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inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #26 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Tue 26 Apr 16 07:59
    
Ari:  As I described above, trying to understand the EAST in WESTERN
terms can only fail -- since these are *very* different Spheres.

What is "reported" in the West about China is mostly useless --
largely because those doing the reporting are "globalists" who
fantasize about a "New World Order."  Make some Chinese friends and
spend some time there.  Study the CLASSICS.  Learn some history. 
Recognize that this is a fundamentally different civilization. 
Judge it on its own terms -- once you have figured out what those
are -- not on Western ones.

Plus, like Marshall McLuhan, I'm neither an "optimist" nor a
"pessimist" but rather an APOCALYPICIST (which, btw, means "reveal"
not the end-of-the-world), and that is why I was one of the founders
of Technorealism way back in the 90s . . . <g>

http://www.technorealism.org/
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #27 of 195: Ari Davidow (ari) Tue 26 Apr 16 09:06
    
Well, other than talking with friends who have spent time there (our next 
door neighbors have spent the last three years mostly in Shanghai), I'm 
going to be limited. If I have to take it on trust that I am simply 
sufficiently unenlightened to form a useful impression, then there won't 
be much to discuss. Perhaps you can point us to some specific articles or 
books that might provide some perspective.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #28 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 26 Apr 16 09:35
    
Slippage...

To be fair:

apocalypse (plural apocalypses)
A revelation. [from 14th c.]

The early development of Perl 6 was punctuated by a series of
apocalypses by Larry Wall.

(Christianity) The unveiling of events prophesied in the Revelation;
the second coming and the end of life on Earth; global destruction.
[from 19th c.]
A disaster; a cataclysmic event. [from 19th c.] 

Synonyms:

armageddon
doomsday
judgement day
nuclear holocaust
Ragnarok (Ragnarök)
Final Judgment
end times
eschaton

I take your point, and the connotation you wish to use, revealing
that which was/is hidden, but the overwhelming connotations and
denotations are decidedly abysmal :) and fit well with the
Anthropocene.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #29 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 26 Apr 16 09:44
    
"In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the
table: human beings, nature and machines.  I am firmly on the side
of nature.  But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the
machines,"he was speaking from a decidedly up-to-date Western
perspective."

Hmm, nature on the side of machines...I needed help with that one
and found a good review of Dyson's book and this passage, by David
Sasaki:

"When Dyson says that “nature is on the side of the machines,” he
isn’t referring to the plot of The Terminator, where a species of
robots eventually takes over earth and humanity. As he sees it, the
mutual dependence between humans and machines will continue to
increase until the two start to slowly merge. Future historians
looking back on this trend might point to blog posts like this one
from Danah Boyd, or this one from Chris Messina, as early indicators
that human society had reached such a level of complexity by the
turn of the 21st century that humans were no longer able to make
sense of it without depending on the processing power of giant
server farms, connected to each of us via desktop, laptop, mobile
phone, and in the future maybe even the cells in our bodies.
Meanwhile, it seems likely that the next generation of computer
processors won’t be powered by silicon dioxide – that quartz-like
mineral covering the earth’s crust – but rather DNA. Biology and
technology are now inextricably linked, and in the process humans
are becoming social neurons unaware (just as the neurons in our
brains our unaware of their role shaping the mind) of the larger
intelligent entity that we collectively comprise."

I gather that is the decidedly Western point of view you mean...How
do the Chinese view their relationship with machines differently?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #30 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Tue 26 Apr 16 10:23
    
Ted:  Agreed -- if you want to use the term "Apocalypse" in its
BIBLICAL (and particularly Protestant) sense, then you should
probably *also* adopt that approach in the rest of your life . . .
<g>

Biology and technology have been "inextricably linked" for *very*
long time -- at least since we invented spoken language perhaps
around 50,000 years ago.  That said, imagining that we are
individuals acting like "social neurons" is, well, just one way of
imagining the world (which is probably not as complex as some would
like it to be).

