Music as Communication as Society

Norbert Wiener, a 20th century figure pivotal in the starts of Cybernetics and Information Theory, wrote that “society can only be understood through a study of the messages and the communication facilities which belong to it; and that in the future development of these messages and communication facilities, messages between man and machines, between machines and man, and between machine and machine, are destined to play an ever-increasing part.”

This was written in 1950. Since then, messages and communication facilities have evolved at an accelerating rate. At the crux of this development is the Internet. Even so, the lines of communication remain the same. We still observe messages between man and machines, machines and man, and machine and machine. Now more than ever these lines are open for the examining.

And what no better lens to study the messages and communication facilities today than through music?  It is a message, probably one of the most common distributed through our digital world. Through this virtue, music serves as a window into how our communication facilities (Internet) operate.

Our modern society can be understood through music. How we control and distribute information is vital to who we are as humans. Thinkers like Wiener found that to be the pulse of civilization. Sure enough that pulse has rhythm in it, has, if you will, music in it.


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