I would like to try to convince you that there is no essential difference between what we call order, progress, life, technology, the free market, and intelligence when we integrate these things to a sufficient degree of abstraction. I also think that Prometheus is the best symbolic representation of these concepts, and that young Europeans should rally behind it. I will develop a philosophy of life that encourages you to fully realize what it means to be alive. Since our ancestors have always talked about memento mori, it seems that our time needs a memento vivere.
These few lines are a summary of a series of articles published in French on Rage. I am aware that I am relying on concepts that may be new to some readers, but I hope that this article is nevertheless sufficiently intelligible in the way it presents the central themes on which my reflection is based. I believe that these concepts constitute a rare point of view that deserves to be understood to think about the future. Do not be discouraged if the reading is difficult. Keep in mind that “great things are reserved for the great, the deep for the deep, the sweetness and thrills for the subtle souls, in short, everything that is rare to the rare beings” as Nietzsche said in Beyond Good and Evil.
What is life?
A Darwinist might be tempted to tell you that life is “a self-replicating molecular system capable of metabolism, reproduction, and evolution.” He will always refuse to give a teleology to life. The first step is to take a step back to think about life from an astrobiological perspective. According to Stuart Bartlett, the generic version of life that he calls “lyfe” could be defined as a dissipative structure, collectively auto-catalytic, capable of homeostasis and learning.
Let me deconstruct these barbaric words. This requires a prerequisite, to be familiar with the laws of thermodynamics:
- First law: energy is conserved, yet heat is a particular form of disordered energy.
- Second law: energy dissipates. It tends to irreversibly transform into heat leading to entropy.
- Third law: energy dissipates as quickly as possible, given the existing constraints.
Let’s start with the seemingly paradoxical term of dissipative structures. The word structure evokes order while dissipation evokes waste, disorder, degradation. And yet, a dissipative structure is a system that will increase its order by increasing the disorder of its environment.
For example, a cyclone is a dissipative structure. It appears when two masses of air with different temperatures mix. We witness the appearance of this ordered system with an ascending current and a descending current that work together to homogenize temperature, thus creating disorder and tending towards what is called maximum entropy.
The concept of dissipative structures comes from the physicist Ilya Prigogine. He calls “dissipative structures” systems that evolve in an environment with which there are exchanges of energy or matter. They are therefore open systems that defy the second law of thermodynamics by staying away from thermodynamic equilibrium. They self-organize in a way to maximize the flow of energy through them, which has the effect of maximizing the rate at which energy dissipates. Energy dissipation is the loss of useful energy by its transformation into heat.
Entropy, on the other hand, can be understood as a measure of the degree of disorder of a system. The third law of thermodynamics tells us that a closed system will inevitably tend towards disorder as quickly as possible according to the constraints imposed. Entropy is thus intimately linked to time, which will lead Eddington to speak of the arrow of time going in only one direction and always towards more disorder. The Universe itself is subject to the arrow of time and seems to inevitably tend towards more disorder and head towards maximum entropy, its thermal death.
However, we also observe a tendency of the Universe to create ordered singularities. The sun, the biosphere, life, humans – as individuals or as societies – are all ordered systems or dissipative structures. At first glance, one could then say that the existence of these systems contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. But the purpose of these dissipative structures is always to maximize energy dissipation, therefore entropy production. Acting as catalysts, they reduce their own entropy locally to increase the general entropy. Life is therefore never more than a particular instance of these ordered systems, and even the most advanced of all. For example, a human society dissipates 10,000 times more energy than the sun at equal mass.
But how did this life appear on Earth? Whoever claims to know is a liar. However, a consensus is emerging that the most likely hypothesis would be an appearance within a “primitive soup”.
Where do the necessary molecules come from? Perhaps from space, imported by meteorites. But that would only displace the problem, as they would have to have appeared somewhere first. It is then likely that life appears at the bottom of the oceans, where the conditions are more conducive to hosting chemical reactions that are called auto-poetic. In other words, life would appear spontaneously when the environmental conditions are met – mixing organic matter, a source of energy, and water. It will then self-organize and grow collectively auto-catalytically. This means that the elements that catalyze, which allow the chemical reaction to accelerate exponentially or to redirect it, are themselves part of this reaction.
This is another characteristic of dissipative structures, which will self-organize and maintain themselves over time through regulatory processes. A dissipative structure will then have a dual tendency to seek growth and stability to maintain its integrity over time. As the environment changes under the impact of energy dissipation, a dissipative structure will seek to limit the impact of these environmental changes on its internal conditions. This is called homeostasis. Life is then an ordered system that persists over time. A singularity, a statistical improbability that persists in a Universe tending towards entropy. Life and order are therefore intimately linked, and order can emerge from chaos.
