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    The Natural Asymmetry of Infocologies
    Project: Polytopia
    part 2 of the series: The rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization

    Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.

    Clifford Stoll

    Abstract: Self-mapping in infocologies is the main tool we should get acquainted with, it is via the agency of such an activity as self-mapping that we will allow the myriad identities of our minds to carve a mind habitat on the net that fits and accommodates, our passions and our interests, our complex life. In this, second episode of the rise of the cyber unified civilization; asymmetry is being explored as the initial attribute of self-mapping in complex infocologies.

    We have always lived in an information economy, a fact that sometimes tends to be displaced by the immense amount of information now available at our fingertips. The huge amount of talk generated by the current infoconomy explosion takes little, if at all, account that ever since knowledge has been passed from parent to child and from culture to culture, the barter coin of trade was always information. Whether the information passed was gossip or the way to light a fire, the method of creating a better blade or the latest fashion fad, information was always the basis of human interaction.
    Furthermore, even when the apparent communication was not perceptibly information based, the result was the motion of information across domains, for that matter even procreation is a manner of moving information from one body to the next, from one genome to another, from one contextual realm to another.
    We are as brains and as minds always enmeshed and immersed in an information ecology, bathing in a sea of impressions and sensations, data structures and storytelling narratives. The very act of existence is from this perspective an act of information processing, our lives are in fact a representational manifestation of the information we have acquired (willingly or not), filtered, processed, managed, and rearranged in a fashion that best accommodates our circumstances and desired progress.
    So in a manner of speaking nothing has changed, we still toil daily to nourish ourselves via the embedding or ingesting of information into ourselves so we can produce more information after being processed by our systems.
    And yet not all is the same, our knowledge of the world for example, its make-up down to its constituent fundamental units, has increased immensely, increased in fact disproportionately to the knowledge or ‘know-how’ of how to address or indeed accommodate this radical increase and transformation of information.
    Our past evolution as a culture can increasingly be seen as the strive to accommodate information, the urge to make sense of it all. We have invented language and syntax and art and gods, and philosophies, and myths and legends, and music and contexts and science and meaning and so on, all for one purpose only, to accommodate the vast influx that is the infocology we find ourselves in when we are born.

    Information is an activity. Information is a life form. Information is a relationship. Information is a verb not a noun, it is something that happens in the field of interaction between minds or objects or other pieces of information. Information is an action which occupies time rather than a state of being which occupies physical space.” (John Perry Barlow at Wired march 1994)

    We are a system that crucially patterns information; the very word information originates in Latin ‘informare’ which means "give form to". The etymology thus connotes an imposition of structure upon some indeterminate mass (see)- (that mass, depending on context can be practically any kind of data the universe we find ourselves in cares to provide) and yet the emergent property that is our minds finds that the tools and tricks, filters and biases, we have used until not long ago to impose a structure upon the indeterminate mass of data are no longer efficient or fit.

    Chief amongst the causes of the insufficiency of our tools of mind to deal with the current onslaught of information is the meaning we assign to the term ‘natural’, a term so fraught with obsolete conceptions and dilapidated ideologies that given the possibility I would have eliminated this term from my vocabulary altogether. However given the pervasiveness of this term in our common language this is an impossibility and thus for lack of this alternative we need humbly take upon ourselves the herculean task of redefining the term natural.

    “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

    Douglas Adams

    The ‘natural’ is commonly understood to mean that which was ‘there’ (in the world) before ‘we’ (apparently conscious aware beholders) arrived on the scene of perception.
    The term natural is derived from the Latin ‘Natura’-"essential qualities, innate disposition," also "creative power in the material world," from O.Fr. nature, from L. natura "course of things, natural character, the universe," lit. "birth," from natus "born," (see)

    It is clear therefore that on the very basic platform of understanding we use the term natural to mean something that carries essential qualities of the universe unmediated and untouched by.. wait.. here it comes, us! Humans, the very machine that processes that mass of data called the universe and describes it in its own terms to fit its own need of accommodation or patterning. It thus happens that we, a very natural phenomena by all accounts, distinguish between that which is us and that which is natural- not us, taking upon ourselves the very godly posture of differentiation between ourselves (not having essential qualities ?) and that which we process, the world as having essential characteristics.
    Of course any thinking being will admit immediately that such a distinction between ourselves and the world is ridiculous and that it is a matter of degrees.. naturally! and it is in these very vague and murky waters of degree-ness that we need venture if we are to redefine the natural.

    "You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things. "

    Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

    It is apparent that we cannot anymore separate ourselves from our world, moreover the distinction between natural and artificial need be relinquished in favor of a much more complex language of perception, for though it is true that we will pattern the mass of impressions, it is concomitantly true that the manner by which we pattern reflects directly upon our state of mind, our knowledge and our very nature.

    I submit that the distinction between the natural and the artificial is nothing more than a useful fiction. Useful in that in common parlance we apparently understand what the speaker means when making said distinction , however it is a fiction since the reality at play is that all life is interconnected and the above distinction is fundamentally arbitrary and inherently fallacious.

    If anything we have learned that we are part and parcel of a huge complexity, a vortex of information called life, we have learned in fact that nature is all there is, including us, including our brains and sciences and technologies, one enormous flow of information undulating across all times and all directions in all spaces at myriad levels of perception. Therefore the suggestion I propose here, is that we relinquish the useful fiction of the distinction between natural and artificial and move into the realm of the degree of perception in nature and as nature.

    A useful distinction therefore might be, ‘I’ am a particular degree of perception of the universe.

    Since "I’’ is a multiple set of narratives, it follows that each set of narratives can be defined by its specific degree of perception.

