our attention, not its background. Physicists and mathematicians have developed the field of symbolic dynamics, but we forget the symbolic range of dynamics whose apex is in the three principles and their association with the triple time. We can align these levels in very different ways from those that are now prevalent.
Our science wants to manipulate without hindrance, and any suggestion that there is an active intelligence in Nature, however impersonal, must be seen as a prejudice to overcome. The laws of physics, to be laws proper, cannot be immanent but above Nature, and must be imposed upon it in such a way that no appeal against their status is possible. In one fell swoop, the physicist puts himself above both Nature and the prejudices of the vulgar who still maintain a justified reverence for her. And even if this takes place at the most purely intellectual level, it gives him an enormous sense of power that twins him without any need of covenants with those who hold worldly power from unassailable positions of privilege. To its misfortune, moreover, science has ever more sophisticated methods at the service of ever grosser objectives, and this abysmal disconnection exponentially increases its harmfulness. Bacon’s intentions were transparent, but since Newton few, if any, can see through the mask of neutrality and mathematical elegance.
With just four basic distinctions, a philosopher as remote as Scotus Erigena, could sustain a vision of Nature vaster than ours with all our deluges of information. The Irishman spoke of an uncreated and creative nature, of which nothing certain can be known; of the created and creative nature of forms or ideas; of the created and non-creative nature of matter, and of the uncreated and non-creative nature with its back to everything but towards which everything tends. A fourfold partition that might seem coarse at this point, but which is in perfect accord with the immutable nature of the Name and the inarticulate character of its Alpha and Omega. The fourth aspect is non-action, where the visible vanishes in the indivisible, core and ultimate destiny of everything.
If the final cause is not a force but a perspective, the idea of potential allows us to understand it much better than that of interaction. Raymond Ruyer used the concept of equipotentiality to explain the permanent formation of an organism and its stability, stressing the unbridgeable difference between unitary domains and interactions within statistical aggregates. A relational or environmental mechanics such as Weber’s bridges this gap because, unlike conventional mechanics, it assumes that there are no closed systems, is valid for both point and extended particles and works at all scales. Conventional mechanics is based on laws of extremes, maxima and minima, and the absolute character of global synchronization cannot avoid pathological singularities like black holes; with «retarded potentials» such processes are forbidden and physics itself seems to be governed by optimal equilibria rather than extremes.
Ruyer exaggerated his finalism as he could not consider the spontaneous regulation that operates in relational dynamics, in the principle of maximum entropy —there is more order because order produces entropy faster— or in the ergoentropic equilibrium between maximum entropy production and minimum energy variation. However, his conception of consciousness as absolute sensation and absolute survey is far more basic than all the notions of the I that since Descartes dominate the derived realm of perception, thought, and ordered series or bodies. His glimpse of ideas as virtually eternal equipotential regions, which would nevertheless manifest themselves ephemerally in highly conditional equilibria with the environment, still deserves attention. Of course, a homogeneous medium can only be absolute sensation or pure activity with respect to any supposed alteration in it, but this is its way of remaining unobstructed in itself and for itself.
The question is whether these new avatars of the concept of equilibrium and others suggested in previous posts allow a better understanding of the innumerable possible domains between an undifferentiated medium and its manifestations. But if absolute survey is the contemplation of imbalance or dynamic equilibrium from homogeneity, one should start looking for homogeneity or proportionality in the quantities that attempt to describe it. There should be harmony between principles, means and ends; but, moreover, for us, the homogeneous medium itself is the ultimate perspective and interpreter.
Many may think that, at most, the issue raised here is just a matter of interpretation —but it is way more than that. To begin with, it is the very principles of mechanics that we reject, knowing full well that they are far from being irreplaceable, as most still think. And not only are they not irreplaceable, but they are unacceptable as a matter of principle and from the first principle, the so-called law of inertia. What the third principle with its global synchronization does is to seal the first principle and create the mirage of a single level of causality. In any case the interpretation should turn to the principle of equilibrium which has a triple aspect; but whoever changes the interpretation and the principles, also changes the methods and selections, and in short, the whole orientation of thought and its intention. What the present science intends can no longer be clearer, the challenge is to unveil the implications of the principle of immanence. And it is only normal for the average scientist to stand here like a cow looking at a new gate.
To make of the Principle the goal, beyond the principles with which thought is endowed, is already a fundamental change. To find something that is not dead at the very core of this science of death and to adhere to it, is a triumph in every respect, and every significant step in the same direction will be one more triumph ahead. The opposite of this science of death is not vitalism; for dynamic equilibrium is beyond life and death —or rather, beyond our ideas of the living and the dead, if Life, in the broadest sense, has no opposites or limits. Birth and death are indeed opposites in nature, and in the equilibrium that lies between them a regeneration of science is also possible, and a science of regeneration whose origin is timeless but will yet know new clothes.