Ineta Kivle

Dr. phil., LU Akadēmiskās bibliotēkas direktora vietniece un vadošā pētniece, Starpnozaru pētniecības centra vadītāja.
Pētnieciskās intereses: starpdisciplinaritāte, ritms, skaitlis, skaņa, krāsa. 

Atslēgvārdi: skaitlis, imitācija, simulācija, hiperrealitāte, antīkais kosmoss. | 15–24 | PDF

Polyphony of Numbers: Imitation and Simulation

111111111 × 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Number relates to intelligible reality: it gives a clear reference to quantity and demonstrates how mind is connected with sensitive world, or how numbers simulate self-referential codes and signs. Numbers as metaphysical order, element of ontological structures, measure of harmony, movement and transformation are applicable for comparison of various philosophical approaches. Philosophical approach seeks abstract and universal being of numbers that connotes with ideas, shapes, and forms – the number always is something definite. On the one hand, numbers are independent of capacities of subjective mind, whereas on the other, numbers are constituted by human mind as a measure of order, proportion, harmony, quantity, etc. As the main philosophical characterizations of number are considered the stances permeating all spectrum of human activities, elucidating functions of being and justifying rational order of the world, as well as constructed realities – simulacrum, hyperreality, digital world, etc.

Simulation, as well as imitation relates to reality in different ways, it depends on what is thought by reality. Reality as being of actual existence always changes its horizons from real objects to images and words, from intellect and emotions to signs and images, from signs to signs, etc. Faculty of ancient cosmos to be imitated is not more real than hyperreality with its functions of simulation – they both are realities of philosophical environments of different cultures. The main difference between imitation and simulation confirms existence of two realities: one is concerned with human’s activities that imitate nature, cosmos and other peoples and make references from intelligible to sensitive, from perceptual world to intelligible; another is hyperreality with its own realm that is without references to real human life and activities.

Ancient philosophy concerns several aspects of number from cosmic dimensions to sensitive and calculative world, reaching different realms of human activities – democracy and politics, music, harmony of spheres, sounds, rhythm, relationship between cosmos, music and mathematics, etc. Baudrillard creates a new condition of society that have no ground – that is hyperreality, simulacra determined by the force of the code of numeral correlations. Baudrillard gives the examples of consumer objects as codes and shows how one numeral correlation of signs is constituted by structural relations with other signs. Self-referentiality of signs stimulates a separation from real objects, coding systems manage society through signs and digital logic of code. Signs simulate signs, numbers simulate numeral codes – in such flux of data, the subjectivity of human is deconstructed.

The concept of number shows two different models of society: one is hypostatic – coming upwards and downwards with a reference to another reality and respect to corresponding truth; the other is a horizontally generated multiplicity – the deconstruction of the real into details without references to another reality and rejection of corresponding truth. However, there is a common stance: Ancient Cosmos as well as Hyperreality are created exploring typical mathematical operations, where numbers justify stability and clear order of created realities. The question is: how do we see numbers in reality?

The “polyphony of numbers” works differently in each of these realities. The generally accepted definition that polyphony forms a complex and multi-layered simultaneous process of different components applies equally to the imitation and simulation of numbers, as well as to ancient philosophy and postmodern theories of hyperreality. The difference is in the direction, sequence and understanding of polyphonic reality. The polyphony of numbers explains not only the realities of thoughts that can be separated in historical time, but also the different manifestations of numbers in sounds, colours, and objects.

The primary resources of the study are Plato’ dialogues; Plotinus. The Enneads. Tractate On Number; Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and Simulations.