Why Potentialium? A preliminary and informal examination of the proposed paper: Communication and Immunication. Craig Ronald Gosse Tweed, Ontario 2019 Have you ever read The Princess Bride, by William Goldman? I speak neither of the movie (which is extremely enjoyable in its own right), nor the video game thereof (which is considerably less so), but the original book on which the movie was based. In the novel, Goldman employs the conceit that he has merely abridged the much longer work of one ‘S. Morgenstern’; in doing so, Goldman has supposedly removed unnecessary and detrimental material, but editorially informs the reader of what has been removed, and why the reader should be VERY grateful for it. The title of the fictional work supposedly written by Morgenstern is The Princess Bride. The title of William Goldman’s ‘abridgment’ is The Princess Bride: The ‘Good Parts’ Version. Humanity is actively, constantly, continuously, and (occasionally) consciously working on the creation of Existence: The ‘Good Parts’ Version. We wish to know the good parts of existence, but merely know about the bad parts. This is distinct from ‘not knowing the bad parts’. (i.e., as if excised without commentary as to what and why; simply ‘missing’.) As important as the retention of knowledge is, the transmission of knowledge is equally important – and this requires communication. It is my belief that there is ‘something’ – which I have, with reason, termed immunication – that creates an observable interference with, if not outright failure of, the transmission of information. Immunication is not the miscommunication of information, nor is it the communication of misinformation. Immunication can be said to have occurred when: information is communicated, but fails to manifest itself within the recipient’s knowledge-base in any observable way (other than the ability to refer to the information, i.e. to ‘name’ it). Communication results in the integration of information into the personal knowledge-base, whereas immunication results in the isolation of information from the knowledge-base. I state this only as inference, as the process of communication or immunication alike appears to be identical in operation, yet yield different results. My belief is that, metaphorically speaking, communication becomes immunication when the context present is too diffuse to carry the weight of the concept it is attempting to support. 2 The paper I am currently writing - entitled Communication and Immunication: A Multidisciplinary Examination of Certain Aspects of the Acquisition, Retention, and Transmission of Knowledge – is the device through which I intend to expand and expound upon the concept of ‘immunication’. In this sense, I do not intend to dwell too long or too deeply on first causes, (which is well above my academic equivalency of a pay-grade), but to develop methodologies for mitigating or minimizing immunication. In order to better examine the concept, the ability to put theory to the test is required; the mechanism by which I propose to test the concept, (and thereby gather the information necessary to complete Communication and Immunication), is the creation an ‘immunication-resistant’ informational document. The short title of this document is Canada: A Guidebook Regarding Responsible Residency. There is an observed difference between humanity - Homo Sapiens - and the rest of the animal kingdom, to which we otherwise belong; this difference is said to be of the mind, (the ability to think and feel). This, however, is a case of naming something, rather than defining it in any meaningful way; indeed, any meaningful attempt to define ‘think’ becomes self-referential; likewise, ‘feel’. So, the correct answer to ‘what separates man from other animals?’ is: “we don’t know, but we are (usually) glad we can do it!”. I chose a guide to living in Canada for various reasons; one of which is that the topic provides explicit evidence of the existence of that which we call ‘thought’. In two centuries of recorded knowledge we find, for example, that wolves remain wolves, and that the presence of wolves manifests in expectedly wolfish ways. (In other words: wherever or whenever it might be, the symptoms that your land might be infested by wolves remain constant. Wolves have produced, are producing, and will produce wolf-tracks in the area which they reside.) This holds true of all animals – except humanity. (Symptoms that your land might be infested by humans may include, but are in no way limited to: farm tracks, race tracks, train tracks, soundtracks, needle tracks, tractors, and/or tracked tracts on Human Trafficking.) Dump a large enough sampling of humanity in the woods, come back two hundred years later, and they will have collectively either: built a city; killed each other off; or both, (presumably in that order). This ability is ascribed to the wisdom – or ‘sapience’ – that humans possess, and that the rest of animals do not. However, the outcome is the result of wisdom having existed in some degree or kind collectively; some Homines must have been Sapiens for the observed outcome to occur, but not all. Indeed, history records many individual Men who have been Unwise. I believe that at least some of that lack of wisdom can be ascribed to immunication. I would very much like Communication and Immunication, and the resultant Guidebook, to be part of my own humble contribution to Existence: The ‘Good Parts’ Version. At the moment, I am working by myself, rather than in the academic venue I would much prefer. I firmly believe that being a student in a Canadian university would greatly benefit the production of this paper; 3 especially since communication, (and the testing for theories thereof), requires at least two people. I sincerely believe that the examination of the concept I call ‘immunication’ has educational