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Archive for February, 2011

This post follows on my last introduction to an objective point of view and it continues exposing Adi’s semantics and the objects of the metalanguage he developed to help explain the relation between language, thought and basic or fundamental existence.

In this post I will charaterize, once again, the idea of conception.  Instead of using a psychological or psychoanalytic language as I have in the past, I will return to the physical theme that guided early research, after finding support for these ideas in Bohm’s book On Creativity (mentioned previously), to introduce the semiotics of creativity.  In this context, semiotics is seen as a system for the interpretation of symbols and creativity is simply the ability or power to create and to conceive (e.g., to form or devise a concept).

In what follows, I will show how the symbols of language are steeped in the creative forces of Nature so that we may extract the flavor and meaning of life.

As I have reported elsewhere in this blog,  computer scientists and linguists are fond of propositional theories that turn beliefs into statements and assertions that can be aggregated into data.  So, it has been difficult showing computer scientists, logicians and programmers, that there are other ways to process meaning.  What is called ‘semantics’ in the computer industry is the epistemological truth or correspondence between such stated beliefs or assertions.  This is all good, even rational, yet somehow ‘artificial’.  This has been demonstrated in the past and more recently with game-playing computers.

The ‘epistemological methods’  do not account for the ‘natural causes’ of human perception or the production of belief. This may be hard to grasp fully, yet, one intuitively knows that their ability to act or judge (also seen as an action) is subject to physical forces and conditions, arising from within and without, and to the passage of time.  Dr. Tom Adi discovered the essential nature of these physical powers and creative forces while looking for semantics in samples of a historically consistent language.

The semantic logic of the poietic-side (generative) use of language derives from physical processes: Upon enduring (more-often after appreciating) the forces and powers behind prominent events — take one that evokes a familiar, if not pleasing, sensation X — a Speaker S may find they can fashion physical gestures and symbols and actual procedures (moving towards, away / forward, backward, etc.) into mental tools. Such tools are used for projecting the idea (the configuration or arrangement of objects and procedures) that causes X, where the sophistication and use of such tools increases over time. Children often learn repetitively; by simulating or causing a physical procedure (influencing X) to reoccur.

Such ’physical procedure’ (explained more fully below) may be carried out in the imagination or for real. There is nothing mysterious about sensation X. It is defined according to practice as a palpable feeling or perception resulting from something that happens to or comes into contact with the body. It is physical nature that all living organisms have a proprioceptive sense; one that relates to the stimuli connected with the position and movement of the body. These stimuli, produced within the organism, are sensations that cause further reaction or response. Most people have witnessed a flower turn its petals to the sun.

The sensation that moves the flower is produced from within, from a sense of the extent, direction and force of impinging stimuli, i.e., For the flower, the ‘meaning’ is in the orientation of the flower in respect to the natural forces moving it to take the ‘right’ position. Moral and other distinctions holding mind and body apart are unnecessary to one’s proprioceptive sense of the position, location and relevant extent of objects and forces in one’s immediate presence.

While all living beings have a proprioceptive sense of being at their discretion, (to avoid running into things, face in the right direction, or simply satisfy their role, etc.) humans beings also have limited dominion over the creative forces of nature to go along with their animal instincts. It is human nature to uncover or discover the physical nature that causes one’s experience. One can use or abuse these powers and act in many ways, though mainly, one acts to change the future and one may act as if the future is irrelevant. The liberty and power to judge plays a major role.

As everyone does or should know very well, we cannot pass physical nature from ourselves to others, we can only project our own sensations as ‘sense-data’ — the idea that something (in the surrounding environment) affects us or causes X. We expect others can “feel” the same way or “see” or “sense” the “controlling presences” (often, even without quite knowing them ourselves).

The meaning in this sense-data is gathered up in the symbols we use to project the idea that causes sensation X. Others have to ‘get’ or apprehend the idea that produces sensation X.  To ‘have meaning’ is to be capable of causing sensation X to arise. Any useful sign must indicate a physical procedure: the forces and conditions that characterize the extent (limits and relevance) of objects in respect to a perceptible position or location and relevant extent of sensation X that a Speaker S desires to be produced in a Listener L.

Plainly, what is called the idea (here) is the position and power — of the particular configuration of being, forces and conditions — that produces sensation X and causes the anticipated reaction in an individual. The problem today is that the meaning of ideas, — the bearing of such forces and conditions — can be confusing, tacit, vague or ambiguous; hidden behind a plethora of speculative, metaphorical or subjective references projected using ordinary speech-Acts A.

Now let us turn our sights onto that ‘physical procedure’ and characterize the forces and conditions involved in the creation of meaning and the production of significance. A focal interpretation of such forces of production P and conditions of existence R is at-hand.

The formulation that follows derives from Adi’s theory of semantics, where the abstract objects of Adi’s metalanguage objectify natural operations, forces and conditions. These sets of objects, defined below in mathematical terms, construct a conceptual polar coordinate system given folks share a proprioceptive sense of being (a body in motion, oriented in space and time).

While a skeptic might accept a claim that humans are specs on a rock hurtling through space, being a body in motion in space and time is only slightly more abstract and ‘being human’ claims little more. It claims the need for knowing one’s position or location, power and relevant extent, in respect to other states and objects in the same dimension. Adi’s arrangement interprets the limits to the natural system of objects, forces and states present to interpersonal experience from a proprioceptive point or value.

