Episodes 1-4 Excerpts Montage Review, #SynechismCenter.com

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Okay, so let’s take what these noted thinkers had to say about our ‘map-medium’ relationship and revisit our developing child. … His cognitive map began prenatally, according to his perceived environment. That continued into his early childhood, mapping his place in a much larger expanse, and trying to navigate his ‘perceived’ medium accordingly. And although actual brain ‘growth’ does slow after early childhood, cognitive mapping continues. Every perception of every event, and the perception of the environmental circumstances surrounding each event, is incorporated into his already ingrained cognitive map, and attached to a previously understood, or often ‘misunderstood’, perspective, reinforcing it, and ultimately affecting the way future experiences and perceptions are processed, incorporated, and mapped. … What all of this boils down to is that the ‘true’ medium is ‘always’ cloaked, and is not ‘possibly’ accessible to any ‘one’ individual’s cognitive map. .. The way we ‘each’, as ‘individuals’, see the world, is never the actual ‘reality’ of the medium, no matter who we are, what experiences, or even what opportunities, we may have.


Once the fifteen minutes had gone by, they were standing ready to report their chosen names. A representative from each color stepped forward. First to speak was the color orange. … “It didn’t take us long to figure out how much we have in common,” he said. “We actually know of each other. … Although we’re not close friends, we all attended the same military boot camp, and we all belong to the same hunting club. We have all, at one time or another, hunted here, on this hundred acre parcel. And we’d like to be known as The Hunters.”…. Next to speak was the color green. ….. “It is similar with us,” she said “in that we are not close friends, but we all know of each other. We graduated in the same class from an Ivy League college, and we all pursued careers in academia. Not only are we all environmentally conscious intellectuals, but every one of us, at one time or another, has fished for trout in the river that winds through this tract of land. .. Therefore, you can refer to us as The Fishers of Trout.”… And then an older woman holding a purple envelope stepped forward. . “We also know about each other, she said, “We all come from the poor side of town, and we all belong to the same house of worship there. Our strong sense of community has helped us survive. And each of us, when we were children, at one time or another picked blackberries on this land, to sell at a fruit stand and help buy our new school clothes for the coming year. We would really like for you to call us The Berry Pickers.” … And lastly, a smiling young man bounced forward to speak. ..”All of us yellow ones can tell you story after story about the fun times we’ve had on this hundred acres. Running through the woods, climbing trees, ‘eating’ those blackberries, and swimming in the best swimming hole anywhere! So sure,” he grinned, as he turned away to high five the others, “I guess you can just call us The Swimming Holers.”… Now that everyone had had a chance to speak, the Proposer began explaining the final details of the instructions. …


So, what of ‘choices’? In today’s complicated world, trying to stay alert in an atmosphere of constant distractions, trying to discern truth, and trying to choose the least harmful directions for self, let alone society, can seem like such a daunting challenge.  But perhaps this is a self-inflicted paradox. .. Many try to ease this mental burden by pointing out the deficiencies in others in order to point that same finger away from the mirror of self, but this is circular reasoning. If everyone is doing that, nothing gets accomplished. Whereas, we might actually find a different perspective, one that generates real momentum, through an exercise in humility.


What I am referring to is a seed of thought that developed in the 14th century and sprouted the ontological individualism that I referred to in episode one.

As specific topic opportunities arise, we will explore more of those details in the future. And like a sleuth, we can uncover interesting human activities that clearly exhibit it. And they are, not surprisingly, everywhere!


…  in which he raises issues of cultural relativity, responsibility, self and other, the moral significance of outsidedness, participatory thinking, and the implications of the individual having “no alibi in existence”.


… how we approach a ‘choice path’. Do we think of it as Bakhtin’s “obligatory ought”, knowing that each step along the way impacts the medium as a whole, or do we just follow along distractedly and then profess claim or blame in hindsight down the road?  The point seems to be that our individual journey (way leads on to way) can only ever be taken by one traveler. But if hundreds, thousands, or millions each understood that because of our individual relations to the whole, how strongly small choices can influence other events, how no one else is standing at that particular place in existence and can do what can only be done by the one traveler, and then actually realize those ‘obligatory oughts’, .. That’s exactly how we will leave those side by side footprints of intention…


An icon is a sign that refers through similarity to its object. Some examples of an icon are a portrait, or a diagram, such as a portrait of Jesus or a diagram of a human heart.   … An index is a sign that refers through factual connection to its object. For example, where there’s smoke there’s fire, or footprints in the sand indicating that a person had been there. .  … And a symbol is a sign that refers to its object through interpretive habit or norm. Some examples of a symbol would be a crucifix, the Star of David, or a peace sign. If you were an alien from outer space, a crucifix, Star of David, or a peace sign might only look to you like lines drawn in a particular arrangement. The meanings they hold are relative only to cultural conventions.

