Friday, May 20, 2011

Macroinformation Now

I had the idea of macroinformation in the back of my head in the mid-1960s. In February 1999 I started writing it out. A couple of years later my son created for my birthday. A bit later still I created this blog to draft new material, post easy notes ...

Everything has moved, and moved again: I'm recreating all pk domains at pKnatz blog. I'm recreating Macroinformation there! I'm building a Information / Macroinformation Menu there!

Once that's done, or even 90%, I'll dismantle this blog, making sure all parts are relocated at pKnatz (the new (or are deleted, deliberately, by the author).

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Macroinformation Brief

Articulated online starting February 1999
(conceived in the mid 1960s)

Mission: responsibly to explore informational complexity

2005 11 03
Information issues from difference:
the more improbable, the more information.

Powerful information issues from differences among metadifferences:
the more metadifferences,
the more complexity among them,
the greater the potential of the information.

(This piece is an "entrance" of sorts to Macroinformation: I'll keep re-posting it each month so it will always appear near the top of the menu.)

Macroinformation is my term for the information that emerges from our mental processing of informational complexities.

We don't just process data: there's data, and more data, and tons of information already in our heads: and we process parts, and wholes, in an informational environment. The real information, the whole of the information, the macroinformation, must be seen to interact in an ecology of information.


The kids chant Nyah-nyah. They're chanting the fifth and third of a chord: where's the root? The root remains unchanted, but it's "there," we hear it.

The wife gets "B"s tattooed on her rump because her husband loves her beautiful buns. She strips, bends over, and her husband asks, "Who's Bob?" We have data for the Bs; where did the "O" come from?
Well, we have that information too, but it appears in our processing of the joke, there's no data for it in the joke.

The movie shows Captain Renault being handed a wad of cash from the roulette cashier's cage. The sound track has Captain Renault saying, "I am shocked, shocked to learn that there is gambling going on in here," and closes Rick's casino down.The information that follows us home from the theater wasn't in the pictures and it wasn't in the words. Neither was it in the music. The information that haunts us emerges from inter-playings, even conflicts, among the constituent information complexes: words, pictures, actions, sound effects, music ... all processed in minds that already know something about the world.

Information begets information.
The most important information emerges as meta-patterns that rise above data the way a flock of birds rise above the earth. Without the earth, there are no birds; without the birds there is no flock. But their beauty is in the metapatterns.

The meaning of information is in the metapatterns.

Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener ... defined information in terms of the inverse of the probabilities. There's more information is the string 2, 5, 13, 87 ... than in the string 1, 2, 3, 4 ... There's more information in Steve Allen's "Roses are red,/ Violets are blue,/ You thought this would rhyme,/ But it doesn't" than in any of the familiar Roses are red jingles.
Probability is wonderful, and dangerously counter-intuitive, and I make use of it; but Gregory Bateson defined information as

Any difference that makes a difference.

Difference is a concept that fits the non-mathematical human right down to the ground, and if you can follow me into meta-difference, we shall flock like birds in the stratosphere of complex, emergent information.

What started me on this path may be of some relevance and interest. By college age I was beginning to get fragmentary explanations for seeming-informational contradictions I'd been aware of since childhood. During WW II, from the US, Hitler was the bad guy. So how come the MovieTone News coverage of his rallies was so exciting? Because our documentary makers were using footage from Leni Riefenstahl, the genius of filming mass rallies.

The documentary that showed our bold leader, President Truman, firing the miscreant General MacArthur, showed Mac marching like a hero, while sunlight flashed annoyingly from the elected haberdasher's eye glasses. Whose side were the documentary makers on?

Marlon Brando had a skull that could star in any museum. Elia Kazan filmed him in naturally contrastive black and white, looking one moment like a brute ... but change the camera angle one millimeter, change the lighting one candle-power, and Marlon looked like a Roman god. Complex information exploded from these minute differences.

Then in graduate school I first heard of information being stored on some medium for a computer. Fine. Then I heard that one could count the bytes involved. Fine. Then I heard that this was regarded as giving a quantitative value for the information! Balderdash.

First, the data will be very different depending on how you've "spelled" the data. English is far from efficient, even among natural languages. But far more important, data is being equated with information! No, no. The data is this bird and that bird. The information is the flock flying in what we see as a "formation."

