Wednesday, 29 April 2009

the medium is the message: a neutralization of meaning

I'm reading parts of Jean Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation (1981), and in the writer's essay "The Implosion of Meaning in the Media" he discusses how information 'eats' itself.
Information must be transferred through a medium (ie. language), and virtually every language/medium (body language, speech, written, art/graphical) requires decodification or translation in order for us to understand it.

Any code/medium which is used to report/transmit information will require an abstraction of that which it is transmitting, it is but a representation of what is. This is common knowledge in how two witnesses will report entirely different experiences of an event.

It is paradoxical that I am writing this using an abstract medium (internet blog), with a code (english) that is known for stimulating subjectivity.

Jean Baudrillard speaks of how the real and the medium together create a nebula - a haze of what is.

It is useless to dream of revolution through content, useless to dream of a revelation through form, because the medium and the real are now in a single nebula whose truth is indecipherable.
We all live by a passionate idealism of meaning and of communication, by an idealism of communication through meaning, and, from this perspective, it is truly the catastrophe of meaning that lies in wait for us.
p. 83
To a system whose argument is oppression and repression, the strategic resistance is the liberating claim of subjecthood. But this strategy is more reflective of the earlier phase of the system, and even if we are still confronted with it, it is no longer the strategic terrain: the current argument of the system is to maximize speech, the maximum production of meaning. Thus, the strategic resistance is that of the refusal of meaning and of the spoken word - or of the hyperconformist simulation of the very mechanisms of the system, which is a form of refusal and of non-reception.
p. 85

Activism? Or Nazism.

Further, at the end of this essay, Baudrillard hypothesises that INFORMATION = ENTROPY:

The information or knowledge that can be obtained about a system or an event is already a form of the neutralization and entropy of this system. Information in which an event is reflected or broadcast is already a degraded form of this event.

Paradoxical you ask?
How can information be a loss of information?