Re: [Fis] What is information? and What is life?

2016-12-30 Thread Terrence W. DEACON
Thank you Francesco for a thoughtful commentary. I think that it is a
wonderful reflection with which to mark the end of this tumultuous year and
challenging discussions. Because I was moved by your senbtiment I crudely
translate your words below. I hope it captures some of the elegance of your
comment, especially the poetic last two lines. Thank you.

Dear Terry, Joseph and All,

Although it is difficult to pursue and achieve a degree of harmony despite
dis-agreements, or to find a concrete logic or practical philosophy that is
"good", "right" and "real",  in order to understand what exists and to
develop practical knowledge, there must be communication between humans
that can lead recursively to a co-ordination of meaning. COMMUNICATION
cannot be separated from information and inevitably has a sort of
economics. So I think that the “use-value” of a shape or form applies in
all fields, including physics, biology, mathematics, music, poetry, art,
sculpture, etc. Thus, a piece of iron is valued less than a nail and a nail
is valued less than a screw; a cell is valued less than a tissue and a
tissue is valued less than an organ and a body is valued less than an
organism; an undifferentiated stem cell (biological currency) is valued
more than a differentiated cell; a musical note or a color is valued less
than a musical score or a picture; a word is valued more than the
individual vowels or consonants and less than a poem; a mathematical symbol
is valued less than an equation or function; a point or a line is valued
less than a geometric figure, etc. All forms must be MEANT, which is why
the science of existence, or the existence of science, is ALWAYS BASED on
the Triad: signification, information, communication. Finally,
dis-equilibrium is vital and the breaking of symmetries or discontinuities
can be creative. So you have to get busy using the elective affinities or
synergies that are born between some of you or us to build, not to destroy,
in order to generalize knowledge. Rather than remove a brick, it is better
to insert one, not to build walls of separation or opposition, but bridges
of communication. There will be others who come after us to bring other

On Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 9:54 PM, Francesco Rizzo <> wrote:

> Cari Terry, Joseph e Tutti,
> anche se è più difficile da perseguire e realizzare l'armonia del
> dis-accordo o la logica concreta o la filosofia pratica può essere "bella",
> "buona", "giusta" e "vera", per comprendere la prassi dell'esistenza e il
> dominio della conoscenza, nonché per svolgere la comunicazione tra gli
> esseri umani come coordinazione comportamentale ricorsiva descritta
> semanticamente. COMUNICAZIONE che non può prescindere dall'INFORMAZIONE (in
> economia, ad es., utilizzo il valore della forma o la forma del valore che
> secondo me vale in tutti i campi della fisica, della biologia, della
> matematica, della musica, della poesia, dall'arte, della scultura, etc.):
> un pezzo di ferro vale meno di un chiodo e un chiodo vale meno di una vite;
> una cellula vale meno di un tessuto e un tessuto vale meno di un organo e
> un organo vale meno di un organismo;una cellula staminale indifferenziata
> (moneta biologica) vale più di una cellula differenziata; una nota o un
> colore vale meno di uno spartito musicale o di un quadro; una parola vale
> più delle singole vocali o consonanti e meno di una poesia; un simbolo
> matematico vale meno di un'equazione o di una funzione; un punto o una
> linea vale meno di una figura geometrica, etc. Qualunque forma deve essere
> SIGNIFICATA, ecco perché la scienza dell'esistenza o l'esistenza della
> scienza è SEMPRE BASATA sulla Triade: significazione, informazione,
> comunicazione. Infine,il dis-equilibrio è vitale e la rottura delle
> simmetrie o le discontinuità sono creative.
> Quindi bisogna darsi da fare utilizzando le affinità elettive o sinergie
> che sono nate anche tra alcuni di Voi o di Noi: per costruire, non per
> distruggere arrivando dove si può arrivare per generalizzare il sapere:
> piuttosto che toglierlo un mattone è meglio metterlo, non per costruire
> muri di separazione o contrapposizioni, ma ponti di comunicazione. Saranno
> quelli che vengono dopo a portare altri mattoni.
> Francesco
> 2016-12-29 23:31 GMT+01:00 Terrence W. DEACON :
>> Dear Loet and others,
>> I feel as though we are in search of a common general theory, but from
>> divergent perspectives and expectations. Of course we should not merely
>> assume a common general theopry of information if one doesn't yet exist. We
>> agree that such a theory is a ways off, though you some are far more
>> pessimisitic about its possibility than me. I believe that we would do best
>> to focus on the hole that needs filling in rather than assuming that it is
>> an unfillable given.
>> My modest suggestion is only that in the absence of a unifying theory we
>> should not privilege one partial theory over 

