nettime's ontological apparatus on Sun, 15 Jul 2001 06:17:10 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> internetontology [x3]

1. From: Martin Pichlmair <>
2. From: josh zeidner <>
3. From: brian carroll <>


Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 11:41:40 +0200 (METDST)
From: Martin Pichlmair <>
To: "nettime's confused ontologist" <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Internetontology (2x)

hi josh & all!

some more thoughts ..... i hope, they are not too offensive, since i tend to
get rather "emotional" sometimes .. take it as a mean of "getting to the point"
- sometimes i'm wrong and talk loud and the truth is said as an reply

>    Here lies much of the problem.  We live in the age
> of information, unfortunately not the age of
> knowledge.  Information/Data != Thought.

if you define knowledge as "what someone knows", everyone always lives in an
age of knowledge. if you define knowledge as "what is approved and/or derived
from approved knowledge" we also live in an age of knowledge. yet you seem to
define knowledge as "what is approved and/or derived from approved facts and
saved and accessible for the public [ that has an internet connection ]". ok.
that was a bit sarcastic.

sure information != thought, yet, rules <- information == thought

and that is, what the cyc tries to realise, yet the problem is, that one
information [ or the same set of informations ] may lead to contradictory
facts. will this database handle those? is the recipient able to decide?

>   Well, this is a complex dynamic and many people have
> spent thier lives trying to explain and/or "solve" it
> and all I can say is that using some kind of thought
> system or belief to marginalize others and "opress"
> them is of course, wrong.  These opressive systems are
> usually characterized by the limiting of access to
> "knowledge".  It also seems that increasing the means
> to trade information does not increase the total
> amount of "knowledge".

sure, if 2 people know the same thing, the "amount of knowledge" is not
increased. yet - the amount of knowledge is also not approved, if someone AND
cyc inc. knows the same thing. and cyc inc. effectls DOES limit the access to
knowledge, as described on their website.

i also believe in the fact, that means of communication at least increase the
POSSIBILITY of enlarging the global pool of knowledge as a whole.

i recommend the theories of claude levy about realtime communication.

>   It doesnt handle contrary points of view.  As I
> said, lenat plans on consilidating and discrepencies
> or multiplicity.  If Cyc does take off, I would love
> to see what would happen if religious fundamentalists
> got thier hands on this stuff.  Another interesting
> scenario with the use of this technology, would be if
> there were in fact huge multiple databases of
> knowledge.  We could then pit the AI's against each
> other and allow them to interrogate themselves
> automatically and give us a readout of thier
> fundamental differences.

hmm .. to see fundamental differences, i recommend to walk the streets of
jerusalem, peking or wherever the wto visits :-]. sorry, i'm getting sarcastic

i see little sense in letting AI's determine the difference of knowledge
databases. even if they know the meaning - it will take 100 years until they
will be able to determine the "real world weight" of a statement.

to gain valuable information [ knowledge ? ] it would be necessary to extract
the value of a differing "defined fact".

>   Hmm is there publication in English?  HAs anyone
> ever read the Polish Sci-Fi author Stanislaw Lem?  he
> has some really interesting stuff( his most known is
> Solaris )...

lem is wonderful. i love ijon tichy's adventures [ in german "sterntagebuecher"

another important sentence about this problem : "die welt is alles, was der
fall ist" [ the world is "all that's the case" - please look up a better
translation ] wittgenstein / tractatus logico-philosophicus.


                               : martin pi 
                      contact  :  :  0699 10443742
  johann strauss gasse 32 / 7  :  1040 vienna


Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 14:23:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: josh zeidner <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> internetontology[ Diderot, Cyc, Deleuze, McLuhan, and Star Trek ]

Hello Brian,

    As a result of these messages, I have been playing with a few ideas( much
thanks to Jeffrey Fisher's comments provided in private correspondence ).  Im
sorry if I didnt quite get so many clear ideas from your verse.  It seem that
historically, projects such as these( Cyc, as in encyclopedia ) have served to
subvert the dominant thought regime.  The most famous( and first )
encyclopedist was a French Enlightement thinker named Diderot.  Diderot
compiled the first encyclopedia, which was eventually banned by the Catholic
ministry on the grounds that it was the work of the devil.

