A Semiotic Xray

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This work attempts to explain the inevitable central tendencies in society and government, that is, the way in which power and wealth tend to go from the majority to the minority. This work attempts to treat this problem linguistically, and also draws an analogy between social objects and living organisms.

Submitted: January 12, 2012

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Submitted: January 12, 2012

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Rather than the result of a process, should the goal be the process? Regarding conventions, I believe I can answer this. The reader should be as clear as possible about the setting in which our conclusions are discerned. This is why we must begin with the following development, which, may seem to reader rather tedious; but it is a sufficient gateway into the subject.

On the Language of Society and Social Groups

In the social organism, between all of its various organs and faculties, composed of social groups and subgroups, some intersecting with others, and others disjoint from one another, one will find a seemingly infinite ocean comprised of anything which constitutes the transfer of information between these groups and subgroups. In a conversation between two friends there is the transfer of verbal signals. In an act of violence between two parties, the violent act is a kind of nonverbal signal. The passerby who witnesses a violent act is receiving information visually. If the employees of some company were to go on strike, this can be treated as a statement directed at the owner of the company, made by the employees – namely, that they desire better work conditions. Likewise, if the employees were to go to work happily, information is being transferred just the same.

Vast as well are the means by which information can be transferred in a social setting. There are visual and auditory signals, signals via internet, TV and radio; there are sonar, radar, and a great many others as well. We call the set of all signals transferred between society's various entities, the language of society. Where ever there is a signal, also there is a sender and receiver. The sender is either a group or an individual, and, likewise, the receiver is either a group or an individual. When discussing some signal, we agree that there is one and only one sender (either and individual or a group), and one and only one receiver (either an individual or a group). If a group of more than one individual is said to be the sender of the signal, it is because the signal is understood to be the result of the collective activity of the group. If a group of more than one individual is said to be the receiver of a signal, it is because receipt of the signal is to be discussed as the collective activity of this group. That is, we will specify a signal by specifying its sender and receiver. Thus, if we are to discuss some signal sent by a particular group, any group distinct from this group cannot be called the sender of this signal. Any group distinct from the specified receiver, regardless of whether it is receiving information originating from the same collective activity from whence came the specified signal (with the specified receiver), cannot be called the receiver of the specified signal as it is understood that this group is receiving a signal distinct from that which was specified.

We now want to partition the language of society into three disjoint categories. That is, we want to show that, given any signal, this signal must belong to one of three categories that are disjoint from each other, and whose union is equal to the language. This partition is illustrated by the following definitions:

Accidental A signal is accidental if its sender is unaware of its existence.

An example of an accidental signal is illustrated by the following:

Suppose two individuals are having an argument and there are shouts being exchanged. If a passerby whose existence is not know by either of the two individuals arguing, although the verbal signals being exchanged by the individuals whose sender and receiver are exactly these individuals, are know to exist by both of the individuals arguing, the signal received by the passerby whose existence is not known to the individuals arguing has, itself, existence unknown to the two individuals arguing, and therefore is accidental in nature.

Passive A signal is passive if its existence is known to the sender, but is not the result of any intention of sender to produce a response by the signals receiver.

An example of a passive signal is illustrated by the following:

Recall the two individuals from the previous example who are exchanging shouts. But now suppose there is a passerby whose existence known to the individuals having the argument. Although the signals whose sender and receiver are exactly the individuals exchanging shouts are the result of an intention of producing producing a response by the receiver, the signal whose receiver is the passerby, which is by definition, distinct from any signal whose sender and receiver are exactly the individuals arguing, is understood not to be the result of the intention of either of the two arguing individuals to produce a response by the receiver (which is the passerby), and therefore is passive in nature.

Aggressive A signal is said to be aggressive if it is the result of the intention of the sender to produce a response by the receiver.

An example of an aggressive signal is illustrated by one of those signals from the above examples whose sender and receiver are exactly those two individuals exchanging shouts. This signal's sender sends the signal with the intention of producing some response by the signals receiver. That is, this signal and its receiver are known to exist by the sender, and its existence stems from the sender's intention to produce some response by the receiver, and is therefor aggressive in nature.

