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Meta Security & Theosophy

Meta Security & Theosophy


  1. When Technical Debates Become Religious
  2. Equivocation in Technology: Meta Data
  3. Equivocation in Theology: Six Days of Creation
  4. The Value of Accepting Ideas, "As Is"
  5. Conclusion
e.s. kohen

1. Where Technical Debates Become Religious

How do you know when Meta Data become real Data?  The answer is the same as asking: How do you know when an Electron will change state?  By observing it.

Slashdot vs, the NSA and Meta Data has yet another community mash-up regarding Meta Data.  As always, "Tin Foil Hat" conspiracies abound--but in this case justifiably.

From a Philosophical point of view--namely Epistemology, (even Memetics), for that matter, the International Community has completely failed to "Grok" the idea that "Meta" is a completely relative term.

When any scientific debate is abruptly thrown into the context of the Politics or Theology, the entire planet seems to devolve into manipulative rhetoric.

What "Meta" means to one person is certainly not what "Meta" means to another.

People are using completely different "measures" of what "Meta" is, and as a result this debate is made absurd--full of Equivocation logical Fallacies.

This means most debates about countries stockpiling "Meta Data" becomes just as absurd as arguing about a literal, six day Creation--another debate which also exemplifies the Equivocation fallacy.

Just as theologians are are very successful manipulating doctrines by equivocating over the term, "Day," politicians and technologists are also successful using this same tactic, distorting the term "Meta."

As there are many definitions for "Meta," and "Day," people are tossed to and fro in the confusion ultimately making both arguments completely absurd and ultimately pointless, for the same exact reasons.

2. Equivocation in Technology: Meta Data

We have Equivocated in an absurdly religious way what "Meta Data" is, and is not.  Data about Data is still Data.  Information about Information is still Information.  "How often I called someone", "what time of day", and "for what reasons", is just as important to people as the content of those conversations.

When politicians and technologists claim that Meta Data is insignificant, but rush off in secret to collect that data, we have dispositive proof, quantifiable evidence, regarding the true value and significance of "Meta Data."

3. Equivocation in Theology: Six Days of Creation

Like defining "Meta," the Literal Six Day argument is absurd.  On one hand, there is the Hasty Generalization that all believers accept this doctrine.  On the other hand,  detractors unapologetically misrepresent fundamental beliefs, equivocating that the theological and ancient definition of the word "Day" meant a literal 24 hour period of the Earth's rotation in view of the Sun.

When taking into account that there was no such reckoning in the context of Genesis--or even the entire Bible, the Genesis account is obviously metaphorical--Prima Facie:
  1. The Genesis account states that the Sun and the Moon appeared in the story on or around the Fourth Day :
    Gen. 1:16: God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17.) God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18.) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
  2. The Genesis account states that that the Earth was present--before--the Sun and the Moon were given as "lights".  
    Gen. 1:9: Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10.) God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. ... 13.) There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
The debate descends into absurdity when you ask: How were the first three days measured if the Sun and Moon only became present on the Fourth day?  Did God have a stop watch?  

Or rather, is it reasonable to apply the "Razor"--and accept the most reasonable conclusion--that the passage is obviously metaphorical and uses analogies?

4. The Value of Accepting Ideas, "As Is"

Often times, if we accept an idea in its "raw state," without equivocation, without philosophizing or theologizing over it, we can find inspiration for very practical solutions.  On the other hand, by distorting the debate, concealing a matter, we close avenues of discovery.

It is often fruitful to entertain Natural Patterns, philosophical and theological concepts, in the design of new things.  Often very abstract cosmological and metaphysical ideas manifest in very real and concrete ways.

For example, two different "Design Patterns" are represented in the Six Day debate, and appear in Enterprise Software designs for highly transactional and distributed global systems :

  1. Sun Before Earth Model: Strongly typed objects replicated between servers in a cluster.
  2. Earth Before Sun Model: "Instantiation" of objects at a remote location when the destination is unknown, as seen implemented in remote messaging and Deserialization.

In the same way, accepting the concept of "Meta Data," without equivocation, leads to a more accurate understanding of hierarchical data structures, ontologies, and that the core privacy concern is not the data itself--but the associations made between the data points.

Following this avenue of thought, a solution would be to allow for the data collecting, but not the storage of those associations--requiring human effort to associate that data to ensure Due Process, Privacy, and Equal Protection under the Law.

5. Conclusion

"Meta Data" is no longer Meta Data, once it is collected and aggregated.

A well-placed analogy is to equate the problem of "Meta Data" to the "Observer Effect" in physics: when the Meta Data is being "observed," or "gathered," the act of this observation alters the nature of that data so that it is no longer, "Meta"--it has now become very meaningful.

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