Sign-World And Dr. Schopenhauer



What is a Sign?

‘Sign’, from the Latin Signum, is a mark, an indication, a point, a reference.

A proper sign always does a two-step jingle. It both stands for itself and refers to something else.

What’s so special about this sign with the pointing arrow that reads: ‘New York’?

The sign ‘New York’ is both a sign that says ‘New York’ and a pointer to the State of New York. You read the sign ‘New York’ and follow it’s directions to the State of New York. [Check with a Professor of Semiotics, though.]

Language and Logic are expressed in Signs. The Alphabet and the Number System are structures of made-up of signs.

But the most important, intractable signs are those that bounce around in our head. Sign, like the Meta-Trinity: Thought, Mind and Consciousness, has this extraordinary ability to multiply and divide, while all the time remaining itself.

Sign doubles, while remaining single. Sign in other words, ‘Gives Birth to Itself’

What is ‘New York City’?

A confounding snarl of sign, symbol, name, map, copy and terrain. ‘New York City’ is a reference, an Idea.

The above is not New York City. It is  a photograph of New York City. It is not a photograph of New York City, it is an image on your computer screen. It is not an image on..

So what is ‘New York City’?

I don’t recognize Manhattan anymore, the East Village or the Upper East Side, the home of my wanton youth. SOHO used to be a truck- stop before Gucci moved in. The hole-in-the-wall bars were a place for good, cheap beer, genuinely starving artists, the occasional erudite hooker and others of ambiguous gender.

So what is ‘New York City’?

Call the Mayor’s office and take a Surveyor with you for a walk along the East River. Where does Manhattan begin? The sand along the  river’s edge has long moved on, the shrubs of last year now replaced by new ones. The water in the river today has no memory of the water that flowed yesterday. 

So what is ‘New York City’?

Arthur Schopenhauer [1788-1860]

Everything else can satisfy only one wish’ wrote Arthur Schopenhauer, ‘[but] money alone is absolutely good…because it is the abstract satisfaction of every wish…

Take a look at the One-Dollar Bill. It has lots of interesting symbols. And inspiring Latin regularly misused by Presidents [Annuit Coeptis, E Pluribus Unum, Novus Ordo Seclorum]. And more.

It’s a rich, unappreciated, ignored document. I’ve yet to see anyone take a look at it twice. But they do count them very carefully.

The Dollar-Bill is in fact worthless if not for the signs printed on it. You can buy a meal, have a drink with a Dollar-Bill. But you are not supposed to eat the Dollar-Bill for lunch.

The Economist’s term ‘Money-Illusion’, is the name for the state where you confound the dollar-amount of your Income with the things you can buy with it. If you suffer from Money-Illusion, you remain unconcerned when prices double and your Income remains flat. Or you feel elated with a 10% bonus when the inflation-rate has just surged 50%.

Sign is like a Dollar-bill. A Dollar-bill is a printed piece of paper with a lot of signs on it. We can confound the paper with the things it can buy. And at the next level, the cheer it can bring. And so on.

This is Everyman’s ‘Money-Illusion’. The Economist’s can have theirs back.

The ‘Open Eye’, best known as the Freemason Symbol actually has very long roots going back into early Hindu [‘The Third Eye of Shiva’] and Buddhist iconography.

This ‘Eye of Providence’ sits atop the isosceles edges of an equidistant base [most commonly interpreted as the Christian Trinity]. And thanks to the philosophical orientation of the Founding Fathers it can be found on the Great Seal of the United States as well as the One Dollar Bill.