Nietzsche's Demonology

Resetting Theory

Nietzsche’s Demonology

Beyond Good & Evil in the Mode of Information [1]

Daniel White

The greatest heavyweight. — What, if one day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence — even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again — and you with it, speck of dust!” — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Joyous Science, IV, sec. 341.[2]

Ein jeder Engel ist schrecklich. [Every single angel is terrifying] — Rainer Maria Rilke, Duiniser Elegien I.7 [3]

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now. — Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, p. 3 [4]

Descent

Bletchley Park, the geographic center of a what would have been the intersection of a transcendent daemon with history in an event (événement) [5] — the birth of the Colossus computer [6] for the decryption of the Enigma codes [7] — had there been a Being of beings to send His messenger; but here the incarnation is unrelentingly immanent, as aloft a V-2 Rocket hallowed by the early morning sun glinting from its metallic skin reaches Brennschluss, the moment when the accelerator gyroscope in the guidance system makes its preordained (hard-wired) decision to initiate “fuel cut-off,” arches parabolically (in more ways than one) toward its apogee, and begins its supersonic Descent toward London — “Incoming mail”: “The first news you get of it is the blast. Then, if you’re still around, you hear the sound of it coming in…It’s a judgment from which there is no appeal.”[8] The neoliberal myth of informatics [9] is that the science is rational, independent of embodiment, and serves to control the power machinery of terminal conflict out of which it was born: the weaponry in whose escalating spiral — Nietzsche’s Kreislauf — it struggles to reach maturity in a new War in the Mode of Information. [10] Like Gregory Bateson’s axe, informatics is a tool allegedly under the managerial control of a rational, executive “self.” This essay challenges that myth, including its ideological foundations in what Max Weber called the Protestant Ethic. It is a thought-experiment in the study of Nietzsche, technology, and culture. It critically uncovers the foundations of the aforementioned myth and envisions the alternative intellectual architecture of a joyous information science. Its method is derived from what I call Nietzsche’s “demonology”: the disciplined activity of critically exorcising the intellectual “daemons” or “intelligences” that generate and actuate a life-denying iconography of “good” and “evil” in order to craft a manageable order out of chaos. The daemonological tool of choice is Nietzsche’s Hammer [11]: designed to shatter dead idols and to sculpt living artifacts. The present essay thus begins in the midst of internecine conflict and traces an alternative theoretical trajectory for Nietzsche’s ideas, arcing through a postmodern textual ecology toward a life-affirming, joyous science.

Maxwell’s Demon

The analog decision procedure of the V-2 Rocket’s accelerator gyroscope [12] (if adequate speed, then fuel cut-off) recalls the decision-making activity, the sorting, of Maxwell’s Demon, the entity the titular physicist invoked to contravene the Second Law of Thermodynamics in his famous thought experiment:

… a being whose faculties are so sharpened that he can follow every molecule in his course, and would be able to do what is at present impossible to us … Let us suppose that a vessel is divided into two portions A and B by a division in which there is a small hole, and that a being who can see the individual molecules opens and closes this hole, so as to allow only the swifter molecules to pass from A to B and only the slower ones to pass from B to A. He will, thus, without expenditure of work raise the temperature of B and lower that of A, in contradiction to the second law of thermodynamics. [13]

The daemon at work here is an “intelligence” or “mind” engaged in the activity of sorting or, more precisely, discerning the hot and cold molecules and opening and closing a door so as to constrain their flight, in effect “filtering” them so that hot go to one chamber of the cylinder and cold to the other.

Maxwell’s Demon has an affinity with Socrates’ daimonion, the intelligence that prevented him from doing wrong and freed him do to what was right, as he explains: it is “a divine something [a voice], the one in fact that Meletus listed satirically in his indictment. Beginning from childhood, [there has been] a certain voice coming [to me] which, whenever it comes, always turns me away from what I’m about to do, but it never urges me forward.” [14] Like Maxwell’s molecules, Socrates’ actions are constrained: not “end directed” or teleological but rather teleonomic as the systems theorists came to say; [15] indeed, Socrates might be said to be guided, like courses of Maxwell’s molecules, by the logic of “natural selection”, though the selectivity here is internal to his psyche.

Nietzsche’s Thermodynamics:
From Metaphor to Logic in the Schematization of Chaos [16]

For Nietzsche the epistemic emergence of order from chaos is mediated by the evaluative assimilation of percepts into language. Language, in his view, has two characteristic forms of syntax: logic and metaphor. He thinks of these two forms as broad grammatical modalities whose respective associations include science and art, philosophy and poetry, words and music, and, emblematically, Apollo and Dionysus. In reconstructing Nietzsche’s final project tentatively named and posthumously edited with the title, “The Will to Power,” Martin Heidegger argued that its epistemology was expressed in the following passage from Nietzsche’s “Unpublished Fragments”:

Will to power as knowledge —

Not, “to know,” but to schematize, to impose upon chaos as much regularity and as many forms as our practical needs require. [17]

The schematization of the world into the logic of categories can therefore be, in Nietzsche’s view, a “useful” operation, so long as it contributes to the furtherance of life. When it is not so employed and taken as the transcendental knowledge of a philosophic or priestly elite, as in Platonism or “slave moralities” like Christianism [18] based on ressentiment, then it becomes a form of control (a control that the historical Jesus, whom Nietzsche admired, died resisting [19]). Thus Nietzsche argues about pedagogy,

In the education of reason, logic, categorization, is the need to be controlling: the need, not to “know,” but to subsume, to schematize, for the purpose of understanding, of calculation. [20]

The process of categorization, of subsuming particulars under universals, is for Nietzsche not so much a description of the world’s actual features as a process of evaluation in our quests for power:

The estimation of value, “I believe that such and such is so,” as the essence of “truth”[.] In estimations of value are expressed the conditions of preservation and growth. All our organs of knowledge and our senses are developed only with regard to conditions of preservation and growth. Trust in reason and its categories, in dialectic, thus the value-estimation of logic, proves only their usefulness for life, proved by experience — not their “truth.” … Therefore, what is necessary is that something must be held to be true — not that something is true. [21]

This pragmatics of knowledge and its derivation from evaluation have their correlate, Nietzsche suggests, in the traditional distinction upon which metaphysics is based:

The true and the apparent world —

I have traced this antithesis back to value relations. We have projected the conditions of our existence as predicates of being in general. Because we have to be stable in our beliefs if we are to prosper, we have made the “true” world not one of mutability and becoming, but one of being. [22]

Thus the logical schematization of chaotic perceptions results in the hypostatization of constructs as “objective” realities and of a “self” that knows and uses them. In Nietzsche’s view a pervasive oversimplification of life emerges when evaluations become skewed by a logic that denies life by positing an invariantly “true” metaphysical being, objective (God) and subjective (soul), at the expense of the rich phenomenal variety of becoming, as happens in Platonism and Weber’s Protestant Ethic. [23]

If Heidegger is right in his reading of Nietzsche, the originary experience of the world that must be then schematized by humanity is chaos:

Chaos is the name for a peculiar preliminary projection of the world as a whole and for the governance of that world … the projection of the world from the perspective of the animal and of animality. [24]

The world image formed out of the experience of animality, in other words, is shaped by the metaphoric languages of the body (kinesics, paralanguage, behavioral metaphor, and in the case of “play,” simile). Hence Bateson argues that the emergence of “human” from “mammalian” communication took place through the rituals of play. In Bateson’s analysis, the key syntax of these rituals is equivalent to the following sentence: “These actions, in which we now engage, do not denote what would be denoted by those actions which these actions denote.” Thus, “. … the playful nip denotes the bite, but it does not denote what would be denoted by the bite.” The use of self-reference and logical typing in which the message “this is play” is a meta-message about communication which follows it (until the game is over) creates what Bateson calls “the play frame.” Messages inside of the frame are designated as not meaning what they would mean if they were serious. [25] It is out of the play space marked out by the frame (cf. the proscenium arch in theatre) that the characters, the dramatis personae, of society and culture emerge.

Nietzsche’s discussion of the emergence of individual identity — “the little word ‘I’ ” — especially in the persona of Archilochus, suggests that the development of the individuated self in early Greek lyric poetry took place through the interplay of levels of abstraction and the paradoxes of self-reference evident in playful mimetic representation (in Bateson’s terms the “nip” mimics the “bite”). As Aristotle argues, poetry is a species of mimēsis: “The reason that [people] enjoy looking at [mimetic] representations is that, in looking it happens that they learn and deduce what each thing is, e.g. that this is that [kind of thing].” [26] While the representations of the epic poet on the one hand are of a host of characters divine and human, Nietzsche says, “… the images of the lyric poet on the other hand are nothing other than himself, are as it were only different objectivations [Objectivationen] of himself, which is why he may as the moving center of that world say ‘I.'” This self-referential mimetic identity formation arises from the Dionysian rhythms of the body-in-nature: “He [the lyric poet] has in the first place as a Dionysian artist become entirely fused with the original Unity, with its pain and contradiction and produced the copy [Abbild] of this original Unity in the form of music … but now this music becomes visible to him again, as in an allegorical dream-image … of the Apollonian dream.” [27] The chaotic unity of bodily experience is copied musically and then copied again at a metalevel into the allegorical framework of Apollonian dream-imagery. In other words unsignified bodily states are schematized into melodic word/image-sounds (this is lyric poetry, which is sung) which in turn are set into a new grammar organized around the “self.” As Bruno Snell influentially argued, the poetry of Archilochus and his fellow lyricists is the first of a series of self-reflective linguistic-semiotic innovations to construct the fundamentals of European thinking. [28] Thus in Heidegger’s account of Nietzsche, the global experience of the chaotic world modulated by the body and its peculiar rhythms is the groundwork out of which arise schemes of all sorts from poetry to human personae to megatechnics. [29] In the present essay schematizing becomes the art of daemonic sorting.

