Notes on semiotics of contragrammar

Pieter Wisse

What follows are excerpts, taken from my email correspondence during the years 2003 to 2004 with J.D. Haynes. John is the ‘inventor’ of contragrammar Together we wrote the paper The Relationship between Metapattern in Knowledge Management as a Conceptual Model and Contragrammar as Conceptual Meaning.



I feel I am already a bit more articulate about the relationship between metapattern/semiotic ennead and contragrammar. The ennead is mainly about statics. It shows what's all involved in a particular 'focus' because focus is related to eight other elements (including 'concept') in the ennead. It also suggests that semiosis is about shifting focus. When the next focus-as-state is reached, it again shows what's all involved in that particular state, and so on.
But that still leaves the shift a mysterious process. The wave-form of contragrammar is an illustration of the dynamics, i.e. the semiosis-as-process between one focus and — creating — the next and all it involves in enneadic terms. It really is a basic insight for cognitive science, I would say.

The rigor of relevance is the relevance of rigor.

I'm already quite happy with a contragram as a statement of interdependency rather than closure.

I realized even more strongly than before how essentially 'situational' each one of my contragram drafts is. Now I mean 'situational' in a semiotic-enneadic sense, which I believe is different from what you consider a contextual contragram. You include, as context, a situational description in the contextual contragram.
What I mean is that each of my contragram suggestions certainly seemed to make sense where and when I made it up. And it actually still does when, rereading the suggestion-in-context, I am able to sort of re-enact my experience. For example, you find the consciousness of motive is the motive of consciousness "somehow lacking." I myself particularly like the play with and around the concept of motive which is one of the ennead's formal elements. Agreed, that is a personal value. So, for me, even the suggestions that don't pass your test of mastery do offer me the quality you propose.
Am I just too stupid to get the criteria right? Or is the contragrammarian experience not only situational, but essentially subjective, too? Or am I only imagining this, trying to promote my subjective situationism?
I remain faithful to my suggestions; imperfect as they may be as contragrams, those arose out of flow, too, and subsequently I also felt flowed along on those (with my apology for poor English idiom). Allow me my ignorant bliss. There, now I've done it again: the bliss of ignorance is the ignorance of bliss.

Yes, I know it's no good, but it's such good fun. I find that starting from well-formedness, suggesting contragrams is quite addictive. Indeed, there's always something 'happening' when you have a closer look & feel at a particular play between — a hypothesis of — part and whole.

Your comments once again confirm how very subjective concepts are.

After I had written "blissful ignorance," their contragram just flashed in. Just? Exercising with contragrams predisposes certain shifts in focus, favoring more contragrams, etc. That would be the addiction.

I believe intellectual experience is essentially subjective but I also believe that every person 'needs' at least one other person to really unfold subjectivity.

The yes of no is the no of yes. Balance, that is.

The time for consumption is the consumption of time; I'm sure that one already exists.

I was just working a bit on my draft for a chapter. Karl de Leeuw, an assistant-professor of Amsterdam University is editing a Handbook of the History of Information Security. I'm an obvious choice, then, for what do I know about history and security? Well, for the time being he lets me go ahead with a sort of essay for which he suggested 'identity management' as the theme. I suppose he was thinking of developments in personal identification, only. I have already convinced him that 'identity' of cars, houses etcetera require an integrated treatment (which is precisely what I thought up metapattern for; no coincidences, here). My working title, you may have guessed, is 'Semiotics of Identity Management.' Of course, identity is interdependent with difference. The identity of difference is the difference of identity. I still have to work out what is means, but it sounds promising.

What I like about my draft contragram? It draws you — at least, I feel drawn — into the tangle of identity of difference ... until you experience the unstoppable continuation of the waveform ... and accept it.

Dialectic as I am: The overriding identity of difference is the overriding
difference of identity?
Never mind, I just blurred that one out(, too). Could it be that we have different concepts on what ‘works’? I believe I already hinted at it in my paper Anatomy of Contragrammar.

My mentality is an engineer's. So, I experiment. Trial and error. I find contragrammar a great 'method' for experimentation. It let's me simply 'construct' statements to which I can subsequently apply 'pressure tests' etc. (Or enjoy their aesthetics, often poetic.) A draft 'works' for me, i.e. stimulates continued conceptualization. It never fails to bring something, so in that sense it always works. A positive test in engineering is being able to establish the breaking point. Could it be that you test expecting a contragram to hold — which they don't, not my drafts, anyway — while I already know they — my drafts, anyway — will break somewhere?
Does this amount to different concepts of ‘wisdom,’ too? :-)

In the ennead as an irreducible system of concepts, along the dimension of interpretation it is 'focus' that connects 'motive' with 'concept.' My hunch is that tacitness could be productively brought in correlation with motive, and practicality with concept (still assuming the enneadic system of 'concepts,' of course). We could lend some structure to metainquiry. Then, the focus on the practicality of tacitness is the tacit practicality of focus. Well, something like that, anyway. :-) Don't get mad at me for trying. (Which immediately leads me to: The contragrammar of experimentation is the experimentation of contragrammar. Perhaps this neatly captures how I value contragrammar-as-a-tool.)

Let me think ... isn't there a suitable contragram entailing 'deadline,' for example 'the pressure of deadline is the deadline of pressure'?

For me, pressure connotes with point and that contrasts with line. And deadline leads me to death row, and so on to how counterproductive, anti-creative or whatever pressure often is. Dead pressure, that is. Living pressure stimulates. I like how a contragram can stimulate, in no time at all, a vital conceptual chaos. It demonstrates how concepts, too, are integral to our life ... contragrammar as process.

I’m intrigued by Nietzsche's final years. I even tried to design a plot for a novel. Nietzsche is just having a great time, finally feeling unpressured. All he has to continue to do is to make his sister believe that he is really crazy. That wasn't so difficult to achieve, given her preoccupation.

The concept of crisis is the crisis of concept.

Do we have a first, here? Did I come up with a contragram that just passed your critical verdict?

The reflexivity of contragrammar is the contragrammar of reflexivity.



2003-2004, web edition 2006 © Pieter Wisse