My Semantic Manifesto

I’ve been talking with my son this week about the importance of words and what they mean. He is studying the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Articles of Confederation in his 5th grade history class – he was so inspired by reading those documents that he asked me to take him to the Library of Congress on our trip to Virginia next week. I was suitably impressed and was also reminded of the relationship between concepts and constructs.

The world we live in today has been built with words as much as it has been with bricks, mortar sweat and tears. We express intent and ideal through letters, symbols – bits and bytes; we use semantics to harness the potential of thought and make it manifest. Yet for all of its power, this translation medium – the semantic art – is underappreciated or unrecognized for what it is and what it can do.

We often find ourselves a bit too caught up in the trend or fashion of the day; which software program to use, which programming language to apply, which modeling technique to utilize and we forget about the big picture. Yet we live in a fascinating time do we not, an era where we’ve been given the freedom to redefine the world around us through a virtual looking-glass? What will we make of this opportunity I wonder?

My hope is that we use it much as those free thinkers in the 17th century used language to redefine the sciences and the humanties. They not only redefined them though, they used new mechanisms for semantic dissemention – the printing press with books and newspapers to spread those ideas. We are at a similar technological cross-roads – here I am writing on my own “newspaper kinda book, sort of newsletter thing” called a Blog that once published becomes instantly available across the planet to a potential audience of more than a billion people. This is something that I could not have easily imagined when I graduated from high school in 1982, and definitely not when I was in 5th grade.

This Semantic Manifesto then is a recognition of the times we live in, it is a call to action – to take advantage of the opportunity that’s been handed to us and it is an invitation to view Semantics as the one science that binds all others. This is a very interesting and worthwhile place to be, to contribute to and to follow as the story unfolds.

Copyright 2008, Stephen Lahanas

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