Nietzsche’s preferred demonic style of schematizing his experience of the Ur-Ein or “original unity” described above combines the logical and the metaphorical modes; it thus provides a fusion of “poetic” and “scientific” languages, perhaps approaching the style of the “joyous science” [30] he hoped to create:

And do you really know what “the world” is to me? Should I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of force, with no beginning and no end, a firm, iron magnitude of force that grows neither larger nor smaller, that does not get expended but only transformed, as an entity invariably large, a household without expenses or losses, but also without a growth or income, surrounded by “nothingness” as by its borders, not something blurry, wasted, or infinitely extended, but set into a specific space as a specific force, not into a room that might be “empty” somewhere, but rather as a force everywhere, as a play of forces and waves of forces, both one and “many,” increasing here while decreasing there, a sea of forces storming and flowing into one another, eternally changing, eternally flooding back with immense years of recurrence, with an ebb and flow of its forms, striving outward from the simplest to the most complex, from the stillest, most rigid, coldest outward to the glowing-hot, wildest, most self-contradictory and then returning home once again from this abundance to the simple, from the play of contradictions back to the pleasure of harmony, continuing to affirm itself in this uniformity of its courses and years, blessing itself as what must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety or disgust or fatigue: this, my Dionysian world of eternal self-creation, eternal self-destruction, this mystery world of the double voluptuous delights, this, my beyond good and evil, lacking any goal unless there is a goal in the happiness of the circle, lacking any will, unless a ring has good will toward itself — would you like a name for this world? A solution for all of its riddles? A light for you as well, your most concealed, strangest, bravest and midnightly? — This world is the will to power — and nothing besides that! And you yourselves are also this will to power — and nothing besides that! [31]

The generation, circulation, and dynamics of phenomena described in this passage (comparable to the cosmic recirculation envisioned by the Demon in the opening passage above) are reminiscent of the thermodynamic experiment imagined by Maxwell and critically transformed by Leo Szilard. A contributor to and unstinting critic of the Manhattan Project, as of the nuclear arms race, [32] Szilard corrected Maxwell’s idealized “transcendent” Demon with a materialist, incipiently ecological one, in an essay astutely titled, “On the Reduction of Entropy in a Thermodynamic System by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings.” [33] Szilard’s investigation was “to find the conditions which apparently allow the construction of a perpetual-motion machine … if one permits an intelligent being to intervene in a thermodynamic system.” He argued that this reduction of entropy and so the apparent establishment of perpetual motion in a mechanical system required “a sort of memory faculty, manifested by a system where measurements occur, that might cause a permanent decrease of entropy and thus a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, were it not for the fact that the measurements themselves are necessarily accompanied by a production of entropy.” By postulating an “inanimate device able to make measurements … under continual entropy production,” he calculated that the resulting quantity of entropy was “exactly as great as is necessary for full compensation.”[34] In other words, the quantity of energy used by the measuring device in generating information is the same as the quantity of entropy production, so that the Second Law is not contravened. The Demon must use energy and hence increase entropy exactly proportionate to the reduction of entropy it has achieved by sorting the molecules. S/he must be “plugged in,” i.e., connected to the “other” out of which the present state of order constructed by the Demon’s sorting is derived.

What Szilard’s alternative account meant in terms of modern physics is that the notion of a transcendent demon, a mind outside of nature, God, became unnecessary in the account of thermodynamic organization, which always reduces entropy here at the price of raising it there. [35] The idea of an immanent demonology stems from 17th century European thought in which, as Stuart Clark points out, “… the universal assumption [was] that, cut off from divine revelation, the demonic intellect could only be exercised by the light of nature.” [36] In Nietzsche’s cosmic system the “thinker,” the subject, whether machine or animal or human or what we think of as biotic system, must similarly utilize energy — “power,” Macht, pouvoir — to organize its perceptions in memory and to initiate selective perception; thus it may engage in Wertschätzung (the estimation of value) in order to shape purposive behavior, the arts and sciences, as well as the self. Nietzsche’s insight here is no doubt the source of Foucault’s observation: “We should admit that power produces knowledge … [and] that power and knowledge directly imply one another.” [37] Thus “you” and “I” as “living” and “intelligent” beings” in our ontology and epistemology become, just as Nietzsche says, “manifestations of the will to power.” As in physics, Nietzsche’s Will to Power is informatic insofar as it describes the differentiation and de-differentiation of a cyclical cosmos and all of its inhabitants including “us.”

Szilard’s is an incipiently ecological daemonology: an ecosystemic model of “mind.” It is also characteristic of a physics integrated with information theory — an informatic mechanism — into which Maxwell’s Demon can be translated, as James Beniger argues, as an algorithm programmed to generate “life”: “For each molecule in the vessel, the demon must continually determine two pieces of information — velocity and trajectory — for the program’s essential inputs … Based on only these two inputs, the algorithm determines whether or not the demon ought to behave in the only two ways it can: by opening or closing the small hole in the partition separating portions A and B of the vessel.” [38] This programmatic schema for information process is, Beniger contends, a material-semiotic ensemble that could readily have evolved in the developmental stages of crystal-formation in the early terrestrial environment. [39] I take this — a generative algorithmic structure — to be a good operational definition of “daemon” in terms of communication theory. This dynamic structure also provides a good basis for the concept, “Will to Power.” Thus a difference engine that would become “life” and “mind,” eventually becoming sufficiently self-conscious to invent machines to decipher codes, emerged in natural history well before Colossus showed up at Bletchley Park. Still, Beniger’s algorithmic daemon is, from the viewpoint of Nietzsche’s epistemology, a model designed to make “nature” intelligible and can only be hypothetically postulated to have generated evolution — “we” have no access to what is beyond the horizon of phenomenal experience. Nevertheless, the discovery of the “code of life” or DNA in 1953 [40] only had to be hybridized with the computational innovations of cybernetics to lay the groundwork for the steering mechanisms of living systems and, as Nietzsche or Foucault would note, develop knowledge-power into an operational analogy for the cybernetic guidance systems of informatic weaponry.

Waves of Cybernetics

“First wave” cybernetics developed out of the Macy Foundation conferences 1946-1953 [41] whose participants included Warren McCulloch, Norbert Wiener, Walter Pitts, Heinz von Forester, Gregory Bateson and others; it paralleled and extended the military work at Bletchley Park to derive, as the subtitle of Wiener’s treatise Cybernetics aptly put it, “control and communication in the animal and the machine.” [42] The applications of the new technology for weaponry provided not only a substantial funding base for research, but also a new set of technical analogies between organisms and mechanisms in the Mode of Information. Thus McCulloch and his colleague Walter Pitts wrote an essay, “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain,” which provided an analysis useful for building an operational analogy between, e.g., the frog’s scanning for flies and a radar system’s scanning for targets. The amphibian’s eye oscillates looking for insects entering its air space; like Maxwell’s Demon its brain calculates the size, distance, speed, and trajectory of a single insect; its motor cortex then activates its tongue to snatch the target: a perfect model for a guided missile frigate or for Mattel’s video game, “Frog’s and Flies.” [43]

Bateson explained the logic of cybernetics in terms of a familiar animal figure: “If we find a monkey striking a typewriter apparently at random but in fact writing meaningful prose, we shall look for restraints, either inside the monkey or inside the typewriter. Perhaps the monkey could not strike inappropriate letters; perhaps the type bars could not move if improperly struck. Somewhere there must have been a circuit which could identify error and eliminate it.” [44] The monkey’s semiotic “freedom,” like that of Socrates, is limited by the “restraints” placed on his typing by the rules of the system in which he works. The model of cybernetic explanation invoked by Bateson was also employed by Foucault, e.g., in his alternative to the 19th century scientific explanation, of “the principles of individualization of a discourse”: ”Should they not be sought rather in the dispersion of points of choice that the discourse leaves free?” [45] The convergence of cybernetics and poststructuralism in Foucault’s comment is also evident in the thinking of Bateson and Derrida. Bateson says, “A difference which makes a difference is an idea. It is a ‘bit,’ a unit of information.” [46] Derrida says, “What writes itself [as] différance, this will be then the movement of the game which ‘produces,’ by that which is not simply an activity, these differences, these effects of difference.” [47] In terms of physics, as Raymond Ruyer argues, “information” or “difference” is negative entropy. [48] Thus the range of academic disciplines from the liberal arts to biology and physics become part of a new transdisciplinarity, in Bateson’s terms, “the science of mind and order.” [49]

“Second Wave” Cybernetics, what Fritz Simon calls “the cybernetics of cybernetics,” [50] is based, for example, on Humberto Maturana’s and Francisco Varela’s concept of autopoiēsis: “Coming from the Greek roots meaning self (auto) and making (poiein, as in poetry), autopoiesis refers to life’s continuous production of itself.” [51] In Nietzsche’s cosmic vision, ontogenesis and epistemogenesis occur autopoietically. The autopoietic Demon of second order cybernetics is likewise reflexive. As Simon explains, “Such systems, encompassing the observer, are always nontrivial systems, since the observer himself changes through his observation or at least can change.” [52] This kind of perception in dialogical communication is, according to German critical theory, perhaps better named as mutual “recognition” (Anerkennung, discussed below), which provides an important theoretical corrective — a “face” (figure) — to positivistic information science and its instrumental rationality.

