We love a Semiotic world where images can have a variety of meanings and influences depending on the eye perceiving the message.  

We also live in a Semaphoric world where specific images have a specific, non-negotiable, meaning that cannot, and must not, be open to individual interpretation.  In the image below, those flags, in that exact position, mean “Romeo” or “R” and if you don’t understand that Semaphore, you are unable to communicate or be understood.

The problem in communicating with Semaphores and Semiotics is that we often — unwittingly, but lazily — turn Semaphores into Semiotics where meaning and intention can wilt and droop to the invoker’s fancy.

That dangerous presumption — that everything is open to interpretation and re-definition — is where we begin to crumble as a human dynasty.  
Semaphores are, and must always remain, indisputable human facts; while Semiotics can be factual or fanciful or fictionalized.
Semaphores and Semiotics are not synonymous — and the languid mind tends to blur the line between definition and function and blends those polar opposites into a single meaning that leads to a disastrous aftereffect. 


  1. i didn’t know there was a difference. what’s the bad that can happen

  2. arin —
    Semaphores are used on airline tarmacs and along train routes. Imagine if you’re flying the plant or the train conductor and you don’t see or fully comprehend the semaphores you’re seeing… because they mean a specific something and they are not open for personal interpretation.

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