Computing is the central activity in Vilém Flusser’s universe of dots. The verb describes a dual process: disaggregating phenomena into dots – “calculating them to pieces,” so to speak – and gathering them up into phenomena again. Computing is the activity of an imagination that is no longer part of the lineup of progressive abstractions that distorts our view of the world, critiquing and representing the world. Instead, it generates concentrations within the fields of possibility of the universe of dots, gathering dots together and projecting new images and concepts that already carry their critique within them, which no longer represent the world but instead the program or code from which they originate.
For Vilém Flusser, the concept of “virtual” stands between true and false, reality and fiction. It replaces ontological dichotomies and describes reality as a function of probabilities. In the mathematical code of zero-dimension dots, something is more real, the more improbable it is (negentropy), the tighter the dots are gathered together – that is, computed – into phenomena. Computing is human in that it signifies a movement opposed to entropy. At the same time, it eliminates the human being as brought forth by linear and historical thinking: as an “ego capsule,” as a subject of the objective world. For it is not just the world that can be “calculated to pieces,” but also what Flusser calls the characteristic of the individual: perception can be calculated to pieces in stimuli.
In the sense of the recoil of calculating machines (tools) on human consciousness for which the computer is now the model, and in radical rejection of Jean Baudrillard’s distinction between hyperreality and the real world, Flusser calls for the computing consciousness. It realizes itself – and also the world – exclusively within the dialogic network where the “I” is that to which others say “you.”
Original article by Philipp Tögel in Flusseriana