The fact that these categories are a partition of the language follows from the fact that a signal's existence is either known by the sender, or it is not known, in combination with the fact that any signal whose existence is known by the sender, is either the result of the sender's intention of producing a response by the signal's receiver, or is not the result of such.

Our discussion will be concerned mostly with those signals that are aggressive in nature. Our discussion, in fact, is mostly concerned with yet a smaller subset of those signals that are aggressive. In attempt to give definition to this subset, we must first introduce yet more concepts related with the social organism. We understand that, found in the social organism are definite social groups whose assemblies are the result of some common desire by which each of these groups' members identify. The desire by which members of a social group identify at the moment of the group's initiation, we say is the group's initial agenda. Although, in practicality, it may be quite impossible to know thoroughly the desires of an individual, we find that, for our purposes, it is sufficient to agree that there are such social groups whose initial assembly is the result of some desire common to each of the group's initial members, that is, the collective, agreed upon goal of the group's members, at the moment of the group's initiation.

This agenda will undergo modifications as the group carries out its activities, and after it is modified, we just call it the group's social agenda. Groups initiated in such a way as described above we will call social groups. Some practical examples whose likeness is sought by this development are illustrated by the following:

  1. Suppose there is a desire to play baseball by some individuals. After realizing that they share this common desire and identify with each other by such, they agree to form a baseball team and enter their team into a local baseball league. The initial agenda here is to play baseball together, as a team, in the local baseball league, and the social group is the team itself.

  1. Suppose some individuals become acquainted and realize that they each share a desire to learn the Russian language. After identifying with each other by such, they agree to form a study group among themselves. The initial agenda here is to learn Russian together, and the social group is the study group itself.

  1. Suppose the inhabitants of some town get to talking and realize that their town could do with more parks. After establishing that this desire is common to each of them, and that most people in the town would most probably enjoy having more parks as well, they decide to form an organization with the goal of obtaining funds to have more parks constructed in the town. The initial agenda here is to have more parks in their town, and the social group is the organization which was assembled to obtain such.

After the initiation of a social group, an individual's membership is not implicit of their identifying with the other members by the initial agenda. Another aspect of an individual in the group we understand to be personal desire. This personal desire differs in nature from a desire “for the whole group”. Our development will understand each member to have two separate agendas. One of these is characterized by what the individual wants for the whole group – namely the group agenda, and the other is characterized by what the individual wants for their self – namely the personal agenda. After the initial assembly of the social group we will assume that the group members become better acquainted with each other, and some initial activity and communication will take place, and the group will start to move toward its goal. At any given moment after this initial activity begins, for one reason or another, the personal agenda and hence the group agenda of a member might change. Thus we find it will be necessary to speak of a member's orientation with respect to the social agenda. Also, since we find it reasonable to assume that an individual will generally put their personal desire before their desire for the whole group, we will agree that a member's group agenda is dependent in some way on their personal agenda. Then, to describe a member's orientation with respect to the group, we give the following definitions:

Faithful Orientation We say that a member of a social group has faithful orientation with respect to the social agenda if the member's personal agenda is consistent with the social agenda, that is, if the personal desire of the member actually includes all aspects of the social agenda. Or, in other words, the members personal agenda will be better fulfilled by the fulfillment of the of the social agenda, and this member's group agenda has eclipsed the social agenda.

Yielding Orientation We say that a member has yielding orientation with respect to the social agenda if the member's personal agenda no longer includes any aspect of the social agenda , but the member's group agenda is still mostly the initial agenda. That is, the fulfillment of the social agenda neither contributes to nor conflicts with fulfillment of the member's personal agenda, and so the group agenda still intersects with the social agenda, although the member's personal agenda has shifted.

Conflicting Orientation We say that a member of a social group has conflicting orientation with respect to the social agenda if the member's personal agenda has changed is such a way that fulfillment of the social agenda would actually conflict with fulfillment of the member's personal agenda. Consequently this member's personal agenda has not only become disjoint from the social agenda, but even the member's group agenda has become disjoint form the social agenda.

