Redundancy & Communication

D. S.& Frere Dupont

The obstacles to communicating a radical message continue to tantalise

Frere Dupont: In one sense, the idea of communicating a message is already a problem at the level of the relationship between sender and receiver where there is no acknowledged relation or communication other than this particular message. Such communication takes on a pedagogical form and this both irritates the receiver of the unlooked for message, and militates against the concept of a commonality of position that is being communicated.

If I tell you "we have a common interest", I am asserting the importance of the content of my message as a facet in the realising of our interest, otherwise I wouldn"t have said it. But my communicating separates our interest because I possess the knowledge of it and you do not. Only if you agree with me does that knowledge become neutral between us. If you do not accept my message for whatever reason, our commonality has significance for me and none for you. The possession of the knowledge of commonality indicates an absence of commonality in the relation between us.

The use of the term redundancy with reference to language and compression issues in IT supposes an issue of surplus which may be practically reduced. It is true there is no need to add either the word "men" or "toilet" beneath the pictogram of a "man" on a door. Nor is there any need for traffic lights to have "stop" and "go" inscribed on or near to the red and green lights respectively. We know what these codes signify. We share the same patterning for recognition as receiver of the codes as those who have transmitted them.

"It has been pointed out that, in fact, the term redundancy so used becomes a synonym for "patterning" [ – Coding and redundancy Gregory Bateson].

Shared patterns between sender and receiver can be deliberately disrupted so as to draw further meanings from the ability to recognise/misrecognise: a standard psychological test for mental competence, after sense deprivation experiments for example, involves the recognition of the colour ink used in long lists of words for colours (red written in black, blue written in pink).

But the question of this internal surplus within a message is not what I am concerned about when I talk about redundancy. I am much more interested in it as a reference to the existence of "patterns" in relations between people and how these carry meaning between transmitter and receiver positions.

"I would argue however, that the concept of "redundancy" is at least a partial synonym of "meaning". As I see it, if the receiver can guess at missing parts of the message, then those parts which are received must, in fact, carry a meaning which refers to the missing parts and is information about those parts." [ – Coding and redundancy Gregory Bateson]

If we consider our position to be receptive of pattern, i.e. the patterns of conditioning and ideology and that this is in contradiction with our position as transmitters of other patterns then we begin to see why our transmissions of messages of 'change' fail where other messages of 'acceptance' succeed (this is an absurd reduction: our messages of substantial change function superficially and are actually "flooded" by messages of superficial change which behave substantially).

We know characters from sitcoms, we know famous football players and boy bands, even without having any interest in them; we know how to clock on at work; we know what the colours on traffic lights mean; we know when to sit and when to stand, to queue, to get up in the morning.

"I apprehend the meaning of its ringing, I am already up at its summons; this apprehension guarantees me against the anguished intuition that it is I who confer on the alarm clock its exigency – I and I alone" [ – Sartre, Being and Nothingness]

These, and other automatic knowledges and acts are widespread and indicate a high degree of redundancy... if someone says, "Brad" or "Angolina" almost anywhere in the world there is a high degree of probability that any given individual will connect this word with something about a diet fashion or a marriage breakdown. These simple names act as nodes of significance that when communicated activate huge networks of associated significances pertaining to relations between objects and people.

This is a very different circumstance to the almost absolute absence of redundancy between transmitter and receiver positions in the relation between radical context and general populace. If we take three publications mentioned here recently: An internationalist leaflet on the operation in Iraq, the new issue of 325 Magazine, and Herman Melville"s Bartleby the Scrivener. In the first two we see, in comparison to the mass media, relatively feeble and doomed attempts to overcome the above mentioned absence of patterned redundancy. The receiver position of the message has not yet arrived at the point where it is able to actively "disagree" with what is said but rather simply does not possess the means for decoding what is being talked about in the first place: it is conditioned to receive these messages as only babble and noise.

In response to the inability of the receiver to decode, the message must become more complicated, and attempt to supply the important information about an event within a relation whilst also communicating the conceptual tools to decode that message. As an example, in order to communicate with you a message concerning the commonality of interest that I share with you as members of the working class, I must also communicate the concept of the division of society into economic classes, a concept which is absent for you and to which you are particularly resistant. For this reason, the message that I send out generally only circulates within the microcosm of society where redundancy for that message already exists.

