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fig.17—“Wiederholungszwang hat mehrere Bedeutungen.”


 The Shannon­-Weaver Model laid cornerstones for 20th­-century Information Theory by reframing communication as signal. Over the radio or across the room, a signal is at least twofold: transmission from a source has an active character, while receipt at a destination has a passive character. However, even nominally ‘one­-way’ signals are expressed and interpreted with a dynamical interplay of noise. Shannon’s clipped prose typifies the industrial bent of post­-WWII American academia. To supplement the mathematical mechanism with the psychical, Jacques Lacan 1960 notes the feedback inherent to a collective speech code that precedes individual speakers:


“[W]hat is omitted [by] modern information theory is that one cannot even speak of a code without it already being the Other’s code; something quite different is at stake in the message, since the subject constitutes himself on the basis of the message, such that he receives from the Other even the message he himself sends.”

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fig.18—Deutsche dialecticians deconstruct dicey didactics 


  Dialectical reasoning consists in productive cycles, wherein a positive thesis passes through a negative antithesis into synthesis of a higher conceptual type—which may invoke another antithesis. The Shannon­-Weaver Model treats noise as if coming from a source extrinsic to an ideal signal, yet our common phrasing turns on the dialectical machinery that Hegel called “sublation” (Aufgehoben): when we say every signal has a “signal­-to-noise ratio” we imply that a firstsignal (­-to)” has been disrupted, negated by noise—yet both persevere, as if a secondsignal” were spoken by ‘the ratio itself’. In other words, we habitually speak of the (negative) noise as intrinsic to the (positive) signalirrespective of origins. To ‘sublate’ is to annihilate yet preserve, to “lift upwards” into the non­-identity of nominally positive and negative forms. Compare signal/noise to life/death: life presupposes death, yet we say death “is a part of life”; life in particular, which ends, is sublated to life in general—life thus persists not despite but by virtue of its own self­-negation.

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