The essence of information is not its content but its resonance

Not so long ago, when content was more of a novelty, words, pictures and numbers in sequence were called “information.” But that’s a misnomer today. Most of the river of symbols that flows through our lives is actually misinformation, because it doesn’t inform. More usually it overwhelms or stupefies or passes by without making much of a dent. At the very least it’s often stuff of incredibly low meaning (my outdoor mailbox) or merely entertaining (most television.)

Information only happens when it informs. Symbolic representations of ideas and analysis, whether marked on paper or HTML-coded, can be called information only when they are meaningful to an audience which is somehow prepared to receive them.

How can you ensure a resonant field for your message? In other words, how can you create that truly rare commodity, information?

It takes two to tango. You have stuff you believe someone may need or want. But the audience must have the appropriate hardware, software and wetware toolkits to process that stuff. You can help by providing them with tools and/or services, or an intellectual context that makes content meaningful enough to be called “information.”

As Jose Arguelles has said, “The essence of information, then, is not its content but its resonance.”

Beneath a change of age lies a change of thought. — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

One thought on “The essence of information is not its content but its resonance

  1. Pingback: Why its Rare – The essence of information is not its content but its resonance [17Jul10] | The Book

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