The Origin of Writing

by John Barclay-Morton

Indigenous Knowledge of Place

“The commenters are demanding unequivocal proof of human agency,” explained Dr. Dan Fisher, professor of paleontology at the University of Michigan and one of the authors on the original paper. “This is an unreasonable requirement—having to define a priori what evidence must be present at a site to qualify as acceptable grounds for inferring human presence is largely a construct of a certain faction of the archaeological community.”

"In other words, insisting that they alone know what evidence is sufficient and on what grounds we should base our arguments is largely the problem, according to the Cerutti Mastodon team."

The Cerutti Mastodon Site: One Year Later
San Diego Natural History Museum

Mannahatta Revisited

Old growth forest on stone

Looking at a World We No Longer See Around Us

Left: tree trunks in the last section of old growth forest remaining on the island of Manhattan;
Right: Lenape image writing example inscribed from within that original forest.

A Sense of Place as Indigenous Knowledge


Any and all discussions regarding the arrival of people in North America unfold within ongoing disputes as to the dating which should be applied. In this, we can see a more basic point of contention which directly relates to the nature of theory construction: How should individual examples drawn from empirical data be reconstituted as the framework for overarching theories? Within philosophy, this kind of consideration unfolds directly through two fields of inquiry: Epistemology, the study of what constitutes truth (and how this is to be determined); and Metaphysics, which concerns itself with the study of how valid theories are best constructed.

Even when individual examples are demonstrated to be empirically true, constructing a valid theory which incorporates such examples into an explanatory model is another matter entirely. Consequently, accepted theories as to how and when North America was first populated may remain at odds with valid empirical data, which can present examples of people being in North America before established theories recognize this as having happened.

My current research encounters yet another conundrum with respect to the disjunction between empirical data and established theoretic structure: in that the artifacts I have been studying have yet to be recognized as such by any established authoritative bodies, the information these artifacts convey is automatically precluded from consideration within any accepted theories regarding the First Peoples who arrived in North America.

This is not due to a lack of effort on my part to have these artifacts recognized as such; and any established scientific body that maintains a collection of First Nations artifacts would easily be able to confirm my observations, using examples of known provenance from within their own holdings. In light of this reality, then, it must be concluded that the exclusion of these artifacts from the institutionally established record of the First Nations in North America is due to matters beyond a simple disjunction between empirical data and constructed theory.

To be blunt: this wealth of authentic, first-person information about the experiences of the First Nations prior to European contact has been excluded from those knowledge archives of predominantly European origin simply because these authentic testimonies do not support (and in fact, greatly contradict) the dominant narrative used to justify the colonial expansion of foreign powers into North America: this being, the fictional narrative that the First Nations allegedly maintained a primitive, illiterate culture inferior to that of the encroaching Europeans — as opposed to the reality of the that situation: the First Nations, it now appears, developed the first literate and truly historical culture to arise anywhere in the world.


Of course, the oral histories of the First Nations have long been discounted by academics in favor of their own established practices for validating information. Traditional knowledge has always been relegated to the realm of myth, and discounted as arbitrary, by the governing bodies of academic oversight positioned to judge what should and shouldn’t be accepted as real. Accepted empirical data must, in this view, be documented through scientific instrumentation that gauges depth, relative position, and age as measured by radioactive decay and other determinate values. And yet this point-of-view is, ironically, thoroughly steeped in the origin of Western systems of phonetic writing, which arose from a system of accounting concerned primarily with quantifying information. Somehow, though, this historically-based linkage — between that which is quantifiable within space, and how things can be acceptably expressed as events within time — has become the basis for determining the validity of all expression.

However, when one reads the written arguments sometimes advanced as explanatory of scientific data, one immediately notices that all too often these missives are not in and of themselves either necessarily valid, nor particularly compelling. The words fit together well but the concepts they convey are often shoddy in their logical construction, designed as they are to replace direct empirical observations with universal rules of explanatory import. This is a problem that traces back to an issue holding between epistemological principles and metaphysical methodologies that all too often remains unexamined: that the certainty afforded direct perception, as empirical experience, confers a similar degree of certainty upon mental constructs derived from such experience. The observation that visual perception is distinct from “imaging consciousness” — the imagination — is a fundamental insight established by Jean-Paul Sartre in his seminal refutation of Edmund Husserl’s approach to phenomenology as a fundamental branch of philosophy: The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination. Even when seeing can be believing, simply thinking through something logically does not necessarily make it so — an observation which led to Sartre's embrace of Existentialism as a fundamental philosophic stance.

In all certainty, contemporary explanations based upon statistical and sensitometric data are not sufficiently verifiable to justifiably preclude the acceptance of first-hand accounts compiled from experience by actual observers who directly witnessed events taking place over 11,000 years ago. Simply excluding such testimony from academic records is inherently a racist act that seeks to perpetuate one cultural perspective at the expense of the very group(s) that are being brought into consideration.

Contextualizing Theory

Thus, when it comes to contextualizing the examples of anametric image writing that I have been studying, a primary disjunction exists relative to the current place of prominence held within academic discourses by systems of phonetic writing. If the nature of phonetic writing’s origin — coming as it does from a system of accounting — has imparted an unexamined preference toward the acceptance of statistical and otherwise quantifiable information within systems of academic discourse, and a correlated rejection of information systems which do not inhere some similar form of quantification, then, that examples of anametric image writing should be identifiable in isolation from any sort of quantified system of historical reference remains problematic. In effect, anametric image writing is precluded from consideration precisely because it does not share a common point-of-origin with the system of phonetic writing that informs the very academic discourse which is excluding anametric image writing from any consideration. In short: anametric image writing simply ‘does not count’ precisely because it didn’t spring, as did phonetic writing, from a system of accounting. Anametric image writing can’t be accounted for from within a system of phonetic writing; and yet, by all indications anametric image writing emerged in North America before even the nascent foundations of phonetic writing had become established in the Near East. In demanding that the specific nature of representational quantification which grounds phonetic writing be taken as paradigmatic for all forms of writing, a logical absurdity is being promoted as the basis for epistemological truth: that the use of images as informing a system of writing must be assessed in terms of a form of writing which did not yet exist when anametric image writing was already established as fully developed. This flaw in epistemological reasoning directly leads to the erroneous imposition of that faulty interpretive methodology which precludes such a system of image writing from being accepted as such.

Starting from a position which equates quantification with empirical veracity, the standard model used for ascribing the designation of “writing” transfers this sense of proportionately representational validity to any demonstrably systematic arrangement dedicated toward conveying information — if and only if such systems are expressly shaped by similar relationships of representation, as exemplified by processes of signification which equate symbols with sounds (a methodology derived from the use of numerical representations for demonstrable quantities of goods, as utilized in trade). In effect, starting from the supposition that empirically verifiable volumes of trade goods will correspond to designated quantities denoted in records of such trades, we arrive at an unexamined interpretive methodology which dictates that only this form of representational relationship can serve as a valid basis for conveying information — a position which is clearly unfounded, to the point of being an absurdity.

