Three years of blogging

This blog began exactly 3 years ago as a regular readings blog. The structure was pretty simple: a cover image of the book and my own review or, rather, a general impression of what it contained or what it revealed to me. The purpose was to keep a "diary" of books to help me remember what I have read and gained from reading. I am an absent-minded and forgetful person so this was supposed to aid my memory, so to say. By now I consider externalization of memory to be one of the great inventions of human culture.
The first post in this blog was about a book on slave trading of the Atlantic Ocean, followed by three books on the history of Islam and then some varia (an outdated history of physical anthropology, a guide to comedy writing and an awfully redundant little encyclopedia of African myths). This was back when I still considered my first two choices at the university to be History in Religion, preferably culminating in the history of religion. After I had made a change of mind (aitäh, Mar-iLiis) and had been accepted to study semiotics and culture theory at the University of Tartu, I went right ahead and spent the whole of August 2010 reading books on body language (reading most of them out loud to improve my diction of English). The 15 first books on body language I managed to go through in a months time were to be an introduction to what I wanted to study further at the university. Later my attitude towards these pseudo-scientific changed from "they're okay, I guess" to "most of these are full of myths."
During my first week at the university I got into speed reading (by reading 7 books on speed reading in a row) and spent the next couple of months skimming everything I got my hands on, from Luhmann's Social Systems to Ekman's Emotions Revealed, with a lot of above-my-comprehension philosophy and some feminism/masculinism in between. As associations and background-knowledge accumulated, my reviews of the academic literature began containing more and more lengthier quotes. I found increasinly interesting ideas which expressed my own views with more exactitude than I could express in my own meager words. For example, Hobbs's Leviathan contains an idea which I enjoy despite being an atheist: "For God needeth not, to distinguish his Celestiall servants by names, which are usefull onely to short memories of Mortalls." (Hobbes 1996: 277). At that time I still used quotation signs and italics to mark quotes, with page numbers placed haphazardly.
The first half of 2011 I read less books but made better selections, veering more into semiotics, which I was studying. I still wonder how I managed to read books that weren't suggested to my by anyone and why I refused to read seminar texts for this blog. In August that year I made an effort to get into serious ("scientific") literature on nonverbal communication, beginning with Ruesh & Kees's Nonverbal Communication (1956). This was an eye-opener and, looking back, "the relationship between verbal and nonverbal codifications" (Ruesch & Kees 1956: 192-193) is what defines my studies in semiotics, still.
October 2011 was a hallmark. The relationship of verbal and nonverbal communication, a collection of articles edited by Mary R. Key, was the first book which I quoted extensively by using <blockquote> HTML tags. I did not manage to mark down the beginning and end page numbers for the articles, which is a shame, because Google Books has limited preview of it (so I can't look them up on the web), and I can't readily cite this collection because of that. My second reading (out of 5 by now, I think) of Anti Randviir's Mapping the world was the first time I used blockquoting effectively, writing my own comments for every quote.
Summer 2012 was when I finally began adding seminar papers and single articles to this blog. This was also when I began commenting in English. Realizing, after writing my seminar paper, that if I intend to do my academic writing in English then it only makes sense to write this blog in English as well. Again it was Randviir's indirect influence which helped bring forth this development. To prepare for his sociosemiotics exam, I read as much of his seminar texts in a few days as I possibly could. Novice as I was, this Sociosemiotic Readings post contained scans of the printed-out papers, and I made the bold step to read the texts for my own purposes, that is, in light of my accumulated knowledge about nonverbal communication. I almost failed the exam, but I learned a lot from the texts. After that I read every seminar paper from the standpoint of "what I think I need to know" instead of "what is expected of me to learn."
This was when I realized that I am a "nonverbalist," or "a student of nonverbal communication." Although there doesn't seem to exist a single discipline that deals exclusively with nonverbal communication, that should not hinder one from reading texts from every related discipline as if there was something to be known for the nonverbalist. Mostly there is.
"Nonverbal reading" is not limited to non-fiction, though. Ultimately I made the aim of my thesis to theorize reading fiction from the standpoint of a nonverbalist, and, for the lack of an appropriate shorthand, termed "nonverbal communication in literature" as concursivity myself.
In 2013 I took an academic holiday because I couldn't handle the stress of exams and forced essay writing. I think testing knowledge gets in the way of acquiring knowledge and writing about topics that I consider trivial or unrelated to my research will not help me clear the entangled web of quotations and comments I have accumulated. Instead, I read explosively and spent several months categorizing and grouping the quotes I had accumulated since writing my seminar paper. These webs of quotes are available at http://nonverbalismsemiophreniaconcursivity.blogspot.com/. By the end of the semester I had not finished my thesis and had to push graduation forward indefinitely (at least this is the impression at the moment), but I did publish a paper (on Reembodying Semiotics of Culture) and I did learn a lot. Plus, in contrast to many a coursemates, my interest in what I study will not fade or twindle outside of academia. I am preparing to write my next paper (or, if fortuna is merciful, more) by the end of this summer.
