Inherent problems of technical practices, the idea of the “end”

What is inherent in technical productions is their mechanical perception of the “end” in the sense Heidegger uses the word, meaning the fulfillment, the completion. Any strategy that has its origin in the realm of the technical (which rather means all of them) has to focus on a goal, an aim and a targeted fulfillment which is always singular. This technical end always refers to only one particular think or set of things selecting always a specific resolution of analysis, which is usually defined by the method, the tools and the particular definition of the context which is different every time. It is this idea of focusing to the particular (usually in only one spatiotemporal variable) and defining a specific resolution that makes technical productions to fail to be holistic and encompass the associations of particular but not individual or independent ends with the totality which is full of relations and relations among relations.

The spatiotemporal reality constitutes a continuum which is extremely complex and certainly not fixed or balanced or stable. On the other hand technical practices in order to be effective (especially in the frame of a capitalistic economy) they tend to be reductive and regard planning and production as linear practices that need to have a starting point and an end, therefore they follow patterns or methods that are often prefabricated, they follow the “formal” way. Formality then “executes” a production considering as fixed and stable things that are not, such as the idea of the end which in the case of technical productions becomes an artificial completion, an imposed conclusion, a fixed fulfillment of a prefabricated goal. In the technical world, something needs to be finished and execute the function that it was planned for, no matter that the need for another function may appear since necessities of any kind are not fixed and they emerge in ways that in general are not predictable (there is no accuracy in any kind of deterministic approaches that attempt predictions). Technical productions then fail to be open-ended and even when they attempt to be open they fail again (usually severely) because they define openness in ways that leave a predetermined degree o freedom but they cannot predict everything and cannot encompass everything (the ideas of the Japanese metabolists is a good example).

This is why the “formal” technical productions fall short in the long term and one could pose that the degree and the impact of failure increases with their scale.

What becomes obvious from the above is that technical productions cannot be holistic; they are mechanical, therefore fragmented and leave gaps between different scales, gaps between different strategies, between the general and the particular, the society and the individual, the total and the singular etc. while in all the above there is in between space. The problem is inherent in the concept of the detachment of the terms described above. For example the ways we practically link the universal and the singular, the general and the particular is by drawing lines that are either borders or connections between them. This is a reductive practice since there is an in between space apart from the two poles of all the dipoles and this is why there are exceptions, or to be more precise, everything are exceptions. Taking this into account it becomes highly critical the how we deal with these exceptions when we decide to “form” a rule, a canonization, a system or a method in order to go forward for production. How can we canonize a complex continuum which consists of infinite unique elements, relations, relations among relations etc? Isn’t it a fundamental problem?

In practice, in higher scales, it is easier to reduce the resolution of the analysis and be structural (meaning reductive) in order to deal with the “general” but while zooming in and the resolution increases what we find out is that there are unique things that always escape taxation and classification and they are far from the idea of the “general” and the structures we have created in order to describe it, understand it, regulate it etc. Therefore, (if we think with structures) we need to create a lower structure that supports the particular exceptions and try to link it to the higher. The first problem is that once we zoom in again we will have the same problem and we will need another structure. The second problem is the linking of these structures, something common in all practices, because any kind of addition is not independent but creates the need to go back and reform the whole system. A good example is to imagine the structure of a legislation system where there are always laws that oppose to each other and are constantly under reformation and negotiation. Often lower laws are the reason for the reformation (often cancellation) of higher laws and this is where the inversion takes place. From top => bottom productions we go to bottom => top reformations and negotiations where the strength of the particular prevails over the reduction imposed by the general. Or to be more precise, it is the relations between multiple individual ends that seek for a valid co-existence that prevail over the general and the technically imposed end and they push things towards a constant negotiation or multiple simultaneous negotiations.

These negotiations, the “how” things relate to each other and grow associations with each other being in states of symbiosis, are to be found in their most compact form in nature. (Here I will soon add a link to another post that will be describing the natural “end”)

The problem of the end is the one that I believe creates the major dichotomy among the natural and the technical, the ecotopia and technotopia creating a polarized dipole while in reality technotopia should be regarded as a part of ecotopia. If the technical world manages to perceive and encompass the “end” as it exists in the natural processes then there could be a much smoother transition among ecotopia and technotopia, the human nature and the human techniques and their products.

1 comment
  1. The text is a draft, forgive me for possible mistakes, soon I will upload the revised version.

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