Meaning can be defined as two or more signaling systems connecting. Connecting means “sending and receiving, receiving and sending.”
To visualize this, think of Newton’s every action produces an opposite and equal reaction; thus sending (action) produces receiving (reaction), which in turn sends a message back. For example, a photon hits a hydrogen atom; the photon “sends” while the atom “receives”; by receiving, it also sends a message back and out; it affects the photon and more.
Space is the foundation of the plethora of signaling systems. Time is the foundation of their activity and extent.
Meaning is the most basic word in language.
When you look at it “psychologically,” it’s not what the sign is but what the meaning is. Thus, meaning is a deep basis of semiotics.
In this context, it makes sense to say that time and space are the sine qua non of signaling systems. This “defines” time and space in terms of signaling systems.
Identity depends on meaning as defined above.
Our identities are (somewhat) complex nexuses of meaning/signaling that “embody” our comprehension of the semiotics of our cultures and experiences. They lie at the center of how we understand ourselves. Identity signaling occurs internally as well as externally.
In non-FIML social intercourse it is normal for people to assert/display the props/symbols of their identities, as they understand them.
People who do FIML also need identities, but they do not need the social props that help non-FIML people define each other.
You really do not want to be defined by props and symbols. It’s a static role that leads away from authentic being.
People do not truly belong to a culture. Rather they maintain the illusion that they belong to a culture. This is clear when we think and analyze identity in terms semiotics, which here means “the science of communicable meaning.”
Having a weak or confused identity can be a very good thing as this may prompt you to learn how identities are made and maintained.
No Buddhist should want an identity defined by props and symbols.
Buddhism is about authentic being, the “thusness” of being, the experiential existential being that you really are, the one that occurs before there are definitions, props, and symbols.
This being can be hard to see because humans are semiotic entities; that is, we are entities that seek, create, and communicate meaning. This causes us to look within semiotics for the definition of our authentic being, a place where it can never be found. You have to look outside of semiotics.
But you can’t look outside semiotics unless you know how to look inside. You have to fully understand how the “language” of your semiotics works to be able to step outside of it.
Your semiotics is your unique take on the semiotics of your culture(s) and experiences.
You cannot fully explore your semiotics, your identity, your nexus of individual meaning alone because there is no way you can check your work. You cannot see yourself.
Each of us is a social, interactive, communicative being. You can only fully explore your unique semiotics/identity with a partner who wants to do the same.
Two people working together are able to stop the flow of conversation to analyze the semiotics of how they are hearing and speaking. One person working alone is only guessing.
Find a partner and do FIML. You will learn a lot from it.
Do not expect FIML to give you new symbols or props or tell you how to be. FIML is only a procedure. It is empty, almost devoid of its own content. It is a process that will help you see and recreate your identity.
Do not expect your FIML teacher to be an example for you. Do not expect your teacher to be impressive or to project signs and symbols at you. Do not expect to follow your teacher.