Monday, 18 May 2020

How Words Mean - the Power of Symbolic Communication

Lilly Martin Spencer, Reading the Legend, 19th century

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A couple of posts ago, we thought about what art means in the West and put together a rough framework [click for link]. This was needed if we are going to understand the road through modernity. But this raised an even more basic conceptual question - how do words "mean" anything at all?

Why does it matter if some pictures are called "art"? How does naming something have any effect on its nature if a name is just a label? These aren't idle questions. The main theme of this blog is what we can know and how we can know it - we spend a lot of time sorting out ways to find meaning in the world around us. And all this is done through words - other sign systems too but words mainly. We can use "symbolic communication" if we want to be more comprehensive.  But by any name, false attitudes to language and symbols are something Postmodernism and the occult have in common.

The importance of symbols and meaning goes beyond personal interest. Language guides thoughts along conceptual trails - control it and you control how people understand the world. We can put this one alongside the 'what is art' post as conceptual housekeeping - sweeping out cobwebs of deception and clarifying central ideas so we can understand what was really going on with Modernism.

John Singer Sargent, Gassed, 1919, oil on canvas, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London

The enemy has layered defenses to keep you from reality. Something as vast and monstrous as the inversion of culture doesn't unravel with one pull of the thread. There's nonsense within nonsense to deal with. First we needed a coherent working definition of what art is. Now we need to show why coherent working definitions matters and how they can be made. Understanding how symbolic representation works is critically important to every aspect of culture-building. Especially its protection from lies and perversion.

A lot of space has been wasted on 'what is art' and 'is it art' type questions. Pretty much all of it accepts the soulless modern notions of art then spirals inanely to explain why any of it is worth our time. Like the flyweight where this picture came from.

The same applies to representation in general. Pictures and other symbols aren't necessarily languages but they also stand for or represent something other than themselves. We aren't talking about linguistics or grammar but what it means to represent something on a deeper level . What it means to translate thoughts and observations about reality into some kind of symbolic form. And how these symbolic forms exert a persuasive power of their own.

This is not a comprehensive account. Countless people have written countless books on meaning and symbolism, language, representation, semiotics, etc. But most are wrapped in the nonsensical secular transcendence that infects modern learning and letters like a plague. We are laying out some basic observations about how we relate to the reality around us that are consistent with what we can know and how we can know it.

Postmodernism is based in a large part on the notion that forms of symbolic representation create reality. 

Ditto Satanism and magic. The details are different - magic words really change reality instead of Postmodernism's ordinary words forming an illusion of reality. But both invert the priority order of the symbolic representation and the reality it represents. 

This isn't a coincidence, and both are wrong.

Start with the simplest observation. It may seem obvious, but we need to start with the basics to avoid being bamboozled by the errors and vanities that doom Modernism and Postmodernism in opposite but related ways.

Frederick Arthur Bridgman, The Young Scribe, 1873, oil on panel, private collection

No matter who the writer is, he comes into being in a world and with a language that is already there. He doesn't create reality. He spends his life trying to master a reality that is always ahead of him. Then he dies. 

The necessity of language and other sign systems for communication complicates understanding because it acts as a filter between us and whatever we are trying to understand. Human awareness is inherently subjective because of our spatial, temporal, and mental limits. Now throw in the fact that everything we know and think is done through - mediated by - symbolic forms of information transfer. Language doesn't "make" reality, but there is no understanding - not even the concept "reality" - without it.

There are two overlapping different subjectivities to deal with - the ontological and the semiotic.

Sanford Robinson Gifford, The Artist Sketching at Mount Desert, Maine, 1865, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington

The ontological covers the inherent limits of human nature

Master of the Judgment of Solomon, The Philosophers, 1620s, oil on canvas

The semiotic the inherent limits of human communication.

Two subjectivities, one seen through the other.

In an early post we blew out the abject idiocy of "structuralist" semiotics with less difficulty than a birthday candle [click for a link]. But in doing so, we found a better model for thinking about signs, although it also has limitations - that's nineteenth-century American Pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce and his three-part model. We've included the diagram we made because it makes it clear how it works without having to go back and read the original post if you're not interested. Here, the sign is made up of a arbitrary signifier - the word "Tree" - the thing in the world it refers to, and the person who interprets the meaning.