    Also, my friend Tim Gilmore pointed out a Star Trek episode in which the
crew comes across a planet where the inhabitants are under the control of a
computer( and have red skin and groovy gray bouffant hairdos ).  The
inhabitants had no memory of the computer being a machine at all and regarded
it as a god( also, the people were opressively prohibited from loving one
another ).  In the case of Cyc, I can imagine all sorts of sci-fi scenarios
where in the future literacy is almost non-existent, knowlege is derived from
the output of machines, and contradicting the words of the machine is
punishable by death( oh wait this isnt sci-fi, its medieval history ).  Of
course, attempting to make one particular ontology or thought system the one
and only thought system is not at all a new phenomenon.  But I think that the
level to which this could be done with tools such as Cyc is particlarily
disturbing.  Cyc could dictate knowledge to people who have little or no
investment in the tools of intellegence( literacy ), it would be possible today
to interface with Cyc through natural speech( this is one of the intended
profit areas for Cyc, as well as the subject of my own professional interest ).

  I have also been thinking about Deleuze.  Of course the theories of Deleuze
would explain of ways to subvert or otherwise deconstruct ontologies like that
of cyc.  What people keep asking on this thread is "what happens where there
are conflicting points of view"?  Damn, if I knew the answer to that question I
would have found the solution to a lot of things.  What Deleuze explains in his
books, is that existing alongside the arborescent ontological structures are
RHIZOME, a connection that subverts the vertical structure of hegemonic
thought.  The rhizome's form is that of a FIELD, rather than a vertical one
present in most of what people term "knowledge".  The rhizome field has no real
center, is without spacial dimension.  The arborescent structures, on the other
hand, have a VANISHING POINT, a beginning from which all signification derives.

  Now you may be asking: "Yes, but what does this have to do with McLuhan?" (
if you really were asking that then you get my congradulations ).  McLuhans
work dealt a lot with how our culture, or western/literate man is highly
visually oriented and tends to use vision as his/her primary perceptual
apparatus( "I see what you mean."- this also relates to NLP if you are familiar
with the field ).  He explains this as the primary and fundamental difference
to tribal man, whose primary mode of perception is aural( the phonetic
resemblence to Oral is one of McLuhans many subtle revelations ).  McLuhan also
had many theories about history and the relevance of modern times.  He says
that "electric technology" is moving western man back into aural space from his
highly visual space that he has thrived in for centuries.  Hence the "global
village"( aural perception is fundamental to tribal/village life as mcluhan
would state ).  Now, the characteristics of visual perception as they differ
from aural perception are mainly in that visual perception has a vanishing
point, whereas aural perception is more environmentally submersive- its more
subjective and participational.  These same characteristics apply to
"arborescence"( vanishing point ) and the "rhizome" field( multidimensional
all-encompassing immediate sonic rythym, ect. ).  Were Delueze and McLuhan
talking about the same thing?

  Also- after reading the interview Max Hermann posted, I retract my comment
that there is nothing good on the internet.


>   hi Josh, interesting URL and ideas you share.
>   my language abilities are faltering, so i will
>   be abstractly brief in my observations...


Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 02:32:50 -0800
From: brian carroll <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> internetontology[ Diderot, Cyc, Deleuze, McLuhan,
 and Star Trek ]

  Josh, to be succinct:

  mathematics are by default authoritarian, in that numbers are beyond

  language, and reason, need to be able to speak to, and argue against, and
mold these numbers to human ends.

  numbers, statistics, being universalized in science, have no equivalent
universality in langauge. whyso?

  private identities, pyschologies, nothing is shared and words are only seen
for difference, as there is believed to be no absolute in the word (unless it
is God, it seems).

  in any case, without universal language to reason with universal mathematics,
and those whom have the Power to use the nubmers to make the world in their
imaginary vantages, then we are helpless, as a common bunch of weird beings,
not trekkers with pointy ears but a sad sack of human beings that cannot even
talk for themselves yet as a group, they are so confused.

  we know there are 5 billion plus people on Earth, say.  we know that the
Earth is a planet that is rapidly detoirating. but, if as 5 billion we cannot
speak, we cannot effect change on that scale. we can only speak as groups of
one, or fifty, or several million.  often cacophonic.

  simplely put, without a mathematics of language, the language of mathematics
will guide our future, and science, without human objectivity, will guide us
with private numerologies of what is, such as having "good science" as the
opponent to the Kyoto protocol uses for 'his' reasoning (sic) in a private

  that's that.  bc

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