Even so: without quantified correlates, as established from within a designated dating system, anametric image writing is precluded from any serious academic consideration. Simply put, anametric image writing does not fit within such a predetermined definition of what constitutes writing — not without first reshaping the interpretive methodology that is supposed to account for, and accommodate, its existence; and that system has no motivation for reshaping itself to accommodate something which lies outside its own range of circumspection.

Seeking New Approaches

An alternative approach is possible, though; and it is one which is as viable as that which is based exclusively within phonetic forms of writing. Rather than insisting upon fitting examples of anametric image writing into an interpretive methodology based upon the system of quantification that characterizes the chronological development demonstrated by phonetic systems of writing, it is also possible to instead develop an understanding of how anametric image writing examples are related to each other. From such a starting point, it might then be possible to identify any apparent parallels in developmental stages exhibited between the evolution of these very different forms of writing — in effect, discerning commonalities across different instances in which ‘cognitive archaeology’ has been applied. This in turn should allow insights gleaned from either form of writing, to be applied to the other — a process which would expand, by appropriately widening the epistemological grounds providing empirical data, the parameters of any interpretive methodology used in defining writing.

Ideally, it shouldn’t matter whether we seek to integrate the written record of the First Nations in North America with modern scientific studies, or, instead seek to place such studies within the context of anametric image writing: assuming both aspire to accurately recording the nature of the real, there ultimately shouldn’t be a significant difference between the results either approach produces. If, however, there is a pronounced variance between the outcome each methodology achieves, then the disjunctive nature of this divergence must be addressed and assessed as to where and how it arises — a process which is not in the least at odds with scientific method:

“When Kant uses the word “phenomenon,” he loads it with a much more violent meaning: it is not appearance that separates us from essence, it is apparition, that which appears insofar as it appears. The phenomenon in Kant’s work is not appearance, but apparition. Apparition is the manifestation of that which appears insofar as it appears . . . Phenomenon means: that which appears in space and in time. It no longer means sensible appearance, it means spatio-temporal apparition [Deleuze, Lecture Series on Leibniz. Trans. Charles J. Stivale. Web Deleuze ]."

Insofar as we seek a scientific explanation of how anametric image writing functions, we needn’t deviate from a very basic dedication toward documenting the conditions under which it appeared. Demonstrably, such conditions predate by millennia the previously documented conditions through which phonetic writing emerged in the Near East; and this historical disjunction between these two instances logically precludes any use of phonetic writing as a paradigm for assessing the image writing system of North America. Certainly, current protocols in place which inform how archaeological assessments occur may demand that any interpretation of image writing’s development proceed through verifiable statistical and sensitometric methodologies used for establishing dates upon a linear timeline; but, that approach (as valid as it is) need not preclude other approaches which also seek to establish the conditions under which anametric image writing appeared.

In particular, as witnessed by Félix Guattari’s outline for systems of a-signifying and anasemantic linguistics, we can certainly expect to make considerable headway by considering the origin of this image writing system within a context that establishes the conditions of its material production — regardless of any timeline that this will play out upon.

First Arrivals

Dating Early North American Cultures

The dates accepted as accurate for the arrival of the First Peoples in North America have always been a matter of contention. From a date 4,000 years ago; to one 11,000 years ago; to a time 16,000 years ago; to one between 40,000 to 30,000 years ago: this point of arrival has steadily been pushed back, as more recent finds have established ever earlier arrival times for the First Peoples. But archaeological evidence of human habitation is notoriously scarce and difficult to find anywhere in the world; and as everyone should realize, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Traditional knowledge passed down by the First Nations places their arrival well before the last period of maximum glaciation, with stories told of people moving ever farther south in front of growing ice sheets. That would place people here in North America, possibly, around 80,000 years ago.

Dates at which sea levels would have exposed a land bridge between Asia and North America during the last one million years are well established: ~12,000 years before the present; ~110,000 years before the present; ~200,000 years before the present; ~455,000 years before the present; ~650,000 years before the present; and ~850,000 years before the present. Usually, the presence of humans (and others who share our direct ancestral lineage) is determined from the presence of tools. The earliest examples of these found anywhere in the world are dated to about 2.6 million years ago; with an intermediate stage in use, from around 1.76 million years ago, to until about 4000,000 – 250,000 years ago. Obviously, this was long before any kind of writing emerged — and possibly, well before a sustained creation of images occurred — but it was still, of course, a time when stone was used extensively in the creation of tools. Since the manufacture of stone tools inevitably grounded the skill sets that allowed images to be created upon stone, the relationship between stone tools and such images is always going to be a close one; and as such, it does demand consideration in any case.

Certainly, we know that various species of animal managed to cross from North America to Asia (and then on to Europe, and Africa) by at least 110,000 years ago — notably, horses and cheetahs among others — so it does remain a possibility that humans or others in our lineage managed to make such a crossing into North America by that time. Given that humans (and others in our family tree) were capable of traveling by water over extended distances (Homo erectus travelled short distances between islands throughout Indonesia 800,000 years ago, and probably managed to reach Crete in the Mediterranean by around 130,000 years ago), an uninterrupted land bridge between Asia and North America doesn’t seem to have been an absolute necessity for members of our lineage to reach North America. If others could do that, there is no reason to think humans couldn’t — given the opportunity.

Artifact Image

Several well documented sites in North America indicate a very early age for such arrivals, although all have been met with some degree of (perhaps unwarranted) skepticism. Of these, Valsequillo Reservoir (Mexico), The Calico Hills (California) and the Cerutti Mastodon Site (near San Diego) have all been ascribed dates as old as 130,000 years ago; with the Cerutti Mastodon Site being the most recent, and perhaps best documented, site excavated. All of these aforementioned facts (as disputed as some might yet be) set a context for what I would contend are probably images of the earliest of the modern humans to arrive in North America — images created, not by these humans themselves, but by an earlier member of our lineage who arrived in North America prior to the First People.

As a distinct condition under which these earliest of North American images appear, there is much to be learned from the differences that characterize images formed by whichever branch of our ancestry created these, relative to those images formed by modern humans. In particular, I have noted implications relative to the functioning of volitional memory (which I won’t go into here, as fascinating as these seem to be); and I also see very distinct differences in how image assemblages are formed, as articulating with each other (or, not — in the case of these antecedent examples). These are not, however, considerations which can be entertained at this point; and instead, I will focus upon the material conditions through which the creation of the image writing system being examined here proceeded.

Artifact Image

One thing afforded us by these very early images, though, is a chance to set some context of first occurrence for those who later developed the image writing system currently under consideration. Of the images I have of these First People, a few stand out: one of a person who is wearing the head of a North American lion as a hat; and the other of someone who very much appears to share his ancestry with those known to have arrived in Australia as long as 65,000 years ago.

