THE ORDER IN DESTRUCTION AND THE CHAOS OF ORDER. Freedom.
Riga, September 25 – 28, 2014. National Library of Latvia/
Campenhausen’s Manor house/Gut Orellen/
Researchers from European countries and abroad are kindly invited to take part in the 2014 international research conference METAMIND’2014 The Order in Destruction and the Chaos of Order. Freedom. The international research arts project MetaMind highlights innovative interdisciplinary approaches to the theoretical, artistic, and social aspects of Western culture. Interplays of science, art, and other forms of human creativity figure prominently in this venture. The conference is organized by Foundation MetaMind, in cooperation with several Latvian institutions of higher education. It will take place September 25 – 28, 2014 in the brand new building of the National Library of Latvia and in Campenhausen’s Manor house. This is already the fifth conference of the project, and this year it will be part of the events scheduled in Riga as 2014 European Capital of Culture.
The official languages of the conference are English, French, German, Spanish and Latvian, and simultaneous translation will be provided. The proceedings of the conference will be published in English in an edited volume.
In the centenary of World War I, which both ruined Europe and let it revive, as well as made the birth of Latvia possible, MetaMind is dedicated to the handicap of chaos and the potential of order destruction, with special attention to the pre-programmed and pre-constructed nature of changes, destruction, and chaos in the space of European thought and being. The processes concerning order and disorder as well as the axiological potential of both constellations deserve equal attention. The theoretical topicality of the theme is underpinned by the fact that our key value freedom with all its countless faces also resides in the destructiveness hidden in order and in the orderliness of chaos.
The Order in Destruction and the Chaos of Order
Order and chaos are not phenomena that have existed in the world from the very beginning. Since the time of Ancient Greece, they have served as two thought constructions referring to the world and the states of its existence. Chaos is the prime matter of the world, its original potential and infinite, dark world abyss – open primordial space, depth first of all. Cosmos as a natural philosophical concept was contrasted with chaos, implying decoration, arrangement, and splendor – surface first of all.
A similar configuration can be found in the Biblical tradition, where chaos as darkness and spatial indefiniteness imply a potential for orderliness. However, when orderliness emerges, chaos does not cease to exist.
Over the years, both chaos and order have been constitutive concepts not only for the understanding of the universe, but also for each of its elements and processes. Actually, the history of Western thought conserves them as opposite, mutually exclusive states. However, already in the myths of ancient cosmogonies they determined each other as elements of one construction. Thus, transition from one state to the other as well as the necessity for the alteration of these states is programmed into them. Chaos is a “spin-off” created by culture and married to order – it can be viewed as the process of “unfolding” order, just as insanity is a kind of sanity or silence is a form of sound. To put it simply, chaos is a different kind of order.
Primary thought concerning chaos and order prestructures their later use in the national strategies of different complexity, where order starts with arrangement. Arrangement in its ontic sense results from deliberate relational structuring of objects and events. All schemes of rationality require transparency and succession. Arrangement, first and foremost, means to begin from something, to turn to the beginning, to some source; it acquires the modalities of the beginning of some particular world and temporality. The source becomes the guarantor of order although it is just one type of order. It is supplemented by the principle of logos, which is articulated as naming in its more modern version. The model version of naming as the origin of order was given by Genesis in the Old Testament. The performative utterance of the creator, “let there be…”, resulted in the production of real phenomena, where a-spatial chaos transformed into ordered spatial division. The demand for harmony coming from Pythagoreanism insists on clothing order in a mathematical outfit, and the latter has to refer to the universe as a whole.
The reduction of musical intervals to the mathematical ratio, which has been attributed to Pythagoras, an apparently non-existent authority but the one confirming the legitimacy of the idea, had a most consequential impact both on Greek philosophy and the development of Western culture. The number (arithmos) has become the constitutive principle of all things. All the phenomena that are used in accordance with the numerical principle create a new atemporal reality. Within the context of the conference, World War I has to be mentioned, which started the period of the potential war reality.
Chaos has been played anew in modern scientific, poetic, and artistic languages. On the one hand, these are negative forms rejecting the old; on the other hand, the old fills the new with content and makes it meaningful. The given contradiction goes through two phases: 1) the destruction of the old for the sake of the new order, 2) the destruction of the new order due to its excessive orderliness. The role of rubble in the deliberate creation of meaning as the orderability of significance was understood by such antagonists as the surrealists and classical Marxism. Frequently, the aim of rubble practice in the 20th century was to verify the legitimacy of existing knowledge.
