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<nettime> Representation, information, technology - Fanie de Beer


[from Communicatio, South African Journal for Communication Theory and
Volume 22 (1) 1996]

Representation, information, technology: the Enlightenment project revisited

Fanie de Beer


The Enlightenment project represents form, light, orderliness, and
predictability. The key notion is representation. Representation presupposes
a specific conception of reality. It is an operation that reduces the
multiplicity of reality to rational sequences and controllable consequences,
to laws and regularities, to a specific kind of logic. Through
simplification, counting, calculation and brutal manipulation, the
intractably complex, the disparate and the heterogeneous and the original
richness of the real are severely reduced and eventually suppressed. Its
most important current manifestation is information and the most reinforcing
principle is technology.

This bringing of form, light, and order is a distortion of reality rather
than a sense-giving endeavour. We must try to assail this distortion and the
problems it poses by redesigning our thinking, away from the
representational thinking of the Enlightenment tradition to the differential
thinking of the heterological tradition. This tradition focuses on the
complex and the heterogeneous, on the non- dialectical interplay of the
representational and the non-representational. The knowledge of differential
thinking expands and extends to the entire body; it is an appeal for the
rediscovery of knowledge as eros. It severely questions 'the epistemology of
light' and promotes the thinking of complexity, or multiple thinking. To
achieve the redesign of thinking a different educational dispensation is
called for.


The urgent intellectual challenge posed to us at this time is the
re-thinking of the consequences of Western cultures and traditions as these
have been taken for granted for generations now, albeit that they have been
articulated in many different ways. Many things have been promised in the
name of these cultures and traditions. The question is: Do they offer what
they promise? And, more important perhaps, can they offer what they promise,
or, why don't they fulfil their promises? These cultures and traditions and
their manifestations are collectively referred to here as the Enlightenment

Central to this project is the enterprise of knowledge, a fundamental
enterprise since the Greeks, by which we move towards a more complete
understanding of the world. Since the Enlightenment the achievements of
science have provided the propaganda for this enterprise. The world of the
Enlightenment is a world of certainties and absolutes; a world in which the
distinction is accepted between fact and fiction, reality and myth, truth
and falsity, light and darkness, order and disorder; a world in which we
have contributed to the growth of knowledge through the diligent application
of reason, empirical method and statistical calculation; a world in which
pure and uncontaminated facts are allowed to determine the quality of
knowledge; a world in which the successful prediction of the future and
deliberate planning for the future are obtainable ideals. Currently
developments in the much-debated area of 'technology', the movement of the
phenomenon of information to its current central position in much of social
discourse, and the notion of representation which undoubtedly forms the
epistemological basis to both these cultural expressions and which is
dramatically reinforced by them, is adding impetus to the dream.

When one looks at the transformations which have been taking place in the
domain of knowledge for more than a century now, and which have taken on
very specific directions and dimensions during the last two and a half
decades, possible answers to the questions posed in the introductory
paragraph seem much more than a mere contrivance. In various areas the
claims mentioned above are no longer uncontentious. These claims, like
certainties, absolutes, facts, predictive power and so forth, are expressed
through texts, language, and sign systems which are no longer seen to be
uncontaminated or even neutral. In principle then these claims are
thoroughly questioned.


When the Enlightenment project is considered in terms of perhaps its most
important current manifestation, namely information in almost the literal
sense of the word, then at least two facets of the term emerge: the giving
of form and the bringing of light. 'Inform' can be exchanged for
'enlighten'. In Afrikaans, as well as in Dutch and Flemish, the terms
'inligting' and 'voorligting' are often used as equivalents of
'information'. The name of our teaching Department has just been changed
from Library and Information Science to 'Information Science'. In Afrikaans
it is called 'Inligtingkunde'. Form and light seem to be the central terms.
The term light certainly stems from the 'light' metaphor of Western
religious terminology, but without doubt is also reinforced by the
Enlightenment tradition itself as the continuation of the religious --
although in a secular form.

In both instances, however, the Enlightenment project loses sight of the
fact that the process of forming or form-giving implies off-cuts and
rejects, and that in the process of lighting the blindness caused by
overexposure is conveniently forgotten. The bringing of form and order is a
distortion of reality rather than a sense-giving endeavour (Serres); the
throwing of light can be equalled to 'the madness of the day' of Blanchot.
The deep significance of distortive and maddening dimensions is not taken
into consideration, nor given account of, apart from being seen as something
to be avoided or eliminated at all cost.


