unfolding expression

context and content

Unfolding. Origami in reverse
HERB SIMPSON: "I'd like to give you a twenty-minute presentation that'll change the world." HOMER: "Aww. Twenty minutes!"
edited: 19 Jan 2022, written: 24 Aug 2018.

The four documents, listed below, coextending like the layers of a map, are four elementary perspectives on semiosis. The first outlines meaning; this underpins the others. The second sets out the elemental relationship between life and information, while the third and fourth describe how this builds both society and individuals. I hope you can find your way through them, however unlikely that might seem.

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.


λ  literalism
    worshiping words

The ideas we form and choices we make are misdirected when different frames of meaning are unconsciously mixed - there may be an epidemic in our minds, and one too in our souls, but even if so these are not the same. When feeling certain we know what things mean we are at our most vulnerable to deceptions and misunderstanding.


Ψ  on being heard
    gathering conversations

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.


Δ  making sense
    fluency and health

Communication is central. From the beginning, as beings have multiplied and developed, their survival has depended upon them successfully interacting with their environment. Finding advantages of protection and empowerment in social integration they evolved, their mental as well as physical well-being coextending with their fluency.


θ  reproduction
   adapting cultures

As societies grow and develop their individuals become more dependent upon them and their roles increasingly specialize. Cohesion is achieved by means of a culture, a shared narrative that replicate in the thoughts and behaviours of individuals. By forming new colonies virtually, these cultures grow, competing with others as individuals do.


From the poem: 'Little Gidding', written by T.S Eliot during the air-raids on Great Britain in World War II.

In February 1941, as illness and the war disrupted his ability to write, Eliot began work on 'Little Gidding'. Dissatisfied with each draft, he believed the problem was with himself not the poem. He finished it in September 1942. It was the last in a series of four poems, which he wrote between 1936 and then, that were published in 1943 as: 'Four Quartets'.

phoenix change


edited: 24 Jan 2022, written: 1 Jan 2022.
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

In a world humming with information, questions and answers are expected to be simple. Science answers simple questions, but those concerning wellbeing are complex, involving society as well as individuals. Semiosis is the bridge between the two. This site presents that elementary narrative.

My introduction to this was personal. Realizing I was lost, to find my way I looked for elementary facts. These I found reassuringly familiar. However, now they are assembled they surprise me. The content here seems reliable, but its form relies on my writing skill and remains a work in progress.

on writing

19 Jan 2022

Developing this site has been a challenge, but, in the words of Thomas Huxley, I hope that:

..the length of the period during which the subject, under its various aspects, has been present in my mind, may suffice to satisfy the Reader that, my conclusions, be they right or wrong, have not been formed hastily or enunciated crudely.

Yet while I began this project ten years ago, and the subject has been present in my mind for ten more before that, this is unlikely to suffice a modern reader. There is little time today for things that are not readily available.

From the preface: 'Advertisement to the Reader', by the English biologist and anthropologist Thomas Henry Huxley (known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his defense of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution) in his 1863 book: 'Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature'.

From the pageant play: 'The Rock', by T. S. Eliot, 1934.

More: The Internet Archive: Prefatory Note to: "The Rock", T.S Eliot. Poetry Nook: Choruses from "The Rock" by T-S. Elliott Wikipedia: The_Rock (play)


Chaos refers to dynamic systems of apparently random states of disorder and irregularity that are actually governed by interconnectedness, underlying patterns and deterministic laws. The mathematical study of this is chaos theory.

scientific limitations

edited: 18 Jan 2022
As wellbeing is not available for scientific examination, science can say little about it. It cannot be isolated, and is itself a function of qualities that present the same problem, such as contentment and success. To us, wellbeing is priceless, self-evident and substantive. Engaging with it is unavoidable. Science however, like a computer, can only engage with things that are clearly defined. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is the result otherwise. If you want to know the relationship between energy (E) and matter (M), E=Mc2 is the answer, but engineers and politicians built the Bomb not science.
quoteleftMathematics is able to deal successfully only with the simplest of situations, more precisely, with a complex situation only to the extent that rare good fortune makes this complex situation hinge upon a few dominant simple factors. Beyond the well-traversed path, mathematics loses its bearings in a jungle of unnamed special functions and impenetrable combinatorial particularities. Thus, the mathematical technique can only reach far if it starts from a point close to the simple essentials of a problem which has simple essentials. That form of wisdom which is the opposite of single-mindedness, the ability to keep many threads in hand, to draw for an argument from many disparate sources, is quite foreign to mathematics.
Jacob Schwartz (Prof. of computer science, mathematician), in: "The Pernicious Influence of Mathematics on Science", 1992.
quoteleftIt may seem natural to think that, to understand a complex system, one must construct a model incorporating everything that one knows about the system. However sensible this procedure may seem, in biology it has repeatedly turned out to be a sterile exercise. There are two snags with it. The first is that one finishes up with a model so complicated that one cannot understand it - the point of a model is to simplify, not to confuse. The second is that if one constructs a sufficiently complex model one can make it do anything one likes by fiddling with the parameters - a model that can predict anything predicts nothing.
John Maynard Smith (theoretical evolutionary biologist, and geneticist) and Eors Szathmary (Prof. of theoretical evolutionary biology), (1999) The Origins of Life: From the Birth of Life to the Origin of Language..
No matter how transparent science is, it can always be misrepresented and then used to hide the crudest of intentions. It is abused by climate-change deniers to disguise their 'refutations' and, still, by Nazis to disguise their zenophobia. Science requires elementary reason to make sense. Reason need not then be abandoned when confronting its results. It is a choice how we behave, our ecosystem providintg countless examples of the variety of strategies that are viable.
A farmer, perplexed that his hens were not laying, called on a theoretical physicist for help. A few weeks after investigating the problem, the physicist returned with detailed calculations and announced: "I have the answer, and it holds for all spherical chicken in a vacuum."
after: A Spherical Cow. Science Magazine, 28 Dec 1973, Letter: 'Allocation of Natural Resources', letter from Stephen D. Stellman, Dept Biochem, Princeton.


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