Sunday, May 19, 2013

Interacting Diagrams

I like to dabble in the stock market. And there is no end to the diagrammatic understandings of the market — from various rules of thumb to intricate and complex mathematical representations — offering me help. Except for occasional flashes, those of divine mathematical complexity and proprietary secrecy, seem to work well enough, but I have never found any within the range of my understanding that are all that helpful. What I need to know is just what all these diagrams seem to methodologically exclude; that is, the subjectivity of who is buying, who is selling, and why.

The single diagram is made up of indices and relationships, analogous to the subject matter, such that certain consequences follow and inferences can be made from them. Being an abstract reduction of the subject matter, the overall purpose of the diagram also has a bearing on its construction and viability. But when more than one diagram is involved the elements needed to represent this kind of situation change. The indices become actors, things to be diagrammatically understood in their own right, and the relationships between them are interactions that touch rather than connect them. It is no longer a question of the overall purpose of one diagram but rather of a number of individual purposes interacting through time.

This is not to say a diagram of the market as a whole, in a mechanistic sense of how it is set up and how it works, is not still not in play. However, much like geography at play in geo-politics, it is the board upon which the game is played. It can force outcomes now and then, and it definitely sets up currents and trends affecting the results, but it is not the game itself. The game is played between the subjects within the situation, subjects who have their own indices and relationships, drawn from their own analogies and based upon their own motives, such that certain consequences follow and they make certain inferences. Not only do these actors change, or evolve, in the course of these interactions; the board itself can change, evolve as it were, as result of what these actors do and how they try to do it. Interacting diagrams require a novelist's narrative that incorporates diagrammatic understandings of all involved. And, while working with a single diagram may be science, or capable of being a science, once more than one diagram are put in motion interacting with each other, understanding what is going to be an art.

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