Edward Dioguardi studies Philosophy at The New School for Social Research with a concentration in Psychoanalytic Studies. He also holds a B.A. in International Relations, Political Economy, and Middle Eastern Studies from American University. His current projects revolve around the study conception of eros and philia in the philosophy of history.
The word machine, coming from the Greek mēkhos, means “contrivance.” We can understand a machine as a contrivance or imagining incarnate — a vision of the world in one real abstraction. Like “machine,” the word “system” also comes from Greek origins — sustēma literally means “with set up.” The supplementary relation of “system” to machine is double: “system” both expresses a notion of totality that comes with the aforementioned “set up,” but also that there are no machines without the reference to a particular system that would function as its supplement.
The passage into “machinic” thought signals that the time for imagination, contrivance, or even ideology, has come to a close. As such, the reference to machines and systems in general, the closing of imagination or thought latent in the passage into machinic thought is justified with reference to systems, and imperatives that are “systemic” in nature. This reference to “system,” however, is itself nothing but the acceptance of the political horizon of particular machines.
Thus, the ubiquity of the concept of a system in political discourse should bring us to ask, rather than “who does the system work for?”, “who does the notion that we live in a system work for?” It is the hypothesis of this writer that “systems theory” may represent the last horizon of secularism with respect to the idea of totality as neutral and non-antagonistic (akin to what Marxists call “formal freedom” with respect to not-yet-politicized and thus still existent economy): totality without a/the subject.