Monday, August 31, 2009

semiotics & Plato

About summary, through the dialogue, I would say Plato feels the spoken word, the art of speaking is more powerful than the written word. To be successful, the orator should be skillful. Before speaking, an orator should be intimately knowledgeable about the subject. The speaker should know the character and diversity of his/her audience so that he can divide, and divide further into multiple minute forms and attach the topic at all sides – free form, yet not. Plato talks of an order and a unity and form. Additionally, the speaker should know his/her soul and be prepared to speak about the subject from personal experience and from the depths of his or her soul (I would definitely include spirit here) on the matter. To be effective, the speaker must be passionate about the subject, know how to relay thoughts, feelings and ideas about the subject so that the audience can relate at many different levels to and possible connect with the speaker to the point of participation so the audience can respond to the speaker to illicit a dialogue. The speaker should be able to lift the audience to levels of highs and lows relative to the content of the topic…such as the discourse on the lover and the non-lover. The speaker finally, must know when to speak and when not to speak...

About the lover and non-lover...that is only a topic one could comment on, if one has been in both positions of the love relationship equation...both positions require courage to take risk, accept the highs and lows of emotion and passion, and risk the pain and pleasure of it even to point of temperance and even disgrace. Plato expresses the results of the lover/non-lover relationship as it declines, the embarrassment of the one who loves too much, the ugly events that transpire with time, suffocation, and exclusion that results from imbalance, excess, and disgust. This may be more pleasurable. He seemed to struggle with temperance, wisdom, justice, and purity…moral issues that surrounding this love relationship. I think he took a long time skirting his feeling about the issue and never really spoke freely about it. But maybe I just am not philosophical enough to understand the underlying meaning. He seemed to be in love with his audience… He concludes that to avoid the entire experience is best, and even better to have a really good friendship in place of the messy relationship of love.

To comment on the two readings, Phaedrus and Saussure, in relation to current media and digital communication...I see they both have something to say that has a point and counter point. Plato says the spoken word is more powerful...Plato says that "oratory is the art of enchanting the soul" the discourse between people is where the power lies. You have a moment in time where interactions take place...written word cannot possible express this. Spoken work is like digital words, they have a specific moment in time. They are transitory, and cannot be digital images. They must be experienced at the moment in time that includes the conditions that exist with the people and surroundings you are experiencing. It is best enjoyed with the emotions of the person who is expressing the ideas and can be shared with those who receive the information and can interact and respond. On the other hand, the written counterpart is more of a document and can be reviewed, revisited and preserved. However, it can be interpreted in many more different ways, depending on the person reading the document, their interpretation of what you said, and the experiences and conditions which they bring to the moment in time of the reading of it. Twitter and blogging can be shared and does contain the time elements but lacks the face to face impact that the spoken word holds for the receiver. Digital media can be lost in an instance. And with the sheer volume of messages that are transmitted at a given moment in time, the impact is less impressive. The value of the message is essentially devalued because the quantity and quality of a well written discourse is rare these days.

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