Crypto-Current (037)

§3.7 — ‘Singularity’ is a stressed sign, even in advance of its capture by theories of decentralized crypto-currency. It carries a complex of meanings that can easily appear inconsistent, and perhaps only arbitrarily concatenated (although this is not a conclusion drawn in the present work). The simplest – logico- grammatical – sense and usage of the term is fixed by contrast to plurality. ‘Singularity’ is the state of being singular (undoubled, or in any way further pluralized). This austere meaning has been overwhelmed by more exotic cosmo-physical, eschatological, and philosophical references – to the event horizon of gravitational collapse, to the ‘wall across the future’ drawn by emergent superintelligences, and to non-generic being beyond the metaphysics of unity.[1] The term is further complicated by its substantial overlap with individuation, which has itself accumulated technical semantic mass through its application to the study of complex systems. It is an essential characteristic of any complex system that it individuates (itself).

§3.71 Bitcoin Singularity is over-determined within this cloud of associations. It is not only – as already proposed – an autonomization event, or threshold of individuation, but also a de-pluralization (through resolution of the DSP), and even a crisis (or ‘critical-point’) in the history of terrestrial intelligence, with definite invocation of Technological Singularity – for which it arguably provides an infrastructural foundation. Singularity eludes comparison. It can be designated, but not definitely signified. It marks a limit of objectification, rather than an object. Kantian transcendental realism – whose place carrier is the non-objective thing-in-itself – prepares us for it.

§3.72 — Solving the DSP upon the digital plane requires that the relevant entities – units of value – can be copied without being multiplied. Unless carefully formulated, therefore, the problem can appear simply insoluble (as a straightforward contradiction). How can digital replication be assimilated to the conservation of singularity? As seen, repeatedly, such apparent contradiction (or pseudo-paradox) is the reliable indication of an incompletely resolved diagonal problem. The solution is the scarce sign, consolidated as a concept, but also – and no less fundamentally – actualized as a technical achievement. Bitcoin realizes a diagonal function, instantiated through digitally-replicable but economically precious signs.

§3.73 — The Bitcoin singularity simulation is – among many other things – a philosophical event of extraordinary significance: the technical initiation of absolute succession. From this point, history explicitly enters the phase of synthetic ontology, or the techno-commercial production of being. Reality is re-grounded in a catalyzed – and henceforth catallactic – construction, which functions as an ultimate criterion. In all questions directed towards the veracity of signs, the blockchain is – if as yet only virtually – the terminal tribunal.[2] Intrinsic to this innovation is the necessity, or strict principle, that no superior authority is possible. Within the entire cosmos of signs, encompassing all social and cultural exchanges, it is only through the blockchain – or some adequate analog – that the extinction of duplicity is ensured.

§3.74 — Such claims can only appear hyperbolic. They correspond, as previously noted, to the objective idealism of transcendental philosophy, insofar as they dismiss all prospect of external epistemological leverage as pre-critical. Nothing can be brought to bear upon Bitcoin from without that is not manifestly inferior to it in respect to the capability for truth validation. There cannot be an intellectually compelling reason for any anthropo-philosophical criticism of Bitcoin to be believed. To be discredited, in this ultimate or transcendental milieu, is only to be effectively selected against. Such an eventuality does not depend upon a philosophical decision (in the still prevailing sense of this term), but upon abandonment through hard-forking and effective loss of consensual support. The blockchain automatically facilitates the subtraction of every cosmos – or advancing world-line – compatible with duplicity. Block validation, then, is the basic mechanism of a selective ontology.

§3.741 — It has to be expected that no less than several decades will be required for the full epochal radicality of this transition to be appreciated, at an even approximately adequate scale. The current (Perez) ‘Great Surge of Development’ and its installation of blockchain-based distributed systems sets the pace of cultural assimilation. In accordance with rhythmic historical precedent, the ‘wild exaggerations’ of the germinal phase becomes the conventional wisdom of the mature techonomic order.

[1] ‘Singularity’ has been an over-invested term, even prior to its inflation by intellectual fashion. In its philosophical usage, it refers to non-generic being. This acceptation has twin lineages, within Anglophone and Continental traditions, but these converge upon a (single) conceptual core. Both draw – critically – upon the Leibnizean principle of the identity of indiscernibles, which proposes that no two things can be different if their complete (or maximally-elaborated) logical definitions do not differ in any respect. This is a principle that succumbs to the general crisis of logicism, as it unfolded within the early 20th century, most decisively in the work of Gödel and Turing. It draws upon the notion of a comprehensive definition, which falls prey to criticism based on the discovery of irresolvable incompleteness, or non-computable numbers. Cantor’s late 19th century demonstration of diagonal argument anticipates the crisis of logical comprehension, in its most abstract features. The singular begins where the project of definition encounters a rigorously-insurmountable limit. ‘This is not that’ does not even begin to tell us what ‘this’ is, or to provide its name. Determination-through-negation stalls at the threshold of singularity, where logical signifiers are supplanted by diagonal indicators, pointing into the rigorously incomprehensible. The numerical identity of the thing designates a logically-intractable excess, conserved (diagonally) even after infinitely exhaustive qualitative determination. Transcendental numbers provide the pattern. Individuation is ontologically basic (or transcendental), even if it is typically missed, or misidentified, as ego or object. Real selves and things, in themselves, are singularities. Reality disintegrates into them. No universe can encompass singularities. It is rather that any apparent universe is fragmented by them. (Black holes are not cosmic furnishings, but doors.) Singularities are transcendental by definition, since they elude all super-ordinate jurisdiction, or domain-subordination. Laws ‘break-down’ at their boundaries. They are thus elements of absolute multiplicity, or difference without genre. Historical or ‘Technological’ Singularity is – if only superficially – another thing entirely. Vernor Vinge describes it (perfectly) as a “wall across the future”. Historical structures can be extended up to, but not into it. This ‘Singularity’ sets the absolute limit of all projections. Like a black hole, it is epistemologically-impermeable. John Smart has suggested that it might even – sensu strictobe a black hole, achieved as an engineered techno-compression catastrophe. According to this forecast, communication time-lag minimization drives implosion. Only collapsed matter is fast enough for the future. Translated into the terminology of Bitcoin, optimization of the block discovery rate tends to singularity. Because impending terrestrial Singularity is a thing, and not a signification, it overspills every attempt at comprehensive definition. This stream of references is therefore far from exhaustive. In particular, there is an additional noteworthy employment of ‘singularity’ within the sphere of aesthetic production, designating the threshold at which the name of an artist acquires distinctive consistency, and thus efficient dehumanization. With a sufficiently abstract sense of the ‘artist’ this usage curves back into the main current. Singularity is the ultimate agent, or it is nothing.

[2] Once again, the obvious reference is found here: