This article may be incomprehensible or very hard to understand.(June 2021)
The monad's / sign-self's / subject's narrative boundary understanding of its self-world, or Umwelt, is derived through the abstract process of reading text (signs), generating a paradigm of symptoms, signals, icons, indexes, symbols, and names from the semiosphere's code (semiotics) for interacting with other Umwelt.
Psychic semiosis has foundations in Charles Sanders Peirce, Sigmund Freud, Johann Friedrich Herbart, David Hume, discoverers of the unconscious mind, romantics, symbolists, German idealism, Immanuel Kant, Schelling, Arthur Schopenhauer, Gustav Fechner, and Wilhelm Wundt. The common denominators between Freudian unconscious and Jungian unconscious are myths.
Roland Barthes' definition of myth is the semiological self-mythology derived from everyday life (news, entertainment, advertisements), with its own codes and whistles. The present-I-sign interacts with others through the future-You-interpretant to retroactively form the past-Me-object.
Mikhail Bakhtin's chronotope, or time-space (deterministic) makes outside-the-semiosphere (unintelligible) information relevant to the semiosphere through narrative structure. Time (affects-passing) takes on a protagonist's sensory nervous system (Umwelt), based on the "difficult journey" of the monad-sign-operator actively reading and interpreting co-occurring ontological text (signs) that parallel the co-occurring ontic (unintelligible) objects.
The adventure chronotope is thus characterized by a technical, abstract connection between space and time, by the reversibility of moments in a temporal sequence, and by their interchangeability in space. ...Every concretization, of even the most simple and everyday variety, would introduce its own rule-generating force, its own order, its inevitable ties to human life and to the time specific to that life. ...Biographical time is not reversible vis-à-vis the events of life itself, which are inseparable from historical events. But with regard to character, such time is reversible[.]-- Mikhail Bakhtin
Under the Semiotic theory of Charles Sanders Peirce, there are trichotomic phenomenological categories (Peirce): Firstness (feeling), Secondness (relatability), Thirdness (representation and interpretation)
Jesper Hoffmeyer, "modeled in terms of parasitism," suggested a conscience collective variation of the semiosphere, not bound by linguistics, devoid of the social alienation of mind-body dualism.
A semiosphere includes "physical, energetic and material phenomena" that get turned into neural signals. Common representations of the semiosphere are as universes, arts museum halls, or mind palaces. Semiotics studies aesthetics and architecture, among many other fields.
Influenced by Office for Metropolitan Architecture, acting as a type of post-modern flâneuse, the 'pataphysical poet Lisa Robertson has researched the aboutness of a city's semiosphere by parodying "reductionist scientific analysis". Another notable figure is Erín Moure.
The concept of the room is a specific artistic rendering of the sociology of space within a specific social space and has historically been used in stand-up comedy, pleasure gardens, and traversable art installations (like those within arts festivals).
The origin point of a semiosphere 'etherealizes itself in the region of cloud formation', the Umwelt uses monosemy to derive polysemy from the process of encoding (semiotics) and decoding (semiotics).
John Hartley, Indrek Ibrus and Maarja Ojamaa built on the original concepts of biosphere (Vladimir Vernadsky) and semiosphere (Yuri Lotman) and linked these to the studies of cultural globalisation, datafication, platformisation, mediatisation and the evolution of digital culture. They demonstrated how the semiosphere could be seen as a causal force shaping not only global communications and political fluctuations, but also the biosphere and geosphere and such also the evolving Anthropocene.
The term semiosphere is a neologism coined by Yuri Lotman in response to Vladimir Vernadsky's concepts of biosphere and noosphere and Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of logosphere; Lotman proposed that the concept of the semiosphere can account for all relations between humans.
The study of the cultural semiotics was furthered by the concept of the semiosphere. Lotman had difficulties abstracting semiosphere from biosphere. Lotman characterizes semiospheres as feminine and inert, needing to be penetrated with information.