The diagram shows that the sign requires someone to make sense of or recognize it as a sign. Also notice that his mental picture created by the sign is not the same as the real world item that that the sign refers to. What's incomplete is that the initial user of the sign - the person who said "tree" - is left out. But for now, we'll stick to this model for simplicity and focus on the hearer or reader of the sign.

What we see is that words or signs involve the interplay between different subjectivities and objectivity.

Grant Wood, Parson Weems' Fable, 1939, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth

The sign [Tree] is based on something objective - in this case, a tree - perceived subjectively by people. 

Then it is exchanged with other people who apply its reference to their own subjective experience of objective reality.

The sign [Tree] is not the same thing as the tree - one is a collection of graphemes on a page or soundwaves in the air, the other is a tall woody plant. The difference that structuralists and Postmodernists inanely claimed was the basis of language function is simply a comparative assessment of two nouns. We already went through this is in the linked post, so we'll just point out that were language a system of difference, neither pictograms nor translation would be possible.

The Rosetta Stone, granodiorite, 112.3 × 75.7 × 28.4 cm, with Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Greek script, 196 BC, discovered 1799, British Museum

From the earlier linked post. A famous key to decoding ancient languages. If the structuralist system of "difference" was the basis of linguistic signification, it would be impossible to match words across languages on the basis of reference. 

One of the most eye-opening aspects of going back over our nonsense post-Enlightenment "thought" is what intellectual minnows so many names were. Egregious errors of logic, humiliating oversights, and endless appeals to equally flawed authority. 

Seriously. Think about it. The entire Postmodern 'there is no truth' absurdity is built off this retarded notion that language is based on difference and is therefore not associative with anything. As a hermetic isolated system, any external reality it alludes to has to be its own creation. We could just point out that the existence of a communicative system necessarily presumes something to communicate. Or we could be more specific and observe that the idea of communication as a meaningless play of difference utterly contradicts the foundations of Western epistemology - reasoned observation and Christian faith.

Kish Tablets, around 3500 BC, limestone with Sumerian pictographic writing, Ashmolean Museum

Historians tell us written language developed from pictographs. This may be the oldest example of written language, but it's hard to say since humans have been making marks for as long as there have been humans. 

Pictograms are stylized resemblance. If the essential nature of language is difference and not analogy, then this historical account is impossible. 

Adam Naming the Animals, from Jacques Christophe Valmont-Bomare's Dictionnaire raisonnél universel d' histoire naturelle, 1775, National Library of Medicine, Washington

Adam's naming of the beasts in Genesis defines language before the Fall as truthful reference. By this account, linguistic subjectivity and relativism are perversions of the Fall. 

If the essential nature of language is difference and not analogy, then this Biblical account is impossible. 

It's fake faith. Language can't develop naturally contra the empirical evidence - it has to be given somehow. But it can't be Christian, because that's Western metaphysics and post-Enlightenment globalist Flatlanders despise Christ and the West. Typical of Satanic inversions, Postmodern theories of symbolic communication demand submission to the observably untrue and the repudiation of Christian faith for an upside-down perversion.

Signs are arbitrary. We could have picked whatever phonemes we wanted for a tree - or anything else. This doesn't make them meaningless - it creates fields of meaning with some range but conceptual limits. Like a request, where the person asking has something specific in mind, but the word only gives a general sense what that is. The question is whether the general sense is sufficient.

The person filling the request doesn't have to know exactly what the requester had in mind. They just need to know enough to be able to identify it. The vase isn't the same as any of the possibilities in the picture above but the range of possibilities still allows it to be distinguished.

At this point a Postmodernist - call him "gamma" - would spring for the ankles with an ill-considered gotcha: 'the blue skeleton distinguishes the vase from the other things - that''s difference!" Except you can't distinguish something by name if you don't know which one of the things has that name. And consider what happens if the word isn't sufficient...

Matylda Polak, Still Life with Vases, oil on canvas

You add adjectives and other descriptors. That is - clarify the association between the representation and the reality it\s describing. 

