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Taxonomy of Knowledge(s)

Page history last edited by roy williams 5 years, 2 months ago

Taxonomy of Resonant Knowledges


This section explores and describes a range of different kinds of resonant knowledge/s, from resonance as a way of life onwards ....

Rhinos do it, lets do it ...

Note: Basics
You can engage with this hypertext/project from any point of departure - either within the links in the text, or by following the sequence of the text in the Draft Article, or, for that matter, starting from anywhere else in the wiki. It might, however, be useful to draw together some of the basics here:

  • Knowledge is seen as the capacity for effective action. This is based on the semiotic premise that meaning is use (Wittgenstein) or, conversely, every use becomes a sign of itself (Barthes).
  • So it is of course about epistemology - how we know things - but it's even more about how we make and use things (whether they are words, guns, emotions, theories, institutions, etc, etc): so it's really about pragmatics (or practical epistemology, if you must).
  • Resonant knowledge, then, is about how knowledge is created and used in a community of use. Scientific knowledge, for instance, is knowledge that is based on resonance within a community of people who call themselves 'scientists'. Political knowledge is based on the resonance within a community who call themselves democrats, nationalists, conservatives, republicans, etc.
  • The interesting questions are about how these different types of resonance emerge (along with an emergent community of users), what different consequences follow, how different kinds of resonance relate to each other (or not), and how these change.
  • One of the mechanism for building powerful / resonant consensus, and powerful knowledge, is via abstraction. Another is by repetition.
  • Abstraction: abstraction progressively strips out context and subjectivity, but produces physical, textual, digital, genetic (etc) algorithms and avatars - simply: things that stand in for other things - which are in principle totally inclusive, as these tools should be able to be used by anyone in any context.  This should open up an ever-increasing resource for everyone to use. However, in practice it can be highly divisive, empowering the experts, and disempowering or even marginalising everyone else's agency, even though it aspires to act inclusively, in the interests of everyone.  
  • Repetition: Repetition is the worst kind of pseudo-argument: contestation by assertion, rather than evidence or logic. It is in principle exclusive and divisive, and often includes personalised attacks (also by assertion, rather than evidence or logic). It generally aspires to act in the interests of a limited group, to the exclusion of everyone else. 


-1. Resonance
This started out as as an exploration of knowledge, via the metaphor / trope of 'resonance'. However ... resonance itself has become more and more interesting in the process.

To begin ... Resonance is the mutually reinforcing effect of, for instance, two strings of an instrument vibrating at the same (or an exact multiple of) a particular frequency. This amplifies the sound. It is similarly used in LASERS, which produce a more powerful, amplified, beam of resonating light of a single frequency, and thus of a single ('pure') colour.

As a metaphor for knowledge, resonant knowledge is simply where the 'same' beliefs - or uses - strengthen a particular belief, or use of a term, or practice, as it passes into 'knowledge' of some sort. Or to put it another way, if the essence of semiotics is simply that 'every use (can) become a sign of itself', all that you need to kick off the semiotic process is for a sign of a use to resonate, to make mutual sense, between two or more people, and to continue to do so. For example, the value of scientific concepts and terms is based on peer review and agreement (and the test of falsifiability); the strength of currencies is based on shared confidence in the exchangeability of money (or i.o.u's) for goods, services, other currencies, favours, etc.

This unfortunately offers at least two divergent possibilities: i) the establishment of wider and wider, inclusive communities, in which particular uses of particular signs make sense, or ii) the establishment of narrower and narrower, exclusive communities, echo chambers, or 'silos' of belief amongst adherents of particular practices, beliefs or faiths. This paradox has been around for a long, long time, as well as, iii) combinations of the two, in which signs become private, patented, copyrighted, or locked behind the walls of corporate or national communities, and their security measures. And the narrowing, exclusive forms of resonance always insist - or revert back to - binarisms, and neither understand nor tolerate complex, open, collaborative practices.

This is the choice we now face: between exclusive binary opposition, or inclusive, open, complex collaboration. And it is thrown into stark relief by the resurgence of nationalisms and popularisms - see #6.1 below).

What is particularly new in all this is the mutually reinforcing (and amplifying) function of virtual relationships or communities, which, when they resonate across pop-up modern 'tribes' or 'diaspora' can amplify, virally, to enormous numbers through the reinforcing mechanisms of social media. This is based on shared virtual experience, as Knorr-Cetina showed so clearly in both international financial trading relationships and in terrorist networks , and it also fits in with the pop-up nature of modern tribes more generally, as so presciently described by McLuhan in 1969. It is further exacerbated by malgorithms (see #7, below).

The amplification effects of resonance (particularly in online communities) may be based on external frames of reference, in formal or informal experience, but it can, unfortunately, also be self-referential, i.e. based on self-amplification within a group of people who have no concern at all for external &/or material, and open, frames of reference.

We could also call self-referential resonance sutured resonance (in Lacanian terms), to describe resonance which is so extremely self-referential - (individually or in a group) - that it is completely sutured, i.e. 'sewn up', closed, and inaccessible to engagement with others, or even re-examination by the self [... add links], which are commonly referred to as echo chambers.
And this can be automated and locked in via malgorithms (see below) in social media platforms which deliberately reinforce and further amplify self-referential interests and choices (particularly alarmist ones) without the users knowledge.