In the case of Bartleby, we see an example of how a reading of a message concerning the impossibility of communication between two apparently proximal positions in society can be communicated and reinforced within established relations (in particular within the cult of 'art and literature' – as a specialisation in the motifs of alienation for example).

Thus, when a message does "get through" (strikes a chord) it is then "flooded" or reframed in terms that fundamentally disrupt the pattern intended by the transmitter and in favour of background or contextual patterns which it was originally directed against (I make no claims for a radical message in Bartleby, only an observation about some subsequent claims that have been made for it). There are present within the social relation certain "niche redundancies" in which messages of discontent, change, class relations and so on serve to affirm rather than negate the context in which they are generated.

Naked was my dark love, and, knowing my heart, Adorned in but her most sonorous gems

an example...

i've been reading a book on paganism in european history - one of the differences it talks about between current new age practices and the older stuff is that modern new agers are more likely to posit a god/goddess-lord/lady paradigm, vs the older beliefs that were more truly pantheistic. i was thinking that this change happens to bring the old ways in to line with modern expectations about couples/dualities (good and evil, man and woman).

... I am surprised that it is still possible to make statements without directly setting them within a context, or a set of relations. [ – Leona]

Leona"s (comment) deals with context changing communications – that is, messages which contain information about how to change the context of what it is possible to communicate.

As I indicated above, this messianic code is fiendishly difficult to achieve: "revolution now", or "rise up against your masters" makes less than any sense unless open class struggle (by which I mean social conflict understood widely in terms of class) is already underway.

Communication of what we already know makes up the vast majority of all communications and even then this content rarely addresses how communication works or what power structures it relates to – so how does any act of speech add to or affirm the social relation, and ensure that established patterns of accumulation are not much disrupted?

Unlike political and religious totalitarian regimes which establish explicit pathways of referral to core power relations, the totalitarianism of capital tends to make no reference at all to the wage relation from which it is reproduced. In fact, a specifically capitalist communication can be understood as that which is averse to addressing the restraints (constraints) which set it in motion – resulting in an occult power structure which permits the continued proliferation of hollowed out versions of other power structures: religion, democracy and/or totalitarianism, socialism, technocracy etc. etc., all flourish as ideologies within the bounds of capital.

As someone working in the NHS I sometimes think before the sheer mass of them "what are all these ill people doing?" The people change but the illnesses are all the same. The point here is that medicine, as a major paradigm for communication, channels their complaints and fixes them as bodily ailments to which a massive bureaucratic apparatus then addresses itself. Illness derived from "lifestyle" is permissible within capitalist society, there is a saturated redundancy for complaining about the individuated effects of capitalised existence – that is, the communication channels are in place for this. On the other hand complaint about society has no outlet and so is diverted into medicine.

Gregory Bateson defines "information" as any difference which makes a difference in some later event" (from, a re-examination of "Bateson"s rule"). We can see that whilst most information exchanges within the capitalist frame make no mention of capitalism, accumulations in favour of the interest of capital continue to be made "in the background".

This patterning of messages which takes the form of accretions around certain defined nodes of concern which recur over and over at different levels from the individual to the corporation (security-anxiety, identity-fixation, distraction urges and so on) are defined by what are called "restraints" (or nowadays "constraints") these are forces that give pattern to connections between people and which cause communications to recur rather than lapse into the merely random

To illustrate fendersen"s point about abandoning communication as a vehicle for intentionally manipulating change on a major scale (propaganda) I will use Leona"s example. The ancient site known as Blood Hill in Thetford Forest, literally does not exist any more. It has been eroded to the point that all that survives of it is its name. We visited it on News Day, and enjoyed (surprisingly good) soya-based hot cocoa, and a selection of Gallettes Bretonnes and Sable de Retz; we watched the fog, wrote some poetry and attempted to "feel" the non-specifics of what the place communicated.

In other, better maintained, ancient locations such as Belas Knapp you will find in the chambers little offerings of flowers and poems. This wilful relation with invented deities relates to what Leona mentions, it inverts the reality of the gods, which under present circumstances have no reality at all – "In this sense all gods, the pagan as well as the Christian ones, have possessed a real existence. Did not the ancient Moloch reign? Was not the Delphic Apollo a real power in the life of the Greeks?". In other words, the gods once acted as a restraint on communications between human beings and bestowed upon them a specific character.

