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18. Dynamic Cultural Transmission


The manipulation of the body through movement in purposeful, intentionally rhythmical, attention riveting, discrete cultural patterns presents a dramatic, powerful statement ...
Hanna (1979: 198)

Je danse, donc je suis
Leopold Senghor, in Paque (1967)

Perhaps the largest area of cultural transmission where the limitations of the expressive capacities of verbal language and writing are most apparent, is the field of kinemorphics. We will begin this section by giving some representative statements of researchers and practicioners of these traditions.

18.1. Worlds beyond Words

Moore (1988, 1): In recent years, research in the area of nonverbal communication has verified that words comprise only about 10 percent of human communication while nonverbal behavior makes up all the rest.

Birdwhistell (1970: 188): For the cinesicist, silence is just as golden as are those periods in which the linguistic system is positively operative.

Moore (1988, 2): Unfortunately, the very ubiquity of movement leads to its being taken for granted. Our dependence upon movement perception for forming impressions and making judgements about the life around us appears almost proportional to our lack of awareness that we are doing so. The automatic subliminal functioning of movement perception may be efficient but, unexamined, it may also account for many illusions about the life around us... As Condon has mused, "Maybe 95 percent of reality for us is mythological, and it behooves us to begin to look at the universe itself and let it speak and talk."

Moore (1988: 164): Yet it is a peculiar feature of modern life that something as basic as movement, as culturally rich and complex as dance, has been largely overlooked in the schooling of the young. Anna Pavlowa is reported to have said, "Life would probably have far more meaning and light if, side by side with the teaching of reading and writing, people were also taught to dance beautifully."

Moore (1988: 297): Body movement is the first seat of knowledge for the human child. Soo to it was the first source of knowledge for the species. It would therefore seem we should know a great deal about human movement. But what we do not yet know is greater still. Perhaps as we continue to explore the world beyond words, we may lift the veil of ignorance a little more and, by so doing, illuminate not only where we have been but also where we are going.

Moore (1988: 295): The role that culture plays in dictating how the body will be used has come to be appreciated only in this century. Pioneers such as Franz Boas, Bateson, Hall, Margret Mead, and Lomax have focused our attention on the influence of culture on body use, knowledge, and prejudice. Yet, little is known about how this influence is exerted, how malleable human movement behavior is, and to what extent and by what means culturally-learned motor habits may be learned.

Moore (1988: 296-297): The virtual absence of any serious reserach on movement's role in human development after the age of five or so is a very peculiar lapse in the history of human studies. Consequently, examination of the developmental functions of movement throughout the human life span represents one of the most unexplored areas of inquiry on the "beyond words" horizon and possibly one of the richest and most fascinating.

Moore (1988: 297): The role of movement in human history is as much a matter of supposition as fact. It is ironic that movement, which is an ever present and highly influential part of human life, has escaped sustained study at the longitudinal and historical levels [530]. We know very little about how the movement behaviors of the individual change throughout his or her lifetime. We know perhaps even less about how the movement patterns of cultural groups and the species itself are developing over centuries. Since movement is a part of time and life itself, its potential to elucidate the mystery surrounding us appears great.

Hanna (1979: 198): The power of dance lies in its cybernetic communication process, its multimedia thought, emotion, motor and aesthetic capability to create moods and a sense of situation for performer and spectator alike. The manipulation of the body through movement in purposeful, intentionally rhythmical, attention riveting, discrete cultural patterns presents a dramatic, powerful statement which can influence predispositions, attitudes, beliefs, and actions.

Moore (1988: 161-162): "Thus motion.. which was believed to denote life, was the first thing which the savage mind connected with supernatural powers." By imitating the movement of animals, treed, streams, clouds, etc., humans attempted to align themselves with the supernatural powers that they believed inhabited the natural world. Highwater has hypothesized that through dance, primal peoples "touch unknown and unseen elements, which they sense in the world around them."

Moore (1988: 169) as Meerloo has noted, "the dance of the medicine man, priest or shaman belongs to the oldest form of medicine and psychotherapy in which the common exaltation and release of tension was able to change man's physical and mental suffering into a new option on health."

Moore (1988: 164) [Laban] continues, "In the teaching of children and the initiation of adolescents, primitive man endeavoured to convey moral and ethical standards through development of effort thinking in dancing. The introduction to humane effort was in these ancient times the basis of all civilization."

Moore (1988: 295): Franziska Boas commented... "At last dance in modern society is acquiring the natural function which it had and still has in those less mechanized and less guilt-ridden cultures... men and women... may find a renewal of life, a stimulus of creative action and certainly a better understanding of the intricacies of human nature, through actual doing."

Moore (1988: 297): As Laban suggested, "In every trace-form, created by the body, both infinity and eternity are hidden. Sometimes the veil seems to be lifted for an instant. Inspiration, clairvoyance, and a heightened awareness can thrive from this fissure in the part of the world which we see as eternity."

Moore (1988: 163): But, while the Christian Church has not been totally successful in suppressing dance, it has not been completely unsuccessful, either. As Highwater observes, "the idea that spirituality can be associated with the body is extremely remote from the Western belief in the dichotomy of mind and body, spirit and flesh." Indeed, communal dance as a means to communicate with, celebrate, or influence the deity would be regarded as an exotic or even superstitious activitiy in contemporary society. "The European has lost the habit and capacity to pray with movement," Laban has observed, and the fact that "very little is known in our day of the magic which resides in movement, and the potency of certain gestures" has also been sadly noted by Isadora Duncan. Today, to a great extent, movement has been stripped of its sacred functions and relegated to the purely secular domain of human life. As a result, movement now possesses only a humble and static existence in Western civilization"
Unfortunately, divorcing spiritual values from our physical activities has had an impoverishing effect on the quality of life. As Duncan noted :
The number of physical movements that most people make through life is extremely limited. Having stifled and disciplined their movements in the first states of childhood, they resort to a set of habits seldom varied. So, too, their mental activities respond to set formulas, often repeated. With this repetition of physical and mental movements, they limit their expression until they become like actors who each night play the same role. With these stereotyped gestures, their whole lives are passed without once suspecting the world of the dance which they are missing.

18.1.1. Kinemorphae, Kinesics, Kinesthetics and Rhythm

Literature: Noeth (1985: 354-361), Birdwhistell (1970), Bücher (1924), Chernoff (1994), Derrademoroda (1982), Franko (1993), Hanna (1979), Jeschke (1983), Lamb (1979), Moore (1988), Spencer (1985).

The term kinemorphae[531] or movement Gestalt [532] is used here in the meaning of the Japanese term Kata.[533] It denotes a wide-ranging class of dynamic cultural transmissions that comprises elements such as dance, but also gymnastics, martial and marital arts, and juggling, etc., whose common denominator is that they involve complex movement patterns of the body. These are intersubjective cultural patterns as described in:

The reason and effects for which people engage in kinemorphae behavior are covered only partly by the communicative aspect as it is treated in kinesic and kinemic study, Noeth (1985: 354-361), Birdwhistell (1970). This aspect can be covered with the methods of semiotics, and analysed into discernible phases of movement. For this analysis, different notation systems have been devised, like the one Birdwhistell (1970) describes in his book (101-304). As he points out on p. 186, there is no possibility to assign a straight "meaning" to gestures that could be directed into a kind of "lexicon". [534] A general survey of kinemorphic notation systems is given by Jeschke (1983). The best known of these is probably the Laban system (399-406). One main problem of all kinemorphic notation systems is the immense spectrum and variability of movement parameters that make the notation either very difficult and time-consuming to handle or unsuitable for finer gradations as they may be needed in dance choreography when very fine gestures like facial expressions are to be included (154-165). Another, but more fundamental, problem of these notations is that they have no way of taking into the account the essential ballistic gravitational dynamics of the body mass as it is being propelled into agitated movements by the muscular effort, that is so aptly described by Kleist in his treatise on the "Marionette Theater" (Franko 1993: 144-145).

The externally discernible aspects of movement are not the only parameters that bear importance in the kinemorphae process. When someone is dancing, she is not only dancing to convey a message to someone else, but she dances to feel herself moving in her body, and to feel herself moving in synchrony with other moving bodies. This may be called the proprioceptive aspect of movement behavior. This side covers the concurrent physiological processes, the feelings, and inner experiences, of the person doing the movement.

The proprioceptive aspects of body sensations connected with gravity are kinesthetic, spatial situational and spatial motional . (MM-Encyc: Biological equilibrium). The kinesthetic sense is related to the tactile sense since the vestibulum organs in the ear are tactile hairs that provide the sensory data, spatial situational gives the spatial orientation of the head with respect to the earth's gravitational field (up and down), spatial motional measures the acceleration.

Other physiological effects are dependent on the vigorousness and speed of the movement which is generally faster and more agitated than the kinds of movement patterns a normal western civilization dweller performs when shopping in a supermarket. It is usually also not easy to lead a conversation in verbal prosa language while dancing, and this gives another aspect why dance and verbal prosa language are antithetical. The above quotations of researchers and practicioners of these traditions convey some of that incontrovertibility of the dance medium to verbal description.

Blacking (1985: 65): What is anthropologically interesting about dance and music is the possibility that they generate certain kinds of social experience that can be had in no other way... There is a methodological problem that cannot be avoided: aspects of dance and musical communication cannot be translated into other modes without distortion of meaning... (66): Films, videotapes, and various notation systems such as Laban and Benesh are all useful tools for referring to the object of study, but they cannot describe or explain what is happening as human experience, because dance... is about subjective action and conscious human intentions, and not only about observed behavior.