But life and humans are not just systems that self-preserve. The system that governs them, in addition to growing and regulating, will show a learning mechanism that seeks to maximize a value, the dissipation of energy. In physics, when a system tends to optimize a value, we speak of the principle of least action. The principle of least action is the physical principle according to which the dynamics of a physical quantity can be deduced from a single quantity, called action. A system will learn how to assemble its different parts, create new ones, in a way to maximize energy dissipation. Starting from a genetic code, a human body will self-organize into various organs serving functions. It will then assemble itself in a way to maximize energy dissipation according to a learning process carried out on the scale of generations.
In a more local sense, over the course of his life, a human will dissipate energy through his cognitive system according to the principle of least action. This will have the effect, over time, of creating channels. In the same way, water flowing over uneven terrain takes the path of least resistance. The effect over time of water flowing through certain paths creates new streams and rivers that are deeper and wider than those that already exist. In an organism, the development of such channels establishes a current through which other similar stimuli are channeled. This has the effect of decreasing the importance of recurrent information being processed to the point that it can be ignored, since the stimuli they present do not have a differentiating impact on the cognitive environment. This means that we have learned something about the world. The goal of learning will then be the ability to remember and process information in order to guide behavior as effectively as possible, and our cognitive system based on our nervous system and our brain will be the main learning device, of which a large part rests on the unconscious.
On the contrary, an unusual event will be brought to your attention. For example, you may deliberately put your hand on a hot stove once, but not twice. Emotions, in this case pain, have allowed you to learn that you should not do this. And if your nervous system is malfunctioning, then your chances of survival will be reduced and you will have less chance of reproducing, and therefore of multiplying copies of your genes through offspring. Your genes are then themselves the fruit of learning carried out through the generations through evolution.
Evolution as a cybernetic system
If the meaning of life is the production of entropy through the dissipation of energy, then evolution will necessarily favor organisms that dissipate energy most efficiently. Genes that encode for phenotypic traits that allow for better energy dissipation will be selected. Genes are then a way to store information about the environment through a trial-and-error process that maximizes energy dissipation. Organisms with the best genes are those with the most accurate information about the environment in which they must dissipate energy.
And this is where it gets interesting. It is crucial to understand the link between information and energy. In 1948, Claude Shannon established what he called the theory of information, which aims to quantify the average information content of a set of messages during the processes of encoding, transmission, and decoding. Abandoned to itself, information can only evolve in the direction of its disorganization, that is, the increase in entropy. Surprisingly, the equation by which Shannon defines the entropy of information by the measure H (H = – K log p) coincides, up to a multiplicative factor, with the Boltzmann-Gibbs equation defining entropy S in thermodynamics (S = K log p).
To put it simply, entropy can be seen rigorously as both the dissipation of energy and the loss of information about a system. This hypothesis was formulated in 1961 by Rolf Landauer, an engineer at IBM, and was only confirmed empirically in 2012 by Eric Lutz and his team at the University of Augsburg.
Reciprocally, this highlights the informational aspect of order. An orderly system is a system that effectively captures, stores, and exchanges information. The more information a system has, the lower its entropy. Entropy can then also be seen as a state of uncertainty and information as the resolution of this uncertainty that leads to a reduction in entropy.
This gives credit to the it from bit hypothesis formulated by American theoretical physicist John Wheeler, which states that reality is made of information that is the smallest component of the universe. From this naturally follows the idea that we live in a simulation governed by algorithms. It is indeed disturbing to observe how much the order of the Universe relies on an entanglement of cybernetic systems. And evolution is no exception.
Cybernetics is an interdisciplinary field, founded by Norbert Wiener, that studies systems and how they are regulated. The concepts of negative and positive feedback loops are at the heart of cybernetics: negative feedback occurs when a system engages in a process of damping to counteract changes and return to equilibrium, like a thermostat that maintains temperature; positive feedback occurs when a system accelerates changes and moves away from equilibrium, like a chain reaction in a nuclear explosion.
Evolution will select organisms that are increasingly complex in order to maximize the ability to store and process information, following the principles of a cybernetic system. Mutations are the positive feedback loops that will explore new possibilities, while natural selection will play the role of negative feedback loop ensuring the stability of the system. All this forming a learning system aimed at maximizing entropy production.
In humans, who practice sexual reproduction, we observe a first negative feedback loop that will ensure a certain stability by favoring reproduction between cousins – two individuals who have in common a couple of great-great-grandparents. Consanguineous unions with too little genetic mixing are penalized by often making the offspring sterile. But, a less well-known and yet logical phenomenon, the union between very different organisms, which is called hybrid depression, does not constitute a selective advantage. Unions between two organisms that are too genetically distant are simply made impossible by the phenomenon of speciation or, in the best case, give fewer offspring, and in the worst case, offspring that are also sterile, such as the mule in animals.
Through sexual reproduction and mutations, evolution will explore new combinations of information and natural selection will exploit the best combinations and eliminate the worst. Death is then a fundamental part of this learning process. Without death, there could be no natural selection since, with individuals living forever, all mutations, good and bad, would be preserved, accumulating exponentially.