However, this objective restraint, in large areas of the world has now been removed and religion is conducted in bad faith, humans are not born into a religious worldview so much as they revert to it as to a comfort blanket. The individual reinvention, through pseudo-adherence to orientalism and/or pagan gods that together is called new age mysticism attempts to impose a restraint through externalised personal whimsy upon the world – this lacks absolutely the objective resonance of a true "inherited" belief system. And it could be said that this attempt to impose restraints of meaning upon the world and then derive a set of meaningful communications also goes for all "revolutionary" intentions.

But that is just one way of looking at things, whilst it is true that new ageism and all mystical beliefs tend to add to the accretions around certain ideological nodes there also remains some contradictory fragment of truth in the connection. I have argued in the book Species Being (the article called Association) that human beings have a natural proclivity for pattern recognition and are attracted (as moths to a flame) to certain empty structurations which they use for relating to themselves, each other and the world (of course the content is always decisive in actual encounters, and this content shifts radically though historically).

But our being drawn to compulsive architectural forms is no accident, a clearing in the forest, an upright stone, lines, patterns in the clouds, caves, these are the starting points (what I have elsewhere called the pre-human), and we have a natural will to find "constraint" so as to give shape to the connections we want to then initiate. In one sense, I see my role, and the role of the milieu collectively to achieve no more than a disruption of the accretions of our everyday communication and thereby permit, by going back to the beginning, this natural proclivity for the architecture of communication, to rethink out how it is that we are communicating.

One of the advantages of truly ancient places in relation to human communication is their shedding of meaning. Like Bloodhill, there is nothing left of them but their name. New Age attempts at recuperating them into some timeless landscape of spiritual meaning is utterly futile, nothing will be found, as Leona says, but a sort of ersatz received "spirituality" the equivalent of a psychonautic package holiday, it reminds me of that most sublime of banal lists, AFX"s "Oh, get me another tie, get me another shirt, get me another woollen, every day". The point, as with the zen gardens, is that, literally, these ancient structures have had all meaning eroded from them (in contradiction to the accretions around economically significant nodes) – they remain "congealed labour", identifiably human, but all barbarity (unlike a factory or car park), all inheritance but the bare humanity, has been washed out of them. In a world defined by a network of exchange value for commodified nodes, where every node is overdetermined by ascribed further significances, there is some sort of redemption to be found in the truly dead.

I do not propose that as any sort of "answer" though, I do not prescribe a visit to ancient sites (and the pyramids for example are very much part of the present array) – but I do see a personal scale therapeutic potential in objects and places where some absolute disjunction may be discerned. But I also think, as fendersen implies, there is in any message, from the perspective of the receiver, not just a single redundancy – it may seem, within a hierarchy of communication, that we are all in agreement, but each of our agreeings contains reservations, disputes, caveats, misinterpretations. Every individual says yes and is then unhappy after his own fashion. Was it Kafka, or Tolstoy, who said, there are fifty ways to leave your lover.

The Unspoken, Redundancy & Communication

The concise version:
Whilst it is banal to observe that there cannot be communication without a common language, it is still the most significant factor to be taken into consideration when attempting to communicate unpopular ideas.
– Frere Dupont

D. S.: As I watch a child climb a tree I see that she is alone in the world. Content in the world. Her manner of speaking is as though she wished the world to look back into her. Not quite as Nietzsche intended, much more playful. Simplistic in her depth… Riding on the bus I hear a boy ask his mother, "Why is everything not pretty?" He says it so calmly, without pulling away from the window. The words from the boy"s mouth speak a desire that countless architects cannot imagine. But he is only speaking to his mother, what do the architects know? What do any of us know? Is it that somewhere along the line the language of not has been derived from the language of don"t, which in turn has derived from something much more complex (the relatively free-of-complications positive)? Nothing bites at the architect, few children grow up and remember that they meant to say "Don"t build that (Don"t bite me)". Or perhaps they meant something else entirely.

