This is information in its free and natural state.

This is what information supposedly wants. But information in its free state is noise, entirely useless information, as it is unfiltered, unorganized and meaningless. Only by confining the proximity of information to other bits of information does information begin to take on meaning.

This piece explores how the natural constraints imposed on living organisms by their environment affect those organisms, and applies it to information theory.

Here, information is not only free, it is alive. By hacking the ecosystem, instilling the digital in the biological, the INFORMATION ECOSYSTEM has achieved a symbiosis of technology and nature. Information has been injected into the very fabric of existence- the air we breathe, the molecules that bind us- every natural cycle of transference becomes a cycle of information exchange.

Breathing converts Oxygen to Carbon Dioxide, also bringing that information within the consciousness of the breather. Breathing also exchanges some of the breather's information with that of the ecosystem, pushing our own thoughts into the atmosphere. In this way, we become part of a collective consciousness. We are no longer tyrant over information; we are merely a conscious medium through which it passes.

But we still exert some control, some contextualization of this information, adding meaning to this information through its confined proximity. Notice how the words take on new meaning when they are juxtaposed together in our thoughts.

This contextualization is also a commodification, turning this information into a thing, a tangible concept that may be shared as a unit with others. And the corporation teaches us the ultimate lesson in the commodification of information. Here the corporation is represented by a whale, a culture-gobbler. It grabs free information from the air, fixing, trademarking and essentially "killing" this information, as any semblance of life is lost once it it becomes static and unchanging. The corporation subverts our culture for its own financial gain, spreading its own consumer rhetoric in its place. But at the same time, the corporation does a service, making information accesible by fixing it in space and time, even telling us how to compute that information's meaning.

Here you help control the information flow. You can add new information to the system as Carbon Dioxide or Oxygen. Not only does this enrich the floating information resource, but it provides the compounds necessary for life. But be careful, you can kill the human or tree with too much Carbon Dioxide or Oxygen, just as you can drown us in a sea of too much information.

The next step will develop the noise of free information to its ultimate absurdity. As I make this a multi-user ecosystem, you can share the responsibility of maintaining life together with others, and the process of feeding information together will serve as a chat room of sorts. Except that in this chat room, the information is free, so statements take on unexpected meanings as they juxtpose themselves with other bits of information, or mix to become nonsensical. Communicating in a world of free information is a pesky thing, like playing chess with live figures.

The hacker maxim that "information wants to be free" is really just a euphamism for "we want everyone to have the right to enslave information." Once we give information a life of its own, we see that our concept of "free information" is flawed. Free information is chaos, free information is nonsense. The only kind of useful information is dead information.

Long live information!

- - - - - - - -

Here is the source code for this month (you'll need the free stuffit expander Director 8.5 to open it.)