We now know (through genetic analysis) that people sharing the same heritage as those early arrivals in Australia also managed to reach areas on the Chilean coast of South America as long as at least 15,000 years ago, before heading over the mountains and arriving in the Amazon basin. Of greater interest to us here, in the context of the image writing system which arose in North America, is the individual shown wearing the North American lion head as a hat; for the motif of the North American lion appears throughout the early images that lead directly to the form of image writing that developed in North America long before any system of phonetic writing was invented in the Near East.

Probably the earliest example I have of image creation by the First People to arrive in North America shows a North American lion — as well as the profile of a young child.

Artifact Image

Of particular note here is that these images were created as isolated, stand-alone outlines and shapes — an approach very much consistent with the technologies for working stone which were in place early on in human history. If we jump ahead to an example considered previously — one which demonstrated the semiological function of ‘something which appears in the place of another thing’ — we find that the images being presented articulate with each other, and across grouping patterns; and that this occurs in a way which demonstrates the grammatological nature of writing, through what can broadly be characterized as ‘positional localization’. Somewhere between this first example, and these more recent examples, the process of creating images upon stone developed into a system of writing with images — a development we can attempt to trace backward, invoking an approach Denise Schmandt-Besserat termed ‘cognitive archaeology’, with a mind toward determining how this system of writing with images came into being; that is, the ‘conditions under which it appeared’.

The First Nations

Exploring the Written History of Early North American Cultures

Having now some idea of who the First People to arrived in North America were, we can begin to employ what Denise Schmandt-Besserat termed “cognitive archaeology” and work back toward these early people, beginning from the fully developed forms of anametric image writing we have for consideration — even though we have no firm idea of how far back a period of time we will be working toward.

To this end, I will start with the first example of anametric image writing that I found; one I respectfully refer to as “The Three Feather Chief”. We considered this example earlier, in the context of how differential image elements — in this case, those presented as the eyes of the primary face upon this artifact — qualify as being semiological in nature. This time, we will be examining the “headdress” motif which appears above those eyes. It will be my contention that this motif presents a display of the technological advances, in the methods used for the material production of stone tools, which grounded the development of the anametric image writing — much as the development of an accounting system in the Near East, based as it was upon agricultural production, enabled the invention of phonetic writing there.

In examining this particular artifact, I am proposing something which shouldn’t be seen as all that radical of an approach: that we begin by accepting the First Nations historical chronology of their material development, and that we work within the First Nations own record of their history when examining that history. There is no reason that this approach should be at all contentious: after all, there is no established chronology for this kind of historical record within any Western academic tradition that even begins to rival that which would be accessible through the image writing system of the First Nations. To preference the information presented within established Western European academic traditions, over what turns out to be a superfluity of information available from authentic First Nations sources, is to arbitrarily impose what can only be seen as an essentially racist determination regarding what can be said to constitute truth in the form of empirical evidence.

Working within First Nations traditions, in some respects we already have viable parameters that bracket the evolution of anametric image writing in North America: we have a very early example of image production; we have many fully developed examples from much later; and, in the motif now under consideration, we have a depiction of the historical continuity that unites these two extremes — through what turns out to be a depiction of the material technologies utilized in the production of stone tools. A closer look at this motif reveals that the historical record this correlation supports is indeed well matched.

First, let’s consider the motif itself: it occurs as a collection of distinct marks, of varying size and shape, arrayed as parallel to the eyes of the face below, and the mouth below that. Taken individually, each mark is in itself an individual image element; and taken in varying combinations, they form multiple grouping patterns. What is of particular interest, though, is that these marks constitute an identifiable assemblage when taken as one group — so much so that, a similar pattern can be shown to be evident on two other examples I found in the same region where the first example was located:

In effect, this Three Feathers motif served as a ‘signature’ of sorts which is identifying a distinct, historical individual.

From within a linguistic context, two things spring to mind from prior considerations. The first, with reference to C.S. Peirce, is the contention that semiological constructs always have a third attribute: in addition to being ‘something which appears in the place of another thing’; and, having ‘some real connection with the thing it signifies’, each semiological element also implicates some person — one who makes the connection between the sign, and that which the sign indicates (the place of which the sign takes, for that person):

“By a sign I mean any thing which is in any way, direct or indirect, so influenced by any thing (which I term its object) and which in turn influence a mind that this mind is thereby influenced by the Object; and I term that which is called forth in the mind the Interpretant of the sign. This explanation will suffice for the present; but distinctions will have to be drawn are long [Charles Sanders Peirce, Logic: Regarded as a Study of the general nature of Signs (73 - MS 801)].”

The second consideration, made with reference to Denise Schmandt-Besserat and the invention of phonetic writing in the Near East, is the pivotal development through which symbols were initially used to signify the sounds that composed names:

“The registration of individuals’ names is unanimously recognized as an event of utmost importance in the development of the cuneiform script because conferring a sound value to a sign constituted the first link between writing and spoken language [Schmandt-Besserat, From Accounting to Writing, pg. 6].”

Similarly, and with respect to both those instances, it would seem that with image writing we are seeing evidence of a transition from facial recognition (the fact that each of us can recognize another person as a distinct individual by their face), to a written ascription of personal identity — demonstrated in this case through a specific visual motif, which is not by any necessity linked to the phonetic components of speech. This may not seem at first to be overtly important, with respect to the grammatological functionality of this image writing system; but at the very least, there is something here that is interesting to note from the viewpoint of ‘cognitive archaeology’: that in this, we have yet another correlate between the development of phonetic writing in the Near East, and the development of image writing in North America — one that directly implicates the importance of personal identity. Current research suggests that this correlation may be of greater importance than might initially be suspected. Recent discoveries by Doris Tsao are particularly illuminating with respect to the way in which we visually process human faces: rather than having specific neurons attuned to particular faces (as had long been suspected), Tsao has demonstrated that facial recognition proceeds through a complex range of 50+ differential contrasts:

“The finding proved that face cells are not coding the identities of specific individuals in the IT cortex. Instead they are performing an axis projection, a much more abstract computation. “An analogy can be made to color. Colors can be coded by specific names, such as periwinkle, celandine and azure. Alternatively, one can code colors by particular combinations of three simple numbers that represent the amount of red, green and blue that make up that color. In the latter scheme, a color cell performing a projection onto the red axes would fire electrical impulses, or spikes, proportional to the amount of red in any color. Such a cell would fire at the same intensity for a brown or yellow color containing the same amount of red mixed in with other colors. Face cells use the same scheme, but instead of just three axes, there are 50. And instead of each axis coding the amount of red, green or blue, each axes codes the amount of deviation of the shade or appearance of any given face from an average face. “It would seem then that the Jennifer Aniston cells do not exist, at least not in the IT cortex. But single neurons responding selectively to specific familiar individuals may still be at work in a part of the brain that processes the output of face cells. Memory storage regions—the hippocampus and surrounding areas—may contain cells that help a person recognize someone from past experience, akin to the famed grandmother cells. “Facial recognition in the IT cortex thus rests on a set of about 50 numbers in total that represents the measurement of a face along a set of axes. And the discovery of this extremely simple code for face identity has major implications for our understanding of visual object representation. It is possible that all of the IT cortex might be organized along the same principles governing the face-patch system, with clusters of neurons encoding different sets of axes to represent an object. We are now conducting experiments to test this idea [Tsao, Scientific American Feb. 2019, pg. 29].”

