Some Personal Observations Regarding the CopySouth Workshop:

Trivandrum, Kerala, December 2008. Trevor Batten,  Manila  January 2009

SECTION 5.  The Search for new Languages:

Discovering the problem is only half the battle -is there a solution?

1.0  The manipulation of  Semantics by doctrine:

We can look at art as a language and define language as a medium in which concepts are externalized and internalized. These concepts can then be re-invented, explored and understood -so that we can gain a new perspective regarding ourselves and the world we live in -by imagining that which does not yet exist.

Technology is a way of doing things.
Information Technology may be a way of confusing things.

There are four distortions of the mind that underlie copyright issues:
 1. The confusion between symbol and object
 2. The obsession with permanence.
 3. The obsession with beauty and pursuit of happiness.
 4. The belief that things have an inherent self or an essence. 

Doctrines are fundamental languages through which military, political or religious forces guide the actions of subordinates towards national aims. Military doctrine creates a basis for conduct in accordance with the intention of the commanding officer without having to refer decisions to a superior authority.

Social engineering could well be practiced through the dissemination of "doctrine" through information technologies.

As a result, we may well be operating in a monolingual and monconceptual environment.  Therefore everything we might compliment and enhance that which we mean to oppose.  The words are a symbol of being forced into an IP discourse - not transforming the structure, just replacing words within them.

Is the solution to reinstate Art as "Language" -and transform "Doctrine" into "Thinking"?


2.0  Exploring Ontological and Epistemological Systems:

Exploring the way we experience and describe the world around us through the development of verbal and non-verbal language systems. Enabling us to explore and "map" our (local) conceptual and physical enviroment(s) -and providing a system for the orientation and navigation of the individual or group within that environment.

Some Words and Concepts that might need further Exploration/Definition:
(exploring preconceptions and assumptions)


In many branches of science, entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. The concept of entropy is particularly notable as it is applied across physics, information theory and mathematics. In thermodynamics ....... it is a measure of the disorder of molecules in a system <>. In information theory, entropy is a measure of the uncertainty associated with a random variable (or one who's value is unknown TB)........ A long string of repeating characters has an entropy rate of 0, since every character is predictable <>.

Traditionally, 20th century textbooks have introduced entropy as order and disorder so that it provides "a measurement of the disorder or randomness of a system". It has been argued that ambiguities in the terms used (such as "disorder" and "chaos") contribute to widespread confusion and can hinder comprehension of entropy for most students. A more recent formulation associated with Frank L. Lambert describing entropy as energy dispersal>


The change in the internal energy of a closed thermodynamic system is equal to the sum of the amount of heat energy supplied to the system and the work done on the system.
The total entropy of any isolated thermodynamic system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value.

In laymens terms:


The anthopologist and perceptual scientist Gregory Bateson once provided a classic definition for "Information". A definition that now seems sadly forgotten in our current "Information Age": The Wikipedia entry on Bateson <>  does not mention it -but in Information Ecology <> we read:  "Information is not objective data, however, information is the relation that arises within the environment, it is the difference that makes difference (Bateson, 1972, Steps to an Ecology of Mind:). Information results from relationships between two otherwise meaningless pieces of data, it relates both side of the flow to each other."

Beyond its clever wordplay -the definition is also extremely useful because it not only clearly relates to the concept of "entropy" and the element of "uncertainty" (and its resolution) in communication -it also reminds us that "information" requires recognisable variations in a "carrier" system as well as a significance in the way it affects out behaviour within some (perhaps arbitrary) system of interpertations.

When dealing with "information" we should always be aware of the implicit or explicit context that provides it with "meaning".

Organic and Inorganic:

Historically, early Western scientists were under constant threat of being accused of witchcraft by the Church. It seems very likely that, as a result, they were forced to remove any concept of "animism" (internal life force) from their scientific investigations. Physics was long seen as the "Queen of Science" and many of the "soft" sciences have tried to emulate its success. However, physics is the science of "dead" (inanimate) material.

Dead material is subject to decay and dispersal -while living organisms tend to collect material and organise it in various (anti-entropic?) ways.

Living (organic) systems seem to have the following (related) characteristics:
Perhaps we need to develop a whole new science that is able to deal with "Organic" systems (whether normally concidered "alive" or "artifical").

Economy and Ecology:

Normally, ecology and economy are concidered to be in conflict with each other. However, the interconnected nature of the global economy -and indeed "classical" Keynsian theories suggest that economies are actually ecologies of closely interacting processes. The recent "collapse" of the global financial system suggests that like "living" ecologies -economic ecologies are subject to sudden collapse too. Perhaps we could define an "ecology" as a natural "economy" -a trully "free market" (initially) not based on "money" and developed without any form of (concious) economic theory.