The Demonology of War

The advanced technological edge of cybernetics has become “informatics”: “the discipline of science which investigates the structure and properties (not specific content) of scientific information, as well as the regularities of scientific information activity, its theory, history, methodology and organization” (OED) [53] along with the related interdisciplinary configuration, “cognitive science,” [54] both of which have failed to challenge the positivistic, instrumental rationality of university science in the service of “business,” “defense,” “social services,” and “entertainment.” [55] “The primary player in the world of funding new research in IT, computers, and robotics is DARPA [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], P.W Singer reports. “… The internet (DARPAS’s first visionary name for it was the ‘intergalactic computer network’), e-mail, cell phones, computer graphics, weather satellites, fuel cells, lasers, night vision, and the Saturn V rockets that first took man to the moon all originated at DARPA.” In Joel Garreau’s phrase the agency’s mission is “to accelerate the future into being.” [56] The high-tech order is legitimized by what Henry A. Giroux describes as the “Military-Industrial-Academic Complex” overseen, from the present perspective, by a new Power Demon. Thus “Higher education’s need for new sources of funding neatly dovetails with the inexhaustible need on the part of corporations for new products. Within this symbiotic relationship, knowledge is directly linked to its application in the market, resulting in a collapse of the distinction between knowledge and commodity.” [57] In Marx’s view commoditization included the transformation of social relations into “things” in a process of Verdinglichung (reification) which requires, in turn, the objectification (Vergegenständlichung) of persons and other sentient beings. [58] Lukàcs developed Marx’s idea of Verdinglichung in terms of a full blown theory of “class consciousness,” [59] which in turn is connected by the Frankfurt School to the idea of instrumental rationality; thus, as Jürgen Habermas says, “… it is only a small step from Lukàcs’ theory of reification to the critique of instrumental reason, that is, to the vision of an administered, totally reified world in which means-ends rationality and domination are merged.” [60] Adorno connected Verdinglichung with direct experience (phenomenology) arguing that, “Every reification is a forgetting.” [61] Axel Honneth argues, building on the ideas of Lukàcs and Adorno, that the oppression of a world made into objectified and administered “things” can be resisted and overturned as suggested above by “recognition” (Anerkennung): “It holds in every case that the present approach to recognition indicates a quite elementary form of intersubjective affirmation, which has not yet assigned a determinate worth to another person.” [62] The “objective” correlative of “subjective” mutual recognition is inscribed in the idea of ecological communication. Recognition can therefore become the subjective (phenomenological) component of an autopoietic information science that would resist the impetus to reification and objectification stemming from the forms of neoliberal profit-seeking, security, militarism and “health options” that shape the identity of contemporary informatics. To repeat Nietzsche’s observation about ideas above, “… the value-estimation of logic, proves only their usefulness for life, proved by experience — not their ‘truth.'” [63]

The Cycle of Signs: Life’s Eternal Return

So an evolutionist reflects on the ecology of communication while chopping down a tree: “Consider a tree and a man and an axe. We observe that the axe flies through the air and makes certain sorts of gashes in a pre-existing cut in the side of the tree. If now we want to explain this set of phenomena, we shall be concerned with differences in the cut face of the tree, differences in the retina of the man, differences in his central nervous system, differences in his efferent neural muscles, differences in the behavior of his muscles, differences in how the axe flies, to the differences which the axe then makes on the face of the tree. … The elementary cybernetic system with its messages in circuit is, in fact, the simplest unit of mind; and the transform of a difference traveling in a circuit is the elementary idea. … But if I am cutting down a tree, I still think ‘Gregory Bateson’ is cutting down the tree. ‘Myself’ is to me still an excessively concrete object, different from the rest of what I have been calling ‘mind.'” [64] Here Bateson casts himself as Maxwell’s, or rather Szilard’s, Demon, “sorting out” his environment by chopping which, in spite of the illusion it creates of “human superiority” or the “power of tools” or “executive privilege,” is irreducibly connected with the ecological circuit of “differences” or “information” in and by which he lives. Bateson’s perception and action are encoded in terms of what he calls “conscious purpose,” which in turn is based on a “‘semipermeable linkage’ between consciousness and the remainder of the total mind.” [65] “Mind” here refers to “cybernetic system” and “Bateson’s mind” to a second order cybernetic system whose semipermeable filter between “self” (evolutionist) and “other” (tree) is mediated by purpose amplified by an elementary technology.

Now turn up the volume: give the man (Bateson would decline the gift) a Predator UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or “drone” that fires Szilard’s nukes (miniaturized) or more modest “Hellfire” missiles (note the religious terminology) to “take out” enemies and their families, projectiles sown like dragon’s teeth to generate exponentially more enemies, [66] and you get a mental ecological reminder: “… as you arrogate all mind to yourself, you will see the world around you as mindless and therefore not entitled to moral or ethical consideration … If this is your estimate of your relation to nature and you have an advanced technology, your likelihood of survival will be that of a snowball in hell.” [67] In Nietzschean terms this kind of alienated objectifying power motivated by nationalistic and capitalistic ressentiment is not “useful” for the furtherance of life or, for that matter, thought: “‘Deutschland, Deutschland, über Alles,'” he quips, “I am afraid that was the end of German philosophy.” [68]

A caveat is necessary here to counter a common reading of Nietzsche as a champion of “power over” others and of violence. Consider what he says in his late work, Ecce Homo: [69] “The affirmation of transience and destruction, the decisive feature of any Dionysian philosophy, saying ‘yes’ to opposition and war, becoming, with a radical rejection of every concept of ‘being’ — in this I must in any event acknowledge ideas that are more closely related to mine than any that have hitherto been thought. The doctrine of the ‘eternal recurrence,’ in other words of the unconditional and infinitely repeated circulation [Kreislauf] of all things … could also have been taught by Heraclitus.” [70] Nietzsche does not quote Heraclitus to explain his elemental idea of “war” (polemos) here, but he may well be thinking of this passage: “It’s necessary to know that war is common to all things, and justice is strife, and all things come to be through strife necessarily.” [71] Metaphoric “war” as an aspect of cosmogenesis and literal “war” as a strategy of national policy should be distinguished. So long as the “self” is considered, Bateson’s tree-chopper, or Maxwell’s Demon, or Descartes’ cogito, or Weber’s entrepreneur, as “external” to the cycle of signs, then its technics become instrumental and its purposes objectified, resulting in a cross-cutting of the circuitry of personal, social, and ecological communication — war as purposive, calculated violence. [72] The “super-human” sensibility of Nietzsche’s Overhuman (Übermensch), however affirmative of cosmic “war” in the cycle of life and death she might be, offers a wider and deeper sense of what I have called “the ecological self” [73]: “The Overhuman is the sense of the earth. May your will say: Let the Overhuman be the sense of the earth!” [74] Perhaps this is the sensibility capable of accepting and affirming Nietzsche’s demonic wager. Meanwhile, among more limited minds, we have literal war while Earth’s polar caps melt like snowballs in the sun.

Cyborg Predators

The advanced technology that Bateson mentions is illustrated in the use of Microsoft Chat to direct and coordinate drone attacks. Singer relates the story of Lt. Colonel Norman Mims: “What’s funny about using Microsoft Chat is that everybody has to choose an icon to represent themselves. Some of these guys haven’t bothered, so the program assigns them one. We’ll be in the middle of a battle and a bunch of field artillery colonels will come online in the form of big-breasted blondes. We’ve got a few space aliens too.” [75] Role-playing games aside, Jayne Mayer offers a vivid report of how the drone system works: “The Predators in the C.I.A program are ‘flown’ by civilians, both intelligence officers and private contractors. … Using joysticks that resemble video-game controls, the [so-called] reachback operators — who don’t need conventional flight training — sit next to intelligence officers and watch, on large flat-screen monitors, a live video feed from the drone’s camera.” The results have been devastating on their targets, e.g. Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, who was spied in vivid infra-red imagery by a drone two miles aloft, as he lay atop his house, and targeted with two missiles: “After the dust cloud dissipated, all that remained of Mehsud was a detached torso. Eleven others died: his wife, his father-in-law, a lieutenant and seven body guards.” As Mayer points out, Mehsud was likely responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and for the terrorist attacks on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on September 20, 2008 that killed 50 people. [76] But civilian casualties, including children, are typical of the drone attacks: the hunt for Mehsud, she points out, took sixteen missile strikes over fourteen months, killing “between two hundred and seven and three hundred and twenty-one additional people.” Mayer also speaks of a new generation of micro-drones that can fly in the window like killer bees and find their targets. Thus she argues that the drone program presents “… a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force” that has been developed with “remarkably little public discussion”: remote-controlled, disembodied, and (despite claims of “precision targeting”) often indiscriminate killing. [77]

In the same “spirit” as the killer drones are the “Jesus Rifles,” as the troops sometimes call them, that are now being distributed to US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the sights of which are inscribed encoded biblical passages. So “JN8:12” refers to the book of John chapter 8 verse 12: “Then spake Jesus again to them, I am the light of the world … ,” in spite of Pentagon General Order No. 1 that requires members of the military to refrain from “proselytizing or promoting any religious faith or practice.” According to Brian Ross of ABC News, the order is designed “to prevent the suspicion that the US is conducting a religious crusade against Muslims.” [78] Now “evil-doers”, as President George W. Bush used to call them, [79] caught in these holy sights can expect to receive a rather unexpected interpretation of the above passage from John, where Jesus concludes: “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [80]

Beyond Good and Evil: Une Sensibilité Réflexive et Comique

Following George Lakoff, Lorenzo Altieri argues that the objectification of “nature” and other “others” that characterizes positivistic information science and its various weapons should be corrected in terms of “experiential realism” (le réalisme expérientiel): “In this approach … signification is no longer [of a] ‘thing’ having an independent reality but is always significant for us in the world that we are. The signification derives from the experience of functioning as a living being of a certain type in the bosom of an environment of a certain quality. The fundamental concepts and schematics draw their significance from this corporeal interaction which has always been previously understood and effected.” [81] Thus Altieri envisions a reflexive phenomenology that resists the alienation of the “demon” from the embodied mind and of the “object” from the “subject” in the process of reification; instead he proposes an experiential realization of cybernetic epistemology. This realization I take to be analogous to Honneth’s “recognition.” In Nietzsche’s terms, it constitutes a kind of interpersonal and interspecies perspectivism.[82] Communication in dyadic, triadic and wider sets of second-order relations based on mutual recognition and the codetermination of experience come to the fore. Mutual ethical recognition, as in Martin Buber’s “I and Thou,” [83] is precisely what is impossible in a high-tech war, epitomized by the Predator drone, as “targets” are only foreign objects to be “taken out” despite human “collateral damage.”