Moreover, the way the distortion and maddening really penetrates every facet
or subproject of the Enlightenment project is what is at issue here. Since
the explicit workings of these issues are repressed into oblivion and
forgottenness, the real causes of many failures are never detected, and
remain to a great extent unresolved. Ecology, famine, starvation, literacy,
development, social relations, individual tension and stress are certainly
not only unresolved but are also aggravating issues, despite many claims to
the contrary. Issues like these cause a deep and wide re-thinking of the
crisis of representation as the most important single cause of the crisis of
the Enlightenment. The crisis or problem of representation, expressed as the
specific conception of knowledge of the Enlightenment tradition
(enlightenment in the sense of 'bringing to light' and representation as
'making present to' in a most direct sense are closely related), must be
related to the gradual but definite transformation of our conception of
knowledge as emphasised by numerous authors and thinkers.

These authors and thinkers emphasise the productive characteristics of
issues such as unavoidable paradoxes, contradictions and inconsistencies
inherent in all writings about the enterprise of knowledge. I wish to focus
attention on some of the noetic pairs characteristic of the different
oeuvres of specific authors without discussing them at all. It is hoped that
the reason for mentioning them will become clear from the context of the
paper. The following are the most prominent examples:
dissemination-representation (Derrida); discontinuity-continuity (Foucault);
rhetoric-grammar (Lacan); paradox-rule (Lyotard); tabularity-linearity
(Serres); rhizome-tree (Deleuze); heterogeneity-homogeneity (Bataille);
smoke-crystal (Atlan); unpredictable-calculated (Ekeland); abnormal-normal

In essence this transformation implies a critique of the verities of Western
philosophy and a rejection of stable identities. The critique and rejection
suggest in a very fundamental way a critique of representation and a renewal
of impermanence, contradiction, non-identity, simulacra, difference. This
entails an attack on realist theories which claim that subjects can
accurately reflect or represent (mirror, according to Luypen and Rorty) the
world in thought without the mediations of culture, language, and the body.
Obviously the subject-object distinction is at issue where a neutral and
objective world is mirrored in the receptive mind of a passive subject.
Paradoxical as it may sound it is nevertheless true that the empiricism of
John Locke and the rationalism of Rene Descartes (and their descendants --
that is the Enlightenment tradition) hold this view. It also entails a
rejection of the predominant focus on and emphasis of conscious existence
and representational schemes and the death instincts related to them that
find expression in totalising discourses, humanist frameworks and cognitive


We must try to assail this theme and the problems it poses by redesigning
our thinking and acting, rather than the world around us. In this
transformation we encounter not only the key to this process of redesign,
but also the acknowledgement of the mediatory function of language in both
its material and abstract dimensions, culture in its dynamics, and bodies
and their forces, affections and desires to the same effect. The
transformation provides a fairly effective basis for an attack on
representation in a broad sense as well. In this view the perception of the
world is mediated through discourse and socially constructed subjectivity.
This transformation forces us to argue on behalf of the dynamic and
indeterminate aspects of reality, in other words in terms of precisely those
issues that representational schemes try to fix and stabilise through
foundations of knowledge/foundations of information/foundations of data
bases -- foundational thinking or identity thinking. The implications of the
transformation are that knowledge, information, data, and technology all
acquire new and different perspectives and dimensions. This is because we
are forced to think differently. We encounter in this transformation a
philosophy, not of a renewed Enlightenment, but of difference, the
difference of light and darkness, of the representational and the
non-representational, whereby we are forced to adopt differential thinking
as our ultimate mode of thinking.

These transformations and their implications have been sketched in a recent
publication (De Beer, 1991:24--53). The essence of this discussion was that
binary oppositions, reflecting very specific developments in the history of
knowledge, must be suspended. They ought to be replaced by an approach of
complementarities. Instead of opposing truth and falseness or the lie, it is
much more significant to view truth and falseness as complementary, as two
sides of the same coin. The same is valid for light and darkness,
representation and non-representation. What is indeed encountered then,
clearly identifiable in the literature, is a complex non-dialectical
thoughtful interplay of differences between the two members of any of the
many possible 'conceptual or noetic pairs'. This playful differential move
of thought between the noetic pairs is the precondition and the substance of
the move beyond the Enlightenment project and its limitations.