Yes, all this END of the WORLD talk (and its corresponding "We got
to get back to the Garden" singing) is indeed *very* Western.  Yes,
so is this idea of the Anthropocene (which for the Chinese just
appears to be another engineering problem).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aOGnVKWbwc

In the EAST, there is a very different approach to history, which is
often taken to be "circular" and, therefore, cannot come to an end. 
In particular, it is popular in some circles (pun intended) to think
of it as a 700+ year "dynastic cycle" -- in which the previous three
*peaks* were in the Han (circa 0), Tang (circa 700) and Ming (circa
1400) dynasties.  On this account, we are now heading for the *next*
high-point, to be achieved say around 2100 (give or take) . . . !!

As you might know, it is often said that the Chinese invented
everything from printing to the compass and spaghetti to gunpowder
and toilet paper.  Gunpowder probably gets the most attention, since
in China it was used for entertainment, not warfare, as they found
out when the British sailed on Canton and launched the OPIUM Wars. 
So, to the Chinese, the *option* of "mutate" or become ROBOTS makes
no sense at all.

That points to the relative *coherence* of the EAST and its
deliberate efforts to not allow "machines" -- then or now -- to
undermine their humanity.  In the WEST, on the other hand, we have
often been hell-bent on getting it all over by looking forward to a
2nd Coming that will end human FREEDOM (i.e. our ability to disobey
God) -- which, of course, was the whole point of the Book of
Revelation (aka "Apocalypse") and the inevitable outcome of
Armegeddon . . . !!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KuhqVJAVLA
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #31 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Tue 26 Apr 16 10:40
    
Ted:  Agreed -- if you want to use the term "Apocalypse" in its
BIBLICAL (and particularly Protestant) sense, then you should
probably *also* adopt that approach in the rest of your life . . .
<g>

Biology and technology have been "inextricably linked" for *very*
long time -- at least since we invented spoken language perhaps
around 50,000 years ago.  That said, imagining that we are
individuals acting like "social neurons" is, well, just one way of
imagining the world (which is probably not as complex as some would
like it to be).

Yes, all this END of the WORLD talk (and its corresponding "We got
to get back to the Garden" singing) is indeed *very* Western.  Yes,
so is this idea of the Anthropocene (which for the Chinese just
appears to be another engineering problem).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aOGnVKWbwc

In the EAST, there is a very different approach to history, which is
often taken to be "circular" and, therefore, cannot come to an end. 
In particular, it is popular in some circles (pun intended) to think
of it as a 700+ year "dynastic cycle" -- in which the previous three
*peaks* were in the Han (circa 0), Tang (circa 700) and Ming (circa
1400) dynasties.  On this account, we are now heading for the *next*
high-point, to be achieved say around 2100 (give or take) . . . !!

As you might know, it is often said that the Chinese invented
everything from printing to the compass and spaghetti to gunpowder
and toilet paper.  Gunpowder probably gets the most attention, since
in China it was used for entertainment, not warfare, as they found
out when the British sailed on Canton and launched the OPIUM Wars. 
So, to the Chinese, the *option* of "mutate" or become ROBOTS makes
no sense at all.

That points to the relative *coherence* of the EAST and its
deliberate efforts to not allow "machines" -- then or now -- to
undermine their humanity.  In the WEST, on the other hand, we have
often been hell-bent on getting it all over by looking forward to a
2nd Coming that will end human FREEDOM (i.e. our ability to disobey
God) -- which, of course, was the whole point of the Book of
Revelation (aka "Apocalypse") and the inevitable outcome of
Armegeddon . . . !!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KuhqVJAVLA
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #32 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 26 Apr 16 14:26
    
I don't want to use that word in any sense, it is not in my lexicon,
I was just citing the dictionary and trying to 'frame' it as it
relates to predominant Western thinking and pertains to your
argument. Not a fan of the Apocalypse; think it is nonsensical
thinking, and I have two Masters Degrees in Religion and Theology
and have heard it ad nauseum. Like most of my spiritual fathers, I
find myself distinctly in the East's camp.

So, if I see this from a distance, the Chinese view history sort of
like a Go board; these 5 year plans are just a pebble on the board
of a long and victorious campaign. They like the 10,000 year vision.
About the only person over here known for that would be our own
Stewart Brand and his Long Now Foundation. The West, as you say,
view it all as an engineering problem and with that approach are
inevitably bound to become tools of the great machine we are
creating. 

Is that simplistically fair, and can I substitute Digital Life for
machine?