"There can be no simple iconic representation of a negative: no simple way for an animal to say "I will not bite you."" This transmission is dependent on other received transmissions. It is almost as if one has to be forced into representing negatives. Where along the line does the positive fall into decay? When does the child stop asking, and start building? When does the positive become a don"t, and then further degraded as a not? Everywhere the architects, and the non-explorers triangulating their way through psychogeography, say "I will not bite you". Such an ambiguous rite of passage for this child to become an architect. Everywhere, dishonesty and falsification, few come out and say "Do not bite me". Fewer still come out and say something affirming, something positive, "I will bite you". (In some manner the architect does say this but it is coded in a manner that says "I will not bite you". The positive transmission is a falsification, so the receiver sees a negative.)

If the chosen negative options are, as Bateson says, "cumbersome and awkward", if the "pattern of interaction" is always determined by a negative, following a prodding, then we are all left in a bit of a double bind. I am without possession of a positive, and in possession solely of cumbersome negatives. The positive transmission, which I am incapable of or am made to think incapable, is viewed as its opposite. If I am capable of even seeing the few positive transmissions available they often have negative connotations and are no alternative to the negative redundancy that I possess. The other positive communications are valorized or "flooded", and exist in a sort of negative non-verbal communication system. If this language offers me no choice, then what else is there?

What I take from this is that the patterning has gone beyond words, into paralanguage and kinesics, even into the formal structures which represent this dance of humans, the supposedly artful roads and alleyways we triangulate through. Communication, verbal or otherwise, seeks out a new form in this phase.

Somewhere along the line the girl stops asking about the tree she climbs, how it grows, and how that tree might look in some far away place. She picks up the latest issue of The Sun and reads about Brad and Angelina, or some other far off sentimental rubbish. She likely does not ask any questions. If she does, then they are less than unimportant, not questions at all. I think this implied activity has gone far beyond what Bateson refers to as redundancy. This is a couple, a duo, and their relation of controlled kinesics. They are individuals with a non-verbal communication that has declined in use value. The duo possesses a falsified relationship, or it possesses them, and in turn there is a public consumption of this falsification. Is the purchaser of the Sun involved in a similarly falsified kinesics? Are the movements sincere, or does the valorization of non-verbal discourse suggest pathogeny? Here, I think Bateson is wrong to suggest that iconic communication serves a different purpose than language, or that kinesics has become more complex and rich (as the whole, likely this could be said to be true, but as the part individuals have been losing out, ghettoized in their communication). Rather, redundancy and kinesics merge. Or, while not falling into disuse the combining of the forms results in a sort of synergistic antagonism.

This is seen most clearly in the isolation of the individual through mass communication. Youth now prefer to communicate through telephone cells and social networking sites. Paralanguage is at best falsified and digitized, whereas kinesics becomes irrelevant, or at least incommunicable to the receiver. This lack of kinesics produces the need of virtual kinesics, a popularly known example, the facebook "poke". Even those who engage these virtual gestures are unsure of the meaning. It is somehow immanent, but does not carry any of the spontaneity or potential of immanence. Dead time in dead space. This ambiguous online gesture is far from the richness Bateson refers to, it could mean either "What"s up?" or "Let"s Fuck". The combining of communication with the virtual world results in a complicating and at the same time simplifying discourse. (In a sense the same thing as you are suggesting1, but the difference being that capital"s complications are wholly quantifiable, and yours almost solely as a quality of relating.)

Even in Bateson"s time one could see that kinesics were localized to particular zones. The enrichment occurring primarily in acting, psychiatry and other professional fields. So one"s nonverbal communication is coded through labour practice and spectacular reception, or it may be derived from the surrounding environment. The direction to either signal or noise seems to me uncertain here. The whole of the individual existing in a geographical triangle does not suggest the complex shaping of the part. And the opposite is also true. I see clearly in cybernetics the complexity of collective materials, where the individual material is often stripped of its complex nature or value. On the micro level there is always a sub-individual, something massively collective which composes the individual. A useful tool for seeing the complex structuring of the individual, but ironically, at times, simplifying.

