[Adapted from a lecture on Universal Changes.]

Resistance is existence.

Some forces from the wellspring of resistance happen to act together, prevailing a little before breaking like waves. Some of these forces get diverted into self-replicating patterns. Some of these patterns beget patterns, and so on. Everything we think of as an object is one of these patterns. A "thing" is essentially insubstantial, which is how it appears from "nothing." All activity is resistance relations. Evolution is the process of existence.

We imagine that there is matter, and that it has mass. But actually, mass, the measure of resistance to acceleration, is just a form of energy, the capacity to act. We only know things by their potential. Why? Because intellection requires "possibility." Otherwise, it would just be sensation.

Attraction is a virtual force. It appears to arise in the course of resistance. All attraction is coincidence, but it is essential that there are coincidences.

Think of how simple "pushing" is compared to "pulling." "Pushing" is applying resistance directly. "Pulling," attracting something to you, is somehow pushing it from the other direction. How does a vacuum suck up air? From the air's perspective, it's plowing through the weakest defense, "taking the path of least resistance."

What about gravity? Don't masses attract each other? That's what we used to think, but light has no mass, and it's affected by gravity. Whenever you analyze an instance of attraction, it disappears, or turns out to be resistance, astonishingly often. "Resistance" is not a magic word. You can't derive the world from it, because the world isn't based on language. But existence has a definite character. "Resistance" is the best descriptor.

Resistance is not a metaphor. It's what makes metaphors possible. The world is not atoms and dice rolls, it's the expression of the basic form of existence. It divides into opposites that are not halves.

There is no failed resistance. You can get induced to resist in a way that's contrary to your will, but your will is virtual. Power is the capacity of forces to influence forces. It can be expressed as simple output, but if it were only output, it would collapse. Its role is to generate circuits, so your exertions return accretions. It's pattern development. Cycles are essential for anything to last.

Pleasure is the conscious experience of power development. Both pleasure and power are virtual. They don't match perfectly. Pleasure is sympathetic. Power isn't confined to bodies. You can surrender your power and feel more powerful through your participation in what has power over you. Your personal identity is only one of many patterns you're involved in.

Pain is the conscious experience of disempowerment, which is especially the disruption of replicative patterns.

Humor involves a burst of power. Laughter is explosive. It's distinguished by its suddenness and its social component. Something as simple as making a reference you expect people to get demonstrates the power of a social bond, and evokes a lot with little, making it sudden.

Humor often involves laughing at a "pathetic" figure, someone whose attempt at power reveals their impotence. Strong comedic figures juggle multiple circuits, getting people to laugh "at" them and "with" them, for multiple reasons at once.

Art is a demonstration of power for appreciation. But the distinction of anything in particular as "art" is a fantasy, based on what the critic imagines. "Beauty" is power that might empower you. The "Sublime" is something powerful that might disempower you. The "Pitiful" is something pathetic that might empower you, and the "Abject" is something pathetic that might disempower you.

Desire involves the "fantasy of absolute power," which is just "fantasy." Specifically, absolute power is the power of being beyond all resistance, having immediate access to a real thing. What is beyond all resistance is the Absolute. And Nothing. They're the same thing. There simply is nothing besides resistance and no getting beyond it. You're always involved in it.

Fantasy has many expressions. There's the fantasy of unity, especially the unity of opposites, two halves making a whole, individual beyond resistance. There's what Lacan called objet petit a, the object of desire as something beyond all description (e.g. "There's just something special about him/her.") Speaking of, there's also what Lacan called the big Other (roughly speaking, "objectivity," the guarantor of Truth).

Knowledge is predictive power. Explanatory power is just scaffolding. We talk about testing theories, but the purpose of a theory is the results it yields. Something as simple as expecting the ground to be beneath your feet is a prediction. Everything you know about the ground amounts to a series of expected interactions, or predicted reactions. Predictive power includes postdiction, that is, expecting that something happened in the past based on what you know now.

Again, what we think of as "things" are really patterns or arrangements of forces. The idea that there is any individual object, beyond resistance relations, is a fantasy of absolute power. The idea that there is something more to the object than resistance relations is a fantasy of absolute power. "Truth" is just a term of endorsement for a proposition's predictive power. No matter how true you think something is, there is no Big Other to pat you on the back and agree with you. "Absolute Truth" is a fantasy of absolute power. "Objectivity" is a fantasy of absolute power Does this mean that nothing really exists? Not at all. Resistance exists. Does this mean all statements are equally valid? Of course not. There are highly accurate predictions. It's just that you need to verify them, or trust other people to. Otherwise, words are used for their effects on the listener, or they have lives of their own.