It therefore seems likely that more than a trivial understanding of the way natural ecologies function may be essentuial if a viable economic system is to be created.

Economy and Energy:

It might also be worthwhile concidering the possibility of viewing the concept of economy in terms of "energy" and not "money". Perhaps this would allow the potential integration of "emotional energy" and "intellectual energy" as well as physical energy.

The concept of "energy" also brings up the question of the first law of thermodynamics in relation to economics and our definition of "wealth": Can an economy actually increase wealth -or only distribute it (as the first law of thermodynamics suggests -if wealth is realted to energy in some way)?

Within an "inorganic" system -it would seem that there is no way to increase (or decrease) energy. However, perhaps the laws of "organic" systems are different. Can synergy produce work with less energy than individual systems would need to do the same work? Does saving energy increase wealth? Are our current concepts of costing and accounting (calling to economic account) actually dangerously in error?

Economy and Culture:

Although often concidered (in terms of practical effect) to be in opposition, it seems that "culture" is closely linked to (or is perhaps even an expression of) local "economic" (and ecological) conditions with regards to the use of energy. Human and animal practices often seem to be determined in relationship to there environment in ways that relate to the use of energy. Practices that use energy (and other recources) inneficiently are liable to dissapear -unless these have a (perhaps not easilly visible) "pay-off" somewhere.  

Perhaps we could define "culture" as a set of conceptual and physical "tools" constructed by various (isolated or interacting) groups of people as a response to local conditions as an aid to survival.

Perhaps we should also distinguish between "nature" which is a random phenomenon and "ecology" which is a human conceptualisation of the phenomena involved. Perhaps there are (several) "cultural" (and financial) ecologies -as well as physical ones.

If (energy based) "economics" underlies "culture" on a practical level -then perhaps "aesthetics" underlies culture on an emotional level.

However, the relation between cultural practices and the "environment" in which they take place means that changes in the environment (whether intentional or unintentional -whether self-created or externally created) will always force some kind of cultural change (evolution or revolution).

This subtle relationship between cultural practices and the environment which generates and sustains these practices also means that societies can easilly be "programmed" to change -simply by changing the environment in which they operate. This is true of "sophisticated" cultures -just as much as any other.

Perhaps we need to seriously concider the global effect on cultural systems worldwide of the doctrine of indulgence promoted by the advertising industry -in order to open up new markets and sell an abundance of cheaply produced consumer goods.

Material and Immaterial Capitalism:

Originally, the word "Capital" refered to "Capital Goods"  i.e. an investment in goods that would generate more (material or monetory) income. Ironically (and perhaps symptomatic of the world of "Orwellian newspeak" in which we now live -Capitalism is opposed to "Consumerism". Keeping a pig for breeding is "Capitalism" -eating it is "Consumerism". Not so long ago, governmental economic reports would differentiate between "capital expenditure"  (i.e. productive investment in machines and infrastructure) and "consumer expenditure" (expenditure on consumer goods that did not create national income).

Presumably, it was the theories of Karl Marx that equated "Capitalism" with "Financial Capitalism" -thus confusing the issue somewhat. For indeed, the dematerialisation of money (removing it from any relationship with any material thing) has allowed money to develop as a purely notional commodity with no practical value except that given to it by the monetory (financial) system itself. This has encouraged speculative investment in notional value -the collapse of which has deep psychological effects -but presumably no real effect on the material world (except in terms of our conceptual constructions).

Production and Destruction:

Traditionally, the natural tendency to reproduction exhibited by most living organisms apparently pernits us (if we invest our grain productively in the fields) literally, to have our cake and eat it too. Only in the world of "dead" (entropic, mechanical) things is this not possible. However, such "abundance" is not limited to our foodstuffs: The organisms that prey upon us and our food have also heavilly invested in reproducing themselves in abundance.

Perhaps the "abundance" of goods created by (automated) factories churning out goods also creates a problem:



3.0  Life as a complex Game of (physical and conceptual) Language?

Getting the "language" right:

-the words and concepts that form the basic components (alphabet) of the system
-the "grammatical" rules that define the interactions between the components
-the mappings (translations) that give meaning to the system (in deifferent ways from different perspectives)
If the wrong man uses the right means then right means turn out the wrong way........

Getting the "question" right:

What do we have now?
What do we want it to be?
How achievable is this?
What's the alternative?

Getting the "game" right:

If every manifestation is real but every representaion is false -how then does one distinguish between a manifestation and a representation?

Trevor Batten,  Manila  January 2009