merit; I am of two minds as to whether I most want for people to agree with me, or to simply tell me I am wrong. To embrace a metaphor; I am less concerned whether the needle points north or south as I would appreciate having a compass at all. The very rough draft of my paper, so far as it exists at this time, follows: 4 Communication and Immunication: A Multidisciplinary Examination of Certain Aspects of the Acquisition, Retention, and Transmission of Knowledge. Craig Gosse Introduction: What is ‘immunication’? The simplest and most memorable explanation would be ‘an immunity to communication’; however, as this is an oversimplification, it would also be wrong. Accepted as a metaphor, “just as an attenuated version of a disease can create an immunity to the full expression of that disease, so can attenuated knowledge create an immunity to the full expression of that knowledge,” is an accurate statement of the underlying assumption of immunication. In the cognitive sense, immunication refers to a specific form of error in the acquisition, retention, and transmission of information. It is important to note a characteristic of immunication is the fact that no party involved in the (assumed) communication is aware of immunication occurring, at least initially. The immediate outcome of immunication is an incorrect belief that communication has occurred. In the broadest possible terms, immunication exists within the boundary between ‘knowing’ and ‘believing’, as well as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Immunication occurs during the period in which incoming information is compared to and judged against existing knowledge that is incorrectly considered to be contextually supported. It is not the miscommunication of information, nor is it the communication of misinformation. ‘Immunication’ therefore describes an unrecognized failure to integrate information due to existing conflicts between contextual references; one result being an incorrect perception of effective communication. (Continue here; linguistic implications, especially regarding output; writing vs. verbal. Many bandwidths of communication, each method of communication with own limitations. Time/place contextual shifts; ‘divided by a common language’, etc. Social and historical causes and implications. “Remembering the form, but forgetting the function”.) Purpose: To generate communicative strategies intended to limit the frequency and duration of immunication in primarily informational written-language documents. (Temporary explanation; expand and explicate). Methodology: (In brief – a multidisciplinary team compiling and editing the Guidebook; said team consisting solely of myself at the moment.) The primary mechanism for my examination will be the document, The Dominion of Canada: A Guidebook Containing Information Regarding Responsible Residency For Homo Sapiens Potentialium. Intended to be a complete work - informative, entertaining and useful - in its own right, this book will be abstracted from a series of English-language, publicly accessible documents created with the express 5 purpose of extolling the virtues of life in Canada, insofar as perceived at the time of publication. A Guidebook Containing Information for Intending Settlers, Department of Agriculture, 1885 serves as a general framework, with the information contextualized and abstracted by like material through the years, (such as region-specific immigration tracts published by railroads, municipalities, tourism, etc.), up to and including Welcome to Canada: What You Should Know, currently published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). As stated, while the book should be useful to reader upon its own merits, the greater usefulness for this study will be the responses received regarding the book. (Decided how emphatically to suggest that the Guidebook be at least skimmed before continuing). The overriding principle in creating this document is as follows: to present knowledge on a topic that should be familiar, in generalities, to the intended audience, (a book on Canada, for Canadians); to present it in a generally familiar format, (book form, specific details below), and; to present the information in a manner likely to mitigate immunication, (with regards to whether the reader is familiar with the concept of immunication or not). For the purposes of this paper, it will be the notes, comments, corrections, and so forth, from volunteers across a spectrum of disciplines, (methodology for distribution/feedback), that will form the majority of the data studied; it will also allow final revision to the ‘First Edition’ of the Guide-book. The combination of these two documents, when complete, should therefore constitute an examination of the potential for immunication in the transfer of knowledge, as well as a reiterative and recursive empirical test for methods of limiting the same. (Note: intended, if possible, to be an on-going experiment; therefore, approach should alter if further research so indicates)->Formatting, language use, general appearance, etc. of the Guidebook; the message is inextricably intertwined with the medium by which it is experienced. The earliest comprehensive example of each concept, if still accepted accurate, will be modified as little as possible in content and overall appearance while maintaining contextual accuracy. This includes visual content. Each section should be given an overall style intended to call to mind sociohistorical context appropriate to subject matter at the time, without sacrificing overall readability. “All information sets, or information materials, must be legible and readable, and they should also be well worth reading for members of the intended audience. The information designer should not view communication as complete until the intended receivers understand the