The concept is treated more fully in the collection of Lotman's writings published in English under the title "Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture" (1990).
Kalevi Kull argues that this suggestion is not consistent with the nature of semiosis which can only be a product of the behaviour of the organisms in the environment. It is the organisms that create the signs which become the constituent parts of the semiosphere. This is not an adaptation to the existing environment, but the continuous creation of a new environment. Kull believes that it is only possible to accept Hoffmeyer's view as an analogy to the concept of an ecological niche as it is traditionally used in biology, so that the community develops according to the semiotic understanding of the processes which are responsible for the building of Umwelt.
[']The semiosphere is that semiotic space outside of which the very existence of semiosis is impossible'.
It is important that we see the semiosphere not merely as a network of human and artificial intelligence, a kind of world-wide technological exchange but, in keeping with Lotman's view, as a membrane of human conscious acts, which makes communication possible, but cannot be reduced to mere communication and exchange of 'know how.'
Lotman's semiosphere derives from Mikhail Bakhtin's logosphere, itself adapted from ... Vladimir Vernadsky's notion of the biosphere. ... Lotman acknowledges his debt to Bakhtin's suggestive notion of the 'logosphere,' that 'dialogic sphere where the word exists' ... (Bakhtin, 'From Notes' 150[).] ... Vernadsky's ecological theory embeds humanity in the biosphere by positing conscious thought on the planet as a distinct geological force--the 'noosphere' (named from the Greek vóoç 'mind').
By definition social reality is epiphenomenal and abstracted from meaning rather than phenomenological, and thereby dependent on meaning and on communication that is limited to the production and reproduction of meaning in relation to itself ... Any environment accommodates numerous organisms, and the plurality of Umwelt in communication constitutes a semiosphere. Semiospheres are emergent systems structured by the triadic logic of signs rather than ecological niches structured by adaptive mechanisms.
Pataphysical poetics push social constructionism to the extreme, parodying it not as a means of undermining it, but of expressing the contingencies and interconnections in the overlapping worlds of signification that constitute cultural and biological environments. ... Biosemiotics proposes the primacy of the 'semiosphere' over the biosphere; it is concerned with living systems as nested sets of surfaces. The surface is where multiple signaling processes act on the cell membrane according to contextual recognition.
Our intuition of reality is a consequence of a mutual interaction between the two: Jakob von Uexküll's private world of elementary sensations (Mkzeichen, 'perceptual signs') coupled to their meaningful transforms into action impulses (Wirkzeichen, 'operation signs') ; and the phenomenal world (Umwelt), that is, the subjective world each animal models out of its 'true' environment (Natur, 'realiy'), which reveals itself solely through signs.
The ontic Reality (which does exist, but is forever unknowable) ... [t]here is a Kantian epistemological gap between the ontic Reality and the semiotic sign system that attempts to grasp that elusive Reality
Paraphrasing Sausure (1959, p. 16), it is the task of the symbolic interactionist to determine the exact place of semiotics in social psychology.
Field Theory can be applied to the whole domain as well as to the study of communication and signification.
Lotman's metaphor diverges from actual biological praxis, in which procedures analogous to the hermeneutic circle are the norm (Wilson 211). ... If Shweder's hypothesis is correct, Lotman's conception of the self as a monad may indeed have universal, albeit circumscribed, validity because it may account for the earliest stages of human development.
Both notions presuppose that semiosphere is separated from the external space surrounding it; hence the great importance of the notion of boundary. ... it acts as a special filter, a device selectively letting in texts from other culture-domains, as well as nontexts. ... messages from the outside have to force their way through to become facts of a given semiosphere.
The consideration of geographic space or landscape as a text (Duncan 1992; Spirn 1998) is also an instance of semiotic approach.