Before we leap ahead, could we talk about one more foundational
point? And that's the digital divide...not the way people think of
the term generally - the digital haves and have nots. Rather
differently as it relates to the worlds we now life in...
AFK/IRL (Away From Keyboard/In Real Life) was, and still is, the
distinctive line between these two worlds. Digital is characterized
by "now" - I live and move at the 'speed of byte', I can have it all
in a click. Whereas the 'real world', here on planet earth, is
agonizingly slow - we are tied to the mud and slowly evolve. That's
the sense of 'divide' I mean. 

And, again, the East takes a long, casual, go with the flow, view to
that, while the West aggressively destroys the planet in its haste
to engineer the future it wants as soon as it can get it; monopolize
the raw materials, patent it and get it to market and destroy the
competition. Cue, Doug Rushkoff.

These approaches to this divide seems to quietly undegird how we
design our digital tools, in fact how we even think them up, and the
ensuing life we experience. 

It's probably a case of both/and, but I imagine the East utilizes
tools differently and structures for them differently than we do.
Yes/no? And I would also guess their idea of the next big app is
quite different from ours.

Does your Center speak to any of that?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #33 of 195: Dave Waite (dwaite) Tue 26 Apr 16 17:28
    
Not to derail the conversation, but I am a big fan of McLuhan.  His
2 pages on the Thunder in "medium is the Message" and the album by
the same name were revelations to me.  It was, and is as biblical as
any teaching.  Would you say, as you channel McLuhan, that the
Thunders repeat cyclically, or are a beginning and an a finite end?

I would prefer to think of the Thunders evolving - though many eyes,
ears, and mouths (and other senses), as media continues to evolve
and touch those never touched before, or those touched, but touched
differently, as the thunder passes by.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #34 of 195: R.U. Sirius (rusirius) Tue 26 Apr 16 21:55
    
Ok well I'm here. So boil what has been said so far into an elevator
pitch :-)
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #35 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 27 Apr 16 03:26
    
Mark, I'll let you boil it down for Digital Life..R.U. thanks for
joining us.

Ken, here's my take so far...

We are talking about Digital Life, specifically in regards to the
work Mark is doing at his Center -- the lenses with which they view
digital realities and the likely futures that are evolving as we
evolve with these new realities. Tools, fools, ghouls and new
rules..

But, also, we are talking about Digital Life generically,
cyberculture, what exactly is up here, in this land of bits and
bytes, this meta head space we all spend so much time in, living
inside the screens of our devices...

My take so far, and Mark, please correct me if I'm missing something
here, is that there are at least two large approaches to this
'space'...companies, like Mark's, which take the real world dynamics
of politics, economies, cultures, religions, etc. all the things
that make up the 'powers' of this "real" (using that word
tentatively) world we live in, and bring it to bear on the emerging
world(s) of digital space - East, West, and digital as the Center
sees it.

The second approach is to understand and change the space itself and
look at the effects that might bring about in the real world. The
big shift now towards the new 'realities' of VR/AR/MR, moving from
an informational space to an experiential space...and of course the
blend.

And, of course, there is no 'one space' in the real or the virtual,
and we are all caught somewhere in the middle - the dynamics of real
and virtual are push/pulling us in all directions, at once. It's a
blended reality, and I don't even know what that means anymore.

So my pitch would be: "How's 'reality' shaping up for you these
days? What's your balance on real, virtual, and all the spaces in
between?"

It's kind of like where Jefferson Airplane offered us two pills in
White Rabbit, one to make us larger, one to make us small...now
it's: "here, take these goggles, try this new game." yada, yada.

And, not unlike the 70's, along come all the cyber gurus and head
space engineers to tell us all how it's gonna be. Quite a rabbit
hole indeed!

Someone please pass me a good beer and a cigar, this conversation
should be in a pub :) We just need to get Charlie Stross and Cory
Doctorow, and a couple of sentient lobsters to join in as well, and
we are good to go.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #36 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 27 Apr 16 04:13
    
Mark, your mission statement capsulizes your approach by viewing
these lenses as civilizations:

"East, West and Digital.  While it is not necessary that these
civilizations clash with each other, earlier forms of thinking, such
as the late-20th century notion of "globalism" which tries to erase
these distinctions, can point us towards dangerous confrontations. 
Among our greatest responsibilities today will be to avoid that
outcome.  We believe that understanding how digital technologies
shape ourselves and our world is essential for fulfilling these
responsibilities and ensuring our survival."

