By Albert Borgmann
"[Borgmann] has provided a stunningly transparent definition of knowledge in Holding directly to Reality. . . . He leaves room for little argument, except one desires to pose the now style objection: i assume it is dependent upon what you suggest via nothing."—Paul Bennett, Wired
"A significant anecdotal research of data for a hype-addled age."—New Scientist
"This insightful and poetic mirrored image at the altering nature of data is an excellent antidote to a lot of the present hype concerning the 'information revolution.' Borgmann reminds us that regardless of the truth of our time, we want 'a stability of indicators and issues' in our lives."—Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly
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Extra info for Holding On to Reality: The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium
Thus the tree was more than a merely natural sign and distinguished as a conventional one by the things the Indians hung on it, “small articles of bead work, bear claws, strips of red cloth, queer-shaped stones, bunches of white sage, pieces of buffalo scalp, small pieces of bone, e t ~ . ” A cairn is likewise an intentional sign, a pile of rocks that by its density and steepness is set apart from its surroundings and conveys its meaning through a convention without which it means nothing. 28 In the ancestral environment of the Old World, the ties between the intelligence of humans, the disclosive power of intentional signs, 30 CHAPTER THREE and the eloquence of things emerge most clearly and eminently in the story of Abraham and Sarah.
Memory Literacy is the ability to read and write. In a more dramatic sense it is the force that invades and transforms an oral culture. The drama of this encounter has been enacted in ancient Greece, in the early Middle Ages, and in the conquest of this continent by Europeans, among countless other instances. Writing poses a challenge that no preliterate society has been able to evade. Whatever else may be controversial about literacy, its overwhelming power is not. Primary orality has never been able to resist it in the long run.
The camera that records me in front of my computer must remain invisible. If I use another camera to catch the first, the second recedes into invisibility. The problem here is the one that plagues the universal mirror. It can show me everything in the world, me included. But it cannot show me the universal mirror itself. Time and space have always and already engaged and surpassed me. The symmetry of humanity and reality is encompassed by reality. Within the world of eloquent and interrelated things and intelligent persons, it is possible to specify the reference of a thing, that is, to let one thing refer to another in a special way and make the former into a sign.