# [Xmca-l] Razor's Edge, Interface, and metaphor (Spinoza thread)

```Mike,
```
The structure of a coin makes a productive metaphor. Some coins are minted with words around the perimeter, to make it various. The problem of seeing both sides at once is both static and procedural, recalling the paradoxical nature of the participant/observer role of a anth/soc/com researcher ...
```I'm just "sticking my oar in" to participate in this wonderful discussion.

Valerie Wilkinson
Comparatist and Generalist

(2014/09/18 12:50), mike cole wrote:
```
```Sorry for the mis-attribution, Peter.

Yes. There are conditions under which the reduced model is a very useful
approximation. For example, when sending
morse code from Hawaii to submarines seeking to attack an enemy harbor far
away. Everyone knows the goal, the topic, etc. The submarine captain must
decode instructions and act on them. The major barrier is noise.

There is this problem with "seeing both sides at once" that teaching
communication has gotten me to think about a lot.
There are not two sides to a coin, there are there sides -- the two sides
and the "edge". If you hold the coin up at arm's length you can only see
the edge and one side, to various extents. Only if you hold the coin so
that the edge is directed squarely between your eyes, and move it very
close to your eyes, can you see the two sides and the edge at the same
time. But they are now out of focus.

Seems like a useful metaphor for one of the many analytic problems we have.
Try it. The effect is quite striking.
mike

On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 5:18 PM, peter jones <h2cmng@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

```
```

Mike

As I mentioned/ref. not my words.
Communication-transmission is a model, one of several means of
explanation. Considered within the conceptual framework - Hodges' model -
Shannon and Weaver's entropy, noise, measures of information is
mechanistic. Hodges' model is of course idealised.

There are times when such a model 'fits' (correspondence as truth?) as in
hearing - the inner ear - communication-conduction as transmission.

Other occasions such as I encountered yesterday (now). In a care home, a
man agitated was pulling and banging on a locked inner corridor door
seeking to leave (it is in his best interests to stay). The door was
shaking to the extent that walking outside to speak to staff, an open loose
window outside in the inner (secure) garden was moving to-and-fro. The
inner door noise was just audible outside. Ironically(?) the window was not
banging it was silent and yet it signified - transmitted - distress
elsewhere?

Is there a sense that what we seek is a Goethean view of
humanities-sciences(reality)?The debate (centuries and more long) is an
ambiguous image or reversible figure and yet if we were delivered of this
Goethean view then we could see both simultaneously - the whole?

Elsewhere - Jones, P. (1996) Humans, Information, and Science, Journal of

I tried to relate information, the mechanistic (Shannon & Weaver, and
Dretske) to more humanistic concerns of mental health and meaning.

I will look up the sources you have mentioned and thank you for the
related points.

Peter Jones
Lancashire, UK
Blogging at "Welcome to the QUAD"
http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/
Hodges Health Career - Care Domains - Model
http://www.p-jones.demon.co.uk/
h2cm: help 2C more - help 2 listen - help 2 care

_______________________________
From: mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
To: peter jones <h2cmng@yahoo.co.uk>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 17:54
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Spinoza on xmca

Peter-- I fully agree with the need for what you/Serres/Shannon-Weaver
call noise in the process of communication. However, I think it is a
cardinal error when he/you(?) write:

With the advent of information science, a new figure for representing
science becomes possible: this is the 'model' of communication.
Accordingly, we have three elements: a message, a channel for transmitting
it, and the noise, or interference, that accompanies the transmission.
Noise calls for decipherment; it makes a reading of the message more
difficult. And yet without it, there would be no message.

This form of information science is, overtly, a sender-receiver
TRANSMISSION model of communication. It assumes a linear temporal process.
Such a reduction is tolerable only under very carefully prescribed
constraints. The "third" part is noise, but the unidirectionality remains.

piece that Rod sent around. He does not use the term, noise, but he does
focus our attention on the necessity of uncertainty and co-participation as
conditions of thought and action.

I am all on board with the need for cross-talk between disciplines as well
as theoretical traditions working within the same disciplines or with
common concern. I also think that the invocation of parasitism is quite
relevant to the way i have been thinking about human development, but
communication-as-transmission seems like a mistake.

Infected by George H. Mead in steamy san diego
mike

On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 1:15 AM, peter jones <h2cmng@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

