Information and Noise, historically and coloquially

Information as we are using it, below:

Useful, directed, selected


Temporary, ephemeral

The positive product of filtering

The middle of a causal process or hierarchy:

noise -> information -> meaning

As for information, I would define it as consisting of "written/oral/aural communications that have a clear utility based solely in the context in which they appear. –SS

Say object A and object B have states. If the state of B is at all contingent on the state of A, then the causal connection that links B's state to A's is the transfer of information from A to B. – TW

This is our work, I think: recognizing and then explaining the transcendence, the meaning. information is what we have to deal w/, noise is what we discard. what's left is the meat: the meaning. – AD

When information is employed, deployed, used in conversation, research, teaching, I think of it as a catalyst, a springboard to deeper thought, to further communication. And when it is not in motion, when it isn't in play, when it is stored, waiting in its category, on its shelf, in its file, I think of it as potential energy. But what it is, out of these two contexts, I have trouble thinking about. –ES

Donde esta la…? Wo ist der…? Pourriez vous me renseignez…? Can you tell me where to find…? –KR at the Informations desk

Information lays claim to prompt verifiability. The prime requirement is that it appear 'understandable in itself'...because of this it proves incompatible with the spirit of is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it...thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks. --Walter Benjamin, "The Storyteller"

Meaning is information that has been discarded: information that is no longer present and no longer needs to be. Information and meaning are rather like money and wealth. Real value, real wealth, is a matter of...the money you have spent, money you used to have: utility values you have obtained by paying for them. Likewise information: It is only when you have got enough of the stuff that you realize it has no value in itself. --Tor Norretranders, The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

Some senses of information we have filtered out, historically or by disciplines:

OED II. 7. Formation or moulding of the mind or character, training, instruction, teaching; communication of instructive knowledge…the act of inspiring, giving form to, animating.

OED 4. The legal action of charge, complaint, accusation

OED 3.d.: As a mathematically defined quantity… now esp. one which represents the degree of choice exercised in the selection or formation of one particular symbol, sequence, message, etc., out of a number of possible ones, and which is defined logarithmically in terms of the statistical probabilities of occurrence of the symbol or the elements of the message.The latter sense (introduced by Shannon, quot. 19482, though foreshadowed earlier) is that used in information theory, where information is usually regarded as synonymous with entropy.

Noise as we are using it:




Filtered out

The bottom of a causal process or hierarchy except for post-modern musicians

I don't care about noise; I filter it out every waking minute that I walk the earth. –SS

Use an inside voice! –KR to her kids

OED 1. a.: Sound; the aggregate of sounds occurring in a particular place or at a particular time; (also) disturbance caused by sounds, discordancy, (in early use) esp. disturbance made by voices; shouting, outcry

OED 11. a.: random or irregular fluctuations or disturbances which are not part of a signal (whether the result is audible or not), or which interfere with or obscure a signal.

11. b.: irrelevant or superfluous information or activity

Noise is an unprecedented harbinger of aesthetic radicality: no-one yet knows what it is or what it means. This non-significance is its strength rather than its weakness. Noise is 'non-music' not because it negates music but because it affirms a previously unimaginable continuum of sonic intensities in which music becomes incorporated as a mere material. –Noise conference (musicology)

Some senses of noise we have filtered out, historically or by disciplines:

Reputation, renown, scandal, fuss

Nonsense, foolishness, a stupid idea

A group of musicians

Pleasant sounds

Off-stage sounds…