Max Weber warned that instrumental, profit-seeking rationality would culminate in bureaucracy that would increasingly limit the choices available to the individual until s/he became encased in the “steel-hard shell” (stahlhartes Gehäuse) [84] of advanced capitalism:

An inanimate machine is mind coagulated. Only that this is so gives it the power to coerce men into its service, bearing down to prescribe the round of their working life as effectively as in the case of the factory. Coagulated mind is also that living machine which displays bureaucratic organization with its specialization of trained, skilled labor, its assignment of competences, its regulations, and its hierarchically tiered relations of obedience. In association with the dead machine it is at work assembling the shell of that bondage of the future to which perhaps someday men will be compelled, like the fellahs in the ancient Egyptian state, powerlessly to submit. [85]

The steel-hard shell of the V-2 Rocket is the one in which the boy Gottfried is encased and fired aloft by the diabolical Nazi Major (variously busted to Lieutenant and Captain) Weissmann, a.k.a. Dominus Blicero, Lord White Man, in Gravity’s Rainbow. Weissmann has dressed little Gottfried in a “shroud” of “Impolex G”: “the first plastic that is actually erectile. Under suitable stimuli, the chains grow cross-links which stiffen the molecule and increase the intermolecular attraction so that this Peculiar Polymer runs far outside the known phase diagrams …” [86]

The plot of Gravity’s Rainbow is structured to solve a statistical mystery regarding the protagonist, Tyrone Slothrop: “It’s the map that spooks them all [the staff at the White Visitation laboratory facility for psychological warfare connected to the Abreaction Research Facility (ARF) that experiments on dogs], [87] the map Slothrop’s been keeping on his girls. The stars [indicating hits] fall in a Poisson distribution, just like the rocket strikes on Roger Mexico’s map of the Robot Blitz.” [88] It seems that the sites of Slothrop’s love life correspond in a nontrivial way to the distribution of V-2 strikes on London. [89] The parabola of the Rocket in Gravity’s Rainbow is thus animated by more than simple propulsion and gyroscopy: it is propelled “from the inside” [90] by desire gone wrong in the struggle between Eros and Thanatos: love and death, information and entropy. Not only is theV-2 Rocket guided by the inner desiring machine, Impolex G, but so is Slothrop who was conditioned as a child to respond sexually to the presence of the erotic polymer. So when and where the missiles strike, Tyrone is aroused. Steering a wrong turn — “If they get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers,” as “Proverbs for Paranoids 3” puts it [91] — desire is put in the service of “inner” control as machine and man converge in an ecstatic series of explosions. Herbert Marcuse called this kind of ersatz inner-directedness “repressive desublimation,” the structured use of pleasure to control “consumers” (post-citizens): “The idea of ‘inner freedom’ … designates the private space in which man may become and remain ‘himself.’ Today this private space has been invaded and whittled down by technological reality. Mass production and mass distribution claim the entire individual …” [92]

The plot of Gravity’s Rainbow follows a parabola leading the Rocket to a point just above a well documented target: “… the single most devastating V2 attack of the war, which killed 567 people in a cinema in Antwerp on the afternoon of Saturday, 16 December 1944.” [93] Yet Pynchon simultaneously leaves his fictive Rocket hanging over the “theatre” in which his reading audience holds the novel, its chapters separated by “sprocket holes” like 32/35mm film frames, as the final sections of the novel turn before our eyes, each falling like a Tarot Card, until we are invited to read a closing poem as we “Follow the bouncing ball.” [94] In his new novel, Inherent Vice, Pynchon has revisited our desire now expressed as a collective consumer thanatophilia: the power currently animating the trajectory of “globalization,” personified by a familiar fish. As the protagonist, Doc’s, attorney Sancho explains gazing at the TV: “It’s all supposed to be so innocent, upwardly mobile snob, designer shades, beret, so desperate to show he’s got good taste, except he’s also dyslexic so he gets ‘good taste’ mixed up with ‘taste good,’ but it’s worse than that! Far, far worse! Charlie [the Tuna] really has this, like obsessive death wish! Yes! He, he wants to be caught, processed, put in a can, not just any can, you dig, it has to be StarKist! Suicidal brand loyalty, man, deep parable of consumer capitalism …” [95] Like rockets, parables are parabolic. Are we now consumers whose longings have been reprogrammed by too much television so that we, like Gottfried, are ready to be canned in a collective V-2 Rocket — Rilke’s terrible and awesome Angel — poised over our own narcissistic lucidly dreaming heads? Are we in danger of becoming Daleks? [96] Fortunately Pynchon has left some musical notes echoing Bach for his lovable post-hippie Thanatoids in need of “tubal detoxification” — and perhaps for us: a melodic riff “… a piping, chiming music, synchronized, coming out of wristwatches, timers, and personal computers, engraved long ago, as if for this moment, on sound chips dumped once in an obscure skirmish of the silicon market wars … as part of a settlement with the ever-questionable trading company Tokkata & Fuji, all playing together now, and in four part harmony” that has just entered our theatre’s sound system: Wachet auf! (Wake up!). [97]

Nietzsche’s Alternative Demonology: Toward a Joyous Information Science

The common idea of “demons” has been dramatized in films like Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist, or in Vice President Dick Cheney’s description of his approach to the “War on Terror”: “We’ll have to work sort of the dark side, if you will …” [98] It is derived from Augustine: “Regarding the wills of angels I say that they are either of the good, which we call angels of God, or of the evil ones, whom we name angels of the devil or also demons: and we speak likewise of men, namely of the good and the bad.” [99] This is the moral mythology of which Nietzsche provides a critical genealogy in Beyond Good and Evil; it provides the ideological orientation for the “good” daemones (angels) guiding the Predator drones and the “evil” ones (demons) who are targeted. Recently President Barack Obama proved that he too has signed on to this myth — “For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world” etc. — as a rationale for decisively escalating the war in Afghanistan with one hand while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize with the other. [100] In response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, moreover, Rev. Pat Robertson took the prize for the most faithful application of the doctrine: “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about [sic] … They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.’ True story. And so the devil said, ‘Ok it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got … themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.” [101] It is also the demonry of cybernetic technology that Wiener illustrated by the tale the “Monkey’s Paw,” where one gets one’s fondest wish served with a terrible, unexpected dessert. [102]

In contrast Nietzsche’s demonology, ramified by the present textual ecology, performs a critical exorcism not of the teachings of Jesus but rather of megatechnical [103] Christianism: the expansion of the Protestant Ethic — whose summum bonum, as Weber argued, includes “the earning of more and more money, combined with the strict avoidance of all spontaneous enjoyment of life … as an end in itself” which for the individual appears “entirely transcendental and absolutely irrational” — to a global system of capital accumulation, militarism, and private security. In advanced capitalism the “sins” connected with the enjoyment of life have become permitted so long as their “spontaneity” is subjected to new mass “consumer” industries utilizing pleasure for profit (which “redeems” enjoyment) and spreading the “word” (“desire is okay if accompanied by purchase”) through a vast commercial iconography on display in the glittering arcades of cyberspace. [104] The Christianist system redeploys the traditional Christian teachings of sisterly love, poverty and distributive justice best illustrated in the Beatitudes (Luke 6:20-26; Matthew 5:3-12) as advertising,[105] messianically selling a life in which “humanity is dominated by the making of money, by acquisition as the ultimate purpose of life.” [106] Because the Ethic is transcendental and irrational, it is oblivious to criticism or contrary evidence; [107] it thus leads, as Bateson suggested, to a complex spiral of “positive feedback” destabilizing the biosphere. [108] Because Christianism is often identified by its proponents with Americanism, [109] and because its adherents often believe their own propaganda, [110] those who do not “share the faith” in “American exceptionalism,” [111] are viewed as “un-” or “anti-” American and likewise as “evil.” [112] Amplified by the most powerful of military technology and extensive networks of communication and control, this authoritarian “faith” has the potential to make the biosphere uninhabitable for homo sapiens and an increasing number of other species. [113] Perhaps this is the reason that Nietzsche viewed it as the philosophy of “anti-nature” [Widernatur]; thus he says, “The blindness of Christianism is the crime par excellence — the crime against life.” [114]

Nietzsche’s philosophy instead invokes and evokes a renewed sense of participatory embodiment and a joyous ecological mind steering its course along the fractious boundary between information and entropy — Apollo and Dionysus [115] — “beyond good and evil” [116] — where “thinking needs to be learned just as dancing needs to be learned, as a kind of dancing.” [117] The idea of recognition, in this regard, may be transposed into that of experiential realism whose “face” (figure) is the signature trace formed at the interface between order and chaos: the site where we might compose a life-affirming sentience in the Mode of Information: a new Dionysia. [118] Here at the phenomenal Dionysian interface Gregory Bateson may still be “recognized” as a figure distinct in yet inseparable from the carousel of signs encompassing man and tree and axe as he chops (as it seems we must to live), muses, thumbs through a field-worn copy of Pascal’s Pensées, and reads aloud: “Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point.” [119] Here too is where we might refashion and reaffirm the “human” self-image in the Mode of Information rather than, like Foucault, wistfully note, “… que l’ homme s’effacerait, comme à la limite de la mer un visage de sable.” [120]

