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Re: <nettime> There are only Vectors
human being on Sat, 15 Mar 2003 01:19:38 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> There are only Vectors


        [[mistakenly omitted from an earlier digest. sorry. -- mod (tb)]]

  [my attempt to write through a migraine headache and dizziness...]

  thanks McKenzie and Scot, and others for the interesting discussion.
  it is difficult to know how best to respond, as there are several on-
  going related threads that have now arisen. thus, i will try to simplify
  some of the more basic ideas previously mentioned, to contribute
  one more possible interpretation, for the reason that I've learned
  a lot & have a lot of questions directly resulting from this exchange.

  first, I would like to acknowledge that McKenzie did indeed respond
  to the list of 'vector' statements in his post, as did Scot, and this to
  me addresses many issues and some of the criticism related to
  the earlier post 'There is no America and Europe' by McKenzie.
  It's been more fully addressed in digest by "nettime's_synthesist".
  there is so much brought up by these posts (as assembled ideas)
  that it makes the limitations of language, and its repetition, evident.

  secondly, maybe this is where ideas like the 'vector' come in, as a
  type of utility, as the idea of an idea of fixed-length really has me
  hooked, whether or not this is the idea of vector. it is that concepts
  usually, as language, subsume all other ideas to form legitimacy,
  and any idea can become a universal set, taking on god or root
  status, but then all types of weird things happen with logic/reason.

  for instance, it is appreciated the synopsis provided by Scot, in
  relation to the more in-depth appreciation of vectors. these types
  of descriptions and examples help, and yet I must admit I am still
  at a very basic level of understanding, so remain stuck at 'vector'
  and its definition- which in my view is OK, because there is really
  something unique and tangible and pragmatic about the idea, yet
  when stretched across human history (or whatever scale) some-
  thing, in my experience, is lost or distorted, and the idea of vector
  as a bounded idea takes on importance. i realize there have been
  several basic definitions by now, a chaos-driven levitating signifier,
  possibly. yet, what if 'vector' was publicly-sourced as an idea which
  has its many meanings, and is one in a tool of ideas in which to
  approach a situation/scenario, but also within a limited context, so
  that such unwieldy storms do not diminish the basic idea of vectors?

  what is this context-- geometry and geography, extended into inter-
  and multi- and uni-disciplinary investigations, possibly? It is for this
  reason that the idea is intriguing, to me at least. as it relates to many
  things, on a very practical level of direct experience. And, yet it is
  also an area of critique, as it is not helpful for 'vectors' to be left as
  undefined in relation to the most popular notions of this definition
  today, if it is through vector-based graphics (which seem to share
  much of the basic definition) or weather maps or supercomputing
  using vector-based mathematics. These issues should be related,
  in my opinion, not dismissed, as ways to clarify the basic concept.
  Else, why does someone else need to interpret the meaning of
  the 'vector' wordage, when someone who knows this idea better
  than many others can clarify their relation? they remain very open
  questions, how does 'vector computing' and how does 'vector-based
  graphics' relate to the idea of 'vector'. and, to complete this idea, it
  may be that 'vector' is the idea, it seems (at least potentially), and
  not the 'vectorization' of everything and its reconstitution via vectors.

  third, in an attempt to break this idea up into the parts understood
  and potentially misunderstood or interpreted on my part, it is very
  possible to relate to the basic idea of a vector and its mathematics
  and to keep it in this understandable realm. basic questions arise
  at this level, such as 'are all vectors equal?', as that is how they are
  so far written. and this appears counter-intuitive. to give an example:
  one can take a supercomputer with weather patterns, and as used
  on the daily news by meteorologists, computers can take points of
  data (vectors, it is proposed, such as wind-speed, temperature, dew-
  point, etc) and plot these on a common field/plane/geography/place.
  and these many points can produce many maps interpreting this
  core data. for instance, on weather.com they plot U.S. weather for
  an hurricane, say, at the same time as plotting weather for golfing
  courses around the U.S. on another map, utilizing the same data.

  this is one aspect, which is complicated already because there
  are many vector-based calculations going on to get a result on
  one idea. if a single idea is to be approached, and the relevant
  vectors are plotted, let us say counter-globalization 'protesters',
  and everything else about these data points are reduced just
  to the certain dimensions of the definition of the vector they are
  to represent (in space-time-information trajectories), and each
  is also equal as a vector (on the same plane) for mathematics/
  computation's-sake, what is the sum of this calculation? it is in
  my belief that this 'vector of vectors' situation, described above,
  has an aspect of many minor-vectors making up a larger, major-
  vector, or pattern or path of this vector, leading to interpretations
  of a different SCALE. scale, thus, is where this idea is in my view.

