communication culture Philosophy

Ex Nihilo

Only nothing comes from nothing and only nothing is effortlessly produced…

Communication is an interesting problem. For all but the simplest of statements and assertions, we find ourselves so easily adrift and lost upon a tide of ambiguity and uncertainty. This is of course as much a feature as it is a bug in the veritable software and logic of information, grammar and linguistic inflection that we live through and that just as much, if not more, lives through us.

Explanation of complex concepts is generally only verifiably true (or at least – factual) where and when we can reduce those concepts to the equivalent of an elementary arithmetic. What happens when we seek to perform such pseudo-mathematical concision and abbreviation in, and with, language is of course that we merely displace the implicit complexity and ambiguity of communication to another location, we incur an entropic cost of loophole and vulnerability which is nowhere as obvious (or as plausibly deniable) as when it manifests in, and as – for instance – legalistic frameworks such as constitutional or taxation law. These loopholes are always there and exist as much due to the endemic and enigmatic fallibilities and mischievously recursive curlicues of logic itself as by any irreducible uncertainty native to language, cognition and the complexities of information transmission as communication.

I find that attempting to communicate advanced concepts through the relatively primitive building blocks of vocabulary, nuance and metonymy provides a fascinating challenge and problem-space to explore. It is all the more intriguing in that the most interesting entity, artefact or system to explore with words is probably (and perhaps inevitably) the act of communication itself. A conceptual art of seeking to capture the meaning of elusively complex and reflexively self-replicating patterns of sentience, cognition and conceptual communication is that simplest logic of one mirror turned to face another and through which an acuity of parallel planes exponentiates virtual depth towards infinity. There is, however, only one mirror and it manages by some beautiful impossibility to envelop itself, to leap out of naked structure into flowing rivers and dancing colours (or are they flames?) of meaning. How this occurs is often-enough approached reductively, systematically and mechanistically – a valid enterprise but I suspect it is necessarily also always only half the truth.

There is no authentic pointy-end or substantive conclusion to the vanishingly small narrative and bootstrapped metaphor expressed here. In attempting to capture that ephemeral infinity of unbounded paradox and systemic mischief that we all might feel is implicit and intuitively present behind the dancing shadows of meaning and syntax that pass into, through, and manifest as us, we might also think that this should (or at the very least – could) be an entirely explicable theorem. But it is not, and this is for that reason also how you can invent something, anything at all – really, out of nothing and emptiness. It is an interesting problem.

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