At the intersection of heart and reason, body and mind, metaphor and logic, entropy and information, is formed the distinctive figure of a sensibility derived by metaphor complemented by logical schematization in the creative space of the play frame. Anthony Wilden described this kind of figure and her signifying activity in terms of ecological epistemology: a transdisciplinary, transpersonal, reflexive, interspecies pattern of learning as evolution in real time whose figures are ecological personae. [121] The elements of that theory of knowledge in Nietzsche’s terms are: 1) the derivation of order from chaos in the act of perception; 2) the schematization of percepts in the modes of metaphor and logic 3) the mythic (literary, cultural, religious) identification of these two modes respectively with Dionysus and Apollo; 4) the prioritization of Dionysus (chaos and its metaphoric schematizations) as the power of somatic experience out of which Apollo (order and cognition) arises; 5) the interweaving of Dionysus and Apollo in a vision of life as the art of viably schematizing chaos: the music of the Eternal Return; 6) a critical phase designed to challenge readers to come to terms with their cosmic situation and to refrain from making false choices between “good” and “evil” based on a misunderstanding of self and cosmos; a creative phase in which critically aware individuals may turn to the arts of schematization in the fulfillment of life. Here is where we meet Nietzsche’s Demon now in the gardens of his Joyous Science. Nietzsche imagined this “state” as a kind of environmental design:

Architecture for those who wish to pursue knowledge. — One day, and probably soon, we will need some recognition of what is missing primarily in our big cities: quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection — places with long, high-ceilinged arcades for bad or all-too-sunny weather … The time has passed when the Church had a monopoly on contemplation … we godless ones [122] … want … to have us translated into stone and plants; we want to take walks in us when we stroll in these hallways and gardens. [123]

In keeping with this ecological figure, Nietzsche imagines a metaphoric daemon animating his authorial persona and challenging his readers, having Zarathustra proclaim, “Now I am light, now I fly, now I see myself under myself, now a god dances through me” (“On Reading and Writing”). [124] The schematization of chaos as metaphor, as poetry, is a key to understanding the developmental path of Nietzsche’s philosophy — not to neglect the sciences and reason but to build a poetics to become their mature complement.

Who is the daemon who serves as Nietzsche’s interlocutor offering the “wager” of the Eternal Return: could you bear to live here in the joyous-torturous cycle of life through the eons (I’ll bet you couldn’t)? Who could accept this wager: a human being, a god, or perhaps that combination of the two, the Overhuman (Übermensch)? [125] Plato has his character Diotima, whose speech is recounted with admiration by Socrates in the Symposium, offer an affirmative persona who might bear Nietzsche’s “heavyweight”: “Love” who plays the role of mediator — metaxic tensor [126] between gods and men, mind and body, humanity and nature heaven and earth. For it seems, on Diotima’s account, that Eros is neither good nor beautiful, leading Socrates to ask:

How could he be a god if he is without a share of the good or the beautiful?
In no way, it seems.
Do you see then, she said, that you should not acknowledge Eros as a god?
What then, I asked — would Eros be a mortal?
Not in the least!
But in truth what?
Just as we said earlier, she said, [he’s] between (metaxu) mortal and immortal.
What then, Diotima?
A great daimôn, Socrates: for he is altogether spirit.
He is between god and mortal.
Having what power, I said?
Interpreting and communicating the concerns of men to gods and those of gods to men … [127]

Is this Nietzsche’s Daemon the metaxic interface between Dionysus and Apollo emblematized in the ambiguous character called Eros one whose figure challenges us to make our traces in the event constituting the thermodynamic spiral of natural and human histories in an affirmation and celebration of life-and-death: “… how good would you have to become to yourself and to life,” Nietzsche finally asks, “to long for nothing more than this final eternal affirmation and seal?” [128]

Notes

[1] See Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil [Jenseits von Gut und Böse], Trans. Marion Faber (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche The Gay [Joyous] Science (New York: Vintage, 1974), trans. Walter Kaufmann (modified); all translations from the German, French, Latin, and Greek are my own, unless otherwise indicated. Original text: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, sec. 341: Das grösste Schwergewicht. — Wie, wenn dir eines Tages oder Nachts, ein Dämon in deine einsamste Einsamkeit nachschliche und dir sagte: “Dieses Leben, wie du es jetzt lebst und gelebt hast, wirst du noch einmal und noch unzählige Male leben müssen; und es wird nichts Neues daran sein, sondern jeder Schmerz und jede Lust und jeder Gedanke und Seufzer und alles unsäglich Kleine und Grosse deines Lebens muss dir wiederkommen, und Alles in der selben Reihe und Folge — und ebenso diese Spinne und dieses Mondlicht zwischen den Bäumen, und ebenso dieser Augenblick und ich selber. Die ewige Sanduhr des Daseins wird immer wieder umgedreht — und du mit ihr, Stäubchen vom Staube!” — Thanks to my colleague and friend Gert Hellerich (Bremen) for his valuable contributions to my reading of Nietzsche without which this paper would not have been possible.

[3] Rainer Maria Rilke Rilke: Duinesian Elegies (German and English), Trans Elaine E. Boney. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975), 3, my translation.

[4] Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (New York: Viking, 1972).

[5]Le sacré est la trace de la réappropriation pontuelle du vide par l’Homme, donc de l’événement” (“The sacred is the trace of the prompt re-appropriation of the void by Man, therefore of the event”), Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, L’esprit du nihilisme: une ontologique de l’Histoire (Paris : Fayard, 2008), 91. Might this serve as a phenomenological description of oscillating digitization, as zeroes/voids are punctually re-appropriated into ones/traces? Thanks to my colleagues Darlene Lanfranconi and Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín for their helpful assistance with translations of the French texts here.

[6] For images of a working model of Babbage’s Colossus from the Science Museum of London, see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121206408; also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer (accessed on 19 December 2009).

[7] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enigma_code (accessed on 23 October 2009).

[8] Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 3-7.

[9] Thomas Klack and Garreth Myers describe the “typical neoliberal package” for Third World development projects which serves as a good description of the relevant mythology: “The typical advertising package combines three themes: neoliberal and contextual depiction (pledges of subsidies, an open economy, and cheap and unorganized labour; tropical paradise and friendly natives), science fiction (dreams of high technology, telecommunications, and informatics), and strategic omission (exclusion of strife, resistance, hardship, and societal degradation). The homogeneity of incentives causes the generous incentive packages …” “The Discursive Tactics of Neoliberal Development in Small Third World Countries,” Geoforum, 28, no. 2 (May 1997), 133-149, 133.

[10] See Mark Poster, The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). Poster defines the Mode of Information as “variations in the structure of symbolic exchange” whose stages including oral, scriptographic, typographic, and electronic communication (6). His definition is based on Marx’s designation of the “mode of production” in terms of its “means” and “relations” as well as of an era privileging economic production over all other forms of exchange (see German Ideology [New York: Prometheus 1988], “Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy,” 15 I , A, “First Premises of Materialist Method,” 36-37).

[11] Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols is subtitled: “How one philosophizes with the hammer” (Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophiert”). It is worth noting that the inquisitor’s manual for demonology was entitled Malleus Maleficarum (“The Witches’ Hammer”). Nietzsche might seem to have turned the whole business back on the investigators. See Christopher S. Mackay, ed., trans., Malleus Maleficarum, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

[12] See http://www.v2rocket.com/ for general and http://www.v2rocket.com/start/makeup/design.html (accessed on 15 October 2009) for specific technical information on the design and impact of the V-2.

[13] Clerk Maxwell, Theory of Heat (London: 1871), 308-309.

[14] δαιμόνιον γίγνεται [φωνή], ὃ δὴ καὶ ἐν τῇ γραφῇ ἐπικωμῳδῶν Μέλητος ἐγράψατο. ἐμοὶ δὲ τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν ἐκ παιδὸς ἀρξάμενον, φωνή τις γιγνομένη, ἣ ὅταν γένηται, ἀεὶ ἀποτρέπει με τοῦτο ὃ ἂν μέλλω πράττειν, προτρέπει δὲ οὔποτε (Plato, Apology 31d1-4; Perseus Project Greek text, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/ [accessed 5 January 2010]). For a fuller analysis of Socrates’ daimonion in regard to Nietzsche see Daniel R. White and Gert Hellerich. “The Liberty Bell: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Culture.” Journal of Nietzsche Studies 18 (1999): 1-55.

[15] As a prominent biologist explains, “A physiological process or a behavior that owes its goal-directedness to the operation of a program can be designated as teleonomic. All of the processes of individual development (ontogeny) as well as all of the seemingly goal-directed behaviors of individuals fall into this category, and are characterized by two components: they are guided by a program, and they depend on the existence of some endpoint or goal which is foreseen in the program regulating the behavior. Each particular program is the result of natural selection and is constantly adjusted by the selective value of the achieved endpoint. Aristotle called these causes ‘for-the-sake-of-which’ [teleological] causes.” Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 48.

[16] Parts of the following analysis, revised here, were originally presented as “Nietzsche & the Poetry of Technology,” at The Humanities Conference Cambridge UK, 2005 and “Nietzsche’s Art of Metaphysics”, Metaphysics Conference, Rome, 2006, and appear in the proceedings thereof.

[17] “Wille zur Macht als Erkenntniss–nicht “erkennen”, sondern schematisiren, dem Chaos so viel Regularität und Formen auferlegen, als es unserem praktischen Bedürfniß genug thut.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Kritische Studienausgabe, Ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, 15 vols. (Berlin: Gruyter, 1999), abbreviated KSA followed by vol. and p.: KSA 13, 333.

[18] I use this term to clarify exactly the aspects of Christianity to which Nietzsche objects; the term is defined and discussed in terms of Max Weber below. For the sharp edge of his critique in terms of ressentiment, see Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Trans. Douglas Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), Second Essay, sec. 11, e.g. 54-57.

[19] Nietzsche was so impressed with Jesus that he wished that Dostoyevsky had been available to write his biography, rather than the authors of the Gospels — see Friedrich Nietzsche The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, trans. Judith Norman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), Anti-Christ, sec. 28-31, 25-29.

[20] “In der Bildung der Vernunft, der Logik, der Kategorien ist das Bedürfniß maaßgebend gewesen: das Bedürfniß, nicht zu “erkennen”, sondern zu subsumiren, zu schematisiren, zum Zweck der Verständigung, der Berechnung…” (KSA 13, 333-334).

