Language, like everything else, has a history. Language develops and changes synchronically and diachronically. As much as words have etymological lineage, they evolve within historical and cultural environments. The meaning of things is therefore situated at once in the past and the present. The im-possible lexicon functions as a philosophical dictionary of both familiar and new terminology. The definitions underscore the belief that words mean differently today. The Posthuman condition entails a reinscription of meanings of the common and a rearticulation of the contemporary. It is impossible to disengage the evolution of language. The im-possible lexicon embraces the creative power of language and the efficacy of meaning(s).
Physical, psychical and spiritual stimulation. The increasingly ubiquitous source of human knowledge and understanding. Historically, the aesthetic has developed from a theory and philosophy of beauty to a general category for human apprehension. Through the advancement of technology that encourages and allows the enhancing of sensual experience, the aesthetic has become a hegemonic force in the production, articulation, and dissemination of information and knowledge. Because of its historical connection to art and beauty, the aesthetic has been negatively interpreted by science and politics. Nonetheless, today the power of the aesthetic is all-encompassing and a crucial component of both science and politics as the main component in the political economy of the senses.
Any being or entity with the ability to move spatially, temporally, and/or spiritually. Traditionally, animal was defined arbitrarily (i.e., according to power) as anything “non-human.” Today, animals include plants, mountains, sub-atomic particles, robots, humans, cyborgs, and androids, and meteorological elements.
The era in Gaia’s history (following the Holocene) in which humans/posthumans are the most efficacious force of production, consumption, and replication. Our current era, the posthuman era, where humanity has replaced nature as the most transformative force on the Gaia. The Anthropocene is the evolutionary/geological stage where culture and society have merged and or replaced nature: a hybrid between science and culture.
The human condition of doubt caused by the spatial-temporal limits of human beings. The treatment and temporary cure for anxiety began as human religion c. 100,000 years ago (sacred or holy consciousness) and was replaced by science in the 16th century. Today singularity is theorized as the final solution to anxiety.
The state of existing. A building and a horse have being as well as a fantasy and a thought; Captain Ahab has being as well as a grain of sand. Being is always relational unless we can create a being in an incomprehensible state of nothingness, in which, by definition, it could not exist. Not to be confused with a being.
The digital coduit(s) through which traditional (biological) and biotechnological life and life systems are created, altered, replicated, and communicated. By communicated we mean informed and/or deformed through digital and post-digital communication apparatuses and networks. The information networks (including hardware and software) between humans, posthumans, biotechnologically manufactured beings and sub-beings (animals/robots) and hybrids thereof fall under the term biomedia.
Pertaining to the dialectical reality of the constellation of life, theory and music. At play is the etymological dialectics of bios, theory, rhythm and lyric. The study or textual articulation of life or lifelike processes. A theology of life, in both senses of the word: an observation or belief about life and lifelike events. Lyrical in the sense of musical (see music) and poetical (as in creative, imaginary, possible) and temporal (rhythmos, “measured motion, time”) and of course Hermeneutical in its interpretative purpose. Suggesting the created, imaginative and elusive nature of life. Let us not forget, the lyre was created by Hermes. See also Jen Hirt’s “Monster Magnificent” and Tina Mitchell’s biothyrics blog.
A human-made limit or distinction for the purpose of segregated relations of power. Boundaries include all forms of invented distinctions, physical and spatial, economic, gender and sexual, legal and administrative, topographical and geographical, and so on.
The art of narration which recapitulates the experience of life itself. Usually a form of a text using signs. See autopoiesis.
The ability to arrange materials and signs into a thought-object.
From the Greek dia–logos, “through-logos,” “through-discourse”. The dialectical is the temporal motion of human understanding through all human endeavors of interaction with each other and with the world. Thus, all codes, including language and music are dialectical. Dialectical is change, evolving, becoming. Biology, architecture, economics and poetry are all dialectical because they change through time.
