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Objectivity - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Steven has a thoughtful, extended reply to my previous entry.

The thing is, as was the case in previous iterations of our debate on this general topic, I feel like we are speaking a little off to the side, past each other, instead of directly confronting the other. That's the problem with the Other, of course, that our attempts to confront it never really meet it fair and square. But that's a tale for another day. . .

Anyway, I don't disagree with Steven that there's something out there that exists outside of our consciousness.

What gets me going is the idea that this something is made of "facts."

Pardon me, readers, for once again going etymological on your respective asses, but I think there's a reason that the word "fact" derives from the Latin word meaning "to make."

In my book, "facts" are what we make in our efforts to get as close as possible to that something out there that we can never fully capture. It doesn't mean that the "it" isn't out there. But the "facts" are always already approximations, like those equations I couldn't really complete successfully in Calculus that break movement down into very small static units, or the digital "translation" of analog music.

Mind you, I readily acknowledge that facts can come very close to their mark, just like a CD can sound very much like the source it's made from. For most purposes, the difference between "fact" and what it seeks to capture will be functionally insignificant, undetectable. However that doesn't mean the gap isn't there.

What my previous entry was trying to express is my sense that we usually need to act as though that difference were not only insignificant, but meaningless. And that's fine, so long as we retain some portion of our minds for speculative thinking in which we do admit the possibility that meaningless differences can mean everything.

Mode: compressed
Muse: Wehmut - Franz Schumann (Lied) - Bryn Terfel

2 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 21st, 2003 12:47 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

from Steven

Hey Charlie, your comments about digital sound make me think of cpratt's analysis of various compressed-sound files a few days ago. Like you say, for most purposes, the difference between fact and what it seeks to capture will be functionally insignificant: the same tune played in a car on the freeway will sound pretty much the same whether it's the "original" CD or a compressed version. But, as cpratt noted, if you play the tunes under optimal conditions and really pay attention, you can hear the difference, and it matters.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 21st, 2003 01:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Reply to Steven

I was thinking of cpratt's experiment when I wrote that, I'm sure.

It's funny how few people seem to care about the LP vs. CD distinction these days. But, back in the early-to-mid 80s, that's what everyone was talking about. I used to read the consumer stereo magazines during free period in junior high and high school.

My dad had a reel-to-reel tape deck for the same reason. He never uses it now, though.

We had an interesting experience at Target the other day, taking our pictures in for developing. knicolini was trying to get the person at the photo center to let her do Kodak processing, but the woman kept saying she should go with Target's one-hour processing instead. At first, Kim was just annoyed at this woman's persistence. But after being told that Kodak now does its printing digitally and that only the one-hour processing gives you traditional, "analog" prints, Kim relented.

She opted for the premiere package, which costs a little more than Kodak. The pictures came out great, actually, with a nifty box for the prints, sleeves for the negatives, and a photo CD with the front of the CD doubling as an index print.

These days, though, it's way cheaper to go with digital photography. My reluctance to take the plunge, though, besides the problem of cost -- I'd want a digital SLR -- is the irrational, romantic attachement to traditional photography.

And yet, there IS a difference between the two kinds of photo making, just as there is between the two kinds of photo processing. The digital may look sharper, but the grain will be different in quality than that of an analog photo or analog print.
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