“Othello” is a code that exists in a variety of forms, including ink on paper and binary digits on electronic storage. When this code is processed by human minds, it evokes some specific sensations. For instance, it causes our mirror neurons (and other brain modules) to run simulations of characters and situations.

The sensations “Othello” evokes in two different brains will usually be similar enough that the owners of those brains will be able to have a meaningful discussion about the play.

What I propose is that you turn your description of Othello as a code inside out. The code idea is a good one, and one that makes a lot of sense, but I have found that it makes more sense to view it this way:

“Othello” is many different but related phenomena:

0) Elementary level

  • +0) a human experience that can be accessed through particular states of conscious and subconscious attention (proto-sensory)
  • -0) a symbolic code that can be modulated and demodulated through a variety of communication channels (logical-quantitative or pseudo-sensory)

1) Sub-Personal level

  • +1) a series of audio-phonetic and psycho-acoustic sensations which are fragments of aesthetically richer experiences. (sensory-qualitative*)
  • -1) a series of electro-magnetic and neuro-chemical state changes which through which a computational isomorphism arises between syntactic structures and functional semantics. (microphysical)

2) Personal Level

  • +2) a production of subjective feelings and thoughts in which one is theatrically immersed. This does not occur because of 1), but rather because of the essential psychological unity of the human experience that is being tapped into (+3) at a personal and social level of understanding (+2).
  • -2) an enactment or rendition of a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1603, and based on the Italian short story Un Capitano Moro (“A Moorish Captain”)

3) Super-personal Level

  • +3 ) an artistically customized sampling of mytho-poetic inspirations, in which timeless human themes are clothed in specific anthropological, sociological, and psychological metaphors (metaphoric).
  • -3 ) Part of a body of work which arose through the English Renaissance Period or Elizabethan Era reflecting a resurgence of interest in the humanities. It serves as an archeological artifact to add to our knowledge about everything from European history to political science, art, language, racial relations etc. (I call this meta-theoretic to contrast with the metaphoric…intellectual rather than aesthetic)

∞) Absolute Level

  • +∞) A harmonic** integration of all of the above, so that each level makes sense in its own context and in conjunction with others. To arbitrarily choose one level of description would be a destructive compression if taken literally. (Telic)
  • +∞) An impressive, though ultimately inevitable product of mathematical and physical laws plus statistically random mutations. (Ontic)

*I call this ‘semaphoric’ – meaning simple, repetitive meanings as would be produced by signal flags or digital codes. Intended to evoke a contrast to metaphoric, which are numerous complex figurative meanings extracted from a single communication. The personal, ‘phoric’ level would be between the semaphoric and metaphoric.

**or what I call ‘holotrophic’ – a productive extension of tendencies toward wholeness.

If the universe was going to be destroyed, and we had to recreate it based on some general description, I would say that my list of five, dual aspect levels is the minimum reduction that would be useful.

The idea that it can all be reduced to codes and simulations I consider to be a folly of the turn of this century in which low level functions are confused with generators of high level phenomena rather than the other way around.

To sum up and add cool symbols:

0) Elementary
-ℵ Sense, Essential Figurative Unity, +0
ω Information, Existential Logical Units, -0

1) Sub-Personal
æ Affect-Effect, Sensory-Motive Intention, Semaphoric Qualia +1
E Energy, Unintentional Physical Function, Dynamic Analogues -1

2) Personal
Æ Aesthetic Experience, direct, ‘-phoric’ +2
M Material Structure, indirect,’-morphic’ -2

3) Super-Personal
Ψ Psyche, Super-Personal, Meta-phoric, mytho-poetic +3
Φ  Noús, Super-Impersonal, Meta-theoretic, algebraic-geometric -3

∞) Absolute (ॐ)
ש Telic, Metaphenomenal, proprietary preferences +∞
Δ Ontic, Automatic, generic axioms -∞

  1. joann mullin
    August 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I am not very intellectual, i do not quite understand all this. I was meditating, in my meditation i went through a blackhole and entered another universe, which seemed to be empty, i was flying through this universe singing othello. as if i was searching for othello in a void universe. I feel othello has some type of meaning, not to do with shakespeare could anybody offer any ideas? thanks joann x

    • August 2, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      I’m not a great dream analyst, but in general the thing to do is to write out all of the associations that come up when you think of Othello, and also with the other things in the dream and see if something starts coming together. When this has worked for me, what is impressive is how truly unexpected the meaning of the symbolism is…not something distant and cryptic, but something that you are feeling or experiencing that you aren’t even aware of but once you are, it makes a lot of sense.

      • joann mullin
        August 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm

        thanxs for the advice, i had never heard of othello, so it doesn’t mean anything to me. I was meditating, not asleep, and usually there is meaning in things i see in meditation. thanks again x

      • August 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm

        Oh you might want to look up Othello. I have had things come up in dreams and semi-sleepy states that I didn’t know were things until I looked them up.

      • joann mullin
        August 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

        thanks again, i have looked up othello, and of all the things i have come across, regarding the shakespeare play, the description above resonates with me most, however, i don’t fully understand it. x how is othello a code, and why would it evoke different sensations in different people? thanks x

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