Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> subjective math.
brian carroll on Tue, 11 Sep 2012 12:39:54 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> subjective math.

 Hello Mark,

 Thanks for your suggestions. I read the last chapter of
 Boole's Laws of Thought, Constitution of the Intellect
 and it was very worthwhile in ways that are beyond
 words. It also provides a next step for interpretation
 in connecting logic with ordering, which is essential,
 if not how ungrounded reasoning may relate to chaos.

 My particular problem is with reading itself, for it is easy
 to consider ideas, yet to get to the ideas can take lots of
 effort which is the inherent inefficiency. For this reason
 I much prefer communicating with people about the ideas
 (living ideas) versus in books, in their archived versions.

 Reading books or long texts on a computer screen
 must be a form of monastic punishment, I figure. It is
 likely strange that an adequate e-reader for such media
 is non-existent for 'ideas' beyond Penguin classics format.
 Meaning large format front-lit e-ink display for PDF texts.

 I have read Understanding Media and another text-image
 work (on hot and cool media) by Marshall McLuhan, yet
 never made it into the Gutenberg Galaxy or another work
 about the alphabet. Recently some tarot or cards were
 seen online of his and the metaphysics seemed wobbly
 so it made me uneasy about further investigation. Yet
 the ideas are of interest, it is just getting through texts
 which is tremendously challenging given the format.

 Thus it would be wonderful to communicate about the
 Trivium and if I find a workable way to approach it and
 can access the ideas, then will go that route, though it
 would be much preferred to communicate about the
 ideas themselves firstly and I hope that future exists.
 My faith in books has been lessened a great deal by
 issues of logic and I have found it difficult to read the
 book as a format, except perhaps for sampling text
 due to the conflicted context in which ideas reside.
 This could be true of all reading and writing yet for
 books it could involve a higher degree of challenge
 to access what is communicated in some instances.
 Perhaps this is heretical in terms of scholarship yet
 I am more a talker/debater/thinker, into discussing
 ideas, direct communications, writing not the ideal.

 To give a sense of the difference perhaps in vantage,
 today it seems a text is given some stature as if it is
 watching a movie, as per McLuhan if not inverted.
 For instance, if a book was presented on a projector
 screen to an audience in a room and automatically
 placed on a slow scroll setting via remote control,
 people could 'collectively read' or group read the
 text, and in a sense this is what occurs in English
 classes in gradeschool highschool and college, in
 that there is an assignment that most read and then
 discuss. And so this would be the passing of time,
 what is read, and yet in real-time in this example.

 Given enough reverence, a certain interpretation
 could become fixed about a text, ideological even,
 about answered questions in a particular viewpoint
 or framework, such that the book is an interface for
 the ideas it contains and can be accessed/utilized.
 Harnessing the book, its content, as a mechanism.
 Yet what if some of this was ungrounded, an issue
 of enculturation by being partly ungrounded- such
 that it is about formation of beliefs, indoctrination.
 With the important detail that it could be false or
 propagate other problems through such a view.

 So perhaps in this way, an accepted reading
 could eventually function as if a movie, the text
 scrolling by and the group reading along, and
 while there may be dissection of the ideas and
 understanding of the symbolism, more could be
 at work in the interaction that is being interfaced.
 Special effects may not be noticed, unconscious
 behavioral influences, perhaps a type of compact
 between reader and writer, an exchange that is
 not fully accounted for, which to access the ideas
 also means accessing its larger mechanism, the
 dynamics that allow it to function within society.

 In English class this book could be broken down
 then into its concepts even, and like a movie plot
 passing by at a heightened perceptual pace, it is
 just enough to keep up with it, to stay abreast of
 the story, to allow the plot to continue at this pace.
 If someone in the audience suddenly shouted out
 the word 'false!' at some statement, the scrolling of
 the text would stop and call into question the plot.

 And many times these moments create other books
 that reference divergences or counterpoints to the
 POVs of various viewpoints and textual perspectives.
 In that there is a forking of interpretation that exists,
 in the universe of books, as books reference one
 another yet also are generated by disagreements
 along lines of fracture, where assumptions are no
 longer shared. And so a new view fills everyone in
 to another potential interpretation in a given context.

 So perhaps philosophy fits this model more than
 others because of schools of thought and additive
 or refined ideas over decades and centuries as a
 viewpoint could drift and be rearranged, reversed
 and so on. Yet someone could also go after a typo
 or other grammatical or syntax error, and also be a
 person in the audience and stop the scrolling movie
 by declaring 'error!' -- and so how far could a book
 get as a movie if a group of people were observing
 before any of these things were to occur. And this is
 to consider a group of say 20 people who are active
 readers/observers/interacters as part of this event,
 though it could be any number feasibly, and this
 then allowing any potential error to be recognized.

