entropy-christopher-gastonThe important thing to understand that it is not the possibility of change, motion, and becoming that needs explanation, but rather persistence, stability, and endurance.  It is a stable entity that is improbable, not entropy.  If we begin from a meta/physics premised on stability as “natural” and primordial, we’ll necessarily fall into onto-theology.  We will be required to refer to some primordial ground, some first principle, some first being, that introduces motion into the pluriverse:  Aristotle’s unmoved mover, the God of the three monotheistic religions, Plato’s Demiurge.  Where stability, motionlessness, stasis is treated as ontologically primitive, we always require some agency from outside being to account for the emergence of motion.  Change and motion become things to be explained.

But where in our experience do we ever encounter a ubiquity of stability over motion?  Oh, to be sure we encounter “continuity”, the persistence or endurance of a variety of entities.  But we also encounter them in a constant state of decay and disintegration.  Our own bodies fall apart.  The things we live with daily gather dust, break down, decay.  Entropy is the rule of the pluriverse.  Cement sidewalks crack with the changing of the seasons, weeds grow in those cracks pushing them apart.  It’s all in motion.  Some of these things move more slowly than others, but they’re in motion nonetheless.

tornado-2The real question is not how it is possible for things to change, but rather why they don’t just disintegrate.  Things, patterns, stabilities, organizations, require work and energy.  As Serres observes in The Birth of Physics, objects, things, machines, or any sort of organization whatsoever are vortexes arising out of encounters between machines.  They are vortexes that manage to maintain a particular organization for a time.  Philosophy scarcely has concepts of work and energy due to its idealist tendencies.  For philosophy it is always a question of the intelligible, the conceptual, the idea, spirit.  Philosophy is largely blind to work and energy because of the relative class position of philosophers.  They seldom encounter the issue of building something, maintaining something, coordinating an organization, etc.  They thus tend to separate form and matter, treating form (the idea/concept/essence) is the really real, ignoring the energy or work that goes into maintaining a form.  As is always the case, there are exceptions to this rule:  Leibniz, Nietzsche, Marx, Bergson, Deleuze, etc.  But philosophy is nonetheless largely blind to the material work, the energy, required for form.  It dreams of a world that is nothing but thought and that can be grasped in a glance by thought.  It is not enough to overcome correlationism and philosophies of access to overcome idealism.  No, the philosopher must also overcome the privileging of form, the concept, the intelligible, the structural, so as to grasp the work and energy involved in the production of any pattern or intelligibility.  Essence must be seen not as a ground or substrate, but as the product of energetic processes.  Objects must be seen not as withdrawn essences that persist throughout change, but as tornadoes that arise from plays of forces that manage to endure for a time.

And if this shift is so crucial, then this is because it not only allows us to understand the being of improbabilities (“organized being”, “object”, “machine”, “thing”, etc., are all synonyms for improbabilities), but because they allow us to begin discerning the means for intervening in those oppressive patterns or organizations that repeat throughout time.  Once we understand that these patterns are processes, we can begin to intervene in those processes to change the networks of flows that process those patterns that are oppressive and that inhibit the becoming of various entities.  A truth-procedure committed to some norm is a fine thing, but without a good mapping of the territorial processes that produce beings, it amounts to little more than a conceit.