A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History

A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History

- Summary from A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History - Wikipedia

A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (hereafter known as ATYNH) is a 1997 book by Manuel De Landa. The book forms part of the ongoing project of De Landa to apply dynamical systems theory and its ilk to such diverse fields as history, analytical science and realist philosophy, challenging prevailing paradigms in each instance. Specifically, ATYNH offers a novel neo-Deleuzian reading of history which sees the evolution and interplay of complex systems (geological, economic and linguistic) as primary, and opposes naive teleological notions of anthropocentric progress, to paraphrase the author.

The book chooses an arbitrary starting date, 1000CE, and plots the fluctuations, bifurcations and extinctions of various heterogeneous or homogenous aggregates of 'matter' (the author uses the word 'matter' to describe the elements of any accumulation of geological, economic and linguistic content) from this point until 2000CE. One of the central points of ATYNH is that the patterns of behaviour inherent in the study of complex systems (eg. strange attractors, emergent properties) are found in all these domains of 'matter', informing a view of the world as a dynamic, highly interconnected bricolage of self-adaptive, amorphous systems composed of morphogenetically potent matter.

In summary, ATYNH conceives of a world of infinite variation, one which is immanent, both hierarchical as well as non-hierarchical and a "mesh work" of linear and non-linear progressions, and thus one which can be most accurately modeled using the tools provided by complex systems, emergence theory and other related fields of study.

De Landa's later book, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, sees all phenomena in the abovementioned domains as 'emerging from' a core set of abstract (yet real) dynamic systems which are themselves multiplicitous and in constant flux.

Both books are also useful for the way they elucidate some of Deleuze's notoriously difficult ideas and neologisms, including the body without organs, smooth and striated space, the plane of consistency, assemblages and abstract machines..

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