as a feeling of structural satisfaction

Malina Stefanova

We live in a political world that puzzles our logic: individual rights (UN Declaration on Human Rights) are proclaimed while ethnic groups are being protected by military forces. Ethnic minority¹s rights are already problems to many countries and the public stress has at present, as far as their wish to struggle for independence, much to do with the antiassimilation policy that is proclaimed by some international documents (Frame convention on minority rights, CE.) What is at the bottom of the ethnic wish for independence, not in poorly industrialised societies, but in leading ones as for instance Great Britain or Spain, where individual rights are so well publicly recognised? There is no doubt that science should find a satisfactory theoretical answer, no matter how long or difficult the the path towards it might turn to be. 1.Structural satisfaction feeling My thesis is that people who change citizenship or an ethnic group membership can experience some wrong feelings of oppression as a result of the difficulties they usually have with their self-identification, which in its turn puts obstacles in their path towards self-understanding1. Usually, people in both situations hesitate when they ought to choose out of two apparent alternatives concerning their belongings to different nationalities. Thus, I believe that any person can¹t feel better than in his own country, where he enjoys a special frame of mind due to his active participation in the public communicative process, where he starts to function consciously as a true dynamic element of the pyramidal structural web of his society. This frame of mind I call namely «a feeling of structural satisfaction». Under it we can understand a complex of psychological stability and cognitive conformity . Here is how I define it: «The Feeling of Structural Satisfaction is the contentment of the consciousness of a personality that emerges from the perception that one¹s own culture specifics are carefully protected by the state-institutional cover, while the state itself is also protected, on a higher structural level - that of the international (regional-, world-...) community». No doubt the process of individual transformation into a personality is carried out by acts of understanding and misunderstanding, and this comparatively long-term process is to some extend completed when the person is able to answer the question: «Who am I?,» pointing out features of his/her character (such as good, naïve, intelligent, etc.), and symbols of identification with groups he/she is affiliated with. The affiliation itself presumably includes the adoption, to a certain extent, of non-verbal ritualised habits that become his/her discernible communicative features for an external observer. In principle, he/she can be affiliated with any group, but in general he prefers institutionally recognised ones as part of his widely accepted and, thus socially protected, mode of stereotyped multi-level activity

2. The false oppression feeling
The process of self-understanding consists of series of evaluative acts, which might periodically undergo re-evaluation and re-idenification with new symbols, dependent on the tempo by which a given person reaches through his public behaviour, the general reasoning ability concerning the fundamental principles and consequences of Homo Sapiens interaction. All steps within it have to do directly or indirectly with the vision, as I believe, of the invisible construction of the social levels or, which is the same, with the cultural/state sub-structure implementation of smaller ones as well as with its own implementation within larger structures. The last says in a word, that it has to do with the vision of other states¹ acknowledgement of his/her/their state. What I mean here can be demonstrated by the Macedonian writer Mladen Serbinovski¹s, statement, concerning the difficulties of his national self-understanding: The terminological chaos is a true foster brother of macedonism.Very soon you could understand under the terms Macedonia, Macedonians, Macedonian language cheese.

By «Macedonia» the Greeks understand an ancient province, the Bulgarians ‹one of their regions predominantly populated by Bulgarians, we‹ our independent state. Under «Macedonians» the Greeks under-stand old tribes from the age of Alexander the Great, The Bulgarians ‹one of their ethnic groups. In Scopie‹ this notion is related to a separate nation with its language, history and culture. The Greeks understand Macedonian language as the name of an old language from the time of Alexander the Great, the Bulgarians ‹one of their dialects, for us‹ it is the name of the official language in the Republic of Macedonia» (Newspaper Litforum, 16-22.03.1999,Sofia)

If the person loses the above visions, I believe he might feel dissatisfied to a degree similar to suppression of mind and of development for which no one is practically to be blamed. In some cases, the person himself turns out to be in situation he is in, due to his own option for a new citizenship. Very soon, he understands in the new situation that to change citizenship is easy enough (in what has to do with the formal aspects of that transition), but changing his mother language, customs and habits takes an unexpectedly long time and seldom could be at all successful to the same master degree of a highest level that is specific for him in his native country. The same refers to any ethnic group that due to objective historical circumstances becomes victim of post-war or political treaties reshaping the former borderlines between neighbor states. No matter wether it becomes an officially recognised minority or not, the request for a good command of the official language remains, and is overcome as an exception by its members of the first generation. Moreover, the crucial point for self-identification becomes the discrepancy between the foreign citizenship and the gender line which seems for him of equal or even higher value.

