Re: On 'information transmission'

William van den Heuvel (
Mon, 8 Mar 1999 14:17:03 +0100

Message-Id: <v04003a02b306e2f6fc3e@[]>
In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 14:17:03 +0100
From: William van den Heuvel <>
Subject: Re: On 'information transmission'

>The "standard communications model" nicely posits the enfolding unfolding
>but calls it encoding decoding the medium carries the message.

I'd be less inclined to equate enfolding/unfolding with encoding/decoding.
In my view, encoding/decoding applies to information in the sense of data,
but enfolding/unfolding applies to information in the sense of meaning.

In the case of encoding/decoding, the data is just transformed to suit the
medium but the whole informational content is retained. This is not so with
enfolding/unfolding of meaning where informational content is actually
removed and replaced by a reference (clue). The meaning is now "implied".
The removal of content is a tricky thing requiring implicit knowledge on
both sides: The receiver must have a priori knowledge to understand the
clue in order to be able to explicate the meaning (reconstitute the removed
content). The sender must also know that the receiver understands the clue
otherwise the trick is not going to work.

Successful communication appears to depend on encoding/decoding of data, as
well as enfolding/unfolding meaning. The more meaning can be implied the
less data needs to be encoded for transmission. The limited bandwidth of
the medium makes it totally impracticable to transmit the entire
informational content.

I would say enfolding/unfolding meaning is a kind of art, whereas
encoding/decoding data is just technology.

William van den Heuvel

(. .)
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