Note that at the moment of initiation of a social group, we assume that no member has conflicting orientation. Also note that, just as we can speak of a member's orientation with respect to social agenda, we can speak of a subgroup's orientation with respect to the social agenda, only, such will be depend on how the subgroup's social agenda relates to the larger group's social agenda, that is, it can be faithful, yielding, or conflicting.

Some practical examples whose likeness is sought by the above definitions are illustrated in the following:

  1. Joe, Sally, and Megan belong to the same chemistry class for which they formed a study group in hopes that they each receive an “A” grade in the class. When this study group was formed, each had the same group agenda which was the group's initial agenda – in particular, to each learn the material well enough to receive a “A” grade by the end of the course. At the moment of the group's initiation, each Joe, Sally and Megan would be happy to see the other group members succeed, and even more so to see their self get an “A” grade, so that each of their personal agendas will be better fulfilled by fulfillment of the social agenda. Then, here, each member has faithful orientation with respect to the initial agenda.

  1. Sally, from the example above, has grown bored with the chemistry class a few weeks in. She no longer cared whether she learns the material well, but certainly, if she were to receive a good grade in the class, she would not be bothered with such a result. She would also be fine with the event in which Joe and Megan succeed in the initial agenda, and so she continues to participate in the group. Thus, Sally's personal agenda has shifted as she no longer desires an “A” grade as much as she did when the study group was formed, but still, participating in the study group and feeling that she would be happy if Joe and Megan were to succeed, her group agenda is has not much changed. Here, Sally's orientation is yielding.

  2. Now suppose that Sally did not grow bored with the class; in fact, suppose that Sally and Megan have grown rather competitive, and Sally has become jealous of Megan's success. Consequently, because of the jealously, Sally begins to wish that Megan will not succeed, and she wishes this with such conviction that her personal agenda can no longer be fulfilled without Megan's failing to earn an “A” grade in the course. That is to say, Sally's personal agenda has changed in such a way that fulfillment of the initial agenda would go against her personal agenda, and so Sally's group agenda has been modified to exclude the event of Megan's success. Here sally's orientation with respect to the initial agenda is conflicting.

    As we mentioned earlier, once a social group has been initiated, membership after initiation is not implicit of faithful orientation. We need to specify what constitutes membership after initiation, which means we can go no further without introducing some concepts concerned with the functional activity of a social group. After the initiation of a given social group, its members will begin communicating with one another and make decisions concerning which tasks will be carried out in attempt to move the group toward its initial agenda. In practical situations resembling what we have called a social group, the signals being sent between the group's members are incredibly diverse in nature and purpose. However, many of these signals will be aggressive in nature and will, in fact, be the result of a member's desire, or a subgroup's collective desire to produce a response in one or more of the group's members which will contribute in some way to the groups movement toward its social agenda. In the midst of this activity and flow of information between the group's members, some normalization will occur; that is, the group's members will seek some organization in activity which they agree will precipitate movement toward the initial agenda. The group members will agree, to some capacity, about which tasks will be carried out by what members and therefore which various types of signals should be sent between what members.

Here we give some examples to make more clear what we assume to happen at this stage in the group's movement as well as what we mean by normalization.

Suppose that Tommy, Mike, Joe, and Susan started a small business together in hope of making some extra money, and also out of their collective desire to do something with plant as each of them thoroughly enjoys gardening. After each of them agreed to the starting of a business, and began to discuss who would do what, it became clear to each that Mike and Joe know a great deal about fruit and vegetable plants, and that Tommy and Susan know less about fruit and vegetable plants than they do about flowers. Also in this early stage of activity, they agreed that they would start a nursery, and sell plants to the local community. Consequently, most of the activity and discussion concerning fruits and vegetables involve Mike and Joe, and most of that concerning flowers involves Tommy and Susan. This stage in the movement of the group is marked by the members becoming better acquainted with each other and some consensus about which members will most likely be doing what activities is approached. At this stage we recognize not only the exchange of aggressive signals with intention of contributing to the group's movement toward its social agenda, but also some levels of familiarity between various subgroups of the social group. Hence the following definitions.

Functional Signal We say a signal is functional if it is aggressive, and made with the intention of effecting the movement of the group, and made after the stage marked by normalization described above.

Functional Channel Two distinct subgroups (a subgroup is one or more members) form a functional channel if there is exchange of functional signals between them.

