Dialogue with Masa

CK: I am interested in how language can come to behave like topology in its modelling of objects (or images of objects, as we tend to trade images). As I understand it topology is the study of models (cast in points, lines and numbers?) of objects where spatial properties are preserved under deformations. Immediately this reminds me of the Sea Change passage from the Tempest - something which is not a spatial, but a material deformation... When things/ideas are modelled in natural language they tend to be cast as material, and the spatial arrangement of these materials are also articulated in order to have a function within the system. The spatiality is then extruded as a system of temporal positions (using the sequence and semantics of language) in order to encounter the object. In this case language is shifting objects, while maintaining their structures (describing what I think could approach topological function) but not performing it itself, within the language. ???

MK: Hey, this looks very interesting. I try to clarify/repeat what I think you meant.

Your focus on langauge is interesting and challenging, because it is by virtue of its own existence relational. The question is, does language or a model shift because they need to correspond to shifting external objects? Dont you disagree with an idea that it is a passive thing that merely follows the changing objects? Do you propose to understand language as a model? If so, doesnt it indicate a certain autonomy/independence from what it is modeling and becomes an object in its own right? then, shouldnt there be a crack between the external object and the model/language, and acquires its own quality?

The object-word relation is of course the central aspect of language, but the challenge for you, I guess is to liberate it from the definition that only takes reduced variables (the idea that language always stands in for some external objects or meanings) and shift the discourse towards understanding it more as a collection of "signs" that necessarily undergoes various relations in concrete duration externally and internally, spatially and durationally. I think that a "model" does that because it forces itself to have a certain manipulable qualitative reality irregardless of what it supposedly represents.

Language as object (or object in general as a sign) changes its characteristics according to what it establishes its relations with. I still need to do a lot more work on this, but C.S.Peirce seems to be our master sign topologist. He has three categories of signs: Icon/Firstness/quality, Index/Secondness/Fact and Symbol/Thirdness/Imputed Character, cardinally rather than ordinally related to each other. Something quite interesting is going on in Peirce, he seems to be revealing that all three are involved in language, and criticize the reduction of complexity into just 2/3 or either 3 or 2. There is a topology of object-language, but also within language/model as well no?

My focus is more on the debates over body vs. number, particularly in relation to biodatabases. The concept of multiplicity is important for me, because I would like to argue that it takes us beyond the false dualisms of "either or", continuity vs. discreteness, numerical being vs. vitalism, and allows me to agree/disagree with both at the same time. It is difficult to delineate qualitative and quantitative through space, matter, and so on, since it depends which kind. The two aspects always co-exist and grapple against each other. Perhaps we can only talk about purity as a sort of methodological separation, and have to say that in reality they are necessarily impurely mixed. The task is to discern how much and how little the power balance is shifting towards either side, and determine what it is. But I do think that thinking in terms of continuity already liberates us from the confinement of the "human" and takes us closer to the ecology of relations that we are in.

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