You statement of need for a human to observe the 

pattern is the smoking gun to indicate a misunderstanding 

of semiotic theory on your part.


Specifically, you don't need a human; a machine will do.


Not all machines are man-made.




[] On Behalf Of Craig Weinberg
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 5:24 AM
Subject: Re: Messages Aren't Made of Information


On Tuesday, March 5, 2013 2:06:20 AM UTC-5, William R. Buckley wrote:

There is information (I take information to be a 
manifestation of entropy) and it is always represented 
in the form of a pattern (a distribution) of the units 
of mass/energy of which the Universe is composed.  

I can agree that information could be considered a manifestation of entropy,
to the extent that entropy is necessary to provide a contrast space for a
distribution. To string an ellipses together, you need one dot, repetition,
space, and a quality of measurement which yokes together the three dots
aesthetically. Beyond that, you also need human observer with human visual
sense to turn the distribution into a 'pattern'. Without that, of course,
even distribution cannot cohere into "a" distribution, as there is no scale,
range, quality, etc to anchor the expectation. If we are a microbe, we may
not ever find our way from one dot to the next.

think that semiotic signs are simply specific bits 
of information; I will use the terms synonymously. 

Information has meaning only within context.  For many 
people, context is taken to mean one piece of information 
as compared to another piece of information.  I do not 
take this meaning of context when I discuss semiotics. 
Instead, I take semiotic context to be the acceptor of 
the information.  Hence, all meaning resides a priori 
within information acceptors. 

Agree. Well, transmitters form the signs from their own sense of meaning as
well. That's how we are having this discussion.

What you know you have always known; the sign merely 
serves to bring that knowledge to your conscious mind. 

Right. I mean it might be a bit more complicated as far as novelty goes. I
don't know if the state of unconscious information is really what I "have
always known" but that this particular constellation of meanings reflects
the Totality in a way that it is only trivially novel. Like if you hit a
jackpot on a slot machine - that may not have happened before, but the slot
machine is designed to payout whenever it does. The jackpot already exists
as a potential and sooner or later it will be realized.

That you may have intention and so comport your delivery 
of information to another acceptor has not bearing upon 
the subsequent acceptance or rejection of that information 
by the target acceptor.  Acceptance or rejection of 
information is determined solely by the accepting or 
rejecting context (acceptor). 

Agree. But the converse - the acceptor can only accept information which has
been included for delivery by intention (or accidentally I suppose).

Your mere presence sends information regardless of some 
conscious intent.  Indeed, your absence does equally 
deliver information, for the target acceptor will see 
a definite difference in available information sources 
whether you are present or not. 

Consider a line worker in a bean processing plant where 
the task is to cull *bad* dried beans from *good* dried 
beans as they go by on a conveyor belt; the *bad* beans 
are removed by hand, so the line worker is constantly 
looking for *bad* beans while constantly being aware 
of the fact that not many of the beans are *bad*.  The 
consciousness is aware of both that which is present 
and that which is not present. 

Yes, the expectation is key. I call that the perceptual inertial frame.
There is an accumulated inertia of expectations which filters, amplifies,
distorts, etc.

Further, what any information that you emit means to 
you is irrelevant to the meaning that another may take 
for that information. 

Then how does art work? Music? Certainly it is pretty clear that what
emitting Iron Man meant to Black Sabbath is different from what emitting the
Four Seasons meant to Vivaldi. I agree that the receiver bears the brunt of
the decoding, but why deny that the broadcaster can do intentional encoding,
when they know the audience?

 Indeed, it is via reliance upon 
-Cultural Norms- that your point regarding Morse Code 
becomes relevant.  It is perfectly reasonable for an 
ornery person to simply reject such norms and act 
otherwise; your expectation originates in you, not 
the targets of information you broadcast. 

>>The truth of your statement is no reply to my claim, 
>>that how another receiver of signs responds is 
>>irrelevant to your knowledge, save the one case of 
>>conveyance of knowledge between semiotic units; 
>>where you intend for knowledge to be conveyed.  In 
>>that case, it is behooving of the sender to ensure 
>>that the receiver can receive and understand the 
>I'm not sure what you are bringing up here, but I 
>would say that my point is that all messages have 
>multiple levels of reception, perhaps as many levels 
>as their are receivers in the universe. At the same 
>time, if we are assuming human senders and receivers 
>and a content range which is highly normative and 
>practical (i.e. Morse code alphabet rather than 
>emoticons, inside jokes, etc), then the information 
>entropy is reduced dramatically. 
>Maybe you can give me an example of that you mean 
>by the irrelevance of the receiver's knowledge. Does 
>that include the expectation of the possibility of 
>there being a receiver? 
>>In all other cases, the recipient response is 
>>irrelevant; all values and measures originate in 
>>the sender of the message. 
>I would tend to agree with that, although the 
>expectation of the recipient response informs the 
>motives, values, and measures of the sender - 
>otherwise there would be no message being sent. 
>>The receiver of transmitted information is 
>>irrelevant to the mechanics of that transmission. 
>I'm not sure what you mean. Again, maybe an example 
>would help. We expect that human audiences can see, 
>so we have TV screens to provide optical stimulation. 
>If we didn't have eyes, there would be no mechanism 
>of TV. 

The word should have been *reception* - receipt of 
information (acceptance of a sign) is a function of 
the value that the acceptor puts on that sign.  That 
value is most certainly not tied to the delivery 
mechanism, even if some delivery mechanisms are 
preferred over others. 

Ah, so the medium is not the message? It's not so clear. If the delivery
mechanism is preferred, why doesn't that affect the value. In college I had
been using an old printer with a poor quality print head (was like a
spinning rubber stamp of type letters at that time) that was badly degraded
but still legible. When I got a new computer and printer, right away my
grades went up across the board. The nice new presentation looked clearer
qualitatively, making it easier to read, but no more possible to read.

What matters to information acceptance is disposition 
of the acceptor to that acceptance.  If the acceptor 
does not *like* the sign, it will reject the sign; of 
course, this means that all signs are accepted just 
long enough to decide if they are sufficiently meaningful 
or not; if so, they are accepted else they are rejected. 

Agree, but why doesn't the formatting (as above) influence how much the
acceptor might like the sign, and do so in a way which can be anticipated
and optimized? For example, it seems to me like a good idea to me to have
the car washed before you take it in to be repaired, or to be well dressed
when you go to the doctor. Appearances can be manipulated to a desired
effect. Even if you can't always be right about how it will be received,
it's not impossible to stack the deck in your favor.



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