Digital transference: Energy and Entropy

Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to write this post quickly and then go to the supermarket. What I will tell are the thoughts that emerged today on my way to the Boston Lacan Study Group (BSLG) meeting on Lacan’s 8th seminar book: Transference, class 12. There was no reason to bring these thoughts up during the meeting, for even without a big Other, we had other things to discuss, which is good.


Let me introduce you to my phone which is not really a phone because it is without a SIM card (without a micro-SIM card to be exact, since I have a SIM card that inhabits my other phone that is really a phone), but this is not the issue now. The current issue is that this phone is an object of transference, and since there is no big Other, it is an object of transference that functions in its own right. You only need this device, & the clouds…

Clouds like these maybe why not?

Not like these, unfortunately. I mean the digital non-cloud clouds that I access using my non-phone phone without (micro) SIM card. So, OK. What’s the point?

The point is that we are obliged to acknowledge that, as an object of transference, this device has two aspects in its possession:

Information and electricity.

But these two are mixed to one another, since information travels by electricity and we are informed via electricity. So let us subtract each of them and look at their remainders.

Device - Information = Energy
Energy = abstracted form of Electricity without Information
Device - Electricity = Entropy
= abstracted form of Information without Electricity

To represent these two aspects, I chose two objects:

A Pokéball charger and a CYOA book to represent Energy and Entropy

First one is a “power bank”, a portable charger in the shape of a Pokéball. It represents Energy. Its main attributes are:

  1. There is a symmetry that keeps a balanced proportion between gains and losses by somehow accommodating past with future: If you have charged the charger, then the charger is supposed to charge your device.
  2. It is a unit, it has a membrane, which in this case consists of a USB port and a micro-USB port, but it could just as well have the membrane of a biological cell.
  3. It is without information. Charging does not inform this unit, it just pours a charge into it according to some proportionality in time. Information is completely subtracted in order to obtain this unit of energy.
  4. In its fictional role, it functions as a source and sink of object-causes of desire: Pokémons [*] come out of Pokéballs, or they go into them. It’s a generator at the same time that it’s a consumer. These objects constitute a “franchise” that only relates to itself.

My second object is a Choose Your Own Adventure book to represent Entropy. Its main attributes are:

  1. It has an asymmetric structure in various senses. There is only a single beginning but several endings. The pages are not comparable, paragraphs, words, letters are not comparable. It is constructed by letters: vowels and consonants. Moreover, it can be considered as a single vowel (beginning) that resolves into a variety of consonants (endings). It’s like a hall of mirrors that reflects symbolic asymmetries onto one another.
  2. It cannot be contained: Each semantic piece in every page is open to a variety of interpretations. Even the pages, being numbered as they are, cannot be considered “units” in any sense, since they need not succeed. Some pages succeed to one or several other pages, whereas some other pages do not succeed, and that’s why we call them “endings.”
  3. It is without energy. It’s just a bunch of ink molecules inscribed onto the material that we call “paper.” No one can see a symmetry in a Choose Your Own Adventure book except true believers of The Laws Of Nature According To The Established Honorary Science Of Physics.
  4. It is solely fiction, pure fiction as embodied in a structure. There is nothing that distinguishes it from what psychoanalysis calls The Unconscious. It’s printed by a press, just like unconscious thoughts are repressed. It’s a map with branches to multiple directions. It’s like a symptom. You could even consider it a rhizome and I wouldn’t disagree.

So what?

It’s getting late, so let me just say that I’m on the side of Entropy.

But my Entropy is not the one that dooms the universe to an ultimate symmetrical death according to The Unfortunate Second Law Of Thermodynamics.

Mine is an Entropy from which symmetry is subtracted. We can subtract it, because it’s a symmetry of equations, not a symmetry of nature. And that’s why people should really go back to Emmy Noether if they want to understand how to interpret the real import of the recent evidence on gravitational waves.

OK. Now I’m off to the supermarket.

[*] What is a Pokémon? It’s what we obtain by putting Schrödinger’s cat into Einstein’s elevator and pressing the UP button.


And this was something that emerged after the BLSG meeting in June.


See (Zizek Studies):

As experimentalists, Dr. Beacham and his colleagues had to ignore the theory papers about what it all might mean. “We can’t be chasing ambulances,” he said. “Let the data do the talking. In this case it turned into this flat line.”

Maria Spiropulu of the California Institute of Technology and a member of the C.M.S. team, said, “So there is no gloom and doom in my opinion that this is gone. As we have said multiple times, it could have been anything, including nothing.”

The Particle That Wasn’t — Dennis Overbye

Or, to put it in yet another way, one should bear in mind here the two aspects of the notion of remnant: the rest as what remains after the subtraction of all particular content (elements, specific parts of the whole), and the rest as the ultimate result of the subdivision of the whole into its parts, when, in the final act of subdivision, we no longer get two particular parts or elements, two somethings, but a something (the rest) and a nothing.

The Sexual is Political — Slavoj Zizek


And see my new MIT umbrella for the rainy days to come this year — (I think) a very good joke; as to why, see the last page of Counting Qualia.




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