However, the features of order and chaos can be traced not only in modern languages, but also in the disciplines of scientific and technological thought, which have often been constructed as a modelling of the deviations from the norm, as a certain anti-world. One may think here of medicine, forensic science, law, some political theories, and military practices. In the training of medical professionals, the point of departure is not the healthy body and spirit, but various potential functional disorders – unhealthiness and sickliness. The designation of deviations is also symptomatic – “something is out of order”, i.e., out of the right system.
For instance, the treatment of mental disorders demonstrates the breakout of chaos, whereasin its ancient mythological understanding it is the deepest layer, to the surface – the surface of mental clarity. Thus, the reconstruction of consciousness is possible on the rubble of subconsciousness.
Legal orders, on the other hand, provide for all the possible deviations from the norm and all the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the offence. In the practice of legal languages, which envisage the order through which punishment is imposed on the offender of social order, the point of departure for all the arrangement is the provision for all the possible transgressions of law which have to be applied according to the algorithm: if…, then… .
Political destruction as a new condition for the world order was once demonstrated in the practice of the Great French Revolution, while Karl Marx, formative thinker of revolutionary catastrophism, presumes the dominance of two dual impulses – order and disorder. Order, which manifests itself in the form of a socio-economic formation, is always determined by pre-occuring revolutionary chaos, whereas any new order that is built on the rubble of the previous one immanently presupposes self-negation and self-destruction, which will result in a new revolution.
Interestingly, the modelling of these transitions perfectly corresponds to the understanding of chaos in Ancient Greece – as an empty, obscure abyss between spaces. Thus, world order refers to the arrangement of two distinct separate orders.
The division of chaos and order is everything but clear and unambiguous.
Due to various adopted prejudices or ethical considerations, we live with a complex of untouchable themes, untouched so far or cut out of the cultural historical context, concerning both older and more recent history of Europe. In the recent past, phenomena can be found where rationality beyond the control of reason has reached its utmost, sometimes even perverse limits. This could be seen in different models of social cleansing elaborated by various totalitarian regimes.
Finally, another difficulty arises which prevents the thematization of chaos and order: namely, the word chaos travels from one language to another with little or no translation, whereas order or cosmos – just partly so, since there also exist its Latin form and translations. As a result, the notion of order turns diffuse. Cosmos or order modifies into various other forms, which, for instance, can be seen in the rich variety of forms this word has in the Latvian language: kārtot, sakārtot, piekārtot, pārkārtot, uzkārtot, aizkārtot, nokārtot, iekārtot, izkārtot, sakārtot.
In view of the preceding considerations, we invite you to consider the overall theme of MetaMind’2014 when planning your contribution focusing on the following topics:
- Mathematical and musical rationality.
- Versions of linguistic ordering.
- The ordering of knowledge.
- Modelling of disorder or catastrophes as
strategies for mainteining thoughts of order.
- Tabooised orders of chaos.
- New artistic normativities.
- Different kinds of order.
Submission of Abstracts
The length of the presentations will be 20-25 minutes, plus 5-10 minutes for questions and discussion. Presenters are requested to submit an abstract (about 300 words) and the Application Form by May 30, 2014 and send it by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Early submission of abstracts is highly recommended. An Acknowledgment of receipt of your abstract will be sent to you within two weeks from the date of receiving your submission. Electronic letters of acceptance will be sent to the selected participants by June 30, 2014.
The MetaMind conference will consist of presentations accompanied by a series of special events, which will illuminate and enrich the conference. On September 28, we intend to go on an excursion to the cosy Latvian town Cēsis and the most enchanting town Sigulda.
Registration and fees
The registration fee is 130 Euros, payable by July 30, 2014. The late registration fee is 170 Euros. The registration fees include admission to all open sessions of the conference, coffee breaks, the conference dinner, a copy of the proceedings, and an excursion. Payment should be made by bank transfer to the Foundation MetaMind, Baznicas iela 45-14, Riga, LV-1010, registration number 40008165345, Swedbank, Swift: HABALV22, IBAN account number LV07HABA0551029288459, Participation fee MetaMind’2014.
We would like to take this opportunity to cordially invite you to take part in the conference with a presentation. We anticipate that the MetaMind project and conference will count among the most important scientific events in Latvia in 2014, and we hope that you will choose to be part of this unique endeavor.
Should you require any further information about the above event, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We look forward to welcoming you in Riga.
On behalf of the MetaMind Team
Prof. Daina Teters