Notes

  • Semiotics is “the science of communicable meaning.” It is this much more than “the science of communicable signs.”
  • My position on human cultures is they all suck. They’re terrible because each of them is fundamentally based on lies and bad communication. That’s why virtually all of them are hierarchical and violent.
  • Only FIML, or something very much like it, can correct mistakes in interpersonal communication. Thus only a FIML subculture can avoid the problems of all other cultures.
  • Be a “semioclast”; don’t stop at being a mere iconoclast. Deconstructing a handful of public symbols is nothing compared to fully analyzing the semiotics that underlie everything you think and feel, everything your personal version of your culture is based on.
  • Why don’t more people realize how ambiguous our communications are and how often we misunderstand and that those misunderstandings can be very serious? The reason is probably that most people are still living in cultures rooted in the past—hierarchical, role-based cultures that do not permit the sort of communication used in FIML.
  • Humans are semiotic beings and thus we have a basic urge to seek and create meaning and to communicate that meaning.
  • In most cultures, the assertion of fundamentally empty meaning (social formalities, cliches, polite conversation, etc.) is all that people do.
  • Many psychological problems arise due to the misuse of the semiotic urge, the urge to seek or create meaning.
  • People understand meaning “loco-centrically”; that is, they understand it based on their own semiotic proprioception. This is a technical way of saying we understand meaning in a self-centered way, a self-centric way. This natural and unavoidable self-centeredness of all people explains a great deal of communication error. You speak from your point of view while I hear from mine; they two will rarely even be close.
  • Yet we pretend we understand or have been understood.
  • All communication is constantly establishing and reestablishing itself. Communication, just like the meaning(s) contained within it, asserts itself.
  • Non-FIML communication asserts many static kinds of meaning—roles, beliefs, values, fake history, fake agreement, etc.
  • FIML communication, in contrast, asserts a procedure, a way of making sure that real, unambiguous communication is happening and has happened.
  • North Korea is an example of an extremely bad static, hierarchical non-FIML society. Notice that within this society the individual is robbed not only of any semblance of a decent culture but also of the possibility of deep introspection, individual introspection. When the culture is absurd and violent, the individual cannot even see inside himself.
  • But all cultures are like that to a greater extent than we normally realize.

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