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Aetherometric Natural Philosophy

Aetherometric natural philosophy owes its fundamental roots to the thoughts of Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Wilhelm Reich, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Reality is a physical multiplicity, a complex multiplicity, not because its substratum is material but because it is energetic. The composition of the physical multiplicity of the Real is the infinite work-process of physical and biological systems of machines. Machines and systems are either closed (mechanisms) or open (or autopoietic).

Mechanisms populate nonliving nature but also graft living systems by submitting them to the logic of large numbers, thus producing organisms. Mechanisms can be ordered to form cycles, but are not self-cycling. Organisms are dominant organic arrangements (organigrams) that impose an external order (organization) or transcendent principle upon the elements of a machine. Mechanisms and organisms are dead machines, abstract machines that "are all assembled, but dead, and never succeed in concretely plugging into things" (G. Deleuze and F. Guattari).

Mechanisms and organisms are not capable of self-ordering. Only autopoietic machines or open systems are capable of autonomous self-ordering. Autopoietic machines or open systems function according to a dual polarity: a molar or inertial pole, and a molecular or massfree pole. Autopoietic machines that are subjected, by a principle of transcendence, to a molar or inertial pole give rise to all the large-scale (or molar) machines - such as the social and political machines (tribal, state, religious, military, and capitalist machines) that cut across different historical formations, and their dependent technical and scientific machines or technological mechanisms. In turn, autopoietic or molecular machines engage in lines of flight from molar formations, constituting micromachines that follow an immanent plan of self-ordering, and are thus capable of accumulating internal energy in both massbound and massfree forms. Self-forming machines function as they are formed, and are formed as assemblages by the permanent disassembling and re-assembling of their constitutents. They are self-cycling machines in process.

This polarity of machinic function delimits a difference in the energy regimes of molar versus autopoietic machines - a difference that is inscribed in the biological nature of the living unconscious (in the disjunction between parano and schizoid investments, or in the disjunction between sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation, or reactive and active unconscious), in the form of two regimes of unconscious or libidinal investments: one, the parano-neurotic regime ruled by the laws and norms of representation, extracting a human form and relying upon the subjection of autopoietic machines to large-scale ensembles; the other, the schizo regime of autopoietic machines, rarely going beyond the presentation of machinic indices, and only assembled as machines along lines of flight that deconstruct social and technical machines. Molar machines tend towards an historical limit, 'the achievement of nihilism' or self-abolition. Molecular machines tend towards an intensive limit, a 'threshold of absolute deterritorialization' (F. Guattari) or 'nomadism'.

Aetherometry may also be described as the study of machines and their energy regimes. From this perspective, natural research must de facto encompass a philosophical account of the ethical and political 'choices' that are affected by each type of machine. No scientific or philosophic approach can escape being a part of one or the other type of machines.