The Personalization of Complexity VI.F.6.x.

Butterfield 8 Revisited


The Booby Trap

The InfiniteRegress

Lexia to Perplexia

The Book Drop

The Tower of Babel

Butterfield 8 Revisted


"The mistake was to take a virtual machine enacted in the interactions of real people with a material world and make that the architecture of cognition....This mistake has consquences.  Why did all the sensorimotor apparatus fall off the person when the computer replaced the brain?  It fell off because the computer was never a model of the person to begin with."  Edwin Hutchins *

If we go a step beyond Hutchins' assertion that the "computer was never a model of the person to begin with," we might catch the gram of hope. 

My personal computer has become an extension of my brain.  Much of the computer/information discourse has focused on the suspicion that Microsoft and its fellow-travellers have conspired to constrict my thinking and actions through the functions allowed and the pressure of software configurations. No argument, here. 

Yet, my computer is filled with information that has come to manifest the storage methods and detail arrangment that characterize my idiosyncracies.  We always already expected that unique architecture existed in our own minds.  No one would have needed Freud if the human brain had a universally-understood organization.  It is not so much that we have suffered the projection of the machine configuration onto US (although I have not denied this), but rather that we have created the imprint of our own brains on our own computers. 

So, when we call the techie help line, it's not surprising that we have difficulty explaining to a perfect stranger the history and convoluted life (tragic!) of our own hard drives, our intimate operating systems.

In the enormous expanse of electronic communication issues, the subject of personal compexity is a small one.   Yet, a miniature shift in perception, the realization that our computers may all have the same structure, but surely not the same organization--are likely, in fact, to be as quirky as we are--could be useful.   Your computer is now so complex that what once seemed like a perfect, uncluttered, logic-dominated space has come to take on the cozy, slipper-like quality of home, with the booby traps as well.  And so has mine.  Worse, the mind-annex of the personal computer is not a medium that lets us count on our fingers, re-shelve the books, even keep the closets tidy.  We have a wealth of personal possessions in the virtual space behind the screen, in the box beside the desk, and we are still learning how to manage in that particular dark.  

To the extent that we accord each other, the machine, and the mind the tolerance they deserve--we might rest easier.

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