Re: information theory

Jonathan Colvin (
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 11:24:48 -0700

Hara Ra wrote:
"Well, here we go again...
Information by itself is meaningless. It needs at least two things: 1. A substrate which can store and transmit patterns. 2. An active system which can sense, interpret and create patterns in the substrate.
Information AND the system which processes it is the fundamental unit here."

Information theory is not really my field, but the point is that at a certain level 1) and 2) become identical. As McLuhan might say, the medium becomes the message. Otherwise we again have an infinite regress..the
"substrate" must itself contain information...but if this is so, then the
substrate requires a substrate, etc etc etc. Your definition is suitable to the macro world, but falls down if applied to fundamental systems. Again, a system that can process information must contain information...but then this system therefore cannot be fundamental. My own intuition is that the Universe is actually a big lump of instantiated MATH. The math is not so much a processing system, but a description of the way information CAN interact with itself. A facile analogy is to throw a bunch of cubes into a box and start shaking it. Sooner or later the cubes will start lining up. This is not due to a system "processing" the cubes but simply reflects that the shape of cubes is such that they can stack neatly in a certain configuration.

Jonathan Colvin
Paraglide Ontario: