12:40am GMT Begins
My PhD has been neglected on the blog page, but my thoughts and reading have matured, and continued. For the next 60 days my writing will focus on completing analysis of Umberto Eco’s ‘A Theory of Semiotics’, while charting my own Internal Conversation presented in A-post-a-day. The representation of the meaning and ‘my ultimate concern’ as an Actor within the structural confines of Climate Change will be completed in/as ‘Polo’s’ story.
Chapter Two Theory of Codes Page 48 -75 (A Theory of Semiotics, Umberto Eco)
“Semiotics is mainly concerned with signs as social forces”. There is a lot to absorb in that sentence from page 65 of Eco’s theory of semiotics. Motivation to complete my PhD came in the form of a sign: the most recent cover of National Geographic. The November 2015 edition is devoted to Climate Change. The cover has an image of planet Earth that seems to spill out over the boundaries of the page.
[SS: wanted to say ‘our’ planet. But we as humans don’t deserve the right of ownership that this implies]
The words ‘Cool it.’ cut through the equatorial line of the earths image. The Arabian Sea above the round bold letter O appears deep, dark and blue – the only real relief from the swirling movement of cloud, gases and vapor. It scares me.
[OS: I am just as scared of Umberto Eco. Eco scares me because I don’t really understand what causes the “infinite repression of unlimited semiosis” on page 69, and when I try to unpack it my head goes round and round in circles. Just like it does when I see the signs of climate change all around me]
As my friend and academic, Professor David Brokensha, concluded after reading the Nat Geo issue, ‘it’s impossible to think there can still be anybody who would deny that we [humans] caused Climate Change”.
I am back trying to understand – to make meaning – from these signs around me. The very definition of a sign, Eco reminds us, ‘implies a process of unlimited semiosis’. A central feature of this limitlessness is the interpretant. I fell into the trap of academic fear which has “frightened many scholars who proceeded to exorcise it by misunderstanding it (interpretant = interpreter or receiver of the message).” The interpretant is that which validates the sign (page 68). It takes many forms and is detached from the ‘metaphysics’ of the interpreter. The sign’s validity is guaranteed ‘even in the absence of the interpreter’.
[SS: so, regardless whether I am here, or not; care, or not; act, or not; the signs of climate change are there!]
[OS: No. The signs of Climate Change are here!]