I had a thesis to write, then a revolution to foment. I put my 1960s thoughts on information on a back burner. It wasn't until I decided to heat the subject up a bit early in 1999, starting writing that soon got posted as Macroinformation, that I learned that Norbert Wiener had said that there was more information in a good poem than there was in the phone directory for a major city. Had I known that in the 1960s I would have assumed that the information theorists were taking proper care of their business. As it was, I long believed them to be missing the core of the point. Now; whatever they do, I don't know. Macroinformation is what I do.

And I've noted some patterns in emergent information that I believe are essential to wisdom on the subject.

When I heard that some computer people thought they were quantifying information I was indignant, but not because I believed that information could not be quantified. I do believe it. I still believe it. I think I am taking the correct steps in that direction. The more steps I take however the more I see that particular goal as still very distant. That doesn't mean we can't get there, or at least get closer. But however close we get, however far we remain, efforts at quantification will remain more like quantifying the electricity in a thunder storm than weighing a cabbage on the grocer's scale. Meantime I say that a hypothesis I hope to develop toward theoryhood believes that the quality of information will prove to be directly proportional to the quantity, not of the data, but of the complex information, the deep meta-information. No, not meta-data! Not the information-about-the-information that's mere directions for style: read top to bottom, left to right, put the margin at the left ... And not meta-information a step up from meta-data: grammar: the noun is different from the verb, the unmodified noun is different from the modified noun ... the pronoun is different (and not different!) from the noun ... No, meta-information a step more complex and abstract still: the macroinformation which challenges to think of what kind of a government bureaucrat Captain Renault is: taking payola from Rick's crooked table night after night, then closing Rick's down, protesting his innocence the while ...

Try synformation as a synonym for macroinformation, the synergy of the information: meaning identical.

The more overtones, the more that is implicit, suggestible, between the lines ... the better the poem, the painting, the tune, the speech ... The greatest literature will prove bottomless.

My attempt the other day at a new Entrance for Macroinformation resulted in an emphasis on my Spectrum of Informational Complexity. [Link temporarily down.] I must relate that to my concept of informational dimensions, which relates to my concept of Extension / Intension (now posted here as of 2009 03 26), and non-spatial dimensions. Which relates to ... and so forth. I'm getting it all here the best I can.

To hunt for macroinformation on your own, focus on nature versus culture, surveying the informational scree from that conflict. (A post offering details follows.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

pk Online

I had five domains, several blogs, thousands of essays and other text files, thousands of images on line. The fed destroyed all that, all but destroyed me.

I can't afford to repost, so I've been recreating some classic pk modules at blogs.

Here's what I'm going to do now: get all my files into a blog, sorting by blog specialty.
Then, reorder, as logically as I can, so visitors can browse by type categories: Teaching / or Personal /

I'm going to stop explaining all this every time I mount a new post.
Then I'm going to my five destroyed domains back up, restoring the original logic, improving on the original logic.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Email pk

Post a Comment: or,
EMail to:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today's Emphasis

We live in a universe of information, thinking it's a physical universe. Perhaps we can't live without Pleroma, the physical universe, but we don't live in it; we live in the universe of information, which is minimally one level of orthogonality away from the physical universe.

Light transmits information about the physical universe to our retina where our visual cortex interprets the information. The light is data, but the information processed in our minds, though also employing data, is not data: it is macroinformation, abstract, multiple-level, complex, interpreted information.

All data is information. All metainformation is information. All macroinformation is information.
Not all information is data. Not all information is metainformation. But all macroinformation is interpreted.

There is no information in the human world (/ Creatura / Sentiens / Persona (/ Pathologica ...) /) that is not interpreted: and no interpretation is whole, complete, final ...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

False True Information

My theory of macroinformation distinguishes information from data: information is the set, data is a subset.

Today I emphasize with a fresh example that false information (false macroinformation, macroinformation also being a subset of information) can be elicited in others via true data. In prejudice for example, racism for example, the Whatsoo can demonstrate hypocrisy in the Toozoo. The demonstration can be true. But better macroinformation would be elicited by the admission that hypocrisy can also be demonstrated in the Whatsoo.

