Re: Abstractism

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 02:41:56 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: AbstractismDate: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 12:44:46 -0800
    >> >From: Joe Dees
    >> >
    >> >> But this is because differential light patterns propel a visual array
    >> >into your eyes, where it is fed into your occipital lobes, from outside.
    >> >>>>
    >> >
    >> >Alright. So where's the "information" in there? Where's does the
    >> >"representation" come in? These are not physical properties and
    >> >cannot be located anywhere in spacetime, i.e. the universe, be it your
    >> > brain or the sun.
    >> >
    >> The information is in the configuration of the letters in the alphabet to
    >form words,
    >As I've said, it's not the configuration of the molecules of ink; it's our
    >interpretation of the configuration.
    And why can people who understood the language in which the message is written read it, while readers of other languages or the illiterate cannot? Could it be that the ink on the paper is configured in shapes that are recognizeable as conveying a specific and intended (by the writer) message by those taught how to read it, and not recognizeable by others? No one can interpret a configuration unless it is physically there to be interpreted.
    >> If you look for an element called 'representatium" like one would look for
    >hydrogen, you're bound to fail, but if you seek meaning, information and
    >representation in configuration you will find them, for that is where they
    >are, and such configuration is indeed stored in the brain (as well as in
    >books and other places, using different coding schemas).
    >Physics deals with the structure of matter as well as its components.
    >There's no physical structure called "information" or "representation."
    >Electrons and quarks are contained in atomic structures. Atoms are
    >contained in chemical structures. Those are the only kind of structures
    >you'll find in the ink on a page.
    Information is in configuration, when it is, because we intentionally arrange the configurations in order to put the information there for the purposes of communicating it to others. In fact, a bad interpretation may cause the reader to misconstrue the intended meaning of the writer, but (s)he still construes it in some (usually pretty close) way (people rarely mistake messages about foot massages for messages about african safaris, for example), and (s)he is able to do this because the words in the message are commonly understood (through teaching the language, that is, the meanings of the words of which it is comprised) to refer to, well, referents, that is, things other than themselves, that is, WE refer the words to other than themselves (words have an irreduceable 'aboutness' to them), but the overwhelming predominance of english speakers do not refer the word 'elephant' to a (mental image of a) gnat, which is an example of why messages are not completely arbitrary (th!
    ey are anchored in the meanings of the words of which they are comprised). You may like to try reading some hermeneutics; the basic fellow there is Paul Ricoeur. Study especially textuality and the dialectic between distanciation and appropriation to establish proper interpretive distance.
    >> Unless they are physically configured in the commonly agreed upon shapes
    >and these shapes are combined in commonly agreed upn ways to form commonly
    >agreed upon words, we read nothing.
    >Exactly. It's our interpretation of the configurations, not the
    >configurations themselves, in which the meaning lies.
    The meaning, once again, has been intentionally encoded in the configuration in such a manner that it may be (hopefully correctly)apprehended by others. it is latent meaning, and requires 9nteraction with the perceptual apparaus of a person literate in the language in order to manifest, but in the absence of the configuration, such a person could stare at a blank page for millennia and not get a message 9except the message that there is no message there).
    >> There is a huge physical and configurational difference between ink
    >spilled on a page and ink written on that page in the form of words.
    >And it's in our interpretation of this configurational difference that
    >determines what is "word" and what is not.
    That interpretation is one that has been created, learned and taught, is in one sense arbitrary (another word could have been defined to mean the same thing, if history had been a litle different) and by mutual convention (we cannot interpret any configuration in any old way and expect to communicate with or comprehend the communications of others; that is, there are standards of word-reference association necessary to being considered literate in a language).
    >> I think that just about everyone here (with the possible exception of you)
    >would agree that information is encoded in configuration.
    >You better call on the herd to back you up, 'cause you've got nothing else.
    Except logic and evidence. And you would not have been able to read and understand the words in this sentence if I had not typed them in. The meaning of the sentence requires its presence as well as yours, and requires not only that it be physically configured in specific ways (encoded in the english language), but also that your brain be configured in specific ways (with the meaning-referent associations for the words stored in your neuronal-synaptic-dendritic-axonal pattern-configurations. Anyone more intelligent than a cow can understand this.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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