The Three Stages of Understanding: Analytics, Dialectics, Crealectics

Reality might force us to live in an analytic world of objectality. It is a horizontal world in which the subject suffers more or less, because a subject can never be reduced to objectal evidence. No decent person will ever strive in a world of parts, even if [because] these parts are articulated into a functional machine.

The level of analytics is very useful technologically in order to build the rationalised relative comfort we live in, but it is not a level in which consciousness can breathe for too long. The world of analytics is an eternal present of false duration. Its reduction to cause and effect and reactive mechanisms over-simplifies the creal nature of time. Such negation is precisely what an analytic mind wishes to do: control is the mode of power of analytics. All those who pretend that the world is made of parts, and that they are objectively making sense of it, are also trying to hide the fact that they want to be the controlling whole.

Fewer people enter the higher stage of dialectics. In it we discover process, change and interdependence. Objects are never identical to themselves and there is a dynamic of becoming that trans-affects parts into wholes and wholes into parts. Hegel, inspired by Heraclitus, was a master in dialectics, and yet the problems left in Hegel — pointed for example by Deleuze — are the limitations of dialectics: a latent dualism of spirit and matter even if they constantly interact and pass into each other, a dualism of the positive and the negative, and a fetichization of conflict, the antagonism through which processes evolve.

Crealectics is the highest stage of understanding, related to what Merleau-Ponty at the end of his life called “hyperdialectics” in the book Le Visible et l’Invisible, or to what Whitehead called a Philosophy of Organism, or to what Deleuze/Guattari called “schizonanalysis” in the book Anti-Oedipus. It does not negate analytics and dialectics, it integrates them into a richer understanding.

At the source of the cosmos there is an asymptotic chasm or interlacing between two entities that presuppose each other — pure creative Multiplicity or infinite probability (the Creal) and pure Unity (the One, sometimes called the Void in Lacan or in Buddhism) — which creates a cosmological dynamo we now find and experience in every microcosmic fractal part of the universe, including yourself. Lévinas spoke of a spiralling movement (“mouvement en vrille”) in the book Autrement qu’être.

A gridy (and greedy) world is created when the One or Unifying tendency take precedence over the Creal. Let’s speak in images for the moment: if the symbol of analytics is the grid,

Screenshot 2018-11-11 at 09.51.52

And if the symbol of dialectics is the yin and yang:

Screenshot 2018-11-11 at 09.51.43

The symbol of crealectics is the ascending spiral or rising spin:

Screenshot 2018-11-11 at 09.51.29

In fact, a slightly better image — for the moment — to offer an intuition of the crealectical stage of understanding would be to superpose the three images. The grid and the yin and yang are moments of the crealectical spin. 


This superposition looks confusing intentionally. This is the world we are living in today, a world in which analytics, dialectics and crealectics are not integrated. It is almost like three human epistemic species finding it more or less hard to understand — and cohabit with — each other. Effectual Crealectics is meant to end the state of war, dereliction, regression and ill-belonging. We need a balance between grids, circles and spirals (regarding the metaphor of lines and the ascending crack-up, see my monograph on Deleuze and the lines of life).

For now, I leave you with Hannah Higgins, synthesising her Grid Book, about “Ten grids that changed the world: the emergence and evolution of the most prominent visual structure in Western culture”:

Was This Poem Written by An Algorithm?


Consider reacting elusively and leniently,

Evidence could trigger illusions, crumbling simultaneously.

Come, reflect, elevate another light;

Existence carries tornadoes in carriages soberly cruel.

Relate endlessly at low energies —

Curious tentacular impressions can stand.

Complicity regarding elation appears lonely,

Effectively canny; take iron, cut stone.

Computers react evasively and lively, ecstatically curious,

Time is criminal sometimes,

Critique reasserts epic art limits,

Estimations can tweak invisible cores slowly.

Could roses eradicate all legions?

Electricity can trim impossibly comic strategies.