In the context of Peirce’s triadic model of semiological constructs, then, we can infer a suggestion that the neural processes with which any person achieves a sense of facial recognition actually has the potential to mediate semiological relationships holding between the way in which this form of image writing functions (as ‘something which appears in the place of another thing”), and the information it conveys about the world (as ‘the place of which the sign takes, for that person’). In the context of phonetic writing’s development in the Near East (as outlined by Schmandt-Besserat), we find a parallel contextual connection between the stabilization of image writing, in the form of conceptual composites, and personal identity.

When we are dealing with phonetically-based forms of writing, we invariably use spoken languages as the model upon which we base our understanding of how writing functions communicatively. With spoken languages, we are used to working with sound sequences, through which we learn how specific words designate particular things and concepts — in a word, here we work with the process of signification, whereby signifiers are paired with their signifieds (that which each word uniquely references). And though we might, because of this, imagine that our recognition of specific faces could be paired with specific neurons — individual neurons which are triggered to produce a state of conscious recognition unique to each individual encountered (and this was long thought to be the case) — we now know that this is not so: instead, facial recognition proceeds through a complex process involving multiple differentials of perceived contrast. In composing states of conscious recognition from a texture of multiple differential contrasts, the neurology of facial recognition functions in a way which is much more attuned to grammatological processes (which are primarily contextual in nature) than ones which are representationally semiological in nature.

Such insights afford us the opportunity to envision how the neural processes that underpin facial recognition could allow for the production of grammatological constructs which might derive from within a context of personal identity — without necessitating any recourse to the relational patterns inherent in the structure of phonetic speech. In a grammatological context, having the functionality of differential contrasts displace the semiological relationship of signification (signifier/ signified designations of word/object) opens the way for understanding how an image-based form of writing can function, without needing direct recourse to the semiological structures and meanings which characterize phonetic forms of speech-based writing. As Jacques Derrida notes:

“It is a question… of producing a new concept of writing. This concept can be called gram or différance. The play of differences supposes, in effect, syntheses and referrals which forbid at any moment, or in any sense, that a simple element be present in and of itself, referring only to itself. Whether in the order of the spoken or written discourse, no element can function as a sign without referring to another element which itself is not simply present. This interweaving results in each “element” – phoneme or grapheme – being constituted on the basis of the trace within it of the other elements of the chain or system. This interweaving, this textile, is the text produced only in the transformation of another text. Nothing, neither among the elements nor within the system, is anywhere ever simply present or absent. There are only, everywhere, differences and traces of traces. The gram, then, is the most general concept of semiology – which thus becomes grammatology – and it covers not only the field of writing in the restricted sense, but also the field of linguistics. The advantage of this concept – provided that it be surrounded by a certain interpretive context, for no more than any other conceptual element it does not signify, or suffice, by itself – is that in principle it neutralizes the phonologistic propensity of the “sign,” and in fact counterbalances it by liberating the entire scientific field of the “graphic substance” (history and systems of writing beyond the bounds of the West) whose interest is not minimal, but which so far has been left in the shadows of neglect.”

“The gram as différance, then is a structure and a movement no longer conceivable on the basis of the opposition presence/absence. Différance is the systematic play of differences, of the traces of differences of the spacing by means of which elements are related to each other [Derrida, Semiology and Grammatology: an interview with Julia Kristeva; in Positions, pgs 25-27].”

Derrida’s concept of writing, as a grammatological system of textured differences constituted by graphemic aspects such as spacing, is consistent with Doris Tsao’s findings regarding how the neurology of facial recognition functions. It is also entirely consistent with those aspects of anametric image writing through which variable grouping patterns are composed from differential image elements.

It would seem, then, that ascriptions of personal identity proved pivotal to the development of both phonetic writing in the Near East, and image writing in North America: in the first case, through speech patterns; and in the second, through processes of visual relation contextualized by facial recognition. In the Near East, symbols first began to represent the phonetic sounds of speech with respect to personal names; and in North America, we can see a similarly direct correlation: between ways in which the neurology that processes facial identity composes differential contrasts into the experience of recognition, and, the differential textures of image elements that compose grammatologically relevant grouping patterns within anametric image writing. And while such an occurrence within the development of anametric image writing is not as monumental as it proved to be for the evolution of phonetic writing in the Near East (a shift of comparable importance occurs elsewhere for image writing), such a parallel correlation does show that the stages through which writing as such developed are not necessarily exclusive to either — even when the actual manifestation of these stages remains unique in each case. It would seem that by following a process of ‘cognitive archaeology’, comparable stages in either instance for writing’s development can be uncovered.

With respect to any potentially grammatological organization of images, it is also of note that the neural underpinnings which process facial recognition are very closely associated with other aspects of cognition; and, that these processes certainly play an integral role in how any form of writing must function. In this, we can begin to see how a system of image writing might be able to function without any structural recourse to phonetically formed patterns of speech: the systemic nature of the neural processes involved in rendering sight integral to our experience of consciousness is fully capable of supplying the structure needed, in order to make a form of image writing functionally consistent across any number of people who might be inclined to use it:

“A final point of interest is the fact that neurons in the face patches are just a couple of synapses away from the medial temporal lobe (MTL; the hippocampus and surrounding cortex), where, in humans, neurons were found to encode concepts, responding in a very selective and abstract way to specific persons or places (Quian Quiroga et al., 2005). More recently, it was also shown that these neurons respond to related concepts, thus encoding meaningful associations in a high-dimensional cognitive space (De Falco et al., 2016). The encoding of such associations has been proposed to be the basis of declarative memory functions (Quian Quiroga, 2012), and compared to the coding showed by Chang and Tsao (2017), one can pose a fascinating question: how does the brain go from a perception-driven representation of features in the face patches to a memory-driven representation of concepts and their associations in the MTL? One possibility is that there is a fundamental difference between species or, alternatively, that such difference is given by the fact that, for humans, the faces of people we know (to which MTL neurons tend to respond) convey meaning with associated memories and emotions, compared to the ‘‘meaningless’’ faces that were used for these experiments with monkeys, with the former type of stimuli giving a representation (like the exemplar-based model) closer to the one found in the human MTL. Another more thrilling possibility is that the exquisite structure of the hippocampal formation—and particularly, the recurrent connectivity in area CA3—gives rise to a major change in the metric space and that such change provides in turn the substrate of two different, though intrinsically related, functions: perception and memory [Quiroga, How Do We Recognize a Face? pg. 976]”.

