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Re: <nettime> Galloway: 10 Theses on the Digital
Michael H Goldhaber on Wed, 25 Apr 2012 23:23:48 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Galloway: 10 Theses on the Digital


This discussion seems to be mostly about the discrete vs. the continuous. Humans partake easily of both: writing, which always involves some sort of alphabet, and even talking in language, or playing the harpsichord involves discrete and separate symbols; there is no letter half way between a and b. On the other hand (ignoring for the moment the digits thereof)  dancing, drawing, painting, sculpting, and singing or violin playing involve the continuous. (Musical notation is basically discrete, but to make it work there have to be ligatures of various sorts, allowing notes to slide into one another- -- as well as the fiction that the notes played are always precisely the same and exactly on pitch; likewise, signatures are writing, but what makes them unique are aspects of continuous change).  

Kermit Snelson's intriguing quotes return us to the absolute continuity conceived in nineteenth-century physics -- the  continuity of motion possible for discrete atoms. Twentieth-century physics, with its uncertainty principle and chaos theory make it impossible to conceive of reconstructing the words that passed from someone's lips  a couple of centuries ago. Today the hopes for such reconstruction of the past rely on the concept of Facebook- or , more generally, data-mining, in the probably vain hope there can ever be enough data. 

I haven't read the paper to which Morlock Eloi and Nicholas Knauf refer, but what Nick has to say seems eminently sensible to me. Morlock implies that quantum theory involves only discrete states; that's just not correct. And anyway, we don't know at all on the microscopic level how thoughts are constituted -- if they are at all on that level. We do know we can easily perceive, conceive, remember and imagine both continuousness and discreteness, and we make use of both in the arts, as I indicated above. Both Mondrian AND Pollock (or Rembrandt for that matter); both Bach AND Cage (or Beethoven). Joyce, in Finnegan's Wake, strove for continuity in language, possibly with some success. In mathematical terms, it's always possible to find (or conceive) a real number (infinitely many, in fact) between any two other real numbers. 

If we live in a digital world now, it is as much because of texting, keyboarding and touch-screening as much as anything else, using digital in what Mark Stahlman, in this discussion , and I, in my old paper on Homo interneticus http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1155/1075  , point out has to do with fingers. 

Best,
Michael

On Apr 24, 2012, at 8:42 PM, Joshua Breitbart wrote:

> That parenthetical is a much better illustration of your misogyny than your straw man argument. It demeans this otherwise thoughtful list for you to say something like that.



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