    Why is the above descriptive statement important?

    Regarding a particular human mind at a particular time as being defined by a specific set of narratives having the attribute of a (set) particular degree of perception will allow us to create a new model approach that will allow us an accommodation of the present infocologies we exist in.

    Self-mapping in complex Infocologies

    In my previous post ,A Cyber Soaring Humanity, I have defined self-mapping in infocologies as the modern act of describing the set of characteristics and alignments that define my infocology existence.
    Here I wish to expand upon the model of infocologies and the act of self-mapping as the new manner by which identity via degrees of perception can be understood in hyperconnectivity.

    Self-mapping in complex infocologies may be described as the mapping of the degree of perception of mind x at time y as projected upon the infosphere. The actual carving of a mind habitat as I will show later is performed in hyperconnectivity via specific actions (links and so on), however at this point we need take into consideration that the state of affairs of an infocology implies the following attributes:

    Asymmetry – an infocology is by definition asymmetrical, on the very first level asymmetry can be understood in that the degree of perception of mind X at time T is different in a relevant fashion to mind Y at time T. The relationship between these two minds in a complex infocology is therefore never symmetrical in that they are in continuous flux in relation to each other. The motion of change (via impression whether in C-space or in M-space) is a continuously dynamic re-arrangement of the self-description. This state of affairs demands of us a mechanism (or tool) of real time alignment (traffic of real time communication) of description, clear, concise and continuously adaptable, upgradable and memory sensitive.

    Asymmetry has many sub categories that need be reflected upon:

    Asymmetry of continuity: in infocologies there is no necessary condition of symmetry of time, whether in having access to information or indeed in promoting said information or alternatively in response to input, this creates a very peculiar situation in which a particular post for example can be read by someone a year or ten years after it was written and get a response that is apparently in real time, in this case the asymmetry of continuity (of time) becomes the very backbone of the networks memory, in turn allowing polylogues to come into fruition. I see this aspect of asymmetry of continuity in time as a very critical component of infocologies for by its very nature it allows a flow of events of perception to carry on across multiple dimensions and multiple time frameworks. In fact it is the very sensation of asymmetry in infocologies that allows us a greater degree of freedom, for the simple reason that if I am no longer constrained by the time stamp (need to reply-respond right now) the leeway attached to my continuous flow of motion between degrees of perception will permit a higher level of correlativity and reasoning.

    Asymmetry of spaces: infocologies are inherently asymmetrical as regards spaces. By asymmetrical spaces I refer to the fact that we do not inherently cohabit the same infosphere of relevance, this in turn allows the difference between us to be the backbone of diversity allowing cross pollination; result -> creativity-> innovation.
    A very intriguing concept in infocologies is the relative mapping of surfaces of interests in which the difference between a number of co dependent intersubjective agencies is hard to define and needs by necessity be close enough so we can communicate but far enough so communication is interesting and co-creative. Re-hashing the one or the other (high similarity) will not produce any significant change, same goes for complete failure of communication due to a (too large) distance in relevant infospheres (very low similarity). The asymmetry of spaces (of interest) is therefore a critical component of the infocology we inhabit.

    Asymmetry of interests: infocologies are inherently asymmetric as relates to interest.
    This aspect is built of two major components: the first, that not all aspects of my infocology are similarly relevant and of interest to my particular degree of perception at time T and second that not all aspects of my infocology are of relevance and of interest to another mind. This is an important aspect of intersubjective co-dependent mutuality for we need be able to somehow parse both our own flows and the manner by which these flows intertwine with other flows. This is somewhat akin to a collection of short stories bound in a given anthology, I may like the overall subject (say sci-fi) and might regard the editor as a trustworthy source of choice of authors, yet when reading the anthology some stories may interest me more than others, some authors may be more close to my relevant infosphere than others and so on. There is no implied symmetry in the fact that these are collected in the same anthology, same goes for my infocology, there is no inherent implication of symmetry of interests for the fact that these are collected under the same header, my own mind habitat, my given identity.

    Asymmetry of passion: infocologies reflect differences in passion between different minds at different times. This fact correlates directly to the emotional fluctuations of each and every mind at different times, flows. The asymmetry of passions implying different degrees of investment of energy to different infospheres at different times results in the infocology being diverse and generally interesting. However the main issue worth exploring here is that differences in passion allow for the rhizomatic aspect of the flow in an infocology to flourish since by definition polylogues will move and bifurcate according to passions (the amount of energy invested by minds at given times).

    “We are embodied minds, busy multiplying our intertwining flows and emergent properties; data pervades, info flows, knowledge emerges, insights become apparent, creativity flourishes, innovation ensues”

    If we are indeed to redesign the system, the operating system of reality at play we need start by accepting the fact that we do not have a nature, we are nature. In this we will do well to construct our infocologies on the premise of a given and sustainable asymmetry.
    This asymmetry can be seen in the different degrees of perception defining a particular mind at particular times and by consequence the ensuing asymmetry in correlated activity, communication and traffic between many minds.
    The infosphere lends itself to the asymmetry of being by allowing an emergent paradigm of complementarities and co dependent intersubjective mutuality of interests.
    The infocologies we currently inhabit, our mind habitats, are fundamentally and increasingly becoming more and more asymmetrical.
    This is good.
    Asymmetry allows differences in perception to coexist and cross-pollinate, cross-fertilize dimensions of times, and spaces, interests and passions. Allowing these differences to sway and swing, as intertwining infoflows of diverse interests is the manner by which narratives intermingle and eventually evolve.


    “You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back.”

    shortly to be continued..

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