18.1.2. Trance

A very common phenomenon occurring in connection with dance, and even harder to describe in the intersubjective terms of verbal prosa language, is trance. Benedict (1934: 233, 265-270), Rouget (1985: 3-46). The verbal description of a trance experience generally means nothing to someone who hasn't experienced it, and also it doesn't help anyone enter a trance. We have here a prime case of the "Hintergehbarkeit der Sprache" (Holenstein 1980). Goodman (1974-1990) for example, uses highly subjective terms to describe her personal experiences with spirit evocation techniques that she discovered while imitating postures depicted on statues. Trance is an element in shamanic practices and initiations. Rouget (1985) gives a world wide overview of trance practices in connection with music covering shamanism, possession trance, exorcism, initiation, and the historical mystery cults of the ancient world and religious movements like the Sufis. (As example: Mevlana whirling Dervishes, p. 263-289). Because verbal description of trance states is considered inadequate, there are practicioners who provide opportunities for trance experiences for westerners. Felicitas Goodman has led such seminars herself and her students continue this work. Also Kaye Hoffman (1986-1996). The Umbanda rituals that are presently also being led in the U.S. and Europe (Baby Garroux, personal communication) are in any case an indication for the great demand of such experiences that exists in the North-Western civilizations.
->:UMBANDA, p. 220

18.1.3. The paradox of movement and dynamis

No matter how many pages of intensive verbal description of the quality of movement patterns may be delivered, they will always fall way short of what is happening. This is nowhere as evident as in dance, but it is more evident to the dancer herself than to those who may be uncomprehending consumers of the performance. The power and value of dance can only be experienced in and through dancing oneself. Let us take Zeno's famous paradoxes for a demonstration: If we press movement into static written symbols, the movement disappears altogether. (Goppold 1998: 2), (Marijuán 1997). Alphabetically framed thinking in static concepts and dynamic movement are incommensurable. It took humanity 2000 years after the invention of the alphabet, until western mathematics could overcome the block of thinking in static categories and find a useful formalism for describing motion with the calculus invented by Newton and Leibniz. Newton stated about his discoveries: Not only may we speak of the rate of change of distance with time, which is velocity... but we may speak of the rate of change of velocity with time, which is acceleration". (Young 1976: 11).

18.2. The Aoide-Hypothesis:
Information technologies of advanced oral tradition


18.2.1. Neurology, epics, trance, and neuronal patterns in the brain hemispheres

An important aspect of the methods and arts (CMA) that the Cultural Memory Bearers (CMBs) of the oral traditions used, is the issue of epic trance . In present neurological research, this is formulated as a question of self-stabilizing neuronal homeostatic patterns that are evoked by reciting and listening to metered poetry. It has been treated in a paper by Turner and Pöppel. [535] In their paper, Turner and Pöppel make a strong case for the effects of metered poetry on the development of a wholesome, whole-brained usage of the mind. Metered poetry has the capability of inducing the brain to a mode of functioning that, according to their hypothesis, is actually of a higher quality than the free-form prosaic mode of thinking that has become the norm in script based civilization . We thus have an indication that the epic poetry induces mental states and modes of functioning that are today loosely called "trance". This is often associated with the more prophetic aspects of aoidoi. In the indian Vedic tradition, we find the rishis, whose task was predominantly that of seers and prophets. It also gives us an opportunity to reconsider the tradeoffs humanity has bought into by adopting writing, occasion for a reconsideration of the inherent drawbacks of this powerful civilatory instrument. Platon also issues a stern warning about the use of script in Phaidros (274c - 276e [536]).

Pöppel and Turner write:
(p.75): Human society itself can be profoundly changed by the development of new ways of using the brain. Illustrative are the enormous socio-cultural consequences of the invention of the written word. In a sense, reading is a sort of new synthetic instinct, input that is reflexively transformed in to a program, crystallized into neural hardware, and incorporated as cultural loop into the human vervous circuit. This "new instinct" in turn profoundly changes the environment within which young human brains are programmed... our technology [functions] as a sort of supplementary nervous system.

(p.76-77): The fundamental unit of metered poetry is what we shall call the line ... it is recognizable metrically and nearly always takes from two to four seconds to recite... The line is nearly always a rhythmic, semantic, and syntactical unit as well - a sentence, a colon, a clause, a phrase, or a completed group of these. Thus, other linguistic rhythms are accomodated to the basic acoustical rhythm, producing that pleasing sensation of appropriateness and inevitability, which is part of the delight of verse and aid to the memory.

The second universal characteristic of human verse meter is that certain marked elements of the line or group of lines remain constant throughout the poem and thus indicate the repetition of a pattern. The 3-second cycle is not marked merely by a pause, but by distinct resemblances between the material in each cycle. Repetition is added to frequency to emphasize the rhythm. These constant elements may take many forms, the simplest of which is the number of syllables per line... Still other patterns are arranged around alliteration, consonance, assonance, and end rhyme. Often, many of these devices are used together, some prescribed by the conventions of a particular poetic form and others left to the discretion and inspiration of the individual poet.

The third universal characteristic of metrical poetry is variation. Variation is a temporary suspension of the metrical pattern at work in a given poem, a surprising, unexpected, and refreshing twist to that pattern... Meter is important in that it conveys meaning, much as melody does in a song. Metrical patterns are elements of an analogical structure, which is comprehended by the right cerebral hemisphere, while poetry as language is presumably processed by the left temporal lobe. If this hypothesis is correct, meter is partially a method of introducing right brain processes into the left brain activity of understanding language. In other words, it is a way of connecting our much more culture-bound linguistic capacities with relatively more primitive spatial recognition pattern recognition faculties, which we share with the higher animals.

(p.81-82): Here it might be useful to turn our attention to the subjective reports of poets and readers of poetry as an aid to our hypothesizing. These reports may help to confirm conclusions at which we have tentatively arrived...
The imagery of the poem can become so intense that it is almost like a real sensory experience. Personal memories... are strongly evoked; there is often an emotional re-experience of close personal ties with family, friends, lovers, and the dead. There is an intense realization of the world and of human life, together with a strong sense of the reconciliation of opposites - joy and sorrow, life and death, good and evil, human and divine, reality and illusion, whole and part, comic and tragic, time and timelessness... There is a sense of power combined with effortlessness. The poet or reader rises above the word, so to speak, on the "viewless wings of poetry" and sees it all in its fullness and completeness, but without loss of the clarity of its details. There is an awareness of one's own physical nature, of one's birth and death, and of a curious transcendence of both, and, often, a strong feeling of universal and particular love and communal solidarity.

To reinforce their hypothesis the authors turn to new and speculative fields of scientific inquiry, which are variously termed "neurobiology", "biocybernetics", and "psychobiology". Quoting an Essay by Barbara Lex (1979), "The Neurobiology of Ritual Trance", they state:

(p.82): ... various techniques of the alteration of mental states... are designed to add to the linear, analytic, and verbal resources of the left brain the more intuitive and holistic understanding of the right brain; to tune the central nervous system and alleviate accumulated stress; and bring to the aid of social solidarity and cultural values the powerful somatic and emotional forces mediated by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and the ergotropic and trophotropic resources they control.

(p.83): The linguistic capacities of the left hemisphere, which provide a temporal order for spatial information, are forced into an interaction with the rhythmic and musical capacities of the right hemisphere, which provides a spatial order for temporal information.

(p. 84-85): The traditional concern of verse with the deepest human values - truth, goodness, and beauty - is clearly associated with its involvement with the brain's own motivational system. Poetry seems to be a device the brain can use in reflexively calibrating itself, turning its "hardware" into "software", and vice versa... As a quintessentially cultural activity, poetry has been central to social learning and the synchronization of social activities. Poetry enforces cooperation between left brain temporal organization and right brain spatial organization and helps to bring about that integrated stereoscopic view that we call true understanding. Poetry is, par excellence, kalogenic - productive of beauty, of elegant, coherent, and predictively powerful models of the world.

We also find the forces that will work to suppress poetry:
(p.87): A bureaucratic social system, requiring specialists rather than generalists, might well find it in its interest to discourage reinforcement techniques like metered verse because such techniques put the whole brain to use and encourage world views that might transcend the limited values of the system.

They quote from Sidney:
(p.90): "It may well be that the rise of utilitarian education for the working and middle classes, together with a loss of traditional folk poetry, had a good deal to to with the success of political and economic tyranny in our times. The masses, starved of the beautiful and complex rhythms of poetry, were only too susceptible to the brutal and simplistic rhythms of the totalitarian slogan or advertising jingle. An education in verse will tend to produce citizens capable of using their full brains coherently - able to unite rational thought and calculation with values and commitment"

If we apply these views to the societal role of the CMBs of Epic Tradition, we get this surprising picture: The Aoidoi of the past Oral Age may have served a much more important function than the history writers had allotted to them. As hypothetically this could be summed up thusly: They were the guardians of the sacred chants and poems whose purpose was much more than entertaining, or keeping a mythological record of the past, a sort of proto-history. They were the masters of the forgotten arts of attuning the soul with the body, of projecting the past and the future, and healing the cracks and fissures of human society. When civilization arose and humans adopted writing, the use of poetry as cultural memory medium was quickly discarded and relegated to purely entertainment purposes. The important cathartic role played by theater, and especially tragedy, in ancient greek society is one of the last vestiges of this once vigorous tradition. Once the art of the Aoidoi was forgotten, humanity was on full course into the Iron Age, the Kali Yuga, the Age of "Blood, Sweat and Tears" .

18.2.2. Participatory events: dancing and drumming

While the epic tradition rested on a fairly select group of people, all traditional cultures had many occasions for participatory events where the larger part of the population was involved: festivals, dancing and drumming. Tribal african culture has developed the art of dance and rhythm to a high level. A particular case are the polyrhythmic traditions of this globe. These are particularly effective in attuning the brain halves. In such communal rhythmic events, it was not only the single person or a small group who experienced the wholesome effect of rhythm but the total community. Even though contemporary civilizations still have preserved remainders of this cultural heritage, it has become confined to specialist performers, with a passive audience whose role is now to applaud, or to let the movements of their bodies be dictated by beat of the metronomic machinery that generates the sound.

18.2.3. Mary LeCron Foster: The reconstruction of the evolution of human spoken

Mary LeCron Foster (1996): Abstract

Language is an analogical system for classification on multiple levels. Language systems build upon semantic analogies and analogies in phonological, morphological, and syntactic distributions (positional analogies). New meanings are created through the process of metaphorical extension. The direction of language change is determined in large part by this process and by analogical systematization _ hierarchical congruence of classes.

The regularities of sound-change reconstructed by the comparative method provide the most reliable diagnoses of remote linguistic relations; but these are limited to 'families', or, in a few cases, 'stocks' made up of interrelated families. Broader groupings, 'phyla' or 'super-stocks', are suggested on the basis of typological relations, rather than on firmly established sound-correspondences. The basis for going even further and attempting to reconstruct a single prototype for all the world's spoken languages is not agreed upon; but the reconstruction should reflect systematic correspondences in sound and meaning throughout, whether insights were initially gained from typological studies of phonology and/or from internal reconstructions. Hypotheses must show system. While individual meanings underlying reconstructed forms need not be identical, differences should be minimized. Once correspondences are firmly established, culturally influenced semantic variations are useful in assessing degrees of interrelationship among languages.

Pursuing the monogenetic reconstruction through this bare-bones phonemic approach, refined by a series of simplifications, leads to the startling hypothesis that the sounds of which the VC and CVC roots are composed were originally themselves meaning-bearers. These phememes, as they are termed, were minimal units of sound whose meaning derived from the shaping and movement of the articulatory tract. In other words, the phonemes of language, as well as the combinations into which they unite within the word were originally not arbitrary signs, but abstract, highly motivated analogical symbols.

In the earliest stage of primordial language, single phememes expressed notions o space and motion. Across the evolution of the genus Homo these were differentiated and new phememes created, hypothetically in stages, until the phememic inventory was completed during the Upper Palaeolithic. In the Neolithic period, it is hypothesized, syllabic concatenation with morphophonemic merging increasingly obscured the analogical significance of phememes, which gradually became what we now know as phonemes. Nevertheless, in the roots of most modern languages a number of the primordial phememes are still recognizable [Eds].

18.2.4. The AOIDE model

The following sketch will present an epic language processing model called the AOIDE. This is the working name for a hypothetical information model of neuronal structures and mental functioning of the professional Cultural Memory Bearers of the ancient oral epic traditions world wide whose thinking modes were, according to the hypothesis, different from modern civilized western prosa thinking. The base of the hypothesis are data we have available on the greek Aoidoi, (like Homer), the african Griots, the norse Skalden, the welsh Bards, the Australian Aboriginal Songline tradition, and the indian Rishis and what can be inferred from these data. In the following the word aoide will be used for the generic class of all Cultural Memory Bearers of all epic traditions world wide .

AOIDE[537] is called the model of {cultural memory / information / language / epic / sonic / mythic / lucid trance / divination / prophesy} mental technology (mentation) derived from data on various oral traditions around this planet.

The working hypothesis on which AOIDE is based, are the
Onoma-Semaiophonic Principles: The Nexus Sounds, Links, and Fields of oral epic song technology .

The following text will try to elaborate this model. Apart from the author's original ideas, this is based on the oral memory technology researches of Hertha v. Dechend's "Hamlet's Mill" (1993), with her concept of the oral epic computation and data transmission technology, of the comparative trans-global epic studies of Theodor Strehlow (1971), [538] the detailed work on Aoide and the alphabet of Barry Powell (1991), the global musical cosmogony of Marius Schneider (1951-xxxx), and the phememe hypothesis of Mary LeCron Foster (1996). [539] As will be made more explicit in the ensuing discussion, aoide mentation [540] has a connection with {entering / entertaining} {different / alternate} modes of mental functioning than the normal waking state. One popular name for such states is the blanket term "trance" . It must remain for a later and larger project work to define that more closely, and using the results from applying the tools.

18.2.5. The Theory: Onoma-Semaiophonic Principles - Nexus Sounds, Links, and Fields

Let us design a construction principle for a structural edifice of sounds and meaning .

1) onoma-semaiophonic
The key term onoma-semaio-phonic[541] is the working principle of the method applied. It assumes a hypothetical [542] interrelation and connectivity of semantic/phonetic elements of an archaic language like the aoide language is assumed to have been. The German term for onoma-semaiophonic is Sinn-Klang, in English Sing-Lang, and Aboriginal Australian: Song-Line. It has to be stated that this is not an etymological concept .

2) nexus sounds as attractors
Let us now call the sound meaning of the stoichea as used by Platon in his linguistic discussions in Phaidros, Kratylos, and Timaios the nexus sounds [543] of the aoide language .[544] The greek version is given only as paradigmatic example, and the principle holds equally for any language in which the aoide sings [545]. The nexus is not a linguistic or etymological concept. The nexus was used in a slightly different {meaning / intention} by Whitehead in "Process and Reality" (1969: 22-25) [546] and the general principle is transferred to this context. If we want to use a physical metaphor, we can use the attractor principle of chaos theory, or maybe an electrostatic / electromagnetic / gravitational attraction force field. Behind this lies a neurological attractor model, but at present this cannot be worked out. (See the note on William Calvin, further down).

3) the onoma-semaiophonic nexus and the morphogram
This is conventionally called a word.[547] An onoma-semaiophonic nexus (or short: nexus) is the form ( morphae) of several con- nexted nexus sounds . We have to differentiate between the sound form as it can be put into grammata (written signs), the morphogram, and its sounding form, the phonae-morphae, or stoichaea , or in German, Klang-Form.

4) the onoma-semaiophonic link
Let us assume a sound connection between different but similar nexus, i.e. that nexus bearing a similar sound will have a connecting similar (and also antagonistic) meaning field, forming an onoma-semaiophonic link.

5) Semaiophonic fields
are called networks of nexus that are connected by semaiophonic links.

6) Semaiophonic structures, notation
It is almost impossible to describe semaiophonic structures in linear alphabetic textual manner. We can use the hypertext metaphor of links extending to the related sounds. We assume that a there is a kind of sonic hyper link between similarly sounding words. This gives many-dimensional structures, quite unlike the linear textual sequence.

7) Semaiophonic core structure , the Klang-Sinn
The most important question is how sound and meaning ( Klang and Sinn) are connected .[548] This is is a difficult theme that can only be sketched in one paragraph for the present context: The neural representation of the machinery to {produce / recognize} a nexus sound with the human voice apparatus needs some neurological structure that are tentatively (and hypothetically) identified by Calvin with certain hexagonal structures on the cortex. Although producing and recognizing structures need (and can) not be identical, there must be a correspondence between them. Then, the structures necessary for vowel formation must by needs be different from those for consonants, since they involve a totally different muscular activity. And since there is no homunculus somewhere in deeper recesses of the brain to attribute meaning to these sound structures, the meaning we (in our consciousness) attribute to the words, must also be embedded in these structures, or be at least morphologically connected, and be of the same morphae (form).

8) Modeling semaiophonic structures in a molecular model
These onoma-semaiophonic networks can then be assembled in a molecular model similar to the way the atomic constituents of molecules are presently visualized in appropriate chemical models. The matter of technical workability is not concerned with the question whether the model as such makes sense according to current philological or linguistic theories. In the present case, it is important to present a research tool first, and try it out and test it, get experimental results, and not try to prove the consequences and results of the application of the tools, beforehand. Following Whitehead, we need "a new tool as a way for new insights". In the Popperian manner the tool gives ways to experiment with falsifiable hypotheses.

Relation of molecular models in Platon's works

A molecular model of semaiophonic structures is suggestive for the following reason: the sound connections in the model extend from the nex us in semaiophonic space like atomic binding forces. As we see with a glance to Plat on's Timaios, the ancient cosmology is replete with allusions to a sound combination structure that we can easily match up to modern molecular chemistry models. The geometric connections of the basic geometrical forms, are quite recognizable in the onoma-semaiophonic mapping. Plat on speaks explicitly of the geometric figures (like Tetraeder) as the basic "elements" of his musico-logical cosmos [549]. These geometries reappear faithfully in the modern molecular models as the space structures of the electron clouds which form the chemical bonds. The view of Plat on's Timaios can be interpreted as the chemical bonds minus (or abstracted from) the atoms . More enigmatic passages in Plat on's works indicate that there are "trap doors" which may lead us into an unknown dimension of epic language.

18.2.6. Platon's Kratylos Hypothesis and the Semaiophonic Aoide Thought Structures

This is an excerpt of a conference paper presented at: "Semiotics of the Media", Kassel (Goppold 1995b)

The main semiotic thesis of Plat on in Kratylos is formed by the connection: " onoma homoion to pragmati " (the word resembles the thing) and " stoicheia homoia tois pragmasin " (the sounds, ie the stoicheia, be similar to the things also). The paper presents arguments for the interpretation that it is of prime importance to differentiate between Plat on's usage of sound ( phonae, stoicheia) and letter ( gramma), and that the "things" he means should not be taken as objective-out-there-things, but as phenomenal "things" to be interpreted in terms of the modern neuronal presentation of what is happening as brain processes while these things arise in our imagination ( phainomenon). Even though Plat on could not think in these terms, we may get a better understanding of what he was hinting at.

The Kratylos Question

nomina sunt omina

In his famous chapter in Phaidros (274c-275), Plat on talks explicitly about the problems of the alphabet. In another work, Kratylos, he deals with certain aspects of the connection of sound and meaning in ancient Greek language. This material will be taken as starting point for the enquiry. It is always good to start with Plat on. Whitehead had stated: "The safest general characterization of western philosophical tradition is that it consists of a sequence of footnotes to Plato" (Whitehead 1969: 53). If Plat on had found something important enough to be worth devoting a whole lengthy work, then we might well ask if there is some meaning to be found in what he tells us.

Onoma homoion to pragmati

In Kratylos, Platon talks about the connection of words and namings, meaning, and sounds. This would today be considered a discussion of semiotics. He opposes two views:

1) The nam es of things and people are products of social convention only (the signe arbitraire doctrine), with Prodikos (384b) and Protagoras as proponents. The famous statement of Protagoras is cited (386a):

panton chraematon metron einai anthropon.
The human is the measure of all things.

2) The view of Kratylos is summed up in "onoma homoion to pragmati" (434a), "the name is similar to the thing". This may be called the Kratylos Question , the core of the argument of the dialogue:

Oukoun eiper estai to onoma homoion to pragmati, anankaion pephykenai ta stoicheia homoia tois pragmasin.

If now the word resembles the thing then by necessity must the sounds (the stoicheia) be similar to the things also. [550]

Kratylos is Platon's discussion of the subject of fittingness or adequacy of words or symbols to the things symbolized. The key questions are:

1) Are all words arbitrary? (the signe arbitraire doctrine).
2) Are there some words more fitting than others?
If we assume 2), then we might continue to ask what they may be more fitting to:
2a) the (objective) thing or
2b) the neuronal (re)presentation the thinker has of a thing.

If we assume 1), we might ask why they are arbitrary. Objective realism, or materialism states that there are totally objective things "out there". We now have to concede the fact that humanity has created literally all possible sound combinations to denote, for example, the "horseness" of the horse in tens of thousands of languages and dialects. Therefore one might be hard put to explain why one word would be more fitting than thousands of others. Now if all words are arbitrary, there is no great sense in searching for better fitting ones .

The structure of the Kratylos text

The structure of the semi-monologue in Kratylos is peculiar. As in most other works by Platon, we find Sokrates doing most of the argument. He talks about 90 % of the time and his partners Hermogenes and Kratylos can only interject a few statements like: "Yes indeed", "Sure", "I see", "Why?", "I believe that", "of course", and so on. Therefore, we cannot call this kind of conversation a true dialogue. Unfortunately, the people who are most knowledgeable about the subject, position 1) Prodikos (384b) and Protagoras (386a) are not there, Hermogenes professes being largely ignorant and acts only as dummy or sparring partner for Sokrates in 75 % of the text. And Kratylos, the proponent of position 2), has hardly the opportunity to say two coherent sentences about his view on the matter when he finally gets the word in the last 25 % of the text, starting at 428d, to 440.

Sokrates himself professes, as usual, to be completely ignorant, because he has only heard the "one-Drachme" talk of Prodikos, and not the one for 50 Drachmes (384c). After professing his ignorance, he anyhow goes on developing all sorts of interesting but not very convincing etymologies [551] to support position 2), but finally comes to a position that true understanding is better attained through the things themselves (439b). How this is to be done, he apparently doesn't have the time left to expound, since the text ends two pages later.

Did Platon make a joke?

So the whole work could be interpreted as some kind of tongue-in-cheek practical semiotic joke that Platon makes to befuddle his students in the academy and us across the millennia . Or it can be assumed that Platon didn't have the right conceptual tools to make a semiotic analysis. This seems to be a modern interpretation which is also proposed by Eco (1993: 25). But there are two questions remaining: First: Platon is known to be one of the most outstanding geniuses of mankind. But humor was not one of his strong points. Second: Why did he go through such an effort to make it known to posterity, that he didn't know very much to say about the matter? If we assume that Platon saw enough relevance in the subject to write about it, or have someone else write down his talks about it, then there are again two possibilities: 1) He knew more about it than he wanted to write, the unwritten teachings being in the background. 2) He was guessing himself, but wanted to preserve something that even he, one of the most knowledgeable men of his time, had only a dim recollection of, so that it became not totally lost to posterity. In this treatment, we will lean towards version 2), and give our reasons why.

The terms used by Platon

In Platon's time, Greek was not yet a standardized language. Every greek region had their own dialect. The Ionian was different from the Athenian, that again different from Spartan, and the Italian greek dialects were different still. Platon makes reference to these differences in Kratylos. Classical greek, as it is known today, is the koinae, the standardized language of the post-alexandrian oikumene, a product of the work of scholars whose main base was the Alexandria library (which served also as research, studying, and teaching center).

It is usually straightforward to find equivalents between classical greek and modern languages for words of common culture use like: house, ship, knife, loom, horse, sheep, river, tree, mountain, etc., because they denote easily identifiable tangible, physical objects that are common in western, indo-european cultures . Philosophical texts though, present a particular problem for translation because of the extreme variance of semantic fields of key terms used as compared with modern european languages. Kratylos is even more problematic because Platon uses his words in a technical sense, and uses them while he talks about them, without having a proper meta language at his avail. We should note that ususally our modern meta languages derive most of their words from greek roots. Here are some of the keywords used by Platon:

onoma - name, denomination, appellation, designation,word, expression.

chraema - this semantic field denotes things of practical relevance and objects of human environment: thing, action, usage, money, belongings, happenings.
There are many similar-sounding, similar-meaning words in the field: chreia, chreos, chreoo, chrae, chraezoo, chraestos, chraestes, chraeo.

chraema was the term used by Protagoras. If the very global meaning of "thing" is substituted for the more specific sense of "objects of human environment" then we get the most obvious and commonsense statement of "the human is the measure of all objects of the human environment". No one in his right mind would want to argue against this. Otherwise what would they be there for? Today, one would call that statement a core requirement of ergonomics. And as ergonomics consultant, Protagoras might still make good money today.

pragma - things done, business, negotiation.
This term is used by Kratylos. There is very slight variance to chraema, but it might be significant. The semantic field of pragma is a little more oriented towards process, dealings, and doings. The word praxis belongs to this field.
Platon uses this term in the majority of places that are translated as "thing".

onta, einai - being things.
With the "to ti aen einai" the thingness of things starts to appear in Aristoteles. Platon uses this term sparingly (385b) and he does not seem to differentiate very much between all the three terms.

Pythagorean Cosmology and the Alphabet:
The Stoicheia as used in Kratylos and Timaios

In most translations of Platon's works, stoicheia and grammata are treated as synonyms: meaning letters of the alphabet. But for Platon, there is a quite marked distinction: when he talks about stoichea, he talks about spoken sounds, and when he says grammata, he means the written letter. The translation of Kratylos has to be treated with special care to yield any useful information of what Platon was talking about. The semantic field of stoichea is:

stoicheoma: element, fundamental building block, first principle
stoicheoo: to teach the basics
stoicheomata: the 12 signs of the zodiac
stoicheon: letter of the alphabet
stoichos: the rod or stylus of a sundial that casts the shadow by which the time is
indicated on the dial

It is easy to see that the term is heavy with connotations from ancient cosmology. This subject has been treated in another of Platon's dialogues: Timaios. The first meaning of stoicheoma denotes the idea of a first principle of the cosmos. This is also called the archae. The zodiacal signs can be clarified in connection with the sundial. The sundial was introduced in Greece by Anaximander. He is also connected with the original formulation of the ancient greek theory of the four elements and the apeiron (Hölscher 1989: 172). The following passage from Timaios gives us the connection between cosmological primitive elements and letters-of-alphabet:

Now we must go back to a second, and new, beginning (archae) which adequately befits our purpose, just like we did with the earlier subject. We must consider the true nature of the fire, the water, the air, and the earth for themselves, before heaven was created, and we have to consider their states before its creation. Because up to now no one has enlightened (illuminated) on their origin. Instead, as if we knew what really is the true nature of the fire, the water and the others, we talk about them as the origins (archai), in the way that we equate them with the letters (the stoichea or original components) of the cosmos. But it is not adequate that the amateur may even compare them with the form of the syllables.[552]

The four elements as Timaios describes them in the quotation, are also called stoichea. Anaximander had brought the sundial from Babylon. The dial is partitioned in 12 sections, like any modern clock is, corresponding to the 12 hours of the day. The 12-scheme of the hours corresponds to the 12-scheme of the months of the year and the 12 zodiacal signs wich are all of babylonian (or chaldean) origin. In the world of antiquity, if one wanted to learn about astronomy/astrology, one went to Babylon, because here were the first and foremost experts of all the oikumene on that subject. Timaios, who is the fictional narrator in that monologue, has been introduced to the group in 27a as the one who is the most expert of them on Astronomy/Astrology. Obviously Timaios must have been in Babylon to learn the basics (or stoicheoma) of the story he is telling in Platon's "Timaios", just like Anaximander before him.