What all of these types of signs have in common is that they are all relative to a person’s experience, and how those building blocks of inference have shaped the cognitive mapping in an individual’s mind as an ‘extension’ of the person’s culture. To reference Gregory Bateson again, you may think you’re thinking your own thoughts, but you’re not. You’re thinking your culture’s thoughts. Biology and the understanding of emergence, process, and relational dynamics is quite clear on the matter of ‘thought and extension’. There is no detached individual, and it is through our observance of ‘otherness’ that we develop a sense of ‘self’ in relation to that which is ‘not self’. Sign observance is inference processing of the otherness that is the medium we are navigating, and it is how we orient what we know of ‘self’, and recognize that among others we too are alive. It is the mechanism by which everything is born, interacts, grows, and dies. In essence it is biological dialogue… that begins simply and develops into more complex systems. In human beings it has reached the level of complexity that has become language. This being the reason dialogue is so crucial to a healthy society.


As I explained in previous episodes, we each have a multi-layered and multi-dimensional semiotic ‘scaffold’ in our individual minds that has exponentiated during our lifetime of interactions and cognitive mapping, resulting in individualized ‘models’ of the Medium reality that affects our personal perspectives on the world around us. This is what effectively ‘places’ each of us in our relational positions in the universal extension of thought. And when we ‘know’ this and are aware of the effects of this, we can then improve our ability to better recognize what actually lies ‘outside’ of our individual perspective….


To understand this means to understand that even in the case of what appears to be a contrary, something is only recognized as a contrary in ‘relation’ to that which appears to be its opposite. This can be applied when considering a musical ‘moment’, which is typically heard as ‘standing alone’ within the larger composition. This can also be applied to the importance of the silence between notes. There is no ‘standing alone’ or ‘silence’ without that which is not standing alone, or that which is actually a played note. There is always a relationship between what appears to be contraries, meaning there is always ‘continuity’ in all things. Stop here for a moment and think of what we reviewed in episode 3 about how we recognize ‘self’ only in relation to that which is ‘not self’. 


Because it is innate human nature to look for, recognize, and differentiate patterns and signs. It’s extremely important that we use this gift to ‘gather’ our understandings, not separate them. Nature constantly hints at this not only on the backs and bellies of spiders, but from every angle of our perception. We need only to pay attention.


Synechism Center for Learning and Dialogue

Supplemental Episode

Hello, and welcome to the online version of the Synechism Center for Learning and Dialogue. I’m Catherine Tyrrell.

Before diving in to explore the Center on your own, I do hope you will allow me a moment to show you around a bit with this short introduction.

You may be watching this on YouTube, listening to this through MappingtheMedium.com, or reading this on CulturalMetapatterns.com, but however you found your way here, it truly means a lot to me that you did.

The Synechism Center for Learning and Dialogue was designed to be useful to people coming from many different perspectives, languages, and cultures. To accomplish this goal, each of the sites are set up for a different means of perception. One for viewing, one for listening, and one for reading.

The YouTube site at SynechismCenter.com provides Mapping the Medium audio episodes, channel links to specific topics, an interactive discussion page that I really hope you will visit, and a learning library playlist for those who want to explore advanced understanding of the various topics discussed. Please keep in mind that the Mapping the Medium first four episodes were not originally formatted for YouTube, but I encourage you to listen to them anyway because they include important information that pertains to future episodes.

The podcast website at MappingtheMedium.com is what feeds out to the many different podcast platforms around the world. There you can download episodes, comment on specific episodes, or use the contact form to send me a direct message.

The blog site at CulturalMetapatterns.com is where the written transcripts are posted. Non-English speaking visitors may find this to be a convenient way to translate the episodes. This is also where you can go to easily find and retrieve written web addresses to articles and papers that I may refer to in the audio episodes. Scholarly web addresses can be lengthy, so please go to the written transcript before deciding to skip something important because of having to write it down from listening to the audio. There is also a contact form there as well, for anyone who may want to send me a direct message from the site.

And lastly, those who enjoy social media may want to visit the Center’s Facebook page at facebook.com/SynechismCenter. There you will find a variety of posts that relate to our discussion topics, as well as the additional opportunity to interact with others. Dialogue is key, and very much encouraged.

That concludes our tour of the online Synechism Center for Learning and Dialogue. Get comfortable, and stay as long as you like.