Thus after three years I am an unemployed nonverbalist without a degree, a beginner representative of a field that does not exist. Whatever should happen to me or to this blog, I am glad it developed from a simple readings blog into a wealth of quotations and comments that might yield a cursory summary of the history of the study of nonverbal communication, as well as aspects of nonverbal communication in various social and humanitarian fields. For me these were three years well spent.
Hopefully this blog will develop further and some day I will publish the raw musings of my own original pieces here, with references that are also links. I believe that internet is the future of science and there will be a revolution once "online" is the best kind of "published."

What I have are pipe-dreams. Instead of a thesis, I can at least share with the world my imaginations, ideas which may or may not bare fruit. I can only write so much, and most of what is below will not appear in print. But, for the keen observer, there are little pieces or shards of them scattered around this blog. And on a quiet night, one can still hear the notions of nonverbalism, semiophrenia, and concursivity.

Kirjutamata kirjutisi kirjeldan emakeeles, sest see mida ei ole võiks jääda omade teada:
  • Towards a concursive study of literature. Kirjutamisjärgus. Proovin avaldada ajakirjas Versejunkies: Intersemiotic Translation Journal. Selle uue ajakirja esimene number käsitleb kirjutamist, mistõttu mina kirjutan sellest kuidas kirjutajad lisavad kirjutatusse viiteid kehakeelele. Võrdlen konkursiivsust referentsiaalsuse, metakommunikatsiooni, intersemiootilise tõlke ja ekfraasisega. Toon mõned näited kuidas varajsed mitteverbaalse suhtemise uurijad (nt E. Goffman, E. T. Hall ja R. Exline) on kasutanud konkursiivset lugemist oma teadustöö tegemisel. Ka mõned kategooriad mis aitavad eristada konkursiivseid kirjeldusviise.
  • The Flight of The Concourse: Portch, Korte and Poyatos on body language in literature. Nagu pikk pealkiri paljastab, võrdlen omavahel kolme põhilist autorit kes on kirjutanud kehakeelest kirjanduses: S. R. Porth 80ndatel, B. Korte 90ndatel ja F. Poyatos 00ndatel. Kahjuks on nad teadaolevalt ainsad kes on kirjutanud monograafe üldisest kehakeele-tõlgendamisest kirjanduses. Pulli pärast viskan sekka neid kirjandusteadlasi kes on uurinud väga kindlaid mitteverbaalseid aspekte kirjanduses (nt vaikust või käežeste).
  • Metakeelelised katsetused I: libeväljenduslik märgimõtlemine. Avaldan academia.edu-s või jätan üldse sahtlisse, sest see on libe/õhuke jää millel kõnnin. Libeväljenduslik märgimõtlemine on eestikeelne filosofeerimine viisil mis leiutab uusi liitsõnu selle asemel, et olemasolevaid laensõnu mugandada. Hetkel on valmis kirjutatud vaid kuus lõiku mis käsitlevad selliseid mõisteid nagu libeväljend, tähendustäitmine, arupael, ilmatalatsemine, vaimurõõm, võõrmeelsus, mõistmisjuhis (definitsioon), žestivestlus (conversation of gestures), enesesuhtlus (self-communication), märgimeelsus (semiofreenia) ja veel mõned.
  • Experiments in metalanguage II: semiotics for the digital natives. Võib-olla mõne muu pealkirja all avaldatav, võib-olla mitte. Idee on luua väga lihtne semiootiline metakeel nö internetisemiootika tarbeks. Peaks vastama küsimusele: kuidas analüüsida hüperteksti semiootiliselt? Natuke arutlust ka interneti ja teaduse seostest, interneti tekitatud "semiootilisest globalisatsioonist," netikeelest ja netisuhtlusest jne.
  • Political Dimensions of Presence and Avoidance. Kuulub teemasse "protestisemiootika," ehk edasiarendus Margus Oti soovitusele: "Tuleks mõelda hõivamispoliitika peale, mida tehakse juba oma kohaloluga. Võtan oma kehaga koha - võib-olla isegi seisukoha - ja toon mängu oma kohalolu. Mitte energiline, vaid vägev poliitika." (Ott 2012: 58). Sobiv raamistik oleks Peirce'i emotsionaalse, energeetilise ja intellektuaalse interpretandi ühildamine Goffmani käsitlusega seotusidioomist (involvement idiom). Kuluks ära mõned näited kehakeelest päris meeleavaldustelt.