Interestingly, self-amplification might even have a role to play in the origins of life itself, via autocatalysis (the possible ability of some molecules to catalyse their own reproduction)]. [add link ...]. The difference between self-amplification in biology and in sutured online communities is that biological reproduction includes built-in change (i.e. persistent mutation, at the rate of 1 in 10 to the power of 6), whereas online communities may be allergic to change, and avoid any instability at all costs. The idea of 'collective narcissism' seems relevant here too.

[WIP: This links to Downes' ideas of knowledge as becoming ...? ] (JM 121216) Does Downes write about this differently to Barnett or Biesta?

-1.1 For or Against?
Resonance might be seen as a 'neutral' term, describing synchronicity and amplification, but it generally has a positive feel to it - as opposed to dissonance. Both are used in music, but even there, resonance is generally about resolution and synchrony, and dissonance is about tension and disruption. However, one person's resonance is another person's dissonance, and composers have always used both (to varying degrees), so there is no easy resolution to this question.

For example, the idea and the reality of "President-elect Trump". That is such a disruptive state of affairs, as was his campaign, as Lindy West analyses so well (see #5, below). Its an artificially swept up White-lash against all political correctness: i.e. not only race, but also gender, sexual preference etc, (add nauseum) - i.e. against precisely the many aspects of political correctness, and accompanying social progress, that has taken America (and many other countries) half a century or more to achieve. This is plain dissonance - even regressive dissonance, trying to undo the resonances that were painstakingly crafted together into what we thought was a new social consensus - which all appears so fragile now, which has provoked despair as well as counter-anger.

0. Synaesthetic (resonance)

Lets get back to the beginning ...

Someone I recently
met asked me about semiotics, and what it had to say about abstraction, which got me thinking. The surprising thing, for someone like me who has made a reasonable living from researching how we communicate and interact, is that abstraction doesn't start with complicated theory. Instead, it goes way back, to observing and describing how we, as tiny children, work our way around - and into - the world through our senses (see Montessori, here, and see Reed (1995, pp. 8-9), quoted on page 19 of the Project Report.) (See also Bertrand Russell's change of perspective, from seeing the senses as bars in a prison cell, to seeing them as windows, instead - in section 9, here).

We all start exploring the world through our vast array of senses, which work in concert; the senses are do not function 'individually', or discretely, even though they may appear to be quite 'separate'. (Even Helen Keller relied on her senses working in concert - see the example of 'water', in 1887). We are all fortunate enough to have some involuntary synaesthetic perception or 'cross-talk' between the way the brain processes what it receives from our different senses to use in making sense of the world.

Bouba and Kiki shapes

Some of us, for example, always see particular numbers in particular colours, and we all invariably recognise patterns not only in particular senses (or sensory 'modes'), but across them, i.e. within cross-modal resonance, in which some aspects of one pattern are similar enough to aspects of another pattern to strengthen our recognition of the resonance between the patterns, even if they occur in different sensory modes (see for example the bouba/kiki effect).

Cross-modal resonance is the most fundamental resonance, and it lays the foundation for all other resonances: and for abstraction, for language, etc, etc.

The next level of synaesthesic resonance, leading to what we more commonly recognise as abstraction, is when we not only recognise that the sound elements of the spoken word, 'bouba' have something in common with some of the graphic elements of the shape 'bouba' (see the diagram above), but we also start to see (and use) it as one thing - as one complex sign. This sign, of bouba-ness (which refers to the resonant elements between the sound and/or the graphic shape) is derived from the two sensory modes, but it could be used in quite different contexts too, as a metaphor for feelings, for instance. This process of the emergence of a complex sign is, fundamentally, just the establishment of a pattern of patterns, which is, crucially, modality-free: it is derived from the resonances between particular sensory patterns, but it develops and emerges as a semiotic capability which can be used quite independently of any particular one of them.

This is the neurological basis for abstract signs which all relate to, are derived from, but also lift off from the material, the experiences and/or senses from which they are derived. As this proceeds, these signs may end up in dreams, texts, creative flights of the imagination, etc.

Our ability to recognise, create and use new derivatives from these modality-free signs is what we refer to as creative synaesthetic ability, as opposed to involuntary synaesthetic perception (see here for more details of the neurology, as well as some applications to case studies).

So synaesthesic resonance/s, or 'bio-sensory' resonance, or just 'ur-semiotic resonance' is where it all kicks off, in zoo-semiotics (and perhaps even earlier in evolution), as it eventually emerges, via creative synaesthetic ability, as language, culture, knowledge, etc.

1. Intuitive resonance
1.1 (see: Mr Purple, in MEDIATE)
[WIP: Much more detail to follow ...]
It probably makes sense to talk of the case of Mr Purple as resonance (and resonant knowledge) - albeit intuitive knowledge, not 'cognitive' knowledge. In other words, his sensibility and the colour purple resonated in some immediate, intuitive way, and he felt good, or happy, in it. So this is our first case of intuitive resonant knowledge. There will be several more to follow (see the link above for more detail) ...

