Friday, March 09, 2012

Is Everything Culture?

In my readings on culture, I've found a fascinating set of theories called digital physics. These theories posit that the universe fundamentally consists of information (i.e., the "it for bit" doctrine that every particle, atom, quark, and so on is describable as a dichotomous "yes or no" categorization), and thus that the universe is in principle computable. Opponents to digital physics claim that reality is continuous, but the rejoinder is that reality only appears continuous, and is fundamentally categorical (for example, the Planck length suggests that reality is quantized). More relevant to sociology, these perspectives suggest that everything is culture -- i.e., information -- and thus that societies can be usefully modeled as information systems.