A Theistic Glitch is an essay, ideas assembled into words.

Excerpt:  The data mine rests atop many deeply flawed histories. As Elizabeth de Freitas notes, “Different mathematical practices are aligned with different ontologies, and therefore it matters what kind of mathematics we bring to bear in social theory.” (de Freitas, 462). When data reigns, do these “hyperreal numbers” (de Freitas, 465) give way to a hyperreal society? This is a logical conclusion. De Freitas summons Deleuze and Guttari in describing smooth and striated space, and the mathematics that represent these realms (de Freitas, 465). In doing so, she reminds us of the digital and analog: two parallel tracts, but not equal.

The digital is always reductive, descriptive and therefore derivative. It needs the infinite undulation of the analog to winnow down; it is a dependency of the real, a descriptor of the unending. One particular neoliberal trick of the digital, however, in all its power, is to believe in itself and to be convincing of its supremacy. Unrelenting, one might call it. Reader, don’t buy it. The analog requires nothing from the digital, and is therefore the more durable and vibrant realm. This isn’t to say that the analog might not enjoy the digital; a case can be made for that. However, fundamentally, the analog is the underpinning of the digital, which is what de Freitas alludes to rhetorically in asking, “How can the discrete compose the continuous?” (de Freitas, 464).

As for the glitch, I am going to assert that a glitch must always originate in the analog; yet it is only of the digital. By that I mean: when we trace the events around a perceived glitch, we will always find grand origin in the analog. This is due to the fact that the digital originates from the analog. This is inescapable. The digital has no unpredictable qualities, only that it tricks us into believing its magic, which is really a game of scale. The role that vastness and speed play in the digital cannot be understated; it’s the only trick, albeit a good one.

Read the full essay here.

A Theistic Glitch, 2021