So language is arbitrary and different from its real world referent, but bridges that difference associatively. Which is why when I say bring me the vase on the table, you grab the vase. Even knowing that the word "vase" is different from the object, you blow out the intellectual ceilings of Postmodern "thinkers" and overcome that gulf through the magic of literacy.

Signs are arbitrary choices... but once chosen they aspire to stable relationships with objective things

The interpreter is a subjective filter. You could misunderstand the word "vase" and bring a stapler. There can be two vases and without clarification, there is no way to see which one I meant when I asked. Say the word "Tree" to a group and everyone pictures something different. Words also trigger unexpected associations. You have a sense of how your words should be taken, but no way to ensure that they are.

It's a system that attempts to represent the human and natural worlds but is subjective in use. Now broaden "language" to include symbols, pictures, diagrams, and any other form of representational sign. All that we know - all that we can even think - is made up of symbolic structures that reference the objective world but are used and interpreted subjectively.

Our relationship to reality is brokered through sign systems. We can think of this as an ontologically "horizontal" relationship because it is taking place on the same plan and looks like this graphically. Set aside the specifics of Peirce's account, consider the user, and this is the basic relationship:

Language and other sign systems are like a screen between us and reality that we operate through. And speaking of reality, we can plug in another old graphic to better account for it - the ontological hierarchy. If we are screened from reality by language in a "horizontal" relationship, the ontology and associated epistemology of that reality would be vertical. Switch the hierarchy into the horizontal language graphic and it looks like this:

Every aspect of reality - the whole vertical ontology - is known through the horizontal filter of language. This is what makes language and media in general so powerful. It's not just the connection between words and other signs and reality, but how the words and signs filter every level of reality for us.

Lie authoritatively enough about a mild respiratory virus and countries will shut down their economies, jack their health care systems, seal the elderly away to die in isolation or with tubes stuffed into their lungs, and generally cause exponentially more harm to life, liberty, and happiness than a cough could. 

The words all refer to objective things, but by misapplying them, a fake scenario can be made to appear real.

There are actually two deceptions at work here, and the China flu debacle is a good illustration of both. We can call them Modern and Postmodern fallacies of language.

Modernism pretends words are perfectly objective vectors of outside meaning. That transparent truths about timeless essences come in subjective arbitrary man-made sign systems. The deceptive projections vomited out of the big pharma shills in their asinine lab coats are a legacy of this fake faith. 
Postmodernism still pretends words convey truth, but the ironic truth that there is no meaning. The outcome appears opposite to the Modern - creating meaning instead of transmitting meaning. But they can toxically work together.

Corona-scam brings them together - the Modern fake faith in symbolic Truth leads low-energy protoplasm to believe a lying globalist puppet like poison dwarf Fauci. 

And the Postmodern fake faith in symbolically-created reality can be seen in the attempt to engineer this "crisis" with shills and lying media. 

Postmodernism is like low-effort magic because it inverts the sign/reality relationship. Signs are limited mechanisms for representing the reality that is there. Magic flips that by claiming that they change reality into something new. Postmodernism denies independent reality altogether - because the whole fullness of reality is filtered through language, this somehow means that there is no reality without the language that filters it. Mediation is magically transformed into substance.

The lens becomes the specimen.

Keep in mind that Postmodern is "theoretical". Meaning it was made up by arrogant midwits and frauds and not something observed or logically derived from observation. Meaning reality doesn't actually work that way. The magic isn't real.

Corona-scam shows this as well. If lab-coated frauds and globalist handlers fabricate lies and sheep follow, the lies might as well be true. Because acting as if they are makes reality what it would be if it were true. Like magic, making things up and uttering them makes them real. 

But unlike magic, the lies of Postmodern language collapse in the face of reality. 

Because in the end, they're just sign systems.

So the Modernist wants to ignore the mediator, the Postmodernist wants to ignore the associative referent. Both overstate the power of human communication, both are wrong. Anyone still think "higher education" is worth 6 figures?