Note here that a functional signal is necessarily aggressive, but not visa versa, whence the functional signals are a subset of the aggressive signals. We call the set of all functional signals the functional language, and the set of all functional signals pertaining to a particular social group, the functional language of the social group.

After the initial assembly of a social group, members and nonmembers are distinguished from each other in that a member participates in a functional channel of the group.

Having come thus far in our development, it may be beneficial to briefly restate what has been laid down. Much of this development, thus far, may seem a grave oversimplification of social happenings; and for this reason, a brief recap and some explanation regarding the direction of our discussion may be necessary.

We first discussed what constitutes the transfer of information between individuals and groups of individuals in society. This was a rather vague notion as the causes and the means by which signals are borne in society are incredibly vast. We then considered the set of all such signals – the language of society1 – and divided it into three disjoint categories. One of these contains those signals of which the sender is not aware, another contains those signals of which the sender is aware, but did not make with the intention of producing some response by the receiver, and one containing those signals which the sender made with the intention of producing a response by the receiver. These categories are, respectively: accidental, passive, and aggressive. Up until this point, nothing was oversimplified. At this point our attention went to the idea of social groups. That is, groups of individuals who share some common interest, and after identifying by this common interest, assemble with the collective intention of achieving some goal. Here we introduced our rather strict definitions for social group and social agenda. Accompanying these were the first signs of oversimplification. One might perfectly well argue that the process by which people assemble, in reality, is far more complicated, as well as the thing by which people identify that we called the initial agenda. They would, in fact, be perfectly right in saying this. However, our rather strict definitions here, and hence our oversimplification of realistic social assemblage, we argue will provide, through reduction of complexity, a way to examine things that are far more complicated – in particular, the more manifold ways in which many social groups relate to each other and their natural tendency to form structures that are hierarchical in a functional sense. We attempted to reduce the complexity even more by introducing yet a more narrow class of signals – the functional signals. Oversimplification here is great as well. One might here argue that the movement of social groups toward their respective agendas is affected not only by activity and communication which is functional, nor only by that which is aggressive, but is affected by all of the categories. This is, in fact, true. Any signal in the group's language will have some affect on the groups' activity and movement. The oversimplification here we again argue will allow us to to examine a far more complex thing which occurs in the midst of many of these social groups interacting with each other. If we were to consider the entire language we would simply be taking on too much at this time. We mean to bring back some of this complexity when we are ready. We even assert that those signals which are functional, in a collective sense, are stronger in effecting both the mechanics of a group as well as its movement toward its agendas. Also, in this development, we assigned each member of a group to have what we called a group agenda and a personal agenda. All we can say here of the oversimplification is that our discussion will not be psychological in content. To discuss personal desire, personal agenda, and how a person's own agenda actually relates to what they want for some social group to which they belong, is certainly a subject that is complex and psychological in its content. The fact that our discussion will rely on the assumption that a member of a social group has a personal agenda and a group agenda, and that these are two separate things, and even that they can be consistent, yielding or conflicting with each other, will not render our discussion pointless. In fact, we would go so far as to argue that there is some striking resemblance in these definitions to reality. Thus, what we have now are groups of people coming together, and out of a common interest agreeing to do something together. After the moment of initial assembly, the members of a group will form functional channels and exchange functional signals, hoping to achieve something for themselves as well as for the group. Also, after the moment of initial assembly, for one reason or another, members will either remain faithful, become yielding, or conflicting with respect to the social agenda. And for such reasons, members might choose to leave the functional channels which bind them to the group, thereby becoming nonmembers of the group, and other individuals may come and attach themselves to some functional channel of the group thereby becoming a member. As time goes on, the group may grow or shrink in size, and may or may not move toward its initial agenda. The group might abandon its initial agenda and not agree on a new one in which case the group will have broken up. It is also possible that all of the members will have yielding or conflicting orientation with respect to the initial agenda and take on a new agenda. In this case, the moment of consensus will be treated as a moment of assembly, and the new social agenda will be called the current social agenda. Similarly will be treated the event in which a group achieves its social agenda and takes on a new one. So, as time goes on, a group's movement will be marked by changing of social agenda or achievement of social agenda. This sequence of events we will call the group's evolution. We may also consider a set of signals sent by a particular member or subgroup, which we will call an expression of the member or subgroup. It will be possible for an individual to be a member of more than one group, as it is in reality; also, groups may be contained in other larger groups, or just intersect with them. With our development thus far, we will be able to consider such situations that are more complex. Also notice, by our definitions, an individual is a social group containing one person and whose personal agenda is the group agenda. Some examples of realistic social groups are given in the following, as well as of how our definitions will be used to discuss them.

