While I’m taking a few days off, I recommend reading Ken Wilber’s “Integral Semiotics” before I return. We’ll be discussing how it relates to Lingua-U starting next week.
Ken Wilber begins:
The following deals with a topic I find essential: the nature of linguistic meaning—or semiotics—and how a truly Integral approach fundamentally changes how we understand this. One of the basic moves is to understand that the referent, or “real object,” being represented by any linguistic sign doesn’t exist “out there” in a single, pregiven, unchanging reality, but rather exists in a particular and specific worldspace—a particular quadrant, or level, or line, or state, or type—and can only be “seen” or “experienced” by yourself finding that particular worldspace and moving your consciousness to it.
Thus, a word like “dog” can be seen by virtually any sentient being with a brain and eyes, and it exists in the sensorimotor world. But what about “God” or “Buddha-nature” or “Spirit”? Those are simple signifiers like “dog”—that is, a material mark claiming to represent a reality. But that reality is not just lying around “out there” in a single, pregiven, sensorimotor world—and thus those referents have often been taken to be meaningless.
But my point is that they all, in fact, exist in a specific worldspace that can itself be discovered and experienced—such as the causal or formless state of consciousness, particular stages of meditation, specific peak experiences or altered states. When one is in those worldspaces—and not simply staring at the sensorimotor worldspace—then the actual referents (the “real phenomena” of each referent)—can be clearly seen or experienced. And this changes the nature and meaning of semiotics altogether, by asserting that any given referent of a particular signifier exists in a specific worldspace, and in order to experience that referent appropriately (if it exists at all), the subject must get itself into that particular worldspace, and only then look around for the referent.
Integral Semiotics offers a comprehensive map or framework of most of the known worldspaces available to humans, and thus offers a Map that allows us to understand the Kosmic Address of a particular referent, and hence know where to look for any referent indicated by a signifier. Since most of these worldspaces do not possess simple location or material form, they are likely to be denied reality by most realist, empirical, or behavioral schools—where in fact they are home of the vast majority of those things most humans hold valuable. Integral Semiotics is thus a matter, not just of linguistics, but of emancipation.