[Fis] [FIS] Fis Digest, Vol 33, Issue 41: On the relation between information and meaning

2016-12-30 Thread Karl Javorszky

Alex asks to contribute to his writing on Gestalt, based on Vedic teachings
relating to how we memorise texts. Not knowing anything about the Vedic
part of it, let me summarise what used to be accepted wisdom on Gestalt in
psychology: this without any claim to completeness or correctness or other

Gestalt is “what makes a whole /to be worth, to have a value/ more than the
sum of its parts” (Ehrenfels), we have been taught, and to my knowledge
there is no better approach accepted yet. In this respect, Gestalt
resembles life, because there is a difference between a dead body and that
same organism as a living one, and between a random pattern of pixels black
on a screen and the picture of a face, made up by the same number of pixels
black. We had learnt that only a living organism can perceive a Gestalt,
because it is the active collaboration of constituents that join them
together into something recognisable, and this activity comes not from the
objects on the scene but is performed by the spectator. So much the
teachings of old times. Now with all kinds of recognising software, this
approach no more stands. Artificial intelligence machines project, match
and detect patterns among pixels or other data points, be they
fingerprints, voice recordings or contact habits. They perform the
pattern-detection part of peripheral ganglia, including the recognition of
Gestalts. Ehrenfels has introduced a logic with some disregard to accepted
rules of additivity, causing a deep alienation between psychology and
mathematics, the consequences of which we may hopefully help to clean up
here in this FIS.

The ability to look a Gestalt into objects has transformed into the ability
of inanimate objects to constitute a Gestalt, which we can or cannot
perceive. Are these animistic concepts of the world, where the objects have
properties, not we look their properties into them? If the objects, e.g.
pixels on a screen, are a Gestalt, constitute momentarily a constellation
among them into that what is a Gestalt, then the objects have an immanent
property of relations among each other, which is transportable across
individuals and species. (The definition of objectivity is that the
stimulus causes comparable reactions across individuals and across
cultures.) Children and animals react differently to pictures of a circle
and of two dots, if these represent the archetype of a face. There appears
to exist an immanent property of pixels that the nervous system utilises.
In other words: it is a property of a set that it is ordered. There exists
the logical category of possible orders, among which some can be realised
concurrently. Some of the combinations of the possible orders will be so
much more probable than others that they will create a density in a
probability space. Coordinates for pixels in forms that resemble a Gestalt
of a face with two eyes will exist as a delineated class of possible
realisations. The coordinates are the result of superior probabilities of
combinations of orders to appear, relative to the other orders that also
produce coordinates for pixels, but not so frequently, consistently and

Not only must the nervous system be prepared to recognise a state of the
world (something is looking at me) in the circle with two dots in it, but
the biological reality must also produce this pattern in abundance. The
recognition of the smiley is done by the central nervous system, which
operates by means of impulses of -70 mV; these are uniform but place-bound
and sequenced in time. As such they resemble N. The production of the head
and the eyes is done while the butterfly is still fluid, so the same
principle is present also in the humeral fluids of the body. The same
Gestalt is produced in two different environments. Producing a smiley in a
biochemical factory and perceiving it as an electric pattern means that the
idea of a smiley exists, irrespective of how we express it in terms of
relations of symbols among each other. We can express the idea of a smiley
by means of elements that can be of many kinds and be anywhere; and we can
express the same idea also by means of uniform units that have fixed
topological positions by being sequenced among each other. The idea of this
Gestalt transcends the languages in which it can be said. In linguistic
parlance, the idea is a deep structure which exists in differing cultures,
each of which give it a differing superficial structure, like the French
say chaise to chair. We are again with the classical problem of having an n
of N that is to be identified consistently across describing languages,
here seen as enumerating systems.

The archetype apparently indeed does exist, and it must be of a simple,
every-day, almost axiomatic truth. The algorithms that produce the
coordinates of a Gestalt are of course some specific of the tautologies
that make up the naming system. The necessary tautology can be of no other
form but the result of very simple,