July 24, 2002
The Human informationprocessor

Man - as previously mentioned - could degrade into biomass for information processing, if the pressure of divided attention cannot be tamed.

Listening to the radio program
This American Life | Give the People What They Want it becomes clear that we are biomass for information - and happily so - as long as were consuming and processing social information. The story is of a home for the Alzheimer plagued, where they stage fake weddings to please the diseased. The weddings are fake. Bride and groom were hired to play bride and groom. It's like Tony n'Tinas wedding without the pretense of any excitement, except that of a social situation in which you participate.

This helps the Alzheimers patients, by placing them in a social situation they can understand and consume mentally, perhaps remembering similar situations from their own life. However, since they are Alzheimer's patients, the memory of the event lasts only a few hours. The home could stage the wedding again the next day, and the attendees would attend as if yesterday had never happened.

I am reminded of a novel by the Danish novelist Svend Aage Madsen called Se Dagens Lys (literally translates to "See the Light of Day") about a man who wakes up each morning in a new world, with a new wife, and new neighbours to happily live though the social gestures of the day, and then wakes up next day with no emotional history, just more social gestures and a new but similar setting (and I am of course also reminded of "Once in a Lifetime", and "Brave New World" and "1984" and every other fictionalization of the modern emotionally disengaged life)

Posted by Claus at July 24, 2002 09:16 PM
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