Archaea said:According to the book Chaos by James Gleick in the late 1970's and early 1980's there was a group which operated in Santa Cruz called the dynamical systems collective. This group published a paper called "Strange attractors, chaotic behaviour and information theory." The idea as I understand it is that information which can be carried as a series of bits, can be periodic, for example 100 100 100 ect, which would contain less information, or it can be chaotic, where the next section of the series can't be predicted from the previous section, not even approximately, and would contain more information.
The idea presented in the book is that when the data is chaotic it contains a lot more information that when the data is periodic. another idea that is presented is that a chaotic stream of data can be produced by following the boundary of something called a strange attractor, which is fractal... If I remember correctly.
Interesting. I have to say that the idea that chaos carries more information than order is counter-intuitive to me, but I think I can see why they say that. It is more information because simply there is a larger amount of - or rather a larger variation - of 'bits'.
But it feels counter-intuitive because too much chaotic information becomes noise and lacks meaning. Too much order would also result in very little or no meaning. So a balance between the two would be optimal. For example, a language has semantics, grammar, vocabulary, exceptions, pronunciation, etc., all of which are the order of the message. But they are flexible enough to allow for a wide range of combinations of the above (the 'chaos' part) that results in a message. Without language rules there is no message; without the possibility of playing around with the elements determined by those rules there is also no message.
So again, I suppose we come back to the point made earlier on this thread that information on its own is not enough; there needs to be meaning, which implies consciousness. You could say that the books in the fictional library described by Borges are all information. But 99.99% of them are useless, meaningless information, i.e. pure chaos. Only those that are 'arranged by a truth', as the Cs say, or which are ordered, 'become consciousness', which is perhaps what makes meaning meaningful.