On a Second-Order Pragmatism

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Could be the next step in formalizing/constructing some kind of theory machine.

What is meant by these terms?

"Second-Order" inherits from second-order cybernetics, which, to my understanding, can more or less be summarized as such: If first-order cybernetics involves an observer of a world comprised of system and environment, second-order cybernetics involves an observer of a world comprised of an "observer of a world comprised of system and environment", a system and an environment. From what I gather, beyond the jump from first to second order cybernetics, any higher nth order is either irrelevant or, perhaps, merely beyond the scope of this project.

By "pragmatism", and my understanding of pragmatism can certainly gain from a thorough audit, I merely mean some kind of agency/ontology operating according to means and ends. Why X? Because it leads to Y, and Y has been deemed a favorable outcome. Perhaps the X and Y should be switched there, seeing as the end seemingly is determined before the means.

Also, by "ideology" I fundamentally mean a system of beliefs, secular or not, pertaining to their world. What they believe is what, what they believe is worth what, etc.

So, a "second-order pragmatism" entails the subject being bifurcated into a first-order subject and a second-order subject. The first order subject (S1) operates, ideologically, according to standard pragmatism (pragmatism = first-order pragmatism), while the second-order subject (S2) operates, ideologically, according to second-order pragmatism. What this gives rise to, if I am looking at this correctly, is meta-ideology. I'm very excited about this, and I am eager to elaborate and perhaps receive feedback.

The "bifurcation" of the subject into S1 and S2 entails a division, a binary compartmentalization of the subject's ideology. Seeing as, in theory, the subject is statistically unlikely to be "purely" of a single ideology, or totally in line with the orthodoxy of their identified ideology, there is an internal agon, an immanent contra-ideological dialectics that drives the ideological development of the subject. If this agon is explicitly formulated into a dialectical format, the odds of the two sides "weighing" the same is one in infinity. Thus, the subject now houses, in the manner of a crucible, both a "minority" and a "Majority" ideology, both combining into the constituency of the subject. The net ideology of the subject is thus more influenced by the Majority ideology than the minority, but the minority is what (ant/prot)agonizes the Majority into dialectical "growth"/evolution.

It seems, in order for this to work, the subject needs to alienate themselves from their identified ideology enough to "weigh" its parts, and enough to identify the threshold/striation/boundary between what will become their minority and Majority ideologies.

But the division into minority and Majority ideologies may not be permitably arbitrary. That is, there may need to be a certain correlation between the two. I can really use some input on the following mechanism - I've been fleshing it out over the last year or so, but this notion of a second-order pragmatism just arrived.

What becomes tricky here is that the subject needs to believe, consciously, in two contradicting ideologies at once. We can draw, conceptually, from superposition and quantum mechanics - but already that is a topos that is, ostensibly, lightyears away. That said, perhaps the distance can be transcended by the right analogy.

The subject, as S1, needs to pursue the first-order end, E1, as if it were the end-all-be-all of ends. S1 does this by, in turn, determining the first order means, M1.

The subject, as S2, needs to "supervise" and even manipulate S1 in such a way that the first order means, M1, veer, unbeknownst to S1, away from E1 and toward E2.

One of the axioms here, should this clarify anything, is that our means will almost necessarily have consequences that do not align with the supposed ends. Perhaps these unintended consequences "better" achieve some "other" ends, but this byproduct can only be generated/achieved if and only if the subject (as S1) "stays true" to their supposed ends (E1).

A certain kind of ideological clinamen, perhaps. A strategic veering off of the track - that is, the apparent track, the first order track, the sequence of first order means that have been determined in the interest of achieving the first order end.

What this may unlock/enable for us is a heterodoxical compounding of seemingly incongruous, even antithetical ideologies. Relatively radical recombination of ideological components/models/strategies that have hitherto never left their home town, their home ideology. Of course, there have been, and will continue to be, somewhat novel amalgamations of ideologies, without the conscious undertaking of a second-order pragmatism. But a second-order pragmatism might allow for a less random/chaotic handling, might allow the subject (schizo-subject) to better steer their para-ideological/meta-ideological framework/system - and let us not forget that "kybernetikos" meant "good at steering."

One of the reasons I am so adamantly faithful in such a project is that it feels doable - because it feels as if I have been doing it. Perhaps the most difficult part is the point of departure: the subject needs to neutralize/raze their ideological operating system - their particular arrangement of land masses, into a sea of infinite contingency (because lets face it, to assume we can predict the ultimate outcome of our actions is hubristic), or, what comes out to the same thing, a sea of noise.

Once all structurations/contrivances have been collapsed, the subject is either left with the tumult of nihilism, or the serenity of a kind of nirvana - in either case, there is an absence of some land mass on which the subject can gain a footing. The difference here is key, because the serenity would much better poise the subject to undertake something as extreme as this, and it will also better sustain their activity. The tumult of nihilism will merely drown the subject, sooner or later.

What do I mean by land masses? I mean (I'm having difficulty here, wording this, so grain of salt) beliefs. One arrangement of landmasses entails a certain arrangement of beliefs, and the reformation/restructuration of land masses entails an alteration in ideological "position", the position being, in a much more discrete way, the ideological label that they operate under. Within Communism, we have communisms, each of which are permitted some margin of variability before they warrant a different label. Similarly, arrangements of land masses, that is arrangements of belief, can only vary within certain parameters before warranting a different ideological category.

Now, in this model, because we have (to my knowledge) been historically confined to the dimension of ideologies, and haven't yet entered into that of meta-ideologies (taking these terms as defined above), all ideologies have been more or less regulatory, ore or less enforcing of their own boundaries. That is, categories of arrangements of land mass inhibit the variation of the alteration of the land masses to a conservative margin. We tend not to open ourselves up to media/sources from ideologies we "oppose". That is the radical aspect of this. In more mundane terms, such a project entails learning how to open yourself up to the complete spectrum of ideology, having faith, ultimately, that your currently dominant ideology will "win out" in the dimension of meta-ideology.

From where I am standing, if (left) accelerationism doesn't already qualify, according to the above terms, as a meta-ideology, as an instantiation of second-order pragmatism (the subject, as identifiably anti-capitalist, provisionally aligning with the ideology they oppose, in a roundabout way of overcoming it) - if this doesn't already qualify as such a project, it can, perhaps, be made more efficient by considering it as such. Calling a spade a spade sharpens the spade - but then again, isn't this whole project about paradox? Perhaps calling a spade a diamond sharpens the spade.

Also, in this framework, "nootopology" would consist, perhaps, of the study/navigation of such land masses, seeing as no topos is exempt from the permeating spread of ideology. Formalizing/systematizing this to a deeper extent might prove problematic, seeing as there is a constitutive and crucial role played by chaos, by some logophobic material. As the hydrophobic petal keeps the droplet outside its domain, so the logophobic object-of-logos repels the logos with a sort of anti-gravity, thus allowing an inexhaustible object-of-logos, one that can never be fully known, discursively rendered/represented - and thus provides a Sisyphus blessing, a constitutive horizon that occasions unlimited progress. Dynamically, it is as if the logos is being drawn from the logophobic core, forming an infinitesimally intricate superstructure that amounts to an ever deepening intellect.