We can understand what information isn’t by thinking in terms of movement. Steady state (or ‘fixed’) velocity isn’t information precisely because it is fixed – nothing is changing, despite the motion that seems to be going on. If we allow whatever it is that is moving at a steady rate to accelerate, to introduce what we might consider to be a bit of change into the picture, then that still doesn’t make it information – there is still a constant at work here and that constant is the rate of acceleration. Everything is still being defined, therefore everything is still being ‘pinned down’. A steadily accelerating object doesn’t contain any more information than an object travelling at a steady velocity does because in the first case velocity is the constant whilst in the second case it’s the ‘rate of change of velocity’ that’s constant, so what’s the difference? Nothing is really changing either way – everything is being regulated by a constant and so everything is a constant.
We could keep on increasing the rate of acceleration forever and we still wouldn’t have gotten anywhere different – we would still be making everything subordinate to an autocratic constant and so nothing unpredictable is ever going to happen. We’re never going to go off the map, we’re never leaving the reservation. Even if we had a particle that is accelerating at a rate that is itself accelerating at a rate that is accelerating at a rate that is accelerating, and so on and so forth, that’s not going to change things. Just adding a whole heap of additional terms into the basic equation isn’t going to get us anywhere. The equation that governs what’s going on in this case would look extraordinarily complicated (if not to say downright unwieldy), but that doesn’t mean that there is any new information coming to the picture. We’re still on the same old page. Everything that happens to our moving object is governed in every respect by the same old formula and that formula is forever static, forever unchanging. If we wanted to change it. The formula is a ‘dead abstraction’ (or ‘inert fixture’) in other words, and the real situation can never be represented by an abstraction (or by an unwieldy collection of them). The upshot of all this is surprisingly simple therefore – genuine movement or change cannot be specified or described (and so neither can it be in any way understood, since we understand phenomena by ‘describing them to ourselves’).
We are using three terms in equivalent way here: ‘movement’, ‘change’, ‘information’ and the very simple and very straightforward point that we’re making here is that what movement / change / information actually means can never be known. It doesn’t matter how many terms we throw into the equation – we’re never going to be able to describe free movement, we’re never going to be able to specify ‘radical change’. We are never going to be able to say what information ‘is’. If we did come up with some sort of formula in an attempt to define information then this would mean that we’re making information (W) subordinate to some category, some generic description, and this would be a nonsense since the generic or the standardised is the very antithesis of ‘information’. If we can say what it is then it’s not W we’re talking about. We could of course object and say that definitions of information do exist and we can look them up in textbooks. It depends what we mean by the term though – if what we mean by information is ‘that which can in no way be predicted’ however then clearly we can’t positively define or categorise information since to do this would be to project what we already know onto the situation, and that’s the one thing we can’t do. What we already know has nothing to do with it. Information is information because we haven’t processed it yet, because we haven’t made it subordinate to our prejudices with regard to how to process it. We can never say anything about the new because the whole point of the new is that we don’t know about it yet; the whole point of the new is that it isn’t an extension of the old! Between where we are now (or rather where we think we are) and ‘the new’ lies a logical discontinuity, in other words, and there is absolutely nothing we can meaningfully say about a logical discontinuity. Logical discontinuities can’t be commented on and they can’t be factored in to our equations. The Holomovement that David Bohm talks about can’t be used to ‘explain’ anything. A ‘Theory Of Everything’ can never be more than a ridiculous dream, in other words.
This isn’t some obscure philosophical conundrum to be debated if we happen to be in the mood for that sort of thing, much as it might sound like it. All we’re saying here is that movement isn’t an abstract notion that we can’t in any way pin down, but rather that is just something that happens, in a perfectly natural and problematic way (a perfectly natural and unproblematic way that just happens to be indescribable). ‘Free movement’ isn’t something that occurs apart from us, or at some remove from us, but – on the contrary it’s as close to home and immediate as anything could ever be. It is immediate is anything ever could be, and yet we have no connection with it whatsoever. Radical change isn’t something that happens ‘at a remove’ – there is no ‘remove’, and that’s a strange thing for us to hear because all our everyday experience happens at a remove. Our everyday experience is filtered through our thinking, which is to say, it is rendered in terms of thought’s categories. We subordinate the process of life to the ‘constants’ that the thinking mind has arbitrary manufactured, and what this means is that life – as a spontaneous process – no longer gets to happen for us. There is no more flow, no more ‘transcendence’. Instead, all there is are these ‘constants’ (which we could also call ‘our thoughts’), and whatever can be produced on the basis of these constants. There is no way to filter reality through our thoughts without it ceasing to be reality, which puts us in a funny position since the only way we ever relate to the world around us is via our thoughts. To say that we don’t trust anything else to tell us about reality would be putting it very mildly – we’re mortally afraid of leaving the protection of thought’s ham-fisted literal descriptions.