At the center of his theory of cultural semiotics stands the assumption that every narration is provoked by the transgression of borders. Lotman expands this basic consideration, influenced by Russian formalism, to claim that every narrative transgression is simultaneously a cultural transgression
New information in the semiosphere can be produced only as a result of a dialogue between different codes, by which he [Lotman] understands not simply different human or artificial languages, but different ways of organizing reality into coherent cognitive structures
Symbols take form from external objects; the manner in which we form them is such that the apparent becomes material. ... Symbols are a simplified and sometimes banal representation of reality.
A paradigm in the Saussurean sense is a set of signs ... There are different kinds of signs by virtue of their relations with their objects (e.g., icons, indexes, symbols); signs also relate to their interpretants in various ways (e.g., deductively, inductively, abductively). Since signs cannot function independently, the systemic structural level of sign relations is focused upon as codes with underlying rules.
The first type of sign is the symptom. ...A second type of sign is the signal. ...The next three types of signs are taken from Peirce's classification of signs as icons, indexes, and symbols. ...The sixth, and final, type of sign to be discussed in this book is the name.
Semiology [semiotics] is also the source of the claim that space is susceptible of a 'reading,' and hence the legitimate object of a practice (reading/writing). The space of the city is said to embody a discourse, a language.
In brief, the brain, or mind, which is itself a system of signs, is linked to the putative world of objects, not simply by perceptual selection, but by such a far-of remove from physical inputs - sensible stimuli - that we can safely assert that the only cognizance any animal can possess, 'through a glass, darkly,' as it were, is that of signs.
What counts for us is the fact that it expresses the inseparability of space and time (time as the fourth dimension of space).
Drawing upon French philosopher and literary critic, Paul Ricoeur, [J. Nicholas] Entrikin argues that the key element straddling this relationship -- or 'getting between' place -- is the process of emplotment (25). This is a form of narrative which gives structure to the particular connections people have with places ... But all of this begins with a tacit assumption that place is dualistic to begin with
The connection between 'place' and 'metaphor' is evident. Paul Ricoeur remarks that 'as figure, metaphor constitutes a displacement and an extension of the meaning of words; its explanation is grounded in the theory of substitution ' (The Rule of Metaphor 3; italics added).
Regarding the precursors that Peirce and Freud have in common for their conceptions of psychic semiosis... the psychological associationists, particularly Johann Friedrich Herbart... David Hume... nineteenth-century thinkers, writers, and artists whose works give evidence of and understanding of the unconscious... the romantics and symbolists; Kant and the German idealist philosophers, especially Schelling and Schopenhauer... Gustav Theodor Fechner... [and] Wilhelm Wundt[.]
[W]hat remains common to Freud and Jung: the unconscious [is] always measured against myths[.]
Barthes ( 1972, pp. 11, 109-110) defines myth as a type of speech or discourse that draws from everyday life. Myths are reflected in newspaper articles, in photographs, films, and in advertisements. Myths, for Barthes, are semiological systems that tell a story, while veiling or hiding particular meanings. Myths, or mythologies, are based on everyday phenomenon [sic]. They constitute language systems, with their own codes and structures of meaning.
Action can go on only in the present, not in the future or past. Since speech is action...only the I can speak. ...This gives the structure of the self three parts...: the past-me-object; the present-I-sign; and the future-you-interpretant. Metaphorically I am viewing this structure as a 'container,' within which there are 'contents.'...This containment, however, is not physical or spatial but semiotic and meaningful. ...when the I speaks it has two objects: the direct object or you, and the reflexive object or me.
This process of relating one's own organism to the others in the interactions that are going on, in so far as it is imported into the conduct of the individual with the conversation of the 'I' and the 'me,' constitutes the self. ...We are taking the attitude of the community and we are responding to it in this conversation of gestures. The gestures in this case are vocal gestures. They are significant symbols, and by symbol we do not mean something that lies outside of the field of conduct.
