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Gregory Bateson

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Perhaps there is no such thing as unilateral power. After all, the man "in power" depends on receiving information all the time from outside. He responds to that information just as much as he "causes" things to happen...it is an interaction, and not a lineal situation.
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p.494

 
Gregory Bateson

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"Information" in most, if not all, of its connotations seems to rest upon the notion of selective power. The Shannon theory regards the information source, in emitting the signals (signs), as exerting a selective power upon the ensemble of messages. In the Carnap-Bar-Hillel semantic theory, the information content of statements relates to the selective power they exert upon ensembles of states. Again, at its pragmatic level, in true communicative situations [...] a source of information has a certain value to a recipient, where "value" may be regarded as a "selective power." Gabor, for example, observes that what people value in a source of information (i.e., what they are prepared to pay for) depends upon its exclusiveness and prediction power; he cites instances of a newspaper editor hoping for a "scoop" and a racegoer receiving information from a tipster. "Exclusiveness" here implies the selecting of that one particular recipient out of the population, while the "prediction" value of information rests upon the power it gives to the recipient to select his future action, out of the whole range of prior uncertainty as to what action to take. Again, signs have the power to select responses in people, such responses depending upon a totality of conditions. Human communication channels consist of individuals in conversation, or in various forms of social intercourse. Each individual and each conversation is unique; different people react to signs in different ways, depending each upon their own past experiences and upon the environment at the time. It is such variations, such differences, which gives rise to the principal problems in the study of human communication. (p. 244-5)

 
Colin Cherry
 

The more information a guy has, the more likely he is to say, "Hey, King Charlie, you really blew that call." That's why democracy happened. The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.

 
Tom Clancy
 

The charges against most of the people detained in the prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan being nonexistent the Red Cross reports that 70 to 90 percent of those being held seem to have committed no crime other than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in some sweep of "suspects" the principal justification for holding them is "interrogation." Interrogation about what? About anything. Whatever the detainee might know. If interrogation is the point of detaining prisoners indefinitely, then physical coercion, humiliation and torture become inevitable.
Remember: we are not talking about that rarest of cases, the "ticking time bomb" situation, which is sometimes used as a limiting case that justifies torture of prisoners who have knowledge of an imminent attack. This is general or nonspecific information-gathering, authorized by American military and civilian administrators to learn more of a shadowy empire of evildoers about whom Americans know virtually nothing, in countries about which they are singularly ignorant: in principle, any information at all might be useful. An interrogation that produced no information (whatever information might consist of) would count as a failure.

 
Susan Sontag
 

Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses our reality-tunnels will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to "ignore" certain kinds of information that which does not "fit" their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this "conservatism" or "stupidity", but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.

 
Robert Anton Wilson
 

Because of what computers commonly do... With the exception of the electric light, there never has been a technology that better exemplifies Marshall McLuhan's aphorism "The medium is the message." ...the "message" of computer technology is comprehensive and domineering. The computer argues, to put it baldly, that the most serious problems confronting us at both personal and professional levels require technical solutions through fast access to information otherwise unavailable. ...this is... nonsense. Our most serious problems are not technical, nor do they arise from inadequate information. If a nuclear catastrophe occurs, it shall not be because of inadequate information. Where people are dying of starvation, it does not occur because of inadequate information. If families break up, children are mistreated, crime terrorizes a city, education is impotent, it does not happen because of inadequate information. Mathematical equations, instantaneous communication, and vast quantities of information have nothing whatever to do with any of these problems. And the computer is useless in addressing them.

 
Neil Postman
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