Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

Social networks

Maija Burnett comments
In an earlier posting, you make a distinction between discussions about the brain (science, matter), versus the mind (theoretical, phenomenological). Can a similar parallel be made in terms of discussions of mechanical vs. social networks — i.e. the virtual ‘nuts and bolts’ of the internet, and the complex ‘pathways’ of social interaction?

Response from Ron Burnett
Yes, there is a similar parallel, and this is part of Ronny Siebes argument as well. The difficulty is the movement from the nuts and bolts to something more intelligent happens within the body and the mind in ways that we don't really understand other than through the most limited of metaphors. It is just not enough to talk about neurons firing and producing effects. Trillions and trillions of interactions create a complex distributed network in the mind, which means that the mapping process can, at best, create an approximation of what happens and not a complete picture. The fascinating thing is that complexity does grow out of simplicity.