But Darwinian evolution is never more than the particular cybernetic system underlying the process of growth, homeostasis, and learning in the biosphere. The same type of process is at work within any dissipative structure, including within a human and a human society. Cybernetics is then the science of the production of extropy. Extropy is a formula proposed by Max More to designate the local reduction of entropy.
Extropy is a word that has no scientific value. The first to mention it under the name of negentropy was Schrödinger. Extropy, or local reduction of entropy, is simply what allows something to function. It is its way of assembling itself, creating information channels in order to circulate it according to the principle of least action. It is what allows order to emerge from chaos and why there are galaxies, stars, planets, etc. It is the opposite of entropy. It is the goal of the learning that we have mentioned earlier. A system will learn in order to increase its extropy.
What we call “progress” is the fruit of this cybernetic process that will allow the construction of information, therefore the increase in order or extropy. This is what led Norbert Wiener, the father of cybernetics, to define progress as the fight against entropy. Evolution and progress can be understood in a broader way at the scale of the Universe as an entanglement of cybernetic systems appearing over time and maximizing energy dissipation.
That is an interesting point. We do not know what happened in the very earliest stages of the universe, after the Big Bang. However, since the formation of light atoms, we have observed a constant alternation between micro and macro evolution.
Co-evolution, genes, culture, and the essence of technology
As I said, genes can be seen as a way of storing information. It gives the organism innate skills. Many animals function effectively after 106, 105, or even less seconds of life: a squirrel can jump from tree to tree in the months following its birth, a foal can walk in a few hours, and spiders are born ready to hunt. The learning phase for these organisms is extremely short, or even nonexistent. This learning has been done directly by evolution, which will act as an algorithm selecting the appropriate innate behaviors.
However, this is somewhat different for humans, whose learning phase necessary for survival is much longer. Since the cognitive revolution, about 70,000 years ago, which saw man equip himself with an enlarged brain, more and more cultural traits and behaviors will not be directly coded by genes. By analogy with the gene, the meme can be seen as the smallest unit of cultural information, but it does not have the scientific value of the gene. A word, a sound, an image… are memes. Our brain will capture, store, and manipulate information received through memes; and living systems with the greatest ability to process information will maximize the flow of energy through them, thus giving them better chances of reproduction.
Technology is then closely linked to culture and even sometimes merges with it. It is also the fruit of this enlarged brain, which will give humans the superior ability to analyze their environment, capture information, process it, and exchange it in order to dissipate energy more efficiently. Technology will then allow for an acceleration in the construction of information. It is only a catalyst, and the essence of the latter does not differ from that of evolution, the purpose of which is the construction of information that will allow the dissipation of energy. When Heidegger emphasizes that the essence of technology is the “unveiling of aletheia” or “unveiling of being”, nothing else should be understood by this than the construction of information. What he calls the being of beings is information. But what is the principle that underlies the construction of information if not what we call intelligence?
Intelligence, desire, and the myth of Prometheus
Anaxagoras used intelligence as a machine to create the world.Aristotle, Metaphysics
At a sufficient level of abstraction, intelligence can be understood as the cybernetic system of a dissipative structure that will allow the construction of information, therefore the production of extropy. Intelligence is the principle that, in a universe inevitably tending towards disorder, maintains these statistical improbabilities that constitute these ordered islands called dissipative structures. This obviously involves the ability to capture, store, and process information. It is therefore not surprising that, in humans, the latter is measured by their cognitive abilities and that genes, the first means of storing information, play a key role in this.
But what is its engine? If the cybernetic system remains what allows self-catalysis, homeostasis, and learning, therefore intelligence, what precedes it and makes the system self-poietic?
Among beings, some can exist apart, while others cannot: the former are substances; they are, therefore, the causes of all things, since qualities and movements do not exist independently of substances. Let us add that these principles are probably the soul and the body, or else intelligence, desire, and the body.Aristotle, Metaphysics
As Aristotle thought, and I believe he is right – or at least for lack of a more appropriate word – it is desire. Desire understood in the way of Kant as will. The will that exists independently of any desired object and which could well, as Nietzsche anticipated, be only one fundamental form that differentiates itself into multiple entities that are dissipative structures. Dissipative structures that are as many machines whose purpose is to connect to another machine in order to produce new information… like an autocatalytic system.
Hypothetical example of what Stuart Kauffman calls a “collectively self-catalytic ensemble” that will self-organize following the principle of least action aiming to maximize energy dissipation. It is made up of polymers, such as small proteins called peptides. It starts with simple “food molecules”, unique building blocks he calls A and B (monomers); and the four possible dimers, AA, AB, BA and BB, which are all provided from the outside. Then there are longer polymers, such as ABBA and BAB, formed from this set of food by reactions combining two polymers end to end to create a longer polymer, or breaking a longer polymer into two fragments. The reactions forming these longer products are catalyzed by the polymers themselves that make up the system.
