4.0289 Memory, Information, and Knowledge (4/110)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 17 Jul 90 18:12:08 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0289. Tuesday, 17 Jul 1990.

(1) Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 13:36 EDT (14 lines)
From: John Lavagnino <LAV@brandeis.bitnet>
Subject: Memory

(2) Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 11:12:30 EDT (42 lines)
From: mcs@iris.brown.edu (Mark C. Sawtelle)
Subject: Re: 4.0285 University as Clearinghouse

(3) Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 11:03 PDT (16 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0285 University as Clearinghouse

(4) Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 10:57 PDT (38 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0287 Holmes' Brain

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 13:36 EDT
From: John Lavagnino <LAV@brandeis.bitnet>
Subject: Memory

An excellent book on memory, information, and knowledge is A. R. Luria's
*Mind of a Mnemonist*, about a patient of his with an extraordinary
memory. This patient was, like Borges's Funes, a person whose vast
store of information impeded his ability to think: abstract thought and
analysis were very difficult for him; he couldn't step back from the
facts and generalize. He wound up drifting from job to job, passive in
the expectation that something ``particularly fine'' would someday
happen to him...

John Lavagnino, English, Brandeis University
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------54----
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 11:12:30 EDT
From: mcs@iris.brown.edu (Mark C. Sawtelle)
Subject: Re: 4.0285 University as Clearinghouse (4/36)

The present discussion puts me to mind of some of the flap
during James Watt's tenure at the Dept of Interior.
Substitute "information" for "the environment".

On a more useful tangent, I highly recommend Theodore Roszak's _The
Cult of Information_, from which (I think) the following quotation is

"...the technology of human communications has advanced at
blinding speed, but what people have to say to one another by way
of that technology shows no comparable development." - T.Roszak

As I recall it, Roszak explores questions like:

- What kind of "information"?
- What is it about?
- Is that really useful?
- How are we getting it?
- Who's selling the means of access? (computer vendors)
- Are their priorities altruistic (what do you think?)
- Do these priorities subtly direct discussions about
The Information Age?
- Who's getting it? How are they controlling it?
- Scholars?
- Business concerns?
- The government?
- How is information really being used?
- To find the cure for cancer, or to see if you've ever
bounced a check, or perhaps burned a flag?

-- Mark C. Sawtelle
IRIS - Brown University

p.s. I owe the transcription of the Roszak quotation to Dave Phillips
Internet: davep@acsu.buffalo.edu Bitnet: v184gavw@ubvms who uses it in
his signature.

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------184---
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 11:03 PDT
Subject: Re: 4.0285 University as Clearinghouse (4/36)

Yes, but that information was said to have been found in a bricked up
wall: all the history, as it were, of the past: the Bamboo Annals, I
believe they are called. They have not survived, but been copied.
Still, it is asked were there such things as came out of a wall, or
were they created much much later...That is a rather big crux in Chinese
historiography, one reads. And I have been told that there are some
centuries in our Era from which no texts of the Pentateuch are known.
How does one comprehend the precision of the 4th century texts, say,
that match those from much earlier. Paleographers hope that something
may somehow somewhere turn up, I have been told. But those
texts are not "information" merely, in any casual use of the
term. Kessler
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------285---
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 90 10:57 PDT
Subject: Re: 4.0287 Holmes' Brain (4/137)

Dear Sarah Q., Here is a bit of information, which can also go to all
Humanists who have ever been stumped, mystified, stymied, nauseated by
the impossible statement, "The sound of one hand clapping." The monkey
you associate with that is the "monkey mind," shorthand for that
impossible creature Poe calls The Imp of the Perverse, which one may
also know today as the ID. However (and of course I have forgotten the
name of the author and the title of the book, which I gave away to my
local bookshop a few years back), there was an autobiography, by a Dutch
or Belgian fellow who left for Japan and Zen training in the late 1940's,
and spent a long, perhaps as much as 16 years, undergoing the monastic
discipline and training, which was devilish hard work, especially, the
zazen or sitting, for a longlegged European. One of the repeated
instances of the training was the audience, regular, perhaps weekly, of
all the young monks at which one or another was to speak, to announce a
solution to his koan. Invariably they were wrong, since satori, or
insight, or enlightenment, or the achievement of access to the secret of
our being, is not to be had for the asking or praying, or even a
decade's latrine-cleaning, rice husking, courtyard sweeping, and so on.
And each time a monk failed to announce with clarity, the Master's hand
struck the low table before him with immense force: a clap of thunder in
the silent auditoriaum! That was to recall him and the rest to
thoughtful meditation, to keep their monkey minds from hopping about.
That is the sound of one hand clapping, a reminder to them to remember
where they where, or are, are were not, or are not. What is the sound
of one hand clapping? The crack of that palm on the table, heard by
those with heads bowed. Things are even simpler than mistranslation
and pothead mystification guesses! Try it with a napping classroom
sometime! Jascha Kessler at UCLA

[... PS]

Sorry, I see it is Higley, not Quigley! Speak of a full head of
ill-assorted lumber! That's mine.