  1. Suppose ten people became acquainted because of a hobby which they all share. These ten people all enjoy running a few times per week. They manage to all meet one day to agree on a schedule, as they have already agreed that they would enjoy running together as a group. This first meeting we might say is the group's initial assembly, and the collective desire to run together as a group, which they all share, is the initial agenda. Suppose also that one of the members has a desire to eventually run in a marathon. Then we would say that this desire is part of their personal agenda. And if it is not part of the initial agenda, we might speak of this member's personal agenda either conflicting with the social agenda, or not conflicting with it. If, also at this meeting many of the runners exchange phone numbers with each other as they become better acquainted with each other, we can say that some functional channels are being forged. Once the runners have agreed on some schedule, and all have exchanged phone numbers, we would say that an individual with, possibly, some dialogue with the other runners, or some of their phone numbers, and who makes an effort to follow schedule on which was agreed, is a member of this group. If, later, the group's members have been able to enjoy running together as a group, and many of them have proposed to run together in an up-coming marathon, we would treat this like a modification of the initial agenda; and if all of the members agree to have this goal, we can say they have a new social agenda of, not only running together as a group, but also running together in the marathon. The moment which they make this decision we can also say was the social assembly accompanying the new social agenda, regardless of whether a meeting took place, and regardless of physical proximity. If, before this up-coming marathon, many of the members decide to go together to a sporting good store to buy some goods for participating in the marathon, we can say, because of the signals present between the clerk of the sporting good store and the runners, that there is one or more functional channels between the clerk and the runners. But, because the clerk does not desire to run with the group, or to run with them in the marathon, we would say that the clerk is a nonmember of the group of runners, even though there is a functional channel involving the clerk as they help the runners in deciding which equipment they should use for the race, since the signals here are, by definition, functional. This is actually a functional channel of a larger group of which the runners are a subgroup.

  2. Suppose that a hundred, or so, members of a community all belong to the same denomination of Christianity. That is, these people all believe in some particular interpretation of the Christian Bible. But, because the town is relatively new, and still growing, many of these Christians do not know about each other, and also have no common or official place of worship. Suppose that, spontaneously, several of this particular type of Christian met accidentally. Because of their common belief, and their realization that there is no official place of worship in their town, they all pitched in and printed hundreds of fliers which advertise their denomination of Christianity, as well as name a time and place of a first meeting. It is proposed on this flier to meet on Sunday in a public park. When Sunday came, there were thirty-five Christians present at this meeting. One man, with notable charisma, stands up and says something to the effect that of why it should be beneficial for everyone to meet in this park. Here there are verbal signals being sent by the charismatic man intending to get some response from the others. We can say, then, at this moment, an initial assembly has taken place, and functional signals, whence functional channels, are being made. If, at this meeting, it is agreed upon that they all desire a church in which they can worship together every Sunday, then we can say that obtainment of a building for the church has become part of this groups social agenda. In the following months, some members will drop out of the group, and others will join. The members will be doing things together and communicating with one another, out of the common desire to have a church building in which to worship. Some of these activities involve submitting and receiving various necessary documents to and from the town hall. Though the people in the town hall are part of some functional channels connecting them to this Christian group, they are nonmembers of the Christian group since they do not participate in the meetings nor worships which primarily bind this group together. If we now suppose that a small subgroup if five members of this group of Christians, for one reason or another, realize that they do not agree with some of the interpretations of the Bible expressed in the group meetings. Suppose this subgroup got to talking with one another and they decided that they want to worship with a sightly different interpretation than is prevalent in the large group. Then the personal desires of each of these members can be said to conflict with the large group's initial agenda if the initial agenda of the large group includes worshiping with the interpretations that the subgroup does not like. However, if the initial agenda of the large group does not include this, but allows for some difference in interpretation in those particular passages of the Bible, then we might say the members of the subgroup have yielding orientation, or possibly still faithful orientation, with respect to the initial agenda of the larger group. Also notice, though, that this subgroup of the larger group is a social group itself. The moment which these five individuals agreed that they disagree with the interpretation prevalent in the larger group can be called an initial assembly, and part of the initial agenda of the smaller group is to worship by their preferred interpretation. If this subgroup continues worshiping with the larger group as well as helping with obtainment of a building, then this might be the result the initial agenda of the subgroup not conflicting too much with the social agenda of the larger group.