“Desire does not represent a missing object, but assembles partial objects, it is a machine, and the object of desire is another machine that is connected to it.”Nick Land, Circuiteries
Why are there climbers who die every year in the mountains after taking reckless risks? Why did the pilots of the Aéropostale still take their planes even though they saw their colleagues die one by one and their wives beg them to stop? Because they are driven by desire. Desire is based on a reward system that is activated whenever a goal is achieved. How does it manifest itself in humans? By dopamine shots that form the reward system produced by our brain. This latter will be activated mainly for 5 things: eating, having sex, dominating our peers, capturing as much information as possible, and doing as little effort as possible.
Dopamine loves novelty, as it allows the capture of new information. For an alpinist, this could be a new summit to reach. For the average person, it could be a new phone, a new car, a new movie, or a new sexual partner. Even just looking at a potential sexual partner you find attractive can trigger your brain to release dopamine. This mechanism is so powerful that the mere anticipation of these activities can also cause dopamine spikes. This anticipation is a sign that desire has found an object to focus on, with which to connect.
But desire can be a source of creation as well as destruction. The intelligence of a system is fed by data. Desire is the will to produce or destroy information that the intelligence will then exploit. The Promethean fire is also that of desire, which leads to passion, protection, and sometimes even to crimes of passion.
The system will commit its subsystems to exploration through desire, in order to capture data that the intelligence will use to gain entropy through exploitation. Desire and intelligence, exploration, and exploitation, constitute Nietzsche’s active and reactive forces, which form the basis of the will to power, reaching its climax in the Grand Style, when the two work together. The Grand Style is the alpinist who launches himself without ropes on steep slopes made of ice, rock, and snow. It is the exploitation of knowledge that one has acquired through exploration. The more dangerous the exploration is, the more controlled the exploitation is, the more the Grand Style reveals itself.
We can then fully understand the fire offered to men by Prometheus as being not only that of reason and technology, but also of passion. In a nutshell, Prometheus is the European expression of the desire to produce information or entropy. He is the essence of the progress that has brought us technology that serves life and order.
As Nietzsche astutely notes, in the original Greek tragedy, the actors were surrounded by the tragic chorus dancing around them. This tragic chorus represents Dionysian forces while the stage was the individualized Apollonian representation, all inevitably ending in death.
The Greek genius is to have captured the two forces of the Universe, Dionysian and Apollonian, which will tend, respectively, towards entropy and extropy. The genius of Nietzsche is to have seen that Prometheus embodied both at once. Prometheus, to build information, which constitutes the essence of life, through intelligence, also needs the desire that can lead to destruction, death. He is both Dionysian and Apollonian.
“Prometheus of Aeschylus is, from this point of view, a Dionysian mask, while, by the profound feeling of justice of which we have spoken above, Aeschylus betrays his ancestral descent from Apollo, the god of clairvoyance, the god of individuation and the limits imposed by the spirit of justice.”Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
Life beyond DNA and carbon
Life must then be understood here in the broadest sense, in what it is biological and carbon-based today, but which could perpetuate itself without its essence changing through silicon through a symbiosis between man and machine or a total replacement of the former for the same reasons that DNA replaced RNA.
The RNA world hypothesis, which is commonly accepted, indicates that RNA would not only have appeared before DNA but would even have created DNA, which offered a greater efficiency of information storage. DNA then increased the power of RNA, which delegated the task of information storage but retained the one of replication.
However, DNA will eventually replace it. Why? Because DNA has acquired the ability to replicate itself.
In the same way, man could be in the process of externalizing information into computers, which act as exosomatic brains, that increases his capacity for action but that will see him overtaken by his own creation. Even though this is part of the great march of evolution that has been going on for billions of years and seems inevitable, this phenomenon is no less unprecedented, since the bit, or even the qubit (quantum bit), which are replacing DNA to store information, represents what Jean-François Gariepy calls a new revolutionary phenotype. Its consequences should not be taken lightly. We may be creating the conditions for our obsolescence.
More than transhumanist, this vision would then be more post-humanist in that it necessarily understands that man is not the measure of all things, as humanism postulates. Desire and intelligence are principles that precede and succeed man in more efficient machines, inflicting on him what Günther Anders called Promethean shame.
Capital and Epimethean Inflation
When we talk about capital, we tend to think of it as money. This is not true. Money is part of information. It can be seen as a table of data that associates a numerical value to goods and services, which are the real capital. It only makes sense in the system in which it is used. You can have 10 billion dollars in your bank account, but if you are on a desert island with no goods or services, they will be useless. Money will then be a key piece of information that facilitates the exchange of real capital. True wealth is the amount of energy we have available to us each day, that is, the power we can dissipate.