[21] die Werthschätzung “ich glaube, daß das und das so ist” als Wesen der “Wahrheit” … in den Werthschätzungen drücken sich Erhaltungs- und Wachsthums-Bedingungen aus . . . alle unsere Erkenntnißorgane und — Sinne sind nur entwickelt in Hinsicht auf Erhaltungs- und Wachsthums-Bedingungen … das Vertrauen zur Vernunft und ihren Kategorien, zur Dialektik, also die Werthschätzung der Logik beweist nur die durch Erfahrung bewiesene Nützlichkeit derselben für das Leben: nicht deren “Wahrheit.” … Also daß etwas für wahr gehalten werden muß, ist nothwendig; nicht, daß etwas wahr ist” (KSA 12.352).

[22] “die wahre und die scheinbare Welt” — dieser Gegensatz wird von mir zurückgeführt auf Werthverhältnisse wir haben unsere Erhaltungs-Bedingungen projicirt als Prädikate des Seins überhaupt daß wir in unserem Glauben stabil sein müssen, um zu gedeihen, daraus haben wir gemacht, daß die “wahre” Welt keine wandelbare und werdende, sondern eine seiende ist (KSA 12.352).

[23] For the connection between Nietzsche’s and Weber’s views of Christianity and modernity, see David Owen, Maturity & Modernity: Nietzsche, Weber, Foucault and the Ambivalence of Reason (New York: Routledge, 1994).

[24] Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, Vols. 2-3, David Farrell Krell, ed. (New York: Harper Collins, 1987), vol. 3, 80.

[25] Gregory Bateson, “A Theory of Play and Fantasy,” Steps 177-193, 180.

[26] διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο χαίρουσι τὰς εἰκόνας ὁρῶντες, ὅτι συμβαίνει θεωροῦντας μανθάνειν καὶ συλλογίζεσθαι τί ἕκαστον, οἷον ὅτι οὗτος ἐκεῖνος … (Poetics 1448b15-17 [Perseus Project Greek text http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/ [accessed 5 January 2010]).

[27] Friedrich Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy, Trans. Douglas Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 36.

[28] Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind: the Greek Origins of European Thought, trans. T.G. Rosenmeyer (New York: Dover, 1982.

[29] See Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology, Trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper, 1982) for his influential development of the idea of poiēsis into different forms of technē, including modern technology.

[30] I translate Nietzsche’s book title Die fröhliche Wissenschaft as The Joyous Science, though it is typically translated The Gay Science following the subtitle la gaya scienza; see, e.g. The Gay Science, trans. Josefine Nauckhoff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). This is the source of Nietzsche’s vision of a new science-art mentioned in the text.

[31] Friedrich Nietzsche, Nachgelassene Fragmente, Juni-Juli 1885, KSA 11.610-611, sec. 38 [12], Will to Power sec. 1067. This version is from Safranski, Nietzsche, 293-294, Shelley Frisch, translator: “Und wißt ihr auch, was mir “die Welt” ist? Soll ich sie euch in meinem Spiegel zeigen? Diese Welt: ein Ungeheuer von Kraft, ohne Anfang, ohne Ende, eine feste, eherne Größe von Kraft, welche nicht größer, nicht kleiner wird, die sich nicht verbraucht sondern nur verwandelt, als Ganzes unveränderlich groß, ein Haushalt ohne Ausgaben und Einbußen, aber ebenso ohne Zuwachs, ohne Einnahmen, vom “Nichts” umschlossen als von seiner Gränze, nichts Verschwimmendes, Verschwendetes, nichts Unendlich-Ausgedehntes, sondern als bestimmte Kraft einem bestimmten Raum eingelegt, und nicht einem Raume, der irgendwo “leer” wäre, vielmehr als Kraft überall, als Spiel von Kräften und Kraftwellen zugleich Eins und “Vieles,” hier sich häufend und zugleich dort sich mindernd, ein Meer in sich selber stürmender und fluthender Kräfte, ewig sich wandelnd, ewig zurücklaufend, mit ungeheuren Jahren der Wiederkehr, mit einer Ebbe und Fluth seiner Gestalten, aus den einfachsten in die vielfältigsten hinaustreibend, aus dem Stillsten, Starrsten, Kältesten hinaus in das Glühendste, Wildeste, Sich-selber-widersprechendste, und dann wieder aus der Fülle heimkehrend zum Einfachen, aus dem Spiel der Widersprüche zurück bis zur Lust des Einklangs, sich selber bejahend noch in dieser Gleichheit seiner Bahnen und Jahre, sich selber segnend als das, was ewig wiederkommen muß, als ein Werden, das kein Sattwerden, keinen Überdruß, keine Müdigkeit kennt — : diese meine dionysische Welt des Ewig-sich-selber-Schaffens, des Ewig-sich-selber-Zerstörens, diese Geheimniß-Welt der doppelten Wollüste, dieß mein Jenseits von Gut und Böse, ohne Ziel, wenn nicht im Glück des Kreises ein Ziel liegt, ohne Willen, wenn nicht ein Ring zu sich selber guten Willen hat, — wollt ihr einen Namen für diese Welt? Eine Lösung für alle ihre Räthsel? ein Licht auch für euch, ihr Verborgensten, Stärksten, Unerschrockensten, Mitternächtlichsten? — Diese Welt ist der Wille zur Machtund nichts außerdem! Und auch ihr selber seid dieser Wille zur Macht — und nichts außerdem!”

[32] See P.D. Smith, Doomsday Men: the Real Dr. Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon (New York: St. Martins, 2007, 272-279; and William Lanouette with Bela Silard, Genius in the Shadows (Chicago: University of Chicgo Press, 1994).

[33] Leo Szilard . “Über die Entropieverminderung in einem thermodynamischen System von den Eingriffen intelligenter Wesen,” Zeitschrift für Physik, 1929, 53, 840-856. German text reprinted in Bernard T. Feld and Gertrud Weiss Szilard, The Collected Works of Leo Szilard, vol. 1, Scientific Papers (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1972), 103-119; English translation reprinted from Behavioural Science, vol. 9, no. 4 (1964), in Feld and Weiss 120-133.

[34] Ibid, 103.

[35] See James A. Beniger, The Control Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), ch. 2, for a clear account of the relevant issues of control in living systems. Especially see his algorithmic picture of the immanent workings of Maxwell’s Demon, 46.

[36] Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: the Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997; rpt. 2005), 163. The author cites Anthony Horneck’s “An account of what happen’d in the kingdom of Sweden … in relation to some persons that were accused for witches” (1688) to illustrate his point that evil daemons, “know the nature of material things better than the deepest Philosophers, and understand better, how things are joined, and compounded, and what the Ingredients of terrestrial Productions are …” (cited in Clark 163).

[37] “Il faut plutôt admettre que le pouvoir produit du savoir … ; que pouvoir et savoir s’impliquent directement l’un l’autre … ” Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish, Alan Sheridan, trans. (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1977), 26-27; Surveiller et punir (Paris : Gallimard, 1975), 36.

[38] Beniger, The Control Revolution 45-47.

[39] See Ibid, 61-118.

[40] For an historical overview of the relevant science see http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Discovery-of-DNA-Structure-and-Function-Watson-397 (accessed on 24 October 2009).

[41] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy_conferences (accessed on 23 October 2009).

[42] Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1965). Also see Warren S. McCulloch and Walter Pitts, The Embodiments of Mind (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970); Gordon Pask, An Approach to Cybernetics (New York: Harper, 1961); and Ross W. Ashby, An Introduction to Cybernetics (London: Chapman & Hall, 1963).

[43] McCulloch and Pitts, ch. 14, 230-255. For anti-aircraft systems see “Post-war” developments in this useful survey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare (121409); for “Frogs & Flies” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frogs_and_Flies (accessed on 14 December 2009).

[44] Gregory Bateson, “Cybernetic Explanation,” Steps to an Ecology of Mind (Northvale NJ: Aronson, 1987), 405-416, 406.

[45] Michel Foucault, L’archéologie du Savoir, Paris : Gallimard,1969, 51. Here’s the relevant paragraph from The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon, 1972): “It would probably be wrong therefore to seek in the existence of these themes the principles of the individualization of a discourse. Should they not be sought rather in the dispersion of the points of choice that the discourse leaves free? In the different possibilities that it opens of reanimating already existing themes, of arousing opposed strategies, of giving way to irreconcilable interests, of making it possible, with a particular set of concepts, to play different games? Rather than seeking the permanence of themes, images, and opinions through time, rather than retracing the dialectic of their conflicts in order to individualize groups of statements, could one not rather mark out the dispersion of the points of choice, and define prior to any option, to any thematic preference, a field of strategic possibilities?” (36-37). See Daniel White, “Foucault at Work: Archaeology, Genealogy, and the Dispositions of Power, ” The European Legacy 14, no. 3 (June 2009), 317-324.

[46] Bateson “Double Bind, 1969,” Steps, 271-278, 271-272.

[47] “Ce qui s’écrit différance, ce sera donc le mouvement de jeu qui ‘produit,’ par ce qui n’est pas simplement une activité, ces différences, ces effets de différence,” Jacques Derrida, “La Différance,” Marges de la Philosophie (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1972), 12 ; cf. the standard English version, “Différance,” Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 11. Of course Derrida goes on to argue that, since “Différance is the non-full, non-simple, structured and differentiating origin differences … the term ‘origin’ no longer suits it” (Bass trans., 11). Consequently, différance cannot simply refer to differences in the simple positivistic sense apparent in Saussure (12ff.). Hence arise the phenomenological issues raised below.

[48] “If information is essentially the progress of an efficacious structural order, it will be the contrary of a ‘destructuration,’ a diminution of order. This diminution of order has a name in physics: entropy.” (“Si l’information est essentiellement le progrès d’un ordre structural efficace, elle sera le contraire d’une ‘destructuration’, d’une diminution d’ordere. Cette diminution d’ordre a un nom en physique : l’entropie.”); La Cybernétique et l’origine de l’information (Paris : Flammarion, 1968), 10.