One thing we've noticed is that people often struggle to grasp the gap between the surface complexity of Postmodern theory and the banality of the ideas. This isn't criticism. It is weird to see such a big discrepancy between appearance and substance. Here's the intellectual apparatus behind the entire Postmodern war on the true, the beautiful, and the good for the last half-century:

Signs and representations are different from the things they represent. 

That's it.

Graphemes, thought pictures, etc. physically aren't the same as material things. And as we know in Postmodern gamma world, 'not the same' somehow means 'utterly and insurmountably incommensurate'. 

This isn't hyperbole - the sign is utterly differentiated from reality with no meaningful possibility for overlap. Therefore signs have no connection to reality. And since what we know as reality is known through them, they ARE reality.

Ponder that for a moment. Signs are different from subjects so there is no objective reality. And the intellectual culture of the West completely rearranged itself because this was phrased difficultly. Seriously.

Part of why this seems so retarded is because we understand vertical ontology. People and language are material-level things. And we know that we experience the world as a valley of shadow - a place defined by entropy and limits of discernment [click for a post]. Here, things aren't absolutely mathematically precise. Every measurement comes with uncertainty. No matter how much we refine our observations we can't reach the beginning or edge of things. The absolute black-and-white binary of Postmodern language - either exactly the same or utterly incommensurate - has no place in a material world of blurry borders and shades of gray.

In the material world, measurements and calibrations are good enough. 

Measured to the angstrom level, the bolts are all different sizes, but on the construction scale, they are interchangeable. See that? Different, but good enough to be practically interchangeable. That's how the material world works.

The different but practically interchangeable nature of material reality applies to language - despite the inhuman theorizing of Postmodern freaks. Like asking for the vase on the table and applying descriptive detail as needed. Accumulative accretion is how we build knowledge in the material world in general. Continually adding pieces and improving the quality without ever getting to the limit of things. Why would our language be any different?

But Postmodernism is a Flatland joint. It has to compress the vertical and the horizontal into a single plane. When you read poststructuralist linguistic theory, you see the ontological/ epistemological and the semiotic - mashed together to create confusion. They can't see that our subjectivities are "vertical" as well as "horizontal", so they can't understand why everything won't fit in their one dimension.

We have no trouble classifying language as an imprecise material system of representation that can reference things beyond the material. The higher you go though, the less capable it gets.

You can see this myopia in what passes for Postmodern philosophy. Take Derrida - he's the smartest of them, and his Deconstruction was a core component of academic Postmodernism in the West. Consider: he's most famous for his writings about language and other modes of representation. Semiotic systems, or horizontal subjective-objective relations. But his thought structures are built off the ontological reflections of Kant and Heidegger - vertical subjective-objective relations.

He pretty much ignores epistemology - which is why he tried to deconstruct textual meaning with texts.

As in this - maybe the seminal statement of Postmodern 'there is no meaning' madness.

If anyone cares, here are the basic components - there's obviously a lot more to Derrida, but these are two huge themes that run through his main work. Keep in mind that he is a snake and a trickster. He never plainly states where he's coming from - never plainly states anything, really. But patterns do emerge even in his tortured, convoluted prose, and these are two pillars:

Pillar 1: Kant's argument that our experience of reality is a set of subjective impressions, not objective knowledge of the things-in-themselves. Things-in-themselves - real things existing independently of our knowledge of them - are of a noumenal ultimate reality beyond our perceptual or cognitive grasp. Here's our graphic from an older post [click for link].

Kant recognized that our understanding of reality is subjectively filtered. Both through the material, biophysical properties of the senses and again through the mental organizing of raw sense data. His Noumenal world - pure essential being - corresponds with ultimate reality on the ontological hierarchy and is beyond direct human knowledge. 

Pillar 2: Heidegger's description of ultimate reality - his numinous Being - partially flickering temporally into material reality. Click for the Band's take on Heidegger and Being.

As beings we are extensions of Being, but Being or noumenal ultimate reality is eternal and we are temporal. This puts Being-in-itself beyond our direct grasp. We only know ontological absolutes by their limited manifestation in the time-bound material world.

