January 29th, 2005

happytoast power lines

on the broken promise of flying rocket cars, and the Liar Bush

Google desktop is probably one of my biggest pet peeves right now, and I've finally found a target to focus my personal ire upon. The Original Liar Bush: Vanneavar Bush.

I'm a big user of Google web search, but as anyone may know, it's not because it's my preferred tool of research: it's not a tool of research at all. Search has nothing to do with research. To find a piece of data is a meaningless action. It is only when a piece of data is refiltered by our personal experiences and beliefs and reinterpreted, or even falsified, that actual re-search happens. There is no tool that recontextualizes that process back and links that happening to Google.

That is, because, we've bought the lie.

We've bought the lie that the machine soul is nascent. Somehow, many have come to believe that enough processing power, or a sufficiently networked network, or any such proxy, can mimic thought. We believe that at some level we will evolve the individual. what we should be looking for, though, is to evolve the act of struggle, which never seems to be the end goal, and why all efforts in this regard will result in failure.

We're promised the advent of such tools as the memex, and confounded because it seems to be always on the horizon, ever promised by liar after liar. The root of this lie is the ultimate lie of modernism: that one person matters.

Pre modern times, persons didn't matter. There was little, if any, concept of individuality. In fact, individuals didn't have rights: matters such as inheritance, for instance, revolved around a family, not a person. A king was nothing without a people. A man's net worth could be counted in terms of his wives and children. A slave, the closest entity to an individual, owned nothing, even their own identity.

We've bought the lie that one person matters: that there could be such an entity as the individual, going around with their vocoder and memex and having access to information and books and photographs, with other individual contact valued only in this formulation that you could, in effect "steal" their entire memex store and add it to your own.

This lie is evident in the fact that two words have ceased to have correct independent meaning in common parlance. "Information" is often interchangably used with "data". This failure of distinction is rampant in my industry. Data is what any individual can obtain or collect. Information, though, is what happens when data is compared against other data, and given a contextualization. Even I'm becoming more and more uncertain as to the distinction of the two words, and often mistake the two. This has to stop: it is a blot on my personal character.

It is also thought that one person can create information, by performing this comparison and storing the result. I would argue that this is still, however, data: albeit summarized. Information is created not when one person summarizes data, but when that summary is then communicated and reinterpreted by being passed to another person. Information, by this definition, requires at least the active participation of two people who disagree. I would argue that this is why schizophrenia is often closely linked with creativity: only with inner struggle can there be creativity: where the individual is broken, there can be information generated. Sadly, not all mental disease is creative, but all creativity is rooted in what socially, as the hive entity, is disease to the hive. Disease is partly biological: it must be, there is no non-corpuscular theory that can be falsifiably demonstrated. Biology is the prime mover, but it is more than biology. At some point, information is passed, beyond the biochemical reactions. Not extracorpuscular, not "spirit", but information, is passed.

It is no coincidence that Claude Shannon, student of Vanneavar Bush, linked entropy with information. It's not the enthalpy that matters, the biology. it's something else. It's the mutation, that central necessity of Darwinism. It's the random spark, which sets two things out of sync randomly and creates difference, struggle, war.

Any sufficiently powerful processor, or any networked set of systems, ceases to have group status. Likewise, the members of a family, a trade organization, a political party, even perhaps members of the same university or field of study, cease to produce information the minute they are acting in joint collusion, as a networked entity. Information happens when two sufficiently powerful systems work on a problem, and come up with *different answers*. Peer review in science is a useless process if only to fact check and rubber stamp articles. The process of peer review should be the most important part of science, because until there is the "other" who can say "no, I come up differently", you can have no information.

The nature of human creativity is the production of information from endless struggle. Individuals do not matter. The struggle is all that matters. False struggle, the idea that we can turn on inanimate or spectral concepts and create struggle, is deception. We cannot "war" on "illiteracy", except to recognize that there is difference between the validity of people knowing, and the validity of people not-knowing.

(Communication is the eating the apple of the tree of life- once you taste of the knowing, there is no other. You cannot know that you not-know. the words are the sin. and the snake is right, the sin is good.)

Human effort is a great war: the struggle between that which is conscious, and that which is not-conscious. That we depend on what is not-animate for survival is important in knowing the struggle. That a giant wave can sweep across the land and take away life is merely data. That we can live on land is merely data. That we struggle, and win, and lose, the daily fight to survive despite the wave: that is information. The wave disagrees with us. We disagree with the wave. We come to the same point, and neither is universally right.

Two people come to the point, and one builds a wall, and another builds a trench. That we can do both, and compare, and discuss, is what creates human information. To kill one and favor the other is to lose information. The endless war is the only hope of information. In the end, uniformity is death- enthalpic death and entropic death are the same end. Unification is death.

(The wave does not communicate with the volcano. The lion does not communicate with the brush.)