Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Corry Shores with analysis on Jakob von Uexküll's "A Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds"

"An animal subject is fully active in its environment when it both processes perception signs and produces in response effect signs, by seeking and encountering perception cues and creating effect marks in the world." - Jakob von Uexküll

More HERE. Shorres proceeds section by section of the Introduction focusing on Uexküll's central question of whether organisms, given their perceptual activities and the "perceptual universes" created by those activities, are more like automated objects (like machines) or more like "machine operators" - like subjects given the reality of sign-activity.

In a lovely quote from  von Uexküll we get "... every living cell is a machine operator that perceives and produces and therefore possesses its own particular (specific) perceptive signs and impulses or 'effect signs.' The complex perception and production of effects in every animal subject can thereby be attributed to the cooperation of small cellular-machine operators, each one possessing only one perceptive and one effective sign."


"The relation between living subject and object is unlike that between two objects; for, the subject does not react mechanistically to all object stimuli but rather it assigns a significance or meaning to specific ones."

Upon reading such quotes I never cease to be amazed at just how beyond his time von Uexküll truly was.