"If I tell you "we have a common interest", I am asserting the importance of the content of my message as a facet in the realising of our interest, otherwise I wouldn"t have said it. But my communicating separates our interest because I possess the knowledge of it and you do not. Only if you agree with me does that knowledge become neutral between us. If you do not accept my message for whatever reason, our commonality has significance for me and none for you. The possession of the knowledge of commonality indicates an absence of commonality in the relation between us." – Frere Dupont

This is an oversimplification, there are too many variables present here. As Bateson points out it is not the communication that matters, nor is it the content of the communicated. It is how the communication is transmitted. In pointing this out he uses an example we should all be familiar with, communicating love. Boy says to girl, "I love you." What does such a phrase mean? Is there anything inherent in it? Or is there a Baldwin Effect to this, the phrase situationally learned? I love someone because of their actions towards me, how they carry themselves and the potential I see between the two of us. To hear these words sometimes causes great pain, or joy. The words might even pass as if unheard. But this actually has little to do with the phrase itself, it has to do with the accompanying activity. The phrase does not affect my love in return, but it does not negate it. Similarly, the rejection of a message does not necessarily imply insignificance (although again, this may be true on a mass scale). Communication is much more complex than this. I may revisit the conversation at a later date, or find myself in unforeseen positions. When is this transmitted? At certain moments I may be begging to hear that someone has a common interest. The possession of the knowledge of commonality could have any number of outcomes, dependent on whether our relationship is symmetrical or complementary, whether our message is transmitted as redundant or received as noise, and when the transmission is received. In communicating one cannot be so certain.

"If we consider our position to be receptive of pattern, i.e. the patterns of conditioning and ideology and that this is in contradiction with our position as transmitters of other patterns then we begin to see why our transmissions of messages of 'change' fail where other messages of 'acceptance' succeed (this is an absurd reduction: our messages of substantial change function superficially and are actually "flooded" by messages of superficial change which behave substantially)."

"This is a very different circumstance to the almost absolute absence of redundancy between transmitter and receiver positions in the relation between radical context and general populace." – Frere Dupont

This is interesting. Over the past year I have been trying to break from insurrectionalist patterning, and even in doing so I find that my anti-political learning exists with patterns. We are over our heads in ideological shit as they say. I might say that insurrectionalist attempts at camouflaging contains many hidden redundancies. There is of course a logic of compounding violent actions, which at some point are to culminate as rupture. This is also the logic of surplus value, or as I think you have pointed out elsewhere... millenarian logic. The noise itself contains elements of redundancy, or it exists with the same sort of patterning as the redundancy. Tidbits of social war in 325 [collective] are not so different from media clips. Is it saying "Don"t bite me" or "I will not bite you"? Perhaps even further detached as, "They are biting". Or does this even matter? It is reactive to the positive and does not even consider a positive of its own doing.

"In response to the inability of the receiver to decode, the message must become more complicated, and attempt to supply the important information about an event within a relation whilst also communicating the conceptual tools to decode that message." – Frere Dupont

While I feel that I agree with this it is quite complicated and I am unsure where this might lead. Is this another oversimplification (your example)? Is something lost in the part of the working class, in this decoding of the whole? Is this reification? I think in anti-politics there is still a tendency to dehumanize the worker. He is often simplified for the sake of our arguments, not unlike political forms of speaking. Is this redundancy and noise? There is certainly a stripped down and all too human thinking that some working class individuals hold. As one of the workers in Roger & Me says, "There"s too many guys in the union that are friends with management". This is a very simple pessimism towards labour organizing, which I think is far beyond the logic of most anarchists and the left. (Or how about Richard Pryor"s Blue Collar, is this not anti-politics, essentially that there is no position for the worker? Even resistance is capitulation.) And I think this is somewhat similar to when you speak for yourself, I instead of we, and criticize the detached and inhuman writing of the left.

How are any of us in a position to determine the ability of one"s decoding? Who are we to accuse of rigidity? Henry Darger and his Vivian Girls existed as a union of worlds. As a devoted catholic and janitor, communicating little more than the daily weather to those around him. But also as a writer of an epic journey, illustrator preceding the situationists. He was a rigid nobody to the outside world, and a genius in his room, in his mind. I think in anti-politics there may be a similar schizophrenic response to our isolation. One cannot wholly know those others isolated, so we make up stories. The line is traveled from rigidity and concreteness, we are not so far from politics.