The challenge is to articulate the transformations properly and adequately
instead of shying away from them. Certainly this poses an immense challenge.
It means in effect that we must try to say what cannot be said. What is
needed is the emphasis on a wholly different kind of thinking, not a new
kind of thinking but a long-forgotten one. Let it be called differential
thinking. See Serres -- but not forgetting Heidegger's explicit distinction
between two modes of thinking: calculative and meditative thinking. Numerous
other thinkers have drawn similar distinctions. The forgotten mode of
thinking, when revived, enables us to leave oppositional strategies behind
and to move into the dynamics of differential and complementary thinking --
the ability to think presence and absence, light and darkness, truth and
lie, life and death, and so forth simultaneously.

We must try to give significance to the things that representational
thinking or identity thinking tries to eliminate, hide and even bury. This
is the challenge. Most of the time scientists are aware of these issues and
their importance, although they would do everything to avoid them. Through
simplification, counting, calculation and brutal manipulation the
intractably complex, the disparate and heterogeneous and the original
richness of the real are severely reduced and eventually suppressed. Many
who are so nastily concerned about Derrida's so-called reduction of thought
and experience to textuality fall effortlessly into the more disastrous trap
of reducing to technology our modes of thinking, our methods of
investigation and our experiences of the complexities of the real.

The problem of translating the German 'Technik', the French 'technique' and
the Dutch/Flemish 'techniek' into technology is certainly an interesting one
and probably not without its hidden and even explicit ideological
inspirations as well as aspirations. For example referring to a new cheese
recipe and to Heidegger's reflections on the comprehensive and incisive
impact of technical developments in the same way -- as technology -- is
nothing but ludicrous, yet not without the disastrous consequences
pertaining to all reductive, distorted and one-sided knowledge claims.


The challenge is posed because it is precisely these issues that haunt us
and make it impossible for promises to be fulfilled. Our views on reality,
and our thinking, fall short, limp, if we fail to consider these issues
properly. The heterology of, for example De Certeau, has shown that the
particular vulnerability of the Enlightenment claims lies in the inability
to articulate the dependence of light-giving knowledge upon language, more
particularly the materiality of language. We find a superb exploration of
this point by Lecercle (1985). Godzich (1991:xix--xx) states the case as
follows: 'The heterological tradition, focusing upon epistemological issues,
has sought in the ontological dimension the reasons for this particular
resistance of language, frequently granting a privileged status to
literature as the linguistic practice in which this resistance is most
easily apparent in the form of a complex nondialectical interplay of the
representational and the nonrepresentational.' This statement emphasises in
its own way the complementariness of the representational and the
non-representational, or what I would prefer to call, following Derrida, the
disseminational -- not only the mirror but also 'the tain of the mirror'.

If we attend carefully to Serres, Lecercle and De Certeau it seems as if the
relationship between literature and science becomes a crucial issue in
articulating the flaws in the Enlightenment project and the opening up of
new perspectives in terms of the heterological. Various writers use various
terms for the same issue, namely this dimension of the unsaid or unsayable
that is nevertheless to be said. (cf the article on transformation). The
intelligent glimpses into the thinking of Lacan and Deleuze by Lecercle
should be considered here.

Central to this challenge posed to the Enlightenment project is the
problematic of representation or of representation as problem. This problem
was well articulated and decisively analysed by Heidegger and later on by
Derrida. Representation presupposes a specific conception of reality. It is
an operation that reduces the multiplicity of reality to rational sequences
and controllable consequences, to laws and regularities, to a specific kind
of logic. What has actually happened is the constitution of a unitary space
of representation. The most reinforcing principle of this is technology. It
finds perhaps its best ally in information technology.

This space is viewed as a geometry of violence. Michel Serres writes:
'Violence is one of the two or three tools that permit us to insert the
local into the global, to force it to express the universal law, to make
reality ultimately rational. In fact, as in geometry, what passes for a
universal globality is only an inordinately distended (local) variety.
Representation is nothing but this distension, swelling, or inflation'
(Serres 1974:75). For a confirmation of these ways attention can be given to
Geertz on local knowledge, Lyotard on pagan instructions and Levinas on the
primacy of an ethical philosophy.