Each person has to view the conduct of the other in some degree from the standpoint of the other. One has to catch the other as a subject, or in terms of his being the initiator and director of his acts; thus one is led to identify what the person means, what are his intentions and how he may act. ...George Herbert Mead has sketched what I think are the basic features of this self-interaction in his classic discussion of the relation between the 'I' and the 'Me.'
Perinbanayagam (1985, pp. 9-10, 39-52, 84-100) offers the most advanced dramaturgical theory of those human social acts that produce meaning. ...Drawing on Mead ...Incorporating elements of Chomsky's theory of syntax ...incorporates Kenneth Burke's pentad (act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose) is then put forth. Perinbanayagam's view of the sign and the signifying act may be diagrammed as follows: Signifying Act: Sign: Symbolic Meaning⁄Vocal Gesture Meaning⁄Object
Mead was less standardized [than 'Pierce's sign--interpretant--object'] in his terminology, but his most common statement of the inner triad was in terms of 'gestures,' a concept that allowed him to combine animal and human communication. ...For Mead the three parts of the inner triad were: the gesture of the first organism; the responding gesture of the second organism; and the 'resultant' of the social act. ...[which may be] the (Piercean) object of the two gestures, which Mead calls the 'denotation'...[it may be] the concept corresponding to the object which he [Mead] calls the 'connotation'...the combination or synthesis of the two gestures...[or further] subsequent conversation or social action [that] might transpire between the two organisms.
chronotope (literally 'time-space'--representation and conceptualization of the artistic time and space, derived by Bakhtin from Einstein's theory of relativity) ...This type of narrative time-space ...are associated with the trials, sufferings and tests one cannot avoid on a difficult journey.
Bakhtin states that the chronotope, or conjunction of time and space, is a 'formally constitutive category' (84) of literature ...According to Bakhtin, the chronotope's central role in literature derives from the fact that, in order to be communicated and understood by others, any meaning must take on the form of a sign, or temporal-spatial expression that is audible and visible to us. 'Consequently, every entry into the sphere of meanings is accomplished only through the gates of the chronotope' (258).
Generally speaking, literary structure is not neutral with respect to philosophies of time. It strongly favors closed temporalities. It is therefore comparatively easy and common to make the shape of a work reinforce a fatalistic or deterministic view of time ...Such repetitions happen forward, not backward, and they require no underlying structure; but once they happen, they can always be narrated as if a plan were simply revealed over time. In fact, the conventions of narrative favor such a presentation, because narratives are told after the fact. To repeat: narratives are predisposed to understanding in terms of structure.
primary, affects: joy, sadness, and desire
A text, writes Bakhtin, occupies 'a certain specific place in space [...and] our acquaintance with it occurs through time' (252). ...In Bakhtin's words: 'Time, as it were, thickens, takes on flesh, becomes artistically visible; likewise, space becomes charged and responsive to the movements of time, plot and history' (84).
The discipline has been further developed by Jesper Hoffmeyer's argument for the primacy of the 'semiosphere' (or the world of signs and signification) over the biosphere, as well as the primacy of the sign over the molecule. ... A human body, Hoffmeyer notes, is made up of about thirty square kilometres of membrane structure. It makes more sense, he argues, to locate human personhood not in the brain but in the skin, which is the fundamental locus of sensory interpretation
A human body, Hoffmeyer notes, is made up of about thirty square kilometres of membrane structure. It makes more sense, he argues, to locate human personhood not in the brain but in the skin, which is the fundamental locus of sensory interpretation. ... In [Lisa Robertson's] the 'Sixth Walk,' she confesses a desire to know her guide, which is a wish to know the mechanism of interpretation through which her ambulatory encounters with the city have been framed. The guide, a pastoral architect, is literally a skin, a membrane that helps determine significance for the narrator.