Communication between any single or multiple entities such as beings, systems, institutions, things, and anything else that can be influenced in any manner by anything else. Discourse always transcends physical, temporal, spatial, spiritual, ideological, atomic and subatomic membranes. Examples of discourse include, crashing an automobile, voting or abstaining from voting, acknowledging or ignoring another being’s/thing’s/thoughts’ presence, scientific research, digital communication of any kind, war & terrorism, peace & violence. As such, humans have discourse with plants, architecture, trash, insects, memories & history, living and dead people, furniture and animals. Note that you can never not have discourse because silence, blindness, ignorance & ignoring are a form of discourse.
Any form of distribution of describable entities. Economies are always regulated and administered by power structures through various systems of distribution. Economies are ruled by demand and scarcity.
The study and ethical reckoning of the relational existence of beings within environments.
The topological space where beings interact. From the point of view of beings, what surrounds them. Environments can be physical, mental, spiritual, and textual, for example.
The synergetic, self-regulating system of living and non-living entities, networks and complexes that humans are being-with. Formerly known as the planet earth.
hermeneutics of suspicion
The alternative theories of knowledge which question the teleological validity of science and quantification.
The archive of human memory. The storage of history begins in the human brain-body matrix and, since the invention of writing and other codes, has been subsequently translated into various formats: texts, print, images and digital codes. The replaying of history is called telling, or what the Greeks called mythos.
The oft-forgotten scenography that must be traversed when traveling from city to city. Beyond suburbs or exurbs but profoundly rural spaces are really remnants of pre-20th century living. They are no longer an environment to be felt but exist as industrial agrarian nothingness or appear as a patchwork or abstract expressionist painting from the air or, from a speeding car, a wall of blurry grass and decay. Towns are inconsequential theater flats or a study in gravity. But they are also underexplored potential. As a generation dies, perhaps the metro-centrist mythology luring the young with freedom and culture will fade too. New types of connectivity, creative hands-on occupations, and, of course, new freedoms and cultures can grow in the in-between.
For human beings, the ability of and subsequent process of registering affects and effects through the manifold of experience and embodied processes of feeling and thought. Since the Enlightenment, intuition has been denigrated as a feminine “feeling” given its inherent unquantifiable quality. All Cartesian ideological positions and therefore science itself are inevitably suspicious of the validity of intuition. Intuition is the operation and result of aesthetic experience and is universally crucial for all human knowledge and understanding.
A material, biological, and/or spiritual conduit through which information is communicated. Membranes are always real and potential locations of movement-type events. Membranes are in-themselves liminal spaces of being. A membrane is always already a site of exchange whether it’s at work or not, a membrane is a threshold of differentiation, growth, and exchange. Not to be confused with boundary.
From the Greek παιδαγω “to lead a child.” In the ancient world through the development of the Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages, on through the creation of humanistic education in the Renaissance, pedagogy was philosophically equivocal with education and teaching. Today, we have ostensibly separated pedagogy from teaching, and thus, from education itself. Pedagogy, within the professional and economic discourse of education, is the theory and practice of teaching within systems of education.
The study, analysis, and critique of lived experience. Included is the study of the lived experience of all living beings. The phenomenology of the animal and plant life is studied indirectly. Human existence and experience is the beginning of phenomenology but is not its end. Lived experience is of course holistic, never reducible to mind or body or spirit or flesh or language or code. Phenomenology is always already beyond dualities.
The contemporary process whereby the traditional distinctions between nature and culture, human and technological, are disappearing. The technological inevitability of human beings having the ability to design, reconstruct, produce, augment, and otherwise redefine what the human is.
The ability to influence, manipulate, force, and regulate modes of existence on the Gaia and its territories.
The opposite of absence. We understand that presence as an actual moment is perhaps inconceivable given our ineluctable reliance on representation (language, thinking, being) and temporality. Still, we are constantly involved in the project of creating and re-creating presence.
Selling anything for more than it is worth. The main driving force in human modes of existence since the 16th century. Conversely, all non-human life is manipulated for profit.
An addition, replacement, substitute, augmentation, extension, or growth of-from the (human) body.
The theory that postulates that human unconsciousness and consciousness is deeply indebted to the contradictory effects of the process of civilization (beginning c. 100,000 years ago) on human sexuality and violence.
