The important points being raised by Alex and Kushal, below, and others in
the solipsism thread, inspired me to introduce a brief outline on the
relevance of semiotic theory. As I introduced in my accompanying post, just
now, replying to Paul Werbos, the men's rights movement provided the seeds
of cultural change. The because genes narrative of Neo-Darwinism lies behind
the myth of pre-programmed instincts to account for men's and women's
motivations. This is complete nonsense. Peircean biosemiotics provides a
much more compelling interpretation for how men and women make choices from
culture. Let's take a look.
So how might semiotic theory relate to gender politics? Here are the
essential elements of gender roles, within the context of Peircean
1) Gender roles are habits;
2) Gender roles are chosen (association, conditioning);
3) Men and women "like" the roles to which they have been assigned.
A couple of essential points to note:
1) Genes do not determine anything. While genes are still important,
within a biosemiotic context, they do not "explain" complexity. If anything,
they are better understood in the context of resistance to change, rather
than the determination of change. you know, a kind of momentum of form,
rather than a blueprint for form;
2) The above three points are simply restatements of Peirce's three
categories. namely, thirdness (gender roles are habits); secondness (gender
roles relate to associative learning. the associations that are chosen/
experienced); and firstness (gender roles as they relate to motivation);
3) Neural plasticity relates to habituation, associative learning and
motivation in neurons. yup, the Peircean categories apply to single cells,
too (I discuss this in my 2001 Semiotica article, The law of association of
4) Imitation as an important dimension of Peirce's pragmatism (or
pragmatacism). Perhaps a new word needs to be invented. imitation, as I
intend it, is much more than blind copying. the notion of knowing how to be
provides a richer context that is consistent with semiosis and pragmatism;
5) Culture as a thought. This is consistent with Peirce's the man is
the thought. The notion of culture as a thought is an expression of the
realization that each choice we make has a specific meaning with reference
to its cultural context;
6) Biosemiotics is a more general interpretation of the semiotics of
C.S. Peirce. It takes the anthropocentric priority of semiotics, and extends
it to a more general context for all living entities.
I make a brief reference to neural plasticity above. Yup, it has a direct
part to play, too, in gender politics. Why? Professor Jill Stamm
(specializing in infant brain development) of Arizona State University has
guesstimated that 90% of a human brain's wiring is accomplished within the
first four years of life. Guess what looms large in the first four years of
any infant's life. it is the primary nurturer. It is the primary nurturer
that first defines the things that matter (Peirce, pragmatism). In other
words, if human cultures are being "oppressed" by anyone, it is the primary
nurturer that has a primary role in inculcating those nasty, oppressive,
"patriarchal" values that supposedly oppress women. Last time I checked, the
primary nurturer has tended to be female.
Now regarding this notion of culture as a thought: Every object in a culture
is a cultural artifact that has meaning within a cultural context. The beer
upon which I sip in Prague is established in a very different context to the
beer that I sip in Munich, or Sydney, or San Francisco, or Budapest. In each
context in which I make a choice is the cultural thought, or narrative, that
informs it. In other words, the historical context, and whether you clink
your beers, the words you use, the conversations you engage in. and whether
you are male or female. What might sipping a beer in Prague have in common
with a lion stalking a gazelle, bees swarming, a car mechanic fixing a car,
a fish in a net, a ballet dancer dancing, leukocytes rolling slowly on
endothelial cells, and P-selectins on endothelial cells interacting with
PSGL1 <https://youtu.be/FzcTgrxMzZk> ? Seemingly disparate, unrelated
events, they are united under one set of universal laws. Each is a player in
a context, and as such, each is a sign that has a meaning within that
context. And this is why Peircean biosemiotic theory and the three
categories, understood in the context of motivation, association and
habituation, are so important.
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Alex Hankey
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2018 3:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Sadhu Sanga] could solipsism destroy the human species?
Well said, Kushal.
The nature of the reality of one's experience is something that changes as
As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi put it, 'Knowledge is Different in Different States
At the highest level comes the realisation that 'All is One' - in some very
subtle and quite hard to define sense.
The realisation of this 'Unity behind All Things', or 'Unity in Diversity',
is the essence of Advaita Vedanta, and
the teachings and practices that lead up to that state.
Interestingly, Bernard D'Espagnat, clearly demonstrated that quantum theory
is incompatible with Naive Objective Reality,
in which every object is assumed to have an independent existence,
independent on anything else. He showed that the quantum correlations which
so displeased Einstein mean that what we see and consider as independent
'objects' cannot necessarily be considered to be truly independent.
The most beautiful, and to me perfect, expression of realisation of the
is contained in a poem by Thomas Traherne, a 17th century English country
The sixth stanza of his poem 'My Spirit', which you can obtain in full off
'My Spirit' Stanza 6 Lines 1 to 7
A strange extended orb of Joy,
Proceeding from within,
Which did on every side, convey
Itself, and being nigh of kin
To God did every way
Dilate itself even in an instant, and
Like an indivisible centre stand,
At once surrounding all eternity.
Note the 'indivisible centre' - the Centre of his Being remains One,
It cannot be divided, it is 'indivisible'. This is the Ultimate Realisation
drives out the prime cause of spiritual problems - Avidya,
or ignorance of Unity. (No help to James Randi & co.!!!)
The 7th Stanza that follows this one is an ecstatic statement of realisation
that one would normally only expect to find in the Upanishads.
In fact the whole poem has the quality of an Upanishad!
On 12 February 2018 at 06:48, Kushal Shah <atmabo...@gmail.com> wrote:
On Feb 12, 2018 3:15 AM, "Paul Werbos"
But to deny the existence of objective reality, either explicitly or (more
common) in the way one tries to understand the universe or make policy, the
phenomenon is all around us in many, many forms. To fully grasp the concept
of objective reality, not only at a surface level but at a deeper level,
seems to be a bit of a challenge for our species.
A strong assertion of objective reality is as naive as its outright
rejection. All theories and concepts operate only within a certain domain.
If scientists can be stubborn in their assertion, others can also be
stubborn in their rejection. As Newton said, every action has an equal an
opposite reaction. In my opinion, this is the most important law of this
Kushal Shah @ EECS Dept, IISER Bhopal
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