1.2 Creative resonance (and abstraction): Henry Moore, Brancusi (Princess X) and Barbara Hepworth ... [WIP] ...

Brancusi: Princess X

2. Internal resonance
In trying to work up a useful description of resonance, it struck me that resonance is a set of dynamic event/s, rather than a static 'thing', i.e. a relationship between several different processes (like the resonance between the vibrations of strings on a musical instrument, and like the relationship between signifiers and signifieds; (see Assimilation, 19/10/16, here ...).

Internal resonance takes the fundamental resonance between elements of your sensory exploration (see involuntary synaesthesia, above) a step further - it's about resonance with/in your self (which includes senses, but within a gestalt, a presence, that we call "self").

This might seem to be stretching the metaphor of resonance, or even be a bit confusing. However, three examples (Yoga, Montessori learning, and Parkrun) might help us explore this. What they all have in common is that they are all about being comfortable in your own skin, and internal satisfaction, rather than satisfying the demands of external motivation or metrics. (See here for an example of the very different ways in which two Popes 'feel comfortable' in their own chairs / in their own selves, satisfying very different - external or internal - demands).

(Hatha) Yoga, as Steve Mugnier, for instance, recently pointed out, is a practice, it's not about a particular asana (posture) that you try to 'achieve'. As a practice, it's an ongoing, long-term relationship between you and the world around you, which you can become more and more comfortable with / in. In hatha yoga this starts with your own body, in raja yoga with your own mind - in both cases as a microcosm of the world around you. And there are many other yogas, each of which starts at a different place, but they are all part of the same practice.

Montessori learning is also a practice; it's a way of exploring and understanding the relationship between you and the world around you. It too starts with your senses and your own body, and with very few words - an 'embodied mind'. [add link]. The pace of Montessori learning should be right for you, not for anyone else, and going back to previous exercises, or practices, (i.e. recursion) is welcomed. Learning is not a one-way street.

Parkrun too is a practice. It may look like a 'race' around a park, but it's nothing of the sort. It is also a practice, exploring and exercising your own body and mind, for yourself. It is timed, but your time, and each 'run' should be right for you, not for others.

Resonance with your self might seem strange. The Jewish proverb/paradox might help here: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self, only, then what am I? And if not now, when?".... [WIP] Recursion ... [WIP] ..

2.1 Benchmarking
The common elements of all three of the above examples are internal motivation and benchmarking [add link], working towards comfort within your own 'skin' (i.e. body and mind, or embodied mind), at your own pace, and to your own agenda, your own internal motivation and metrics.

[WIP ...] add NN and M101.

Wellies V. Lab Coats

3. Resonances of Practice (theory-lite knowledge)
Resonances of Practice are forms of knowledge that arise primarily from practice, as opposed to theory. They are 'theory-lite', although they do not eschew research and theory; in fact they often use them to support what they do - it's just not their primary focus.

In many cases they follow a deliberately back-to-basics practice, summed up in the recent ("Not in our nature") advert for Jordan's granola:"We believe the best ingredients are found wearing wellies, not a lab coat" - or as Jason Vale (aka Juicemaster) says, we should emphasise "low human-intervention foods", or as ... says in In Praise of Food, ......[add detail].

In other words, they advocate low KI (knowledge index) or low HI (human intervention index) foods, rather than low GI (glycaemic index) foods. For example, the lemonade you buy in supermarkets has lots and lots of ingredients, most of which are produced by people wearing 'lab coats', not 'wellies'; they are very knowledge intensive. Jason Vale's 'sherbet' lemonade, in contrast, is just the juice of two apples and a third of a lemon (add ice to taste).

3.1 Raw fruit and veg
There is a rapidly growing practice of eating raw fruit, nut & vegetables, whole or in juice form - a basic vegan or vegetarian diet - (vary to taste) - depending on whether you add dairy or not. There are many practitioners of this kind of diet, for example Jason Vale and Jo Cross, both of whom have extensive practices - extending into online and offline get-togethers, retreats, spas, and social media, to support their enterprises/campaigns, and to support their followers/clients.

It's a fusion of leading by example, evangelism, and a lucrative business. And it's empirical too - practice first, theory later (or much later). [.. WIP ...]. Both Vale and Cross released documentaries to support their case that juicing can turn your life around by detoxing and flooding your system with healthy nutrients. Vale's documentary, Superjuice me: the Big Juice Experiment follows the 28 day juice programme that was followed by a selection of people with many, many 'life-style' diseases between them (e.g. Type 2 Diabetes), in nearly all cases this led to a recovery, and a reduction of their medication - in many cases down to zero. The idea was based on Vale's own remarkable recovery from Psoriasis and asthma, by following a juice-fast.

Cross documented his own personal juice fast in a road-movie documentary (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead), across America (he is Australian). Both he and Vale lost substantial amounts of weight, but they emphasise that weight loss is a by-product of detoxing and healthy eating, not the primary goal. There are also other documentaries of the benefits of a raw food (as opposed to raw juice) diet (e.g. recovery from Type 2 Diabetes).

