Hi. How Can You Help Me?

September 3, 2013

Schizophrenics are useless to Western Civilization.  I don’t write that in haste either.  I can’t hold a job.  I sit around by myself all day, play piano, make art, play video games, cook, read, eat, sleep, cry.  The Capitalistic thrust of the human human spirit is born from our epistemological tools to manufacture technology (that which makes something more efficient).  Whether it be as profound as the development of language, or as complex as the UPS’s implementation of GPS within a logic pipeline to push a piece of merchandise into someone’s home quicker, people seem to have an obsession with utility.  This obsession is crafting a lens for humanity that refracts only the social / cultural / economic utility of what’s ‘out there’ into the mind (If you disagree with me on this, try to find something meaningful that does not serve some socially relevant function).  With the small percentage of wealth (both financially and socially) that is ‘up for grabs’ in today’s global ecosystem,  people seem to look more into the utility of each individual.  In the case of the Schizophrenic, there is no utility there, hence no respect.  People will look right through you, ignore you and neglect you until you feel like you can walk through walls like a ghost.

Music and the Mundane

May 28, 2013

Music, for the sake of this discussion, can be as simple as a clock ticking or as complex as a Beethoven piece. My argument is that every sound that you might put into the rather loose category I just outlined is as mundane and everyday as walking or drinking a glass of water. I’m not trying to just make a case for Nihilism here. What compels me to write this post, mostly, is that many people seem to differentiate the deliberate flicking of a keychain, or the tapping of a pencil on a desk from the flicks and taps of music found on itunes. I don’t see much of a difference. The complexity and degree of cohesiveness of music is only relevant to the degree the culture it expresses itself from declares it. When my 4 y/o niece sings “You Are My Sunshine”, I genuinely have a difficult time measuring that and making distinctions between a Paul McCartney song, other than a few hundred thousand dollars on equipment and production. I suppose it’s obvious that I’m focused on the will of the musician here more than what’s resonating in the ether. The significance of any music is necessarily contingent upon the walls the sound is reverberating against. To talk about about music in any meaningful way (not just a mere discussion about building processes) I think one must talk about the building process as a social expression (as a type of acoustic signage of attitudes). Generally, with the exception of maybe classical music, this is not a contrived metaphor. It is merely a coincidental appearance from the will to make music. Anyone that makes an utterance from the will to be genuine, will (by coincidence) critique something. It doesn’t even need to remotely resemble the rhythmic pulse of a clock (or anything we might consider “music” for that matter). It is here, at the heart of the will to sing – the emotional core of all (emotional) artistic activities – where concepts like “timbre”, “Rhythm”, “Rhyme”, “harmonics” etc… are finally allowed to dissolve. As profound as that might seem, it is a regular human activity.

Some thoughts on Cybersemiotics:

“Peirce operates with a triad composed of a sign vehicle (the Representamen), an Object (a certain aspect of reality), and an Interpretant that is a more developed sign in the mind of the perceiver/observer/communicator. These three categories were so basic that he called them Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness… In the sign process, Representamen is first,
Object is second, and Interpretant is third. In Cosmogony, mind is first, matter is second, and evolution is third. In cognitive psychology, perception is first, experience is second, and understanding is third. Ontologically, chance is first, mechanical law is second, and the tendency to make habits is third. Peirce defines his Firstness as a chaos of living feeling with the tendency to assume habits.”

– Soren Brier, Cybersemiotics: Why Information Is not Enough

In Pierces semiotic Triad, the symbol is Primary – the representaion of an object. As one assumes this primacy, the open ontological chaotic “system” becomes a closed system upon evaluative parameters. Within this closed system, a triad can be developed between the representation, what it represents, and the interpretation. Although, the object it represents is in many ways outside of the triad. I think the object must take on a purely denotative (“topographical”) role, and not an ontological role. So, most of the object becomes lost in the system. Also, at another corner, the interpreter takes on another role where certain aspects of it become lost in the evaluative importance of the symbol. The symbol becomes full, where the others become partial. The system already has within it possibilities of other systems, as well as the possibility of merging these systems through cybersemiotics.

The interesting thing about systems, I’ve found, is that they are analagous to different types of lenses – The lense of our eye to the “lense” of an electron microscope.  As with our eyes, when we focus on a single point in space, the point is of primacy as everything else becomes peripheral. Focul Points and periphery seem to be the general problem of all human enterprises. The steroscopic vision is unnatainable. It can only be attained through transrational means, where the focul points merge with the periphery in equilibrium. The only way to eliminate evaluations, isolated systems, high and low probability, plausibility and implausibility is to eliminate the current paradigm of rationality and go beyond it, but not without it. That is, if you’re not shooting at pragmatic targets, but at a chaotic ontological “totality”.

Though, ontology will never be total as it will always be reduced to mnemonic metaphors.

Sub-symbolic and pre-logical neural networks – the organic matter of the brain, in other words – in a few fancy terms is, what I think our linguistic and logical (meaningful) faculties emerge from. These neural networks are physical structures in a (cybernetic) autopoietic (automatically produced) feedback loop with perception. They are considered foundational to perception, even. For instance, the nerve endings in the eye (the retina) process light into perceptual information by transforming light into a digestable nerve-compatible material, that the optic nerve sends to nine nuclei that relay this information into the visual cortex which actually makes the initial signals from the optic nerve more complex. This example, I think illustrates how nerve digestion and processing of light is an increasingly complex process that is a pre-logical, sub-symbolic material process. After the additive complexity within the primary visual cortex, it becomes even more complex as the brain, through neural communication and organic mutation, processes the perception with hyper-complex (cannot predict it mathematically) logical and symbolic faculties. This hyper-complex structure of “buzzing” neural networks become meaningful only to the extent that “difference makes a difference”. What this means, I think, is that meaning is not something that nerologists will find in the brain. It is emergent from neural networks – but these neural networks are a historically continual process; meaning that there is never a physical gap in the evolution of bodies (and brains).

Evolution is a continuity that never ceases, in other words. Neg-entropy is an explanatory tool that combines thermodynamic entropy with informational entropy in hopes of creating a new evolutionary theory that combines matter, energy, and information. (Soren Brier) Meaning, then, under this theory is understood to be a methodological combination of Cybernetics, Neurology, thermodynamics, linguistics (particularly Wittegenstein’s language games), and semiotics in a field called, Cybersemiotics.

So where, how, and when perception becomes meaning, can only be answered partially right now, I think.