So how do I continue the process of breaking from politics? How does one communicate in an environment of quickly reformulated redundancies? If we look to evolution we have adaptation and the ability to overcome old methods. It is never easy to decide what is worth throwing away. Capital has adapted biological patterning to the material world. And it could be said that capital"s fetishizing, reifying evolution is another pathogeny, as it turns the nonverbal discourse into a queuing up, a mechanized and neurotic communication, that never says what it implies. The evolutionary process becomes a falsification at the hands of capital, simplified. The organism and the environment both exhibit predictable communicative forms.

Does complicating the matter attempt to bring life back into a sick communication process? I suppose that is what I take from your suggestion. It is said of Bateson that his work is behind his time, and ahead of it. His writing is somehow simple in its dated yet timeless style, yet the ideas hold an untold wealth. I see a similarity when you discuss the pre-human and her breaks of communication. This is one of the basic problems of primitivism, one cannot simply revert to a specific time and space, just throw it all away; the primitive politic is merely a reaction of opposites to capital. The ability of human communication to transcend space-time is one of its great qualities of potential and the primitivist suggests throwing this all away. One can enjoy Ulysses or The Iliad, and one might discuss either without transmitting noise. Outdated sciences, or mathematics, rarely offer such timeless wealth. Capital travels this latter path at an ever greater pace. Always with the accumulation of redundancy; even the efficient digging up, or detournement, of noise.

The sitcoms and popular culture you mention translate to this quickening of redundancies. A new redundancy each season. Orwell calls this duckspeak. Zerzan mentions the trivial overuse of the word "awesome". Repetitive communication indicates the inability to create a positive, to get to or go beyond "Don"t bite me". But I think this quickened pace, this acceptance of detourned noise, suggests the possibility of language breaking from redundancy. The process of flooding is a strategy of capital, to compensate the noise/signal ratio. There was little need for this before capitalism, as cultures had relatively fixed redundancies or communicative patterning. As the desire for complexity of language increases there is a chance it may break from quantity over to quality. Flooding is merely a therapeutic technique. In the end there is always the ability to see what one wants.

To conclude I would suggest that the project of nihilist communism you have drawn out at least partly goes along with what Bateson calls Camouflage, that exists "1) by reducing the signal/noise ratio, 2) by breaking up the patterns and regularities in the signal, or 3) by introducing similar patterns into the noise." If we are to intensify the complexity of our communications within the sub-milieu, preaching to the choir without preaching so to speak, how does this ever reduce the noise/signal ratio between pro-revolutionaries and workers? It seems that the language divide can only widen. Bonanno suggests the reduction of revolutionary communication to images, as the simplified man is now only moved by images. I think this is wrong, but is it possible that turning noise on its head can rid the ratio? It seems that our options are severely reduced in this evolutionary stage of communication. Bonanno's suggestion is again, reactive. So this complicating is I think a way of reintegrating language to life processes. Perhaps, but I think we need a better example than what you suggest about the working class, as this does not negate noise or redundancy. Somehow I think we need to compound our non-verbal and verbal communication and have this transcend time and space. This could be one method of reducing the signal/noise ratio. The difficulty is de-patterning the noise. There is much here to think about.

Frere Dupont: D/S, I have enjoyed your notes on this and appreciate very much your connections of these to the wider question of "anti-politics". There are too many themes introduced for me to address them all, I will just respond to a few.

She likely does not ask any questions. If she does, then they are less than unimportant, not questions at all. I think this implied activity has gone far beyond what Bateson refers to as redundancy. This is a couple, a duo, and their relation of controlled kinesics. They are individuals with a non-verbal communication that has declined in use value. The duo possesses a falsified relationship, or it possesses them, and in turn there is a public consumption of this falsification...

This is seen most clearly in the isolation of the individual through mass communication. Youth now prefer to communicate through telephone cells and social networking sites. Paralanguage is at best falsified and digitized, whereas kinesics becomes irrelevant, or at least incommunicable to the receiver. This lack of kinesics produces the need of virtual kinesics, a popularly known example, the facebook "poke". Even those who engage these virtual gestures are unsure of the meaning. It is somehow immanent, but does not carry any of the spontaneity or potential of immanence. Dead time in dead space. This ambiguous online gesture is far from the richness Bateson refers to, it could mean either "What"s up?" or "Let"s Fuck". The combining of communication with the virtual world results in a complicating and at the same time simplifying discourse.