3.Theory of culture dynamics
Since the definition of Feeling of Structural Satisfaction implements a vision of culture and state structures, a full of matter content analysis could be successful only on the background of a semiotic theory of culture dynamics.

We can proceed directly to present its concise form taking the non-semiotic term Public Agreement Treaty, which Jan-Jacques Rousseau laid down as a fundamental stone in his theory of the state sovereignty, as a starting point. In short, I suggest however, that from the viewpoint of the Theory of signs, the Public Agreement Treaty is (or could be interpreted as) a general silent consensus among all people in a given community concerning the rules of sign production, of sign consumption and of sign interpretation activities that they are taking part of within three types of market communicative spaces. They are as follows:

a) NON-LINGUISTIC market space (material)
b) LINGUISTIC market space (spiritual)
c) SEMI - LINGUISTIC. market spaces (social)

Those market communicative spaces roughly correspond to the so called material, spiritual and social spheres of Activity, which is as such always an evaluative (e.g. hierarchy-creating) one. Therefore, the term «market» used here in parallel with the term «communication» aims at underlining the fact that Homo Sa-piens¹ interaction is as such founded on a market dynamic principle, e.g. on the evaluative qualification activity by which the process of exchange among the people is taking place as everlasting cultural phenomena. In the meanwhile, an investigation that incorporates economics within culture as its subelement on, so to speak, «equal» basis with activities in two other spheres against which its proper place could be outlined.

Each one of the above spaces operates with numerous exchange objects (signs) on the background of which the circulation itself raises ONE of them to turn into a general mediator (GM). Thanks to it culture dynamics becomes possible at all. The role of the general mediator is to perform the convertion of any sign of a specific kind into a universally significant one, and vice versa. Thus, it equalizes conventionally (symbolically) both meanings for the need of public understanding (circulation) while sticking rigidly to the traditionally established and deeply respected transformation rules. To say it in other words, the important role of the general sing transformator (GM) is realized by the interpretation/evaluation acts that it introduces where necessary units of equal meaning replace non-comprehensible ones, that are acceptable for everybody. Therefore, the term «universal equivalent» seems to fit perfectly to it (GM) while evoking the idea of public sense (convention) agreement treaty among all people in a given community.

In short, there are three universal equivalents that are operating within the market spaces of culture taken as a properly organised dynamic entity whose triangular configuration could not be denied. Here they are:
a) the non-linguistic appraisive sign system (corresponding to «money» in the economics or material sphere), which with the help of the price dimension of different goods (emerging in the sphere of industry and of agriculture), thanks to the activity of the trader is maintaining the dynamics of the First market;
b) the sign appraisive system of everyday (universally understandable) language type, which by the aid of appraisive modes of signifying2 is evaluating/interpreting verbal and non-verbal specific messages (emerging in the sphere of art and science), thanks to the activity of the critic (narrator, interpreter, ideologist...) is maintaining the information dynamics of the Second market;
c) the semi-linguistic appraisive sing system (corresponding to non-verbal behaviour complexes, which I call «ritual symbols»), which by the help of the appraisive mode of signifying is evaluating the act of intemarrying or husband/wife exchange among different clans or families thanks to the activity of the best man (marshal, master of ceremonies) or the clerk (priest) is maintaining the ritual symbol dynamics of the Third market. On the background of the rich diversity of new signs involved in the circulation process, the universal equivalent sign systems differ strongly in what concerns the long term existence of its elements , so to say their meaning invariability, their immutability.

The structure of each communicative/market space is homogenous (homological) to the rest of them due to the function of the well-known three communicative roles.
a) the sign producer ( seller, speaker, clan donor);
b) the sign consumer ( buyer, listener, clan receiver) and
c) the sign mediator (trader, critic, best man or priest, marshal).

What impresses here is the fact that the same semiotic actions performed in each one of those different communicative spaces have different actors¹ names (speaker, seller, clan donor). We can suspect here that certain structurally based relations seem to lie at the root of language identifications of properties, qualities and functions known as metaphors. If this is so, the structural homology seems to provide due rights or all the conditions for finding /building metaphorical expressions like the following ones: «The interpreter is a trader», «The listener buys (information)», «The speaker is a seller». Or sayings like the Bulgarian: «Go to buy as much as you can!» in the sense of «Go to lean (by watching & listening carefully) as much as you can!»

4. Culture as structure
Culture becomes a dynamic whole at the moment when the three market spaces become elements of its triadic structure or when the interaction among the elements comes into being as an entity that encompasses three pairs3. This means that culture starts existing with the emergence of the third market. This was the moment when the incest taboo was linguistically introduced into a Homo Sapiens group that gave way to tribe-clan structuralization. As a consequence, the act of marriage as mutual gifting between different clans or, which is the same, the exchange of children of different sexes among clans, generally mediated by ritual symbols, turned into the most important missing element of the mechanism of cultural dynamics to be set in motion. That act uniting two families becomes religion (relegate to unite), sacral event in need of ritual symbolic units of production and reproduction for its accomplishment.

