PROPOSITION: With its visual languages, humankind “breaks from the mold” for all life in Gaia.
This is not necessarily negative for Gaia, as it was from within Gaia that humankind emerged. At present, humankind’s spreading and effects on Gaia are analogous to cancer metastasizing in an organism. But, unlike cancer, humankind has vast potential to become a powerful new subsystem of Gaia and serve Gaia’s multi-billennial survival/thrival.
All advanced competencies within Humankind have their roots in the evolutionary paths of animals. The reinforcing interaction of competencies gave what appears to be a qualitative leap with the emergence of humans with their intelligence, language, and technology.
Humankind was too successful in adapting to Gaia, basically eliminating predators and other means to “naturally” limit population growth. Until recently, most humans were unaware that their population growth threatened their Gaian support system. Via their “religions”, human cultures came to believe they were special and had the divine right to take from their environment, which was put their for their use and pleasure. They lacked the conceptual scheme of ecological systems and flows. Tribal respect for their environment didn’t transfer to civilized humankind.
Creating and Using Information Patterns was the innovation that broke Humankind from the basic patterns of life that had characterized all life in Gaia for billions of years. I call these information patterns, sems, for semiotic structures. Sems include texts, diagrams, data tables & graphs, painting and other artforms. I will leave for later whether buildings and city/farm/grid layouts are sems.
Sems are unique in our universe! All other information is locked into physical structures, such as DNA. The sems I refer to here are capable of being copied and replicated – that preserves the pattern or information. Humans can confirm to each other the identity of sems, even though they may interpret their meanings differently.
It is important to note that sems transcend language. Photography and digital recording of video carries sems beyond language, although the meaning of these visuals is processed through our languaging systems. Yet, we have only begun to explore alternative ways of dynamically presenting language symbols in space and time for perception. Visual languages must transcend having to be verbally read or being arranged in linear sequences as you are now experiencing.
Before there were sems, all information flows in Gaia were accompanied by patterned flows of matter and energy. There were closed loops, although it might take a long time for closure to complete. As humans spread across the planet and began living in dense populations the stimuli they responded to became more and more sems – and not the patterns of “nature”. Where the sems were to simulate/represent “nature”, they were often not accurate.
I use the term semfield to label the collections/systems of sems that influence a person, group, culture, or population. The collective semfields for planetary humankind are immense and rapidly growing. They, not Gaia or “Nature” are the primary “reality” determining human behavior.
Disasters resulting from wars or climate change do have an impact on those directly effected; but the “whole” of humankind responds to the sems reporting such happenings, which includes spin, disinformation, and propaganda. In reality, visuals (including videos) are manipulated to better influence persons than text or words ever did; they result in a paradox of what appears more concrete is actually more abstract.
Those few aware of the divorce of humankind from Gaia, call for a return of humankind to Gaia – unaware that it is not possible. Humankind is defined by its semfields. What humankind must do is create its semfields so that they relate well with Gaia. Humankind will not “solve” its Climate Change issues using its existing semfield – on which all governance and economics is based.
PROPOSITION: The contemporary semfield of humankind cannot be edited to be the semfield we need. The nu semfield must be different in structure, processes of composing and using, as well as content.
A key component of my proposed UPLIFT expedition is the creation of a nu semfield for Humanity. Semfields provide scaffolding for bootstrapping the exponential growth of the nu Humanity within collapsing Humankind – a Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis.
Post Authoring Commentary
Reflecting back, within my limitations, reveals a slow, but steady, emergence of the system of conceptual schemes that makeup nuet’s reality. Two shifts occurred during the writing of this short essay.
The insight that semfields transcend language is new. Although I had long considered artworks and video as sems, I didn’t make the leap to realize that video sems don’t necessarily involve explicit language.
Also, that semfields are a world/space for inputs/outputs, in direct competition with “Nature” and “Local Settings” – what we see and hear around us – rose a notch in significance. This clarified how sems are a break with Gaia, leading to my use of “vs” in the title of this essay.
I did not, while composing, reflect on the epidemic of cell phone use and the SciFi extrapolations re The Matrix. But now, moving in cyberspace (with the new virtual reality glasses) makes semfields very REAL.
This, strangely, returns humans to a special place in the Cosmos, but without the wishful fantasies of Gods who favor humans, and “consciousness” as supreme reality.