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Philosophy

Organisational Orbitals of Language

It is as a consequence of the extent to which linear logic and causal intuitions have been successful (as technology) that we tend to assert similarly deterministic prescriptions regarding the relationships between artefacts, entities and systems in the world. Yes, there are often simple abstractions that map with relative fidelity upon the facts of our experience, but having fallen for a classical error of believing that the map (and the language) faithfully replicate the territory, we tend to be endlessly disappointed by even our most intelligent aspirations to navigate it.

The center of gravity here being that the description (or the measurement) and the thing described do not commonly share an identity. Language inflects our experience with a lowest common denominator of relatively simplistic patterns with which to address existential, organisational and reflective engagements with reality but having once mistaken the image for the world, as though stepping across some one-way logic gate of epistemological event horizon, there is quite simply no return from the hyper-inflating tesseract of referential, linguistic, cognitive and technological abstraction.

It is worth noting at this point that the ascendance of brevity in scholastic communication, as much as in the media or (any and all) other technologically-mediated channels of communication, is a function of entropy. That is – of all the recombinatorial possibilities of words (or concepts) and actions, the ascendant high ground is generally taken by those that possess the most microstates and potential juxtapositions as simple components.

We value brevity in direct communication for the same reason that media companies (and purveyors of disinformation) are attracted towards short, snappy slogans and mnemonics. It is not only because we find these useful that they are used more often, but rather (and also) because they are used more often that we find them useful.

There’s little point in railing against the ubiquity of relatively meaningless assertions of uncomplicated communication as they carry all the momentum and persistence of an unacknowledged statistical necessity. What we might all do a little better is to understand that there is a place for complex language (and ideas) in our lives, that the trading of complexity for dependency is not always the most successful gambit, and that our serial (as shared) failures of communication only tend towards partisan dissonance and conflict because that too is the most probable outcome of any information and energy-processing system that seeks to maximise the production of byte sized meanings.

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