We now have one detail left to clarify: Why and how might the word stoichea have acquired the meaning of letter-of-alphabet which is usually denoted by the word grammata? Let us create a mental image of a sundial: We see a rod, or stylus, the sun shines, and the stylus casts a shadow. Then we call into memory another memorable fable of Platon, the cave parable. There, Platon talks about a big cave where miserable humans are chained fast to their seats so they cannot move and only watch the shadows dancing on the cave walls, forever entertaining themselves guessing what these shadows mean and what they stand for. The connection to the stoichea becomes immediately clear. The symbols of the alphabet are viewed as the shaped holes through which the pure light of the divine logos shines. The shadows that are cast on the dial of the sundial or the cave walls are the meanings of those symbols as we perceive them from our lowly perspective. Platon talks in Phaidros, 276a of the grammata as the shadow pictures of the living, animated logos. He uses a very subtle word-play here, the opposition of eidotos (true knowledge) and eidolon (shadow image).

Ton tou eidotos logon legeis, zonta kai enpsychon, ou ho gegrammenos eidolon an ti legoito dikaios

You mean the living, ensouled speech, the logos, of the truly knowledgeable, of which the written version can only be looked at as shadow image.
(Platon, Werke, Vol. V, 276a)

We also find a statement in the same vein in Platon's revealing (and ominous) seventh letter. With all these indications and examples from different works, it is sure worth trying to find an explanation for Platon's interesting speculation.

The Kratylos examples are taken from greek epic tradition

When we look at the examples Sokrates gives for the similiarity of name and thing, we quickly see that Platon was careful to choose mostly words that have no physical referent. He derives his terms mostly from mythology and other greek terms of the ethical domain. He starts out with Homer as one of those people who are daemiourgon onomaton , the master in the art of forming words (390e). This is is highly significant because we find a direct correspondence to the daemiourgos of the Timaios, who is creating the world.[553] Then he goes through an assorted list of greek gods and heroes. He follows the genealogy list as given by Hesiodos, and in 409, he comes to the planets and stars, the four elements, and the four seasons. In 411 he talks about abstract and ethical terms like virtue, righteousness, etc. This gives an indication that Platon did not have the intention to show us the relations of names for physical objects but rather, to the thought and association structure contained in the greek epics, cosmologies, and mythologies. And here, it makes much more sense to speculate about a connection between the thing and the name, and the sounds of the names: This archaic thought structure was preserved and transmitted by the ancient aoidoi, as the poets, singers, and bards of greek antiquity were called.

So there is no problem to relate them to the phenomena perceived. The greek gods and mysteries literally "lived" in the rhymes and metres of ancient greek epical poetry, and it would be impossible to extract them from there. Another indication for this is Platon's use of pragma to denote the "things". He doesn't talk about a thingness-in-itself as Kant may have postulated, but about a going-on. That is for example the reciting of an epic text. While the text was recited, the mental imagery unfolded in the inner vision of the aoide and his audience. So the examples Platon refers to, his pragmata, were for the ancient greek audience of epics a true process, of the nervous system, and not concepts. In this respect, we can perceive an auto-poieitic element, as the sounds themselves create their meaning by rhythm, meter, and association. The rhythm and meter component cannot be treated here, so another work will be referred to which does an extensive discussion on that subject: J. Latacz (1979-1991).

18.3. Examples of Kinemorphic Cultural Transmission


18.3.1. Dance and ballet

A general bibliographical overview on the history of dance is given in: Derrademoroda (1982). Ubiquitous in all human cultures are dance systems. Dancing is not only a popular recreational pastime, as it is in western societies today, but has been intimately tied into the social fabric in a most decisive manner, most of the times in human history, in most societies on the planet. The integrative importance of dance in the African societies is for example evidenced by the accounts of Spencer (1985), and Chernoff (1994), and its essential functions in the societies of Antiquity, by Rouget (1985: 187-226). Its importance in China is described by Granet (1994). The cultural appreciation of dance in European history has been marked by a discontinuity that occurred at the end of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Christian system. (Dufour 1898,III: 58-66). The early Christian zealots, like Tertullian and Basilius, saw in theatre and dance the expression and culmination of the decadence of the Antique world, and sought to eradicate all traces of these arts from the cultural memory of Western European civilization by persecuting the actors and burning all the scriptures pertaining to it. One of the few remaining works on this is Lukian's "De Saltatione".

Even though people also dance in the present-day technological civilizations, this tends to happen in an extremely circumscribed social reservation area that has no relevance in the society general. In earlier Europe, the dance had evolved to a very high, and exclusive mastery (of the ruling classes) as classical ballet and court dances. It served high political functions at the courts where a main part of the politics-making consisted in dancing. Best known for their political importance are the dances at the court of Louis XIV, which were transmitted by special couriers to all the other european courts, once the dance master in Versailles had created a new form (Franko 1993, 8). The connection of politics and body art was continued until this century in Vienna, where also the high art of political marriage had been perfected (tu felix Austria nube). The connection of ballet and politics has been covered by Rebling (1957).

18.3.2. Martial arts of all cultures

(Encarta: martial arts). Dance and martial arts are intimately connected, as many of the male dances can be considered stylized, danced representations of combat techniques or military exercises. Robert Bly (1991: 207) cites an ancient celtic motto related by Michael Meade: "Never give a man who can't dance, a sword. The initiatior offers the sword only after the heart of the young man has been touched by the sensitivity and the dance of love." In Europe, there existed a long tradition of high artistic perfection in the ritualized fencing techniques[554] that are still practiced as sport today (Encarta: fencing). Fencing with sharp swords as initiation ritual was continued in Germany until well into the 20th century by certain fraternities of university students called "schlagende Verbindungen". Gay (1993: 9-33) [555]. Chinese: Kung Fu, Tai Chi (Kobayashi 1983), Chi Gong (Schillings 1989); Japanese: Karate, Kendo, Jiu-Jitsu, Kyudo (Budo-abc 1971). In Germany, perhaps the best known classic was: Herrigel (1988). Korea: Tai Kwon Do; Thai: Thai Boxing; Phillipine: Escrima; Afroamerican: Capoeira. There are thousands of books available in the {New Age / Martial Arts} section of any larger bookstore. Martial arts represent an elaborate system of movement patterns that are conventionally declared as fighting and self defence techniques and forms of self-expression. But in the present context, they also constitute elaborate kinemorphic CMM systems. A good example are the Chinese Kung Fu and Tai Chi techniques which are officially named after certain animal defence postures. They are said to be derived from observation of natural forces and events. (Kobayashi). The limitation of verbal description is easily experienced when one tries to learn Tai Chi from a purely verbal guide. Notable is the current high interest for martial arts in all western civilizations, spurring a revival of old traditions. The widespread advertisement of martial arts in TV (Kung Fu Series) and Film (Bruce Lee and successors), served to re-awaken western interest in these themes.

18.3.3. Marital arts

Conversely the marital ( sexual and erotic ) arts present an equally well elaborated codification system of kinemorphics. The connection with martial arts is suggestive because the sex act was often metaphorically described as the battle of the sexes. These art forms have actually not very much to do with marriage , since they are (or rather, were) to be practiced mainly outside of the marriage, and were especially part of the training program of concubines, hierodules, hetairae, and devadasis, of earlier times. Dufour (1898), Edwardes (1967), Goodland (1931), Mandersen (1997), Shunga, Tresmin-Tremolieres (1919). In ancient China, the prostitutes were important cultural agents. The Chinese sign chi has two meanings: prostitute and art. Feustel (1995: 61). The Kama (sensual pleasure) Sutra (Vatsyayana 1964) served as such a training manual (p. 12). The Kama Sutra is a very short compendium consisting of seven sections, thirty-six chapters, and sixty-four topics (p. 13), of an also short compendium of five hundred chapters, compiled by Svetaketu (p. 11) who had made an abridged version of a major scholarly treatise on kama that had 1000 chapters, and had been written by Nandin (p. 10-11). This one is said to have been "the attendant of Shiva who recited the Kama Sutra while the high god was engaged in intercourse with his divine consort, Parvati." (p. 11). That must have been a work larger than the Rg Veda [556] and may attest to the richness of cultural patterns connected to the sexual arts as they were practiced in ancient India. These arts probably had a very old history from paleolithic times on (Anati 1991: 51, 91-94, 212-215, 234), (Schulz 1995: 220-221), (Hunger 1990: 518-524), but have tended to be repressed in sexually restricted {puritan / patrist / patriarchic} cultures of modern times (Reich 1981), Demeo (1986), (Eisler 1995: 84-142, 201-243). There are also works on Indian Tantra: Avalon (1972), Shukla (1994). There was Geisha training in this direction in Japan (Nakamura 1997), (Schulz 1991: 602-603), (Dufour 1898,VI: 193-201), and the Manchu rulers in China (Lin Yutang, personal communication, Prof. Ye.). There is also a muslim love manual called "The perfumed garden of the sheikh Nefzaoui" (Nefzaoui, 1995) . Sexual arts are meanwhile also practiced in the New Age scene (Naslednikow 1990) and many more titles on "Tantra" [557] in the Esoterics and New Age sections of larger bookstores.

