Medium, Message, Meaning and Measure

This is a bit of a rambling thought.
Marshall McLuhan in his studies divided all Media (tools), including art into Medium and Message.  In working on this essay, I have come to find another division for McLuhan’s Model:
contains Message
contains Meaning

I was thinking about how to represent this and turned toward the interrogatives to look for guidance.  As I worked with the interrogatives I realized that the interrogative “What?” was the bridge between one level of the new media structure and another.  I found I could nest Meaning in Message in Medium using What as the doorway.

Dealing with it this way brings out the Semiotic trio of Semantics, Syntactics and Pragmatics.  However, it does not fit cleanly.  Medium is not semantics, for example, for it involves the physical carrier.  Semantics is more part of the message.  Yet Semantics itself can be called a Medium for Syntactics and Sytactics a Medium for Pragmatics.  As you can see it is really a pain, because the term Medium has been over generalized.

Another way to think about it may be Medium as Form and Medium as Function, Message as Form and Message as Function, Meaning as Form and Meaning as Function.  I had to come up with new language to handle the scope of my thinking.

What – What as Form – Medium as Form
Where – What as Function – Medium as Function – Semiotic Semantics
How – How as Form – Message as Form – Semiotic Sytactics
When – How as Function – Message as Function – Semiotic Pragmatics
Why – Why as Form – Meaning as Form
Who – Why as Function – Meaning as Function
How Much – How Much as Form – Measure as Form
How Many – How Much as Function – Measure as Function

Notice I added two interrogatives at the end.  I realized message has a size and a quantity.

What this reveals is the interrogatives are paired.  What is a point but Where is What occupying space.  How is a point, but When is How occupying time.  Why is a point, but Who is Why occupying a person.  How Much is a point, but How Many is How Much occupying a quantity.  Form and Function.

I am going to think about this more, but it’s out there for you to think about as well.

2 Responses to “Medium, Message, Meaning and Measure”

  1. ivanovalexander Says:

    It might be interesting to look at Robert Bartini ( work.
    – Roberto Oros di Bartini. Relations Between Physical Constants. In: Progress in Physics, 2005., v.3, p. 34-40, (in English).

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