Autonomy, Anarchy and Abstraction in Human Languages

Gokul B Alex
2 min readApr 15, 2024
Photo by Henrik Dønnestad on Unsplash

There are signs everywhere. Signs strengthen the narratives of dreams, arts, literature, culture, memes, magic, archeology, anthropology etc. Semiotics is often known as the study of signs.

Ferdinand Saussure has famously theorized that ‘sign is arbitrary’. This particular statement has been heralded as a crucial concept inspiring the emergence of structuralist and post-structuralist theories in the world of language and literature.Along the same lines, languages and linguistic structures are considered to be autonomous by various theorists.

An entity can become arbitrary and absolute only by absorbing the internal and external dynamics. It is possible when the entity is reflexive, recursive and recurrent. Human mind is reflexive, recursive and recurrent. It is the reason why signs and signals are able to acquire arbitrary existence. Once they achieve arbitrary attributes and absolute amplification, signs navigate through additional degrees of freedom.

Through the interaction between infinite state machines of human minds and the infinite state machines of human knowledge collectives, there emerges the new category of finite state machines known as human languages. This is an interesting conjugation where the real axis of human knowledge blends with the imaginary axis of human mind.

They result in more disorder than order. Thus human languages, literature, signs, signals and systems exemplify the conjugation of real and imaginary, the two infinite state machines that produced a finite state machine system altogether. It is the comedy of errors; the tragedy of commons!