Representational thinking causes a certain kind of blindness -- it enables
us indeed to see, but to see only part of the problem, which in fact means
not the real problem at all. Both Godet (1986) and Mitroff (1983) have made
topical remarks about this. It is therefore not to the identification of
wrong problems on a wrong scale that we should direct our primary attention.
Symptoms are often recognised as problems. All efforts to reach solutions
then focus on symptoms and not on the cause of the symptoms. In doing so we
actually double our problem: not only are we directing our attention towards
the wrong goal but because of this we are also fabricating distorted, and
thus counterproductive solutions. The Enlightenment project does not give
sufficient light; alternatively it gives too much light, but on the wrong
issues. In a most fundamental sense it is not our world but we human beings
who are the cause of our problems. This is perhaps the reason that Alisdair
MacIntyre (1982:34--35) puts it that 'the failure of that culture [the
eighteenth-century culture of Enlightenment] to solve its problems ... was
... perhaps thekey factor in determining the form both of our [current]
academic philosophical problems and of our practical social problems'.

In most circles current thinking about information and technology is
dictated by this problematic of representation. The challenge posed by this
problematic is the radical rethinking of the world, not in terms of its laws
and regularities, but in terms of perturbations and turbulences in order to
bring out its multiple forms, uneven structures, and fluctuating
organisations. (Cf Prigogine and Stengers, 1979 on this.) Not the
representational but the non-representational should be emphasised. Laszlo
(1989:27) writes: 'You do not solve world problems by applying technological
fixes within the framework of narrowly self-centred values and shortsighted
national institutions.'

It is a matter of rethinking the relations between order and disorder in
such a way as to show how everything begins, ends, and begins again
according to a universal principle of disorder. One must re-think the
physical universe of the clinamen or creative circumstance, the
transformational universe of psychodynamics, and the informational universe
of noise according to a founding disorder with the power to modify reality
and to render it in all its complexity. By way of disorder, which primacy
must be emphasised, a more complex order is produced. Michel Serres
basically uses four arguments against the factual defect of our
representations: the problem of motors: introduction of indetermination and
circumstance as a fact not reducible to representation; irreversibility and
the absence of fundamental structure; the positive role of chance and the
insufficiency of deterministic representation; creative circumstance or the
real outside representation.

The major issue in view of the arguments is: 'How can one know what is to be
known in reality?' or: 'Is the real rational?'

The real, and we cannot exclude anything from it, is not only about that
which is given to reason but first of all about that which is given to the
senses. It is like a crowd (often chaotic and noisy) of qualities and events
in the centre of which we move; an abundance of tastes, smells and colours,
audible and tangible luxuriance, an expansion of multiple meanings. This
infinitely varied real -- can we render an account of it, can we express it,
say it through the medium of logos, that is of formal thought? The response
evidently presupposes that a specific meaning is given to 'render account'.


Serres proclaims in several places that the real is not rational, that it
escapes from every system, that it always withdraws partly from
representation. Formalism does not suffice; thought cannot be contented with
the empty rigour of abstractions. Things cannot be reduced to words or to
representations. Consequently his work searches for, introduces into,
utilises and describes in its functioning, a pluralistic, non-systematic,
non-referential logos, an intramundane logos that speaks of all things of
the world and of which we are not the source. It is an amorous or erotic
logos which does not represent the world in order to master it, definitely a
knowledge which is in search of communication. It is an appeal for the
rediscovery of knowledge as Eros, Eros which pushes towards placing souls
and bodies in contact. It is an appeal to the resistance of every
assimilation of the world to the representation of a subject (cf Felman,

Serres (compare Serres 1985:345--361) dissolves the classical cogito of
representation, which is posed as the absolute centre of the world, into a
fragmented, erring, intermittent and contingent cogito . This cogito is born
from a contingence or a contact, from a limit-event as fragile and as
insubstantial as representation itself. The implication is: I am a thing
among the things in the world: therefore I think.

