Each of the cells in the life-form below represent distinct functional variables that together operate as a system. There are no lines and arrows among them – it is understood that they all interact through numerous mechanisms. Electricity, fluids, proteins, molecules and cellular materials exchange freely – driven by their proximity, programming and dynamic defining characteristics. The cells you are viewing are a pattern, that, at any specific perspective, level and scale, represents something interactive and complex. We can recognize this particular ontology by its shape, configuration and labels – and similar ontologies will share similar shapes and spatial positions. So, this organism can be represented at one level by the shape, texture, spatial configuration and relative position. Once you learn this configuration, it carries all of the knowledge and meaning that it represents. Now, lets focus on pattern and color. If we declared, as we do, that for our purposes there are 2 shades of red (negative and very negative), 2 shades of blue (positive and very positive) and a few neutral colors, you instantly can process what is going well in this organism and what is not going so well. Further, if we told you that yellow represents unknowns, you begin to have a powerful high level representation of just how well we understand this organism, and how it is doing – its state. And if there were, and there are, subcells and sub-subcells of representation at deeper more granular levels, this biosemiotic form could easily be adapted for semiotic use for all living entities. Then, imagine that we activate the color, form, pattern and create movement that indicated flows, directions, the speed of exchange, the amount of material being exchange, the tiny cancer like dot that one can watch grow and overwhelm its neighbors across time and space. And finally, imagine we can drive this model-set by data but also by juried and validated judgments, characterized with this image as the most direct way to organize and convey complexity at the level of meaning that satisfies our objective. This description is the root of Visual Y.
Semiotic models can be constructed across 2, 3 and 4 dimensions. Here is a view of a life-form that can easily be imaged to represent the functioning of a highly effective, highly successful economic system that begins by characterizing individuals, connected to small groups, connected to a marketplace that distributes and exchanges the goods and services to a multitude of recipients. The value of this model is not in the detail. The value is not showing every link and connection. The value is the highest level representation of meaning – what is working well based upon the definition of well, what is not working well, what are the highest level patterns that characterize this system, and if there is signal among the noise that pops because of markers of motion, color, sound, flow, pattern, one can trace it forward or back, watch the flows in space and time, examine the exchanges of materials and tokens, and understand what it is you want to understand.
In this yellow and blue instantiation, we can experience the directionality of the threads of transport mechanisms, we can observe the relationships among the cells, and we can determine that while the yellow is largely unknown, not validated, the blue has enough proof and evidence for it to be characterized as positive, beneficial, healthy, useful etc.
Visual Y represents lifeforms as rings, using various rounded shapes to identify specific categories of lifeforms. While the blue colors represent a systemic process that is going relatively well for the life-form, the purple is neutral and the green represents portions of the organism that we know the most about – which would be the objective of this model view.
For educational purposes, this ontological grouping can represent a completed pyramidal proof process that flows from the top wide face of the pyramid and flows down to the conclusions at the bottom. Where there is sharp green, the proof is highly validated, light green less valid, and all neutral colors represent areas that are undetermined – not enough evidence to portray understanding.
We do not believe humans are wired to process all of the detail in this beautiful cellular system. We do believe the cells in every ontology must be distinctly identifiable in shape and spatial position, must be limited to no more than 6-12 for each ontological view, layer or ring, and should have characteristics that help the user identify the meaning/identity of the cell universally. You be the judge of what you can process. You can pick out certain color patterns, you can understand there seems to be a large central core, you can see there is flow downward beneath the core. Instead of imagining this systemic model as a living organism, imagine it representing something inert yet dynamic such as the nations of the world, the corporations in India, the city of Paris by arrondissement etc. Color and pattern pop what meaning you wish to see based upon your objectives.
Here we can imagine 8-12 constructs with subcells beneath (not visible in this view) that we know are organized in a certain schema from running from bottom to top. We know where there is red and blue. We can identify the specific constructs where the blue is higher, the red more spread out. We can see where there is connective tissue between the lower construct set and the upper construct set, and whether the connections are positive or negative. Imagine characterizing the departments of one company with those of another company, imagine this being an example of a valuing system where you and others are characterized by your life situation at the bottom, and your capacity to help others, in blue, toward the top.
This is how we imagine our Y Person model to evolve – dynamic, active, with identifiable rings and variables at a very detailed perspective view.
Ignoring the colors, imagine each cell representing a forest and animal and vegetable life for a bounded ecosystem. Fill in the colors to represent how they are doing, how they change, how the patterns you see tell you about a damaging infestation that was previously unknown.
Examine the use of threads, fabric, directionality, proximity, connectivity, distribution, membranes. These representations can apply equally to living systems, human fabricated systems and matter/energy systems.
Structures and details can be accommodated, delivering meaning through color and pattern at every level.
Each of the nodes in these images must be ontologically identifiable for these models to work well.
Lighting and brightness can convey intensity and energy level.