Reading Karma

Last night, as I searched for another book to read – avoiding the theory shelves and work related titles, I reached down to the lower shelf and took out two books; Gibson’s Virtual Light (my former advisor was always astounded that I have read very little Gibson given my field of study…) and James Flint’s Habitus. After looking at both books, the first hardcover, the second paperback – I decided to read Habitus.

I remember buying this book right around the time I was reading Bourdieu and the opening quote is from Deleuze… how could a girl go wrong. It’s been a few years…What I didn’t realize when I decided to read it was how well it fit into the flow of ideas set up by my last two readings and my overall general knowledge. In the opening chapters, Habitus sets up one of the main characters in relation to Alan Turing, Colossus and the mechanical replacement of human computers. While the concepts of thermodynamics and negative entropy introduced in the second beginning quote were two concepts developed in the last two books I read.

And finally, given the task of writing a history of online role-playing games recently, the following quote from the book seems quite apropos in retrospect:

And, If we want to write history, we have to pull together at least three different kinds of time: the reversible time of clocks and mechanics, all to do with cogs and levers; then the irreversible time of thermodynamics, born of fire; and finally the time of what is called ‘negative entropy’, which is what gives rise to singularities.
‘History no longer flows the way we once thought.’
‘A small world history of work in three acts, three times, three figures, three states of matter, and three words which are in fact only one, by Pia, the flying doctor!’
                                                                             
Michel Serres, Angels

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