So Kant gives us the insurmountal separation from ultimate reality/Being - including Truth and other objective principles. Heidegger shows what we describe as noumenal is just a temporal impression - the subjective impression of meaning and not meaning in itself. We have no trouble placing these vertically on the ontological hierarchy - subjective limits of material observation and the ultimate objectivity knowable only by faith.

But Derrida applies vertical ontological relationships to horizontal semiotic ones - to the person, language, reality trio. 

Here's the arrangement again. 

Ontology is a word, meaning it is an imperfect representation of a property. That the word isn't the property-in-itself is irrelevant to the characteristics of the property that the word imperfectly represents. 

As if the ontological distinction between noumenal Being and material subjectivity is the same as the associative distinction between sign and referent. Don't get put off by the twisted phrasing. Read it closely. Derrida presents the difference between a sign and what it refers to as the same as the difference between you and God. Because he can't appreciate the differences in kind. Because he lives in Flatland he can't even see the conceptual landscape. Apologies in advance for this, but he can't differentiate the differences between differences.

Now you can see the why we call Postmodernism an inverted faith. It's undifferentiated, primordial soup of an ontology pretends our relationship to ultimate reality applies to language. The sign system is the Creator of reality, words are the Logos, and the man-made becomes divine. Although without divinity because Derrida is also a nihilist.

Heidegger's Being is utterly remote but somehow echoes in time, so semiotic reference is also utterly remote but somehow echoes in language. Derrida's "trace" is the echo, except there is no "Being" beyond the material sign systems. Language is all there is, so the "echoes" are really just self-referential loops within the system. What looks like meaning is just more language - endless references to references that never leads anywhere ontologically real. An abyss,  the lack of meaning that language hides. 

Distinctions "beyond" the sign system wouldn't matter if sign systems were impenetrable, but sign systems aren't impenetrable. They're analogous. And analogous signs can be combined into more complex networks that can describe abstract things. And this brings us back to our Biblical metaphors for the limits of discernment - the valley of shadow and the darkling glass. Language is a veil that obscures a clear view of the truth, but you still see something through it. The vehicle that really goes no where is the all-or-nothing false dichotomy of the Postmodernists.

So far we've described how language filters our experience of reality and dispensed with the destructive Postmodern fallacy that this prevents objective meaning. We do have a mediating veil, but satanic-globalist explanation doesn't explain it. Consider what is really going on in order to get why the manipulation of symbolic communication is so powerful and essential to the elite.

Languages are interplay between generals and specifics. This is obvious with a bit of thought - the whole purpose of sign systems is to let specific ideas or impressions be generally understandable. But the systems themselves are based on generalizing the specific then specifying the general - defining categories with words or other symbols, then using those to describe personal thoughts.

First, the sign generalizes specifics - our shared experiences of specific things into symbolic forms.

All the vases fall under the word vase.

Then other generalized signs are piled up to modify that generalized sign to communicate a specific thing.

Like describing an individual vase.

Piling up description with other generalized signs is objectively not an endless abyss of meaningless references. It is an attempt to differentiate one thing from others, but does so associatively - by designating qualities. This is describing - differentiating through the accretion of characteristics until enough information is transmitted to make the distinction. That's right - information! Applicable, referential, meaningful information that manages to come through without ever pretending to have to be the thing being described.

Remember - words or other signs have ranges of meanings within conceptual limits.

"VASE" covers all of the endless versions of vase out there, but rules out the wine glass and fruit.

What we have isn't the perfect alignment of sign and reality - it's categorical fine tuning. Stacking the limited range of each quality accretively.


Like a Venn diagram with each descriptor narrowing the range of possibilities. Each one gets more specific in meaning, but there's no pretense that they're anything more than references. 

The whole point of symbolic communication is to record and transmit information that wouldn't be possible otherwise. That's what representation is - making it as if something was present that isn't. Not "present" in the ontological sense - it's obvious words and signs aren't actually what they refer to. They're referential. They re-present - make it so that things are 'as if present to a good enough degree'.

This is the source of the power.

The power is a function of difference - not in the ontologically retarded Postmodern sense, but in the real semiotic one. Sign systems that are good enough are meaningful, but aren't ontologically complete. They aren't the same as what they're describing. The Venn diagram stack of semantic ranges can't ever be whatever it is they're trying to make 'as if present'. That difference can be manipulated by the sender and the receiver.