Resonances of practice such as raw fruit and vegetable fasts are based on a practical, non-expert, low-risk empiricism. These practices - and practitioners - just get on with the job of offering programmes, and support, for people to detox and shift their lifestyle choices - and/or addictions (sugar, salt, nicotine, alcohol, etc) to a basic, low-knowledge (or non-expert) simple and healthy way of eating. In doing so, they also substantially challenge many of the knowledge-, medication-, side-effect-, and finance-intensive programmes offered by global pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and Tertiary-based health care dominated organisations- whether corporate or public, including the NHS.

Vale (and others) argue for a turnaround in the treatment of these 'life-style' diseases, many of which are linked to obesity. He says raw food and juice should be the first port of call, not an 'alternative' practice to conventional medicine. This is not as far fetched as it may seem: it makes sense in Primary Health Care-based systems, which the NHS toyed around with for a few years under the Blair regime, but were quickly ditched in the Con-Dem coalition government that followed. Its also potentially much cheaper.

There are of course other Resonances of practice, many of which, like the above examples, liaise with, and interact with, conventional science. They are, ironically, in some senses 'more empirical'. They are also embedded in the networking affordances of the internet, as well as the massive open resources (including published medical articles) that the 'global community of peers' now makes available. ... [WIP - and more on the good and bad sided of 'global communities of peers elsewhere ... WIP].

4. Ecological Resonance

Ecological resonance is, by definition, an overarching value, privileging the natural and organic life surrounding us. It's when our practices properly 'fit in' with our ecology. Ecological resonance can accommodate some degree of commoditised value, but in the end it has to override it, otherwise it becomes, strangely, 'dehumanised'.

The example of what happened to the house and garden at Sissinghurst over the years is a case in point. Adam Nicholson writes about his return to his boyhood home (of Sissinghurst) in 2014, some years after his parents had given it to the National Trust. He says "The 180,000 visitors a year were being efficiently handled ... but everything I loved about it had gone: [there was] no sense that this was a rural place ... no feeling that the garden was somehow continuous with the Weald of Kent around it ... it was no longer a place, but [instead] a Titian in a car park".

Nicholson set about convincing the National Trust (helped by the then director-general, Fiona Reynolds) to restore Sissinghurst's relationship to its surroundings, and 12 years later (2016), that finally started to bear fruit. Sissinfhurst is now becoming re-integrated into the farm/lands around it - becoming "humanised, cared for, lived in, productive [in a] cultural-natural world ... [a place where you can] let your landscape make you lunch".

"Sissinghurst had to get reconnected, had to understand that its beauty was about connectedness, that it was the climax of a stretch of country, not a space station or [just] a visitor attraction".

5. Resonance of the Trolls: Conflict v. Clarity)
There are many ways to exploit the viral nature of social media.

Dog-whistle and dead-cat [add] campaigning are
the beginnings, epitomised by the Australian 'Sir' Lynton Crosby, in his various political campaign consultancies [add links].

Hail to the Chief

Donald Trump (nee: Donald Drumpf) is the XXX version. He just goes straight for it, not just as a troll, but rather as cheerleader of trolls: under the veil of bloke-ish pseudo-respectability, he declared, early on, that "Destroying political correctness is my No.1 campaign issue". See: "Oh, my God ... He's courting the troll vote" - Lindy West.

These are all variations of the Resonance of the Trolls, exploiting dissonance, actually, not resonance, in 'post-truth' [add link] discourse. Dog-whistlers do it by stealth, sometimes, but at other times just 'in your face', such as Crosby's (failed) campaign for Zac Goldsmith's bid to become mayor of London (2016). A dog-whistle is a relatively subtle innuendo, implying (just by association), for instance that Sadiq Khan (campaigning to become mayor of London, successfully, in 2016) was a raving Islamist. It is is often combined with dead-cat distractions and diversions, which can use a random crisis (like a dead cat being thrown onto the table) to change the agenda.

As Lindy West points out, "political correctness is not voluntary, [for us] its survival" (see link above).

...and Jon Stewart calls it all out superbly:

And there is a simple response to Trolls, from many, many years ago in open software (and other open forums): DNFTT - DO NOT FEED THE TROLL - which could be rephrased: Do not feed the Trump. The media, including Jon Snow on Channel 4, seem to be getting as hysterical as Trump. Deny him the oxygen of publicity - to paraphrase anti-terrorism strategies.

6. Testosterone Resonance / Cooperative Resonance
Just when we come to the end of the Obama Presidency, and we thought we had put the 'strange attractor' [add link] of testosterone/ism behind us, Trump trumps into the White House as Commander in Chief of the world's biggest nuclear arsenal (which he wants to expand). A book on Ideology (some time back) said "Communism is too boring, Fascism is too exciting, and democracy has to be just right".

However, with Trump's throw-back to testosteronism (Fascism with a smile and universal 'suffrage'), we get the Big Man syndrome - in Trumpism, and as Trevor Noah so presciently identified in his show, in the spread of the Big Man syndrome in Africa (and possibly elsewhere) too. Trump and Zuma (in SA) are Presidential bedfellows (excuse the pun in bad taste - it's just a Trumpism creeping into the discussion - both have 'laid' claim, in public, to being 'big' in more than one sense, and to be even 'bigger', the more they openly deride political correctness, to being 'big' in opulent 'style'(see below), big in State Capture, and in big in bullying. The problem is sustainability, as Zuma is finding out now - there might be sympathy for bullies as outsiders, but what happens when the outsider becomes the ultimate insider?

