Spool Five

Permacomputing

tags
#technology #biology

Permacomputing is an offshoot of Permaculture. There is already a dedicated wiki to the topic that is definitely worth checking out.

One angle to permacomputing which hasn’t been explored yet is perhaps in relation to the work of Gilbert Simondon.

Simondon places Technics somewhere between organic and inorganic matter. The material of technical objects may be inorganic, but the processes of evolution and genesis are organic and living. The relations between technology and the world are also living and evolving relations. Technologies never have one simple ‘use’. Their exact meaning in practice needs to be negotiated and played with by agents.

Technological ‘identities’ are just islands of stability within a chaotic process of invention and reinvention. The exact configuration of the technical device is never fully settled, it is not an ‘individual’, it is simply the subject of a process of individuation. Any component, at any moment can be taken apart, reversed, re-purposed and so on, to produce new configurations and individuations.

Technical objects and systems are living things. They require care and creative thinking in order to flourish. More often than not, in capitalist societies, ‘care for technics’ is appropriated by economic systems. The most obvious, recent example of this is blockchain technology. What began as a moment of technical ingenuity, a dream of the cypherpunks, was quickly co-opted and transformed into a tool of financial speculation. Technologies, like other living systems, thrive with the right kind of human care and creativity and, also like living systems, they grow fallow through the exploitation of capitalism.

Technological flourishing, like ecological flourishing, is not something that can be taken for granted. It can only be achieved through responsible and thoughtful practice. An example of a framework for this kind of practice is peramcomputing.