SYMBOL AND REFERENT

     The relation between symbols and referents is important.

     A symbol is an object that is used to refer to a referent.

     A referent is an object that is refered to by a symbol.

     Words, pictures, sounds, anything that is itself an actual object
which is then used to refer to another object is being used as a symbol.

     For example there are a new class of airplanes that don't have any
windows for the pilots to see out of them, instead data from the outside
is taken in through cameras and converted to high resolution surround
sound plasma displays in the cockpit.

     Thus as the plane flys over a city, the pilot doesn't see the city,
he sees a picture of the city on the plasma display.

     The picture of the city is a symbol for the actual city, it carries
data, information and signficance of importance to the pilot about the
actual city below.

     Once the pilot gets used to this arrangement he can become very
comfortable considering that the display on the plasma screen IS the
city.

     If the display is very good, the illusion that the pilot is looking
through clear glass can be very powerful.

     He will point at the display and say "Oh there is the Empire State
Building!"

     In his mind the symbol has BECOME the referent.

     That is called collapsing symbol and referent.

     He forgets he is seeing a symbol for the Empire State Building
rather than the building itself.

     Facility with this illusion allows the pilot to concentrate on
flying the plane and not spend mental time translating the symbols he
sees into what is actually on the ground.

     However the pilot at no time actually BELIEVES that the display he
sees is in fact the actual city, he knows it is a good illusion born of
making the symbols match the referent with hi fidelity.

     In fact the symbols themselves will have qualities and artifacts
that clearly do not belong to the actual city, so once in a while the
pilot will be annoyed by 'flicker' in the picture, which clearly is a
quality of the symbol display and not the city itself.

     After a while the pilot can 'filter out' these differences between
symbol and referent and go back to a smooth operating illusion that the
symbol IS the referent.

     The fact that the symbols have qualities that the referent does not
is in fact PROOF that the symbol and the referent are two different
objects.  Should anyone have any doubt that is.  :)

     "If A and B are two objects, and A changes but B doesn't, then A
and B are two DIFFERENT objects" - Adorian catechism

     Now say someone were to look through the symbol display and become
completely convinced that they were looking through clear glass at the
actual city.  Their belief would of course be false, no two ways about
it.  Their REALITY is they are looking at the city, the ACTUALITY is
they are looking at a symbol of the city.

     Such a person would have fallen into delusion about the illusion,
he no longer believed it WAS an illusion made in symbols, and that then
is his delusion.

     When a person believes with complete false conviction that the
symbol is the referent, then we say he is lost in delusion about
illusion.

     Notice conviction is not a perfect certainty, conviction is a
theory that one convinces one's self is a perfect certainty for reasons
of vanity.

     Now one of the advantages to these cockpits, is pilots can be
trained in similar models on the ground.  Again they are surrounded by
high resolution plasma displays, but this time, rather than being
connected by causality to real time cameras bringing in data about the
scenery in the physical universe via photons, they are connected to
video recordings made earlier.

     Thus the pilot can practice landing at Kennedy Aiport in New York,
without ever leaving Ottowa Training School.

     The cool thing about this arrangement is that the pilot in training
can view the exact same scenery as the actual pilot in the same plane.
Each will say "Oh look at the Empire State building!".

     In the actual plane case the symbol on the display screen is
connected in real time to the referent down below, but in the training
case, the symbols are connected to a recording or even a computer
artist's photographic rendition.

     It is interesting to note that if the symbol display is really
good, neither pilot can tell if they are in the actual plane or the
trainer!  At that point all they have is the symbol display, which looks
identical to both of them as they come in for a landing, and whether the
referent exists or not is irrelevant BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY FOR THEM TO
FIND OUT!

     Now the dim witted can argue, yes but if they crash in the trainer
nothing will happen, but if they crash in the actual plane the
consequences will be dire.

     This posting has gone over their heads.

     The trainer can be built to explode when crashing.

     Homer

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY
homer@lightlink.com    In the Line of Duty    http://www.lightlink.com