Jacob Zuma's little country retreat, Nkandla
Opening the Golden Doors to Trump Tower

So the search for the 'just right' balance of democracy, and cooperative resonance, has taken a leap backwards into elections and (Brexit) referendums based on testosterone resonance - not even "I feel, therefore I am ..." but rather: "I'm angry, therefore I am (voting)" with people coagulating around the mythic totem of a 'Big' Leader. I wish I could say it's as simple as a misogynistic twist in the USA electorate's (and the Big Men's) minds - there is that, but it looks like a much broader issue than (only) sexism (see 6.1, below). Hopefully it will not lead to another surge of testosteronism amongst the superpowers (Putin is already halfway there, and China is getting there), as the previous surge led to the Second World Slaughter (aka WWII).

This slips easily into totalitarianism (parading as nationalist patriotism, aka Stalinist 'democratic centralism'): from the big man fascists of Apartheid, to the Chinese 'communist' Party, to a whole range of Middle and Near East countries, and a pick and mix of African ones, not to mention the Asian ones. Apartheid is a stark example of totalitarianism - where anyone outside the gated and electrified-fenced-suburbs has "no place to be at home" - you are expected to go home to somewhere else, instead - to 'your' ghetto, to Ghaza, to a Bantustan, a refugee camp, to Mexico, etc.

You just have no place to live, work, or rest, 'here', unless it's as a peripatetic migrant, a spectre, on sufferance. It is in this sense that pockets of Trumpland may eventually take over the rest of America, from their new HQ in the repossessed White House. Zero-hours citizenship, to match your zero-hours job, could become quite fashionable in Europe (it's already well established in the UK) soon. It is a semiotic stretch to talk of 'zero-hours contracts', but they're here to stay, so why not zero-hours citizenship? Two brand new forms of alienation for the price of one.(Alienation: literally, the absence of presence, which is why existential zero-ism is such an appropriate way to describe all this).

6.1 Binary resonance or bust
The unconscious thread in testosteronism is a throwback/white-lash, back to an archaic culture based on binary resonances, and specifically in this case, on binary gender resonance. Trumpism could just be the last desperate, throw/back of the dice for old, white, male supremacists (see Trump's emerging cabinet list).

6.2 The obscenity of the unconscious
It's an ugly, visceral, no-holds-barred fight to resurrect (sic) binary resonance as the only (reductionist-positivist) game in town. What really riles the proponents of binary-resonance-or-bust is the dissolution of a whole swathe of convenient, divisive, binarisms which have no resonance - at all - with the new, complex, fluid [add links] state of the world,


best summed up on the gender issue by the tweet: "If you want a country with 63 genders vote Clinton; if you want a country where men are men and women are women, vote Trump" (which was not written ironically!). See Jacqueline Rose's analysis of Trump's strategy of unleashing, or "licensing the obscenity of the unconscious". The last time we (sic) ventured down that road was in 1938 on Kristallnacht.

It could be that Trump is not just the first 'reality' TV show President, but rather the first 50 shades of grey President, making sexual predation heroic for millions of voters: men, andeven more tragically, women too, in an obscene dance of the unconscious.

7. Malgorithms as 'Resonance'
As Dubya Bush might have said, there's malgorithms and there's algorithms (and its important to know which is which, in case they catch you unawares).

Trumpism reveals more than it knows, including its friends in Facebook, and Wikileaks, and the Klu Klux Klan).

It seems Facebook is committed to a particular part of the the back-room web, i.e. the dark world of malgorithms, a new trope of 'un-social' media, and 'negative' or 'suturing' resonances which undermine collaboration, openness, and enquiry. See .... [add link]. They present themselves as conveniences for the public, but might be more like convenience food [add link], as they are part of the Big Data phenomenon of the expanding b(l)ack-room web.

7.1 Malgorithms as warped (social) space
Susan Blackmore (see ... [add link ]) warned us of the double-edged nature of our Pandoran society, in which we have let the 'genies' of genes, memes and temes out of the box, never to be put back into the genie's
box/lamp. (A bit like the caveat emptor warning that Adam and Eve ignored from God which was, tellingly, actually about knowledge, not apples!).

The trouble with knowledge is that useful knowledge is, by definition, always viral. A sore case in point is the music of Wagner, which Hitler used so effectively as the soundtrack of Nazism, with the result that it took years for people to unlearn and unpick this horrific resonance, to be able appreciate his music for its own sake again.

More troubling are not just the malgorithms that, with a bit of effort, you can deconstruct and see for what they are, but the ones that the billionaire fundamentalists (motto: "all [monetized] deals are on the table") stumble into. Facebook's Zuckerburg stumbled into billionaire status, and has already adopted the classic PR giveaway ($2 billion to 'eliminate all disease' (sic! - excuse the bad pun), and to assuage his - and his wife's - conscience for having amassed such an obscene amount of money in the first place - by monetizing what the industry calls 'eye-balls' - and fake-news turns out to be far more profitable than real-news, [add link], which has become an explicit political strategy of the Koch brother billionaires, who are backing up Trump by pre-emptively fighting any opposition to Trumpism - whatever that happens to be on any particular day.

