Binary: relating to, using, or denoting a system of numerical notation that has 2 rather than 10 as a base.
Binary. The language of a modern computer driven world. Instead of a range of value across a scale of 1 to10, a spectrum or continuum, binary uses a system of a value of 2 options. 1 or 0. On or off. Is or is not.
We live in an increasingly globalised world, driven by computers and software all using binary numbers as its language. We are often told that computers are making the world a smaller place, that we are becoming ‘global’ and that computers bring us together. I often wonder if this is a good thing? I can use a computer and its binary system to talk to someone on the other side of the world, instantly. But if I want to see that person and talk to them with all the subtleties of body language, vocal inflection and personal interaction, I have to fly for 22 hours, stopping once to refuel, and travelling 11,000 miles to achieve this.
So binary allows me to connect with someone on the other side of the world, but it does not allow me to interact with them in a truly personal way?
Inside my computer a series of 1 or 0’s define how it operates. So it takes me, a person with a schema, a life time of experience, a range of complex emotions and the ability to conceptualise my surroundings from a philosophical, political, artistic and emotional level to input my words into something that turns it all binary.
Now I wonder if the computer if being guided by my input and converting that into binary or is the computer and its binary language actually inputting into me? That might sound strange, but does it?
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It sometimes seems that in the global world of social media, that the computer and global world it enables, is driving the people who use it, to settle into binary positions. It seems to me that people are starting to use binary language to interact with the world around them.
It is very disheartening to see this conversion of human interaction reduced to binary language and positions. I look at the Brexit vote. A binary choice, in or out, that led to a binary choice, hard or soft Brexit. It saddens me even further to see the interaction of people, when dealing with the results of binary choices, being reduced to binary language.
Remoaners, liberal elites, Lefties, out of touch, stupid.
Just some of the choice binary words I have seen leveled at people disappointed by the result.
Brexiteers, Fascist, Nazi, thick, out of touch, racist.
Binary words again.
I would point out to the people using binary words about remoaners, you cannot just be a leftie and a liberal elite. It would require a complex ideological position with a nuanced understanding of the philosophical concept of freedom to define a socialist and liberal perspective of the equality of outcome that both positions could represent.
But that’s not very binary is it. To look at the position of the people on the other side of the debate requires more than just insults that are binary in nature.
The same applies to the Brexiteers. How can you be a fascist and a Nazi. One position was born out of National Socialism, the other is a far right wing position. Why is a desire to restore national sovereignty to your state a racist endeavor? To seek restoration of your sovereign state might be considered to go against the globalist trend and favor more international anarchistic perspective of international relations.
Again none of these positions are easy to express without the complex understanding of the world around us and how we interact with it. They are far more subtle and nuanced than a binary position and binary language allows.
Do any of us exist in isolation, are we not bound by are social contracts, our relationship with our local and wider communities? We live complex and political world. All politics, philosophy’s, ideologies and political communities exist across a spectrum. None of them are binary, especially socialist perspectives, which produce a wide a broad church of different ideological positions. None of the complex, subtle and nuanced nature of the world we live in seems best served by trying to distill all of its complexities into binary positions and binary language.
Does that black mirror we stare into every day, at our computer, on our tablet or through our phone, reflect our face back at us or is it shaping us a new, binary, reflection?
There you have it, I have used 900 words to express, in not very binary terms, my concern at my perceived rise in the use of binary language in our society. That binary language will harm debate, degrade our interactions with each other and isolate us all into binary positions. We might be able to Ctrl+Alt+Dlete a computer, but we cannot do that to ourselves and our society.
Or to borrow the words of the recently departed, once vilified, and at the sad time of his passing, much respected former England manager Graham Taylor…
‘do I not like that’
‘This article was written by a cybetech 87765 laptop using a cortex 100100100 processor, assisted by the malleable human, Mike Gumbrell’
‘this article was then processed into a blog format by a defknel101101101 processor’ and the authors identity remodeled to be a www.thespecialistgeneralist.net virtual identity’.