Magritte said that it wasn’t a pipe it was a representation of a pipe. Saussure was a Swiss linguist and semiotician. He investigated the moment that meaning is made. In language the meaning is an agreement between a community of language speakers. If you saw a dog in the street there is a connection to the word dog like for a french person there is a connection to the word chien. Which leads to the idea that it is not a dog or a chien. We have created a word with connotations and denotations.
The denotative level of signification indicates what the subject is through what it isn’t. The word is a sign. Signs acquire meaning through difference. It is signifying variety and labelling the subject which fits a certain criteria. If two things had no differences the same word would be used to signify it. This led me to wonder about the labels we use for people. Mental health diagnosis are very much developed in a tick box method. And would the illness exist if no qualified person ticked the boxes. When manic depression was given the new name ‘bi-polar’ the aim was to change perceptions and combat the stigma which surrounded the name which in turn affected the people given that name. Calling someone a name in the context of bullying where the bullying uses names which have built up a meaning which indicates that the person is intending to hurt the other person. So in fact, perhaps what hurts is the intention rather than the word. If the word connects the recipient to something else or compares them to something which is not pleasant, they are being given the name which comes with connotations of negative things therefore giving that person negative connotations. The impact of the name calling can also depend of the credit of the perpetrator. Are they someone who the recipient would want to be perceived in a good way and what puts them in this position. Is the answer to this a way of gaining power over others?
When we have a text it is a complex network of signs. The connotative level of signification is characterised by cultural and social history. Polysemy, indicates there are multiple (and often contradictory) readings. Great literature has many readings and debate following it through history. The intentions of the authors of the debated texts should surely be the ‘truth’ of the writing. So why is it contested? How can it be beyond the person who constructed the piece. Is it because they did not also construct the language itself? Shakespeare invented words. These in isolation, cannot be questioned but when used in a network with other words take on a debatable meaning.
Anchorage suggests a preferred reading, such as propaganda and methods used in advertising campaigns. A method of controlling the interpretations of the audience. The skilled use of words can create a desired outcome. Although we can chose to read on the basis of resistant reading, reading against the grain. Some beliefs that we are consumer driven can surely be countered if we resist advertising and find a motivation fed by a meaning with an outcome of well-being.
One of the truest observations about character and personality which I have come across is: that we are the people we spend our time with. To bring in positive influences into our lives and curate our world we are moulding our character. Intertextuality texts borrow meaning from other texts. To source inspiration for a meaningful life could be the same as planning a creative project. Looking to the greats and using their example. We are a chain of meaningful ideas. If we stand alone with our completely original idea it may be that no one will understand it.