messages” (Pettersson, Journal of Visual Literacy, 2010). THE TOPIC Implicit vs. explicit. Information for the intending immigrant is explicit and direct, given almost universally within a set structure; the same (presumably equally vital) information is delivered, if explicated at all, in a considerably less direct and rigidly-structured arrangement to ‘native’ Canadians. The first task will be to separate the foundational (or substantial) information from the transitional (or ephemeral) so that the transitional, used sparingly, will be noted as being such. (i.e., dated) The concept that ‘Canada is big’ is foundational; exact size and population, at this time, is transitional. The foundational statements will then be tested for ‘durability’; which is to say, whether the same concept is still held to be true today. This will result in variety of methods of attempting to convey this true 6 information; one from each source used to verify the durability of concept. These varied textual manifestations of a shared concept will then be abstracted and examined in order to remove the need for – or, at the very least, identify – contextual assumptions not directly encoded within the body of text. (either physical document or sociohistorical mental corpus). My intent is that the language in the Guidebook should be equally relevant and effective for anyone in Canada, regardless of method (or time) of arrival. THE TITLE The word ‘title’ derives from Old English titul, reinforced by Old French title, both from Latin titulus ‘inscription, title’. The word originally denoted a placard or inscription placed on an object, giving information about it, hence a descriptive heading in a book or other composition. Most dictionaries substantially agree with dictionary.com’s definition of ‘title’; noun the distinguishing name of a book, poem, picture, piece of music, or the like; a descriptive heading or caption, as of a chapter, section, or other part of a book’. The Mirriam-Webster includes ‘obsolete : inscription’. Now, consider the following definition for title: ‘a succinct description of the contents following’. I would suggest that this not only connects directly to the original meaning for the root word, but also why ‘title’ was derived from that root, and why it has been kept in usage. I believe it likely that this definition was closer to the one that was commonly understood at the time of extended distribution into the English-speaker’s lexicon. My reasoning for this exists on several levels. The first is the semantic and syntactic purpose of the word. As currently defined in dictionaries, ‘title’ is given several definitions as if in separate disciplines, or meaning-in-usage – and I suggest in no sense that these definitions are incorrect, in terms explaining the current ‘mental compartmentalization’ of the various usages. I believe that this compartmentalization of concepts is a case of immunication. (More accurately, an expression/consequence of immunication.) ‘A succinct description of the contents following’ not only serves as a definition in the sense of a work’s ‘distinguishing name’, but reunites the overly-specific usages by an attempt to ‘trace back’, symbolically speaking, the connection between the current usage and the origin of the word; for example, when ‘title’ is used in the sense of being ‘an appellation of dignity, honor, distinction, or pre-eminence attached to a person or family by virtue of rank, office, precedent, privilege, attainment, or lands’ (Mirriam-Webester). To rephrase that definition, it can be stated that as recognition of one’s deeds (actions), the right to describe oneself as ‘The Honourable ______’ is granted. The title is a short description of a noteworthy facet of the person whose name follows; likewise, a ‘title fight’ in competition is one in which the right to describe oneself as ‘champion’ is on the line. This is also the sense that is can be understood in the legal usage, such as in land title. When giving a person a small item, (size or value), the deed (action) is the physical transfer of the object; with larger items, the deed is the recorded transfer of the title (description of the contents) of the item. (In a recursive example, ‘deed’ itself is seen as a ‘title’(name) of a legal document, rather than understanding it as a description – i.e., ‘an action has taken place’/record of deed) Furthermore, the meaning of ‘title’ as ‘a succinct description of the contents following’ is recognized in the law not only on an informal de facto basis, but also the formal de jure level. “An Act respecting banks 7 and banking” is the full/formal title of the document of which the first article is: ‘Short Title: This Act may be cited as the Bank Act’. Therefore, in fullest form of expression, a work has: contents; a long-form (formal/full//legal/technical, etc.) title, being a simplification of the contents; a short-form title which, serving as a reference to the full title, is an oversimplification of the contents, and; a ‘nickname’ – a reference to the reference to the simplification of the contents. (other examples of title/description understood as only ‘pleasant sounds’; i.e. why do you call it ‘Big River’? Because it is a river, and it is big. Grand River, Rio Grande, Mississippi, etc. Church, Mill, River, Elm Streets, etc.) Long-form title: The Dominion of Canada: A Guidebook Containing Information Regarding Responsible Residency For Homo Sapiens Potentialium. Short-form title: Canada: A Guidebook Regarding Responsible Residency. Nickname: Usually given by readers, but ‘the Guidebook’ is used as such in this paper. So: “The Dominion of” – this has been, (and to some degree, still is*), associated with the definition of ‘Canada’. Inclusion recognizes this fact, but typography places a ‘weighted value’ reflected in the short- form title. (See ‘COVER/TITLE PAGE’, below) * “A belief in ordered liberty, enterprise, hard work and fair play has enabled Canadians to build a prosperous society in a rugged environment from our Atlantic shores to the Pacific Ocean and to the Arctic Circle—so much so that poets and songwriters have hailed Canada as the “Great Dominion.”” Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2012 “CANADA” – major component, geographic and temporal limitations of applicability. (i.e., the ‘where’) A Guidebook - The ‘what’. Indicates the linguistic positioning of the shift between ‘Guidebook’ and ‘Guide Book’. (week’s end, week-end, weekend. The difference in understanding ‘recognize’/(aka ‘reca-nize’) vs. ‘re- cognize’ – “I have been cognizant of you before, and am now cognizant of you again.” Vowel reduction/pronunciation shift – major cause of immunication due to loss of context?) “Containing Information” – connective information, likewise ‘correctly weighted’ via typography. “for Homo Sapiens Potentialium” – “who”. (‘Benignly subversive’; the question of ‘why Potentialium?’ Human fallibility, and the awareness thereof in order to mitigate the effects. Ref. Socratic Method, internal debate, perspective shift) “Regarding Responsible Residency” – the ‘why’. (Responsibly - ‘Benignly subversive’ See above.) COVER/TITLE PAGE “You can not judge a book by its cover” – as of the time of formulation, this statement was undoubtedly true, as a cover consisted of an unmarked expanse of waxed cloth or leather. Judging the contents of the book was the purpose of the title, found on the rather unimaginatively named title-page. (See ‘Big River’, above) The Guide-book’s Title Page (rough copy so far) is designed on several principles, all to better the aim of accurate communication. Not only the textual content, but the layout and visual weighting; as well as the 8 ‘historical average’ in design. The Guidebook should ‘feel’ both somewhat archaic and somewhat anachronistic – it should have that certain sense of je ne sais quand. There can be seen to be several modes of communication in the cover/title page; textual, visual, etc. There is a balance between attractiveness (drawing people in) vs. content (keeping the interest) vs. goal (education/edification). Ease and availability of color, illustrations, photography – technical limitations/opportunities, and the could/should divide. Pettersson, Rune. “Information Design—Principles and Guidelines.” (When completed, CG visualizations of physical copy of book – cover, frontispiece, title page, etc.) The Guide-book is formatted in one of the ‘standard sizes’. (explain) Comfort, familiarity, utility; many aspects ‘nostalgic’; expectations and assumptions somewhat outdated. (experiential lag, especially regarding technology) The Dominion of Canada: A Guidebook Containing Information Regarding Responsible Residency For Homo Sapiens Potentialium 9 THE NOTICE And DEDICATION NOTICE Unless and until explicitly informed otherwise by a dutifully appointed agent of the Crown, you are immediately, directly, and wholly, (but not necessarily solely), responsible for the care and control of yourself; your words and actions, and; of anything you create. As such, the Rights required to carry out such Responsibilities shall not be infringed. The Crown may conditionally assign you additional temporary Responsibilities, and the Rights pursuant to such, as seems right and good and just. This book is dedicated to Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Long may she, in wisdom and honour, reign. Compare the Guide-book’s notice to the following, taken from Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2012: Citizenship Responsibilities In Canada, rights come with responsibilities. These include: • Obeying the law — One of Canada’s founding principles is the rule of law. Individuals and governments are regulated by laws and not by arbitrary actions. No person or group is above the law. • Taking responsibility for oneself and one’s family — Getting a job, taking care of one’s family and working hard in keeping with one’s abilities are important Canadian values. Work contributes to personal dignity and self-respect, and to Canada’s prosperity. • Serving on a jury — When called to do so, you are legally required to serve. Serving on a jury is a privilege that makes the justice system work as it depends on impartial juries made up of citizens. 10 • Voting in elections — The right to vote comes with a responsibility to vote in federal, provincial or territorial and local elections. • Helping others in the community — Millions of volunteers freely donate their time to help others without pay—helping people in need, assisting at your child’s school, volunteering at a food bank or other charity, or encouraging newcomers to integrate. Volunteering is an excellent way to gain useful skills and develop friends and contacts. • Protecting and enjoying our heritage and environment — Every citizen has a role to play in avoiding waste and pollution while protecting Canada’s natural, cultural and architectural heritage for future generations. THE INTRODUCTION Nearly all of the reference documents begin with an introduction, brief overview, or summary that provides a geographical, historical, and social context. Of specific notice is not the changing numerical data, but the constants – i.e., ‘sea to sea to sea’, North America, borders America, etc. “Canada occupies the northern half of the continent of North America … From east to west it stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and from the southern latitudes above stated to the Arctic circle.”(1885) “…from our Atlantic shores to the Pacific Ocean and to the Arctic Circle.” (2012) As with all content, methodology consists of analysis of reference texts; content, vocabulary, etc. As this chapter is entirely general, general (common-use) language is indicated.