One of my problems with "complete" critiques and "explanations of everything" is that for them to work they must transcribe a set of rules derived from the context in which they were generated, and where they function adequately, onto other contexts where they function metaphorically. In order to make total explanation work a certain amount of "bending" or deliberate filtering of descriptions must be undertaken, often this ends up expressed in terms of attributing blame or as an accusation of lack.

It is fairly short step from the critique of society to a "critique" of behaviours, and then of "others", if only they would step into line, if only they embraced the discipline of my Word. In other words, I think it is very likely that questions are equally provoked in all communications but that they are chronically context bound and this is my main point concerning redundancy.

However, the concept of "beyond" redundancy is highly intriguing. You might want to go into this more. It suggests to me two possible extrapolations: 1. communication requires a threshold of redundancy below which there can be no communication but 2. for real communication there is also a requirement for otherness, incomprehension; if otherness (or 'noise') is absent, and there is a surfeit of redundancy then in the absence of circulation/disturbance of information a gangrene sets in (either due to overdetermination or vicious circle).

Communication is much more complex than this. I may revisit the conversation at a later date, or find myself in unforeseen positions. When is this transmitted? At certain moments I may be begging to hear that someone has a common interest. The possession of the knowledge of commonality could have any number of outcomes, dependent on whether our relationship is symmetrical or complementary, whether our message is transmitted as redundant or received as noise, and when the transmission is received. In communicating one cannot be so certain.
You are right here, communication has its moment as well as its relations. I was not making a special claim for immediate responses. I do not think ideas must immediately become actions. Praxis is something of a fetish: the real condition for any proposed subjective intervention is the anticipation of a high degree of redundancy in the world (which will ensure its success) whilst the real condition for thought/speech is the absence of a high enough degree of redundancy to ensure success in any proposed action (to combine thought and action within a single field of "communication" is thus a double bind based on the irreducibility of one to the other).

We again move from the relation between transmission position and receiver position to their shared situation within a context and what we might call the "reserve" of possible redundancies available to them at that moment in that place given the stimulus of transformations in the conditions. The abundance or paucity of possible communications available to any individual (measured in terms of profundity of effect, the contents communicated and also the different registers these might be recycled within) is a fair indicator of congruity with that situation. Again, a discussion of Pavlov seems appropriate and in particular the notion of reinforcement (ie the reception and function of restraints upon possible communications).

Bonanno suggests the reduction of revolutionary communication to images, as the simplified man is now only moved by images. I think this is wrong, but is it possible that turning noise on its head can rid the ratio? It seems that our options are severely reduced in this evolutionary stage of communication. Bonanno's suggestion is again, reactive. So this complicating is I think a way of reintegrating language to life processes. Perhaps, but I think we need a better example than what you suggest about the working class, as this does not negate noise or redundancy. Somehow I think we need to compound our non-verbal and verbal communication...
My interest is not in communicating with the workers, I see no prospect of transmitting from an "active" pro-revolutionary position to a "passive" receptor-position of pure potentiality. You might positively spin it and say I am attracted to the nature of communication within the working class but it would be more true to say that what really turns me on is the multiple nature of failure in communication; in this I discern a boundary. What Bonanno says is pure elitism, as I hinted at above, it is not a fact that communication between people has "declined" or has become less successful but rather that it has become objectively both more heavily context-bound and also de-signified (few particular communications have genuine value as a transform). What he says here is also an example of a 'critique of everything' transforming itself into a moral attack on (rhetorical) individuals in order to prove the relevance of the critique.

As the conditioning of our communications here are a direct product of this compartmentalisation, one option is to abandon the structure of communication altogether as some or other positive ideal for small group to mass relation. Instead we might aim for: an acceptance of the restraints of particular contextual bound forms and work within them, a more thorough acceptance of otherness (i.e. an understanding of why telling you things are going to be ok when you are about to jump off a cliff does not "work" if you don"t want it to); a certain "turning away" into Acιphale type territory – where a refusal to communicate externally indicates an attempt to engage general received forms through the forensic teasing of small stage improvisations.

Dig the way we are compelled to randomly tag political value onto our communications in the form of self-orientating, "where next" and manifesto-style "what does it all mean?" , "How does it fit in with our project?" (code for, "are we still ok? Have we transgressed too far this time?"). The devil take all that.

 


1 Adressing Frere Dupont's Seminar1: redundancy

 


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