Imagine a pyramid
Jan 21, 1995 07:21 AM
Imagine a pyramid...
How high would you make it?
How wide at the base?
What directions should its faces face?
What color and shading
will capture the lights
of rainbow sundays and astral nights?
Where on Earth would it cast
no shadow at noon
or secretly pass under the moon?
When will its prisoner
escape through the stars
to smile at his brother's face on Mars?
I did my graduate work in Visual Semiotics, which is the study of
signs and symbols in society. Aside from the sheer joy of
playing with images, they can be placed together and given
multiple meanings. To learn something new, or to assure that
your message is received and understood, it must be connected to
a symbol or icon already in the receiver's mind. Once we all
have the same basic symbol sets in our heads, we can begin
communicating more effectively across international language
Unfortunately, our primary use of images is in writing. Each
image is miniaturized, assigned to a sound, then strung together
into words that represent yet another image, or some nebulous
non-image, which often can't be IMAGEined.
Misunderstanding occurs whenever the receiver connects a sign
with one or more signs that the sender did not intend to connect.
To truly visualize, one must measure and draw. The underlying
geometry must be recognized and connected to other symbol sets.
This is done most effectively by paradigm shifts. One paradigm
may be Math, while another may be Science, another Philosophy,
and so on. It need not be written.
Inherent in paradigm shifts is the natural humor that occurs when
juxtaposing meanings from one paradigm to another. It has also
been a convenient way to openly discuss secret information, made
taboo by the dominant culture, whether occult, sexual, or
what-have-you. It's also a method to trigger memories. I
believe it was Aristotle that said he was unable to teach but
only able to help students remember what they already knew. The
translation of words into other words only works within the
paradigm of one meaning. When you say that the word "ba", for
example, means such and such, then you've lost the sound of the
word and its connected vibration and relative musical scale.
Having lost that, there is no connection with the sound of the
new word to the other connected paradigms of the original.
With these things in mind, I've just shared with you a few visual
adventures which I urge you to experience yourself, in your own
way, in various paradigms. And by the way, Architecture is
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