I get mind-blown after every one of these lectures.
As a FIMS student, I am often questioned about my faculty.
“So, what do you guys learn? Do you guys just like analyze things?”
I must admit that at first, I was quite confused too. After my very first 1700 MIT lecture, I remember thinking to myself:
Wait, so we’re going to learn about the history of information? Isn’t information just like… stuff?
I never even considered the possibility of “information” being a word containing an entire history behind it – that is still relevant to this very day.
Over the past few months, I learned that information actually used to be defined as the process of in-forming – when essence and matter come together to form a substance. For instance, the human soul (essence) informs the human body (matter) to create a person (substance). Eventually, however, through the advance of new media and technology, information began accumulating at such excessively high speeds that everything soon became irrelevant – in other words, stuff (or junk).
I’ve also been experiencing similar feelings of “mind-blowingness” in my 1500 Technology course, where we are encouraged to think rhizomatically rather than in binaries. In other words, instead of defining something as its opposite and believing that there is only one single notion of truth, we are challenged to reconsider the possibility of there being many truths within this network of different interactions.
It took me a while to notice, but my perspective of the world is definitely a little different now – seen through a broader perspective and wider eyes. I’m glad I chose to study FIMS.
“The social is nothing other than patterned networks of heterogeneous materials. This is a radical claim because it says that these networks are composed not only of people, but also of machines, animals, texts, money, architectures – any material that you care to mention. So the argument is that the stuff of the social isn’t simply human. It is all these other materials too. Indeed, the argument is that we wouldn’t have a society at all if it weren’t for the heterogeneity of the networks of the social.”
– Notes on the Theory of the Actor Network: Ordering, Strategy and Heterogeneity, John Law