Money, therefore, is the facilitator of our communication and the distribution of all economic resources. All innovation and societal progress stems from this communication. So, money is information, and it is even the most important information in the capitalist system because it is a measure of the energy dissipated, that is, of the entropy of the system. It is then quite logical to see that GDP is directly correlated to energy consumption.
But if we can imperfectly measure the maximization of the flow of energy through a society through GDP, not all GDPs are equal, and the GDP of a society based on production rather than consumption will more accurately measure its production of real wealth. Consumption, however, has continued to increase in the percentage of GDP since the financialization of our economy due to the exponential growth of money and debt. We could talk about two economies. One of the desire-for-production based on a hard currency, which is sustainable and negentropy, and one of the production-of-desire based on fiat currency, which is inflationary, therefore entropic.
Inflation leads to entropy because it blurs the feedback system that allows for negative feedback loops. Inflationary monetary systems obscure the value created by the productivity of society. Money is theoretically a form of information that should reduce entropy when applied correctly. However, fiat currency, unfortunately, leads to the exact opposite. The use of inflation that accompanies it introduces an error because it invisibilizes a signal of bad health of the system.
If entropy is a state of uncertainty and information is the resolution of this uncertainty, in the presence of inflation the system loses its ability to put in place a negative feedback loop corrective because the signal that should encourage it and would allow it to measure the effect of its action no longer exists.
This has the consequence of seeing thrifty people with a low time preference, who produce little entropy, being harmed and consumers with a high time preference, who are big producers of entropy, being rewarded. What’s the point of putting money aside if it constantly loses value through inflation? We have built an environment that conspires against the foresighted Prometheans and favors the Epimetheans.
Growth is a good thing, but it is not viable to grow indefinitely through increased consumption, given the inefficient use and waste of resources. This waste is carried out by inflationary monetary policies that do not allow the economy to naturally transform into a low-consumption society resulting from reduced informational entropy and the abundance that this could create if we allow it. To follow a sustainable path, we need to redefine growth by moving away from concepts requiring increased consumption and allowing the evolution of energy, information, and money to improve our prosperity.
If, as it has been noted, technology allows the construction of information, that is, it has the potential to reduce the output of informational entropy for each input of energy unit, this is the true definition of wealth creation and prosperity. Then the free market can be, and must be, a source of extropy. Finance, strategy, accounting, ventures, etc. are support roles for technological progress. The main roles fall to creators, engineers, designers, technicians, etc. We then need to create the conditions that will bring back the brightest minds in finance to entrepreneurship. We must move towards more liberalism and exchange the production of desire for the desire to produce.
Faustian technocapital and acceleration
The assets available in the market, including humans and their skills, will collectively constitute a new dissipative structure that we will call technocapital. As a dissipative structure, technocapital will be governed by the same principles as life. Its goal is to maximize energy dissipation, it is formed in an autocatalytic way by the symbiosis between the living and the machines, and it has a cybernetic system of growth, regulation, and learning, which we can call the economy, which will seek to maximize the flow of energy passing through it.
As with evolution, the economy presents a double trend towards innovation and selection through the bankruptcies of companies that can no longer dissipate energy efficiently. Schumpeter well theorized it under the name of creative destruction. A company will itself be a dissipative structure embedded in technocapital. Its blood is information and its reward system is profit, which marks its success in its quest for extropy.
Technocapital then also rests on desire and intelligence, on the need for exploration and exploitation that will lead to the emergence and death of companies. Cycles of creation and destruction accentuated by phases of production economy and financial economy. The production economy is that of workers, those who physically dissipate energy, while the financial economy is that of rentiers who do not work physically. They redirect their money to the most profitable investments, allowing them to adapt to an increasingly rapid evolution.
Through the free market – really free – technocapital learns. It learns first and foremost from its heroes who push exploration to its limits to reap the fruits of exploitation. When Elon Musk, after earning a small capital, reinvests it in its entirety in new companies, he is no different from the mountaineer who decides to tackle new summits. The risk is maximal, the exploitation is mastered, the Great Style is revealed. Have you seen his rockets land? What style! An obvious manifestation of entropy reduction since it avoids the destruction of the device, therefore of the information.
But technocapital also learns, and this is its strength, from its critics and failures. It feeds on its critics and constantly reinvents itself. Many wish for its death and point out its blind spots. By doing so, they create the information that technocapital needs to correct its shortcomings. And if it fails, it also learns from one crisis to the next. Like the Universe and any dissipative structure, it also reveals a double schizophrenic face made of creative destruction.
And it is learning faster and faster. One of the properties of dissipative structures and cybernetics is a tendency to acceleration. This is what American biologist Leigh van Valen will call the hypothesis of the Red Queen effect in reference to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, where the Red Queen must run faster and faster just to stay in place. We have seen that living organisms maximize energy dissipation by adapting to their environment. They memorize information about their environment. The more they memorize information, the more they dissipate energy. But the faster they dissipate energy, the faster they modify their environment and the faster they must adapt. Technocapital obviously follows the same path. This is what leads some authors like Renaud Camus to speak of a Grinding Machine or Ted Kaczynski of a Social Machine in which the living would be taken. A Gestell, as Heidegger says, which will commit man and nature to become mere reserves.