Remember, truth and reality are two different things. Truth is a product of language. The idea that the world is made up of words is an old fantasy of absolute power. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," right? And the idea that the world is made up of things that correspond to words is fundamentally the same fantasy. People ask me, "Are you trying to say there's no world 'out there?'" Your conception of "in here" and "out there" is wrong. The interaction between those two, the "experience of" something, is what's real. The subject and object themselves are what's imaginary. To me, it's like saying, "Surely, one plus one equals two, even if you take away the 'one plus one equals.'" Metaphorically speaking, it's the equals sign that's fundamental, not the expressions on either side, which are conditioned by our imagination.

The basic materialist view is that there is stuff, and it obeys natural laws. But natural laws are artificial. They're predictions. The idea that laws determine everything is a fantasy of absolute power. Our theories become more and more accurate, but there is no end point where they match the equations in God's notebook. Just like, you can develop a greater and greater map of the earth to an astonishing level of detail, but in the end, there is no one definite shape of the earth, down to rustling leaves, down to the atom, and no absolute perspective to view it from.

Many abstractions we use in physical theories are expressions of the fantasy of absolute power. Absolute zero, singularities, the speed of light in a vacuum—these don't actually happen. Their impossibility is what the relevant predictions are about. Scientific predictions require margins of error. Even if our experiments and tools were perfect, they still would. Existence itself is radically free. It only appears to be consistent because our observations are limited to the forces that are highly locked into replicative patterns.

Why is mathematics so effective in scientific predictions? It's not like mathematics fell out of the sky. It's what we developed to do exactly that. It's like, four groups of three objects is twelve objects. And a rectangle that is three inches by four inches is twelve square inches. Isn't that wild? I guess it depends on what kind of mood you're in.

It's worth noting that what I've been calling "forces" are abstractions, just like objects. They're the best way to grasp resistance. There is no individual "force," there are only ever "forces." This is dynamism. How many forces are there? It's uncountable. How many streams are there in a river? It's that number, to the power of itself.

Experience is distinguished from existence by its awareness of succession (time), which develops from higher order pattern maintenance. Fundamentally, all our emotions, thoughts, all our everything is highly concentrated coincident forces. The human mind is vastly more intricate than anything we're aware of. More intricate than society. But it's not different in essence from any other form of existence. When you develop in the womb, there is no instant where you develop consciousness, and when you die, there is no point where your soul leaves the body. Life is a swelling of resistance relations. Consciousness is existence at a high degree of development. We can barely relate to animals, let alone bacteria, let alone molecules. The overwhelming majority of existence cannot plunge to the shallowest depth of our experience, but it takes the same form.

The belief that you are a distinct being, separate from everything else, is a fantasy of absolute power. You are multitudes. The idea these multitudes are united in one thing, or that there is something ineffable beyond the collection of multitudes, is a fantasy of absolute power. Everything you think of as "you" is virtual, but if you could strip that all away, which you can't, what's left is resistance.

Sadly, the idea that "we are all one" is another fantasy of absolute power. Everything you think of in terms as "is" and "are" is virtual. There is only activity.

I should mention that virtuality is good. "Good" is mutual reinforcement. "Bad" is failed mutual reinforcement, from our perspective. As Plato wrote, what is "Evil" for something is whatever tends toward its dissolution. A pattern is not a really existing thing, as much as it seems like it is when it is stable over a long time. Everything we think of as "good" is virtual. Resistance is a precondition for goodness. It's not evil, it's just blind to virtuality.

We associate "up" with goodness and pleasure because "up" is away from the earth. You demonstrate your power by resisting the earth. When you're "above" someone, you're pressing your power upon them. When you're "below" someone, you have less freedom to exercise your will. You're restricted, incapable of resisting. "Freedom" is the capability to resist, or in other words, just capability.

The idea that there is a "Universe" is a fantasy of absolute power. (Specifically, unity.) There are no things, let alone a collection of all things or something special about that collection. "Nothingness" is another fantasy. It comes from first imagining there is something and then taking it away.

I cannot tell you how to conceive of the experience of death, but I can tell you there is no nothingness and nothing that makes you distinct from the rest of the world.

To simplify a little, time and space are ways of conceiving of resistance relations. They're not things that can have a beginning or an end. That's a category error: they're not divisible substances. There is only, always, ever, brute existence.

You may say the master-signifier "resistance" is my own fantasy of absolute power, vague enough to use sophistry to apply it to anything. I would say, try thinking in terms of resistance and see what happens. If it doesn't lead you to any insights, there's no need for you to bother with it.