Separate adventures, complete in themselves, are also interchangeable in time, for adventure-time leaves no defining traces and is therefore in essence reversible. The adventure chronotope is thus characterized by a technical, abstract connection between space and time, by the reversibility of moments in a temporal sequence, and by their interchangeability in space. ...the degree of specificity and concreteness of this world is necessarily very limited. ...Every concretization, of even the most simple and everyday variety, would introduce its own rule-generating force, its own order, its inevitable ties to human life and to the time specific to that life. ...Biographical time is not reversible vis-à-vis the events of life itself, which are inseparable from historical events. But with regard to character, such time is reversible[.]
There are thus purely subjective realities in environments. But the objective realities of the surroundings never appear as such in the environments. They are always transformed into perception marks or perception images and equipped with an effect tone which only then makes them into real objects even though no part of the effect tone is present in the stimuli.
[T]he Umwelt can be viewed as a cognitive construct within the semiosphere.
As cultural biosemiotician Wendy Wheeler writes, '[a]n organism's Umwelt is, therefore, what signifies for it; and through it, it perceives stimuli and responds to them. An Umwelt, in other words, is a space of semiosis' (The Whole Creature 103).
Pierce's semiotics is a doctrine of experience--indeed, a phenomenological doctrine of consciousness (Zeman 1977). But for Pierce and his man-as-sign conclusion, consciousness is of signs only; it cannot obtain an indubitable science of reality.
Jakob von Uexküll (1864-1944), and his emphasis on the distinct Umwelt (self-world, or subjective universe) of living things.
J. V. Uexküll with his notion of Umwelt has emphasised that every organism has its own subjective environment, which is different from any other, and in the case of different species of animals these differences can be very large.Cite journal requires
Messages can be constructed on the basis of single signs or, more often than not, as combinations of them. The latter are known as texts. A text constitutes, in effect, a specific 'weaving together' of signs in order to communicate something. The signs that go into the make-up of texts belong to specific codes.
In an accompanying note to a diagram of cryometric forms, Bök writes: 'Semiotic saturation increases from a solid state of monosemy to a fluid state of polysemy until meaning etherealizes itself in the region of cloud formation.'
The signs and the sensory and cognitive processes form the individual's Umwelt, which gives a sign meaning to the interpreter. Clearly, part of an individual's Umwelt comprises signals from other individuals, but it is also comprised of signs in the form of inanimate objects and energy in the semiosphere.
Jesper Hoffmeyer's understanding of biosemiotics, modeled in terms of parasitism, provides a way to conceptualize a conscience collective of organic animalism that is structured by communication and social reality, but not by the logic of alienation that extends from language through to a conceptualization of nature and culture in terms of Cartesian duality.
According to the definition offered by Hoffmeyer (1998), the term 'semiosphere' describes the dimension where signs occur and can be detected and/or relayed as signals. The concept of the semiosphere can thus be extended to cover all aspects of semiosis and is no longer restricted to linguistics (Kotov and Kull 2011).
Interruptions between an individual's Umwelt and the semiosphere include, for example; sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, chance occurrence and epigenetic factors.
Thus, the semiosis of tea may be explained by means of textual and dialectic processes that take place only inside of the semiotic space. Inside the semiosphere, tea was an early mythological characterization that recalls an opening text: a metatext that performs a metalinguistic function with respect to the other texts that form part of the semiosphere. Tea, in the first instance, is codified under the mythological consciousness, which is oriented towards mythopoetics.
Using our hand, we find our way in a space that one can designate the free space of our movements, or, in other words, our effect space [Wirkraum]. ... UNLIKE EFFECT SPACE AND TACTILE SPACE, visual space is walled about by an impenetrable wall, which we shall call the horizon or farthest plane.
Several anthropologists of music have recently called for greater focus on neglected sonic dimensions of social experience through multisensory ethnography...(Porcello et al. 2010, Samuels et al. 2010). These authors advocate research oriented toward the 'soundscape' concept, designed to 'contain everything to which the ear [is] exposed in a given sonic setting[']
Lebenswelt (lived world/world design), Sorge (care), thrownness (non-chosen world engagement), our established social orders (Mitwelt or fate-world)...our fallenness in relationship to the physical world (Umwelt), social world (Mitwelt), and personal world of self-relatedness (Eigenwelt)[.]