[49] Bateson, Steps, pp. xvii-xxvi.

[50] Fritz B. Simon, Einführung in Systemtheorie und Konstruktivismus (Heidelberg: Carl-Auer, 2008), 40 ff.

[51] Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, What is Life? (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000),17. Also see Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living, Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science (New York: Springer, 1991).

[52] “Solche, den Beobachter einschließenden System, sind immer nichttriviale Systeme, da der Beobachter sich durch die Beobachtung verändert oder zumindest verändern kann” (Simon, 42).

[53] See Eugene Thacker, “../bio_informatics.html/materiality & data between information theory and genetic research,” Ctheory: 10/28/1998 a063, online: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=106 (accessed on 21 December 2009).

[54] See Daniel White, “The Mind’s New Architecture: Cognitive Science and the Humanities,” The European Legacy, 11, no. 4 (2006), 433– 437.

[55] The contribution of entertainment to the neoliberal power system is considerable, as Friedrich Kittler reminds us: “The Pentagon is engaged in farsighted planning: only the substitution of optical fibers for metal cables can accommodate the enormous rates and volumes of bits required, spent, and celebrated by electronic warfare. … In the meantime, pleasure is produced as a by-product: people are free to channel-surf among entertainment media. After all, fiber optics transmit all messages imaginable save for the one that counts — the bomb.” Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999,1.

[56] P.W. Singer, Wired for War, (New York: Penguin, 2009), 140; Garreau cited in Singer, 140. Also see DARPA online: http://www.darpa.mil/ (accessed on 22 December 2009).

[57] Henry A. Giroux, The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Boulder: Paradigm, 2007), 113.

[58] “The reification of the social relations of production and the subjectification of the material fundamentals of production, which characterize the entire capitalist mode of production, are further already embedded in the commodity, and still more in the commodity as the product of capital” (“Es ist ferner schon in der Ware eingeschlossen, und noch mehr in der Ware als Produkt des Kapitals, die Verdinglichung der gesellschaftlichen Produktionsbestimmungen und die Versubjektivierung der materiellen Grundlagen der Produktion, welche die ganze kapitalistische Produktionsweise charakterisiert”) (Kapital III, 887), online: http://www.mlwerke.de/me/me25/me25_884.htm (accessed on 20 October 2009).

[59] See Georg Lukàcs, History and Class Consciousness (London: Merlin 1967), Ch. 3, online: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/hcc05.htm (accessed on 20 October 2009).

[60] Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston: Beacon, 1987), vol. 2, 333. Habermas provides a critique of the kind of analysis I am providing here (which counters instrumental reason with “recognition,” “emotion,” “artistry,” “autopoiesis,” etc.) as a species of “irrationalism”; instead he offers a theory of communicative rationality as the “steering mechanism” of modernization.

[61] (“Alle Verdinglichung ist ein Vergessen,”) Theodor Adorno, Gesammelte Schriften. 20 Bd. (Berlin: Direkt Media, 2004), 3, 222-223.

[62] “Auf jeden Fall bleibt festzuhalten, daß die hier gemeinte Eistellung der Anerkennung eine ganz elementare Form der intersubjektiven Bestätigung darstellt, die noch nicht die Wahrnehmung eines bestimmten Wertes der anderen Person einschließt” — Axel Honneth, Verdinglichung (Frankfurt am Main : Suhrkamp, 2005), 60. For the standard English translation, with valuable rejoinders by Judith Butler, Raymond Geuss, and Jonathan Lear, see Reification: a New Look at an Old Idea, Tanner Lectures, ed. Martin Jay (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

[63] KSA 12.352; see note 17.

[64] Bateson, “Form, Substance, Difference,” Steps, 464-465, 468.

[65] Bateson, “Conscious Purpose versus Nature,” Steps, 432-453.

[66] So David Kilcullen says, “Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, a new revenge feud, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased.” “US Drone Attacks in Pakistan Rise Dramatically under Obama,” Democracy Now (19 October 2009), online: www.democracynow.org (accessed on 19 October 2009).

[67] Bateson, “Form, Substance, Difference,” Steps, 454-471, 468.

[68] Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols VIII, “What the Germans Lack,” sec. 1, Large trans, 37.

[69] For an extended critique of the “power-over” reading see Daniel White and Gert Hellerich, “The Ecological Self: Humanity and Nature in Nietzsche and Goethe,” The European Legacy 3.3 (1998): 39-61.

[70] Ecce Homo, Trans. Duncan Large (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), III, BT 3, 48:

[71] Heraclitus fragment B 80: εἰδέναι δὲ χρὴ τὸν πόλεμον ἐόντα ξυνόν, καὶ δίκην ἔριν, καὶ γινόμενα πάντα κατ’ ἔριν καὶ χρεών, text and translation online (modified) at http://www.heraclitusfragments.com/files/ge.html (accessed on 12 December 2009).

[72] See Bateson, “Conscious Purpose versus Nature” and “The Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation,” in Steps, pp. 432-445, 446-453.

[73] White and Hellerich, “The Ecological Self,” cited above.

[74] “Der Übermensch ist der Sinn der Erde. Euer Wille sage: der Übermensch sei der Sinn der Erde!” Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Trans. Graham Parkes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), “Zarathustra’s Prologue, 3, 12.

[75] Singer, Wired for War, 336.

[76] See “Islamabad Marriot Hotel Bombing,” online http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamabad_Marriott_Hotel_bombing (accessed on 22 October 2008).

[77] Jane Mayer, “The Predator War,” New Yorker (26 October 2009), 36-45, 45, 36, 38.

[78] Brian Ross, “Secret Jesus Bible Codes on US Military Weapons,” ABC News, 19 January 2010: http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=9598128 (20 January 2010).

[79] “My administration has a job to do and we’re going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers,” as the President said, “Bush Vows to Rid the World of ‘Evil-Doers,'” CNN News, 16 September, 2001: http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/gen.bush.terrorism/ (20 January 2010).

[80] King James Version of the Greek text : παλιν ουν ο ιησους αυτοις ελαλησεν λεγων εγω ειμι το φως του κοσμου ο ακολουθων εμοι ου μη περιπατησει εν τη σκοτια αλλ εξει το φως της ζωης, www.biblegateway.com (20 January 2010). For a thoughtful Marine Corps Officer’s critique of this entrepreneurial imposition of private religion on American soldiers, listen to “Hold the Hallelujah: the Perils of Rifles and Religion,” All Things Considered, National Public Radio, 25 January 2010, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122945924 (25 January 2010).

[81] “Dans cette approche, comme nous l’avons vu, la signification n’est plus une ‘chose’ ayant une réalité indépendante, mais elle est toujours signifiante pour nous, dans le monde que nous sommes. La significativité dérive de l’expérience de fonctionner comme un être vivant d’un certain type au sein d’un environnement d’une certaine qualité. Les concepts de base et les schémas d’image puisent leur significativité dans cette interaction corporelle qui est depuis toujours déjà comprise et performante” Eidos et Pathos : Corporéité et signification entre phénoménologie et sciences cognitives” (Bucarest : Zeta, 2009), 271.

[82] As Nietzsche says, “This is what I consider to be true phenomenalism and perspectivism: that due to the nature of animal consciousness, the world of which we can become conscious is merely a surface- and sign-world … ” The Gay Science, trans. Josephine Nauckhoff, 213.

[83] See Martin Buber, I and Thou, Trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Free Press, 1971). Bateson comments on Buber’s philosophy: “He differentiates ‘I-Thou’ relations from ‘I-It’ relations, defining the latter as the normal pattern of interaction between man and inanimate objects. The ‘I-It’ relationship he also regards as characteristic of human relations wherever purpose is more important than love. But if the complex cybernetic structure of societies and ecosystems is in some degree analogous to animation, then it would follow that an ‘I-Thou’ relationship is conceivable between man and his society or ecosystem” (Steps, 452).

[84] Max Weber Die Protestantische Ethik und der Geist der Kapitalismus, (Potsdam: Institut für Pädagogik der Universität Potsdam, 1999), 203. Online: a href=”http://141.89.99.185:8080/uni/professuren/e06/a/a/ha/PE.pdf”>http://141.89.99.185:8080/uni/professuren/e06/a/a/ha/PE.pdf (accessed on 19 October 2009).

[85] “Eine leblose Maschine ist geronnener Geist. Nur, dass sie dies ist, gibt ihr die Macht, die Menschen in ihren Dienst zu zwingen und der Alltag ihres Arbeitslebens so beherrschend zu bestimmen, wie es tatsächlich in der Fabrik der Fall ist. Geronnener Geist ist auch jene lebende Maschine, welche die bürokratische Organisation mit ihrer Spezialisierung der geschulten Facharbeit, ihrer Abgrenzung der Kompetenzen, ihren Reglements und hierarchische abgestuften Gehorsamsverhältnissen darstellt. Im Verein mit dem toten Maschine ist sie an der Arbeit, das Gehäuse jener Hörigkeit der Zukunft herzustellen, in welche vielleicht dereinst der Menschen sich, wie die Fellachen im altägyptischen Staat, ohnmächtig zu fügen gezwungen sein werden.” Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundrisse der verstehenden Soziologie (Tübingen, 1972/1922), 835; for the standard English version see Max Weber, Economy & Society , 2 vols. G. Roth and C. Wittich eds. (New York: Bedminster, 1968), vol.2, 1402).

[86] Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 754, 699.

[87] Ibid, 34-35, 75.

[88] Ibid, 85.

[89] The distribution is displayed online: http://londonist.com/2009/01/london_v2_rocket_sitesmapped.php. The clothing ads on this page are reminiscent of the wider Neoliberal program mentioned above (accessed on 22 October 2009).

