Friday, September 09, 2005


Hierarchy and the Emergence of Global Intelligence

Hierarchy is a machine pattern, but it can spawn the development of a global rhizome

Rhizome is a potentially intelligent pattern

Analogy: Computer (mechanical processing) vs. Brain (emergent intelligence)

Rhizome is a parasite on the skeleton of hierarchy

Will either hierarchy or rhizome prevail, or will they co-evolve?

Computer search algorithms compared to human intelligence

The conceptual “free market” is analogous to a computer search algorithm—effective, but inefficient

Could rhizome impact the effectiveness of the free market by adding “human” intelligence to the free-market’s mechanical search algorithm?

Rhizome: will it be crushed by hierarchy, will it crush hierarchy, or will it balance hierarchy, forming some kind of structural symbiosis?

Global Terrorism: is this the first crude, reactionary but intelligent moderation of hierarchy? How so?

Despite the incredible misnomer that is “terrorism”, the way that the Bush administration actually uses the term (encompassing a wide range of counter-hierarchy forces) may be the most accurate encapsulization yet of the emergent global rhizome.

The ideological alignment of “terrorism” around the world serves as a negative feedback mechanism as hierarchy’s economic intensification increasingly infringes upon the constraints of human ontogeny.

Which is more destructive from a Gaia standpoint: terrorism modifying hierarchy or unchecked hierarchal intensification?

Co-evolution is a non-linear equation…


Matt said...

Hey Jeff-
I've been keeping up with your rhizome v. hierarchy postings for a while now, and find the idea very intriguing. My only reservation is the high level of abstraction, which while a powerful descriptive and analytical tool, can perhaps too quickly overgeneralize at the expense of subtle truths. I've discovered the level of painstaking attention to theoretical detail required of such generalizations in a book by Alf Hornborg (The Power of the Machine, which analyzes modern civilization from a thermodynamic perspective, among others) and a sprinkling of essays by Wallerstein re World System Theory. Seems to me the systems-theoryesque abstractions need a reapprochement with the more mundane details of human reality. Check out this review of a book called "Systems in Survival", which descibes humanity in terms of two moral 'syndromes': Guardian and Commercial. I've just begun reading, but the parallels between the dichotomoy of Hierarchy and Rhizome are beginning to strike me.

troutsky said...

I would argue that" global terrorism" in fact enhances rather than moderates hierachical structures much as the "Cold War" provided a "spatial fix" for the over-accumulated capital of the last century.This capitalist logic of power deals with the Rhizome effect through the mechanism of "scaring the hell out of people",as Truman put it. This in turn allows hegemonic states to consolidate in a hierachical formation.