```
```
Michel Serres has written on these themes....

Fifty
Key Contemporary Thinkers by John Lechte, Routledge, 1994.

With the recognition of the interrelation between different sciences
and different forms of knowledge, as well as between science and different
artistic practices, has come Serres's effort to plot the way that
```
```different
```
```knowledge domains interpenetrate. Even more: Serres has set himself the
task of being a means of communication (a medium) between the sciences
and the arts - the Hermes of modern scholarships. With the advent of
```
```information
```
```science, a new figure for representing science becomes possible: this is
the 'model' of communication. Accordingly, we have three elements: a
```
```message,
```
```a channel for transmitting it, and the noise, or interference, that
```
```accompanies
```
```the transmission. Noise calls for decipherment; it makes a reading of the
message more difficult. And yet without it, there would be no message.
There is, in short, no message without resistance. What Serres initially
finds intriguing about noise (rather than the message) is that it opens
up such a fertile avenue of reflection. Instead of remaining pure
```
```  noise,
```
```the latter becomes a means of transport. Thus in the first volume of the
Hermes series noise is analysed as the third, empirical element of the
message. Ideally, communication must be separated from noise. Noise is
what is not communicated; it is just there as a kind of chaos, as the
```
```empirical
```
```third element of the message, the accidental part, the part of difference
that is excluded. Every formalism (mathematics, for example) is founded
on the exclusion of the third element of noise. Every formalism is a way
of moving from one region of knowledge to another. To communicate is to
move within a class of objects that have the same form. Form has to be
extracted from the cacophony of noise; form
```
```  (communication) is the exclusion
```
```of noise, an escape from the domain of the empirical.

In his book, The Parasite, Serres recalls that 'parasite' also means
noise (in French). A parasite is a noise in a channel. And so when
```
```describing
```
```the rats' meals in a story from the fables of La Fontaine - the meals of
two parasites - Serres also refers to noise: 'The two companions scurry
off when they hear a noise at the door. It was only a noise, but it was
also a message, a bit of information producing panic: an interruption,
a corruption, a rupture of information. Was this noise really a message?
Wasn't it, rather, static, a parasite?

http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/joyeux-anniversaire/

Peter Jones
Lancashire, UK
Blogging at "Welcome to the QUAD"
http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/

________________________________
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 8:43
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Spinoza on xmca

Bahktin the trickster.
In Greek mythology
```
```  that was Hermes the messenger who brought messages
```
```between [mediated] the divine and the human realms. Bahktin definitely
overlaps with Hermes [and hermeneutics]
Larry

On Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 8:42 PM, Henry G. Shonerd III <hshonerd@gmail.com

wrote:

```
```Hi Greg,
I'm convinced you are right. Like I say, Bakhtin just keeps popping up.
The trickster? Rebelais? What is that about?
Henry

On Sep 14, 2014, at 8:49 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

```
```One reason I mention him is because of resonances with ideas.
But I also mention him as a kind of trickster figure as well as a
```
```student
```
```of the trickster in writing (his dissertation was on Rabelais).
I also mention him as a writer who seems authentically engaged with
meaningful/emotive aspects of human existence (e.g., Toward a
```
```Philosophy
```
```of
```
```the Act, and Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity).
And finally, I mention Bakhtin because I'm still not convinced that
```
```the
```
```deep treasures of Bakhtin's work has yet been mined out.
-greg

On Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 8:13 PM, Henry G. Shonerd III <
```
```hshonerd@gmail.com>
```
```wrote:

```
```Greg,
Thank you for you good words and great question. I knew about
```
```Bakhtin,
```
```but
```
```have been finding him everywhere in the articles and chat of XMCA
```
```over
```
```the
```
```last week. Seriously.
Henry

On Sep 13, 2014, at 2:26 PM, Greg Thompson <
```
```greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
```
```wrote:

```
```I would hope that a certain amount of irreverence would be dear to
```
```most
```
```people on this list!
But seriously Henry, have you come across Bakhtin's work at all?
Seems like another that you might want to throw in with the crowd of
healthy irreverents.
-greg

On Sat, Sep 6, 2014 at 2:48 PM, Henry G. Shonerd III <
```
```hshonerd@gmail.com
```
```
wrote:

