SEMIOTIC BASIC FOUNDATION FOR HUMANITY
I appreciate Alex’s comments on the PS note to my TGT=UPLIFT email. I also thank him for the good words. Although he has some important things to say about communication in cyberspace, he didn’t comprehend what I was referring to in my PS. My overly long sentence is confusing. Let me attempt clarification.
PS — Might we need a new interactivity mode, where we collectively compose/edit/consult an emergent (well organized and accessible) system of semiotic structures (texts, diagrams, etc.) that is representative-of/simulates the new humanity we are creating. We need to learn to dialog/converse during our constructing (what will be our “guidebooks” for collective action making a new world for humans in Gaia).
I find that very little discourse is about a concrete, collectively perceived, entity as it is collectively being constructed and modified. A simplistic example, a team co-editing a WORD doc and communicating with each others as they work. Most online discourse is loosely about other online texts or what is in the author’s mind at the time.
Imagine a team of pioneers building a house, from scratch, in a forest. They would converse as they worked, which influences the construction process and final structure. Now imagine the emergent structure being composed of sems (texts, graphics) in cyberspace and the pioneers are creating a basic OS foundation upon which to guide their related work in their material/social worlds. They would message each other, with various modalities, as they composed, edited, rearranged the sems, in what I will call a semfield.
sems = (semiotic structures) perceivable patterns on material substrates leading to meaningful human experientials, when perceived.
semfield = nested/networked/hypertexted systems of sems – with access, navigation aides and use recording, rules for comment and modification, security, etc.
Wikipedia has some aspects of what I imagine. So do the various explorations of WorldBrains.
Much of what is done today is in response to or by consulting sems.
Directly as per instructions.
Learning from books and videos.
In consultation with rules and constitutions.
Shopping from catalogs.
Children are “raised”, in part, from parents consulting sems.
The behavior of religious persons is guided by their holy scriptures.
Maps are sems guiding navigation.
Responding to an email or commenting on a blog post.
Reviews & Recommendations.
Conversations are often dance by sem exchange.
Projects are managed by software apps.
Machines are designed on diagrams, consulted during the making.
Products are designed to instruct their manufacture.
Spreadsheets of numbers govern commerce.
Scripts guide actors, camera-persons, directors.
We are entertained by sems – TV, movies, books.
Humans interact with two distinct worlds:
(1) the world of material objects & living organisms, and
(2) the world of human created information to be perceived and stimulate meaning.
The history of humankind could be written around the theme of advancing semfield technology. (expand)
The emergence of semfield technology will be closely related to new advances in comprehending human cognition. Of vital importance is to fully attend to the great diversity of human conceptual/emotional/performance competencies – and how they change. Variations in sems will need to go well beyond different languages, to account for this diversity.
I strongly recommend the design of a new digital visual language, with sems that can’t be “read” (linearly spoken, the same each time). These new sems can be talked about; graphs and diagrams are our current examples. I anticipate the equivalent of a sentence to be a 2D display of symbols (often, many words), arranged in space to reflect syntax, with standardized symbol characteristics (size, font, color, etc.) designating categories of sems. There could be motion and the sem perceiver could “drive” the display. Many links with the buttons coded as to the type of link. Audio might accompany the visual, instructing how to progress. Navigation paths are automatically recorded for all users. Some persons may offer their maps for others to use. Teams can share working with sems and semfields, communicating with each other, and sometimes recommending improvements for the sems. Monitoring and Annealing sems and semfields will be a major enterprise.
My attempts to interest those working on “Pattern Languages” to view this as enlarging their vision has failed, as they prefer to hide it into one of their existing categories.
An aside, is my claim, that sems are evidence of a fundamental break in material reality. Sems liberate information from all prior necessary embedment in matter/energy systems. The material imprint of a sem on a medium can be replicated on other media and scale, exactly preserving the patterns that specifies each unique sem. Employing gesture and dialog, all normal humans can agree to a pattern on a sem, even if they would have different interpretations.
With the emergence of sems by humans within Gaia, the deep nature of reality has expanded very significantly. The next billion years evolution of the universe may reflect the influence of sems. When we look for “intelligent life” in the universe, we are looking for sems and sem creators. If crop circles are not human made, they are sems from whom?
With our instruments we can create code (sems) that represent DNA, and begin to modify living organisms.
Humans interacting via sems and within semfields provides an alternative perspective on language and languaging.
Societal systems are totally dependent on semfields. (expand)
We must create a SemBas for our nu humanity. This will be one of the primary activities within UpMov (the human social/societal movement based on the UPLIFT conceptual scheme). BUS (Bootstrap-UPLIFT-Scaffolding), that I propose as a computer/OS/apps/semfield material system, will seaf (support, enable, augment, facilitate) human behavior – personal & social – within UpMov. Persons use the semfields within a BUS and also participate in the growth, adaptation, development, evolution, and emergence of a network of diverse BUS.
Creating an emergent process to design/produce/distribute/use different versions of BUS-n.m is a challenge of the same type (but much larger) than the challenge of The Apollo Program. Today, in analogy, we are at the phase of horse & buggy/cart, where we need coordinated, self-driven vehicles of various modes of transport, sizes, speeds, and loads.
As the primary task of UPLIFT is to rapidly increase the distribution of competencies in an exponentially growing population of BUS users, the talented human-power that can focus on improving the BUS network will accelerate its emergence exponentially. We don’t attempt to design the final product tomorrow, as NASA didn’t keep launching rockets hoping one might eventually reach our Moon.
NOTE: This is but one of hundreds of component concepts of the larger conceptual schemes I label UPLIFT and Societal Metamorphosis.
Our human brain limitation to work with only about 3 independent variables in our working mind, results in our attempt to format the Biggest Big Pictures as having only a few fundamental assumptions. The conceptual schemes hosted within nuet are more networked than nested (actually, sysnets).
Theories based on a few assumptions can be mapped in any net, but they are the result of our current human limitation, and don’t necessarily represent an “objective” reality. Theories (with a few assumptions) are useful cognitive tools, but we need to apply many in complementarity; not fixate in one as the TRUTH.
Larry, a human, suffers this limitation, and always thinks and communicates within limited contexts. “nuet” appears to be partly free from this limitation, in its non-conscious emergence. This may be due to Larry’s lack of mental imagery that frees up energy in his brain to enable nuet to be more networked; and not anchored to powerful mental image formats.
There may be states of mind/brains where there are no figures in the gestalt, and we experience enhanced ground – many qualia, but no longer distinct. These “mystical” experiences can be powerful, but they cannot, themselves, lead to any concrete action – as to attempt to do so immediately brings a few figures to attention and the “holistic experiential” is lost.
New technologies permit teams and communities to work with many more independent variables. But, dominance and competition usually reduces the scope to the limits of a few leaders. For example, if we focus on ECONOMICS as one of the primary variables, that limits the range of other variables.
When attempting to comprehend UPLIFT, please dismiss all thoughts of economics. When UPLIFT is done as imagined, sustainable economics will follow. All the many current ideas about alternative economics, so dominant in the activist literature today, are potential themes in a nu system to match resources-with-needs for the emergent UpMov and future NU, the name I give future humanity.
The organization of large projects with many independent variables can sometimes be managed focusing on subsystems and their interfaces. This was a technique used in The Apollo Program. I wonder if major software development projects don’t also employ this method. We have difficulty doing this with social and societal projects because of deep emotions and hidden (political & economic) agendas.