  so far, there has been little or no differentiation in the idea of the
  vector, it can be very very small or very very big, with no change
  in its substance, nature, or essence, or so it seems. yet, if refined
  it may indeed be a way to describe quantum processes and how
  large simulations (like this mailing list) direct themselves as what
  may be considered a multitude and-or also as being a singularity.
  this is very low-resolution, to what it could be if the calculability of
  the idea were pinned. for instance, if there are major vectors made
  up of many more minor vectors, yet in the realm of vectors there
  are also limits, it's its own sealed-method-- vector-based analysis,
  then would it be possible to push it into major/minor interpretations
  that are not focussed on the word 'vector' (because, at some future
  time it may be discretely but openly-defined), and instead the very
  interpretations based on this 'vector' method would be reasoned,
  from calculations of data points and geographical movements...

  fourth, given McKenzie's expertise in geography (I am to assume),
  all of this seems to dove-tail very nicely into the technology which
  can use such data, maybe not directly precise, though analogously.
  And that is through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which
  is software (GRASS is an open-source project which is available)
  which may be able to show various layers/planes of this type of
  vector data, overlaid, and possibly is one way to interpret the
  many minor vectors from the major vectors, similar to how a
  weather person sees 'highs' and 'lows' and interprets where
  and when the weather will change with cold and warm fronts
  (on one scale, the temperatures are minor, and on another,
  the fronts are major scale vectors, it is proposed). If overlaying
  this data, as point or movements, or even sequences of vectors
  beyond single plots, (thus, could several vectors become flows
  of vectors, and could a flow represent the consecutive movement
  of a series of minor vectors into a larger, longer-term major vector?).
  this type of analysis, to me, would be a result of using the idea of
  vectors as they are used for other purposes, as mathematics and
  as a conceptual utility, bridging fuzzy areas through cartography.

  in this way, a database of vectors could be developed using the
  statistical data, and the many issues (scales) raised in previous
  posts could be plotted against one another, to visualize patterns
  and reason the resulting flows of data as a larger whole. this is
  not meant to confine or restraint the idea of 'vector' but to open it
  up, beyond interpretation, to application, which it already exists
  as, just not in this unique way of dealing with such in-formation.
  my hope is that 'vector' would be the center of further discourse,
  not the trajectory of 'vector' trapped within scenarios of language.
  in this way, it is fascinating to consider and thanks for the time
  you've spent in helping clarify and further elucidate the ideas.

  brian

PS. the ideas of 'abstraction' of information are fascinating also,
and i hope they are further explored in discussion, as a material
view of information is unique (such as type on a page, it has been
considered 'immaterial' or so i've heard, and maybe this results
from a conceptual model of the perceiver, who has previously
not been identified with a physically modeled and defined brain,
sharing the same characteristics as the objects 'outside' of itself,
which turn out to be similar in nature, through differentiated.) Also,
the telegraph's role is not worth quibbling about, but there is much
much more to it than what has been mentioned in these postings.
in your use of 'natures' i would propose 'traditional' and new orders,
with 1st,2nd,3rd possibly relating to natural, artificial, virtual 
worlds.
and, i would propose that human language has never been clearly
(universally) differentiated between 'public' and 'private' vantages,
but is based on ever-shifting identities and cultural orders (based
on economics, politics, societal influences). it is proposed that the
rapid 'privatization' is in the nature of the language we inherit and
the roles we take and make of ourselves. to protest privatization,
say, as private citizens, is full of complex paradoxes, taken to any
extreme which could be detrimental in extreme ways. as can the
championing of these (as is often the case with private powers).
yet, if a public 'vector' composed of many private 'vectors' was to
be in-formed, the duality of human nature, that it is both in realms
public and private, that it is paradoxical, that it is unresolved yet
demands action and movement- this is, in my opinion, good stuff.
as long as the vector does not overtake the people, human beings,
in its interpretations, & is used for analysis, projections, 
experiments.

PS relates in particular to this one section of Ken's response:

> The power of abstraction, the abstraction of information in relation to 
> its material substrate, is not a power in the general possession of humans 
> as a species -- as recent events make abundantly clear. There is a class
> relation at work. The regime of private property has been extended to
> information, and very recently. The possession of information, and the
> possession of the means to realize its value, is rapidly being 
> privatized.

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