```
```Mike and David,
This is seriously getting to be a club that I, like Groucho,  won't
```
```join,
```
```if it takes me as a member. I think all of this seriously evokes
```
```Andy's
```
```contention, in his notes for the upcoming presentation at the ISCAR
conference (which XMCA has gotten) that, "Adults can grasp true
```
```concepts,
```
```and can change society, and a social theory has to treat adults as
```
```adults,
```
```and this is what the projects approach allows us to do. " If
```
```"adult"
```
```means
```
```the same as "serious", you can see why I have my doubts about
```
```joining
```
```the
```
```Unserious Scholar Club. On the other hand, if I can have some fun,
```
```as
```
```in
```
```the laughing warrior (forget gender stereotypes here, and dare me
```
```to
```
```talk
```
```about Jihad), then that's what I'm talking about. Incidentally,
```
```  I
```
```loved
```
```Andy's notes. I could so relate it to CG. The emergent character of
```
```project
```
```realization he talks about applies very well to discourse, as you
```
```can
```
```see
```
```in the articles by Langacker I have sent out. Discourse IS a
```
```project
```
```and
```
```its outcome is typically not
```
```  entirely clear in the minds of the
```
```interactants as they negotiate its waters. XMCA, of which this
```
```email
```
```is
```
```a
```
```"turn",  is a prototypical "work in progress", as Andy puts it,
```
```since
```
```we
```
```clearly don't know where this will all end up. But I hope it can be
```
```fun
```
```along the way.
Henry

On Sep 6, 2014, at 1:51 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

```
```Hi Henry-- There goes my pile of books that need to be read before
```
```bed
```
```time!
```
```Spinoza goes up there right next to Dead Souls.

However, David having already claimed the mantle of unserious
```
```scholar,
```
```and
```
```you having made the same claim, I am afraid that I have to make
```
```precisely
```
```the same claim on the unrefutable grounds that no one pays me any
```
```longer
```
```for what I do so I get
```
```  to be as unserious as i can seriously be!
```
```mike

On Sat, Sep 6, 2014 at 12:33 PM, Henry G. Shonerd III <
```
```hshonerd@gmail.com>
```
```wrote:

```
```Hi Mike,
All I can say now is that Spinoza is famously quoted as having
```
```said,
```
```"The
```
```more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more
```
```you
```
```become
```
```a lover of what is." This quote happens to appear in the
```
```introduction
```
```to a
```
```very popular self help book, Loving What Is, by Byron Katie
```
```(2002).
```
```I
```
```bought the book , obviously,
```
```  because I thought I needed help. It
```
```did,
```
```but
```
```it also introduced me to Spinoza. And that has been a deeper
```
```"help".
```
```So,
```
```from a personal perspective, I can totally understand how Spinoza
```
```and
```
```periizhvanie would be connected. For all of you ESL teachers out
```
```there,
```
```who
```
```doesn't remember Krashen on the "affective filter" and I have
```
```been
```
```seeing a
```
```lot on character and education lately. Oh yes, and how failing is
```
```important
```
```to eventual success. Teasing out issues in the education of
non-mainstreamers, and recognizing how the current system is
```
```toxic
```
```for
```
```everyone, I think Spinoza's analysis and the narrative of his
```
```life
```
```are
```
```powerful. Vygotsky hits me the same way. Cantor, the
```
```mathematician,
```
```and
```
```Pierce, the philosopher/logician/semiotician, also constantly
```
```come
```
```
```
```  up
```
```for
```
```me. They were ridiculed by the received cognoscenti of the time,
```
```so
```
```much so
```
```that the suffered mental breakdowns. But they pushed on to
```
```develop
```
```tools in
```
```math and semiotics that seem to me are complementary with
```
```Vygotsky.
```
```Again I
```
```get to take the role of unserious scholar here, so think of my
```
```thoughts
```
```as
```
```gaming on line and don't take the game too seriously.
Henry

On Sep 5, 2014, at 6:42 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

```
```Hi David and Henry--

David-- I was intrigued by your comment that Spinoza is a
```
```controversial
```
```topic on xmca. I googled Spinoza on the main web page and came
```
```up
```
```with
```
```4K
```
```plus hits (!!). My own impression is that few on this list, me
```
```included,
```
```
```
```  >>>>>>> have engaged in serious study of Spinoza let alone the imprint of
```
```Spinoza
```
```on Vygotsky.

What is the nature of the controversy? What is at stake? The
```
```topic
```
```is
```
```of
```
```particular interest to me at present because I have been part of
discussions with people who are focused on Vygotsky's use of
```
```perezhivanie
```
```in his later work, where the relation of emotion and cognition
```
```is a
```
```central
```
```concern and Spinoza is clearly relevant.

Henry and anyone interested in chasing down what has been
```
```written
```
```about
```
```
```
```  >>>>>>> various topics in xmca chatter, take advantage of the nice google
```
```search
```
```at
```
```lchc.ucsd.edu.

mike

(who enmeshed in the sense/meaning distinction in all of its
```
```multilingual
```
```confusifications at present)
```
```

```
```

```
```

--
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.

```
```  Assistant Professor
```
```Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
```
```

```
```

--
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
```
```

```
```
```
```

--

Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more or
less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
Gray, 2001]

```
```

```
```

```