The semiosphere is distinct from Umwelten, because the former is made up of physical, energetic and material phenomena, including electromagnetic radiation, sound waves, mechanical forces and chemical signs, which are translated to neural signals by the sensory apparatus of organisms (Lewis, 2020).
Umberto Eco preferred this analogy and used it in his 'Introduction' to Lotman's Universe of the mind: Imagine a museum hall, in which art works from different periods are exhibited, along with inscriptions in different languages; in the meantime, there are visitors and museum staff in the hall preparing guided tours, with all kinds of reference materials (Lotman 2000: xii). To the best of my understanding of the museum analogy, semiosphere is a mega-structure (the museum hall), comprising various sign systems (galleries for the art of different periods); the interactions among them and the interactions between them and the mega-structure make the systems work, and make the semiosphere function. Probably this is why Lotman used the term 'universe' to refer to the semiosphere, since it works like a galaxy that consists of a solar system and other systems.
Semiotics has mainly been influenced by linguistics and was later applied to aesthetics and visual communication like architecture, painting, or film. ... For the architectural sign, the behavioristic, dyadic, glossematic, and triadic sign models play a central role (Nöth 1990).
Embedded in the playful heteronym used throughout the book, 'Office for Soft Architecture' (inspired by architect Rem Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture), is Robertson's belief that the hard structural form of a building, city, or poem is less important than the 'soft' environment created by its surface effects.
Robertson's soft architecture--not so much a bounded place as a poetic-intellectual approach to the sediments and ruins of urban facades--updates flânerie to the 21st-century global metropolis. The flâneuse archly observes patterns of consumption while remaining herself an arbiter of surface; the soft architect is similarly interested in the surface but attends to the waste and excess that might resist the 'utopia of the new.'
By expanding Umwelten, [Lisa] Robertson's poetics enact communicative complexity. ... Her research into these sites is deeply concerned with the 'aboutness' of information in the semiosphere of the city.
Pataphysical poets employ methodological constraints in experimental poetic composition in order to parody reductionist scientific analysis and to complicate questions of perspective and meaning. ... Pataphysical poetics push social constructionism to the extreme, parodying it not as a means of undermining it, but of expressing the contingencies and interconnections in the overlapping worlds of signification that constitute cultural and biological environments
The pataphysics of Robertson and Mouré engage the environment, not according to the objective realism of scientific materialism, but rather as a complex set of semiotic relationships where diverse forms of signification and alternative realities interact.
The relationship between structure and skin is similarly developed in Robertson's work when, for example, she describes the Rubus armeniacus as: 'an exemplary political decoration, a nutritious ornament that clandestinely modifies infrastructural morphology' (112) ... The clandestine subject most often is some version of soft architecture, for in 'Occasional Work', Robertson considers the most ornamental of possible subjects: color, clothing, furniture, and fountains.
[L]ighting techniques could also have a 'psychological effect,' creating 'reassuring' and 'less formal' spaces--characteristics typically expected of the domestic environment. Color choice, Kelly advised, also affected the mood or psychological conditions of the interior. ... The lack of scholarly attention given to the soft architecture of the domestic environment--including window treatments, textiles, interior finishes, and electric lighting--is surprising, given the significance it holds in the design and experience of the modern interior.
All organisms communicate by use of models (Umwelts, or self-worlds, each according to its species-specific sense organs)
Occasionally we have experiences which we say belong to the atmosphere. The whole world seems to be depressed, the sky is dark, the weather is unpleasant, values that we are interested in are sinking. We do not necessarily identify such a situation with the self; we simply feel a certain atmosphere about us. ...There are other experiences which we may at all times identify with selves. We can distinguish, I think, very clearly between certain types of experience, which we call subjective because we alone have access to them, and that experience which we call reflective. ...The physical object is an abstraction which we make from the social response to nature. We talk to nature; we address the clouds, the sea, the tree, and objects about us. We later abstract from that type of response because of what we come to know of such objects. The immediate response is, however, social; where we carry over a thinking process into nature[,] we are making nature rational.