Charles James Lewis, Reading by the Window, Hastings, 19th century, oil on canvas, private collection

There's always a gap between the mental picture of what's being described and the reality of it. The stack of generalized descriptors never equals the thing-in-itself. This is where the subjectivity comes in.

Description is a necessarily incomplete reflection of the communicator's reality - whatever they are choosing to communicate. Necessarily incomplete. That means they select what descriptive terms to offer. But you also make selections when you fill in the gaps imaginatively and turn the description into a fully-resolved mental image.

First the sender or writer of the message. If the world is known through generalized symbols, a statement is a selective reading from that symbolic world. This makes it a variation on what Tolkien would have called a sub-creation - a man-made creation that highlights some aspects of our reality for attention.

If interested, we went into Tolkien's sub-creation in our Silmarillon posts. It comes from his essay On Fairy Stories and is useful [click for a link to one of them]. We introduced sub-creation is a different post linked here on Tolkien and "modern literature".  He used sub-creation for works of fantasy that deviate from the "real" world in certain ways but draw attention to deeper truths.

Symbolic communication in general is obviously not linked to a specific genre like Tolkien's fairy stories. But we can take a conceptual structure from one place and use it to light up another because we aren't pedantic. In this case, a selective representation that is analogous to and different from the fullness of the real world and calls attention to a chosen aspect. Now consider - symbolic communication is an accumulation of descriptors that is necessarily incomplete. Symbolic communication doesn't have to be a narrative or story, but it is a selective representation that is analogous to but different from the real world and calls attention to a chosen aspect of it.

It's like our example graphic. The symbolic communication is the description. It is analogous to the actual vase, but doesn't replicate it in its fullness. It selectively calls attention to the chosen qualities that the speaker thinks will make it easy to identify. 

Like a literary sub-creation, the symbolic communication is analogous to and different from reality in a simplified way.

The purpose of making an analogy like sub-creation to language and other symbolic communication isn't just because parallels are interesting. A good analogy lets you see something that you would have missed without the analogy. Thinking of language or symbolic communication along the lines of a sub-creation makes us consider what a sub-creation does. How a simplified imaginary world lets us see things that would be obscured in the messy complexities and ambiguities of reality.

In other words, sub-creation teaches us to see the world differently. If it is effective, it transforms how we see the world by transmitting a selective and simplified analogy of it.

Ted Nasmith, Queen Tar-Miriel and the Great Wave, 2004, gouache on board

Like the ruinous connection between vanity and evil in The Silmarillon.

This is also what language and symbolic communications do. And this is where the actual power or magic of words comes from. The ability to selectively re-orient and re-frame your understanding of the world you're in. The words don't actually change reality - going back to our earlier example, the China virus would have been a lot more deadly if they did. But they bring forward some things and obscure others so that you think of reality in the desired terms.

But the power goes further than this. One of the wonders of the human imagination is pattern recognition - in this case, the ability to fill in missing information around a representational outline. This is really important.

A good analogy is this drawing. Look how little information is actually there. The hair is a little over a dozen wavy lines, with a few more marks for features and neck. Just a fraction of the visual data of a real face. Any yet there is no trouble seeing it as a woman. 

Your brain - your imagination - is able to make up for all the missing information if given a selective representation that is good enough to work off of.

Apply this to linguistic communication and you get the imagination picturing the sensory details of an account - what a scene looks like, how a character sounds, what the context is. Two people read the same account of a historic speech and both picture the scene quite differently. The reason why this is important is because they are visualizing the text in terms familiar to them. If a shopkeeper is described as good looking, you each picture your notion of a handsome man. If a savage dog is mentioned, you each picture the canine image that most scares you.

So when you hear or read a statement, you are hearing or reading a selective emphasis on certain things. A selective emphasis that you make more personally appealing by adding personally meaningful visuals in your imagination. Both sender and receiver manipulate the message. It isn't quite magic - words change how reality is seen while magic changed reality in itself - but it is easy to see how one is just an extreme form of the other.