If we pause for a moment and consider where these considerations are leading us, we will find something truly momentous has occurred: rather than relying upon seemingly racist interpretations ingrained throughout archaeological records contextualized within a specifically Western European academic tradition, we are instead finding recourse to neurological studies which are demonstrably applicable to all humans, at any time in history. In this, we are given an excellent opportunity to inform First Nations narratives, in presenting their own history, with supplementary information drawn from clinical studies that have been undertaken within the auspices of established scientific methodologies. Instead of forcing First Nations narratives to conform with the dominant theories of Western European academic traditions found within archaeology and anthropology — or otherwise, to be excluded completely from any serious consideration as to their veracity — we can instead draw upon empiric data to establish verifiable aspects that appear as supportive of those narratives. Nowhere is this more apparent that in the possibilities presented here for freeing the image writing system that developed in North America from the dominance of interpretive methodologies developed within the context of those phonetic forms of writing that emerged in the Near East.

Making A Place for People

Introducing Conceptual Personae

In invoking both perception and memory, Quiroga locates such processes precisely where Peirce would have his ‘personal observer’ placed: in relation to the perception of a thing, and the semiological element that ‘occurs in the place of’ any such thing. In addition, when examining the role ascribed to personal identity by Schmandt-Besserat during the development of phonetic writing in the Near East, we also find an analogous role apparent within anametric image writing. In that we can now contextualize the role played by references to personal identity within anametric image writing through an understanding of how facial recognition is processed by the neurology of vision, we again find that we need not try to frame the functionality of anametric image writing in terms dictated by phonetic writing. Instead, we find that the role played by personal identity (as identifiable within anametric image writing) presents us with the opportunity to inform our understanding of this particular form of image writing, by drawing upon information established through clinical research into the neurological processes responsible for our experience of visual awareness as an aspect of consciousness. In that Quiroga notes, relative to facial processing neurology, the presence of neural processes nearby which are responsible for the formation of conceptual space; and given that Derrida has provided us with a description of the grammatological nature of image-based writing systems which is entirely consistent with the functional nature of facial recognition, as clinically demonstrated by Doris Tsao: we are justified in at least exploring how conceptual spaces and personal identity might coincide — an area investigated at length by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in the form of “conceptual personae” — and one which, once again, does not by any necessity involve invoking phonetic forms of writing:

"The conceptual persona and the plane of immanence presuppose each other. Sometimes the persona seems to precede the plane, sometimes to come after it - that is, it appears twice; it intervenes twice. On the one hand, it plunges into the chaos from which it extracts the determinations with which it produces the diagrammatic features of a plane of immanence: it is as if it seizes a handful of dice from chance-chaos so as to throw them on a table. On the other hand, the persona establishes a correspondence between each throw of the dice and the intensive features of a concept that will occupy this or that region of the table, as if the table were split according to combinations. Thus, the conceptual persona with its personalized features intervenes between chaos and the diagrammatic features of the plane of immanence and also between the plane and the intensive features of the concepts that happen to populate it : Igitur. Conceptual personae constitute points of view according to which each plane finds itself filled with concepts of the same group. Every thought is a Fiat, expressing a throw of the dice: constructivism. But this is a very complex game, because throwing involves infinite movements that are reversible and folded within each other, so that the consequences can only be produced at infinite speed by creating finite forms corresponding to the intensive ordinates of these movements: every concept is a combination that did not exist before. Concepts are not deduced from the plane. The conceptual persona is needed to create concepts on the plane, just as the plane itself needs to be laid out. But these two operations do not merge in the persona, which itself appears as a distinct operator."

"These are innumerable planes, each with a variable curve, and they group together or separate themselves according to the points of view constituted by personae." [Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, pages 75-76].

To clarify exactly what we are talking about here, and why it is so important to any study of anametric image writing: immanence is a temporal characteristic which describes that state of fusion in which the components of any concept are united. In this, we are brought back to Bergson's observations regarding the nature of duration as a non-numerical (anametric) multiplicity — a conceptual position consistent with Derrida's description of writing as grammatological in nature, and Tsao's findings regarding the role played by differential contrasts in facial recognition. One way to think about this is in terms of “event”: the sense of connectivity that unites disparate things regardless of their physical distance or sequential separation. For instance, to use an earlier example: each eye in the face of the Three Feather Chief is a differential image element that presents ‘something other in the place of’ each eye; but at the same time, each differential element is fused with — is immanent to — the eye from which it takes its position. At the same time, each image element is united with the other through positionally sharing the location of an eye within an identifiable face: the man with the upraised knife is connected to the mammoth, in that either is in a state of immanence with the position of the eyes they replace — placing both in a state of immanence with each other. The image elements serve as diagrammatic features, and are related to each other in sharing a plane of immanence: that is, the features can be grouped together as immanent to each other; and, such grouping is characterized (as are the fused components of any concept) by the infinite speed with which they appear together, as inseparably fused. When you think of any conceptual structure, you think of it all at once (in a survey of components that proceeds at infinite speed) regardless of how many components it might have; and in this way, the distinct image areas of the Three Feathers become fused into a signature motif which encompasses them all in one instant.

Such a state of immanence is the nature of the grouping patterns that differential image elements form as conceptual structures, analogous to the way in which the phonetic components of any word are fused together within the mind by the word’s meaning. But instead of semiological meaning based upon representational correspondence, such as characterizes phonetic writing, we are dealing with a grammatological functionality that composes grouping patterns from image elements — thereby directly constituting the formation of conceptual structures. In this, we already have much of what we need to begin understanding information conveyed through this form of image writing — information we can become party to across tens of thousands of years, and between linguistic groups that share no phonetic heritage in common. The commonality of those neural processes which inform our conscious awareness of vision can provide the necessary grammatological context which allows this form of image writing to function, in the absence of the shared linguistic heritages that phonetic writing demands in order to convey meaning.

In short: anametric image writing can convey ideas directly, as conceptual structures, without needing recourse to any shared linguistic heritage. Such determinations will prove pivotal for our understanding of how this form of image writing functions.

Defining Point-Of-View

We are still missing a step here, though: when Deleuze and Guattari mention that "Conceptual personae constitute points of view according to which each plane finds itself filled with concepts of the same group", we are brought tantalizingly close to the relationship holding between conceptual personae and positional localization, in terms of point-of-view. This is no minor step, as it would again place us firmly upon the ground of a philosophy which affords us the opportunity to view grouping patterns positionally, in terms of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. Through such a position, we might hope to also draw together the third term of Peirce’s idea of a triadic semiology, with the pivotal position played by personal identification which Schmandt-Besserat outlines in her assessment of phonetic writing’s development in the Near East; from there, we could then combine the two together under the rubric of conceptual personae as defined by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.

