A concise summary of a vast subject. James Gleick’s coverage of symbolism is an apt, strong theme throughout. The summary of the scientific viewpoint also covers well the current confusion about the fundamentality of Information, the bit, the byte, 4 dimensionsal digital reality, on or off? – the biter bit!
Finally, Wikipedia gets due coverage for being perhaps the greatest real social democratic project on the planet, warts and all mirror of the human condition:
Stars the bit players
Cast a universe in mind
Art thou creator?
We inhabit a matrix of digital information
We make of it what we will
Consciousness just another production
Of the director over the hill
Just in the mind?
It is just, it is justice, no shame
What a magnificent thing to find
A universe inside us
I’m not religious in any accepted sense
I cannot paraphrase the universe
But yours is the crudest interpretation
I’ve come across for something that persists
As long as humanity
And has changed it and you and me irrevocably
You charge it with man’s folly?
Its own state and purpose,
Its raison d’etre!
What am I to make of your opposition,
Caravan, caravan I hear you calling
Through the hissing of hot tarmac
The sun broke through to enlighten this scene
Of sausage, black pudding, bacon and beans
From a lovely fat lady in greasy jeans
All lipstick, ‘hello love’, and ‘ketchup on that?’
Steamed up windows and a world racing by
Whoosh whoosh, whoosh caravan’s rocking, and so am I
Here comes my tea in a cracked cup
Slopping all over as I slurp it up
Here’s a big trucker bursting a button
All eyes averted from his builder’s bottom
Finds himself a seat, the lady has seen
Asks for his breakfast without any beans
The windows steamed up and the world racing bye
Slow, slow food fit for a king and his queen
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, caravan rocking a rock-a-bye-bye
Sing their little bit of heaven on the A14
The morning sun hides behind its trees.
The wind weaves with green and leaves,
a soft speckled light that avoids all sense
to root in deeper place of inner mind.
Where animus and anima have no need to know,
for this kind of knowing is just, a softer glow
suffusing everything that’s bright and right.
Human consciousness the only seer here,
the only thinker of what’s close at hand,
diffusing gods, God, nature and her bite
What responsibility to all living things
is humanity’s knowledge, will, power, plight?