Re: bad news on the list

Thomas W. Rimkus (trimkus@COMP.UARK.EDU)
Wed, 15 Feb 1995 05:30:22 -0600

On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, Mike Lieber wrote:

> While I can empathize with Lief's misgivings about the use of alarms for
> self-aggrandizement, I cannot agree that getting details (or someone's
> version of them) of disasters on the list is necessarily a bad thing. During
> the LA earthquake, we were getting email reports from colleagues that were
> more informative than some of what we saw on TV. When the volcanic
> eruptions began in Rabaul (New Britain, PNG), those of us on the ASAONET
> were getting more news, better detailed news than anything on the media here,
> in Australia, In New Zealand, or in the UK. There was nothing on American
> TV, a paragraph in the LA Times, and that was it. Rabaul was one of the
> busiest ports the Pacific, and lots of anthropologists have friends and
> colleagues there. The American media also has a way of downplaying or ignoring
> communiques from people who are not Wall Street-approved. I could not read
> Marshal Godoy's posts either, and I'm sure I would have taken whatever he said
> as reflecting the self-interest of his position, just like I take anything the
> Mexican government says as reflecting what they see as in their self-interest.
> That doesn't mean I won't read it and think about it. I remember Viet Nam,
> Grenada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Desert Storm, and Somalia too well to be
> anything but skeptical about anyone's communiques. But I'll read them if I
> can. Pro-entropic and anti-entropic, remember, describe quantities of
> information.
> Mike Lieber
"Quantity", when describing information, seems to meld with the concept
"quality". Bad information at time t1 becomes, when exposed, no
information at t2. If the void is really just the lack of information from
which we can derive observation, then bad information, which for us forms
the basis of illusion/ignorance, adds to what we guage as entropy. Maybe we
are talking here about the long sought "missing link" between time,
information, and the void. In any event, I still don't have a secure sense
of what is going on in Chiapas; therfore, as my observational
capabilities age, my measure of entropy grows and I am pulled closer to
the void. This is where the ego pops its ugly head and I have to get a
good grip, choke it back into relevance, and ask "what does this all
have to do with the suffering?" Are we really trying to effect change on
the situation in Chaipas or are we trying to glean understanding to pass along
to the larger community, in the hope that as time passes, abhorance of this
sort of thing grows. I believe that the average person on the street
would not agree with what (I am afraid) is going on south of our border, if
the truth in all its forms were known and assimilated. Unfortunately,
getting past the "igrunt, and proud of it" hurdle is quite a task,
especially when they have the microphone.