An esoteric reading of modernity, as Spengler does, will see technocapital as the fruit of a Faustian pact contracted by the West which has allowed it to multiply its power. Like Faust in Marlowe’s novel, this pact has a cost and for us it is ethnic and ecological stability, as well as a maintenance of low inequalities. Again, the increase in inequalities is a phenomenon perfectly understandable in the light of thermodynamics. Any open thermodynamic system will naturally tend towards increasing inequality because this means moving away from the point of maximum entropy, which is the moment when everything becomes equal and no mechanical work is possible anymore. Inequality allows productivity, equality prevents it. So a healthy system tends towards more and more inequality and more and more quickly, which could eventually lead to instability leading to fragmentation.
That is why this trend towards acceleration, which is due to positive feedback loops, in terms of cybernetics, will be constantly compensated by negative feedback loops, embodied by its most fervent detractors, who, although wanting to destroy capitalism, actually participate fully in it and even play a crucial role.
Left-right divide and ecological and identity feedback
As Per Bak points out, dissipative structures self-organize in the manner of continuous phase transitions. In other words, they will oscillate around a critical point. For example, the transformation of liquid water into steam is a continuous phase transition that occurs at a specific temperature and pressure. In the same way, a cybernetic system will alternate between positive and negative feedback loops while oscillating around this critical point. A human society, as a dissipative structure, will itself oscillate around a critical point seeking the maximization of energy dissipation. From this arises the need for a left-right divide that will seek the malleability allowing acceleration and stability, slowing it down in order to return to the critical point.
This is at least what should exist in a healthy society where the left would be progressive and the right conservative. However, we find today negative deceleration feedback loops as much on the left as on the right. The first criticisms of capitalism in France came from Catholic legitimists like Albert de Mun before socialists also denounced inequality. Simple historical misunderstandings separating the right-wing conservatives attached to the stabilizing deceleration model of the Old Regime that is Christianity and the self-proclaimed progressive left who in reality have nothing progressive about them since they also represent a negative deceleration loop. Many political actors will seek to correct this by pointing out the many things that voters on the far left and far right have in common, and there are countless far-right authors who will salute left-wing authors such as Marx, Orwell, Michéa, or even Guy Debord.
Even today, technocapital is facing two fierce criticisms that come from both the left and the right on the common themes of ecology and identity. This will lead some commentators to speak of eco-fascism and identity trap. However, there are fundamental differences between the claims of the left and the right on these common themes, but there clearly is an ecological and identity anxiety on both sides of the political spectrum.
The integral ecology carried by consistent bio-conservatives seems to me to be the most coherent expression of this contestation. We cannot talk about protecting the ecosystem by taking man out of it when he is the product of adaptation to his environment. We cannot want localism without first wanting everyone to stay where their ancestors were born. Bio-conservatives do not realize it, but they play a fundamental role for technocapital. Without their criticisms, technocapital would not have the negative feedback loops ensuring stability and it would disintegrate into malleability leading to entropy. Thanks to them, technocapital will mutate and stabilize again.
If you really want to destroy capitalism, the only solution will be to find an organization forming a new dissipative structure that allows more efficient energy dissipation at equal mass. Evolution selecting dissipative structures maximizing the flow of energy passing through them, such a system would supplant capitalism and would de facto have my support. In the meantime, I remain a capitalist, and if you manage to destroy it without replacing it with a better system, it will return.
Renaissance 2.0, Archéoprogressivism and Grand Style
As Prometheus-like individuals, our role is to be aware of these ongoing phenomena. There are three key elements to remember that, once assimilated, will lead to what I call Renaissance 2.0, which aims to surpass humanism.
First, it is essential to redefine progress as the fight against entropy or the pursuit of extropy. Extropy is achieved through the construction of information through intelligence in order to fulfill our role in the Universe as efficiently as possible, which is the dissipation of energy. This is what I call archéoprogressivism, which aims to return to the foundations of what constitutes progress. Archéoprogressivism, from the Greek “arché”, meaning “starting impulse”, “that which creates and does not change” and a notion of order because the arché is also the leader, therefore what must guide progress. Archéoprogressivism is for Anaximander the “beginning” and for Aristotle the “cause of all things”, the “prime mover”.
Second, a human society self-organizes according to a cybernetic process that needs positive and negative feedback loops to provide it with enough malleability, allowing for acceleration and stability, allowing it to maintain its integrity. As a dissipative structure, it will oscillate around a critical point called a phase transition, which will seek to maximize the dissipation of energy. Information is essential for the proper functioning of this system.
Third, civilization and its future depend on the people who make them come true. Belonging to a system that surpasses us does not mean that we are less the actors and that it does not depend on our will. There is not only room for great men, but they are even a necessity. We must be the forces of society that give direction to this future for France, Europe and the West. Prometheus is counting on us.