18.3.4. Juggling, gymnastic and massage arts

On all fairs over all the world were always body artists that entertained the audience with physical tricks and skills. Today, some remainders exist in the circuses, which are dying because of TV competition .

A well known and very elaborated gymnastic system is Indian Hatha Yoga, with a host of classical postures, that are said to have very distinct physiological and psychological characteristics and effects. Also often associated with animal stances: Locust Posture, Cobra Posture, Cock Posture, Tree Posture etc. (Iyengar 1966). Hatha Yoga is a system of still postures, but there are dynamic variants, like Sikh Kundalini Yoga (Kri 1976) . The south Indian Drawidian Kalyarippayat contains also a massage practice. Chinese Chi Gong (Qi Gong) is a gymnastic system of postures and movements. Schillings (1989).

There exist worldwide many elaborate systems of massage whose techniques and strokes could be classed with formal grammars similar to language systems, except that they don't convey meaning, but pleasure, or generally, well-being. (Source: personal experience with several massage systems). No such scientific studies have been located in the research of this study . Noeth (1985) doesn't mention massage. Montagu's observation that western cultures tend to repress the tactile dimension is conspicuously underlined by the fact that the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia doesn't have an entry on massage. Apparently this doesn't exist in the world system of its editors. Chambers (1968) devotes a full ten lines to it under "Physiotherapy". Asokananda (1990) describes the systematics of the Thai massage system which is derived from the Indian Hatha Yoga postural system. Since massage is a "hot topic" of the New Age subculture, much of general literature on the subject can be found in the appropriate sections of every larger bookstore. Keywords: Rolfing, Postural Integration, Lomi, Rebalancing, Shiatsu, Acupressure, Esalen massage...

18.3.5. Afroamerican spirit practices: Macumba, Condomblé, Umbanda, Santeria

Bramly (1978), Goodman (1974-1990), Hoffman (1986-1996), Rouget (1985: 46-62), Turner (1986b: 33-71), and personal communications: Baby Garroux, Brazilian TV star and Umbanda terreiro leader in São Paulo. A great resurgence of kinemorphics occurs currently in the Brazilian-African systems of trance ritual. There, the movement patterns are classed to be effected by certain spirits (orixas, caboclos, pretos velhos, crianças), having certain powers and effects. Goodman (1988: 42-51). As cultural patterns, these spirits have great intersubjective constancy, and they have pronounced effects in the experienced psychological reality of the persons affected by them. By relegating these patterns to trance performance, the conscious influence of the human agent is explicitly treated as secondary, or even a hindrance to the process. In neurological terms, one may hypothetically link trance patterns to autostable neuronal excitation oscillation fields that lead to motion behavior. [558] In terms of intersubjective coherence, the Umbanda spirits certainly do satisfy the requirement of synchronic and diachronic extension of cultural pattern. Goodman (1990: 25) mentions some neurological studies done in collaboration with Prof. Johann Kugler, München, and Prof. Guttmann in Vienna, but these could not be checked up in the course of the present study. A recent work of Calvin (1996a) may possibly point into the same direction. Further research is needed to establish the meaning of meaning on the basis of neuronal activation patterns.

18.3.6. Craft traditions

Bernard (1985), Bücher (1924), Leroi-gourhan (1984). The arts and crafts of humanity always involve kinemorphics. Doing manual work implies the very complex and coordinated movement of the body . The kinetic interplay of work piece, tools, and body movement unfolds in sets of kinemorphic patterns typical for each combination. Therefore the arts and crafts traditions had built up a vast and rich cultural transmission repertoire of body motions and experiences that are totally inadequate to cover when the crafts are only considered under the utilitarian viewpoint that they are necessary to fabricate certain material objects. According to Morris, the highest levels of craftsmanship and precision, as well as extreme esthetic value of the objects created in this tradition, had reached, and passed its culmination in former ages, and in far away cultures. Morris (1986: 45-78, 79-110). Today, the craft traditions of civilizations are becoming extinct, together with much indigenous cultural diversity, and the natural species diversity . The exception that proves the case is the tradition of the French Guild "Companions du Devoir", that is keeping the European heritage of the manual work alive, as described by its current leader, Bernard (1985: 14): "Its goal is 'the professional, moral, and spiritual perfection of its members' through manual work and the simultaneous nurturing of conscience". Another exception is Japan which holds its master craftsmen as "living national treasures".

18.3.7. The Kata Tradition

Japan is a notable case of a technological civilization that maintains a cultural tradition that has found a means of systematic expression of the essentially un-fixable element of the kinemorphae in the principle of Kata. Blassen (1987), [559] Immoos (1990a), (1990b). The term originates in the Japanese performing (Noh theater) and martial arts tradition, and it indicates there the optimum perfection and performance to be attained in a form of movement. There exist stylized kata movement patterns ( kinemorphae) that are part of the training program in Karate, Judo, and Aikido. Similary for Chinese Tai Chi or Kung Fu sequences. (Personal communications, Tetsunori Koizumi, and personal experience in Japanese martial arts training). This is a valid approach for giving a specification for movement qua dynamis, without falling into the trap of trying to find a static representation which would destroy the movement. Koizumi has published several works on the combination of Kata with systems science, for which the following may serve as introduction:

Forming a well-defined kata, or a structured pattern of interaction, is one way in which open systems go about maintaining their homeostatic equilibrium, stability, cohesion and viability in the midst of continuous changes they are subjected to both internally and externally. The propensity of a system to form katas can be formulated as a principle of evolutionary change which applies to the evolution of natural as well as human systems. What we propose to do in this paper is to show that kata, in the sense of a topological image or a geometric feature of a system, is one of those concepts which many thinkers in the tradition of both Eastern and Western thought have sought...
Koizumi (1997, abstract)

By this, he also gives an essential statement for the understanding of the intimate connection between Buddhist philosophy and general systems theory. Dynamis can only be understood through dynamis and not through static concepts .

18.3.8. Theodor BB:Strehlow and the Australian Songline tradtition

Literature: Strehlow (1947), (1964), (1971), (1996). The performative transmission of the Australian Aboriginal culture represents a possible example case for a dynamic polar opposite to the dominant static transmission systems of Western Europe. Of special interest for the present study is the fate of an anthropologist of German descent, Theodor Strehlow (1908-1978), who studied the cultural transmissions of the Aranda and Loritja tribes of Central Australia. He was the youngest son of Carl Strehlow, a missionary in the Australian Aranda territory at Hermannsburg, who worked and lived there from 1894. Carl Strehlow was one of the first white people in Australia who didn't just consider the Aborigines as fair game for extermination hunts. He gave them shelter and protection from the man-hunters, tried to convert them to become good Christians, and all the while studied their lifestyles which he documented in several books. After Carl's death in 1922, Theodor continued the ethnographical work of his father. Strehlow (1996: 20-21).

Theodor Strehlow is one of those exceedingly rare cases of an anthropologist who could view the culture that he studied, from the inside, with the eyes of a native (the emic view), since he had grown up among the Aranda children, but he could also see their culture from the viewpoint of the scientist (the etic view). He was one of those rare cross-cultural individuals whose cognitive system enabled them to entertain otherwise mutually incompatible worldviews. He was able to perform a cognitive Gestalt flip of perception between the extremely disparate perceptions of reality as those of the whites and the Aborigines. [560] Because of this intimate insight, T. Strehlow's work offers some aspects that can hardly be found in any other studies on Australian Aboriginal culture . The essential factor that makes his work important in the present context is his primary socialization into Aranda culture (see Chatwin, below). The elements of primary socialization, those cultural materials and factors of somatic conditioning that are "imbibed with the mother's milk" tend to remain hidden from view and from conscious observation, for any outside observer who comes from a western civilization to an indigenous setting as different as the Aranda life is. [561] Such factors must be counted among prime candidates for "unobservables" as Staal calls them. [562] They can be so unobservable that Strehlow himself wasn't aware that he could notice something that no-one else from the white culture was able to discern. Of course the Aborigines knew that he could perceive (even though he wasn't able to let this percolate through to his rational verbal language thoughts) and therefore they let him partake in rituals that neither before him nor after him any Western person had been allowed to see and hear. Moreover, they allowed him to film and tape that material. And today this material lies at the Strehlow Research center. From the personal accounts (Chatwin, W. Strehlow), one gets the impression that T. Strehlow was a man who lived "between two worlds" and belonged to neither.

