by Timothy Snyder
One way to comprehend the madness of the 20th century as described in Snyder’s essay is through semiotics as we define and use the term in FIML practice. In FIML practice the active, functional semiotics of the individual are constantly being questioned and resolved with the help of a partner. Without FIML, individual semiotics are never fully understood by the individual, who is consequently forced to adopt public semiotics to define their, now, entirely elusive “self.”
During the 2oth century, and still today, many people assert public meaning/semiotics in place of having authentic individual comprehension of themselves. The more assertive the person, the more their “meaning” seems to have meaning, or value. Others simply follow assertive people. Dictators and other maniacs described in Snyder’s essay are fundamentally asserting violent public “meaning,” rather than acquiring genuine individual meaning on their own.
This also goes a long way to explain why so much of the world today, as yesterday, willingly follows less violent psychopaths and/or shallow media personalities: their assertions of meaning are simply stronger than what the individual is capable of finding for themselves.
In contrast, individuals who practice FIML will notice that their need to take meaning from strong public-asserters decreases in proportion to their capacity to comprehend their own individual and much more authentic meaning.