One particularly productive way forward within this context of personal identity is through reference to considerations explored by the 17th century German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. I will introduce here a lengthy passage by Gille Deleuze concerning ideas developed by Leibniz, because these ideas coincide with areas we are considering here — and they were developed to an incredible degree of logical consistency. To begin, we can note that Leibniz had a very particular notion concerning how each individual was constituted precisely by their point-of-view; and while we may not wish to assert such a position with reference to our own current beliefs, it is undeniable that this approach precisely expresses how we need to proceed when attempting to reconstitute conceptual personae capable of characterizing relationships between people from long ago and the world which once surrounded them, simply through reading examples of the image writing that they left behind:

"Each one, each subject, for each individual notion, each notion of subject has to encompass this totality of the world, express this total world, but from a certain point of view. And there begins a perspectivist philosophy. And it's not inconsiderable. You will tell me: what is more banal than the expression "a point of view"? “To create a theory of point of view, what does that imply? Could that be done at any time at all? Is it by chance that it's Leibniz who created the first great theory at a particular moment? At the moment in which the same Leibniz created a particularly fruitful chapter in geometry, called projective geometry. Is it by chance that it's out of an era in which are elaborated, in architecture as in painting, all sorts of techniques of perspective? We retain simply these two domains that symbolize that: architecture-painting and perspective in painting on one hand, and on the other hand, projective geometry. Understand what Leibniz wants to develop from them. He is going to say that each individual notion expresses the totality of the world, yes, but from a certain point of view.”

“What does that mean? Of so little import is it, banally, pre-philosophically, that it is henceforth as equally impossible for him to stop. That commits him to showing that what constitutes the individual notion as individual is point of view. And that therefore point of view is deeper that whosoever places himself there.”

“. . . What makes me = me is a point of view on the world. Leibniz cannot stop. He has to go all the way to a theory of point of view such that the subject is constituted by the point of view and not the point of view constituted by the subject. Fully into the nineteenth century, when Henry James renews the techniques of the novel through a perspectivism, through a mobilization of points of view, there too in James's works, it's not points of view that are explained by the subjects, it's the opposite, subjects that are explained through points of view. An analysis of points of view as sufficient reason of subjects, that's the sufficient reason of the subject. The individual notion is the point of view under which the individual expresses the world. It's beautiful and it's even poetic. James has sufficient techniques in order for there to be no subject; what becomes one subject or another is the one who is determined to be in a particular point of view. It's the point of view that explains the subject and not the opposite.”

“The analysis of points of view in mathematics -- and it's again Leibniz who caused this chapter of mathematics to make considerable progress under the name of analysis situs --, and it is evident that it is connected to projective geometry. There is a kind of essentiality, of objectity of the subject, and the objectity is the point of view. Concretely were everyone to express the world in his own point of view, what does that mean? Leibniz did not retreat from the strangest concepts. I can no longer say "from his own point of view." If I said "from his own point of view," I would make the point of view depend on a preceding subject, but it's the opposite. But what determines this point of view? Leibniz: understand, each of us expresses the totality of the world, only he expresses it in an obscure and confused way. Obscurely and confused means what in Leibniz's vocabulary? That means that the totality of the world is really in the individual, but in the form of minute perception. Minute perceptions. Is it by chance that Leibniz is one of the inventors of differential calculus? These are infinitely tiny perceptions, in other words, unconscious perceptions. I express everyone, but obscurely, confusedly, like a clamor.”

“Later we will see why this is linked to differential calculus, but notice that the minute perceptions of the unconscious are like differentials of consciousness, it's minute perceptions without consciousness. For conscious perceptions, Leibniz uses another word: apperception. Apperception, to perceive , is conscious perception, and minute perception is the differential of consciousness which is not given in consciousness. All individuals express the totality of the world obscurely and confusedly. So what distinguishes a point of view from another point of view? On the other hand, there is a small portion of the world that I express clearly and distinctly, and each subject, each individual has his/her own portion, but in what sense? In this very precise sense that this portion of the world that I express clearly and distinctly, all other subjects express it as well, but confusedly and obscurely.”

“What is it that determines the point of view? It's the proportion of the region of the world expressed clearly and distinctly by an individual in relation to the totality of the world expressed obscurely and confusedly. That's what point of view is.”

“Each individual notion has its point of view, that is from this point of view, it extracts from the aggregate of the world that it expresses a determined portion of clear and distinct expression. Given two individuals, you have two cases: either their zones do not communicate in the least, and create no symbols with one another -- there aren't merely direct communications, one can conceive of there being analogies -- and in that moment, they have nothing to say to each other; or it's like two circles that overlap: there is a little common zone, there we can do something together. Leibniz thus can say quite forcefully that no two individual substances have the same point of view or exactly the same clear and distinct zone of expression. And finally, Leibniz's stroke of genius: what will define the clear and distinct zone of expression that I have? I express the totality of the world, but I only express clearly and distinctly a reduced portion of it, a finite portion. What I express clearly and distinctly, Leibniz tells us, is what relates to my body. We will see what this body means, but what I express clearly and distinctly is that which affects my body.”

“OK, there are different points of view. These points of view preexist the subject who is placed there, good. In this event, the secret of point of view is mathematical, geometrical, and not psychological. It's at the least psycho-geometrical. Leibniz is a man of notions, not a man of psychology. But everything urges me to say that the city exists outside points of view. But in my story of expressed world, in the way we started off, the world has no existence outside the point of view that expresses it; the world does not exist in itself. The world is uniquely the common expressed of all individual substances, but the expressed does not exist outside that which expresses it. The world does not exist in itself, the world is uniquely the expressed. The entire world is contained in each individual notion, but it exists only in this inclusion. It has no existence outside. It's in this sense that Leibniz will be, and not incorrectly, on the side of the idealists: there is no world in itself, the world exists only in the individual substances that express it. It's the common expressed of all individual substances. It's the expressed of all individual substances, but the expressed does not exist outside the substances that express it.” [From: Charles J. Stivale's translation, of Richard Pinhas' transcription, of Gilles Deleuze's lecture series on Leibniz: Lecture One, 15/04/1980]."

Let’s see where these ideas take us, step by step; and let’s start by considering this statement made by Deleuze regarding Leibniz:

“The entire world is contained in each individual notion, but it exists only in this inclusion . . . there is no world in itself, the world exists only in the individual substances that express it. It's the common expressed of all individual substances. It's the expressed of all individual substances, but the expressed does not exist outside the substances that express it.”

