Muindi Fanuel Muindi

If “computation” is “in-formation” processing, I would like to suggest that on-going “trans-formations” escape computation in interactive performance. To suggest this, I offer the following:

1. A coyote passes through your backyard on a rainy day, leaving a footprint in a patch of dirt in your garden. The “act of passing” that left the footprint in the patch of dirt is the “trans-formation” of a substrate. The footprint left behind in the dirt, as the “residue” of the act of passing, is the “in-formation” of the trans-formation of the substrate.

2. “Trans-formations” or “acts of passing” precede, exceed and succeed “in-formations” or “residues of passing”. Returning to our example above, the coyote’s act of passing through your yard began before it left the footprint in the dirt, it continued as it left the footprint in the dirt, and it continued after it left the footprint in the dirt.

3. In-formation processing (i.e., computation) involves retrospection on past trans-formations and prospects of future trans-formations, but it does not involve “on-going trans-formations”. Of course, in-formation processing is itself an “on-going trans-formation”. That being said, however, in-formation processing does not “involve” itself, it does not “turn on itself” as an on-going trans-formation. Rather than turning on itself, in-formation processing turns on and evolves from in-formation. In other words, in-formation processing is an “act of passing” that turns on and evolves from “residues of passing”.

4. Beyond computation as information processing, let us consider emotion as trans-formation processing. Emotion is self-situating and self-motivating information processing: it is the ongoing trans-formation coming to “involve” itself, to “turn on itself”. Returning to the anecdote of the coyote’s act of passing, the emotion that one experiences upon seeing a coyote’s footprint in the dirt goes beyond one’s processing of the in-formation that a coyote has passed and may (or may not) return. To be brief, the emotion goes beyond the retrospect and the prospect of trans-formation by adding a situation and a motivation (real or imagined) to the mix. First, one imagines the circumstances under which one might hunt the coyote and one experiences one emotion. Next, one imagines the circumstances under which one might be hunted by the coyote and one experiences a second emotion. Next, one recalls the circumstances under which one last encountered a coyote and one experiences a third emotion. Finally, one imagines oneself as a hungry coyote searching for food and one experiences a fourth emotion. Alternatively, one might consider all four of the aforementioned circumstances simultaneously and one might experience a fifth emotion that is the superposition of the four different emotions evoked by the four aforementioned circumstances.

5. If one wants to attend to on-going transformations, one ought to attend to emotional problems that are beyond computational problems. Otherwise, if one only attends to computational problems, one will always be dealing with trans-formations in retrospect and as prospects.

– Muindi Fanuel Muindi

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