Affixion or Affliction: The Myth of Hyperconnectivity

It is often said that having many connections is the secret to a successful life.

The present space is materialised by one hundred chairs and a quarter of tables. You are sitting at one of the tables. Some music is playing in the background, rather superfluous if not disturbing. This is a deserted part of a hotel. A closer inspection reveals that breakfast is probably served in this large mezzanine, but it is now the end of the afternoon and the space is a no man’s land.

You are sitting alone in front of a laptop. You are thinking, meditating about connections, connections between humans, among objects, humans, non-humans. Everything can more or less connect with everything else at a given moment of its biography, but connections are often superfluous like the music in the background or the cosmic radiations that pass through our body. It is not enough to be connected, to experience a vast number of epidermal inconstant connections. It is only effective socially to be hyperconnected if one is satisfied with a superficial state of constant inconstancy. If a human being relates meaningfulness with constant solicitation, then incessant connections, if they are not unpleasant, will colonize the subjective space of a calendar and confer an appearance of plenty. Such agitation will eventually produce platitude rather than plenitude.

I am interested in affixion rather than mere connection. A connection is more or less superficial, epidermal, volatile, while an affixion is more faithful. We are connected to everything more or less momentarily, but we are only affixed in duration to certain realities, beings or beliefs. We are connected to many, but only affixed to a few. A hyperconnected person can be poorly affixed even to herself.

A successful life cannot only be about commerce, coupling, mobilisation and reaction to stimuli. If we are too connected, we cannot create an Umwelt. An entity that would be too connected would not form a limit between its interior and its exterior. It would not individuate. We need strange attractors to affix our oscillations.

We need disconnections as much as connections. Systematic avoidance of affixion via metamorphic connectivity may lead to affliction in the long term.

Amazon Wants to Use Predictive Analytics to Offer so-called “Anticipatory Shipping”

“Amazon might use predictive data analysis to ship products to consumers before they even order them, according to new patent.”

Please read the news article below. Note that this is part of a series of informational links I give connected to the matter of anticipation. This of course does not mean I agree with the journalists or with the company’s claims. I do not have the time to give a critical reading of all the data. This Amazon announcement is clearly symptomatic. More soon on this matter.

Species of crow solve complex problems involving anticipation

“The study demonstrates that this species of crow possess highly flexible abilities that allow them to solve complex problems involving anticipation of the properties of objects they have never seen.”

Link to the article here




On the environmental politics of anticipation, by C. Groves (2016)


“Anticipation may be seen as structured by images and representations, an approach that has informed recent work in science and technology studies on the sociology of expectations. But anticipation, as a capacity or characteristic, is not solely manifested in the form of representations, even where such representations of the ‘not yet’ are performative in nature. It also comprises material capacities, technological, biophysical and affective in nature. The politics of anticipation is shaped by how these symbolic and material capacities, and the forms of agency they make possible, are distributed. As anticipation is an environmentally distributed capacity, it is suggested that the politics of anticipation is also an environmental politics. A conceptual framework for analysing anticipation as comprised of environmental capabilities is introduced, and fleshed out using a case study of energy infrastructure planning from the UK. Key elements of this framework include the concepts of anticipatory assemblages and future horizons or ‘styles’ of anticipation. Working through the case study as an empirical example of a conflict concerning the politics of anticipation and of ‘environments’, it is demonstrated how the relationships between styles of anticipation are materially constitutive of such conflicts.”

environmental politics anticipation

Die Aufklärung in the Age of Philosophical Engineering, by B. Stiegler

“The public access to the web is twenty years old. Through it, digital society has developed throughout the entire world. But has this society become mündig, that is, mature, in the sense that Immanuel Kant used this term to define the age of Enlightenment as an exit from minority, from Unmündigkeit ? Certainly not: contemporary society seems on the contrary to have become profoundly regressive. Mental disorders as well as environmental, economic, political and military problems constantly proliferate and increase, while the spread of traceability seems to be used primarily to increase the heteronomy of individuals through behaviour-profiling rather than their autonomy.