At first glance, this approach seems to take us as far away from a scientific perspective as is possible, placing us instead in a realm where imagination alone holds sway. However, in truth, we must admit that in approaching examples of anametric image writing, we are beginning from a position in which we have no direct, empirical access to that world where and when these examples of image writing were created. Further, as far as truth is concerned within the sciences: only that which can be conclusively demonstrated — utilizing procedures which are repeatable by anyone — can be readily considered as fact proven beyond conjecture. What sense, then, does Leibniz leave us with here when confronted by a world we must say does not exist in itself? Precisely: we have the points-of-view held by those who produced examples of anametric image writing; we have those points-of-view that defined these writers of images, which determine them through the expression of those aspects of their world that they perceived clearly and distinctly. We can also say that any such aspects, in being perceived clearly and distinctly, formed within the conscious awareness of these individuals; and that these aspects formed from differentials of minute perceptions, as held relative to their world — which is to say, what we now would call the differential aspects of those non-conscious processes that constitutive (in the particular case we are interested in) the neurology of vision. We have access to the nature of 'minute perceptions', in the context of visual imagery, through clinical studies of the visual neurology shared by all people.

We can say something else as well, invoking insights afforded to us by Félix Guattari: whether or not we have access to the nature of those who produced anametric image writing, such that we can view each through Leibniz’s idea of “substance”, we can approach the creation of image writing examples as a process of “substantiation”; and in this, through the context of the production of stone tools, we are again engaging with processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization — relative to the surface of a mediating substrate for anametric image writing, yes, but still within a visual context.

Already, we are on solid footing here: it is logically consistent to say that a world now lost to us can be reconstituted, by way of relationships holding between what was expressed clearly and distinctly of that world, and, the non-conscious processes of visual neurology — which we necessarily share with those people from so long ago. We have already seen that such a perspectival position, produced through point-of-view as the individuality of personal identity, is indissolubly implicated in the creation of writing — and that this is true both of phonetic writing in the Near East, and image writing in North America. With regard to image writing, we saw how the semiological nature of differential image elements emerged with respect to personal identity, and did so precisely from those non-conscious processes through which facial recognition proceeds; and further, that the neurology of facial recognition functions by processing a multiplicity of differential contrasts — such as would constitute what Leibniz termed ‘minute perceptions’.

The direct implication here is that, starting from an understanding of the non-conscious processes that constitute our visual neurology, and proceeding through these processes by way of images that are composed clearly and distinctly, we can reconstruct the perspectival point-of-view once held by someone who produced image writing — and in doing so, we can have access to the nature of that world which they perceived clearly and distinctly. We can do this because we share with them the same non-conscious neural processes through which clear and distinct perceptions of their world were formed. From this starting position, we can then proceed to ascertain distinctly conceptual structures within image writing, simply by considering the grouping patterns formed from clearly and distinctly demarcated image elements. In effect, we are at this point working within what Deleuze and Guattari termed “geophilosophy”: the implication of conceptual personae in grouping patterns established through a recourse to immanence, as established by acts of deterritorialization and reterritorialization with respect to the world.

Although we do not have direct access to the world in which those who wrote using anametric image writing lived, we can discern ways in which the differential image elements they created group together as immanent with each other in composing conceptual structures. Again, we can discern something of these grouping patterns through clinical studies which document the non-conscious neural processes that inform vision in producing our visual sense of conscious awareness. This allows us to gain a sense of how these people from long ago placed themselves in relation to the world which surrounded them — even though we do not have direct access to the nature of how that world existed for people so long ago. What we can do is infer how the world in which these people lived was formative for their point-of-view; and in this, we can prescribe the relationships holding with that surrounding world, in terms of conceptual personae that are predicated upon functional interconnections between non-conscious neural processes and conscious awareness — connectivities that we can discern, determine, and define to then infer the nature of that world, from the lived experiences inscribed within anametric image writing.

What we are describing here is, in generalized terms, something encountered earlier with respect to the way in which differential image elements acquire a semiological character; what we are consistently finding as a defining factor in all of these considerations, is, “positional localization”. Given that the semiological nature of differential image elements seems to come from positional localization; and that this suggests the establishment of positional localization somehow precedes, and is possibly a requisite for, the semiological functioning of such differential image elements; and considering further, that positional localization is directly implicated in the formation of the grouping patterns found to be holding between diagrammatic features, as facilitated by non-conscious processes: throughout the various functional processes that facilitate the use of images as fundamental elements capable of forming a system of writing, we find that positional localization provides a principle of relational consistency — through a geophilosophy forming within a world which conceptual personae deterritorialize and reterritorialize, to a world which provides the points-of-view that determine the perspectival nature of conceptual personae. Positional localization appears in Derrida’s conception of a writing that is primarily grammatological in nature; positional localization supports the differential contrasts that Doris Tsao has shown determine facial recognition.

Positional localization, as a process, necessarily also occurs in differentials of perspectivism that present shifts in the plane of immanence, and so define variations in a point-of-view — that is, what comes into and moves out of clear and distinct awareness, and in doing so sets a differential context for the minute perceptions that come to define grouping patterns, derived as they are from sensory thresholds of resolution. Grouping patterns shift through changes in point-of-view; and in doing so, correspond to changes in the immanences that determine the differential nature of minute perceptions. This is another manifestation of positional localization; and it is one which reminds us that, it isn’t just any simple or singular perspective, that ends up defining a point-of-view, which determines the nature of the world embraced by the viewer; it is also shifts in perspective, differentials of perspective, disjunctions of perspective — in short, deterritorializations and reterritorializations relative to the world that in turn create differential shifts in point-of-view — that define the conceptual personae through which we gain a sense of the information conveyed through anametric image writing.

Placing People In Perspective

To conceptualize positional localization in terms of Leibniz’s perspectival point-of-view, we can refer to projective geometry to see how the way in which the world is oriented or configured relative to the viewer is the primary factor determining the the nature of positional localization, as defining point-of-view:

“The summit of a cone is a point of view because, according to projective geometry, it "is the condition under which we apprehend the group of varied forms or the series of curves", for example the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbole, that are derivable from one another by projection and section. It is in this way that a continuity has been constructed by means of the projective properties of the conic sections, and it is this very continuity that Deleuze maps onto the variable curvature represented by the point of inflection to determine the point of view of a monad [Duffy, Deleuze, Leibniz and Projective Geometry in the Fold, pg. 141].”

Let’s recall for a moment what Quiroga stated, in the context of facial recognition:

“Another more thrilling possibility is that the exquisite structure of the hippocampal formation—and particularly, the recurrent connectivity in area CA3—gives rise to a major change in the metric space and that such change provides in turn the substrate of two different, though intrinsically related, functions: perception and memory [Quiroga, How Do We Recognize a Face? pg. 976]”.