Saturation...Its key affordance lies in its ability to express emotive 'temperatures', kinds of affect.
Semiotics became useful for analyzing stage lighting and the communication between the performer and the audience and to identify lighting signs associated with productions (Moran 2007).
The term 'room' means more than just the physical space in which the performance takes place; it is the term used to summarise a combination of factors which include the nature of the space, the way that space is set up, the character of the audience and more.
Gardens were organized spatially as themed 'rooms' that were 'furnished' with urns, statues and specimen trees and shrubs. Balustrades, terracing, steps and gates extended the material, social and formal vocabularies of the house into the garden, in a renewed articulation and detailing of garden foreground.
Human beings are capable of launching an enormous number of novel messages appropriate to an indefinite variety of contexts ...the message-as-formulated must undergo a transductive operation to be externalized into serial strings appropriate to the channel, or channels, selected to link up with the destination. This neurobiological transmutation from one form of energy to another is called encoding. When the destination detects and extracts the encoded messages from the channel, another transduction, followed by a series of still further transformations, must be effected before interpretation can occur; this pivotal reconversion is called decoding.
Linguists who employ the expression 'zero sign' (zero phoneme or allophone, zero morpheme or allomorph, and the like) must mean either 'zero signifier,' or, much more rarely, 'zero signified,' but never both; if taken literally, the notion of a 'zero sign' would be oxymoronic. (On the use of zero in linguistics, see Jakobson 1940, 1966; Frei 1950; Godel 1953; Haas 1957.)
Necessarily also implicated in Lotman's argument is the complementary biological concept of 'emergence,' which holds that the biological entity is greater than the mere sum of its parts.
According to Lotman, dialogue is the universal law which stipulates how semiosphere exists. ... ranging from the individual's cerebral hemispheres to the cultural contact on the national and international scale ... [a]s a consequence, semiosphere consists of levels, which range from each person's autonomous semiosphere to the overall semiosphere of the contemporary world--what used to be called the global village.
He [Lotman] tries to envision a kind of 'second-degree semiosphere' that would encompass all human meanings in a harmonious whole.
Lotman explains that he based his neologism on the term 'biosphere,' which Vladimir Vernadskii (1863-1945) ... defined as the sum total of all living organisms on the Earth ... The appearance of human beings, whose activity constitutes the 'noosphere' in Vernadskii's terminology ... Lotman's concept ... : he intended it to provide nothing less than a semiotic explanation of how all levels of culture work everywhere--from the relations between the hemispheres of the brain, to dialogue, to the production and consumption of cultural artifacts, to large scale changes in national cultures.
The breakthrough took place in his treatise On Semiosphere, a work vital for the development of cultural semiotics.
In 'On the Semiosphere,' Lotman uses terms of reproductive biology when he discusses how meaning is generated and transmitted. ... [Lotman's interpretation of Vernadsky's biosphere] gains a sacral-sexual character
Lotman invests the semiosphere with the feminine attributes of passivity and gravidity, characterizing it as inert, a brake on cultural evolution and on the creation of new meaning--an entropic absorber of semiotic energy. Energy is generated outside, and it penetrates the semiosphere, causing 'excitation' of the 'mother text', which then rearranges its constituent elements to give birth to new meanings.
While the shifts in cultural Umwelt that result from the deterritorialized pastoral can be read, like Mouré's text, in the terms of Uexküll's unorthodox science, I propose to read Robertson's concern with surfaces and membranes of civic memory in the context of biosemiotics and its extension of Uexküll's Umwelt theory.