Computationally, any sequence, function, or sum of a series (such as a series of sounds or phonemes, i.e., signs) can be determined to be progressively approaching or receding from this point or value, i.e.; its bearings can be determined.  If meaning is determined to be the property of something existing, said or done to impact one’s sensations  — as it appears to be — this functionality appears critical to predicting significance or pertinence and relevance.

It has been difficult for most people to understand how the positions of arbitrary objects and vague forces and conditions can be characterized or calculated from language. Many linguists quickly dismiss the whole idea as radical, incomprehensible or impossible, out of hand. It does not make them ‘right’.

Language is widely considered to be like a map of the territory of reality.  People use maps to get and set their bearings. People use language to navigate the world of other people and their opinions, along with other objects, things and feelings. Now that you have been introduced to this point of view, I urge the reader to think critically about what follows in connection with the examples that are included at the end of this characterization of Adi’s semantic objects.

While these forces and conditions are taken to be axiomatic, the implications can be barely perceptible. So I will first characterize the sets of (real) forces and conditions emanating from or impinging on the senses.Then I will present Adi’s semantic matrix where, essentially, thought and action, theory and practice, meet. The intersections of the matrix are overlaid with examples of legitimate workaday representations. Here first are the objects and sets comprising Adi’s semantic metalanguage; focused on the semantics of creativity (the ability to create):

Based upon semantic findings from a study of Classical Arabic, we assume there exists a changeless and universal content to life, a set of creative forces P, necessary to the body of conception, order and change in life:

P= { p(i) | i = 1, 2, 3 } =  {assignment, manifestation, containment}.

Supervening on these forces are a symmetrical set G of psychosomatic states: G={self,others}, symbolizing unity and plurality, and; a symmetrical set T of biophysical states: T={open,closed}, symbolizing propagation and restriction. When the objects of these sets are crossed, they reveal a fixed (and rich) set of conditions R that marshal the forces P into elementary (and evolutionary) processes or procedures:

R = T x G = { r(j) | j = 1 to 4 }                                                                                   =  {(closed, self),(open, self),(closed, others),(open, others)}.

The objects organized by ‘self’ and ‘others’ are seen as categorical beings objectifying engagement conditions present at all human and social events (wherever these entities are in relevant configurations in the same dimension). The states ‘open’ and ‘closed’ also organize categorical beings. Instantiations of these states objectify boundary conditions. Some may associate these categorical beings with Whitehead’s “controlling presences”. A natural symmetry holds between these objects and conditions R and objects organized by them. Symmetry is found at the root of life itself.

The former conditions objectify natural bonds formed from sensations of attraction and engagement.  This asserts nothing more than that the bare abstractions ‘self’ and ‘others’ stripped of any other associations yet afford a (concrete) sense of attraction and engagement (with unity and plurality) necessary to the formation of bonds.  The latter conditions afford a sense of the scope and constraint of present boundaries (e.g., the scope of space, distance and the constraint of time).

In essence, there are two-sides to each state of being influencing the bonds and organizing the bodies in motion or flux and present at any event.  The intersection of the conditions R with the set of forces P objectifies the valence of binding, unifying and organizing significant objects, forces and conditions into procedural states of being.

The selection and formulation of physical procedures — composed in respect to R of P — determines the type of polarity in the relationships R that ensue; whether applying or acting on the creative force of nature as implied by words and language. Adi derived four perceptible types of orientations from the crossing of boundary and engagement conditions. The valence of relationships R affords a sense of choice or bias; giving direction to, or unfolding: inward, outward, or being jointly or disjointly engaged.

The elementary processes, ‘Assignment’, ‘Manifestation’, and ‘Containment’, comprising the set of physical forces P within our dominion, are easily recognized as the creative forces of change when transformed into physical procedures and participatory acts of assigning, manifesting and containing; a capability to change the future in accordance with the conditions of existence R, described above.

Each speaker S marshals these forces and conditions in order to educe (to develop or bring out the latency of X, i.e., the potential of) the idea. The syntactic arrangement of consonant sounds encode symbolic processes that project the physical processes bearing on X.  It is here that there is harmonious agreement (semantics) or fidelity (or not).

Consequent to this view, a speaker S should (naturally) choose words and use language (speech-acts) A in such a way as to designate those physical forces P and (identify) the objects, states and relationships R that bear upon (or will have relevance and bearing to) Speaker S or Listener L or both S and L –from an objective point of view that S and L can and do share.  This prediction was tested by constructing a conceptual search engine (commercialized as Readware) that transforms arbitrary sequences of text and inquiries into values according to this theory. The search engine showed outstanding performance in tests that measure relevance, recall and precision in text retrieval programs. It also passed reading aptitude tests.

The results show that we can indeed construct a general point of view that thereafter predicts relevance and significance in matters presented to that objective viewpoint, one that can be readily implemented in computer logic.  A proprioceptive point of view proves to be an objective point of view; a view that is psychologically sensible to both S and L and that includes a sense of the internal unity of self-awareness and the external plurality of others, as well as a sense of the states of propagation and restriction, as categorical beings in and of themselves.  See the table below for examples.

The logic of the esthesic-side (aesthetic) understanding of language is explained as follows: in order to educe sensation X Listener (/reader) L filters the idea from within the projected sense-data –while decoding speech-act A.  If the idea is apprehended, its meaning is represented by the bearing of the forces of P and R to X; in which case we say that the meaning is induced in L, i.e., it causes the intended sensation X to actually or figuratively occur to L (i.e., appear to represent or symbolize a relevant form of physical power or influence). In such a case the idea and its meaning can/will cause sensation X to occur.  See the examples in the table below:

The Semantic Matrix of Creative Praxis

(the idea of conception)

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