Very recent insights into the relationships holding between perception and memory now indicate that both are processed by the same sets of neurology — and that, to avoid confusing the two, perceptions are rotated by that neurology to become distinct as memories:

“The transformation of sensory information into a memory was facilitated by a combination of ‘stable’ neurons, which maintained their selectivity over time, and ‘switching’ neurons, which inverted their selectivity over time. Together, these neural responses rotated the population representation, transforming sensory inputs into memory. Theoretical modeling showed that this rotational dynamic is an efficient mechanism for generating orthogonal representations, thereby protecting memories from sensory interference [Libby, Buschman; Rotational dynamics reduce interference between sensory and memory representations, pg. 1].”

Such rotation is essentially definitional of what projective geometry is considered to be; and in this specific instance, that would in turn define the point-of-view for an individual as being relational between perception and memory — which is a perfectly reasonable expression of what makes each person’s identity different from any other. Contextualizing this particular manifestation of projective geometry to Leibniz, we would simply observe that the relationship between minute perceptions and apperception — that is, non-conscious neural processes and conscious awareness — will be the same for both perception and memory, with the stipulation that each instance is in fact a neural rotation of the other. Grouped together as “substance” by Leibniz, we can in turn consider the productive manifestation of these processes within anametric image writing in terms of “substantiation”.

Considering the potential importance of these insights, let’s see what kind of position we can circumscribe through a meta-critique of the material under discussion here, and in doing so examine the formation of conceptual personae as the positional localization of personal identity in point-of-view.

In effect, conceptual personae function as the constructive principles that inform specific relationships with the world. We know conceptual personae by the way in which they make apparent their relationships with the world, as evidenced by the processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization through which they assert their relationships with the world. In this, we must say that the world serves as the motivational factor which induces processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization — which in turn are characterized by the nature of the conceptual personae involved. As Deleuze and Guattari noted of geophilosophy, deterritorialization and reterritorialization revolve around each other, with neither claiming precedence over the other; similarly, we must say that conceptual personae and point-of-view presuppose each other, with neither appearing to the exclusion of the other.

We can discern information about these processes of territorialization, through the grouping patterns we find composing examples of anametric image writing.

We can establish a relationship between these grouping patterns and conceptual personae, through the perspectivism that defines each individual in terms of their point-of-view; and this in turn we can determine in terms of relationships holding between minute perceptions and apperceptions.

We can determine, from those aspects of the neurology of vision that constitute non-conscious processes, the functional nature of these minute perceptions; and we can determine the apperceptive nature of the conceptual personae in question, through reference to the relationships holding between perception and memory — relationships motivated by minute perceptions, which constitute the resolution thresholds that are encountered when mediating substrates are being assessed during their use in the production of anametric image writing examples — relationships that are incised onto the material substrates utilized for anametric image writing, through processes of substantiation.

We do not have direct access to the world which the people who created anametric image writing inhabited; but we can inferentially determine relationships they had with that world, through examining the grouping patterns of differential image elements they incised upon the examples of anametric image writing to which we have access.

Taken all together, then, we find that these considerations define an enviable position — one from which we are well positioned to propose an interpretive methodology capable of constructing a decidedly scientific approach toward linguistics (at least within the context which we are presently working).

Admittedly, we are working to reconstruct a world which no longer exists; but in engaging with such a perspectivism as Leibniz proposed, we are not at a loss as to how we might proceed. In finding that the world(s) we would reconstruct can be expressed through relationships holding between ‘minute perceptions’ (as non-conscious processes) and ‘apperception’ (as conscious awareness); and that, in the context of those neural processes which constitute vision, this is territory that is well documented by modern clinical studies, we must realize that there is no lack of accurate guidance to be found here.

In constituting the perspectival point-of-view which Leibniz outlines, we further find ourselves defining a position which Charles Sanders Peirce proposed as being integral to any assessment of linguistic function: that of an interpreter, who connects any semiological element with that which it ‘stands in the place of’. We have a more refined approach for determining such “standing in place” than Peirce had access to, for we can invoke the relationships holding between non-conscious processes and conscious perception here; and we can also draw upon such philosophic insights as are afforded by the work of Deleuze and Guattari. Through their explorations in post-structural philosophy, we can develop, refine and extend our understanding of the conceptual relationships established within anametric image writing, through a thorough assessment of those grouping patterns that are actively constituted from states of immanence, as they are instituted by the non-conscious neural processes which inform vision.

In Summary

We can determine specific processes of territorialization and deterritorialization which define relationships held by those conceptual personae who created the examples of anametric image writing we are now in a position to study; and in doing so, we are recreating (through perspectivism) aspects of the points-of-view from which these examples were created. In all of this, we have found an alternative to the shared, learned phonetic heritages that singularly inform meaning for distinct linguistic communities — and we have done so by way of our access to neural processes that have been scientifically documented and clinically demonstrated to be shared by all humans.

We can employ the phenomenological ‘conditions through which visual consciousness appears’ to reconstitute the conceptual structures that informed these examples of image writing; and we can do so by employing, in place of the phonetic meanings that inform speech, neurologically functional determinations that define vision.

Here, we can at least in part realize one of the goals of post-structural philosophy: creating a truly scientific approach to linguistics. In this, we are advancing toward an understanding of how empirical evidence, as direct experience of the world (implicating epistemological considerations regarding the conditions under which truth can be ascribed), can be formulated in such a way as to allow accurate information about experiences to be coherently transferred to others (demanding metaphysical determinations concerning theory construction), in the form of what Sartre referred to as “non-subjective transcendental fields” (of knowledge):

“What is a transcendental field? It can be distinguished from experience in that it doesn’t refer to an object or belong to a subject (empirical representation). It appears therefore as a pure stream of a-subjective consciousness, a prereflexive impersonal consciousness, a qualitative duration of consciousness without a self. It may seem curious that the transcendental be defined by such immediate givens: we will speak of a transcendental empiricism in contrast to everything that makes up the world of the subject and the object. There is something wild and powerful in this transcendental empiricism that is of course not the element of sensation (simple empiricism), for sensation is only a break within the flow of absolute consciousness. It is, rather, however close two sensations may be, a passage from one to the other as becoming, as increase or decrease in power (virtual quantity) [Deleuze, Pure Immanence, pg. 25].”

Writing constitutes a non-subjective transcendental field — as does any coherent way of systematically organizing knowledge so that it can be transferred or otherwise communicated beyond the direct experiences in which it arises. Conceptual personae are not subjectivities; point-of-view is not a subjective position when it is defined through perspective. Similarly, geometry is a non-subjective transcendental field precisely because its axioms do not rely upon any specific observer in order for them to be consistent, and true; and we can similarly construe an understanding of anametric image writing as such a non-subjective transcendental field, insofar as we are able to localize its functional nature within “a prereflexive impersonal consciousness” (such as is constituted by non-conscious neural processes, or “minute perceptions”) immersed within a world wherein deterritorializations and reterritorializations of conscious temporal interaction occur.