Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Making the Improbable Probable

“The immanent improbabilities of the communication process and way in which they are overcome and transformed into probabilities regulate the construction of social systems.”
That was the central concept of this class.

Last Monday, students who conquered piles of readings were gathered in the classroom of Social Systems Theory in order to study media and code for communication. 

To begin with, Prof. Iba introduced three kinds of improbability on communication using Nikolas Luhmann’s quotes in Social Systems Theory. At first, there is the improbability of understanding. Niklas Luhmann says that
 “At the zero point of evolution, it is first of all, improbable that ego understands what alter means-given that their bodies and minds are separate and individual.”

Also, there is another improbability, reaching. Even though we are surrounded by a variety of communication tools and convenient social media, we still struggle with issues that the message actually reaches to a person who we want to tell.

The third one is the improbability of success.
 “Even if a communication is understood by the person it reaches, that does not guarantee that it is also accepted or followed.”

However, we have ways to overcome those improbabilities, which is “media”. According to Luhmann, media is ways of transforming what is improbable into what is probable. Prof. Iba indicated three kinds of media;
1. Language
2. Media of dissemination
3. Symbolically generalized communication media

After students listened to the explanations by the professor, they had dialogues discussing three kinds and improbabilities and media in order to whether they understood them successfully or not by using familiar topics.

■ N. Luhmann, Social Systems, Stanford University Press, 1996

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