ThinkArt Lab Hogmanay 2004
ThinkArt Lab Animation:  A.T. Kelemen
Đ November 12, 1998 Dr. Rudolf Kaehr

Towards a metaphor of togetherness

Time is coming that we have to learn to live together at the same place without any chances of excluding each other.

Earlier on we solved this problem of living together with the help of the operation of separation and exclusion. Nobody had to live at the exact same place as someone else. The separation of two beings has given the space and possibility for interaction and cooperation between these entities. The separation was the fundamental condition for the possibility of interaction (cooperation, communication, co-creation, etc.).

Now it seems that we have reached the point that we have to develop a concept of living together in which we have to take place together simultaneously at the exact same place. It will turn out that this way of living together is prior to any separation and therefore to any form of interaction and cooperation. In classical terms two objects must be identical if they are not different. They are different if it is possible to separate them. How could togetherness be thought and conceptualized whithout the assumptions of identity and diversity and the procedures of identification and separation? How could this be possible? First of all, it isnīt possible at all on the premisses of the traditional concepts of place, object, state, separation and interaction. The reason is obvious, all these concepts are fundamentally rooted in the ontological and logical principle of identity.

In technical terms, how could it be possible that two different states of a computation could occupy the very same place in the computing space of their machine? Obviosly this is not possible at all. It isnīt possible neither from the point of view of the machine nor of the basic concepts of the programming languages. It is impossible for logical and physical reasons. Simply take the example of the definition of EQ in the programming langauge LISP:

EQxy =def if (eval x) = (eval y) then true

else false

The equality EQ of x and y is strict, it is fullfilled or it is not - tertium non datur. The logic which is ruling these conditions is strictly binary. It is in whatever form a two-valued logical system which is ruling the conditions of equality. All in all, there are three levels of equality involved ruling this definition: the definitional (=def), the defined (EQ) and the defining (=). There is also no chance on the level of implementation on a more physical level of a machine. Two states are equal if they have the same address, and if they have the same address they have the identical physical realisation which is the equality =.

It seems that there is no chance to escape this situation.

Brian Smith has done a lot of work to clear and liberate this situation of strict ontological identity and bivalence in computer science. But at the end of his sophisticated work "On the Origin of Objects", MIT 1996 he introduces again a classical foundation for his quite liberal pluralistic and relativistic concept of truth and identity. It also doesnīt help much if we refere to our philosophers of the flux, Heraclit, Hegel, Whitehead, Deleuze/Guattari, Irigaray etc. because they donīt touch the topics of formalism and computation. The same is true for the more philosophical and theological work on togethernes by Heidegger, Buber, Binswanger, Levinas and others.

We will see, that togetherness in this study is not to be reduced to an anthropological category of, say Mitsein, Miteinandersein, Begegnung.

1 Kenogrammatical foundations of togetherness

Obviously we need a scriptural system which is beyond identity (of its signs and operations).

Everyone knows that the semiotical basis of any programming language is only possible because of the two fundamental operations of identification and separation of its signs.

Without separation there are no signs, and vice versa, without identification there is no separation. And without separation and identification there are no signs. And without signs there is no language. And so on...

Bad enough, my job has to be to develop a way of writing without or maybe even beyond the interlocking game of identification and separation.

How could this be possible? Try it with the idea of kenogrammatics!

There is not much but enough work done on this topic of kenogrammatics to understand at least the very idea of this quite radica