    What must be further discussed now are: member orientation, functional signals, and functional channels. How do these relate to each other and how will they be made use of in our attempt to examine more complicated situations. Notice also we, thus far, have said nothing of group mechanics in their functional sense – for example, will there be members with more authority or privilege in the making of decisions important for affecting the groups activity and movement? We must attempt to examine these things more closely and incorporate them into our development in a reasonable way.

Ignorance versus Identification

Some of the complication in the discussion to come stems from the relationship between orientation with respect to social agenda and functional language being two-way. That is, the inputs, or, receipt of functional signals by a member (or subgroup) can have an effect on the orientation of the member (or subgroup), and visa versa. The fact that the signals received via functional channels of a social group, by a member (or subgroup) can affect the orientation of the member (or subgroup) follows from the fact that these signals have an effect on the personal (and hence group) agenda of the member (or the social agenda of the subgroup). That is to say, whether or not participation in the group activities and movement to or from agendas depends partly on the nature of the functional signals received via the groups functional channels. The fact that a member's (subgroup's) orientation with respect to social agenda affects the nature of the signals sent by the member (or subgroup) follows from the fact that the personal (and group) agenda of the member (or the social agenda of the subgroup) have an effect on the nature of the signals sent by the member (or subgroup). The nature of the signals signals sent by a member (or subgroup) partly depend on whether or not faithful participation in the groups activities and movement to or from agendas is desirable to the member (or subgroup). It is not the case, however, that orientation is the only factor that has an effect on the on the functional signals received by the the member (or subgroup), with respect to some social agenda, hence the complexity. There are, in fact, other factors which can significantly affect either. These factors of which we speak will be discussed shortly; but first, what is the effect of orientation with respect to social agenda on the functional language of a social group? Our development recognizes three different possible orientations to be assumed by a member with respect to the social agenda of a group to which they belong, or by a subgroup, with respect to a larger group to which the subgroup belongs – namely: faithful, yielding, or conflicting. When a member (or subgroup) has faithful orientation with respect to the social agenda, it is more likely that the functional signals sent by them will be sent with the intention of contributing to the group's attainment of its social agenda. That is, a member whose personal desires include the group achieving its social agenda will most likely act in ways which they understand to be best for the whole group in its movement toward its goal, whence the the functional signals originating from them will most likely be made with this intention. However, whether or not a signal which is sent with this faithful intention actually is successful in contributing to the group's attainment of its social agenda is another matter. It is necessary, now, for us to point out something which we have not yet mentioned. We must assume that one member can never be sure of the personal agenda of another member. Then members cannot know the orientations of other members, nor the intentions with which they are sending signals. Thus, regardless of whether a member (or subgroup) has faithful orientation or whether the signals they send are done so with such faithful intention, the member (or subgroup) can be made, by the signals they receive prior, to send signals which do not contribute to, and which possibly may even hinder the group's movement toward its social agenda. Such is the case, also, with the other orientations. A member (or subgroup) with yielding orientation has a personal agenda (social agenda) that includes relatively few aspects of the group's social agenda. Such a member (or subgroup) will be acting in a way, and thus sending signals, with the intention of contributing to the attainment of what they desire as a member (or subgroup). Since what they desire is not conflicting with the social agenda of the group, their intentions will not be to hinder the group in its attainment of any goal, but are yielding, and limited to the content of their personal agenda (social agenda). But whether or not the signals sent by them have a yielding effect on the groups movement toward its agenda depends also on the signals which they receive prior. Similarly, the signals sent by a member (or subgroup) with conflicting orientation will most likely be made with the intention of protecting their personal agenda (social agenda) and group agenda and hence with the intention of moving the group toward an agenda that is not the social agenda. However, the effect of the signals made by members (subgroups) with conflicting orientation on the group's movement depends also on prior signals which they receive.