After your pitch to R.U. could you share a bit about what you all
have learned over the years...trends, pitfalls, is it going to be an
us vs. them, or a "we" world, in the future, or some kind of blend? 
Is it even going to be a 'world' or are we all going to have a
choice of multiple worlds and realities in which to abide?
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #37 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Wed 27 Apr 16 05:22
    
Ken:  Glad you've joined in (who I first met at the Mondo Mansion in
the early 90s, when JPB was handing out bags of Ayahuasca out on the
deck).  Now if we can get Howard, Stewart, Kevin and even Ted Nelson
to join then we can really *boil* the HOT-TUB . . . <g>

It's pretty simple.  "We shape our tools and, thereafter, they shape
us."  As Ted has put it, there are two kinds of companies out there,
those who are "shaping" the tools (typically without a clue what
they are doing) and those who are trying to understand *how* these
tools shape us. The Center is emphatically an example of the second
of those choices. 

Add into that the straightforward observation that "dangerous
confrontations" are likely as a result of the *disruption* caused by
DIGITAL technology -- noting that a Trump Presidency is exactly what
"disruption" looks like -- and the fact that global/thought leaders
have little help in figuring these things out and you've got our
Mission Statement.

While Ted has "exempted" himself from the WEST (as have many others
by studying "Eastern" religions, including my own undergraduate
major in Buddhist Theology etc), alas that doesn't get us very far. 
He (and the rest of us in this conversation) were raised on the
ALPHABET, so no matter how hard we try, we are still a part of the
WEST and, therefore, partly responsible for its actions.

What happens in the WEST will have a lot to do with what happens in
the wider world and, for whatever it is worth, this is pretty well
understood in the EAST, which has them quite worried.

My "godfather" Norbert Wiener was *very* concerned about all this
going back to the 1940s, as were many others.  It appeared to them
that the "Decline of the West," as described by Spengler, was in
fact playing out.  To counter this trend, which has endless
historical parallels, Wiener asked if we would have the
"intellectual courage" to face what we have done to ourselves.  

In his last book (based on lectures given at Yale in 1963), he
called what we have done a GOLEM, which, of course, echoes Steven
Hawkings and Elon Musk et al's concerns about Artificial
Intelligence perhaps being the worse thing humanity has ever come up
with.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Golem-Inc-Cybernetics-Impinges/dp/0262730111/

Marshall McLuhan, who I'm "channeling" in this exchange, said pretty
much the same thing in 1969: "There is a deep-seated repugnance in
the human breast against understanding the processes in which we are
involved.  Such understanding involves far too much responsibility
for our actions."  

So, to "boil it down," you might say that the Center has been
designed to help us all to be a little more responsible . . . !!
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #38 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Wed 27 Apr 16 05:35
    
Dave: That's a *very* good question and I don't know the answer . .
. <g>

As you might not know, Eric McLuhan wrote (a part of) his PhD on the
THUNDERS in Finnegans Wake (which I have not read as carefully as I
should), so perhaps the answer is in there?

http://www.amazon.com/Role-Thunder-Finnegans-Wake/dp/0802009239/

What I do know is that Eric, like his father, is a Catholic and, as
a result, more inclined towards a SCRIPT world-view than a
Protestant PRINT one.  Our whole "Apocalypse Now" mind-set is a
result of the Gutenberg Galaxy (i.e.
Enlightenment/Reformation/Modernity) and what it did to our heads
(as detailed in the book with that name).

When I asked Eric to write an article for a Special Centenary issue
of Renascence journal I was guest-editing, he sent me his "On
Renaissances" (plural), which recounts a roughly 400-year "cycle" in
the WEST and illustrates how he avoids the trap of *linear*
progression, so perhaps reading that will help to answer your
question  . . . !!

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/On+renaissances.-a0280004550
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #39 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Wed 27 Apr 16 06:01
    
Ted: We have very few choices.  We can throw our lot in with one of
the SPHERES or another but there are only three alternatives: East,
West and Digital . . . !!

So, take your pick.  In the East (i.e. China), you will never get
much respect but you can probably get a job.  In the West, you will
be able to participate in discussions like this and contribute as
much as you want.  Perhaps you can even have some impact.  In the
Digital Sphere, you will be lucky to wind up as a "house pet."

