The End of the I? A Biosemiotic Approach to Super-connectivity
Keywords:Evolution, Information, Individual, Semiotic Scaffolding, Complexity, Consciousness
This paper analyses human connectivity as a process of semiotic emergence guided by semiotic scaffolding. In its first part, it is discussed that emergence comes at a cost: the internal Umwelten and external environments of individual agents must be tightly scaffolded by the super-structure to emerge a higher order of semiotic freedom. The second part examines how the emerging scaffolding has its roots in the individuals' agency but is joined by downward causation through institutions historically. It is argued that the Internet has the potential to structurally increase institutional scaffolding manifold. In an environment augmented by the virtual and in Umwelten shaped by it, entropic behavior of individual agents becomes subjectively inconceivable and objectively impossible. In the third part, it is argued that through the emerging intersubjective Umwelt, a new "interface” develops for the individual to connect to the outside. Internally, this "interface” scaffolds the individual for the super-structure. Externally, it can be seen as a "meta-membrane” for an emerging super-agent. Its semiotic freedom and subjectivity go beyond what an individual human being can experience. In return, the tightly-scaffolded Umwelt and environment of individuals in this condition might lead to a transition in the workings of individual consciousness. In super-connectivity, the temporal "person” might become a tool that is no longer needed in intersubjective interaction. However, this would neither entail a loss of conscious experience nor of subjective uniqueness.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Jan-Boje Frauen
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