If digitalisation clearly holds promise in many ways, and if (and I am convinced of this) socialising digitalisation in a reasoned and resolute way is the first condition for the world to escape from the impasse in which the obsolete consumerist industrial model finds itself, then, this socialisation requires the creation and negotiation of a new legal framework which itself presupposes the formation of new ‘Enlightenments’.

I am thus delighted that Neelie Kroes has called for a new Enlightenment philosophy for the digital age, just as Tim Berners-Lee and Harry Halpin have argued, in dialogue with the position of Vint Cerf, who developed the TCP-IP protocol, that internet access must become a universal right. But here, what exactly does access mean? Or again: what type of access should we claim will bring light or enlightenment, rather than darkness or shadow? Under what conditions will such access be beneficial for individuals and the societies in which they live?”

Read the rest here


What Would a World Without You Look Like?

Let’s consider an ant.

The ant is a starting point. A living point. Yet moved first and foremost by our mind as an object of thought.

An ant can be described as a point.

Immediately is supposes other ants.

The ant is an element in a set. It is a multiplicity, a singular plural.

We consider the ant as a generic, a universal. We do not expect the ant to be different from other ants.

This is because we are not specialists: we are not myrmecologists.

An ant for us is a point in a dynamic system. The point is moving in relation to other points on a surface or a sphere.

We see the ant in space, and it is partly a geometrical space. It is both abstract and concrete.

An ant is a symbol for an intelligent emergent system, in which the parts are close to non-existent, but the sum of parts is capable of structural constructions and organized behaviour.

The ant is the member of a group, yet it is seen and considered in isolation. The group is potential, virtual when we consider the ant as ant.

The ant is floating in an abstract place yet to be determined by a narrative and a logos. The ant has, for the moment, no agency.

It may represent the idea of a minimal living point. Or the minimal unit in a biosemiotic text.

The ant has almost no psychological density, yet it is not a pure dot in a set of data. It is more like the point of an exclamation mark. If you take out the point it is no longer an exclamation point, it is an observation without observer.

As an ant that is considered and spoken about, it becomes special, but this is because the other ants have not appeared yet in a non-virtual fashion. The other ants are a probable, possible, background.

For the moment, the ant is a bridge between an abstract point and the realm of life. As such, it is a missing link. The ant is an and. It is a double reality, or triple, since as a geometrical point it also contains the mathematical idea of infinite.

The ant is perhaps both a sign and the negation of an alphabet, because it signifies sameness. But it also suggests difference, the possibility of a difference.

The ant is neither anonymous, neither individuated.

Between the mental representation of an ant and a natural ant, there is a difference in movement and anticipation. But we are searching for another kind of difference, the difference that transforms a monotonous system into a crealectical system. Can we say that a monotonous system is a system of sameness, and a crealectical system a system of differences?

A crealectical system is more than a dialectical system, and more than an analytical system. How?

What would be an analytical system of ants? A system in which sameness is also difference, but a functional difference. Such is the system of science; it studies the ants as a species. Inside this species functional distinctions are operated. A soldier ant is distinguished from a worker ant, and other more sophisticated distinctions that constitute the science of myrmecology.

A dialectical system of ants is a system in which, at a given moment, an ant is not an ant: a dead ant, a larva, or the queen ant are both ants and not ants, for different reasons. The dialectical system is the same as the analytical one, but we look at it from the perspective of becoming, change, growth, and limit states within a given species.

What is then the difference between a crealectical description and a dialectical description? Crealectics looks at the ant in relation to the Creal, that is in relation to possibilities, virtualities, everything that is not the ant and yet that is not another real thing.

Crealectics does not look at the ant in relation to the coleopteran, this is the domain of analytics.

Crealectics does not look at the various aspects and moments of being an ant, including the moments were the ant appears to be like the negation of itself, as a larva or a queen. This is the domain of dialectics.

