Friday, December 23, 2011

Creativity Schizophrenia and Information Processing

There is a fine line between genius and madness.

[Upon running a search on memetics in the codification of art, this passage surfaced, lending very little in the purpose of the search that found it.]

Highly creative "normals" also tend towards over inclusive or "allusive" thinking and, as pointed out by Albert Rothenberg, demonstrate a capacity to conceive and utilize two or more opposite or contradictory ideas or concepts simultaneously, without being disturbed by this simultaneity of opposition, as is also the case with schizophrenics.

taken from:
Creativity, Evolution and Mental Illnesses.
Antonio Preti and Paola Miotto
CMG, Psychiatry branch
via Costantinopoli 42, 09129 Cagliari, Italy

mentioned reference:
Rothenberg A (1971). The process of Tunisian thinking in creativity. Archive of General Psychiatry, 24: 195-205

Information Loves Us, But…

…A report has recently been released that declares a certain law enforcement policy or program was initiated without a sufficient information-collecting apparatus in place. Years later, the program has no way of analyzing its own performance…

A report asking for more information.

insert partially unrelated image

The speed of memetic iteration rendered genes impotent. The rate-of-change of genetic transmission, or more correctly the speed of its iteration cycles, is dependent on the reproduction of its organism-host.

Memetic iteration, in contrast, if it relies on the ‘speed’ of a periodicity of anything, is limited only by the physical limits of the brain (i.e. – the speed of neuronal transmission).


Though we capably understand that a micro-processor expands well beyond these limits, memetic transfer is subordinate, still, to something human.

Humans, as the organism-of-choice to deal the death knell to the gene, turned the transmission of information (if that is what unites genes and memes) into a non-physical thing. This is what allows its speed of iteration to perform beyond the previously absolute limits of the physical world, after all. Did life intend for humans to make its own info-propagating mechanism obsolete?

At this level of inquiry, can we ask instead – Did life intend to produce a form of itself that would render itself obsolete?

And then: Would humans intend to produce a form of themselves (the computer is a ‘brain’) that in turn makes them obsolete?

It seems, that in order for technology to continue its role as the accelerator of meme-propagation, it needs to rid of the us in it.

[Note: It seems that an assumption is being made here that the ‘technology’ meme is the paragon-analogue of the ‘human’ gene, what Susan Blackmore would call the advent of ‘temetics’.]

Susan Blackmore on memes and temes. TED2008. Filmed Feb 2008, Posted Jun 2008.

[Also note: Memes do not need life to propagate; the written word (if it can be separated from the subjective-reading human), for example, is not alive in any biological sense. The final question, not articulated very well above, is this: What world will supplant the non-physical mindspace of the human?]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Memetics in Building Systems User-Interface

The User
The topic of user-interface doesn’t come up much between architects and designers. And it’s no wonder why. To quote from another text:
Blueprints and regulations are complex, but people are all the more. The planner draws straight lines and geometric shapes. The architect uses energy-efficient systems and strategies. Then people come in. They cut corners; they walk on the grass and right through the bushes. They turn off the automatic light sensors. “If only there were no people to complicate things and reveal the flaws in my design…”
-Crowdsourcing Reform, 2010
Yet, the implementation of energy efficiency in buildings comes down to the user. Design all you want, the user will tear that up. Automate? Override.
The building is, both phylo- and ontogenetically, a Dawkins’ Extended Phenotype, in direct contact with the user.
Buildings vs. Building and Users vs. User
Building systems need to be easy-to-understand for the user, and that need is not overshadowed here. However, the kind of user-interface that can be affected by such ‘educational’ characteristics of building systems is for the individual user. What is now deemed a manipulable component of this interface, by the rising attention to memetics, is the attitudes and beliefs of the user-at-large in regards to what a building is and what it does, and especially what their place is in the relationship between them and the built systems.
The Communicability of Building Systems
A “self-propagating” meme is one with high visibility; photovoltaics and fashion trends are examples. “Cast iron cookware is awesome” is not a self-propagating meme; it is much less visible. Surely this has been proposed before, and the Pompidou pays the price, but it must be recontextualized in our current social and physical infrastructure: Building systems must make themselves more visible, while clearly communicating what it is they do and what should be done with them.

It must be noted, it is not being said, for example, that the 'wiring' needs to be visible, just the 'light switch'. And perhaps not even that, but some-thing that communicates what particular part of the electrical system it is and what is to be done with it (depending on environmental and user conditions alike).

See also Architectural Semiotics