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Ordering events in an irreversible sequence, which confers meaning on them, is a form of constructing the world that is shaped by linear, alphabetic thinking. This leads to constructs like the biographies of individuals or the rise of empires, and also enables ideas such as scientific progress or the progress of humankind towards salvation in Christian theology. Without the alphabetic code there would be no historical thought, and thus history begins with writing and will end with its demise. Since history emerges from historiography, it is tied to the material objects carrying the symbols of the linear code. Vilém Flusser lets the nonhuman creature Vampyroteuthis infernalis say: “Since it is soaked up by objective matter, human history is not properly intersubjective.” (Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, 2012, p. 50)

The materiality of communication structures also shapes human history insofar as its turning points are linked to the emergence and disappearance of methods to implement codes in reality. Particularly significant events in this connection are the developments in science and technology that led to the establishment of the mathematical code. These include the development of new symbols for numbers and their manipulation in the Early Modern period, and the construction of computing machines which, since the beginning of the twentieth century, have taken over the task of number manipulation. These developments led to the crisis of linearity and initiated the end of history.

Original article by Arianna Borrelli in Flusseriana

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history.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/27 16:14 by steffi_winkler