 What this example is attempting to situate is that
 a book could be read in 'suspended disbelief' from
 beginning to end, and mediated like a movie, if the
 underlying errors were dismissed and the text allowed
 to function as a 'whole idea' which still includes these
 associated errors. And I do not think reading actually
 is like this for most people who interact with ideas,
 and that instead accommodations are made or a
 working-model of the idea of a text or book, and
 that this is what is mediated in the interaction from
 person to person, a hypothetical virtual version that
 is not the author's alone, and instead exists as a model
 between the author's view and the reader. And thus an
 implicit aspect of error-identification or issues of bias
 or whatnot are recognized within this interaction.

 And so here is the idea: if the book were played on a
 screen on an automatic scroll setting and there were
 thinkers in the room reading the same text or even it
 was narrated while text was subtitle to spoken word,
 that if a thinker said - wait, pause - that concept is only
 'partially true' - and such an instance was annotated,
 word by word or line by line, that if accounting for each
 and every instance of this by each and every view, that
 the ideas of the text are outside the book to begin with,
 in terms of this conceptual modeling, and that if such
 dynamics could be mediated, these are what the books
 are being written for, to communicate these aspects.
 And thus what if dialogue were beyond one:one as
 it relates back to many, and instead one:many, in this
 book group format where ideas are accounted for at
 that multiperspectival level of inquiry (of real life) as
 most ideas are full of ambiguity and paradox at the
 level of categorical description, always only partial
 viewpoints, still declarative statements are required.

 And this is where 3-value modeling of existing texts
 could enter into the existing archive of the centuries
 and allow for a hermetic reinterpretation, creating
 new volumes of each and every text, such that the
 words or concepts or ideas could be catalogued in
 an empirical format such that [treatise] or [concepts]
 or [statements] could be analyzed in greater degree
 and detail if modeled as  [~partial] than [absolute],
 or rather [~x] than [x].  It would be possible then to
 linguistically analyze the archive in terms of the
 specific context of partial viewpoints of concepts,
 what is linked to, then add up all shared partial
 categories, node by node, each and every unique
 configuration or potential molecule or diagram that
 a text presents as its structured ideas, and compare
 and contrast across all texts in the shared archive
 in this way, undifferentiated in a single model that
 may retain errors yet would be a sketch of this total
 viewpoint, as it exist in the preservation of ideas.

 A group of thinkers evaluating a single text would
 do much the same in discussing where its concepts
 are more complex than the author viewpoint shared,
 and to account for this, a book that is scrolled would
 likely not play out as a movie, due to deconstruction.
 (Or perhaps it would be more of an interactive movie
 in the way of 'making history' or 'extending the book'
 and in that sense perhaps it is more of a stage play).

 Instead it would seem to enter into a strange relation
 where it is and is not 'the book', because it is beyond
 the book in terms of referencing ideas that are shared
 or information that exists beyond that given context,
 and so already has existing interpretative frameworks.

 And so what part of the book may cause this exchange
 to become activated, that whatever is true about it is
 also what is contentious in its details, including errors,
 or limits that must be accounted for by other viewpoints,
 and this would seem to be vitally involved with paradox.
 Because without it, either the author's view would be
 wholly true, even if inaccurate, or wholly discounted,
 even if having truth within a partially true scaffolding.

 And so how to salvage truth from works that exist,
 and it is proposed it is precisely this modeling that
 people do when they analyze a work within a custom
 viewpoint, that some things weight towards truth and
 others towards error or distortions, and if these were
 accounted for in a group discussion, the book as movie
 would likely be stopped within paragraphs to enable
 discussion of these divergences in shared perspective.
 Where actual truth and error are critical both to gaining
 from what is claimed yet also clarifying or separating
 out the specific truth from a more inaccurate context.

 Binary logic cannot do this, [true/false], yet if it were
 N-value or a higher sampling rate, it may be possible
 to approach a mathesis-like calculus for these relations
 between ideas within a text. Thus to model each and
 every text in its contingencies, as if each classic book
 in its truth potentially part of a Periodic Table of Ideas
 or Periodic Table of Concepts.  And this could even
 be a way of newly interpreting existing works, testing
 out hypotheses in logical structures, such as if there
 is a book that mentions [the state], that if there are
 actually two states in the existing situation, that this
 would be modeled as [x1/x2] versus as a single [x],
 and how such modifications may influence other
 interconnected variables, such as economy [y1/y2].

 In any case while this is an optimistic simplification
 in my experience it is much more likely that the book
 would enter into these types of inner-conversations,
 and that dissonance or difference is what cannot be
 mediated within books or texts effectively, as ideas,
 without relying upon the same muddied structuring,
 which drowns the ideas within an increasing noise.
 So if a book is a movie, it is seemingly irrelevant
 because it is more experiential, the total effect, yet
 what if this completeness is at the cost of grounding
 and so how can critical mediation of ideas occur if
 trapped within a quicksand-like condition for ideas.

