Outline of Natural Semantics; 20 Points

In an effort to strategize how the meaning environment can be charted, how knowledge can be charted, how a coordination strategy for knowledge can be tackled, how the “stuff” of life seems different when wrapped in meaning rather than stripped of it and how various aspects of society could be improved by accepting rampant and ideals-eroding meaning, the following outline is proposed.

1. Reality is better understood as a society composed of many societies including the society of subject and object.  By “society” is meant not only the usual human societies but any thing, being or collection of these. 

2. If I am a society and I accept you as a society, then our differences and our radical under-knowability are assumed as given as we construct and discover our paired society and seek to make it produce a pleasing economy in goods of our choice such as joy, support, struggle, humor or learning. We are neither facts nor subjects but builders in ever evolving societies.

3. The usefulness of reality as a society of societies results from: 1) its reversing the simplicity priority of Western-derived philosophical traditions to acknowledge the initial condition of multiplicity as well as to acknowledge the accomplishment of culture to extract simplicity; 2) its bridging mind-matter dualism by positing subjects and objects as subject-object societies; and 3) its reconfiguring of many human institutions such as communication, economics and psychology by valuating indeterminate wholes rather than by endlessly chasing, arguing over and getting lost in factors of determinacy.

4. Knowledge is understood here naturalistically as a behavior or a probable behavior with another (an adaptation to another or a regular alliance with another) as an action with another that is only partially initiated and left as potential. Meaning is the complete set of such relationships even where the relationship is subconscious, only microscopic such as respiration or delusional by any standard. Knowledge thus constellates a portion of meaning awarely available for us to rearrange. Knowing anchors the important growing tips of societies in their alliances. Knowing is a constant creation and rearranging of relationships with other societies that is characterized by relevance to knower, cooperative potentials of known and strength of connection.

5. The “society” of what has been called object and subject is the most salient society from which to view the compact of mind and matter. Every object exists as object by being embedded in a subject’s patterns of relevance. An object is an adaptation into our relations, a domesticated partner, an agreement. “It” is a society by its multiplicity of relatability.

6. Every subject is grounded in the consuming, maintaining, opposing or transforming alliances it keeps with objects. A subject is not nowhere peering out at an external reality from some hypothetical god’s-eye-view but instead is a finitely distributed and active pattern of relationships.

The public space of our traditional social life should be separated like meaning and knowledge into the radical sum of all actual meaning in the environment and into the aware space discovered and usable in public interaction. The names coined for these are the lifescape and the conceptscape. The conceptscape corresponds closely to culture with the only difference being that the conceptscape is much more inclusive and includes not only small subcultures but also even the “cultures” of individuals. The lifescape, the web of all meaning of all creatures stands between the aware sphere of the conceptscape and the sum of all possibilities, the physical space. We can never leave the conceptscape but the lifescape can grow into physical space and the conceptscape can grow into both.

8. Validating both primary societies, lifescape and conceptscape, provides a path to deal with the rampant contemporary complexity in both spheres as well as a consistent mechanism to let larger, established social groups set conceptual standards. These two “societies” of lifescape and conceptscape have continually divided philosophies into religious types that adjust to the territory’s (lifescape’s) vastness through physical and emotional adjustment tactics or into ideal types that harness conceptual logic into effectiveness. Not including the idiosyncratic complexity of the lifescape leads to diverse estrangements of the heart and unreformable dogmas. To use only the powerful conceptscape to view into another human’s depths is to crash about crudely and dysfunctionally while destroying the basis of sociality. On the other hand, not treating the hard-won concepts of the methodological sciences and cultural heritage groups as powerful clusters in their own rights leads to relativistic dissipation. The validation that status societies give to concepts is enough normative help to epistemology as well as the best we can ever hope for given there are no external sources of validation.

9. Contemporary complexity
is so all-reaching that the use of fixed ideas has become unworkable. No traditional society has coped with this degree of complexity. It is around us and also shown to be within us. On the one hand the shared meaning (conceptscape) from a researching and interconnecting world shows up as the remarkable complexity from publishing and databases that themselves cannot even be catalogued. The mental environment itself has become a deceptive and inundated semantic minefield that includes: a graphics revolution, an advertising avalanche, zillions of memes and the revolution in communications technology. On the other hand the personal factors that each of us has been dissected with and that we are invited to use (lifescape) include an unfathomable list: socio-economic determinants, psychological history, patterns hardwired into the body from the species history or through development, hormonal chemistry, emotional bondings/IQs, the incredible cognitive complexity of even simple thoughts such as the identification of a chair as a chair, or the incredible amount of potential perceptual information impinging subliminally on our senses. Below all these the physical environment that we have constructed such as our houses and electronics are more vast, more interconnected and thus more susceptible to normal decay. “Can’t keep up” is the usual response.