Bruce Chatwin (1988: 76-79) gives a vivid description of T. Strehlow and his work:
(76): Strehlow, by all accounts, was an awkward cuss himself.
(77): His father, Karl Strehlow, had been pastor in charge of the Lutheran Mission at Hermannsburg, to the west of Alice Springs. He was one of a handful of 'good Germans' who, by providing a secure land-base, did more than anyone to save the Central Australian Aboriginals from extinction by people of British stock. This did not make them popular. During the First World War, a press campaign broke out against this 'Teuton spies'-nest' and the 'evil effects of Germanizing the natives'.
As a baby, Ted Strehlow had an Aranda wet-nurse and grew up speaking Aranda fluently. [Emphasis, A.G.]. Later, as a university graduate, he returned to 'his people' and, for over thirty years, patiently recorded in notebooks, on tape and on film the songs and ceremonies of the passing order. His black friends asked him to do this so their songs should not die with them entirely.
It was not surprising, given his background, that Strehlow became an embattled personality: an autodidact who craved both solitude and recognition, a German 'idealist' out of step with the ideals of Australia.
Aranda Traditions , his earlier book, was years ahead of its time in its thesis that the intellect of the 'primitive' was in no way inferior to that of modern man. The message, though largely lost on Anglo-Saxon readers, was taken up by Claude Levi-Strauss, who incorporated Strehlow's insights into The Savage Mind .
Then, in late middle age, Strehlow staked everything on a grand idea.
He wanted to show how every aspect of Aboriginal song had its counterpart in Hebrew, Ancient Greek, Old Norse or Old English: the literatures we acknowledge as our own. Having grasped the connection of song and land, he wished to strike at the roots of song itself: to find in song a key to unravelling the mystery of the human condition. It was an impossible untertaking. He got no thanks for his trouble.
When the Songs came out in 1971, a carping review in the Times Literary Supplement suggested the author should have refrained from airing his 'grand poetic theory'. The review upset Strehlow terribly. More upsetting were the attacks of the 'activists' who accused him of stealing the songs, with a view to publication, from innocent and unsuspecting Elders.
Strehlow died at his desk in 1978, a broken man.
(78-79): Strehlow once compared the study of Aboriginal myths to entering a 'labyrinth of countless corridors and passages', all of which were mysteriously connected in ways of baffling complexity. Reading the Songs, I got the impression of a man who had entered this secret world by the back door; who had had the vision of a mental construction more marvellous and intricate than anything on earth, a construction to make Man's material achievements seem like so much dross - yet which somehow evaded description.
What makes Aboriginal song so hard to appreciate is the endless accumulation of detail...
I read on. Strehlow's transliterations from the Aranda were enough to make one cross-eyed. When I could read no more, I shut the book. My eyelids felt like glasspaper. I finished the bottle of wine and went down to the bar for a brandy.

The ecological setting of Central Australia forced the Aborigines into a nomadic lifestyle, since the rainfall is extremely sporadic, there is no predictable rain season, but irregular thunderstorms that appear very locally and at long time intervals (around ten years). So the people had to be constantly on the move to places where there were foodstuffs, animals, and water. There were no pack animals that could carry any belongings, and so the people could carry with them only very few material possessions. Whatever cultural material they wanted to preserve, they had to keep entirely in their minds and memories.

Even though Aboriginal culture was almost erased by the whites, some material remains, but how much needs to be determined. Of special importance seem to be the data collected in the Strehlow Research centre, the films of the last Aranda rituals that the elders performed for Strehlow before they died without successors to carry on their tradition. The Aboriginal Aranda tradition may present the last, largest, and purest case of a purely performative transmission that has been preserved up until our days. The Aranda had to concentrate all their knowledge in a non-material transmission form of dance and songs. Chatwin (1988: 119-120) indicates that it is not the words of the songlines which convey the information but the melody, or the rhythm, or both. This gives a hint that there may be an important element in aboriginal transmission that is non-verbalizable.

18.4. Ritual and Dynamic Transmission

As introduction to the present section, the statement of Isadora Duncan shall be repeated:
If I could tell you what it meant there would be no point in dancing it.

The lessons to be learned from the dynamic cultural traditions of humanity, be they indigenous, or of the civilizations, may prove extremely valuable for the present civilizatory situation. We may quote Strecker's statement concerning the essential dynamics of symbolization:

Strecker (1988: 223): This rediscovery necessitates its own kind of ethnography which may well depart from some of the established ways of describing other cultures. For by its very nature the meaning of a symbolic statement may not, as we have seen, be arrested. If one arrests the oscillation of thought which has been produced by the symbol, one destroys the meaning .

18.4.1. Ritual as symbolic behavior forming cultural patterns

Ritual is one of the prime subjects of CA studies, giving rise to many, often quite incompatible, theories and views of what constitutes ritual, how to characterize and document it. It is not the purpose of this study to give an exhaustive overview, nor to devise yet another explanatory scheme. Of the vast anthropological literature available on ritual, a selection has been referenced to show some representative positions: Aquili (1979), Benedict (1934), Gennep (1960), [563] Staal (1982), (1986), (1989), Strecker (1988), Turner (1973, 1982, 1986a, 1986b, 1987, 1990). A structural description of ritual in the context of cultural transmission is given, following Aquili.

Aquili (1979: 1): Ritual is never random behavior but is highly organized, encompassing myriad discrete and symbolic elements intertwined in a complex behavioral matrix. Like the spectrum, ritual is structured by a set of organizational principles that are only partially, if ever, comprehended by participiants and includes both observed and unobserved elements. Furthermore, there are certain preconditions for ritual...

Aquili (1979: 51): ... ritual connotes for both biologists and anthropologists behavior that is formally organized into repeatable patterns.

Wilson (1975: 560): Slowly changing forms of culture tend to be encapsulated in ritual.

A society whose life is literally filled with ritual is described by Benedict:

Benedict (1934: 59-60): The Zuñi are a ceremonious people, ... their interest is centred upon their rich and complex ceremonial life. Their cults of the masked gods, of healing, of the sun, of the sacred fetishes... No field of activity competes with ritual for foremost place in their attention. Probably most grown men among the western Pueblos give to it the greater part of their waking life. It requires the memorizing of an amount of word-perfect ritual that our less trained minds find staggering...

The problem of ethnographic description of ritual is very much that of the antagonism between the role of society and that of the individual as indicated above. [564] In his discussion of "the social practice of symbolization" Strecker (1988) mentions the decisive importance of the Gestalt formation but he also points out the danger of over-emphasizing the observer (etic) aspect, drawing on the example of Turner's theory of ritual symbolism (p. 19-26) .

Strecker (1988: 21): ... in ritual each participant views the event 'from his own particular corner of observation'... Therefore the job of the anthropologist is to overcome this selectivity and assemble a whole, a Gestalt, which reveals more than the single views which the participants individually hold.
Strecker (1988: 22): It is he, the anthropologist, who reveals the final and deepest truth and meaning of the symbols used by the people whom he, the outsider, has come to study. They, the participants, hold only a partial view and have only limited insight into what they are doing, but the anthropologist arrives at a complete and unbiased understanding of the meaning of the symbols.

18.4.2. The meaning of meaning

The central and fundamental issue of all symbolic behavior, is the question of the " meaning of meaning ". (Bateson 1972: 128-144). Again, different researchers tend to give different answers, and a few voices shall be presented here. The discussions of Staal (1982), (1986), (1989) and Strecker (1988) show that the association of symbolism and (verbalized) meaning (Strecker, 18-26: exegesis) with ritual is highly problematic if it is interpreted as purely verbal language-oriented. Bateson (1979: 16-18) has pointed out the context-dependency of meaning. He defines context as a pattern through time (p. 15). In the present context, this is the occasion for the definition of a generalized and abstracted [565], neuronal based " meaning of meaning " that is not limited to verbal language representation.

Strecker (1988: 43, 44): The possibility of saying something indirectly and multivocally animates the sender to engage in that type of creative thought which we call symbolic and which generates an infinite variety of symbolic statements which pervade everyday life in the form of politeness, flattery, irony, jokes, slogans, puns, etc. All the messages that pass to and fro in these delicate fields have in common that they say something and say it not, that they reveal and also hide. They can only have this dynamic character because their meaning is not absolute but situational and is defined in terms of time. The time involved may be no more than a fraction of a second... it may involve hours, even weeks...

Ritual as described by Staal is a prime candidate for a generalized and abstracted " meaning of meaning " beyond verbalization.

Staal (1989): (xiii) Ritual and mantras lead a life of their own, independent of religion, society and language. (12): Ritual and mantras can only be accounted for when unobservables are taken into account. (61): Goody: Anthropologists have called almost anything ritual. (69): Vedic ritual is the oldest surviving of mankind [566]. (111): Ritual, after all, is much older than language. (112): meaning was held to be mysterious and inaccessible to scientific treatment... There are many facts that support the view that syntax [structural rules of ritual] is older than semantics [language oriented meaning]. Vedic ritual provides such evidence. (117): Ritual is orthoprax. (123): The only cultural values rituals transmit are rituals.

Strecker (1988: 25-26, citing Sperber): Transition rituals are not accompanied by any initiation into a body of esoteric knowledge... a complex symbolic system can work very well without being accompanied by any exegetic commentary.

In the present context, a tentative definition of the meaning of meaning on the neuronal basis will be given:
1) neuronal excitation patterns as they are elicited by stimuli (sensory input patterns) in the neuronal networks of cognitive systems,
2) regardless whether these neuronal networks are of biological or technical origin, and
3) regardless whether there exists anywhere a language representation for any of these neuronal excitation patterns,
4) if it is possible by any means to establish an intersubjective coherence of the (behavioral or verbal or otherwise...) effects of these patterns .

