an epistemic heat death of universal solipsism

Interesting (old?) idea from Venkatesh Rao:

Divergentism is both an idea you can believe or disbelieve, and a basis for an ideological doctrine (hence the –ism) that you can subscribe to or reject. You could capture both aspects with this simple statement: Humans diverge at all levels of thought-space, from the sub-individual to species, and this is a good thing. The doctrine part is the last clause.

If you are a divergentist, you hold that the social-cognitive universe is expanding towards an epistemic heat death of universal solipsism, and you are at peace with this thought. You explain contemporary social phenomena in light of this thought. For example, political polarization is just an anxious resistance to divergence forces. Subculturalization and atomization are a natural consequence of it.

I think I’m a cautious believer in divergentism, but not a doctrinal subscriber to it.

There’s a sense of something-in-the-airness I’m getting at the moment, too, in that the above idea seems of a piece with the retromania/cultural fracking thing I rambled about the other day, and that they’re both linked by the ideas of the Ccru as summed up by Robin Mackay on the Buddies Without Organs podcast earlier this week—which is to say, by the utility in cybernetics as a useful, nay necessary model for thinking about cultural production (and for doing thinking as cultural production), and the particular value in the cybernetic road less travelled, namely positive feedback (rather than the hegemonic negative feedback models of the RANDy cyberfuture people, which always did and still do rely on the useful but dangerously limited hypothetical positing of the closed system, in a universe where there is no such thing as a closed system).

Of course, that sense of something-in-the-airness may just be the result of my brain clearing after a hectic couple of months, and of my getting back to some sort of sporadic rhythm of thinking about stuff beyond what’s necessary for the day-job… but whatever. For what is synchronicity if it is not a positive feedback, deliberately sought out and encouraged? Maybe it’s time to stand a bit closer to the amplifier, so to speak.

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