Hence, the totality of the sign sphere springs up almost at once demonstrating the magic capacity of things, phenomena and people to attain sign properties. Comparatively, within a extremely short time:

a) the non-linguistic appraisal system (money) started functioning as a formal measurer of goods¹ importance to human existance, that is, it becomes a valuable universal system;
b) the linguistic appraisive messages acquire meaning significance , while
c) the ritual symbols become sensitive and reasonably stereotyped deeds.

At the same time, the individuals on their part became somehow automatically involved into the business, into the interpretation and into the ritualisation activities as:
a) collective communicators,
b) individual communicators,
c) signs that serve the communication among groups.

5. The hierarchical order of cultures¹ values
Playing their triple communicative role in the culture dynamic process, people became in a definite moment conscious of their interaction as something that binds them in a hierarchically constructed social network, thanks the major work of acts of translation (transforming/interpreting...) of signs, acts where the universal equivalents become the outstanding ruling powers. This is to say that they have already intuitively grasped the fundamental importance of their strong/deep groups¹ attaching/uniting capacity which enables them to operate objectively, and be considered therefore, as the main values of their society.

Whenever three systems are brought into interaction as are the general mediators on (the next/a higher) communicative level, they use to transform one into another, hence arranging themselves hierarchically. As a result of that, the ritual symbols obtain the top position of the third party while the linguistic and the non-linguistic general mediators take respectively that of the middle and of the last ones. Therefore, the converted order where the third one reveals to be first with respect to the regulation of the tempo, while the first one turns out to be last, seems peculiar for ranks as level organisation springing from the almighty configuration ‹the triangular form of semiotic triad.

The people use to get from the mental picture provided by the sign transformation-evaluation acts actively participating in. It is the authentic fact that the last could be put into practice through/by ONE and always ONLY ONE general mediator within each market space. This makes them perceive any one of these also as space dynamic boundaries that should never be opened up for the benefit of the preservation of culture¹s triadic structure. In a word, only three different general mediating sign systems are authorised by semioses itself to compete among themselves within the market space of culture. If the above is true, it seems quite unreasonable if (neglecting the objective rules of sign circulation process) anyone (group, government, institution) would start supporting wrong ideas concerning simultaneous use of a more than one general mediator. No doubt that the outcome of their competition in practice shall be decided sooner or later by the silent elimination of that one which has not gained enough support according to peoples¹ preferences. For it is the principle of hierarchy that provides only one top place for the winner - the Thirdness. If we follow Ch.Pierce, competence thirdness is namely all potential, while the triad is almighty - everythings springs from it.

Or in other words, any SECOND sign system could not function normally in parallel to the culturally established and officially proclaimed one (e.g. in parallel to money, language , or ritual symbols & religion) in every concrete space but as disuniting means or a destructive force. Instead of ensuring social integration, it operates as a tool able to capsulate in a separate community those who have tried to use it longer. If this is so, and the practice have proven it as well (,albanzi I bulgari) semiotics should not keep silent if native or international politicians are launching somehow false ideas for the introduction of more than one official language in a community considered wrongly as feature of social tolerance. An introduction of such a kind should be equivalent to introducing a second government or splitting the ruling power. For the act of proclamation of official language bears in itself the presumption of a variety of dialects in the background and foreign (ev. minorities¹) languages whose power duty purpose is ruling the community e.g keeping the individuals well incorporated within culture three levelled organism as own dynamic elements. Therefore there is no theoretical ground for accepting the idea, that in one and the same community the centrifugal force of the official languages will not be able to overcome the centripetal force of money, keeping in mind what have been stated above regarding their natural hierarchy order.

6. State - the self-reflecting culture
We assume further that the moment culture becomes a self-reflecting phenomena at a certain stage of its evolution, it develops as a state. That stage aims to reconfirm on a higher structural plain the due importance of the main partnering roles of the mediators that fit here by their own right in the image of : a bank, a library (as ideological institution), a church. On the other hand by imposing written laws on its citizens, and thus reconfirming also the main rules that regulate the markets¹ activities so far preserved by the oral instructions of culture: Do not steal, ! Do not lie!, Do not commit adultery! So far the law system in any state reflects the state¹s selfconsciousness e.g. the degree to which culture gained an intim knowledge of its own deferent specifics concerning all habits, religious rituals, linguistic behaviour and economic temporithmic preferences of its people.