The knowing subject expands and extends to the entire body. The ancient
subject condensed itself in a simple abstraction, somewhere, obliterated,
unknown in a transparent place, leaving the whole rest of the body in the
shadow. The presently knowing body becomes a hypercomplex spirit, leaves the
ancient knowledge in its brutal simplicity behind, forgotten, and considers
it as known, while it departs towards this total and new conquest: I know or
understand by means of the skin, which is altogether as subtle as the iris
or pupil, themselves as subtle as intuition; in the bath of sounds or of
noises, disharmony, I understand or know by the wisdom, taste well named at
last, art and wisdom, and by the sagacity, smell at last returned to its
cognitive dignity; but I know and conceive also by muscles and joints; bone
become transparent, stature at a difference from equilibrium in the
oscillation of the world; attentive and subtle posture, by the rhythm of the
heart and the coat of the arteries beating at the encounter of its stony
obstacles, by assimilation and inspiration, by running and jumping, marching
and dancing, loving, the knowing subject occupies at last his house, his
true house, all his house, all of his old black and sombre box. The knowing
subject returns to its place, the prodigal son travelling for a long time in
the vague world and abstract spaces. The knowing subject occupies the whole
body, ostentatious seats of an enlarged and complete knowledge, seated and
founded on the softness and competence of the senses, knowledge accorded to
the members of the body as well as to the things in the world, softened,
pacified, ready to say yes, delivered from resentment, consenting, body
subject, luminous, transparent, vibrant, spiritual, supple, rapid, alive ...


Another way of dealing with the same problem is perhaps to express it in
terms of the obsession with light in the context of the Enlightenment
project as inheritance of the Christian West: sun of righteousness; light of
the world. The way Michel Serres (1989) portrays the scene can be
particularly helpful. He offers us a reflection on light in which he very
delicately plays off the Enlightenment project against its alternative, the
heterological tradition, or perhaps preferably in his own terminology: the
linear and the tabular. Here we find an excellent demonstration of what was
earlier called the complex, non-dialectical interplay of terms.

Serres articulates the Enlightenment project as follows: beneath the
solitary and all-encompassing sun, the unity of knowledge shines. This light
extinguishes the innumerable multiplicity of the different stars. Knowledge,
in the light of day, has lost time. Since the East, nothing new. Nothing new
since dawn, since that light has been shining, since the Age of the
Enlightenment. Nor since the Greek Sun, since the one God, since Science.
Since Plato, since the wisdom of Solomon, since Louis XIV and the
AufklŠrung. The epistemology of enlightenment, of clear knowledge,
presupposes the sun as its source, harks back to its greatness, power and
victory -- a sort of male myth.

According to Serres the sun, however, is no longer the lord of knowledge and
its ultimate end or its first beginning, as well as its totality. We have
abandoned the platonist god, the Age of Enlightenment, the triumph of
science. This is the age of glimmers. While knowledge enlightens that which
glimmers is only a hope. The ray of sunlight is saturated with dust. This is
the age of flashes, of scintillation.

     'The age and hour of the enlightenment brings with it clear and
     distinct knowledge, scientific unity, the triumph of reason. The
     age and the hour of scintillation brings with it tentative
     knowledge, given over to large numbers and to circumstances, to
     distributions, interceptions, to large populations, the random
     choice of a wisp of rare information by means of the angle of the
     sun; the theory of knowledge gives its kingdom in exchange for
     expectations' (Serres 1989:32).

It seems as if a new epistemology is emerging in which the sun, light, aging
male, flamboyant and superb, becomes modest. The multiple returns beneath
the ray of the single, the man falls asleep while hearing the footsteps of
the woman; knowledge gives way to expectation, light gives way to that which

If information, technology and representation are all under the spell of the
metaphor of light and expressed in those terms it remains of crucial and
decisive importance not to forget the madness of light as dealt with by
Maurice Blanchot (1980) in his Madness of the day. This throws an entirely
different 'light' on the issues at stake. Derrida's reading of this text is
of particular significance:

     '[It is] a story whose title runs wild and drives the reader mad
     ... in every sense of the word and in every direction: The Madness
     of the day, the madness of today, of the day today, which leads to
     the madness that comes from the day, is born of it, as well as the
     madness of the day itself, itself mad ... The Madness of the day
     is a story of madness, of that madness that consists in seeing the
     light, vision or visibility, from an experience of blindness ...
     To see sight or vision or visibility, to see beyond what is
     visible, is not merely 'to have a vision' in the usual sense of
     the word, but to see-beyond-sight, to see-sight-beyond-sight ...
     The story obscures the sun ... with a blinding light' (Derrida
     1979: 89, 91).

In the traditional perspective it is absurd to posit disorder, or the
madness of light, as primordial. In the context of recent scientific inquiry
it becomes not only possible but very real (cf Jacob 1970; Monod 1979; Thom
1980; Atlan 1979; Prigogine and Stengers 1989). The traditional idea of
evolution towards progress becomes a journey among intersections, nodes and
regionalisations. We do not encounter an epistemology that would represent
the possible totalisation and unity of knowledge. We are called upon to
think of knowledge not in terms of order, mastery, control and manipulation,
but in terms of chance and invention.