 Regarding original sin, it potentially could involve
 an issue of difference between observers or those
 who interact with truth (knowledge of good & evil).

 If the observer is self-aware and can identify their
 own errors, perhaps it would be easier for them to
 mediate this condition and serve the greater truth.
 Whereas if a person for some reason cannot see
 themselves in their error, instead of serving truth
 it could become about controlling truth as they
 see it, and by not accounting for errors, they can
 begin to determine what is true, within their limits.

 If such a person was placed in a context where they
 were seemingly the most powerful, they could have
 a god-like power by harnessing this capability yet
 it would be based in error, the truth a distortion that
 relies upon their particular inaccuracies of belief.
 Thus others could surround them who serve truth
 that goes beyond that distorted self-serving version,
 and yet the 'most powerful' would not be aware of it
 because it would exist/occur outside their perception.

 In this way the ungrounded observer could tend
 toward that self-focused position in respect to all
 that is, whereas a grounded observer would be
 humbled and in service to the grandeur of truth,
 gaining not lessening themselves by recognition.
 Whereas the ungrounded observer views it as
 losing themselves, if truth exists beyond them.
 Nature of good and evil perhaps, as a person
 assumes the position of omniscience within a
 limited finite context, without recognizing error,
 while the grounded observer gains from this
 same recognition, freed of error to become
 more closely related to what is actually true.

 It does seem there is always a potential to
 flip the bits and have error recognized, which
 could be an extremely powerful reversal effect,
 where all the associated knowledge could also
 be regenerated, and so perhaps that is why
 sometimes the most evil entity is also said the
 most spiritual, perhaps because they still have
 good within them, truth, yet they exist within the
 depths and so it is an issue of how to align and
 ground and empirically relate and neutralize the
 errored-interactions, as part of the larger whole.

 Sometimes perhaps it is a missing framework
 that disallows such options for those so stuck,
 and thus perhaps some situations occur that
 force situations due to circumstance - not will,
 such that scapegoating or other group activity
 could in those errors create such dynamics as
 a context, establishing behaviors in observers
 that in turn function towards such relations. It
 just seems that there are so many errors, so
 many unaccounted for, especially in relation
 to those who may be considered bad or who
 do evil things, that until the surrounding context
 is modeled, that perhaps the question is more
 involved about how a given individual exists.
 Maybe that is rosebud after all, a hidden story.

 And maybe it is why some people need to
 establish and control their own version of
 reality because others around them did the
 same (not speaking personally, more in a
 universal context) - where parents never
 recognized a child's truth or teachers or
 whatnot, and how it could be a continuation
 of those behaviors that ends up in a larger
 context, only amplified what people are
 doing all the time, throughout existence.
 So perhaps a more extreme version of a
 trait being sustained by others in society.

 Else perhaps the concept of the Holy Fool
 would be more appropriate in some ways,
 though perhaps it is of a different category.

 I just tend to think, how much of this is not
 even conscious decision-making and about
 self-awareness, and what if it is cultural and
 an issue of ungrounded culture, not just of
 individuals, and also of social interactions
 and education and so on, as part of the
 ecology for why malfunctioning is allowed.
 It seems that it must be somehow relevant,
 especially if viewed as a original condition.
 If truth is not actually accounted for, that this
 could allow such situations by default of lack
 of accounting. If an original condition, then it
 may tend towards these dynamics, yet if there
 is choice, seemingly accounting could exist
 and be required to rein in those empowered,
 and that would seem to be the responsibility
 of people, a duty and obligation to uphold.
 If not, allegiances and alliances likewise.
 Which perhaps describes somewhat today.

 Thanks as always for sharing your ideas.

 Brian Carroll

On Sep 6, 2012, at 7:06 AM, Newmedia {AT} aol.com wrote:


Thanks for your thoughtful (and extensive) reply!

The Trivium is Western culture's "answer" to the problems you

It includes "logic" via dialectics but also relies on ANALOGY
through rhetoric and grammar.

Yes, language -- which is inherently *equivocal* -- is the
technology of communications.

Regarding all this you might like to read some McLuhan.

Marshall McLuhan's 1943 Cambridge PhD thesis, "The Classical
Trivium," gives a sweeping historic overview.

Eric McLuhan's (his son) 2012 "Theories of Communication" puts
emphasis on some various approaches to the basic problem you are
wrestling with.

Perhaps closer to your own efforts, you might enjoy Boole's 1854
"An investigation of the Laws of Thought on which are founded the
mathematical theories of logic and probabilities."

The last chapter, "Constitution of the Intellect," is particularly

Also recall that the ORIGINAL sin was the desire to have the
knowledge of "good and evil" -- so you need to also consider whether
your efforts are pointing in the direction of taking on God- like
access to the truth.

Many wise men have fallen into that trap . . .



#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org