The conceptscape is contained in the lifescape, the web of all meaning, which is contained in the universe of possibilities. Always the unity of the present forces multiplicity into its reduction as possibilities are terminated. In the human sphere awareness and action are the two primary reductions into the present; both are possibilities realized. Life, in general, destroys complexity to arrive at the present thereby creating new potentials and relationships. Instead of “free will” life has taken a facsimile route of producing complex determinants in complex societies (organisms) with an integration mechanism to continually force the diversity into more unified action. Living in a society, struggling and surrendering in a body, is to have emotions, is to struggle and relax as the fit of one’s society into the larger society of the environment changes; it is to move in rhythms rather than to move with the conceptscape’s tempo of logic. The conceptscape is the creation of a collective society of semantic societies where complexity has been forged into shared relationships.

11. Interlocking both primary societies (of lifescape and conceptscape) shifts the focus of living from the operational pushing of mechanical buttons towards appreciating and adjusting social wholes. The first message of a social reality philosophy is to be, know and sculpt your own society, or your own best mind. The shift moves from compliance to joy, from doing to being. What at first might seem like the awkwardness of coping with so many societies will likely be the real promise of the global village–using the richness of diversity as multiple and expanding avenues to participatory joy. This subverts the modern day collision of cultures from a hurdle of coping to an opportunity where each culture/society is a source of being and a source of creating new hybrids of being.

12.  Interlocking both primary societies offers an expanded paradigm of communication that is not just the basically assaultive shoving of
messages but is also the larger frame of actually evolving contexts (local portions of the lifescape), the movement and growth of various societies. We can huff and puff with words/signs and information in the conceptscape’s pipelines of messages but actual relations will evolve as they will. The two “societies” are in interplay; to forget actual, rich contexts is to court ideological bashing and withdrawal while to forget words/signs and message content of the conceptscape is to remain babbling. If we meet and depart in communicative encounters that presume diverse and incompletely knowable personal societies, then there cannot be the “miscommunication” of the conceptscape alone’s missed equivalences; there will always be personal societies’ partially melded successes. In this view communication is the same as action where a rupture from the complex moves into the singulars of the conceptscape’s constructions. The difference to action is that communication’s action is on the semantic web itself.

13. Interlocking both primary societies subverts the economics focused
on the exchange of fixed objects (conceptscape) and expands it forwards towards a genuine spiritual-material ecology and backwards to its origins where extensive mental alliances turned traditional ecological pathways into the dedicated alliances of the humans. Economics was born in ecology, the lifescape, and moved into the conceptscape as relationships in the ecological web became awarely hardened into expectations–of an animal’s tracks, of a seed’s growth, of a stock’s return. And economics can return to ecology–to a new ecology of the conceptscape’s human material hybrids--by a recovery of the meaning that places us in our producer/consumer roles and in our social identities. We can imagine and begin to create such a future spiritual-material ecology by letting the rich, actual relations of our individual lives breathe life into all interactions and exchanges and by acknowledging all the specific dependencies and advantage-taking of our individual economic patches.

14. Interlocking both primary societies fosters a morality that respects both the larger society (the conceptscape) and the particular of the individual so that neither is imposed on the other. This avoids the asphyxiation of the individual or the relativizing of all values, and it promotes real aesthetics of living so that beautiful moral societies can take shape. By avowing the open beauty of societies morality is not just a “personal code” because the society of the code is brought out as a public entity and meshed with other social concerns.

15. Acknowledging the lifescape of meaning below and within knowledge gives psychology an actual and clear domain to work in. The lifescape make the “unconscious” visible, and subjects as knowledge alliances is a clear way to bridge the duality of consciousness of the therapy encounter–where reality is put on one side and feelings on another. There’s no surprise here as psychology has labored patiently exposing personal investments and relationships within our firmest beliefs. Further, all issues of identity are collaborative in being both constructed and discovered.