With this being said, we must now ask, what are the effects that language has on orientation, and visa versa? And furthermore, what are those signals understood to hinder a group in attaining its social agenda? What are those which contribute to its attainment? In attempting to answer the former, we will first try to answer the latter. To give definition for a signal that hinders or for a signal that contributes is, for our purposes, neither necessary nor desirable. For our purposes, recognition of their presence, causes, and symptoms will be sufficient. Actions and hence signals which hinder a group's progress always stem from ignorance. However, not all signals stemming from ignorance truly hinder. Given the ability of a member, subgroup, or group, to critique its own language, and an environment which permits such, those signals which hinder and that stem only from lack of knowledge concerned with attainment of social agenda are, in fact, not really hindering anything. These are more like honest mistakes from which the group will learn and hence make progress. Such trial and error mistakes as these we will not treat as hindering signals, in fact, we will treat them very little. We understand this type of action or signal to be quite a healthy thing for a social group, and we would even make them part of those signals which contribute to the group's movement toward its goal. There is another kind of ignorance which is more dangerous for a group's movement toward its social agenda. This ignorance of which we speak is either the inability or the unwillingness of a member (or subgroup) to critique its own functional language, or its inability to identify with the rest of the group. By inability to critique its own functional language we mean the inability to recognize – in both the signals which it receives and the signals which it sends – the hindering quality of those signals, if such a quality is indeed present. By inability to identify with the rest of the group we mean precisely the thing which occurs when persuasion takes place. That is, the one that is persuaded sees that one party is like another in some way2.

It will be beneficial for us to further clarify what we have referred to as “ability for a member (or subgroup) to critique its own language” as it lies at the heart of much of our discussion to come. A member (or subgroup) is always striving for some desired expression which is attainment of personal (or social) agenda, or group agenda. And as they do so, they undergo a natural process through which learning takes place – the kind of learning that is done in the social conversation. Consider a single member of a social group and the functional language between the two. There are signals made by the member, received collectively by its group, and there are signals sent collectively by the group received by the member. Such is represented in the following:

Let us further analyze the situation by incorporating a response. Let A, B and C denote three signals occurring consecutively. Suppose signal A, the first to occur, is a functional signal sent by a member of a social group. This signal is received collectively by the rest of the group, and receipt of this signal by the rest of the group will produce in them some collective, functional response. Let B denote this response. Then on receiving signal B, the member will attempt to use the information comprising the signal as an aid in deciding its next action, corresponding to signal C. Such a conversation is represented in the following, where the arrows represent functional expressions:

