on being heard

life and language

emerging leaves
Life was born when an environment was perceived as a pattern of signs - in the beginning was the word, just not a word that we recognize. Every being perceives others in its environment through the signs they make, and as consequence of this awareness, which is intrinsic to life, language and society have emerged and developed.
edited: 23 Nov 2021, written: 30 Nov 2017.

We talk, we want to be heard. Listening, and speaking too, become hard when we're not; reality is a social medium. The briefest conversations linger, framed in place and time I grow connected to everyone I talk to, and with everyone I hear.

Natural as the air to us I breathe words in. While my mind grapples with their code a sense of them answers my questions: "Strong or weak; opportunity or threat?"

Meaning-making is inseparable from being; "life and semiosis are co-extensive." Its beings are elements of an environment and, together with it, they are signs for others. As such, in whatever manner, they are recognized and understood. Speaking is a social act. Conversations gather together societies of dependency and mutual interest. They made our primate tribes the world for us, and still we rise and fall with these. Our species evolved from cells that most likely came from a social act themselves, two billion years before or thereabouts, when different understandings of the environment came together and fused, like sperm and egg.

Life painted the world with information. Conversation and strategies grew. Whatever chemistry life first stepped through, viruses were there, if not first on the stage, and all were social by nature.

Sociality is fundamental; it is the builder of complex organisms and their means of survival. Even our own body is a co-operative of cells rather than the dictatorship of our brain that is commonly imagined. Only half of me has my DNA.  We are a social alliance of animal and bacteria - devoid of the latter we struggle to survive. Every being of every kind and scale no matter how grand is framed within a context that is provided by their society, a society that is constructed by both our allies and predators.

Through common germs and social memes inside and out inundated, we have become. After the sociophiles the sociophage came, yet social we grew and remain.

Despite our awareness, and the self-interest this has for survival, from our very first moment we called out, like birds in the trees. Even though being heard - except by our mothers - as often summons diners as dinner, calling out exposes what is good for us as well as who isn't. Communicating is not just in our genes it's their function; life is innately about connecting, not codes. Physically, culturally, and psychologically, communication drives the evolution of life.

Searching for what I need I've find I need be found by those who find they need me just as I need them.

Like those of other animals, our young are driven to assume the powers of an adult. In striving to do so they co-operate and compete with each other and with us, reflecting what they see and experience in their environment. It is this that provides the cultural framework of communication that supports, as well as constrains, all aspects of their development - whatever we try to teach them at home. Through it they learn to recognize those they are most related to - with whom it's easy to feel empathy; to identify other groups - with whom this feels hard; and that somehow it's wrong to feel empathy for other species.

As Finnish bound a newborn Finland, children find that special language binds their gangs together, framing the outsiders.

Across evolutionary time, society has proved to be life's best defence. It is an unconscious goal of beings to engage with others, and the comfort that comes from success in this drives them to find ways to integrate their differences. We have developed even the most basic of our perceptions - sound and taste and sight - by communicating within the societies we were conceived and born into. In our expression, rather than what we intend, others have found what is significant to them. Through all this we have come to express our thought and feeling, knowingly and not, so that others will see us and the world as we need them to.

In solitude losing what made us, us, free of society, lost in imagining, we're disempowered and rudderless.

Words are as hard as images to pin down and perhaps even more seductive. It's easy to become trapped in them, imagining that their meaning is intrinsic, but they are only midwives. While their meaning is conceived in our intentions it only comes to life in the understanding of those who hear them. Conversation develops in every natural language, in every form of sign - in light, in sound, in shape and form - and ambiguity is intrinsic to them all. It only kills machine codes. If it were otherwise, over the millions of years it would have vanished along with our tails. The endless resolving of doubt it requires shepherds us closer together, flushes out liars, and disempowers rebellion.

A disregarded lock of hair when framed is art. In a locket on display, its culture clear, my disregard then ends, and art begins.

As our species has focused on signs and symbols - for deceit as well as co-operation - new media have evolved. From handprints on cave walls, text, photography, and theatre have developed into an industry of broadcasting. From printing to HTML, this industry has grown to orchestrate social choice, mediating communication and standing between society and leaders. In marketing and movies, doorstep chat and schoolroom debate, mundane propaganda sets the stage for social strategy; the conversations of broadcast media, transforming social intercourse, have changed the behaviour of their host like a parasite.

In ready meals my seeds of thought are sown in unsuspecting hosts.

Conversations gather us together, assembling into cultures that construct not only our virtual environments but also those that are real. As we grow and develop inside the culturess they form, our everyday needs, both physically and psychologically, are secured by the societies that they build. The common-sense we have, in which with others we feel safe and at home, is created in an elemental manner by the conversations that we have.

We are all about learning to speak.

Δ  making sense

forming questions

A baby has no innate answers to basic, elementary questions, any more than any other animal does: "Am I connected - to my feet to this breast to this person?" "What is 'mother'?" "Where is 'home'?" "What is 'family'?" "What is 'friend'?" Infants have innate expectations but not a database by which to know the nature of the entities involved. If they find individuals of other species, or inanimate objects, to be the candidates in their environment most suited to their needs, they will attach to these. We build ourselves ignorantly. Acting on instinctual knowledge - feeling/thought - from the the most elementary constructs in our brains unknowingly we construct perception incrementally and found our minds. Engagement with the environment is directed through sign, through touch and sound and sight, by communication, through language and culture.

edited: 4 Oct 2021, written: 30 Sep 2021.

social orchestration

Selecting leaders through choices based on more than simply their physical strength, in social species the group is more powerful than the individual. The complex social communication that makes such processes possible focuses the power of a social group's individuals.

Through technologies, from print to html, broadcasting has transformed social communication. Replacing direct social intercourse as the medium through which social decisions are made, it has taken over its role in social cohesion and governance.

Focused on matters of immediate and direct relevance to the everyday lives of individuals, the content of social communication has always been mundane. Broadcasting media mirror this. Diverting the innate drive to engage socially, they provide an ersatz freedom of social interaction while channeling this through virtual technologies to isolate micro-demographic, consumer clusters.

modding behaviour

Evolving as a social organ, constructed by the economic interests of those involved in it, the media industry has developed a self-reinforcing feedback cycle between itself and society. Hijacking its host society's natural behavior in the information environment, it echoes the behaviourss of certain biological parasites.

Behavior modifying parasites hijack natural responses, such as heightened anxiety, to serve their needs instead. Flukes have evolved to make prey (such as frogs) easier for their vertibrate hosts (such as birds) to catch.

Victims of the rabies virus experience hydrophobia, refuse to swallow (allowing the virus to collect around their mouths), and are much more likely to aggressively bite and interact with others .. Toxoplasma gondii, a protist parasite, suppresses the fear response of rodents and drives them to seek out feline foes to help complete the lifecycle of their protist partner. Horsehair worms encourage their host crickets to drown themselves, which allows these parasites to complete their own lifecycle in water. Likewise, certain entomopathogenic fungi .. manipulate their hostsí sexual behaviors to increase their odds of transmission.

US National Center for Biotechnology Information, PLoS Pathog. 2020 Jun; 16(6): e1008598. Published online 2020 Jun 18. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008598


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