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Based on his reading of Jacques Monod’s work Chance and Necessity: Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology (French original 1970), Vilém Flusser develops his thoughts about chance and describes it as a process through which different elements encounter each other and are grouped together. The biologist Monod sought to prove that the theories which depict evolution as a process driven by external forces are completely wrong. Monod regarded evolutionary processes as accidents in a universe governed by entropy (according to the second law of thermodynamics).

Flusser concludes that seen from this perspective, chance offers a way of developing a quantiable theory with respect to the difference between nature and culture. Whereas in nature, improbability is necessary, in culture it is intentional and possibly calculable. With culture, humankind speeded up the process of creating improbable situations, because they liberated themselves from nature by producing articial symbols. Human communication does not plan improbable situations in a statistical manner like nature, but through conventions. Flusser says that all technical images are produced by conventionally programmed chance, for the programs that generate these images operate with algorithmic games which compute points randomly. The closer these points are to each other and the more improbable the result of the game is, the more real the technical image is that is produced. The universe of technical images is the projection of these images onto the old objective world. This technical universe is growing constantly, whereby it covers the world of objects, produced by necessary chance, with the projections of technical images produced by programmed chance. Thus, what humans create results from an intentional game with chance, and therefore results from an action that is contrary to the technical universe.

Original article by Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri in Flusseriana

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chance.txt · Last modified: 2023/04/13 17:59 by steffi_winkler