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September 08, 2016

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Dr. M

Josh:

Good job. I agree that the "Lord" in the title refers to mankind's "special" nature, the qualities of mind and communication and action that distinguish it from other species. This she connects with the old biblical idea that man is given special powers by God (language, reason) as well as "dominion over" all other creatures. He an "earthly lord" (small L) over his "subjects." As you write, "it is in referring to man's ability to make symbols have multiple and diverse meanings." It is interesting that you stress the "multiple and diverse" possible meanings of symbols as key. You are correct and the S.I. Hayakawa reading for Tuesday will go into more details about why this is so. Symbolic communication is ultimately predicated on the arbitrariness of signifiers an their relationship to signified. In symbolic communication, a symbol must be perceived as "unnatural" (not "naturally tied to its meaning) in order to work and to open up the vastly important dimension of symbolic communication. It's counter-intuitive at first, but once you get it, it makes sense. Pay special attention to his example of the Chimp dealing with the traffic light. The whole idea is there!

Grade: 2

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Media Ecology Quote of the Day

  • “Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials. . . . When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility. ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

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