Google too seems to have stumbled into a soup of malgorithms, and might (?) be trying to back out of it. However, the business model, as in the case of Facebook, is just so tempting, and will be a stumbling block.

The issue is all so painfully old-fashioned. As Marx might have said, 170 years ago: "You can't call it social media if you simply use it to transform use value into exchange value - to cream off the 'surplus' value".

7.2 The New Enclosures and the New Commons
There are some tentative ideas being put about [add link] about how this might be opposed, although they come with severe health warnings about how 'scale' is an almost insurmountable issue.

The historic case of the enclosures of the commons is instructive, particularly if you link it up with the open software model, specifically as used in the creation and ongoing development of Linux. Linux achieves scale not by amassing capacity at one point, or in one company, but rather by building distributed collaboration across multiple sites. Started on a voluntary basis, it later added specific 'commercial' time freely given by large corporations (like Hewlett Packard) for some of their top software developers to dedicate on a regular basis to working on Linux.

All it takes is for institutions which have a common interest in free collaboration to regularize their contributions (of time and knowledge) to a common/s project. There is no reason why public education (and private too, for that matter, particularly those with 'charitable' status) could not provide an ongoing (if not statutory) contribution in 'kind' (in more than one sense) to new 'media of the commons', which are social in fact, and not only in name, keeping the open collaborative social values, whilst removing the monetization that is currently seriously skewing pseudo-social media, and making them open (!) to billionaire fundamentalist takeovers [by the Kochs, Zuckerbergs, Gateses, Amazons ... add to (dis)taste].

7.2.1 Teen Vogue
It looks like Teen Vogue is picking up the challenge (of the 'tranny' / 'fluid' society, amongst other things), to create the new commons. Weird, but maybe worth watching, and definitely getting to a different audience.

7.3 Truth for sale, and why Trump is a catalyst for change
As we approach the Spring equinox in the start of the post-trump-election era, or PTE 1, things are getting really interesting. Truth is now openly for sale, and extortion and bribery, long the preferred modus operandi of the global kleptocracy, is being 'democratised' - and malgorized.

And we have Don Trumpo to thank for it. Without him, the gross structural changes in society would have been kept pretty much in the denial closet for a while - maybe even for a long, long while. But thanks to the brazenness of his state capture/alt-mafia MO, (aided and directed by Steve Bannon, et al), a lot more than his bright red necktie is 'hanging out' for all to see. And its too big, too long, and too bright to ignore.

So the wheel of the political dialectic is reaching its own macabre apogee, and is likely to push us all into the post-post trump era (or PPT) (or to hell in a hand-cart, and a third world slaughter). Interesting times.

7.3.0 Business Model Resonances
Even more interesting is the resonance (or even happy little marriage) between the business models of extremists and mainstream advertisers.

What's happened is that advertisers have been forced to come 'out of the closet'. To wit,
the core of all advertising has always been some form of click-bait - from the 2CK model of two women in a kitchen,

The Pope 'kissing' Imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb

to breasts draped over expensive sports cars / boats / etc (add to [bad] taste ...), to the United Colours of Benetton ads, dancing on the face of political correctness, and so on.

This Benetton ad, (right) is a prescient example of the 'alternative facts' approach of Trumpism. Both this ad. and Trump's tweets are designed to be incendiary, and to speak to the prejudices of the audience. In Benneton's case, the aim is to challenge prejudice, which is why some of their ads get away with it, (not this one, apparently). In Trump's case the aim is, rather, to reinforce prejudice. Neither of these campaigns are about 'news' or the 'truth'. They are solely about outrageous imaginary 'facts'.

To criticise them because they are not 'real news' is to miss the point entirely. Kellyanne Conway was (unwittingly) quite right - they are indeed 'alternative facts' - pure click-bait; 'fictitious facts' if you like, but nothing to do with news - they are not intended to inform, rather, they are intended as micro-viral take-over bids of the public imagination.

  • They don't speak to rational public discourse, they disrupt it, infect it, pollute it, and marginalise it, leaving room only for desire and prejudice - whether reinforced (Trump) or challenged (Benetton). They dont speak to an inevitably complicated future, or to any future narratives; they are enmeshed in anger about the present, and the fantasy of simple, instant gratification; a macabre parody and inversion of mindfulness.

All that's really changed is that fascism, incendiary and extremist politics, misogyny, etc (see Trump's twitter feed for a full compendium of examples) has taken advertising/propaganda's click-bait approach to its logical conclusion. The effectiveness of the freemium social-media business model (i.e. any 'free' online service, in which the users and the users' data become the core commodities) works in direct proportion to its ability to attract attention (or eye-balls, in traditional ad-speak), which in turn works in direct proportion to the outrageousness of the visual / propositional 'bait' that is used to hook the viewer.

Advertising, like oligarch/kleptocracy politics, has just come fully out of the closet, and neither of them are pretty.

7.3.1 The Price
Carole Cadwalladr's google experiment demonstrates the price of truth. She wanted to find out what it costs to ensure truth in the top level Google search completion algorithm, i.e. to change the response: "the holocaust did not happen" into "the holocaust did happen' - with a link for more details.

