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Published by kritika_gupta_14
semiotics paper!
semiotics paper!

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Published by: kritika_gupta_14 on Jun 27, 2011
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Breakfast on the World Table
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. The use of cutlery, thehaleness of the meal and the precise neatness with which the entiremeal gets over really appeals to my senses. An elaborate breakfastwould spoil you for choice between the varieties of eggs from omeletto half fry to boiled to scrambled; bread could come in handy inhelping with the selection for the egg, by being toasted, raw, butteredor jammed and last but not the least a glass of milk to just gulp it alldown, finishes it perfectly. The mix of people we have in this worldcould well be compared to this elaborate breakfast fixture. You have tofind the right fix between the breads and the eggs to be able to get aconcrete sandwich which does not fall apart. The ease with which theknife and the fork work their wonders around this meal is astoundingspecially when the bread is buttered and an omelet is sandwichednicely in between. Now if my fork which holds the sandwich togetherwas like the Government which holds the people together, then myknife which slices the sandwich would be like the society whichdifferentiates the people into groups.Societies and Governments tend to have this raw protest-suppressrelationship. When Governments which use political power beyond thatwhich is necessary to deter individuals from harming each other’srights, it then becomes unjustifiably coercive, it suppresses theindividual freedom. Here comes in the society which identifies itself with a sense of involvement in the well-being of the collectivity andcannot do without sharing an interest in others welfare. Therefore,
when it sees injustice being handed out it comes to rescue byprotesting to reestablish the prevailing order.But now who is to decide who is right and who is wrong? Who is toreason with the governments use of coercive measures or with thesocieties protest for removing them? As Hegel puts it – “Reason is notan abstract mental facility that all human beings come equipped withand can affirm on autonomous grounds; rather it grows out of the wayin which the individual understands herself/himself as a part of acommunity.” So, as societies build communities by differentiatingpeople into communities, where each community has its ownperspective and its own reasoning built around the traditions and thetaken-for-granted daily social activities, different modes of thinkingand communication are developed. Thus, nobody can be wrong andnobody can be right. The negotiation between the knife and the fork tobe able to carve out a perfect little bite has to be delicate yet intense. The constructs of the society and the government are after all for thebetterment of people. Thus, the communication that comes into playbetween these two overseers of the humanity has to be deciding andnormative. If the communication goes wrong as the negotiations donot work out, the spiral of violence begins. It begins as a spiral of distorted communication that leads through the spiral of uncontrolledreciprocal of mistrust to the breakdown of communication. This, as Jurgen Habermas puts it, is the communicative ailment.
Society and Violence
Violence as I see it, turns into riots and then in no time into terrorism. The word ‘Terrorism’ has become synonymous with any violentmovement or incident that occurs in any part of our society whatever
be the cause behind it and the people responsible for it becomesynonymous with the Muslims. What if the word “Terrorism” was notinvented, how would you describe such a disaster? Death caused bycyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis is ranked as natural disaster, as thereis no motivation behind this kind of destruction, so it is natural. Socould death caused by murdering people be called supernaturaldisaster? The people who kill other people in such violent acts are also humanbeings, possessing sentiments, ideas and the capacity to render moral judgments. The act of acknowledging these human emotions andmoral capacities to beings who can murder innocent people, comesclose to being interpreted as an act that accepts these actions asrational and motivated by human sentiments. Thus our society acceptsviolence, accepts murder as part of community building and as a partof community experience. Therefore, the communicative ailment leadsto violence as the next step.In the present day and age, the communicative ailment seems to benot so much in between governments and societies but in between thesocieties.Consider the Indian and the Pakistani societies. Both stem from asimilar cultural background. Here I am not talking about the societiesor communities in context of religions, they being that of Hindus andMuslims, because there I cannot argue that there is a cultural similarityas there is huge difference in terms of tradition and myths aroundthese religions. The common cultural background that I talk of is theperiod of Colonialism undergone by both the societies, the period of war experienced at both sides in the regal era of this subcontinent. As

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