Interlocking both primary societies shows politics as a natural thing as every society within the conceptscape is continually redefining itself from within and without. Struggle, cooperation, toleration and infiltration are all necessary aspects of various phases of societies in interaction. Politics is, moreover, a concommitant of every knowing and caring act as these create an alliance or an aversion with a degree of strength anchored in each knowing act’s web. Under the Socratic regime of truth politics was relegated to the non-excusable, but the pretense to sameness under truth repeatedly fell from its pedestal into the nasty differences of all meaning’s myriad interests.

17. The social-interdependence approach to reality offers a compromise between Western conceptual thinking and Eastern taming of the conflictual by techniques of acceptance, or between conquest and retreat.
It does this by focusing on the experiential-operational interface, the grips of knowledge, and offering a measured swinging in attachments. Between the tightly knowledge-gripping societies seen in the Western conceptscape and grip-releasing detachment seen diaphanously in the East there are many styles of holding one’s society together. What is possible is a dancing of cares, within and between us.

18. Leaving philosophies of the conceptscape with fixed values behind such as is implied here brings up the repressed ubiquity and necessity of death in that an acceptance of change and conflict is also an acceptance of loss. Choosing relations and thoughts reinforces some and tramples others. Selection and death operate constantly in our relational patterns. The rich relational field of multiple societies has all the risks of nature. A full accounting of death/loss must include not only human lives but also: the lives of other creatures, modified existing physical aspects of the world, cultural practices bypassed, choices not taken, potentials not realized, thoughts discarded, memories lost and our bodies’ changed. Our only choice is to steer where it happens (hence the interest in non-zero summed “games”) and to vary the growth/speed of death.

19. From the vantage of society thinking it is more correct to say that:

bulletwe know the world by growing into it, by incorporating it, by expanding our society.
bulleteach of us has an extended body of all of our actual relations to the world.
bulletthinking is a type of digesting where prior relations accommodate new ones to reform our extended, mental bodies.
bulletcollectively, we can be said to have “intercorporated” the world; our meaning blanket is a supraorganism.
bulletall reality as we agree on it is our common coordination of patterns–in other words, our social body.
bulletall reality, as we disagree on it, is our social body’s relational digestive work at play–frolicking or evolving new social bodies.

20. From the vantage of society thinking a conjecture about biology can be made that underweights the reification of the organism alone and proffers a heavier weighting of the social intercourse outside organisms. This conjecture can be shaped thus:

bulletReality as societies is a useful description of both the biological organism and of the complete set of relationships for an organism from/to its niche and food web.
bulletAn organism has both an internal society (physiology) and an external society (mind).
bulletThe origin of these two primary societies comes from the chemistry of reactants and products where the direction of reaction can join in chains that are either looped back to the original reactants to form closed loops (an internal society) or are open-ended from/into the environment to describe concentrations and probabilities of an external society. Reactant-product chains thus form geometries that are either circular or radial.
bulletThe external society (mind) of an organism includes all non-internal pathways and relationships with any part of its internal society that are either probable or prepared for from its history. These relationships are characterized by discontinuities as compared to the more continuous relationships of the internal society. The discontinuities can be of time, distance or signal/noise ratios. Life is then characterized as double-facing societies--internal, circular, continuous and external, radial, discontinuous.
bulletPre-prepared pathways that are outward facing waiting to engage inputs can be said to “expect” the inputs. The discontinuity at the radial pathway often evolves into a cluster of helper paths facing outward in prepared support. Radial pathways and relations thus proliferate (e.g. a sense organ such as an ear). Even neutral elements such as cell walls are outer-directed in resisting external physical forces.
bulletThe evolution of complex societies/organisms results in a proliferation of outward-facing, discontinuous social couplings. Radial pathways can be at chemical, motor, support, perceptual or symbiotic, etc. levels.
bulletOrganisms with outward-facing couplings raise the degree of social couplings across the whole environment of reality to a point where more and more features and creatures in its surroundings become enlaced in their relevance relations or in their external society.
bulletHumans were the first creatures whose external societies attained circular closure so that features of the environment had relevance to each other so that fewer and fewer parts of the environment were without relevance, i.e. were outside the humans’ external society. In other words reality itself, the lightly interacting whole society, became an interacting society as the relevance of human society expanded into it to the point where interactions among relevances themselves were generated.
bulletAs the cultural supraorganisms of societies evolved, the laws of conservation of logic, social hierarchy and science became visible in the overall society of the universe. But even these like all societies are beyond any foreseeable closure.

Continue on to the Conclusion as a New Beginning.


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