The cost:
"The Google truth project. My ad: 14,027 searches. 566 clicks. Total 2 days: £520.30. Cost of preventing Google denying Holocaust: priceless"(from:
@carolecadwalla, 19 Dec 2016).

That's £260.15 per day, or £95,019.79 p.a - just for one sentence. Truth on Google has become, in this sense, up for sale, and only for the very rich. On the other hand, lies and deception have become up for sale on Google too - its (m)algorithms can be manipulated for the worse too.

7.3.2 Selling ads through the highest fibber (see 'malgorithms, elsewhere)
An article in the Guardian points out that YouTube's business model is selling advertising space through the highest fibber.

The malgorithm is simply this: It seems to be a general rule, nowadays, that fake fictions and incendiary lies generate more click-bait views than genuine news does - and that applies across all social-media. In practice, that means that the more outrageous and incendiary your post on YouTube, the more you are going to get paid, and the more the advertiser is going to be happy to pay for successful advertising reach - until they realise what is going on ...

Bizarrely, this means that mainstream advertisers (UK Govt, banks, supermarkets, etc) end up subsidising extremists, on a sliding scale: the more incendiary, the more the extremists get subsidised, and the more the advertising spreads (although in this case it might have the opposite to its intended effect - i.e. to reinforce extremists' views even further about the evil of big business and Western governments).

The article (above) reports on "a UK government decision to remove its adverts from YouTube - which is owned by Google - after it emerged they had appeared alongside content from supporters of extremist groups. RBS, Lloyds and HSBC also announced similar moves over the weekend.

"An ad appearing alongside a video earns the poster about £6 for every 1,000 clicks it generates, meaning brands ... have unwittingly contributed money to extremists ... rape apologists, anti-Semites and hate preachers were among those receiving payouts".

7.4 Private Equity / Resonance / Truthiness
Robert Mercer, for one (see also the Koch Bros.), is investing serious money to make sure that Google searches play fast and loose with the truth. And it's easier to disperse (and camouflage) the origins of the financiers of 'un-truthiness' by funding / using a multitude (a swarm?) of small collaborators, underwritten by the likes of Mercer or the Koch brothers, or Cambridge Analytica.

Outsourcing is a very effective 'work around', or 'work surround' (as in the Internet hyper-enclosures ... see ... WIP). Outsourcing 'derivatises' authority and thereby dilutes accountability way beyond arms-length, and if it disappears up one of the black holes of private equity and off-shored accounting, effectively and creates a hollowed-out public sphere in which the new commons is irrelevant.

This has a proud (?) history in the foundations of the modern state, outlined in great detail in the history of the East India Company, one of the most spectacular examples of state-underwritten private equity growth, with its very own mega-bailout, cementing the perfect alliance/resonance between the two English cities (London and Westminster), and backhanding the pomp and ceremony glory to the 'monarch' - bling PR at its best (eat your heart out Donald Trump), with history written, as usual, by the victors. (See Robert Clive, and also the story of Governor Baring - part of one of the first global merchant banking dynasties). [The 'communist' Chinese state-private equity alliance / resonance might, of course, surpass all this sometime soon].

7.5 Data Cleansing
There is a new form of book burning about. The anti-science brigade, in Trumpland, and (quite recently) in Canada have a unique approach to post-factual politics - the equivalent of ethnic cleansing - clean out the data bases, see here.

7.5 Emotional Resonance
Immersive emotional resonance (I hate to say "emotional authenticity", but keep that option in your mind while you think about this) depends on the need for immersive, shared, all-encompassing 'feeling' - rock-concert-100dB-catharsis, you might say.

8. Ironic Resonance
See the Rhino, top of this page, who, by becoming 'lost' in the landscape, 'fits' in, to such an extent that the serendipitous camouflage works wonderfully. There is unfortunately no genetic transfer / translation mechanism at work, yet, so no phenotype-genotype reshuffling of the genetic code, and 'evolution'. But I love it as an example of fitness and ironic resonance - the resonance of getting totally lost, which in semiotic terms is a wonderful addition to the playful richness of 'resonance'. (This could also end up being a great children's book: The Rhino who got lost).

9. Context-free resonance
Context-free resonance might seem to be a bit of a paradox, to say the least. (See the posting in Questions about resonance of 28/8/16, on Practical Epistemology). But there are several variants of this type of resonance, in similar forms of knowledge: i.e. money and finance, bureaucracy, mathematics, and representative democracy (as well as aspects of the internet), all of which can be together as meta-semiotic uses. [Add link, ... WIP, and 'synchronisation' ...].

9.1 Science
Science, for instance, is resonant knowledge which is based on rigorously stripping out context (place, institution, country, history, etc) and individuals (or subjectivity). This yields knowledge (descriptions, classifications, procedures, theories) which can be used (or challenged) by anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is objective - though it cannot be proved to be 'true' in any absolute sense; 'truth' is best left to edit ................ (BW commented: " ......." Interesting, but I need More .... to be convinced ) metaphysics.

Science is just the best, rigorously tested, current approximation.

