The Disposition of Information LO29538

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 11/20/02

Replying to LO29529 --

Dear Organlearners,

Dileep Damle <> writes:

>Dear AT,
You are of course very keen on maintaining that knowledge
>is in heads and not external and you are probably right
>about that. Because it is a matter of definition. If it was
>already defined properly, we knew what we meant by
>knowledge in an unambiguous way, then one could go
>and look for it and say whether it is here, or there or
>somewhere else.

Greetings dear Dileep,

If fellow learners want to define knowledge as dwelling within heads, they
are free to do it. As for me, i have written repeatedly that i avoid using
definitions because it prevents the evolution of my thoughts. Furthermore,
i have stressed that "knowledge which dwells within my mind and
information which exists outside it" is how i understand it. I cannot make
this claim for anybody else.

What i do observe is that the vast majority of humankind think that
knowledge is in information sources, i.e., knowledge also exists outside
the mind.

>But your insistence on devaluing information - you say
>it is dead is a bit more problematic. Perhaps you would
>look at the biochemicals that evolved into life and still
>continue to operate in the same way. I am no chemist,
>but the system of DNA, RNA and transfer RNA etc.
>relies on the fact that these chemicals contain huge
>amounts of information which allows them to behave in
>certain ways, in particular to manufacture other chemicals,
>to create organs and life. At the level of chemistry they
>are dead. At the level of genetics, they are life itself.

I still claim that information cannot replicate itself just as a rock
cannot do it. Is a rock dead or alive?

DNA and RNA are not dead at the level of chemistry. Their replication by
the enzyme polymerase is an emergent phenomenon. Their ongoing reparation
by the enzyme ligase is as alive as can be. The transcription of their
"information" into thousands of different proteins is also an ongoing
process. In other words, the liveness ("becoming-being") of DNA and RNA is

Beside me is the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Every morning, when
the computer boots up, i allow myself to study a few pages of it. The
book is dead. Only when my eyes work along the lines of a page, its
information helps me to recognise in terms of my own knowledge some of the
knowledge which Franklin had. I am deeply aware of the associativity
pattern of wholeness when reading it. It is knowledge-deLange *
autobiography-(info) * knowledge-Franklin

I do not insist on devaluing information. I endevaour to find its
appropiate value. According to the associative pattern above its value is
in its function as moutpiece=("umlomo"). Information acts as commuter
between two persons, each having knowledge to interpret such information.
I kept an open eye whether Franklin even once wrote of knowledge in books
and pamphlets. He did not. He rather encouraged readers to get together
and talk on what they have read so that each could grow in knowledge.

>I think it is all very well to differentiate between data,
>Information and Knowledge, but surely, one must be
>objective. None of these things seem to care how you
>feel about them, but you do seem to have a lot of feeling
>for them. Your feelings for human beings are genuinely
>welcome, but about abstract definitions?

I would like to know how would you be objective with respect to knowledge?

As for me, by making the distinction between knowledge and information as
i have done, many things have become clearer to me. As I have said before,
information is for me something created by another human such that i can
sense it by one of my five sense organs. Thus information is not abstract,
but concrete. Knowledge, on the other hand, cannot be sensed by any of the
five sense organs. This is why knowledge is abstract for me. I do not
define it to be abstract, but i can explain why it is abstract.

Thank you for your thoughts on the topic "Disposition of Information". I
found it valuable.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.