Every great philosopher is asked to describe two aspects of existence, reality and poetry.
Reality is the whole and poetry is a way of confining the whole to a symbol.
I find poetry in using hardware and software as metaphors for perceiving philosophical phenomena.
The same object can be seen as hardware or software, these distinctions depend upon a context.
For instance, money is hardware and capitalism is the software.
All great revolutions require an automatic process whereby a type of hardware becomes ubiquitous and thus becomes a medium for new forms of software.
Software is any finite form made out of the neutral medium of hardware.
Hardware is quite simply a form of connectivity. Software is any set of patterns created within this medium. A brain is a piece of hardware. Love is a form of software.
The paradoxes within this way of seeing things are quite fascinating.
For instance, we would assume that hardware would be easy to locate, and that software would be more ethereal. But in fact, it is the opposite. Hardware is in fact the ‘state’ of connectivity. Software is what utilizes that state, giving expression to it, making it physical. In other words, spirit is what gives physicality its consciousness.
Political change is another wonderful application of this idea. The printing press is a piece of hardware, and the ideas of the enlightenment represent the software. The printing press did not cause conflict, the software is what is responsible for the political strife. For this reason the escalation of hardware diversity represents an increase in social entropy, because hardware has a neutrality within it, out of which we will discover something about the software of nature.
Scientists have been studying the software of nature. The hardware question is now in the scientific consciousness. What is the medium of connectivity that makes an electron possible? What is the medium of connectivity that makes dark matter possible?
The frontiers of science operate as a reflection of the consciousness that we use to investigate these questions, because duality is the nature of software. All software utilizes binary code, and that can only be used to interact with other forms of code. The neutral, non-numerical medium of hardware is best described by an absence of code. In other words, the best representation of the undifferentiated divinity out of which human connection occurs is silence.
Therefore, this software/hardware approach is a duality, it represents a poetic symbol that allows us fly very low to the ground of being, but true understanding of the monarchy of being requires a crash. Philosophy is a flight of fancy away from the gravity of the known.
If there is anything profound about human consciousness it is the ability to see this non-transgressable limit. But even this is a duality. The great revolutions owe their strength to something non-human, some form of hardware, that allow these patterns, potential ideological energies, to escape dying forms of hardware and empty out into the ocean of a new medium.
Like salmon swimming upstream, like commuters trying to catch the last 5 o’clock train, like children running for the ice-cream man, like dogs fighting over a piece of meat, we are all aware of the new culture, and I mean the word ‘culture’ in its most laboratory way, we are aware of the new medium of reproduction or recording, and we are struggling to be embedded into it, because forms of software die. Or do they?