Following Lacan, the deadlock or infinitely open-question of defining sexual difference.
From the Latin revolvere (to turn back). Note that the term means return, and as such was part of the definition for the circular movement of celestial bodies, cyclical temporal movement and, more recently, Nietzsche’s concept of “eternal return.” But in its political manifestations, revolution has come to mean sudden change and disruption, not necessarily a return to the past. Revolution is thus a cycle that is synchronic rather than diachronic.
A theory of human investigation invented by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) whereby evidence of the nature of the world is gathered through visual study, design and drawing (disegno). Since its inception, science has become the most efficacious theory and methodology for the acquisition of knowledge. Since the Enlightenment, science has been dominated by the theory of quantification, taxonomy—and today—digital models.
The critical analysis of how human beings give meanings to everything and anything possible: things, past, present, and future events, experiences, values, animals, humanity itself, and so on. All communicative systems invented by humans so far–language, images, indices, codes, and hybrid systems–can be studies semiotically. Today the meaning of “truth,” for example, is being redefined by humans all over the world.
The cluster is similar and dissimilar theories that posit a singular answer to all humanity’s questions since Paleolithic times. The causes and the symptoms of singularity vary from signs of technofetishism and technophilia. Sometimes designated by the term “theory of everything” (ToE), examples of singularity include string theory, and scientology.
Following the logic of racism and sexism, speciesism privileges the interests of the human species above all others and functions within the ideology of the human to legitimize the exploitation, torture, consumption, and extermination of all non-human animals. As such, speciesism is defended by Richard Dawkins, among others, who see speciesism as simply nature at work.
The magical belief that human and natural problems will be teleologically resolved by technology.
The conscious and/or unconscious desire and attraction for technological devices and solutions (see technofetishism).
The agency of a text to produce controversial truth(s).
Critical observations and lookings into the state of the past, present, and future.
An artifact of being and/or an event that is created, factured, manipulated, postproduced, and/or translated into a better-understood product or “object” (textual, visual, virtual, time-based) for commentary, reflection, and/or critical analysis. The thought-object is dynamic yet “frozen” by its very creation. It is auto-theoretical at times when it imparts an experience. The process and product of the thought-object is thus to expand the definition of what a “text” is beyond written and linguistic concerns to include the plethora of technologically created entities that are being designed today. In a way, a though-object is another way to understand the objects of design.
The Mode of Existence that accepts the possibility that the sense of so-called normal human vision is not the final arbiter of all truths. In antiquity and the Middle Ages transcendence was a synonym for wisdom. Since the Enlightenment, transcendence has been generally equated with mental illness and irrationality respectively.
The indexical activity of recording memory and history. Coded indexes.
ζωὴ Animal, organic and inorganic life; anything which moves or entails motion. Any-thing that breathes zoe affects or effects motion, movement, energy, vibrations, flow. Zoe can be opposed to bios, life as a course or way of living but it can never be wholly excluded from it . We can benefit from a understanding of zoe as all life, moving within a plane of immanence. Zoe is not bound by man-made laws or human jurisdictions: distinctions about what life is, when it begins and when it ends and by what means. Zoe is outside the hierarchies and violence of human biopower; it remains present even in death. Zoe is thus irreducible to life itself but flows infinitely onwards and beyond the human.
Agamben, Giorgio, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford University, 1998)
Brown, Charles S. and Ted Toadvine, eds, Eco-Phenomenology: Back to the Earth Itself (State University of New York, 2003)
Derrida, Jacques, Writing and Difference, tr. Alan Bass (University of Chicago, 1993)
Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Brian Massumi (University of Minnesota, 1987)
Feyerabend, Paul, Against Method (Verso, 1993)
Latour, Bruno, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, tr. Catherine Porter (Harvard, 2013)
Maturana, Humbert R. and Francisco J. Valera, Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living (D. Reidel, 1980)
Rifkin, Jeremy, The Zero Marginal Cost Society (New York, 2014)
Singer, Peter, Animal Liberation (Ecco, 2001)
Wolfe, Cary, What Is Posthumanism? (Minnesota, 2010)