The US of my youth laughed at Communists claims that some Communist had invented the telephone, the light bulb ... I today laugh at the US for its similar fabrications. (My offer of cybernetic libraries, cybernetic data basing, and cybernetic social networking ... implicit in my founding of the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. in 1970 not being taught by schools or universities around the world today is evidence, proof, that schools, media, and other institutions collude in fraud.)

OK. Here's some data, and false macroinformation, that pricked me to launch this post: Today's sports news blazons a new $100M baseball contract: for pitcher Lee and his Phillies. The other year Tiger was getting $100M for something. Last week Derek Jeter was getting $50M+ from the Yankees. I don't dispute the data. Neither do I scoff at Jeter or Tiger or Lee's quality, Neither do I scoff at Jeter or Tiger or Lee's right to such wealth; not in the absence of similar figures divulging the wealth of others. The Steinbrenner family's income (including capital gains, profits, earnings ... lagniappe, tips) may be at least in part a matter of public record: but it's the slave, Jeter, whose contract is blazoned publicly, not the owner(s): (the late) George Steinbrenner (and family, etc.)

In other words: there's important macroinformation implicit in what data an organ divulges and congruent macroinformation implicit in what data an organ does not divulge. Gender, class, ethnicity, and such may be expected to be involved: regardless or whether the ambient culture claims to differentiate by class or gender or ethnicity ...

We show our faces but commonly hide our tail end.
We make someone a celebrity, then show their wallet:
while not even acknowledging the existence of some millions of others.

This post starts out in the style of (and this Macroinformation blog) but soon takes on the political flavor of typical other pk domains and blogs. True. Well, I accuse my culture of informational dishonesty. Civilized media are heavily biased to notice the farts of the unwashed while politely averting the gaze for identical behavior from the privileged.

Why do we tolerate Lee's salary being headline worthy while also tolerating an absence of information about the income of other figures? Further, what does it tell about us if we have figures estimating Bill Gates's estate without also displaying figures for Ivan Illich's estate: he who proposed that cybernetic information storage and retrieval could help humans become Christian (meaning convivial in Illich's lexicon) and without also displaying figures for pk's estate: me, pk, being the guy (one of several, first of several to go public) who offered to actually try to launch Illich's cybernetic information revolution: via my 1970 Free Learning Exchange, Inc. (Note: I mention Bill Gates because he founded Microsoft years after the public declined to support FLEX's offer to develop relational data-basing software for advertising resources. We preferred to pay, to pay a great deal, for software that did considerably less than we could have gotten for "cost plus.")

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Informational Scree

My Macroinformation Brief suggests hunting for macroinformation on your own focusing on nature versus culture, surveying the informational scree from that conflict.

Here's a path I suggest that will keep you busy for millennia (if we're lucky enough to have millennia before us) (we're certainly not smart enough to deserve it!):

Look for metadifferences implicit in the major religion of the West for the past two millennia: one the one hand there's our judgment of ourselves; on the other hand, at Judgment, such judgments will be exposed as foolishness (or so Christians are supposed to believe.)

Now: think what else that might imply: an omnipotent deity might find the Temple of Jerusalem's self-image to be contradicted by in behavior: can we think of any other institutions where an omnipotent deity might find the institution's self image to be contradicted by its behavior?

In Casablanca Captain Renault lives in a secular heaven: he's in charge of the police, he gets payola every night ... After a macroinformational judgment, where would he be? Never mind the judgment of an omnipotent deity: how about in your judgment. In your judgment is any government what it says it is? Is any institution? Is your judgment the same in 2010 as it was in 2000? Do you expect it to be the same in 2020? (Do you see that those differences stimulate macroinformation?)

Never mind whether God is infinite; macroinformation is infinite. Its potential is infinitely infinite whether humans are here to think it or not.

It's so funny: I thought much of this out around 1965. I started writing it in 1999. I'm editing it a bit here 2010 11 17. But I'm still using my examples from 1965! Do people still know Kazan? Brando? Casablanca?

Macroinformation is merely potential, not at all actual, if no one is actively processing the information. Once state-coerced schooling has discouraged our minds down to zero there will be no information of any kind: except data. And meta-data. And maybe grammar.