[iDC] information managerialism

John Hopkins jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Wed Jul 26 12:08:31 EDT 2006

Hi Richard!

>"Information overload.
>A basic problem created when everyone can speak is that there will be too many
>statements, or too much information. Too many observations and too many points
>of view make the problem of sifting through them extremely difficult, leading
>to an unmanageable din. This overall concern, a variant of the Babel 
>underlies three more specific arguments: that money will end up dominating
>anyway, that there will be fragmentation of discourse, and that fragmentation
>of discourse will lead to its polarization." (p.233)

This statement assumes an implicit (socially 'required') need to 
consume that information which is, I believe, a false assumption.  Of 
course, there are varying pressures on different people in different 
positions in a social system to consume more or less.  But I think 
that the grounds for this imperative are largely due to the forces of 
socialization which would seek, in the service of sustaining a social 
system, for the focused attention of 'the mass.'

The result of over-consumption is polarization and alienation which 
makes command and control much easier, that is clear, but what are 
the alternatives?

Establishing strong and sustainable h2h (human to human) connections 
regardless of the level of technological mediation is a primary step 
in dealing with the consumption imperative.  Spending time (what is, 
in a very real and absolute sense, limited in our lives) with an 
Other in attentive and focused interaction is an immediate and 
long-term anti-dote to over-consumption of the spew of (dominant and 
dominating) social information. 

In an encounter with an Other, more than information is exchanged, 
there is always, no matter the form of the exchange, a real 
expenditure (it takes internal energy to sustain contact) and receipt 
of energy (reception requires attention, attention requires energy) 
-- it's a feedback loop. 

Social information flows generally do not carry this energy; they 
have been stripped of presence through the effects of hierarchic 
centralization of flows.

This is precisely why encounter over a meal is often such a 
satisfying and in-spiring setting: as body energy is expended in 
presence and attention, the body is being replenished to maintain 
that presence.


P.S. thanks for the lovely dinner & inspiration last week Amanda and 
Stephanie ;-))

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