My e-mail server is down.

It is a profound irony that this means more to me than a potential crash of CNN or the Wire services. More than the possible collapse of a stock market or the sudden rise of a new world leader. More than the new destination list for U2's next tour or the posters that are pimping the next Gene Wilder remake.

All this information is at my fingertips. All of it hesitates there, at the edge of my conciousness and interest and yet none of it concerns me.

None of it matters. I don't go to each of those places every 2 minutes and check to see if they are still online, or obsess about the details of which news articles are most important.

My e-mail matters, because it is entirely wrapped up around me. It is my connection to my friends, my family, and my world. When it simply isn't, I find myself adrift. Certainly there is a sea of information there that I could peruse, yet I do not because the only information that will truely impact me has traveled out of my reach.

I am beyond reach, and beyond reaching. It intrigues me that this has such an effect on my behaviour. Even though there is likely no important message contained by my inbox, and if the server were to spring to life I could probably check my mail and shut down the window in 30 seconds time with no change whatsoever, the potential for news from my little world is far more influential than the real news is likely to be.

Is this the irony of Schroedinger's cat? That his state matters so much more while the lid of the box is closed? To end the test will reveal at worst, one less cat in the world--and that would be a pity but not a profound impact on anyone. But the fact that he is neither alive of dead but rather suspended between realities, allows him to controls the minds and cares of every physicist who considers his case.

The potential for information has so much more power, sometimes, than the information itself ever could.

How we fret while we wait for news of a delivery 1000 miles away, or the latest score at a football game, or the latest stock market price change, though none will elicit any behaviourial change in our selves. We hover, suspended between our own realities, waiting for outcomes that, once received are relegated to little more than trivial nonsense.

If we could harness the power of potential information, it might resolve into something far more valuable than cold hard facts or money.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


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