The community of 'scientists' make and use (or discard) knowledge which resonates (or not) along these parameters. And because it strips out subjectivity, no-one in the peer group of scientists is more privileged than anyone else. It's (in principle) a radically flat and radically open community - which is a almost a paradox, and which spills over, rather inconveniently, into questions of ethics and responsibility (neatly summed up in Blackmore's TED presentation on our Pandoran society / 'civilization').

In practice, scientists themselves - as well as their patrons / investors, etc - often manage to undermine all this by inserting hierarchies, rivalries, patents, copyrights, etc. into the mix. [Add link .. ]

Which brings us to the question of the best way to do science, in this radically flat and open scientific community, as well as in the wider community of users - with good or evil intent.

9.1.2 Open media
Open media clearly have a role to play in creating science. The question, perhaps, is how should we do this in the scientific community, in the general public, and for the public - and how should we manage the openness/boundaries of all these different domains? Boundaries between openness and chaos, collaboration and abuse, advancement of science and ethical use(rs), etc, all of which rely on managing complexity and emergence through negative constraints [add link]. (Aside: openness without any constraints is just everyday 'chaos').

Trumpism, again, is such a powerful object lesson on what happens if we do not think these thing through. But if we have the time and inclination to learn from object lessons, they can be turning points, too, no?

9.2 Money, markets and capital

[WIP] 9.3 Bureaucracy 9.4 Representative Democracy 9.5 Internet

[WIP... Boundaries and Changes ...]

10. Cumulative resonance, abstraction, regression

10.1 Base 10
Pink tower ... [WIP] - also an example of #3 (resonances of practice)

10.2 Algebraic Proofs
Binomial and Trinomial Cubes [WIP]

11. Celebrity-by-denial
The Sandy Hook Massacre deniers and Holocaust deniers like David Irving (and some of the Trump mafia) take vacuous celebrity (as in 'famous for being famous') even lower - their don't claim to have to have done anything, themselves; instead, their claim to fame is merely that someone else has NOT done something.

Resonance of the nihilists?
or the vacu-ists?
Truth as a vacuum?
Punching vacuums into cyberspace?
words fail me ...

12. Zen resonance
Ruth Ozeki links resonance of the no-self to reading and writing literature.

Ruth Ozeki

“In Zen meditation, when you sit down in a cross-legged position and assume the noble posture of the Buddha, you are the Buddha, literally. It’s like performance art; you become the Buddha, himself, herself, itself,” she says. Similarly, in fiction, Ozeki has a chance to inhabit characters. When people read her novels, they too identify with the story, and for those moments they also become someone else: sitting and reading, the reader assume the guise of the characters.

“That to me is the proof of no-self, the proof of dependent co-arising, of interbeing,” she says, describing the identification of author with character with reader. “If these things are not true, we would not have art or music or literature. They exist because we are also interconnected. They wouldn’t work otherwise.”


Tiny children

x28hd Oct 9, 2016

Do I understand you correctly that you consider as a fundamental first resonance an internal one (resonance between a single human's senses) rather than an external one (resonance with a co-human) ? When you mention the tiny children, I am reminded of Howard Johnson's <a href="/https://x28newblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/visualizing-my-understanding-of-connectivism/comment-page-1/#comment-2657">comment</a> on my blog regarding infants experiencing the world through relations with others. (I revisited this idea <a href="/https://x28newblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/sequential-requirements/">later</a> speculating about some kind of 'seed knowledge' through 'gaze conversations'.)

dustcube Oct 10, 2016

Mmmm... Both/and, really ...
The mechanism for the fundamental resonance is resonance between sensory patterns, but that could be patterns of material events, or patterns of family events, or social events, or all of these. I also prefer to use J.J. Gibson's notion of affordances, in which perception and action are really one thing, not two - he uses the term 'perceptual-action' or 'active-perception' for this single phenomenon.

And yes, there is a lot of interesting research on 'gaze conversations', see “All social animals actively structure their environment … [including infants interacting with] their caretakers after 6 months … The one year old child is not only capable of acts of joint attention with her caretaker, she is capable of promoting attention and action to specific aspects of their shared attention [even though] the child’s means for directing the attention of others are largely non-verbal”. (Reed 1995, pp. 8-9, quoted on page 19 of the Project Report in the index column on this wiki) - the interesting thing for me is that these conversations are 'pre-verbal' - but nevertheless operate through quite complex signs and in quite complex interactions.

This, for me, points to a particular kind of knowledge which is semiotically sophisticated, but pre-verbal. Words and language come later, with additional opportunities (for finer resolution and for creativity) and complications.

dustcube Oct 10, 2016

And ... reading the conversation on your blog (first link), I agree with Howard - to some extent - that "neurons do not give rise to society ... thought is functionally organised to deal with society" But I agree more strongly with you that 'society' does not exist a priori, or in some sense as an 'antecedent' to sensory interaction. Perhaps one could say that 'interaction, and patterns that emerge within interaction, give rise to society - AND - society, once it is established, tries to 'defend' itself against change by incoming individuals - and babies!

dustcube Dec 26, 2016

9.2 Money

but this is not ...

dustcube Dec 26, 2016

9.2 Money

but this is not ...

BrianGerardWilliams Dec 26, 2016

9.1 Science (test on the other hand)



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