– Ted Nelson // Computer Lib/Dream Machines

A word must be presented to the mind and incorporated into its conceptual framework before it can be used to communicate with other humans. Its understanding must be at a fantic level. Once there is shared understanding of a concept, the communication can jump to a meta level where the word is used as a symbol, alongside other symbols, to communicate more complex ideas.

To develop a concept of car (which is merely a shared signifier that is generally understood between 2 communicating entities) requires experiences, in some way, of a car – both cognitively and emotionally. Between people there will be slight variations in what “car” means to them, but the understanding is well formed enough that if person A says “car” then person B will understand what they mean. Person B will not have this reaction –

If person B had no concept of

then person A would have to explain what a car is to someone who has never seen or heard of a car before. This explanation must be done in a fantic way for the understanding of the concept to be communicated effectively. Ted Nelson says, “The character of what gets across is always dual; both the explicit structures, and feelings the go with them. These two aspects, exactness and connotation, are an inseparable whole; what is conveyed generally has both. The reader or viewer always gets feelings along with information,” so the explanation must include more than what a car looks like, it must also must include what a car “is” – its essence. This essence is shaped by many things.

If there were no word for car (or blue for that matter) then there would have to be a long, drawn out charade every time you wanted to say, “The thing that usually has four wheels and an engine and doors and make a vroooom noise and carries people around so they can move rapidly from place to place (typically on these large dense black ribbons with stripes the color of the sun and clouds on them) and people get a sense of freedom and independence from them but also dread sitting in traffic and wish they could fly is the color of the sky on a cloudless day.” Additionally you could paint them “car” (not necessarily just what a car looks like) or show them movies of cars or with cars in them or read them (ridiculous) poems about cars. The result of these compiled fantic expressions of car would help shape the concept which could then be embodied by a simple, three letter word. Car. The provision of accumulated perceptions of the car allows person B to become, as Marshall McLuhan would say, “Deeply involved as co-author.” He also says that, “Symbolism is a kind of witty jazz,” implying that it is just crafty improv of words that dance around a concept, hinting at the main theme, but also sharing the emotion that envelopes you with a rush of sound.

[It is duly noted that every single one of the words I just used also requires its own conceptual framework.]

So? Where am I going with this? You may have noticed that I used the words fantic, fantics, and fantically above. You very likely have no idea what those words mean because you have no conceptual basis for those words. Ted Nelson used them in his book

but outside of that context there is little to no information to be found on the word.

Communication of concepts (emotionally and cognitively) is essential to humans. It is necessary for almost everything we do. The sharing of new concepts must be done fantically. There is no other option. An ecosystem of experiences must be shaped around a new word that frames a concept. For many people, fantics is a new word, though it is something they practice every time they attempt to communicate. For those of you who do not yet have a conceptual framework for the word fantics, I invite you to explore my very own ecosystem of experiences so that we may converse in the future using fantics as a shared symbol.



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