The question for symbolic communication - as with sub-creation - is does the selective representation of reality align with the True? Does it seek to reveal and inform or mislead?

Does it have Logos?

Katy Grierson, The Evening Star, Lord of the Rings card art for Fantasy Flight Games, 2016

Here in the valley of shadow we can't see Truth. We are limited to logic or faith seen through more symbolic filters. Moral reasoning anchored by Logos is our best defense. But that is vulnerable. In the Fallen world, deception is everywhere, and there is no certainty in any words of man.

It's easy to see how both the Postmodern lie that sign systems construct material reality and the magic lie that sign systems physically transform material reality invert the nature of sign systems. Pretending that the representation comes before the represented is as mindless as inverting cause and effect, although Postmodernists try that too. It's not just error, because it's intentional. And there are immediate personal benefits because both are self-empowering. But does the inversion sink to the level of Satanic inversion? Click for a post on satanic inversion.

Consider - Creation is a divine speech act. Genesis narrates God speaking reality into existence. Let there be light. Because at the level of ultimate reality where God is desire, expression, and existence are the same.

Albert Chevallier Tayler, St. Francis of Assisi Preaching to the Birds, 1898, oil on canvas, private collection

In fact, many have looked at reality itself as a material expression of God's thought, will, or plan. The whole system of natural theology is takes the world as a sign of a providential will.

What this tells us is that the ability to reverse representation - to turn symbolic communication into reality - is a divine property. Not human. Consider further.

Earlier, we pointed out how before the Fall, Adam is able to name the different animals without needing to be informed first.

Adam Names the Animals, 12th century mosaic from the south cupola, west arm of atrium, Basilica di San Marco, Venice

'And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." Genesis 2:19, KJV 

What makes this account important here is the setting. The naming of the beasts takes place before the Fall, in the prelapsarian Garden where man spoke with God directly. Adam's clear and perfect knowledge of creation is interpreted as what language would be like in an unfallen state - clear, transparent, inherent natural connection between symbol and thing. No darkling glass, no valley of shadow, no linguistic relativitism or subjective projection. Just an undistorted conduit linking directly to the truth.

But even Adam's prelapsarian ideal "true" speech is nothing like God's creative "speech acts". God's brings something that didn't exist into reality.

Jan Brueghel the Younger, God Creating the Sun, the Moon and the Stars in the Firmament, 17th century, oil on copper, private collection 

God makes present, Adam represents.

Adam is a useful comparison for simplicity's sake because he skips the semiotic problem. We don't have to deal with the difference between knowledge in itself and the representation of that knowledge in arbitrary languages and sign systems. It gives a clearer view of the essential distinction -  it's God's speech that makes what IS. At best, perfect human speech knows what is. You can see it in these pictures - one showing God the Creator and the other with Adam between God and his Creation representing with symbolic communication.

Yes, Postmodernism and magic are satanic inversions.

Now here's the analogy for art.

The Band often says we come closest to God when we create. What this means isn't that art is a replacement for faith or devotion. It means that from our point of view, God's singularly most important action was Creation. Bringing this reality into existence out of formlessness. If creation represents His thought/will/whatever we can call it, it's the first representation. The first manifestation knowable to us of whatever the unfathomable impulses of ultimate reality even are. More accurate from a material point of view to call it a presentation. Not re-presenting something already here but making here present for the first time.

Mike Ploog, cover to Frankenstein #1, 1973, Marvel Comics

It's what makes Frankenstein and other Promethean creation tales satanic inversions. An artist represents. A painter or sculptor or programmer makes an image of a figure. But the figure isn't real in the sense of being alive. It's God that makes present. In claiming actual creative power, the human literally assumes God's place - the basis of any satanic inversion.

Crediting it to "aliens" is no better. It's not putting man in particular in God's place, but it is materializing ultimate reality. Just as big an inversion ontologically with what we call Flatland - the pretense that ontological distinctions don't exist - the outcome.

The artist is a secondary creator. What Tolkien could call a sub-creator. He uses the reality that divine Creation made present the first time and rearranges (literally re-arranges - as in arranges again into a new form) it into a something original. The artist doesn't create material reality from nothingness - he creates works of art from the material world already present. This is representation as in re-presentation - making present again.