Strecker (1988: 223) sums up the essentially dynamic, performative character of symbolization, that cannot be captured in fixed concepts, and he gives a statement that underlines Peirce's recursive definition of the interpretant: ->:PEIRCE_SIGN, p. 154

Only those who master the culture as a whole can master the art of displacement and create positional meaning. Therefore the positional meaning lies first and foremost with the people who have created the symbols, and the task of the ethnographer can only be to rediscover it.
This rediscovery necessitates its own kind of ethnography which may well depart from some of the established ways of describing other cultures. For by its very nature the meaning of a symbolic statement may not, as we have seen, be arrested. If one arrests the oscillation of thought which has been produced by the symbol, one destroys the meaning. Thus one needs an ethnography which is also able to speak at times indirectly and by implication.

To this may be added that this would mean an ethnography which can make use of dynamic representation systems to match the essentially dynamic nature of their subject processes and performances. A neuronal pattern definition of meaning will satisfy even the stringent conditions for transmission of ritual as postulated by Staal (1989). With this definition of meaning and with Staal's contributions (rituals transmit rituals), we can then endeavor to give an extended definition of the meaning of ritual.

18.4.3. The meaning of ritual

Ritual is that type of symbolic cultural pattern, that
1) has synchronic and diachronic extension and
2) appears as a self-stabilizing cultural transmission and
3) creates its own meaning.

In cultures where "the science of ritual" (Staal 1982) is still practiced, the ritual supplies by this, meaning to everything else in the culture. Thus, ritual would be the originator and source of all symbolism, in the diction of Staal . Turned the other way: Cultures that have lost "the science of ritual" will turn meaningless (and, by Spengler, will take their Untergang).

18.4.4. Ritual as base for Symbolics

Staal (1989: 141): How, then ist it possible to understand ritual without interpreting it in terms of symbols, meaning, or sense? In order to achieve such an understanding we have to do three things, more or less at the same time: first we must have an open mind with regard to the conceptual question where ritual "belongs." We should detach it in particular from those domains where our culture and history have been predisposed to place it: in the realms of religion and society. Second, we must study ritual in much greater depth than is done by the professional students of religion and society. And third, we should conceive of ritual in more general and abstract perspectives than has ever been attempted.

Ritual, as described by Staal, is essentially performative, and is carried out regardless of verbal meaning ( exegesis, see Strecker) that could be associated with it. By this, ritual stands outside the domain of verbalized statements that can be written down. We may of course give a verbal description of some of the circumstantial events accompanying it, but this amounts to about as much as if we say: "The car is set in motion by my turning of the ignition key". That may surely be true, but if we have forgot to put a motor in, or to fuel up the tank, a million years of "turning the ignition key" will not get us started to anywhere. The same seems to hold with verbal descriptions of ritual.

Staal gives us a description of the "deep structure" of ritual. (Staal 1989: 85-114, 157-221). The structural diagrams he presents us are done using letters of the alphabet, and that may be misleading us to believe that this uses a method of alphabetic writing. Quite to the contrary. The formal structures given have nothing to do with a phonetic spelling of sounds that are produced when speaking a verbal language. Deep formal structures are very difficult to describe with verbal language, and therefore specific formal rules have to be introduced in order to handle them. These rules have been standardized in the computer sciences. See Bauer (1971,II: 100-144), Brauer (1968: 108-115) for descriptions of formal languages. [567] And for the practical purpose of labeling, one uses a standard printable set of alphabetical characters, out of the plain economic reasons that these are readily available in any printing shop. (Computerized character sets have somewhat loosened that constraint). But this application of the alphabetical characters is not guided by phonetic spelling at all, rather "the set of principles and rules for the formation and reading of aggregates of characters of the character system" is determined by the entirely different structural requirement of what is encoded.

[530] this corresponds to the synchronic / diachronic distinction used in the present study. See:
->:CULTURE_PATTERN, p. 132, ->:CMS_DEF, p. 139
[531] Birdwhistell (1970: 101) uses kinemorph in an analogous way to the linguistic morpheme, here it is in the more general meaning of Gestalt morphology. ->:GOETHE_MORPHOLOGY, p. 129
[532] Spengler (1980: 703-712) describes something very similar to kinemorphae or Kata in his description of "Das Wesen der Rasse". His unfortunate confusion with genetic transmission implied by the term race resulted not only in the fatal connection to Nazi race politics, but also led to the complete oblivion of the more useful aspects of his contribution.
[533] ->:KATA, p. 221
[534] Which is not even possible for many situations of verbal communication as pointed out by Strecker. ->:MULTIVOCALITY, p. 225
[535] Turner and Pöppel: "Metered Poetry, the Brain, and Time" in Rentschler (1988:71-90).
[536] Unfortunately, Platon himself must not have taken his own words too seriously since he left us with the largest volume of written material produced by any individual up to his time. For his defence it could be mentioned that he probably never wrote anything himself. Platon was an aristocrat und thus still bound up with the class struggle against writing. As Havelock has noted, the greek aristocracy resisted for very long time the writing introduced by the lowly people: the merchants and craftsmen. The aristocracy considered the epic tradition the only culture befitting them. Nevertheless, Platon allowed his scribes to note down his diatribes that have been handed down to us well-preserved over 2400 years.
[537] CAPS for distinction of the generic world-encompassing principle of AOIDE mental functioning from any actual historical incorporation, like the greek aoidoi whom we know as Homer and Hesoidos.
[538] ->:ABORIGINES, p. 222
[539] ->:PHEMEME_HYPOT, p. 209
[540] This term is used to denote ways of using our brain in some ways that are outside of the normal modes we call thinking.
[541] onoma- = name, saema- , saemeion = sign, meaning, phonae- = sound. short form: semaiophonic
[542] Which can be viewed as a special interpretation of the phememe model by Mary LeCron Foster (1996).
[543] In Greek: plexis, synapsis. The plural of nexus has a long "u" and is properly written with a bar over the 'u', but this character doesn't exist in the Win standard charset, so will be written nexus.
[544] ->:STOICHEA, p. 216
[545] The strange indication given by Chatwin, that Australian songlines are easily transferred between the different Australian languages, means that there must be a sound-principle of meaning. ->:CHATWIN, p. 223
[546] The exact connection of this study to Whitehead's philosophy would take an inordinate amount of time and effort to discuss thoroughly. To outline the principle in a few words: Western philosophical notions of ontology are {pervaded / tainted / burdened} by the effects of the primary CMM, the alphabetic principle, fixating the living sounds of speech, the stoichea, into the grammata. If we want to get an alphabet-neutral ontology and epistemology, we have to backtrack to the Heraklitean philosophy of dynamics and relation (which was concurently formulated as the principle of paticca samuppada by the Buddha). The modern western philosophical application of the buddhist principle was essentially presented by Whitehead (in a somewhat difficult to interpret form).
[547] Due to the different usage and context, the conventional term could lead to misleading impressions, especially that the present subject matter could be treated with linguistic or etymological methods.
[548] See: W.H. Calvin (1996a): The cerebral code.
[549] See also the works of Marius Schneider.
[550] Kratylos 434a, Platon, Werke, Vol. III, engl. transl. A.G.
[551] They may be sufficient to impress his sparring partner Hermogenes, but we can be quite sure that Protagoras himself would have torn them to shreads.
[552] Timaios 48b , Platon, Werke, Vol. VII, engl. transl. A.G.
[553] This connection even evokes the English similarity of the two terms: the world and the word . The creator of both the world and the word are thus related through the sounds of the language.
[554] Wiener (1982: 175), also subject of countless novels, for example Doumas: The three musketeers.
[555] Gay (1993: 258) describes Bismarck as having delighted the 25 mensur duels that he had fought - and won. Probably the best known (worldwide visible) document of this practice was the picture of Hans Martin Schleyer, with the characteristic "Schmisse" (initiation scars in his face) appeared probably in every newspaper and TV show in the whole world. He was the former president of the German industrial association (Arbeitgeberpräsident), and was murdered by the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion).
[556] which has 10,800 verses, and 432,000 syllables. Dechend (1993: 149).
[557] Not to be confused with the Tantra of Avalon (above).
[558] ->:NEURONAL_PATTERN, p. 124
[559] Blassen (1987, p: 96), die Bedeutungen von Kata:
1. als Bezeichnung fuer ein Muster (z.B. einen Wachsabdruck)
2. als Bezeichnung fuer einen Typ (z.B. einen Autotyp etc.)
3. als Bezeichnung fuer einen Stil (z.B. einen Tanzstil, Schreibstil etc. )
4. als Bezeichnung fuer eine Regel (z.B. traditionelle Etikette)
5. als Bezeichnung fuer eine Formel (z.B. eine feststehende Redensart)
6. als Bezeichnung fuer etwas stets Gleichbleibendes.
[560] ->:BORING_WOMEN, p. 123
[561] ->:IMPRINTING, p. 227
[562] ->:STAAL_RITUAL, p. 225
[563] Classification of rites, p. 1-16.
[564] ->:MEMORY_PATTERN, p. 134
[565] By the same method of generalization as Salthe defines the "analogous structure". ->:SALTHE_STRUCT, p. 126
[566] The Australian Aboriginals would strongly object to this, since they claim that their tradition is tens of thousands of years old. The problem is that this is unprovable, whereas the comparison with 3000 year old text documents from Iranian sources underlines the claim of Staal.
[567] ->:WRITING_CRIT, p. 193

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