The essence of the selfie



The word ‘essence’1 is derived from the Latin verb esse, meaning ‘be’.2



Hence the essence3 of a thing, as halted processes,4 is not to be found in its origin,5 in its name, in its making or in its identifiable reality but in what it ‘is’. And what it ‘is’6 is what it does. And what it does is how it affects7 another thing.8



If a ‘thing’ is taken as representing a selfie,9 and which in turn is taken as a locally emerged niche representation of the SELF, then, since ‘as above,10 so below,11,12 the both the SELF and the selfie (that emerges from it) ‘are’ essentially what they do.





And what the SELF and the selfie do, and which happens as their essence, is order (i.e. limit) the disordered (i.e. unlimited) and from which quantised acts ever increasing complex identifiable realness quanta emerge.13



For instance, the essence of a hatchet does not reside in its origin, nor in its (eternal and immutable) architecture or design (as idea), nor in the process of its making, nor in its appearance as finished product, nor in its name, but in the function it performs (i.e. in its application), namely that of splitting logs.14



Likewise can the essence of the SELF, namely what the SELF does, be (in principle) recovered from what its selfie does.15 And what the SELF does16 is (violently) ordering the disordered, thereby emerging ever more complex structures of identifiable realness, namely selfies, that present to those selfies as analogue identifiable actuality.


So, the essence (as intrinsic nature) of a selfie (or any thing) emerges as the effect it produces (i.e. emerges).







©  2018 by Victor Langheld










1.  The notion of essence’ is generally taken to mean: ‘intrinsic nature’, to wit, what a ‘thing’ is born with, the latter notion begging the complex and difficult questions as to precisely what the notions of ‘thing’ and ‘birth’ actually mean. It took Buddhists about 1500 years to resolve the question as to the ‘nature’ of a ‘thing.’ The question was posed about 300 BC in the form: ‘What is a chariot (i.e. thing)?’ It was eventually answered 1000 years later in China with regard to a ‘bucket.’

2.  ‘Being’, formerly experienced as analogue, is now understood and experienced as quantised, meaning that ‘being’ happens as a (discretely discontinuous) series of ‘is’ moments, emerging from collisions of random (or at least differential) quanta. The collisions must be differential since ‘only difference makes a difference’ and ‘sameness is compressed out.’ The notion of momentariness was first proposed not by the Shakyamuni Buddha but by one later Buddhist sect which then disappeared.

3.  Read more appropriately as: the ‘is’ness’ (proposed as the inborn response, i.e. intrinsic nature) of a thing.

4.  An endless series is halted via colliding or blocking. In this regard see David Hilbert and Alan Turing. At (digital) collision the process is momentarily reified, halted as an unidentified quantum of realness (i.e. as a c2 moment), identity being thereafter added by serial (observed as analogue) processing = contacting.

5.  Its origin is fundamentally unknown because undifferentiated. During initial bottom-up invention/emergence (i.e. either intentional differentiation or natural selection) the final outcome, and which depends on critical complexity and extrinsic conditions, is unpredictable. Once finished, and now presenting as top-down template, a ‘thing’s’ multiple (conditional) origins, both intrinsic and extrinsic, could be retraced. Moreover, once the unpredictable automobile had been invented it could be predictably produced.

6.  The verb ‘being’ is a fundamentally misleading, albeit user friendly representation of the quantised function of doing/contacting (and which creates unidentifiable ‘is’ (i.e. c2) moments/quanta). ‘No thing is!’ ‘Things emerge momentarily via (violent) contacting/doing.’

7.  For ‘affects’ read: strikes, instructs, contacts and so on, all violent acts. The observation that is’ness arises (i.e. emerges) from contact was first stated by the Shakyamuni Buddha.

8.  How a thing affects another thing, that is to say, by applying its essence, depends on both its transmitted essence AND on the state (as intrinsic nature or essence) of the other thing, i.e. the receiver. In other words, ‘The meaning of an affect (or event) happens as the response it elicits.’ And that makes the essence of a thing unpredictable, hence unknown, at least initially.

9.  For ‘selfie’ read alternately: ‘god’ (i.e. as one of the local Elohim = powers) as local niche application of G.O.D. (to wit, of (the Sumerian God El or (Jewish) Eli, i.e. the SELF as ultimate power), the General Ordering Device.

10.   For ‘above’ interpret: a differentiated (higher complexity) surface or super-structure (like a sky-scraper or a human).

11.   For ‘below’ interpret: the (undifferentiated) ground (as Meister Eckhart’s ‘Gottesgrund’) or Basic Operating function (of reversing entropy by ordering = limiting arranging).

12.   Note that here the notion of ‘as above so below’ is reversed from that of naïve mystical tradition where G.O.D. was believed to be above (and pure) and nature below (and impure). In pantheism G.O.D. is considered below, i.e. of less complexity (to max. entropy) than the higher (to zero entropy) complexity gods as local niche selfies that emerge from ITS ordering routine.

13.   Intrinsic nature, i.e. essence (as potential) is decided (as actuality) by the outcome resulting from collision with an extrinsic ‘other.’ This the Upanishad thinkers, and which included the Shakyamuni Buddha, did not understand. The Upanishad speculators believed essence (for instance the Atman, or the atma of a thing) to exist immutably and eternally. The Buddha disagreed and claimed anatman for all arisen things. Both got it wrong.

14.   Provided that logs exist to be split. Without logs to split the hatchet cannot apply itself and thereby ‘emerge’ its intrinsic nature. If the hatchet is reversed and its blunt side used to hammer in a nail then its essence is that of a hammer. In short, the essence of a thing (as selfie) is conditional, and, of course, quantised (i.e. digitised).

15.   Indeed from any and all emerged phenomena since they all (as local self-elaborating fractals) emerge as differentiated (i.e. elaborated) copies of the SELF (as ordering fractal).

16.   Both the SELF and its local elaborations, the selfies, happen as (digital) automatons, i.e. as automatic responses (to disorder = turbulence).