continuity vs binary

Sun, 29 Oct 1995 10:50:17 EST

I wonder if we are mixing up two semiotic actions in this analysis.

One aspect of 'making meaning' is the devt of code systems, which are
conceptual forms that confine and organize energy, to make it
meaningful. That is, the sound-bits coming from the TV/person are
organized into a codal form(s), and are therefore meaningful..if you
know the code. Code systems come in a variety of formats- they can be
quite general and common to a large population, they can be quite
specific and common to a limited group. Then, they can be organized
within a format that is continuous or not continuous (much like
arithmetic numbers which can be understood in a continuity; or code
numbers which are separate (1=red jacket; 2=blue jacket; 3=green j).
And, code systems can be organized into a polaristic frame, where the
one value is meaningful only in terms of its being NOT something
else. I consider this a degenerate code form, but it is common. For
example, in advocacy research, you can get the identity of 'being
Female' understood only in terms of its values of NOT 'being Male'.
This type of binaristic polarization is common in many issues (race,
ethnicity, political parties) and is, I feel, inherently invalid.

The other aspect of 'making meaning' is the isolation of the
'cognitive entity' from Otherness. So, if I am creating a sculpture,
I am encoding clay or whatever within the various codal forms of
imagery (limited by the codal nature of clay, etc). And, this
sculpture or 'cognitive entity' is separate from Otherness - it has a
distinct spatiotemporal identity and also, cognitive identity. It is
not air, table, hand touching it, etc, etc. This sense of
'differentiation' from Otherness is absolutely vital, for the
existence of the cognitive entity (be it a word, a thought, a
sculpture, a person). It is not polaristic binarism (as in the code
system) but is certainly difference, and Peirce defines it using such
terms as 'struggle' (vs Otherness meeting up with its STF-
spatiotemporal frame).

All the best

Edwina Taborsky
Bishop's University Phone: (819)822.9600
Lennoxville, Quebec Fax: (819)822.9661
Canada JIM 1Z7