[90] “It’s control. All these things arise from one difficulty: control. For the first time it was inside, do you see. The control is put inside. No more need to suffer passively under ‘outside forces’ — to veer into any wind. As if …” as the medium says at a séance early in the novel (Gravity’s Rainbow 30).

[91] Ibid, 251.

[92] Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (Boston: Beacon, 1964/1991), 10; for “repressive desublimation” see 72 ff.

[93] Thomas Jones, “Call it Capitalism: Pynchon and the Hippie Chicks,” London Review of Books (10 September 2009), paragraph 3. Online: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n17/jone01_.html (accessed on 19 October 2009).

[94] Gravity’s Rainbow, 760.

[95] Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice (New York: Viking, 2009), 119.

[96] Dr. Who fans will of course immediately recognize the disarming power of this televisual allusion; others should see http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/characters/daleks (accessed on 19 December 2009).

[97] Thomas Pynchon, Vineland (New York: Viking, 1990), 324-325; listen to Bach’s Wachet Auf at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wachet_auf (accessed on 3 January 2010); for “tubal detox” services see, “Dr. Dennis Deeply, M.S.W.,Ph.D. /National Endowment for Video Education and Rehabilitation,” whose logo is “a struck circle around a TV set, above the Latin motto Ex luce ad sanitatem,” 33.

[98] Jayne Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of how the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 9.

[99] “Angelorum autem voluntates dico seu bonorum, quos Angelos Dei dicimus, seu malorum, quos angelos diaboli vel etiam daemones appellamus: sic et hominum, et bonorum scilicet et malorum” de Civitate Dei, 5.9, online : http://www.augustinus.it/latino/cdd/index2.htm (accessed on 20 October 2009).

[100] Obama’s Nobel Remarks, NYT 10 Dec. 2009. www.nyt.com (accessed on 16 December 2009).

[101] CBS News online: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/13/crimesider/entry6092717.shtml (16 January 2010).

[102] Norbert Wiener, God & Golem, Inc: on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1966), 58.

[103] See Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine, vol. 1, Technics and Human Development, and vol. 2, The Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1967, 1970) for analysis of history from premodern polytechnical to modern megatechnical phases.

[104] See Daniel White and Gert Hellerich, “Nietzsche at the Mall: Deconstructing the Consumer,” Ctheory (1994), http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=50 (accessed on 30 December 2009).

[105] For an extended example of the commercial and political capitalization of Christian mercy, see my “Terri Schiavo: Bride of Compassionate Conservatism,” Ctheory 3/30/2005 www.ctheory.net; reprinted in Arthur & Marilouise Kroker, eds., Critical Digital Studies: A Reader (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), 368-377.

[106] Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Trans. Talcott Parsons (Mineola: Dover, 2003), p. 53, translation modified. Also see Arthur Kroker, “L’Idéologie chrétienne Born Again,” Ctheory www.ctheory.net (9/25/2009) and Born Again Ideology: (Toronto: Ctheory Books, 2006).

[107] See Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science (New York: Basic, 2005) for an account of the technique of attacking science and scientists to undermine evidence contrary to one’s convictions.

[108] See Gregory Bateson, “The Roots of the Ecological Crisis,” Steps, 496-501; also see Anthony Wilden’s discussion of Bateson’s positive feedback model of hubristic maladaptation, System & Structure, 205-212.

[109] See, e.g. Allan J. Lichtman, White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008) who points to the 1950s Church League of America whose program was to “rekindle the spirit of valiant Christian Americanism” (198); and Bethany Martin’s tellingly titled To Serve God and Wal-Mart: the Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009).

[110] See Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq (New York: Tarcher, 2003).

[111] For a good critical account of this influential idea see Godfrey Hodgson, The Myth of American Exceptionalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).

[112] Max Blumenthal, e.g., in Republican Gomorrah (New York: Nation Books, 2009) quotes Reverend Howard Bess’s description of a rising star of the Republican right: “‘Sarah Palin is a true believer … She has a dualistic worldview that divides the world into black and white. She sees it as her mission to destroy evil, whether it is gay people, a foreign government she perceives as an enemy, or a political opponent like Obama'” (296)

[113] The stakes were thus very high at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009: http://unfccc.int/2860.php (accessed on 17 December 2009); where alternative, activist organizations were subjected to harassment by police and expulsion from the proceedings; see “Climate Crackdown: UN Bars Friends of the Earth and Other Environmental Groups from Climate Talks” and full coverage of the conference by Amy Goodman at Democracy Now: www.democracynow.org (accessed on 17 December 2009); for the dubious results of the conference see, e.g., Stu Seidel, “A Climate Accord Bitterly Sealed in Copenhagen,” NPR 19 December 2009: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121658065 (accessed on 19 December 2009). The global picture is now complicated by new powers rising that will no doubt change the cultural logic of world domination; see Jacques Martin, When China Rules the World (New York: Penguin, 2009).

[114] “Die Blindheit vor dem Christenthum ist das Verbrechen par excellence — das Verbrechen am Leben.” Ecce Homo,Warum ich ein Schicksal bin” (“Why I am a Destiny”) sec. 7.

[115] As Nietzsche says in his late work Ecce Homo about his early work in Birth of Tragedy, “‘Rationality’ at any price as a dangerous, life-undermining power! … It is neither Apollonian nor Dionysian; it negates all aesthetic values — the only values The Birth of Tragedy recognizes — it [rationality] is in the most profound sense nihilistic, whereas in the Dionysian symbol the outermost limit of affirmation is reached,” Ecce Homo, trans. Duncan Large, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), part 3, “Birth of Tragedy,” 1, 46.

[116] Thus Nietzsche asks, “Which of us here is Oedipus? Which the Sphinx?” Beyond Good and Evil, Marion Faber, trans., I “On the Prejudices of the Philosophers,” 1, 5.

[117] Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Duncan Large, trans. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), “What the Germans Lack,” 7, 42.

[118] As Nietzsche says, in “the symbolism of the Dionysia … the most profound instinct of life, the instinct for the future of life, for the eternity of life, is felt in a religious way — the very path of life, procreation, is felt to be the holy path,” Twilight of the Idols, trans. Large, “What I Owe the Ancients” part. 4, 80

[119] “The heart has its reasons that the reason does not at all perceive.” Bateson, Steps, p. 138, Blaise Pascal, Pensées (Paris: Booking International, 1995), 277, 106.

[120] “… that man will be effaced, like a face in the sand at the edge of the sea.” Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses (Paris: Gallimard, 1966), 398.

[121] “… the self as SUBJECT (not as entity) is neither transcendent to nor immanent in the subsystem which thinks it. The subject is immanent in the UNIT OF MIND (Bateson), which, isomorphic with the unit of survival, includes the rest of the [eco]system in which the appropriate transformations of difference (information) are transmitted. The unit of mind is not either sender or receiver: it is both-and.” Anthony Wilden, System & Structure: Essays in Communication and Exchange, Second Edition (London: Tavistock, 1980), 223. See my Postmodern Ecology: Communication, Evolution, and Play (Albany: SUNY Press, 1998), ch. 2 for an extended analysis of ecological epistemology and evolutionary personae.

[122] Despite the claim of his narrator here, Nietzsche was not altogether “godless”; he just preferred Greek gods immanent in nature to the transcendent deity of theism or deism. See Julian Young, Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

[123] Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. Josephine Nauckhoff (cited above); the German text of the final, extraordinary sentence reads: Wir [Gottlosen] wollen uns in Stein und Pflanze übersetzt haben, wir wollen in uns spazieren gehen, wenn wir in diesen Hallen und Gärten wandeln (KSA 3, 524-525).

[124] “Jetzt bin ich leicht, jetzt fliege ich, jetzt sehe mich unter mir, jetzt tanzt ein Gott durch mich.” Also Sprach Zarathustra I,7, “Vom Lesen und Schreiben.

[125] Of this enigmatic figure Nietzsche says, e.g., “Now for the first time the mountain of the human future goes into labor. God is dead: now we want the Overhuman to live.” (“Nun erst kreisst der Berg der Menschen-Zukunft. Gott starb: nun wollen wir, — dass der Übermensch lebe”) Zarathustra, part 4, sec. 13, part 2. See Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Graham Parkes trans. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 250.

[126] See Dwight Eddins, The Gnostic Pynchon (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 22, 91.

[127] πῶς ἂν οὖν θεὸς εἴη ὅ γε τῶν καλῶν καὶ ἀγαθῶν ἄμοιρος;
οὐδαμῶς, ὥς γ᾽ ἔοικεν.
ὁρᾷς οὖν, ἔφη, ὅτι καὶ σὺ ἔρωτα οὐ θεὸν νομίζεις;
τί οὖν ἄν, ἔφην, εἴη ὁ Ἔρως; θνητός;
ἥκιστά γε.
ἀλλὰ τί μήν;
ὥσπερ τὰ πρότερα, ἔφη, μεταξὺ θνητοῦ καὶ ἀθανάτου.
τί οὖν, ὦ Διοτίμα;
δαίμων μέγας, ὦ Σώκρατες: καὶ γὰρ πᾶν τὸ δαιμόνιον
μεταξύ ἐστι θεοῦ τε καὶ θνητοῦ.
τίνα, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, δύναμιν ἔχον;
ἑρμηνεῦον καὶ διαπορθμεῦον θεοῖς τὰ παρ᾽ ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἀνθρώποις τὰ παρὰ θεῶν … (Plato, Symposium, 202d6-e4 [Perseus Project Greek text http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/ [accessed 5 January 2010]).

[128] “… wie müsstest du dir selber und dem Leben gut werden, um nach Nichts mehr zu verlangen, als nach dieser letzten ewigen Bestätigung und Besiegelung? Nietzsche,” Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, sec. 341.

Daniel White is Professor of Philosophy at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University www.honorscollege.edu. He is author of Postmodern Ecology and co-author of Labyrinths of the Mind (both published at Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998). His new book, Die Vision eines postmodernen Lebens (The Vision of a Postmodern Life), co-authored with Gert Hellerich, is forthcoming.