venerdì 1 dicembre 2006

3. Communication and Logos

Let’s assume that the explanation of a phenomenon is linked to the quantity of information necessary to specify its identity and its relations – we might call these the figure and ground to use a common term from the visual arts.

At the same time, let’s suppose that the researcher shifts from deductive analysis to an analysis of perceptible manifestations, and that the vehicle of this “data” is information transfigured as communication.

Information, then, is the number of observable variables that define the interaction. Communication is a retroactive system, hinged on feedback, has neither a beginning nor end, and constitutes its own proof of existence.

The property of communication:

Several properties of communication might help found a tech-noetic hermeneutics. These properties are inspired by Pragmatics of Human Communication by Watzlawick, Beavin and Jacksoni, although the goal here is to eliminate the psychological and clinical approach and to use the pragmatic theory as if it were a general theory of communication between humans and nature.

iPaul Watzlawick , J.H. Beavin, D.D. Jackson, Pragmatic of Human Communication,Norton, New York , 1967

fig. 3 Watzlawick Beavin Jackson feedback's model

The impossibility of non-communication:

Behavior does not have an opposite; there is no such thing as non-behavior or, put another way, it’s not possible not to behave. As all behavior is experience, and as such a message and therefore communication, it’s not possible not to communicate. Any behavior whatsoever is a message. And if communication coincides with behavior, then nature, too, communicates, through behavior.

Numeric and analogic communication:

Human communication allows for two days to refer to objects: we can represent them with an image, or we can give them a name. These two modes are basically the numeric mode, using words, and the analogic mode, using images. In numeric communication, the relation between the name and the thing named is an arbitrary rapport. In analogic communication, there is something that that is somehow naturally linked.

Analogic communication comprises any kind of non-verbal communication, including positions, movements, gestures, emission of odors, metabolic variations, as well as communication signs present in the context where an interaction takes place.

Humans seem to be the only natural organism to use both analogic and numeric modes of communication. Nature uses almost exclusively the content of the relation and analogic forms to carry out communication.

The concept of the relation:

We are not able to understand the intrinsic essence of the meaning of relations, as we can only study the feedback-effect of relations. Relations provide us with a tool to study the larger system of which it is a part, and we can examine the communication that this tool generates.

As we observe the output of relations, if we insert this output in a system, we generate communication, and so at this point we can observe communication.


As it is impossible not to communicate with nature we can deduce that we always communicate with nature in an analogic manner. Some form of feedback follows each kind of analogic communication, and if we take all the feedback together, we have generated a series of regularities that punctuate the communicative exchange and become shared norms or, as it were, communication rules.

An object-individual-phenomenon does not communicate so much as she or he is the complement of a communication. That is, the entity does not produce communication by participates in it. Communication is a transactional process, and institutes relationships.

So, with the right insights and approaches, it should be possible for man to set up communication with nature.

The methodological outline articulated so far serves as a key to understand the basics of tech-noetic hermeneutics, the idea that the relationship between man and nature can be explored through a conceptual machine which functions by putting objects-individuals-phenomena inside a homeostatic system which, once activated, will generate – after a reasonable amount of time – a series of regularities that in turn will create a relation and some degree of transaction.

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