Semiotics Quotes

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The map is not the territory.

Count Alfred Korzybski

The menu is not the meal.

Alan Watts

The brochure is not the vacation.
The ad is not the product.
The news is not the event,
(Neither is the testimony.)

The model is not the muddle.

Robert Anton Wilson

Man’s achievements rest on the use of symbols.


To understand the symbolic process is to be able to use it to advantage;
not to understand it is to remain forever its victim.

SI Hayakawa

The tale is the map that is the territory.

American Gods

Admittedly, as the economic “symbolism got farther and farther from reality, it required more and more ceremony to keep it up.

Robert H. Nelson

Most of us have, in some area or other of our thinking, improper habits of evaluation. For this, society itself is to blame: most societies systematically encourage, concerning certain topics, the habitual confusion of symbols with things symbolized.

SI Hayakawa

The little word is has its tragedies; it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger. Whenever I use the word is, except in sheer tautology, I deeply misuse it; and when I discover my error, the world seems to fall asunder and the members of my family no longer know one another.

George Santayana

Some people — always other people — twist the meanings of words, especially during the course of an argument.

SI Hayakawa

The more important a word the harder it is to define.

Ogden & Richards
and anyone since who understands anything about symbol systems, language …

Symbolism is the study of the part played in human affairs by language and symbols of all kinds, and especialy of their influence on Thought. It singles out for special inquiry the ways in which symbols help us and hinder us in reflecting on things.

Ogden & Richards

Words, as every one now knows, “mean” nothing by themselves, although the belief that they did … was once equally universal. It is only when a thinker makes use of them that they stand for anything, or, in one sense, have “meaning.”

Ogden & Richards

Words may come between us and our objects in countless subtle ways … they lead to the creation of bogus entities

Ogden & Richards (emphasis added)

Good or ill isn’t in what you call it, but in the behavior itself.

We see light; never things: form maps, have no direct contact with territory … Our reality is symbolic, our symbols fallible.

Human maps of the universe must not be palmed as the universe.

Any technique of representation — talk, writing, art — is also a method of misrepresentation. If we can model truth we can also lie.
Between the two, a species of somewhat sentient predators is more likely to lie.

Is God the territory? Or is God some better kind of a map?)

Quotes Quotes by Topic Quotes re: pk

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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2 Responses to Semiotics Quotes

  1. Pingback: Semiotics! | DavidArt

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