Re: virus: Kow?

psypher (
Mon, 24 May 1999 10:04:08 -0400 (EDT)

[note: original contents filtered extensively in the interests of space and coherence]

I don't care how you or anyone else on this
> list "defines your person".

...then how do you intent to communicate with anyone on this list? How we define our person is the mechanism by which we place ourselves in a social context in relation to the other particpants in a forum of communication. Without acknowledging the self-described viewpoint of the person with whom you are interacting there can be no shared


> I disagree. Symbols are only part of the story; the other part is
> context. For instance, the simple fact that you decide to use a
> pseudonyn at all, coupled with the fact that you're using it on a
> list that acknowledges the effects of memes (like "-myn") on minds
> and culture, communicates as much or more than your specific choice
> of alias.

...the fact that I use a pseudonym is reflective of a well-founded paranoia about communication over the internet. Also, within a forum in which we are known by the symbols which designate us and all information conveyed through the construction of intentional interpersonal context is removed, the choice of a pseudonym conveys significant information about how I define my personal context. If I just used my name I could be anyone, but because I have *chosen* a name, you can know that the choice is an intentional attempt at communication, which is the whole point of this forum.

> I understand very well the rationale behind your stated motivations,
> and I agree with the basic sentiment, as I indicated before. What
> don't seem to realise (or what you may be refusing to consider) is
> the possibility that you are an unwitting host and vector for a
> particularly virulent and toxic meme.

...what you seem to be unwilling to consider is the fact that I am fully aware of the implications of my chosen spelling and deliberately choose, through the exercise of intillect and will to assist in the propagation of a certain set of challenges to accepted social construction. It is my sincere hope that my choice is "virulent and toxic" to a particular set of assumptions, constructions and arrangements of the world.


>>I don't have any expectation that one person or a small group of 
>>persons performing graphical alterations on text symbols is going to
>>alter anyones relation to anyone else.

> You do realise, I hope, that you are participating in a forum that
> has, as its raison d'etre, the intent of doing just that?

...the graphical alteration is only one facet of engaging the meme. The other component is the establishment of the meme as a focus for attention. My small graphical alteration would have little or no value unless it served as a vehicle to focus the consciousness of the audience on the subject of the act. Had nobody reacted to my alteration, it would have had no effect. ...thanks for your assistance :)

> ...and this has no chance of "alter(ing) anyones relation to anyone
> else"?

...not if they don't react.

> See current thread on "context". Reality (the context of everything)
> defines (determines the meaning of) symbology, not the other way
> around.

...I disagree. I think reality is constructed from the symbols which arise out of a mutual attempt to participate togehter in the process of existence.
...everyone has a distinct experience of existence, reality is the sum of all those things which we have agreed through a process of community and symbolic communication to acknowledge as things in themselves.

> Are you sure? Are you confident that you haven't missed 95% of the
> cultural context associated with its use?

...quite sure.


>>your alteration is directed at my person,

> Yes.
>>at my individual identity,

> No. person and my individual idenatity are not seperable. You can't assail one without the other.

[edit] The
> resulting subtext (again, from the recipient's poin of view) is that
> the reader(s) may harbour misogynistic tendencies (that they may or
> may not be aware of) - insulting enough in itself, but also that
> are such unblinking cultural automatons that the appearance of the
> term "man", even if the significance of its etymology hadn't been
> completely erased by a lifetime of use, could have the assumed
> negative effect.

...of course the reader harbours misogynistic tendencies, which they are inevitably not aware of. All cultures presently active ar patriarchal, they have misogynistic tendencies embedded into their essential structure, this is reflected by the construction of the symbols by which they propagate and define themselves. This is because the construction of those misogynistic tendencies is embedded in the very symbolic structure by which we define and engage in the act of community. Symbols carry meaning and have effect - amply illustrated by the fact of this discussion. Sure, the overt significance of the etymology is erased by a lifetime of use, that's why it's such an effective meme; it's unquestioned, unanalyzed, unmentioned, unthought. The exclusion is not even a topic for analysis because it's not even acknowledged to be present.

It all has to do with anticipating how your words
> might be interpreted, and meaning inferred, by the people you're
> communicating with.

...if we don't challenge the ground of the symbols we use then there is no interpretation of meaning going on - we just use accepted channels and rules of thumb and don't have to enter into an active consideration of the import of the symbols we use.

> The cultural issues surrounding this are much too subtle and complex
> to spend the time and effort I would feel like giving to it in this
> thread. Do a search on the web, using the term "humyn", "womyn" and
> "grrrl". You'll get a lot of hits, but at least you will get samples
> from a number of points of view, including instances of their actual
> use in a larger textual context from which you may be able to infer
> more than what other people's stated opinions might afford you.

...[thesis] + [antithesis] = synthesis

-psypher Fastmail's Free web based email for Canadians