It is very commonly said that we very often have ‘a problem with change’. This is not true – it’s not that we have ‘a problem with change’ but rather that we just don’t do it at all. We’re not able to ‘do change’ just so long as we are identified with thought’s image of who we are; real change is the thing that we fear more than anything else in the whole world! Change means ‘the Discontinuity’ and for thought’s image of us, ‘the Discontinuity’ is just a fancy term for dying. When we talk about ‘managing change’ – as we are wont to – it’s not really ‘change’ we’re talking about; it can’t be because there is no managing a discontinuity. There is no ‘managing’ radical change. When we talk about ‘managing change’ (in the way that we always do) then what we really mean is ‘getting change to happen in the way we want it to’, what we’re looking at here therefore is simply an exercise in control and control is the inverse of spontaneous change. Control is of course all about ‘avoiding the type of change that we don’t want happen, the sort of change that doesn’t fit in with our plans. We’re making sure that the ‘change’ in question accords with ideas about what might be advantageous for us, which isn’t change but optimization. Optimization has nothing to do with ‘according ever more closely to a fixed reference point’, a fixed reference point (or equilibrium value) that has been decided upon by thought. We’re confused therefore – we think we’re talking about change but really we’re talking about controlling change which is another way of talking about ‘not changing’. As we’ve just said, when it comes to the Discontinuity there’s no managing or anything like that – thought’s activity has no role to play here. Thought’s activity is always about ‘staying the same’; thought’s activity is always about ‘avoiding the unwanted outcome’. Thinking is – underneath it all – always about optimizing our game because no matter what we might be thinking it’s always going to be about validating the assumptions that thought is based on. Or – as we could also say – thought is always about validating the meaningfulness of our mental categories and so what we’re doing is ‘holding on’ not ‘letting go’. We’re trying to ‘live life without ever letting go’, and the problem with this is that it just can’t be done.
Change isn’t a complicated thing that we need to organize in some high-powered sort of a way – we just need to ‘let it happen’, we just need to ‘stand aside and get out of the way’. We just need to take ourselves (and our thinking) out of the picture. Motion isn’t something we need sophisticated mathematics to tell us about if there is any mathematics, any logic, involved, and there’s no motion going on only stasis. The discount in unity isn’t a problem we have to navigate or negotiate it’s simply how things are. There’s either the discontinuity which equals reality or there’s a continuum of logic, the continuum of thought, which is the denial of reality. These are the only two things that we’re looking at in life! These are the only two possibilities on the table change versus stasis, movement versus staying still but the point about this is that when we have opted for the latter then genuine change or genuine movement becomes something that we can have no inkling of. It then becomes thoroughly inconceivable to us (it is inconceivable to us because we think we already know it). We can believe quite happily in Lizard-like Aliens or the End of the World or the Illuminati (or whatever else) but we can’t in any way relate to this thing that we’re calling ‘radical change’. Radical change is substituted for by managed change, by rule-based change, by optimization, and so we never notice that there has been any substitution. The crucial point to grasp in all this is that genuine movement can’t take place when it’s our mental projections we’re talking about; that can never happen since we can’t ‘project’ spontaneous change. In our mental projections of our situation everything is a projection – both the controller and what is being controlled, both ‘what is moving’ and ‘the territory that this supposed motion is said to be taking place in’. ‘Who we think we are’ and ‘the world that this idea of ourselves exists within’ are both constructs of thought and so ‘the type of activity which is the controlling’ isn’t real activity any more than the movement of the moving thing is real movement. The only way for us to experience the genuine article is if we let go of all thought’s projections, therefore.
This is easier said than done, of course. To let go of who we believe we are is not only is it the very last thing we want to do, we can’t do it – the self-concept is functionally incapable of letting go of itself. The self is essentially a rule and a rule cannot disobey itself; it doesn’t that flexibility! This is what lies behind the inflexibility (or stubbornness) of identity; without this particular type of unyielding inflexibility (which comes down to the literal-mindedness of the conditioned self) there would of course be no more self-concept, no more identity. All we know is thought and the mechanisms thereof, and thought cannot divest itself of itself. For a small child however nothing could be easier than to drop the mental image that they have of themselves – they haven’t yet developed one, after all! In this case there is no ‘idea of who we are’ and no ‘idea of the world for this idea of who we are to live in’ and so there is free movement. There is free movement going on in this case but we can’t say anything about it. When there is no self-concept and no idea of the world then all there is is movement, all there is is change. When we drop our mental projections then all there is is information, which is why we can say that ‘information equals a lack of self’. We can’t say anything about that movement because there is no fixed basis to say it from (i.e., because there is no ‘projection station’ to project from), but – on the other hand – where is the need to be saying anything? If all our comments or projections merely degrade the reality that we are supposedly referring to, wouldn’t we be vastly better off just saying nothing?
Image – Android Jones on deepdreamgenerator.com