4 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2021
    1. Detachment, we will have to assume, begins at the beginning, i.e., with the Big Bang. Prior to the Big Bang, all existence (whatever that means) was confined to an infinitely dense, infinitesimally small singularity in which there was no space or time and all four basic forces of nature (as we now understand them) were united into one. The universe was born, space-time emerges, in an explosion of detachment. Without getting too bogged down in the technical details of high-energy physics and cosmology, the take-home lesson is that a logic of detachments-built-upon-detachments is set into motion from... the beginning. It has been theorized that cosmic detachment began with the detachment of gravity from the unity of fundamental forces, resulting in the formation of elementary particles and anti-particles followed by an inflation into space-time triggered by the further detachment of the strong nuclear force. As yet inexplicable asymmetries in the appearance of baryons (matter) versus antibaryons (anti-matter) were a sine qua non for the early persistence of our universe. It is now believed that the possibility of mass was predicated upon the detachment of the particle called the Higgs boson and with that the associated Higgs field. The detachment of the Higgs boson, and thus of mass, then constitutes a horizon for all subsequent material detachments in our universe.Physicists characterize the possibility state space of a simple system in terms of its “degrees of freedom.” For example, a simple atom like hydrogen can respond to a perturbation (such as being hit by a photon) by moving in space along three axes (3), rotating (4), or elevating the energy level of an electron (5). It is thus accorded five degrees of freedom. A simple diatomic molecule, like H2, can also vibrate along its common axis so adds an additional degree of freedom. Detachment is always about the emergence of higher degrees of relative independence.We can already see a reciprocal relationship between detachment and integration. Two atoms each with five degrees of freedom, shed their independent degrees of freedom through integrating, by way of a covalent bond, to form a new entity, the diatomic molecule, with six degrees of freedom. The more degrees of freedom the greater the detachment. As our universe has evolved it has given rise to constituent entities with greater and greater abilities to buffer themselves against “ambient winds” (be that bombardment by radiation or predation by voracious carnivores). Following the same logic, a particle with rest mass that creates a well in space-time is more detached than a particle (like a photon) with no rest mass. A macromolecule, like a protein-based enzyme, whose folding history affects its future actions is more detached than a simpler molecule whose structure is solely determined by thermodynamic necessity (and thus has no history). A major transition in detachment occurred when a system emerged that actively constituted its own boundary (Plessner’s positionality) and actively sustained its ability to do so. We typically associate this level of detachment with what we recognize as “life”.

      Detachment theory in Physics

  2. Oct 2021
    1. The closed and centric positionality of the animal is characterized first and foremost by the immanent constitution of a self. While not occupying any definitive space, it is spatial inasmuch as it constitutes the non-relativizable "here" of the organism. Double aspectivity is defined for the animal with respect to a separation, and at the same time non-separation, between its core, its here, its self and its whole body of which the core is part. Thus the living thing whose organization exhibits a closed form is not only a self that 'has', but a special kind of self, a reflexive self or an itself. We may speak of a living thing of this kind as being present to the living thing that it is, as, by virtue of its set-apartness from this living thing, forming (not yet 'having', which is why it is not yet an 'I'!) an unshakeable point in this living thing in relation to which it reflexively lives as one thing. In the irreducible oscillation between being inside and being outside that distinguishes the positionality of the closed organism on the ground of simply being the body itself lies the boundary for the referentiality of the thing back to itself. (pp. 220-21) One can anticipate the movement of Plessner's dialectical logic in setting up the conditions for his anthropology. The animal has a self-presence but not a reflective access to it. The animal has achieved a distance to its own body (one might say a "detachment") but does not have a perspective on having such distance. It enjoys a qualitatively new level of agency in its relationship to its surround but it is still fully absorbed in its here and now. The animal is conscious inasmuch as it has awareness of that which it stands in opposition to and reacts to from out of its center (albeit without being able to thematize that relationship). Plessner refers to this as the animal's "frontality."

      Here, Moss helps clarify the word "detachment" as the living organism achieving some kind of distance from its own body, but does not have a perspective of it. Importantly, Plessner holds that the animal is conscious, but not self-conscious. Plessner's term for this type of consciousness is "frontality".

  3. Sep 2021
    1. As the title of a research paper that the Vallée-Tourangeaus wrote with Lisa G. Guthrie puts it, “Moves in the World Are Faster Than Moves in the Head.”

      Perhaps this is some of the value behind the ability to resort index cards within a zettelkasten over the prior staticness of the commonplace tradition? The ideas aren't anchored to the page, but can be moved around, rearranged.

    2. Moving mental contents out of our heads and onto the space of a sketch pad or whiteboard allows us to inspect it with our senses, a cognitive bonus that the psychologist Daniel Reisberg calls “the detachment gain.”

      Moving ideas from our heads into the real world, whether written or potentially using other modalities, can provide a detachment gain, by which we're able to extend those ideas by drawing, sketching, or otherwise using them.

      How might we use the idea of detachment gain to better effect in our pedagogy? I've heard anecdotal evidence of the benefit of modality shifts in many spaces including creating sketchnotes.

      While some sketchnotes don't make sense to those who weren't present for the original talk, perhaps they're incredibly useful methods for those who are doing the modality shifts from hearing/seeing into writing/drawing.