Aesthetics of Knowledge Maps - Sample Essay

If “a picture is worth a thousand words”, what is the worth of each word? Does the value of the aesthetic decrease through this transition? The human brain is trained to believe that there is a word to describe aesthetic, being able to put a label or description on all of this information. Why must we even classify a photo’s meaning through the written language? Visual information cannot be fully described through language or non-visual semiotic systems, because it is irreducible.

Information is an artistic and aesthetic concept; to understand our world we must include the notion of information and how we as humans can make a representation of the world in our minds. Visual artifacts contain information. We store information visually, we analyze information through a visual means, and we understand information better when it is represented visually. The word ‘tree’ represents a tree as an aesthetic, an encompassing notion versus a specific image of a singular tree. There is a broader spectrum for understanding when something is visual.

Depending of what language you speak, the framework of our semantic foundation, the meaning of a word varies drastically. People that speak different languages all see something in a photograph or painting and could tell you what it is they see, but the differences in our semantic thinking, language of words classifying information, will make it different. When a human is in early development stages as a child, the first initial way to communicate for them is visual information. Before children learn to read and write they draw, watch television, look at picture books.

Then they are given teachings of communicating visuals to word. During the Paleolithic Period, 40,000–8,000 BCE, nomadic people painted in caves as a wondrous early way of communication, sharing information with others. An incredible example is the Hall of Bulls in the Lasceux Caves located in France in 15,000 BCE. These humans could not read or write and yet the visual information they represented with these paintings is breathtaking. They didn’t need 1,000 words to describe what they saw until the information age.

Stories throughout time have been told naturally with visual information. Information has a history, yet unlike regular history, it is unbound by Euclidian space. It is not a physical being that has but one description. However, now information is all put into word. Without an extensive vocabulary there is little chance you could ever be able to express notions as clearly as if you were to simply communicate with visuals. Reliance on visual’s word to form the structure of all of our communication means thinking; visualizing information and mapping thought processes.

Knowledge deals with matter of facts; laws of nature and society deal with energy processes and determine knowledge and facts. Information is prior to laws and knowledge; information is structured, relational, stored and transmitted, aesthetic. Information is configurations, organization and formalization. Mapping concepts structures our knowledge and makes us able to generate hypotheses. The organization of thoughts and concepts in this way brings the opportunity of serendipitously learning.