Make no mistake about it: in the DIGITAL Sphere, there is nothing at
all like what we humans call "freedom."  Computers aren't *artists*
and they don't "care" at all about *creativity* -- they are quite
happy with being told what to do.  No, machines to *not* have a
soul.

Yes, Ray Kurzweil (and the Russians etc) like to tell fairy-tales
about how we will "download" our personalities into machines.  Can
they actually collect enough elements of our lives that something
like that might be done?  Sure, why not (even if 2045 is too
aggressive)?

2045.com

However, the GRAMMAR of that situation -- designed as it is to cheat
death etc -- is a *perfect* one, which means that it is decidedly
not human.  What would result would just be a more-fancy ROBOT and,
like all the other ones, it would *not* have a soul either (since
that depends on the human body).  As we are all about to be reminded
from Bladerunner 2 . . . <g>

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1856101/

Yes, we in the WEST have come to question if we have one either --
which is a big part of why all this is happening -- but, among other
things, DIGITAL *retrieves* the MEDIEVAL (or as Jurgen Habermas has
put it, we are now all "Post-Secular"), so the topic of the *human*
soul is back on the table . . . !!

http://www.amazon.com/Awareness-What-Missing-Reason-Post-secular-ebook/dp/B00P
EN2AYW/
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #40 of 195: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 27 Apr 16 09:06
    
This is all pretty abstract, and I'm not seeing the East, West,
Digital spheres as conceptually viable or particulary interesting
because they're high level and somewhat outside the reality I
experience, which as more complexity, is more granular, than these
abstractions would allow. 

Clearly we're experiencing a global transformation and/or
transition. Ignore the complexity of the cultural drivers at your
peril. To me there is no east, there is no west, and there is no
digital.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #41 of 195: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 27 Apr 16 09:07
    
Ouch, typo: should be "...which has more complexity..." etc.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #42 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Wed 27 Apr 16 11:16
    
Jon:  Since there clearly *is* a WEST -- which Trump reminded us
about in his foreign policy speech today -- and there clearly *is*
an EAST, as anyone who has visited China quickly figures out, and
there clearly *is* a DIGITAL, which is not the same as the others
and greatly worries many people (as we've all been reading in the
Musk/Gates/Hawkings headlines etc), then I suppose we could talk
about why YOU don't "grok" all this.  

Or, we could just talk about this *complexity* thing if you prefer .
. . <g>

Where did that idea -- yes, it is quite an "abstraction" as you must
admit, since, at first glance, that's not how life appears to most
of us -- come from anyway?  As you might recall, it was once called
"chaos theory" but then it got all dressed up and became COMPLEXITY
and, for some, became the one-guiding principle for everything in
the universe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

Why, Bill Gates even personally wrote a $1M check to establish BIG
HISTORY as a viable approach to explain everything from the Big Bang
(yes, it was being promoted by astrophysicists) to the Arab Spring
-- all based on "complexity."

https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive

Clearly something was put into the water-supply fairly recently to
make so many people gravitate to this topic, since it is not how
previous people understood the world.  What "drug" might be capable
of doing that to us?  Wikipedia blames it on computers.  Or where
you just talking about the "complexity" (or chaos) in your own life,
as opposed to the rest of us . . . ??
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #43 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 28 Apr 16 08:50
    
knowledge as a tool that shapes us.

Mark posted this yesterday, which sent me down a rabbit-hole for a time:

> Marshall McLuhan, who I'm "channeling" in this exchange, said pretty
> much the same thing in 1969: "There is a deep-seated repugnance in
> the human breast against understanding the processes in which we are
> involved.  Such understanding involves far too much responsibility
> for our actions."

For me, this evokes a deeper notion of 'denial' -- not just the surface
form of denial in which we consciously assert that something is untrue,
but the subconscious form in which the nervous system appears to actually
prevent the higher-level (and conscious) processing of significant
information.

