Anticipation and Noosystems - an interview with Luis de Miranda

- Intervju med styrelseledamot i SSFP och praktiserande filosof Luis de Miranda -

Welcome to the board Luis! Could you give us a short bio of yourself in a few sentences?

Thank you. I am a man who spends a lot of time thinking about how ideas transform the world, discovering such ideas, writing books about our epoch, and helping others dare to think and have meaningful existences. I am a Doctor of Philosophy, currently doing research on the idea of anticipation at Örebro University. I also host individual consultations at the Philosophical Parlour in Stockholm, a space I initiated in February 2018. Oh, and I have written a dozen books translated in a few languages: novels, philosophical essays, histories of ideas.

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What is the focus of your current project and perhaps keywords for your philosophical explorations?

Anticipation is the current keyword. Humans remain, either individually or collectively, very poorly skilled when it comes to foresee the outcomes of their actions and take inspired decisions. The practice of prediction has made effective progress in the last decades in certain disciplines and thanks to intelligent systems, but mostly as a mechanistic and probabilistic protocol, based on reactive causation and often keeping the human factor out of the loop because of its complexity. Effectual anticipation is a desired model of the future that acts in the present, a way of acting which does not obey the instinct of immediate gratification but uses final causation and deeper aspirations. It is a sensibility for destiny ramifications, the capacity to imagine and project into the future the consequences of our intentions. Another concept I just started working on is Noosystems, in correlation with  ecosystems, technosystems, and anthrobotic systems.

What would you say is fundamental to your approach to the ”practice” in philosophical practice?

I listen carefully to people and help them, via a patient dialogue, to find more coherence in their life, to train their muscle of thought, to become aware of their noosystem, the unity of their cognitive models. I help them develop an energy of mastery rather than slavery. We live in very mimetic societies that generate a lot of guilt, the guilt of conformism. I help people embrace their difference by thinking about their deepest anticipations.

I know you work with philosophical counselling in Stockholm. What do you think is essential to good philosophical counselling?

I have a long conversance with the history of philosophy as well as a training in Lacanian psychoanalysis, and both help me avoid the superficiality of some forms of coaching. I believe philosophical counselling must dive into the core of a singular existence, and help people realise how their cognitive skills and their capacity for effectual ideation is key to a brave, joyful and triumphant life.

I know you have worked extensively with the notion of ”esprit de corps” in your PhD. Do you think it is possible to apply it for a collective spirit of philosophizing in Sweden? If so, how could this be done?

I believe people who like to think and philosophise tend to isolate themselves or be lone wolfs. Epistemic communities tend to be stronger than individuals in changing something in our forms of life. A lot of people are afraid to express their thoughts in Sweden because of the pressure of having to appear civilised and avoid conflict. If the members of a population that appreciate conceptual depth can be connected with each other, it’s through structures like SSFP or communities of intellectual passion; a certain loyalty to the group is welcome. But it’s hard to meet like-minded people. Academia is still quite good at uniting intellectuals, as it has been since the middle ages. And we need to encourage the art of agonistic conversation in the civil society, it is not a crime to disagree about ideas in a dialectic fashion, or rather crealectic...

Why did you choose to focus on esprit de corps in your PhD? 

It’s a long story. I wanted to follow the evolution of an idea over several centuries and across countries and different languages, and was intrigued by the fact that Deleuze and Guattari praised the alchemical power of esprit de corps in their book A Thousand Plateaus. I have always dreamt of being part of a strong epistemic community with like-minded intellectuals. I tend to get a bit bored among people who are not conceptual beings in some way.

And what is your relation to the philosophy of Deleuze today?

I wrote a book called Is a New Life Possible? on Deleuze. My concept of Creal - meant to describe the source of reality as a processual realm of infinite possibilities was inspired by Deleuze’s reading of Nietzche. 

What are your important main sources for inspiration, both in general and more current one’s?

This is a huge question. Process Philosophers like Heraclitus, Hegel, Bergson, Whitehead Deleuze, have been important. So have literature, theater, personal experiences, and more recently the philosophy of technology.

In what way do you think philosophical practice is important compared to the role academic philosophy has in Sweden?

To simplify, we could say that philosophical practice proposes a direct and intimate relationship with humans, while academia is a complex confrontation with ideas.

What do you think is the main difference between ”academic” philosophizing and ”philosophical practice” such as philosophical counselling or study groups like the one you have at Noden?

They are different practices with different methodologies. Academic philosophizing is based on vision and reading, while philosophical counselling is based on listening. 

What do you think are the main differences between French and Swedish philosophy culture and how do you think this can affect the Swedish practice? 

What is appreciable about the French tradition is the art of conversation, which supposes a form of agonistic dialogue. As I said in Sweden (and this is a risky generalisation), many people seem to find it difficult to have a thesis-antithesis discourse between different minds and sometimes critique is perceived as personal while it should deal only with ideas. It should be possible to point to the the moon of ideas without being asked to speak about the size or color of our finger.

Do you have any good ideas for philosophical books to read this autumn, new or old ones?

I recommend reading the Orders of discourse by Foucault or Existentialism is a humanism by Sartre, which are both quite simple and short introductions to contemporary philosophy.

Thank you Luis for getting us all to know you better and good luck with your projects in the future!