As the expression B is a response to the expression A, some of the information contained in the expression B is purely the result of the expression A. This information contained in B which is purely the result or the prior expression is, in a sense, a reflection of the member which sent expression A. It contains information about the member's personal and group agendas, as well as its orientation with respect to the social agenda. On receiving expression B, the member may be able to recognize this information as a reflection of itself, and choose to, or not to use it to plan its future actions and hence sending of signals. Or, for one reason or another, the member may not be able to recognize it as such. Note here we are assuming that, if recognized, it may or may not be used. As a token of our reluctance to render our discussion psychological, we will not speak of partialrecognition, but only recognition, and nonrecognition. Nonrecognition all-together is one of the previously mentioned dangerous ignorances – dangerous for the group, that is – and such a member is not learning up to its potential from its previous actions, whence its inability to fully critique its functional language. Such a member who has not the ability to see the reflective information for what it is has not this ability because, either it already cannot identify with the rest of the group, that is, because it has yielding or conflicting orientation which has caused the member's attention, for reasons we will discuss more thoroughly shortly, to gravitate away from the reflective information present in the response expression; or, it is because the prior expression received by the member has caused the member's attention to, also for reasons we sill discuss more thoroughly shortly, to gravitate away from the reflective information present in the response expression. The latter case is what leads a member with faithful orientation to nonrecognition of reflective information. As previously mentioned, in recognition of reflective information, the member may or may not choose to use it. Also, if the member uses it, it may use it for something other than self-reflection, thereby abusing it. Then, when recognized, both non-use and use for anything other than what it is for, which is self-reflection, the reflective information in the response expression is ignored just the same. The only other case in recognition is for the member to use the reflective information in the response expression for self-reflection, and thus use the information to better choose its future actions and sending of signals based on the self-reflection. In this case, the member is going though a process characterized by learning and so the language between it and the group is rather cohesive. Recognition and non-use (or voluntary ignorance) is the result of the member believing that they cannot benefit by using it, that is, the result of having conflicting orientation. Similarly, use for something other than self-reflection can be treated as the result of the member's conflicting orientation. Recognition and proper use, we treat as the result of faithful orientation, or possibly yielding; and, in fact, we treat any effort whatsoever to use the reflective information for self-reflection as proper. In both nonrecognition, and recognition with voluntary ignorance, we say the reflective information is rejected. In recognition, with either use or abuse of reflective information, we say the reflective information is accepted. But notice also that there is, in the conversation ABC, the question about whether the group is critiquing the functional language to the best of its ability. That is, there is the observation of the same conversation between the member and the group to which it belongs, but with the question of self-reflection on the group:

That is, some of the information comprising the expression C is purely the cause of the expression B, and can be treated as reflective information to be received collectively by the group. In fact, reflective information will be present in any conversation occurring between any two objects be them groups, subgroups, or members. A signal whose hindering (for the group) quality stems from this ignorance above described we call ignorant with respect to the social agenda. That is, a signal whose hindering quality stems from the sender's inability or unwillingness to properly use reflective information. A member (or subgroup) that is the sender of ignorant signals we say is ignorant with respect to the social agenda. We say a member (or subgroup) is reflective with respect to social agenda if it is not ignorant.

To further clarify what we have laid down, we reassert that those signals with hindering qualities as described above, which we call “ignorant”, are sent by members (or subgroups) that are unable or unwilling to use reflective information contained in functional expressions coming from the group, and such a member (or subgroup) we also call “ignorant”. A member (or subgroup) can be ignorant regardless of its orientation; however, given the orientation of a member (or subgroup) that is also ignorant tells us much. If a member (or subgroup) has faithful orientation with respect to social agenda, and is ignorant, we understand its ignorance to be the result of its prior receipt of ignorant expressions, as this development understands that the only reason which would cause a faithful member (or subgroup) to send ignorant signals is its unawareness of such, hence its further inability to recognize reflective information for what it is. Given that a member (or subgroup) has yielding orientation with respect to social agenda, that it is ignorant must also be the result of its prior receipt of ignorant signals. Only a member (or subgroup) with conflicting orientation with respect to the social group is able to be ignorant with respect to the social agenda and hence send ignorant signals purely as a result of its orientation, that is, purely not as a result of its prior receipt of ignorant signals.

We also understand that prior receipt of ignorant signals is one of several possible causes which may lead a member (or subgroup) with faithful orientation with respect to the social group to become yielding or conflicting. We will discuss this more thoroughly in the next section. We now give some examples to illustrate what we have just laid down.

Suppose there was a café with one owner, one manager (not the owner), and three employees (not managers or owners). Suppose that, up until now, the owner has provided all of his employees with an excellent health care plan. But suppose the owner has grown impatient with this provision as he must spend his own profits to provide his employees with such. Then, in attempt to save money, the owner has inquired about cheaper health care plans for his employees, that is, cheaper for him. Suppose the new health care plan, on which the owner has settled, requires the employees to pay much higher deductibles as well as does not cover such things as dental and routine checkups. The owner knows that he cannot take up the new health care plan immediately unless he can get his employees to agree to it, as there is an existing contract which must first be canceled (that of the current, good health care plan) if it is not to be finished out. The owner does not want to finish out the current health care contract, as he feels he is losing money, so he decides to try to get his employees to agree to signing a consent to cancel the existing contract. The owner draws up paperwork for the employees,


© Copyright 2017 Jerod Evan. All rights reserved.

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