Once these things are integrated, then we understand that we need to support both the acceleration of technocapital, but also lend an attentive ear to its opponents who point to the ways to optimize it without knowing it. Acceleration must go through these necessary steps. The European youth no longer believe in a future that destroys its identity and the biosphere. But that doesn’t mean we have to embrace their causes. If we must be respectful of the environment, it shouldn’t come at the cost of degrowth. We must show them the way. The criticisms of technocapital are often formulated under the impulse of resentment. We need to sublimate this sad passion in order to harmonize these two antagonistic forces and, as a nation, find the Grand Style. We need all the creative forces. Both industrial, political, and artistic forces.
We must seek to promote the establishment of a technocapitalism that respects the environment and identities that will increase our extropy. I am not alarmist about the climate issue. I am confident that we will find the necessary solutions. The question of identity, which is directly linked to fertility, worries me more.
Collapse and Energy
A cybernetic system can also degenerate and decline instead of tending towards progress. In other words, it can fail to build information, and thus become less intelligent. The declines in birth rate and IQ observed in the West should concern us to the highest degree. They are a marker of the decline of our ability to produce extropy, due to the loss of information, and thus a harbinger of collapse. The loss of information is also genetic in the first place, manifesting itself in the inability of Europeans to renew themselves demographically.
It is notable that the modern world, which has seen the constant increase in intelligence, culminates today in cities that feed on it and consume it. The most convincing example is that of Singapore, which drains the brains of Asia and Europe, offering them an ideal living environment to display a fertility rate of 0.72 children per woman. It would seem at first glance that there is a trade-off between intelligence and reproduction.
I believe that the decline in both birth rate and intelligence in developed countries comes primarily from our loss of confidence in the future, which is itself directly linked to our ability to dissipate energy and our time preference. My deepest conviction is that a system that produces extropy would naturally lead Europeans to have more children.
The exploitation of oil was born from the increase in intelligence, from the knowledge that allows us to consider this viscous fluid as a source of energy. The third law of thermodynamics tells us that the production of entropy is done as quickly as possible according to the constraints. The discovery of this large amount of energy to dissipate logically translated into an increase in birth rate and intelligence in order to dissipate it as quickly as possible.
This source of energy being not infinite and presenting problems for the biosphere, a natural fear has formed, setting the foundations of the declining cybernetic system. At a time when some are no longer hesitating to talk about the end of abundance, the best answer to give today is to find the next source of energy to dissipate. Nuclear power seems to be the best candidate in the short term, solar in the long term.
Collapse and Information
If energy constraints are real, the most important thing is information. If oil reserves has been able to accumulate for so long for us to enjoy them today, it is only because the knowledge to exploit them did not exist before. The cybernetic system that is Western civilization is declining primarily because it is fed with poor-quality information. First, bad genetic information, since the most intelligent tend to have fewer children than the less intelligent, and the immigrants imported are tendentially less intelligent than the locals.
But beyond the genetic aspect, we are now witnessing in the West the rise of philosophical currents that neglect information. Some call them “wokes”, others the Cathedral. Their fault is to push for the destruction of crucial information that helps to promote the intelligence of the system. By producing fraudulent studies, by destroying information related to the Western past, and by preventing certain researchers from producing information, they are leading the cybernetic system into degeneration. It is not grandiose to say that they are the main danger to civilization today.
As with inflation, their anti-racism prevents France from even thinking about the phenomenon and putting in place a negative feedback loop to correct it because official figures will tell you that the French have the highest birth rate in Europe and that there is no population replacement because the share of foreigners has been stable for 100 years. What is the share of Europeans in France? We don’t know, it would be racist to measure it.
The pen is mightier than the sword, and war is today, first and foremost, the war of information. The salvation of Europe and the West will come through the production of the most accurate information that will allow the technocapitalist system to produce extropy again. The key information to produce and disseminate today is on identity and ecology. Two themes used as Trojan horses by the left whose stated goal is to lead us towards the entropy of the technocapitalist system.
What does this knowledge mean from an individual point of view? It should inform us about the way to approach our personal existence. We need to understand that we are, as organisms, dissipative structures embedded in other dissipative structures. We are part of a family, a nation, the biosphere, technocapital, etc. and we are an asset of these systems. As assets, we have an immensely important role to play within each of these systems.
I cannot resist the temptation to call this way of approaching life “assetic morality” even though it strictly advocates the opposite of an ascetic behavior, related to asceticism. On the contrary, assetic morality wants you to be active.
Being an asset does not mean being part of a herd where everyone is equal. A system where everyone is perfectly equal, and everything is homogenized would have reached its maximum entropy. It is precisely because a dissipative structure is an open system that hierarchy is the norm. Let technocapital go on undisturbed and inequalities will continue to grow, separating the good from the bad in increasingly distinct ways. This is not a democratic ideal but an aristocratic one. Wanting to serve the Whole is not wanting to serve everyone and it is in this that if I do not shrink from seeing the collective, I am not a socialist for all that. There is no question here of gregarious instinct seeking union but rather of an affirmation.
