Originally posted by Ian McLean
Interesting theories, thanks -- it seems to me that you're making the distinction between 'influence' and 'importance'.
Is the implication then that one is purely measurable by objectively observed behavior (as in the case of advertising), and the other entirely
It's a nice dichotomy; organizes distinctions; but I don't see why that should necessarily be the case.
I had to ponder this. It seems to me that "influence" connotes subjectivity more than "importance", and I think that is what you are saying --
there is a distinction between objective and subjective, obviously.
One of the most important things Information Theory did was to say that information content is COMPLETELY OBJECTIVE. This seems a little
counter-intuitive (since human minds rely so heavily on information) but it was the major breakthrough IMO regarding our understanding of what
information actually is.
So I am going to push back in a similar fashion about "importance", saying that it ALSO is totally objective.
For example, was Sept 11th important? It resulted in massive changes. So yes, it was important. Let's say it had an importance of 10,000,000 changes
per second, on average, this year.
Was my last birthday, a few weeks ago, important? Not really. It didn't change anything of substance anywhere on the planet. It was definitely barely
important. Let's say it had an importance of barely .0000001 changes per second this year.
These hypothetical figures (if correct) would be objective. They could be measured by anyone, and would be independent of human subjectivity.
The objective study, and measure, of "importance" could have some really very practical applications to humanity
Let me elaborate a bit.
If you know Information Theory -- you know that one of the most amazing consequences of this theory was the precise concept of "bandwidth".
Specifically, Information Theory proves that there are limits to how much information can go through a communications channel.
Likewise, Importance Theory may have a similar concept, which I will call "ethereal saturation", beyond which no further ripples in time can be
induced, and no further importance can be associated with an event.
Another amazing thing that Information Theory revealed was this: regardless of how small the bandwidth of a channel is, you can still communicate
through that channel by reducing the speed at which you transmit the information. This permits us to communicate perfectly (although very slowly) with
very distant deep space probes.
Likewise, there may a similar concept in Importance Theory. Regardless of "ethereal saturation" it is always possible to increase importance of
something by slowly stretching that event out over time. This is the idea behind repeatedly showing the same stupid advertisement over and over
I'm making this up as I go. But doesn't it sound reasonable? I think I might be on the edge of something "important".
[edit on 23-6-2008 by Buck Division]