The membrane as a limit in processes of individuation

I stumbled across a piece, in French, in the Cahiers Simondon by Baptiste Mozirot in which he offers an interesting analysis about the locus of the limit between the internal and the external in processes of individuation–something that Bernard Stiegler situates as an aporia of origin in relation to technics–which he interrogates through Gilbert Simondon’s concept of the membrane. I thought the following passage was of particular interest because, for me, it resonates with Deleuze’s understanding of singularities as the fold between the actual and the virtual, constituting a present in the folding together of the potentialities of past and future. It is perhaps interesting to think about this in relation to Stiegler’s interpretation of trans-individuation…

As usual, clarifications or explanations are in square brackets.

“The chance constraint as a modality of individuation”.

From p. 28:

Experience constitutes – in the active and processual sense of the word – a coding which is neither abstract nor neutral, which is not the ordering of the thematic arrangement according to a homogeneous and conventional order, but a vital configuration that integrates the experiences of the present in the interpretive codings of future experience. This coding is operated precisely by the membrane as defined by Simondon: the membrane is the generic organ which interfaces the interior with the exterior, the past and the future, in the dual mode of the qualification / interpretation of the future by the past and the future integration of past codings. It is through this perspective that we can apply the model of the membrane to think the integration of singularities in individual structurings, where a posteriori becomes a priori. The membrane is the the topological locus in which are knitted together the playing out of memory and compatability in the process of the constitution of individual structures that are individuation.

We can therefore make explicit the horizon affected by this theorectical development: it consists in applying nodal formulae, which Simondon implements in MEOT [Du Mode de l’Existence des Objet Techniques] to think living memory, to the theory of individuation. The first of these theses is formulated as follows: “the living is that in which the a posteriori becomes a priori“. This formula precisely describes the modality of individuation in which the structures of individuation are the product of chance encounters (which are unfinished), which organise future aleatory encounters by selectivity and compatability. The result is that a chance intervention into individuation is always something of a chance constraint, objectively by the content of the milieu of individuation, subjectively through the compatability of the individual in relation to the encounters to come; a compatability developed historically according to the structurings induced by prior encounters.

Original:

L’expérience constitue – au sens actif et processuel de ce verbe – un codage qui n’est ni abstrait ni neutre, qui n’est pas l’ordre du rangement thématique selon un ordre homogène et conventionel, mais une configuration vitale qui intègre les expériences présentes dans le code d’interprétation des expériences futures. L’operateur de ce codage, c’est précisément la membrane telle qu’elle est définie par Simondon: la membrane est l’organe générique qui fait communiquer l’intérieur avec l’extérieur, le passé et le futur sur le double mode de la qualification / interprétation du futur par le passé et de l’intégration du futur au codage passé. C’est dans cette perspective que l’on peut appliquer le modèle de la membrane pour penser l’intégration des singularités dans le structuration individuelle, où l’a posteriori devient a priori. La membrane est le lieu topologique où se noue le jeu de la rencontre et de la compatibilité dans le processus de constitution des structures individuelles qu’est l’individuation.

On peut dès maintenant explicitier l’horizon atteint par cette élaboration théoretique: il consiste à appliquer à la théorie de l’individuation les formules nodales que Simondon met en place pour penser la mémoire vivante dans MEOT. La première de ces thèses se formule ainsi: «le vivant est ce en quoi l’a posteriori devient a priori.» Cette formule qualifie avec précision la modalité de l’individuation suivant laquelle les structures d’individuation sont des produits de rencontres de hasard (non finalisées), qui vont /organiser/ par selectivité et compatabilité les rencontres aléatoires futures. De sorte que l’intervention du hasard dans l’individuation est toujours celle d’un hasard /contraint/, objectivement par le contenu du milieu d’individuation, subjectivement par la /compatibilité/ de l’individu à l’égard des rencontres à venir, compatabilité élaborée historiquement suivant les structurations induites par les rencontres antérieures.

From:

Morizot, B. 2012 «Le hasard contraint comme modalité de l’individuation» in Barthelemy, J-H. ed. Cahiers Simondon 4, Edition L’Harmattan, pp. 9-32.

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