Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 6:49 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> <http://multisenserealism.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/pound.jpg>
>
> <http://multisenserealism.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/asterisk.jpg?w=595>
>
> Part of my approach to making new sense of the universe involves indulging
> in meditations on unintentional symbolism. Any pattern that catches my
> attention is a potential subject for intuition voodoo. Usually it pays off
> eventually, even when it seems absurd at first.
>
> In this case, I was thinking about the # and * symbols that were inserted
> into our visual culture obliquely, as extra buttons on the telephone which
> flanked the 0. Taking this as my cue to relate this to the multisense
> continuum, I compared the symbols graphically, etymologically, and
> semantically.
>
> The pound sign (hash, hashtag, number sign) seems to me a dead ringer for
> the Western-mechanistic pole of the continuum, while the asterisk (star)
> fits quite nicely as the Oriental-animistic pole.
>
> Here’s how it breaks down:
>
> # – number sign, so quantitative and generic. The symbol is one of four
> lines crossing each other at right angles to yield nine implicit regions of
> space. The slant provides a suggestion of orientation – a forward lean that
> disambiguates spatial bias and implies, subliminally, an arrow of time.
>
> In the age of Twitter and Instagram, the hashtag has become an important
> cultural influence. It is interesting with respect to mechanism in that it
> refers to accessing a machine’s sorting algorithms. It is a note to the
> network of how this term should be handled. We have appropriated this
> satirically so that we recapture it for our own entertainment, but also as
> a kind of show of affection for and familiarity with the technology.
>
> In direct contrast, the * is am icon which is used to interrupt one level
> of attention to direct the reader to another level – a footnote. Instead of
> relating to numbers, the * is a wildcard that can be related to any string.
> It stands for “all that is preceded by or follows”. Contrary to the
> cellular modularity of #, the * is a mandala. It implies kaliedoscopic
> sensibility and fractal elaboration. It is a symbol of radiance, growth,
> life, unity, etc.
>
> There’s some interesting threads that connect the * with mathematical
> terms such as Kleene closure <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleene_star>(more 
> commonly known as the free monoid construction). Just the words ‘free
> monoid construction’ ring in my ears as an echo of what I call solitrophy –
> the constructive progress of teleological unity…the creation and solution
> of problems.
>
> Also the use of *asterisk* for heightened emphasis links it to the
> significance of euphoria or magnified feeling (and the euphoria that is
> associated with significance or magnified prestige/importance). Wikipedia
> mentions the use of # by editors to represent where space should be added
> on galley proofs. The use of * is, by contrast associated with repetition
> of a particular thing – a replication. This is a tenuous but deep
> connection to the origins of space and time in the difference between
> syntactic-public sense and semantic-private sense.
>
> The name ‘pound sign’ seems to be fairly 
> mysterious<http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2461>.
> It does not seem to be related conclusively to either the English currency
> or the Avoirdupois weight. Both references, however, have very tempting
> subliminal associations to the Western pole of empirical domination. On the
> other side, the name asterisk means ‘little star’, from Greek and Latin. I
> can read into that a reference to ‘as above, so below’, as the twinkling
> point of light reproduces in miniature that which is the grand solar source
> of life on Earth.
>
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