World, understood in this way, requires multiple discourse for adequate
articulation. It is a discourse that undertakes many journeys following
complex itineraries across multiple spaces that interfere with one another
-- a discourse in which polymorphism remains irreducible (Serres 1977:288).
The simple, the distinct, the monosemic are no longer acceptable values of
this discourse; they are replaced by concepts and logics of fuzziness,
complexity and polyvalence (cf Serres 1972; 1980). To be facilitated this
discourse requires a special emphasis on thinking of a different kind.
Thinking the simple is fundamentally distinct from thinking the complex.

In representation objects find themselves imprisoned behind the facade of a
language perspective where truth is at the centre, in the mouth of the
speaking subject. The speaking subject is understood and not that about
which he speaks (Serres 1968:168). It is indeed the drama of representation
that the subject as such and in itself is lost. But for the structural
perspective on language there is no subject. It speaks, says Lacan. It
exchanges forms and information. The language system of structures is the
language system of things, and in the structural space, each thing as far as
it carries a structure can be reference and speak of other things. The place
of language structure is precisely the here-elsewhere. It organises several
domains into multivalent statements; it is at the same time formal,
pluralist and non-referential (Serres 1972:145). The same structure can take
us into different fields of knowledge, diverse domains of sense. The space
of structural archaeology, as for example elaborated by Foucault (1967:396),
is an undetermined totality of all possible sites.

Hereby an image is suggested which can signify a thinking that avoids
representation or simply does not represent (Serres 1968:191--192). But to
move out of the structure of representation it would be necessary to relate
once again what reason (of the Enlightenment) has separated. This reason
constitutes in an arbitrary way a structure that represents itself with
regard to its other. Prior to the separation or division and to the
representation that it permits there was a unique, mixed, chaotic,
indefinable space where normal and abnormal (and the other noetic pairs of
course) are everywhere, where each one can reveal itself as the other of the
other, where each can be a subject for objects. This space can be open or
chaos; it is a space beyond the closure of cultures; the space before
meaning (Serres 1977:241--242). The operations of representation are ruled
out altogether in this space and call for a fundamental re-thinking, the
thinking, as I have already stated, that does not represent. The plurality
of representations permits us to move from one to the other and to discover
the real between them. I can represent objects. When I turn round there are
no objects. I become a subject without object, pure movement. I am there
with objects; I am not there. I am and I am not. I am nobody. In this way I
escape from the magic appeal of representation. Not linearity but tabularity
becomes predominant -- the source of numerous discourses, of the network of
all possible structures of representation (Serres 1968: 204--205).

Outside the fixity of representation, thinking is to pass from one structure
of representation to another. It is a movement that connects different
structures and different spaces. Thinking means to connect and disconnect
circulations, traverse in every sense the transcendental space of
communication, intercept and exchange the forms and structures of this space
-- each structure operating a movement and some connections. The subject,
the ego of the cogito, is no longer a fixed point. It is nothing without
circulation, the being of circulation (Serres 1972:154--155). Thinking and
discourse are the movements that connect different spatial varieties or
different structures which try to open up a path of communication, sometimes
with detours, sometimes impossible: logos as nous is bond, link and
relationship (Serres 1977:197--210; 240--255). Recent developments in areas
referred to as cyberspace and hypertext can assist us immensely.


These insights have vast consequences for education, information and
knowledge work, science, technology and technical developments,
communication, development, organisations, institutions and, of course, for
the thinking of complexity. Serres suggests the quick invention of the Third
Curriculum. By this he means 'well-rounded thought, that of both our hands
and both our hemispheres'. That, according to him, is the role model --
'necessary yet lacking'. He becomes more specific in the following remarks:

     'We can no longer leave algorithmic ratiocination and literary
     rehashings completely segregated, without mortal danger. We must
     imagine a way in which to teach, with the same gesture, both the
     poem and the theorem, without wronging either and with mutual
     enrichment: experimentation and experience, the new world of
     scientists and the storytelling of time immemorial, the immortal
     world of scientific laws and the new age of the arts. Those taught
     the third approach to knowledge, born from this mixed school, will
     have chucked the death wish that makes us cut ourselves off, that
     puts our world in danger' (Serres 1989:34).


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