Sunday, August 17, 2008

personal and collective revisionism

modern historians are (apparently) taught to interpret - so
every decoding is an encoding - i.e. each time we re-visit the sources of
"true" information and we write our interpretation, we translate (with errors and biases and so on) - as with post structralism, the reader also introduces distortions

so this is also the current view of how humans remember scenes from their lives - typically, each recall is more than just a "read-only memory" access, but entails re-interpresting and even writing back to memory a new strucure, context, and so on

thius we all live in an imagined universe, of our own, and each others' making

and it is dynamic, continually changing and refreshing and moving forward

applying this sort of view to the web, then, or to news stories, why should we be surprised that wikipedia is no worse (and no better) than Nature or Science, or that a blogger in bagdad or a georgian government agency is no better (or worse) than the BBC or the Voice of America?
is there no absolute reality (echos of the argument about absolute morality)?

well yes there is - the closes thing to objectivity we migh thave would be to base information on our own 2 eyes (modulo above) - at least we could all agree that this is somethign we can agree about (except that what we see is different:) - next, we can extend this via our social network, using a model of trust (those closer to us in family or friendship are closer in trust to those more distant acquaintences and friends of friends, and so our viewpoint could be then that a collective, socio-centric view of the world is at least a wider (and possibly more trustworthy) objective reality than just what we see with our own two eyes.

of course, once upon a time, primative societies and these social groups, and news and information were all the same thing - now, we extend our information gathering to many places far and wide, and our trust diminisheth, exponentially quickly - and the revisionism (the rapid shifting sand of what constitutes collective understanding of reality in different places) changes ever faster.

No comments: