80. To the Reader
Alfred Lang ——————————— 
University of Bern, Switzerland
SemEco Essay Chapter
80. To the Reader
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80.01 There are those impressed by the diversity of things and they go out to understand this or that to the last and least possible detail. Others are more impressed by the continuity and relatedness of things independent of their diversity and they strive to understand what brings about that astonishing organization of most to everything on which we rightly rely though cannot completely rely upon because it lacks complete regularity in observation and fact. I am fond of both. But given the dominating predilections of modern scientists for the former approach I cannot help but devote the larger part of my modest forces to the latter without loosing sight of the former by as systematic as feasible ways of example. But I have learnt over the years to feel and hold it erroneous believing the world essentially lawful and then accept chance and exceptions. In spite of millennia of such tradition in religion and science.
80.02 Translated into a strategy my personal predilection for continuity as well as surprise has led me to strive for developing concepts that allow for reconstruction of the real connections between everything in the Human Condition. This does not deny the importance and usefulness of most of the facts gathered by the detailing strategy of the existing sciences, unless they have been gained under conditions and in terms that have led the results to go astray or become odd if held against observable facts and their original context and so forbid their use in reconstructing the whole. This I think is the case for many constructs not only in philosophy, but also of a great many notions in the modern sciences. Many of them are based on Abstractions Reified or substantified: a quality, feature, or aspect of something is not a substance itself and is not real when detached from its carrier. If treated nonetheless as self-contained and stand-alone it depends on the abstractors’ acts and is nominal even when it has become common to treat that abstract as something real not only in the abstractor’s head or in symbols on paper or in computers. Examples are legion in the religions, in philosophy and in all sciences. E.g. cognitions or emotions are not self-contained “things”, but rather abstractions from or facets of a psychic process. To many scientific concepts, in my are “defined” firstly and the secondarily related to other concepts. This often brings great troubles. I attempt to derive or construct all concepts from one basic design; so they are related intrinsically when coordinated to systematic observations.
80.03 The reader should soon become aware of how radically the conceptual basis of our common understanding is reconstructed in Semiotic Ecology. Not only does it away with the Western predilection or obsession to center everything around "substances" and "functions". Indeed, an evolutive understanding of our world is deeply adverse to seeking timeless or eternally reliable knowledge which is the goal of traditional epistemology and most of the sciences. Also, my approach puts Relations strategically prime to things and renounces to choose arbitrarily Things to be researched: Relations among things extend both vertically in time or becoming and horizontally in space or subject matter affinities and contingencies, i.e. they are reaching onto past and future things and onto things possibly or really interacting in any present. Notions such as substance and attribute, subject and object, matter and mind, objectivity and subjectivity, truth or falseness, essence and accidentalities, etc. have no place in Semiotic Ecology. And the notion of function should be widened to the various Potentials, most Things can also have in additions to those that serve our purpose or apprehensions.
80.04 The interested reader may ask questions as to what Semiotic Ecology should be understood to be. Is it a philosophy or a general science or even a practice of living together? I like to answer: all of these and none alltogether. Although it could well be argued for SemEco being a philosophy since it criticizes what is generally taken for granted and proposes another world view. But it is not philosophy for the latter’s prevailing missing to deal with general questions in ways relevant and useful for the benefit of the people. SemEco certainly yields an understanding of the Human Condition akin to what is expected of a scientific approach. It makes use of scientific knowledge, it proposes ways to do science and can be seen as a generic scientific methodology suitable for evolutive systems. Yet modern positivistic science lacks the sensibility for things not present to the eye of the scientists or strives to connect the positively present things by means of conceptions that so easily miss their real connections and build frameworks thought for eternity and therefore missing the present. SemEco as a consequence of its new ways of conceiving of things and symbols also changes the way we look at the world and ourselves. For Things and Symbols or what we call spirit, mind, or ghost are no longer two separate worlds opposed; we are in the midst of both, ourselves consist of both. Perhaps, in some future period the thoroughly evolutive character of our world will be recognized and both philosophy and the sciences and even ethic and polity may take that serious in their proper reconstructions.
80.05 Yet at the present state of these fields, SemEco is better seen as an endeavor of its own kind. Understanding and its subject matter have been separated routinely in the Western tradition, the knower set opposed to the knowable or known. In an Evolutive World this proves delusive. For the former contributes to bringing about the latter and vice versa. Understanding is a normal part of the world itself, whether it is by human thinking or by semionization in the relation between monocellular structures or complex animals and their respective environment. So SemEco is best characterized as a very general Methodology. Being bound to use vocabulary and grammar originated and developed in a spirit of striving towards eternal truth inescapably brings some difficulties for the writer as well as for the reader. Perhaps I can carry a little bit of that peculiar situatedness over to the reader by suitable phrasing and terminology and by proffering some practical advice and technical devices repeatedly assisting the reader to be aware of those differences and of those frameworks thought for eternity and therefore missing the present. Perhaps, in some future period the thoroughly evolutive character of our world will be recognized and both philosophy and the sciences may take that serious in their proper reconstructions.
80.06 Writing is inevitably a linear matter and it is up to the reader to reconstruct the sequence of ideas presented into the multi-relational net they are part of. I have chosen to present the whole of Semiotic Ecology in a larger number of relatively compact chunks or chapters. They are lined up in an order that goes from the basic to what can be built upon. Yet is has proven impossible to write every chapter in such a way that every content is building upon what has been given in preceding chapters. So reading back and forth and returning to passages understood at some level after enlarging one’s horizon is inevitable.