Ramachandran (UCSD Neurosciences) has published popular discussions of
experimental and testable forms of this phenomenon (eg. Anosognosia).
Here's an interesting article on the subject:

<http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro98/202s98-paper2/Butler2.html>

And an interview:

<http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/the-anosognosics-dilemma-
somethings-wrong-but-youll-never-know-what-it-is-part-4/?_r=0>

Quoting from the first link above:

   Ramachandran has formed a tentative explanation of his own to account
   for anosognosia, based on a hypothesis concerning the roles of the
   right and left hemispheres: recognizing that the brain is receiving
   "a bewildering variety of sensory inputs, all of which must be
   incorporated into a coherent perspective that's based on what stored
   memories already tell us is true about ourselves and the world,"
   he speculates that there must be something in the nervous system
   which acts as a filter, something which selects from "this
   superabundance of detail and [orders] it into a consistent belief
   system," allowing one to carry out actions without becoming lost
   in indecision (Ramachandran, qtd. in 6).

... (big leap here) ...

Personally, I think it is interesting to think about 'cultures' (and
particularly subcultures) in terms of the types of this deep,
subconscious denial that they might share.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #44 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Thu 28 Apr 16 09:16
    
Craig:  Thanks -- very interesting points . . . !!

It would be useful to take the topic of ANOSOGNOSIA and then think
it through in terms of the "subconscious" habits of communication we
all develop based on the technologies we use (which then, in turn,
organize our "cultures").

If it can't be "communicated," can it be known?

Last year I went to what is one of the largest Antiquarian book
events with the specific goal to talk to those who deal in
"incunabula" (i.e. early printed books) to ask them this question,
"What amount of earlier hand-written materials, codices etc, ever
made it into print?"

Their answer was 10-20% and there common reply was the only the
"best-sellers" got printed.

This was compounded by the fact that the Gutenberg Bible was a
*form* of communications that compelled you to jump ahead and read
the last chapter -- The Book of Revelation.  To the extent that this
became your "knowledge framework," then you probably didn't miss
much from those who didn't share that "sub-culture" (i.e. the
Catholics) and what you wanted to know became circumscribed by
whatever you would need to get ready for the 2nd Coming and to
survive Armageddon.

So, at many levels, PRINT caused widespread *anosognosia* --
pointing to the question of what has TELEVISION caused us to "not
know" . . . <g>
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #45 of 195: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 28 Apr 16 10:01
    
I don't think the anosognosia is the same as the vernacular sense of
denial, though it's interesting to consider whether anosognosia and
denial have the same foundation in the inherent filtering of
"bewildering" inputs. 

Back to <inkwell.vue.42> - when I refer to complexity I'm not
referring to complexity theory. I do find it interesting that Mark's
response goes there - taking the discussion back to abstraction and
theory. I have nothing against abstract thinking or theoretical
models, but modeling global reality as "three spheres" just seems
wrong, or I should say too simplistic. But maybe I misunderstand
Mark's use of those labels and how he means to use the "spheres" to
frame the conversation. 

I'm not sure I understand Mark's response in <inkwell.vue.42> or
where it points. When you mention that something seems to "make so
many people gravitate to this topic," I assume you're talking about
"chaos," since it's referenced earlier in the post. You say, re the
supposed drift to chaos or complexity as a subject of broad
interest, "Wikipedia blames it on computers." Can you say more about
that? I don't quite get that from the longish Wikipedia article. I
think I could grasp that point, though: computers clearly seem to
facilitate our perception of complexity in all things.

Maybe we should talk about "form is emptiness, emptiness is form."
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #46 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 28 Apr 16 10:56
    
> If it can't be "communicated," can it be known?

Some classic arguments follow from this question. But, pragmatically,
I would suggest that there is a sense of 'knowing' that does not depend
on 'obvious' (or simple?) forms communication. I'm thinking of shared
experiences that are in some sense known by the participants even though
the reality of the experience cannot really be communicated to others.

> modeling global reality as "three spheres" just seems
> wrong, or I should say too simplistic.

I know what you mean, but now wonder if the intent is not so much to
'model reality' as it might be to shift emphasis.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #47 of 195: Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 28 Apr 16 10:58
    
Oh, and we might think of a subculture as the cumulative residue of
shared experiences.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #48 of 195: Mark Stahlman (spheres3) Thu 28 Apr 16 11:15
    
Jon:  Since I'm *channeling* McLuhan, I'll attempt to explain "The
Medium is the Message" . . . <g>

And to accomplish that, I'll note that your "Form is emptiness,
emptiness is form" is a Buddhist phrase that likely confuses many in
the WEST.  One attempted explanation is -- 

"In Mah&#257;y&#257;na Buddhism, 'emptiness'
(&#347;&#363;nyat&#257;) refers to the concept that everything is
'empty' of independent substance - - in other words, things
(including events and people) are interdependent.