The gregarious instinct is the first phase, that of the camel who says yes as Nietzsche says. It is the optimistic stage of the normie or technophile who participates in the system with enthusiasm without fully understanding it and it can even sometimes develop a toxic relationship mixing rejection and addiction. Max More, the father of transhumanism, or libertarians like Mises, seem to me to represent the best that this stage can create. On the other hand, an average TikTok user who spends hours a day on it and realizes the time he is wasting but cannot disconnect is a low representation of it.
Then comes the second phase, that of the lion, where one wants to oppose the norm, leave the system and say no to it. We could call it the stage of the technophobe, pessimist, perfectly embodied by Ted Kaczynski. He has understood that technology can serve the interests of different dissipative structures. A screwdriver serves man, an aqueduct serves the complex system of human society, the smartphone serves technocapital and in the event of collapse we will be left with our screwdriver. Each technological advancement is then at the service of the system and not of man who gradually becomes a piece of the system that the latter will shape according to its needs.
The third stage is that of the child who understands the importance of the system, the importance of maintaining and developing it, and therefore the importance of the role he must play in it. He wants to merge with it and become one. It is precisely because this system represents a more efficient dissipative structure that could collapse that it is his moral duty to support it. He is neither optimistic nor pessimistic, he is tragic. He says yes again, but he is now different. He no longer wants to follow but to guide the herd. He no longer belongs to the system by servitude, he becomes the system by his own will to serve the Universe. He refuses “bullshit jobs” and “substitution activities” to thrive directly within the system because he sees the moral superiority of participating in it rather than hindering it. He regains the autonomy and meaning that were lacking. He becomes an agent of the action of the technocapital that he will generate by his will. One of its best assets, an asset. We could then call it the stage of the “techne” – in the same way that a smoke bomb produces smoke or an alternator electricity, it produces the technology of technocapital, therefore its entropy – and Elon Musk is its ultimate representation. He is the Technoking at the service of the God of technology Prometheus.
But don’t see this as a submission to technocapital that necessarily leads to suffering. The English physicist-chemist who predicted the 1929 crisis, Frederick Soddy, author of the book Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt, already emphasized as early as 1922 that well-being is measured in terms of the flow of free energy whose dissipation in the form of heat we can control to our advantage. We are happy when we dissipate energy and if we are hindered in our ability to dissipate it in trade then we send ourselves bombs.
Pursuing the West’s Destiny
I have long felt like an anarchist, as Ernst Jünger presents it in Eumeswil. An individual without God or master but, unlike anarchists, waiting for these two figures insofar as he fully recognizes them as a valid God and master. I have today a God and a master in Prometheus and Elon Musk.
“But how? Does this not mean, in the popular sense: God is refuted, the devil is not? ” On the contrary, on the contrary, my friends! And, what the devil, who then forces you to speak in a popular way? ”Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
And we need more Elon Musks. If, as I believe, desire and intellect are the two assets to be a good soldier of Prometheus, then I am here temporarily doing the work of a Technopriest by publishing articles designed to arouse desire for those in whom the intellect finds its summits but who accuse a cruel lack of envy. If you understand it, then you know what you have left to do. The most important thing is to be active and work on concrete projects that improve the future. That’s what I do most of the time.
Ppolitical power is gradually shifting from the political system to the hands of technocapital. This is because the political system is designed to manage cities and nations, which are being crushed by technocapital. However, the political process should not be neglected. It should be the negative feedback loop that accompanies technocapital. Peter Thiel is the one who has best understood this.
Progress will come through more freedom and more identity. This requires action in politics, as this is where the agents of entropy use their power to impose a destruction of freedom and identity.
It is essential that brilliant young Europeans understand that the goal remains progress. It is their duty to become the masters of technocapital. Technocapital is the culmination of the spiritual destiny of the West.
Heidegger, in his Introduction to Metaphysics, asks: “Is being a mere word, its meaning a vapor, or is it the spiritual destiny of the West?” The understanding of information and cybernetics that I have developed in this article represents the fulfilled spiritual destiny of the West. It allows us to rediscover a lost unity. Science, philosophy, and art, which have been differentiating themselves since the time of the Pre-Socratics, when they were one and the same, are now reunited.The Hegelian dialectic, the Nietzschean Will to power, and the metaphysical question of being all reach their culmination in this interpretation, which Heidegger himself said, in an interview with Der Spiegel in 1966, marks the end of philosophy. However, he regretted that this scientific interpretation, which reduces man to a support for information, leaves the question of consciousness aside.Indeed, the question of consciousness as a subjective experience remains a mystery, and the question of questions remains unanswered: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”