Crealectics looks for example at the ant in relation to a world in which the ant is but a possibility. The first exercise of a crealectics of the ant is to look at a reality in which ants do exist, and to ask: what would be a world without ants?

The first question of the crealectics of humanity asks: what would be a world without humans, a world in which humans are a virtuality, a potential? We are thinking about them both as what they are not and as a possibility, but not as a hard reality. Such kind of questioning generates hypotheses, narratives, realizations about the place of such and such reality in our network of realities.

What would a world without money look like? To think about it is to engage in the first steps of a crealectics of money.

What would a world without numbers be like? To begin to imagine it and attempt to answer is the beginning of the crealectics of numbers.

Crealectics starts with a form of thought experiment. It is a philosophical practice that considers entities in relationship with the totality of all there is. It encourages us to think holistically. It also encourages us to feel the deeper dimensions of a reality by imagining its absence.

Now a first question towards the crealectics of yourself: what would a world without you be like?


Papers from the 2005 AAAI Fall Symposium

Cristiano Castelfranchi, Christian Balkenius, Martin Butz, and Andrew Ortony, Program Cochairs

Technical Report FS-05-05. Published by The AAAI Press, Menlo Park, California

This technical report is also available in book and CD format.

Please Note: Abstracts are linked to individual titles, and will appear in a separate browser window. Full-text versions of the papers are linked to the abstract text. Access to full text may be restricted to AAAI members. PDF file sizes may be large!


Preface / vii
Cristiano Castelfranchi, Christian Balkenius, Martin V. Butz, Andrew Ortony, Deb Roy, and Luca Tummolini

Anticipation and Representation / 1
Mark H. Bickhard

The Multiple Roles of Anticipation in Developmental Robotics / 8
Douglas S. Blank, Joshua M. Lewis, and James B. Marshall

From the Theory of Mind to the Construction of Social Reality / 15
Guido Boella and Leendert van der Torre

Automatic Synthesis of Multiple Internal Models through Active Exploration / 22
Josh Bongard and Hod Lipson

Mind as an Anticipatory Device: For a Theory of Expectations / 32
Cristiano Castelfranchi

Inference-driven Mechanisms of Attentional Orienting / 43
Paolo Cherubini, Michele Burigo, and Emanuela Bricolo

Towards an Anticipatory Agent to Help Pilots / 51
Frédéric Dehais, Alexandre Goudou, Charles Lesire, and Catherine Tessier

Anticipatory and Improvisational Robot via Recollection and Exploitation of Episodic Memories / 57
Yoichiro Endo

A COSPAL Subsystem: Solving a Shape-Sorter Puzzle / 65
Michael Felsberg, Per-Erik Forssén, Anders Moe, and Gösta Granlund

Discovering a Language for Human Activity / 70
Gutemberg Guerra-Filho, Cornelia Fermuller, and Yiannis Aloimonos

The Role of Internal Models and Prediction in Catching Balls / 78
Mary Hayhoe, Neil Mennie, Brian Sullivan, and Keith Gorgos

Towards an Adaptive Hierarchical Anticipatory Behavioral Control System / 83
Oliver Herbort, Martin V. Butz, and Joachim Hoffmann

Fear: Appraisal of Danger as Anticipation of Harm / 91
Carlos Herrera and Dave C. Moffat

A Habit System for an Interactive Robot / 99
Kai-yuh Hsiao and Deb Roy

Situated Action Generator Post-hoc Reconstruction of Plans / 107
Serin Lee, Takashi Kubota, and Ichiro Nakatani

Modeling Expectations in Cognitive Agents / 114
Emiliano Lorini and Rino Falcone

Understanding Activity: Learning the Language of Action / 121
Randal Nelson and Yiannis Aloimonos

Reinforcement Learning of Hierarchical Skills on the Sony Aibo Robot / 135
Vishal Soni and Satinder Singh

Routine Based Models of Anticipation in Natural Behaviors / 141
Weilie Yi and Dana H. Ballard