  • Dance and Performance as Bodily Poetry. Olen sel teemal kirjutanud avaldamata essee, mida tuleks vaid täiendada näidetega performance art'i ajaloost ja aruteluga R. Shustermani somaesteetikast.
  • Kehakeel - Vikipeedia, vaba entsüklopeedia. Praegune sissekanne kehakeelest on ühe Kuressaare Ühisgümnaasiumi lõpetaja lõputöö, mis kujutab endas sisuliselt paarist aimekirjanduslikest raamatust kokku tikitud tsitaatide jada. Mul on piisavalt materjali ja taustateadmist, et kirjutada hea artikkel, aga millegi pärast ei näi selleks kunagi õige aeg olevat. Pole viga - kui keegi ette jõuab, siis võin täiendada ja parandada.
  • The Nonverbal Self. Esseena on valmis, kuid sisaldab liiga palju retoorikat ja ei sisalda uusi asju mida tahaks juurde lisada. Hetkel põhineb M. Maussi kehatehnikate ja E. Goffmani väljenduskorra (expressive order) ühendamisel. Võiks sisaldada Peirce'i, Sebeok'i ja veel mitme vähemtuntud mõtleja vaatenurki. Selline mõnus teema millest võiks ka eesti keeles kirjutada, nt pealkirjaga "Kineesiline Mina" ja anda rohkem Birdwhistelli idiokineesika maiku juurde.
  • Peirce's Semeiotics and Body Motion Communication. Nõuab Peirce'i mõttega rohkem tutvumist. Sisaldaks Peirce'i märkusi keha kohta (nt, et keha on võrratu mehhanism mille kõrval sõna kahvatub kriidijooneks) ja ülevaade üritustest ühendada tema semeiootikat mitteverbaalse suhtlemisega (nt D. McNeill'i žestiteooria) ja ka enda katsetusi ja arutlusi, nt ühe Teisesuse kirjelduse sarnasus Uexkülli funktsiooniringiga.
  • The Behavioural Sphere. Teema mis on mind pikalt painanud ja mille arendamiseks mul on rohkesti vahendeid, kuid mis jällegi nõuab J. Lotmani kirjutistega palju lähemalt tutvumist ja "käitumissfääri" ajaloo täpsemat käsitlemist (st tuleb kohaliku teoreetilise bioloogiaga rohkem sõbruneda). "Käitumisprogramm" ei ole mõiste mida võiks niisama naljalt lauale visata.
  • Pansemiotics and Semiophrenia. Märgimeelsuse suhestamine "semiootilise imperialismiga." Semiofreenia (semiophrenia) on huvitav teema, aga ma ei pea ennast veel võimeliseks sel teemal midagi konkreetset väitma. Nõuab semiootika ajalooga tegelemist, "semiootilise reaalsuse" ja "semiootilise subjekti" mõistete lahkamist ning semiootikute kogukonnaga mingisuguse üksmeele leidmist. Tähendab, pansemiootika on tundlik teema.
  • What makes a face beautiful? Aimekirjanduslik lähenemine näoilmete ilule, kas kirjutise või video vormis. Minu oma versioon somaesteetikast. Alustades ajaloolisest märkusest kuidas Duchenne põhjendas oma katsealuse hambutust ja vanust (näoilme võib iga näo muuta ilusaks). Natuke näo staatilistest signaalidest ja kultuuri/keskkonna mõjust näo kujule. Lõpuks natuke duckfaces vs. smiles teemal ja praktilised soovitused näolihaste treenimiseks.
  • Technoculture's Effects on Nonverbal Behaviour. Arvutite jm uute tehnoloogiate mõju sellele kuidas kehad liiguvad ja puhkavad (k.a. rohke arvutikasutamisega kaasnevad terviseprobleemid). Internetisuhtluse ja eriti meemide mõju noorte käitumisele. A la uued žestid facebookis ja nö "poseerimised".
  • Body - An Endless Source of Trouble. Platoni "keha on tülikas asi" temaatika järelkasvud nt kehasotsioloogias (sociology of the body). Kehatehnikad, kehalised harjumused, kehalised vajadused ja kehalise väljenduse tülikad aspektid.
  • Nonverbal Ethics. Kehakeele-eetika on välja hõigatud, aga keegi pole seda kuskile edasi viinud. Inimestejälgimine kui hobitegevus. Kasuks tuleb J. Dewey eristus supervene'mise ja intervene'mise vahel. "First rule of body language: don't talk about body language!" ja "disruptiivsus."


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