With language, the presence being represented is the meaning of the words - with whatever limits that brings. The mental picture that the reader or listener forms is another kind of personalizing - everyone's Shire is uniquely their own. Think of the words as a symbolic system version of the bare bones drawing of the face up above. A selective imitation that's good enough for the imagination to do the rest. 

John Flaxman, Juno Commanding the Sun to Rise, copperplate 24 for John Flaxman's Iliad, engraved Tommaso Piroli, 1795 after a Flaxman drawing from 1793

Everyone has their own version of the same story. Each one a selective representation that is analogous and different. 

God's Creation is bound together through Logos. The Word. Absolute Truth. What is. God's "speech" creates reality from nothingness. Adam's encodes true knowledge of a reality that's already there. One is Logos, one is logos. One presents, the other represents. They are ontologically different.

In our fallen entropic present, clear true knowledge is replaced by the darkling glass. That finite state of having to piece it together cumulatively and never getting there.

Title page of Sigmund Freud's Zur Psychopathologie, 1904 first edition

Plus human creators lie. We need to use moral reasoning to ascertain the small-l logos or truth in representations. The Fall replaces Adam's top-down truth with bottom-up incomplete observations. Having to try and figure things out instead of just knowing them like Adam.

An effective lie is a well-crafted selective representation that people uptake. Then they fill in the picture that the symbols represent so that it's customized personally. 

What doesn't change is that "presenting" reality - making something present the first time - is a property exclusive to God. Magic usurps this reality-creating power. It's of a kind with all the other luciferian 'will over reality' ontological inversions in that it puts the human above the divine. Ditto for Postmodernism. The shift was in the placement of the lie, not the nature. Magic lies about mastery of reality. Postmodern lies about there being a reality.

But both can do so because symbolic communications are veils between us and Truth. And they're just tools - ambivalent about truth or lies. If the lie uses selective representations associated with truth or good, people's imaginations will make them more attached to it. This is the power of language - using distorted representations to make people act as if the lies were true.

There is a reason why we used the word "uptake" with the previous picture. 

Mass media uses distorted selective representations that each drone personalizes through their own fear hamstering. 

The amorality of language is why moral reasoning through logos is a never-ending process. 

That's the difficulty in dealing with the meaning of a word like "art". It's been framed so forcefully in different ways and inverted so thoroughly that it's hard to look with fresh eyes. So many lies have been taken in and personalized. The definition of "art" is a series of dishonest fake subcreations - all with their own preset ways of thinking. Each pulling us further from reality - from aligning with the True, the Beautiful, and the Good - and walling off other lines of interpretation.

But the truth is on our side.

Peder Mørk Mønsted, Winter Landscape, 1920

Language sets the terms of engagement by putting pre-formed thoughts in the head. But it does so with symbols, not reality. It's webs of delusion have no substance. We can look at cultural artifacts and the historical record without the endless theoretical blatherings that clutter up the arts with pomposity and inversion. 

Imagine an art without the hideous definitions of modernity. An art based in skill, beauty and logos. This is from 1920 - when Modernism supposedly ruled!

We do have to be conscious of the symbolic nature of our own communications. We can't take language as anything more than an arbitrary and imperfect system of representations. But if we keep these things in mind, we can look at what the sign systems do say and use our own moral reasoning to come up with an honest picture. What do the stacked ranges of meaning define?

This is why we went back to the roots of the West and worked out the vertical definition with the Greek terms. 

We found art in the West to be more process than thing. Variable in form but united in function - expressing truth - higher principles - materially.

Théodoor Galle, The Invention of Oil Painting, 1591, engraving after Joannes Stradanus,The Art Institute of Chicago

This gives us a starting point outside the web of lying fake sub-creations definitions that is constant with the values, history, and metaphysics of the West. 

And the larger lesson? Words have power, just not the way Modernists or Postmodernists say they do. They're a veil we have to work through.

The globalists are lying. Logos matters.

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, Jesus Walks on Water, 1863, oil on canvas, private collection

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