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# The exploit network theory The ghost in the network If life is animation, then animation is driven by a final cause. But the cause is internal to the organism, not imposed from without as with machines. Network science takes up this idea on the mathematica1 plane, so that geometry is the "soul" of the network. Network science vz proposes that heterogeneous network phenomena can be understood through the geometry of graph theory, the mathematics of dots and lines. An interesting outcome of this is that seemingly incongruous network phenomena can be grouped according to their similar georne-tries. For instance, the networks of AIDS, terrorist groups, and the economy can be understood as having in common a particular pat-tern, a particular set of relations between dots (nodes) and lines (edges). A given topological pattern is what cultivates and sculpts in-formation within networks. To in-form is thus to give shape to mat-ter (via organization or self-organization) through the instantiation of form--a network hylomorphism. But further, the actualized being of the living network is also i47- defined in political terms. "No central node sits in the middle of the spider web, controlling and monitoring every link and node. There is no single node whose removal could break the web. A scale-free net-work is a web without a spider."12 Having-no-spider is an observation about predatory hierarchy, or the supposed lack thereof, and is there-fore a deeply political observation. To make this unnerving jump from math (graph theory) to technology (the Internet) to politics (the acephalous "web without a spider") —politics needs to be seen as following the necessary and "natural" laws of mathematics; that is, networks need to be understood as "an unavoidable consequence of their evolution."3 In network science, the "unavoidable consequence" of networks often resembles something like neoliberal democracy, but a democracy that naturally emerges according to the "power law" of decentralized networks, themselves to blame for massive planetary inequities. Like so, their fates are twisted together. Birth of the Algorithm James Beniger writes that "the idea may have come from late eighteenth-century musical instruments programmed to perform au-tomatically under the control of rolls of punched papers 14 By 1801