Thank you very much for your great effort and nice explanation!
I like it!
Only what I needed to see is a concrete answer to the question “what it the
You absolutely clearly described it and I totally agree with your
Only what is needed is to conclude with a short definition.
I think it may be the next:
The Information is a reflection which may be interpreted by its receiver in the
context the receiver has in his/her memory.
>From this definition many consequences follow. In future we may discuss them.
Dear FIS Colleagues,
1. At the ITHEA web side, the conferences for year 2016 have been announced.
One of them is the XIV-th International Conference on “General Information
Please visit link:
Welcome in Varna, Bulgaria !
2. May be it will be interesting to read the paper, published in our
International Journal “Information Theories and Applications” (
http://www.foibg.com/ijita/ ) :
Formal Theory of Semantic and Pragmatic Information - a Technocratic Approach
by Venco Bojilov
Please send your remarks to the author to e-mail: off...@ithea.org
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016 8:46 AM
Subject: [Fis] _ Closing lecture
First, a few responses. I agree with Hans von Baeyer. Pedro’s kindness is
I agree with Gyorgy Darvas that quarks communicate.
I also agree with Jerry Chandler. Brute force is not the major mover of
history. Values and virtues count. A lot. In fact, a culture organizes
itself by calling one way of doing things evil—brute force—and another way of
doing things a value and a virtue. Our way is the value and the virtue. The
ways of others are brute force and evil. We see cooperation and warmth among
us. But only enmity and destruction among them.
The brute force is not within groups, where values, virtues, and compassion
prevail. It’s between groups. It’s in the pecking order battles between
Which means, in answer to Marcus Abundis, yes, groups struggle for position in
inter-group hierarchies like chickens in a barnyard. For example, America and
China are vying right now for top position in the barnyard of nations.
Russia’s in that battle, too. On a lower level, so are Saudi Arabia and Iran,
whose proxy war in Syria for pecking order dominance has cost a quarter of a
million lives. That’s brute force. Between groups whose citizens are often
lovely and loving to each other. Whose citizens are proud of their values and
Now for a final statement.
Information exists in a context. That’s not at all surprising. Information is
all about context. As the writings of Guenther Witzany hint. And as Ludwig
Wittgenstein also suggested. Information is relational. Information does not
exist in a vacuum. It connects participants. And it makes things happen.
When it’s not connecting participants, it’s not information
FIS gets fired up to a high energy level when discussing the definition of
information and its relationship to Shannon’s entropic information equation.
Alas, these discussions tend to remove the context. And context is what gives
information its indispensable ingredient, meaning.
There are two basic approaches in science:
· the abstract mathematical;
· and the observational empirical.
Mathematical abstractionists dwell on definitions and equations. Empirical
observers gather facts. Darwin was an observational empiricist. I’d like to
see more of Darwin’s kind of science in the world of information theory.
One of Darwin’s most important contributions was not the concept of natural
selection. It was an approach that Darwin got from Kant and from his
grandfather Erasmus. That approach? Lay out the history of the cosmos on a
timeline and piece together its story. In chronological order. Piece together
the saga of how this cosmos has created itself. Including the self-motivated,
self-creation of life.
Communication plays a vital role in this story. It appears in the first
10(-32) of a second of the cosmos’ existence, when quarks communicated using
attraction and repulsion cues. OK, it’s not quite right to call the cues
attraction and repulsion cues. When two quarks sized each other up, they
interpreted the signals of the strong force differently. If you were a quark,
another quark might size you up and promptly speed away. But a quark of a
different variety might detect the same signals, find them wildly attractive,
and speed in your direction. One quark’s meat was another’s poison, even in
that first form of communication in the cosmos.
Information is not a stand-alone. Again, it’s contextual. It’s ruled by what
Guenther Witzany calls syntax, semantics, and, most important of all,
pragmatics. Its meaning comes from where it fits in a bigger picture.
Were the signals quarks exchanged information? Not according to many of the
definitions in FIS. Some of those definitions say that to be regarded as
information, a sender must deliberately signify something symbolically. She
must, for example, want to warn you about a poisoned apple. She must put that
message in symbols, like the words “poisoned apple,” then convey that signal to
a receiver. If she doesn’t want to see you poisoned, she might text you,
“watch out for poisoned apples.” I’m not sure whether the definitions extant
in FIS demand that you look at her text or not. Much less whether you act on
In my latest book, The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates, I propose a
different definition of information. Information is anything a receiver can
decode, anything he can decipher. How do you know a receiver has decoded a
message? Through the decoder’s actions. If you are a quark and you detect my
strong force, you either scoot away or you rush over and join me. You act. If
you are a neurosurgeon looking at an mri, you make internal decisions, mental
decisions. You don’t move physically. Not at first. But you move mentally.
You imagine your scalpel poised over a different spot than you might have
picked before seeing the mri.
Information is anything a receiver can decode. So starlight reaching planet
earth 4.5 billion years ago, nearly half a billion years before the appearance
of the first life, was not information. There was no one or no thing that
interpreted it, translated it, or acted on it. But starlight in the age of the
Babylonians 2,600 years ago was highly informational. Entire teams of scribes
and priests spent their lives observing it and interpreting it. Many of their
interpretations were detailed bullet points of political and personal advice to
the ruler. Was there motion in response to starlight? You bet. Starlight
literally moved the troops and policies of empires.
And today, when there are tens of thousands of professional astronomers and
millions of amateurs with telescopes, all churning out data and emails to each
other, the amount of information in starlight has skyrocketed. But, in fact,
the actual starlight has not increased. Not a bit. It’s the number of
interpreters that’s shot up. And with the interpreters, something else has
mushroomed: the information, the interpretation, and the theories along with
their supporting or opposing “facts.”
The timeline of communication from quarks to empires is crucial. It’s the
natural history we need to see the evolution of information. No matter what we
define information to be. The timeline of the cosmos is context on the biggest
scale. It can make new meaning of facts we scarcely see. It can make more
phenomena we experience every day but do not see into, guess what? Information.
That’s a timeline I’m working on.
Thanks for having me in your group. And thanks for giving me a chance to share
thoughts with you.
Author of: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of
History ("mesmerizing"-The Washington Post),
Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century
("reassuring and sobering"-The New Yorker),
The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism ("A tremendously
enjoyable book." James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic),
The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates ("Bloom's argument will rock your
world." Barbara Ehrenreich),
How I Accidentally Started the Sixties ("Wow! Whew! Wild!
Wonderful!" Timothy Leary), and
The Mohammed Code ("A terrifying book…the best book I've read on Islam." David
Swindle, PJ Media).
Former Core Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute; Former Visiting
Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University.
Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; Founder, Space Development
Steering Committee; Founder: The Group Selection Squad; Founding Board Member:
Epic of Evolution Society; Founding Board Member, The Darwin Project; Founder:
The Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American
Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society,
Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society,
International Society for Human Ethology, Scientific Advisory Board Member,
Lifeboat Foundation; Editorial Board Member, Journal of Space Philosophy; Board
member and member of Board of Governors, National Space Society.
In a message dated 2/1/2016 8:46:55 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
Thanks Howard. Please, at your convenience send the concluding comments to
the fis list.
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