# Calculate

1. Calculation, being based on natural numbers
and the act of counting, is a method for dealing
with concrete phenomena in an abstract form as
clear and distinct quantities. The Renaissance
brought about a shift in mathematics from the
contemplation of eternal forms to practical applications.
Thus techniques had to be invented
to integrate the gaps between the distinct
quantities in order to grasp the *res extensa* – the
material world. The coexistence of mathematical
techniques, such as analytic geometry and
differential calculus, with alphabetical code in
mass communications had significant cultural
effects, such as mechanization and the Industrial
Revolution, as well as the development of
historical ideologies. As a backlash from the
mechanization of calculation itself, a new anthropology
emerged based on post-historical
consciousness (programmatic thought), in place
of the previously dominant historical consciousness
(causal thought).

2. In communication, calculation is codification
in the form of clear and distinct symbols (or
points) which are synthesized (computed) in
order to produce meaning. Meaning, therefore,
occurs in the relations between quantities as
scatterings of possibilities. Vilém Flusser describes
this zero-dimensional code as a further
step in the human being’s abstraction from the
concrete world, which gradually supersedes the
one-dimensional linear code of writing. The ability
to compute and realize possibilities accounts
for the new concreteness of technical imagination
– a cultural paradigm shift from abstraction
to concretion.

3. Vilém Flusser ascribes important phenomenological significance to this new codication, arguing that it promotes relational logic and transforms individuals into fields of relation. However, as Flusser argues using informatics, it also yields the danger of automated information production through the program, which displays a tendency toward entropy. In the post-historical model of information production the ultimate freedom, therefore, lies in subverting the program to realize intentionally highly improbable outcomes.

*Original article by Monika Vrečar in Flusseriana
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*calculate.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 (external edit)
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