"In practice, what does this mean? Think of the phrase: There's no
such thing as a free lunch: When you see something that's described
as a free lunch, you know to look underneath the surface, and to
find the strings that are attached to it.

"This approach invites us to go beyond the illusions of our
perceptions. We now see the world as a web of relationships, instead
of objects and beings that exist independently of anything else. We
see processes, instead of things that don’t change."

Which brings us back to the topic of PROCESS and its relationship
with "communicating."

The Center has been organized on the principle that the technologies
we use habitually *shape* our behaviors and attitudes (i.e. McLuhan
101).  That principle was then made concretely historical by
dividing the world into the *three* different ways that we WRITE:
Alphabetic, Ideo/pictographic and Binary.  And, the result is 3
Spheres.

Thinking of the world in terms of *complexity* (and "emergence" etc)
is one of those attitudes which might be explained through the
technological habits that produced it.  Since this "attitude" is a
fairly new one -- the Santa Fe Institute was formed in 1984 -- the
technologies that produced this attitude are probably fairly new
also.

Given that it probably took 10+ years to pull it all together, that
means that the technologies which *shaped* this "complexity"
attitude were likely to have been strongly influencing people in the
1970s (or maybe 1960s) but not centuries ago.  So what might they
be?

The Wikipedia entry for "Chaos Theory" says, "The main catalyst for
the development of chaos theory was the electronic computer."  So,
in terms of cause-and-effect, maybe that's a part of the answer.

However, that sort of causality isn't the one that McLuhan was
talking about.  Instead, he was referring to FORMAL *cause* as
reflected in Eric McLuhan's important 2005 essay "Media and Formal
Cause" (and bringing us back to your quote about "form" being, in
the normal sense of independent objects bouncing off each other,
"empty").

http://www.amazon.com/Media-Formal-Cause-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/0983274703/

So, to grasp what McLuhan meant, it requires us to think in terms of
FORMS as *processes* which then SHAPE our behaviors and attitudes --
bringing us back to the question of which "media" (i.e. mediating
"form/process") caused an increasing part of the population to think
in terms of COMPLEXITY in recent times?

Does that help . . . ??
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #49 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 28 Apr 16 11:48
    
Helps me, thanks :)
Totally liking this you all! More, more...

Craig, I'm with you on the 'cultures' and 'subcultures'... 
Fascinated by the neurology of it all...so much is being done now in
regards to how we "know", which I think leads right back to Mark's 3
spheres. 

Mark, I think we are all trying to grok how you think of and use
them. And maybe it would be helpful to talk a bit about what they
are not.  As in, I don't think you mean they grasp the WHOLE of
what's going on, but rather they provide a useful Zenn diagram or
framework with which to look at much of what's going on. 

That's the complexity part of what I think we are all struggling
with. And another question arises as to how those circles map out -
do they ever all align, never the twain shall meet, find some
overlaps, and what are the processes and dynamics at play? Is
Digital shaping and reshaping the East and West, and all of us
humans contained therein? I take it the answer is yes.

So, at some point, we'll have to talk about the AI's, deeper
learning, the master algorithm, yada, yada....But not right now.

Jon, yup, I'm pretty grubbily struggling in whatever my own
"reality" is, right in the mud in which my feet are planted.

Innovative, intentional, and controlled chaos, as well as chaotic
disruption", "here comes everybody", (a la Clay Shirky), "Too big to
know" (David Weinberger) seem to be some of many forces, (drivers'
in today's parlance) at work across the board. Near future sci-fi is
becoming all too real. Everything seems up for grabs -- in the real
world and in digital space. No wonder we all would like a
grip...Mark, I gather your 3 spheres are the 'grip' for the Center
for the Study of Digital Life.
  
inkwell.vue.490 : Digital Life - a conversation with Mark Stahlman and friends
permalink #50 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 28 Apr 16 11:50
    
Mark, there was a bit of slippage between #48 and #49 and you have
answered part of my questions to you. I think we are defining our
terms and getting what you mean and how you all arrived at this
approach...please carry on.
  

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