80.07 The format of chapter and paragraph numeration I have chosen should ease going back and forth whatever path and branchings the reader chooses to go. The numeration may ease gathering things and returning to sections and also be preferred for reference and citation since it is the same in the printed and the electronic versions lacking page numbers. Some concepts are treated several times according to their increasing levels of connectedness. Often, it would have proven unwise not to use terms that are treated in detail only later in the book. I emphasize in bold the section titles as well as key terms or phrases in most paragraphs for easier recognition. The glossary–index should support stepwise understanding and allow reassurance of the interconnections. Terms contained in the Glossary-Index are given in Italics. Terms further dealt with in a note attached to the paragraph, are underlined. The sequence of chapters was chosen primarily to ease initiation.
80.08 It is not desirable even in an innovative endeavor to propose more than very few neologisms. So many terms are used with meanings differing from what one has become habituated to. The glossary–index will hopefully help avoiding to mix up traditional and semeco parlance and understanding. I capitalize (often usual) terms I use in proper sense in the text andmark with an asteric * terms my use may deviate slightly in the glossary. AlsoI shall put in italics all terms in the text commented upon in the glossary-index. There are terms that I do not use; in the glossary I try briefly to explain why and mark them with a degree sign °. Underlined words in the text are commented in a numbered note to the respective paragraph. They also may contain some references.
80.09 The present text is written for use in both print and electronic media. Therefore a paragraph numeration is proposed to replace pagination references. I have brought along only rudimentary references and citations in a set of notes to hint at the literature and data domain. Words set in italics are entries in the glossary–index from where the paragraphs they are used in can be targeted. In the name index and the notes I have also given a few selected references to topics I do not hold to be widely known. My intent here is to have the text itself as little diverting as possible from bringing over the new ideas. The inclined reader will soon become well aware of how different, often of how much simpler many things can be seen in Semiotic Ecology as compared to traditional understanding. All polemic against or critical dispute over customary conventions and habituated thought patterns is deferred to chapter 78. Comparative Reflection and further occasions, some few contrasts mentioned in the text or in the notes excepted. Yet I have allowed myself, and hope therewith to abet the reader, to ask questions that have never found answers based on factual evidence but are built on postulations or presuppositions having gained the status unquestioned conventions.
80.10 Semiotic Ecology did not arise out of nothing. I shall eventually write a Genealogy of the becoming of its main ideas. But I wanted in the first place to give an account largely unshadowed by both precursors and polemics. SemEco is in many respects so different from our thinking habits that the reader should get good chances to gain the basic insights before he/she may want to compare and refute or adopt this or that detail. Yet it is certainly in the spirit of the approach to have it critically discussed in all its facets and latent qualities. How could it evolve otherwise? Indeed, I am highly interested in critical analysis of the ideas presented, emphasizing its basic faults and its amendable surface errors which, of course, I welcome both.
80.11 The present Essay has been planned as an account of the essentials of Semiotic Ecology. In fact, it has grown to a Compendium of Semiotic Ecology, an Essay on the Human Condition. Inevitably, it will appear to many readers too concise in certain places and too expanded in others. The print version of the Essay certainly is a milestone as my own proceeding is concerned. Yet I consider it as work in progress as long as I am capable of working with these ideas. So early in its becoming, in fact in 1993, I have thought out a scheme that lets me satisfy both interests: some kind of reference text and an open workshop to progress.
80.12 Thus I plan to give various Elaborations of selected chapters or notions but also to add various Comments including comparative and critical argumentations with aspects or parts of approaches from various sources that are in some respect convergent with or contrary to SemEco. Comments will do both, relate SemEco to selected portions of the history of ideas in its past a and present my views on issues of present events and possible future developments that may be of some import to further Evolution of the Human Condition. In due time I shall also give what I call a Genealogy of Semiotic Ecology to unfold how I have come to construct Semiotic Ecology and Generative Semiotic.
(80.12.01) For simplicity of citation I shall refer to these various text sorts by the following sigles. The code xx.zz stands for chapter and paragraph numbers; yyyy for print publication year yy.mm.dd  for version date of publication on the internet:
    - SemEco yyyy Essay xx.zz for the SemEco Essay
    - SemEco yyyy Elab xx.zz for Elaborations of ideas or relations between ideas.
    - SemEco yyyy Comm xx.zz for comparative, critical, and other Comments
    - SemEco yyyy Gloss xx:[Term] for Glossary of Terms
    - SemEco yyyy Proleg xx.zz for Prolegomena, papers written mostly  before 2000
    - SemEco yyyy Genealogy xx for SemEco Genealogy
I suggest to use the above codes in quoting SemEco texts adding the version dates and numeration given. E.g. SemEco 2003 or SemEco 05.02.13 Essay 63.07 or SemEco 05.03.24 Comment 13.04 on langpapers.net. The year number may point to the print publications, the exact date to the current revision published on the internet. The chapter.[subchapter.]paragraph numbers are preferred to page numbers for their independence of print versions. On occasions I use ad hoc verbal notations for numbering special paragraphs. Comments, Elaborations, Prolegomena, Glossary as well as revised versions of the chapters of the books are or will be published on the langpapers.net website as far as copyright arrangements permit.