Mi Handmaiden, Existential Categories

from Macroinformation.org, 2003 12 11

I have launched my talk about information emphasizing perception, probability and difference: also emphasizing orthogonality: dimension.

Understand: my informational “dimensions” are analogous to spatial dimensions but they do not exist in space. Time, yes; space, no. Information has no location. It’s in the mind: but the mind also has no location. The mind is not the same “thing” as the brain.

Data and meta data can be discussed in the normal culture: using normal English. My concepts of metainformation and macroinformation cannot. note

My theory of Macroinformation expands Gregory Bateson’s observation that “Interactions between different logical levels produce phenomena unseen at either level.” I find that I must use and likewise expand on Bateson’s distinction between Pleroma, the universe of energetic and material events, and Creatura, the universe of life. I add other sets and subsets to this cosmology: Sentiens, Persona note … The visitor who lingers here will find me arguing (the semiotic obviousness) that everything in our awareness is information: and only information. What we see, what we hear, what we touch, what we feel, what we remember … information … all information, nothing but information. That we reify our perceptions and think of them as things is a habit, a set of shortcuts, a system of conveniences, that we would do well to force ourselves to become aware of. At Macroinformation the visitor enters a Korzybskian / Batesonian universe: of symbols: multi-dimensional information: the closest thing to the “real” universe occupied by sentient creatures as I can bring it.

All of these things are or will be developed in depth in other files. Here I continue a light sketch of some essentials: to the concepts of data and meta data I add the concepts of metainformation and macroinformation. Meta data is of course already a form of meta-information: I coin the single word metainformation to mean something specific: meta-information which is beyond meta data (including XML meta data) in complexity. Macroinformation is my term for all of the rest of the informational stages. A time may come when the concept must be sub-divided but that time is not yet.


right arrow drawing simple right arrow drawing complex right arrow drawing
data meta data metainformation macroinformation

The foregoing four subsets of information are each mutually orthogonal. Yet as I am modeling information here, any number of additional orthogonalities may occur within a subset. Thus, orthogonality by itself does not make a new major category. I am demanding a (by analogy) quantum difference in orthogonality. Meta data is a meta level more abstract, more complex, than data. XML is meta data that is information about the information which is about the information. To me, here, it’s still meta data. Metainformation is differently different. There are meta-differences. We may symbolize data and meta data on an X axis. Adding metainformation makes the X axis “bulge.”

“M” is different from “N.” But both are consonants. Both are labials. “A” is differently different from “B”: the latter is a consonant; the former is a vowel. Something has pricked up between those differences that violates the single dimensionality of a line.

We can string data endlessly and still be on one simple line: “anyone lived …” But now there’s more than one informational bulge in it. “Anyone” is a combination of characters, all letters, some of which are consonants and others vowels. Together they form something that we recognize as a word: a particular class of word: a noun. “Lived” in contrast is a verb: past participle. Simplicity has become shaggy: and pregnant. We begin to have meaning. Meaning cannot be mapped on a simple line: not very well.

But I choose not to develop my concept of metainformation much further than that here at Macroinformation. In these prefatory files I merely say that lifetimes could be devoted to the concept, but not mine. I am dedicated to the step beyond. So here I merely example grammar as a familiar example of metainformation. The differences between noun and verb are differently different from the differences between “A” and “A: Times Roman, left justified, pitch size 12, color black …” Data with metainformation such as grammar yields language, yields meaning, regardless of the meta data. I see language and meaning as minimally three-dimensional however skinny or fat or complex the second dimension of meta data. But there is information and meaning beyond that: quantumly beyond that: information that is differently different, meta-different, even from language: macroinformation!

The incompatibility between Captain Renault’s words and actions yields information (improbability, difference …) far more complex and multi-dimensional than can be well mapped by the concepts of data, meta data, metainformation alone. Macroinformation is information that can exist only in the macro universe: the universe of concepts parading as “things.” note Something else has emerged that now data, meta data, and metainformation must be exercised artfully to try to model. And calling it irony or hypocrisy or literature or art … or “human nature” fails to relate it formally and technically to the most fertile patterning.

The man says “I love you,” the woman makes a face. The mother says “Coochie coo,” the baby upchucks creamed carrots. The woman says “I love you,” the man whistles. Never mind the speakers’ ages or genders or conventional relationships in the preceding pairings; never mind for our purposes here what sort of face the woman makes: mind that the signals are of different types. In Casablanca the sound track works with and against the picture stream. Here and there something new bulges: information from neither medium: information from the whole system. This is information with no initial data of its own. It emerges from frictions among the data types. This information is, in these cases at least, at least partly ambiguous. When the woman made a face (now we should imagine what kind), had she heard the man? What was their relationship at time1? What is it now at time2?

All such questions are pursued here: and many others. For example:

The United States Constitution assures the right to bear arms. We talk about gun laws, jail people for being armed … That same document guarantees free speech, free publication … Universities founded since the Constitutions then offer academic freedom to a select few … Excuse me: didn’t the Constitution already guarantee that? Yet things get censored anyway … and even more “books” that are written never get published at all. That same document restricts the government to paying its bills in gold or silver … When was the last time anyone saw gold or silver from the government?

It’s easy to disapprove of Captain Renault. It’s easy to disapprove of this or that “American” behavior. I say there’s an opportunity for deeper, new understanding where discrepancy is seen as friction: sparking new information: macroinformation.

Existential Categories

existential categories, sets, estates drawing

2006 03 17

I must develop distinctions regarding information among my existential categories. Information, any difference that makes a difference, exists in Pleroma: and needs no interpretation. Light, mass, velocity … Every difference counts. Information has a different character in Creatura: and the differences increase in Sentiens, in Persona. Whether or not macroinformation manifests in the universes on which Persona emerges I shall not delve here. Clearly my first application is with Persona.


Note: since I write metainformation and macroinformation all the time, I write them as one word. Older files here hyphenate them. Meta data I mean to write however is conventional in the current culture. However I write them, try to see what I mean: ignore the spelling. I’ll make it consistent as I can make time.


We see a blur of light in the telescope viewer and call it a galaxy. We see a set of shapes, colors, behaviors … and call it “Bob.” Such are all macro-concepts and exist only informationally.


I had been terming the human universe Persona. bkMarcus suggested Persona. Yes. That’s better. Les anthropo-chauvinistic.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in existential sets, information, pk Teaching, thinking tools. Bookmark the permalink.

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