The state introduces so to say new - forth and fifth - levels of structure through different institutions¹ network (political, military, court, administrative, cultural ( bank, library, church) with the aim to protect the specific harmonisation of markets. The letter¹s other image is that of the established proportions among the three equivalents as major tempo developing regulating systems. It is state¹s care not to allow any one of them with unexpected velocity to overpass the others so that relation between the non-linguistic (money) quantity in circulation surpasses that of the linguistic ones (words) in use and that the one of ritual symbols in practice will remain as long as it is possible. Harmonisation as a notion bears in itself not only the idea of a dynamic balance but of management concerning the tempo-rithm of development which in its end aims at the differentiation from other managed cultures.

Representing culture in its self-reflecting stage of development (Koch mirror) the state identifies itself with:
a) its main duty of controlling culture hierarchical order among the main universal equivalents - the culture dynamic mechanism.
b) to act as sovereign (independent, self-sufficient) collective communicator on super structural (states¹ regional & world community) levels

Therefore it seems that the culture of any ethnic community is theoretically able to give path to a structuralisation in both opposite directions - upwards to bigger structures and downwards to smaller ones which use to become more deferential while the ethnic culture level turns into a core of the whole. It can¹t be but natural that the identification symbols of the state as self sufficient communicator should need symbols for each of its recognised levels to present them in diverse cases of identification need. As has been shown, the state identity has hierarchical structure which is strongly bound with the idea of a whole. Therefore the symbols that represent the state as such whole are as it follows: ONE NAME (one term), ONE FLAG (one territory), ONE STATE COAT OF ARMS (one sauvereign, one king = one system of law).

Closely behind come the three main symbols of different activities as subelements of culture¹s entity of non-reflexive kind:
a) For the semi-linguistic space activity- the symbol of the official religion ( a cross, a half moon, a God image) coinciding with ethnic (blood) line that might be symbolised by a mythical image of a hero or his properties, battles, dignity.
b) For the linguistic space activity - the symbol of the official language (a national alphabet)
c) For the non-linguistic space activity - the symbol of the national currency unit ( a nickel ($, L), a banknote, historically: a skin of a marten, shell, stone).

The order of the spaces shows the third level as inner strata of culture It cant be but even more natural that the individual, belonging by blood origin to an ethnic society which practically has organised the state, by proclaiming one religion as official symbol of the rituals and stereotype system, one dialect as official language and one currency unit, borrows those symbols for its own personal identification before the world. That is profound unconscious cognitive grounds make him accept them as unseparable of his ego or so firmly bound with them that their substitution is taken as absolutely reasonable. But even more - his status within both his natural and cultural surroundings provides the thoroughness of his structural satisfaction feeling that he turns out psychologically stable and joyful living in his mono-ethnical country duly recognised by the espective countries.

Because ON EVERY LEVEL OF HIS ENVIRONMENT HE IS ABLE TO DISCERN THROUGH HIS SIGN EXCHANGE ALWAYS THE THREE ELEMENT FIGURE which make him feel certain that everything in the world has been constructed according to ONE SCHEME implemented so deeply that no one can ever directly observe it. Such person has no hesitations, neither in his logic nor with his structural pattern of identification, and like the young man from Serbia states firmly: «I am a Serbian. Kosovo is my Holy Land and I can die for it!»

Totally different seems the situation with a person that has changed his citizenship and his language, but still follows the ceremonial calendar apart from his newly accepted community. He NEVER FEELS CERTAIN about his true affiliation, and although he is ready to enjoy any privileges both (former and new) nations are able to offer him, he is unfortunately not ready to offer the dearest - his life to them. This does not mean that he has no wish to gain it or to make his best efforts for obtaining it.

As emigrant or a citizen of an empire state,( a state that encompasses different ethnic peoples4), he as active participant predominantly and usually in the non-linguistic market space, he easy and rapidly can identify himself only with two symbols-: with the national flag of his new state and with the money unit - the formal measurer of goods¹value. So to say, with the top and bottom symbols of the individual identification configuration. No wander that due to obvious discrepancy of the inner part between the two of them he is suffering a sort of structural insufficiency. He feels truly uncomfortable or suppressed until...he decides to accept full assimilation and after some time to start considering himself native or almost native within his new community. The moment his works of art or science , his styled business support in parallel with his everyday habits become harmonious with his new language style and become recognised by the true natives as well, he could feel no longer a stranger. The same applies an ethnic group: it can prefere either full assimilation or capsulate, preserving its original way of thinking and perceiving the world by concentrating his attention on its own language and rituals.

As concern a person belonging to an ethnic minority, which has never had its own state, the wish to gain a structural satisfaction feeling might produce, I believe, either full adopt of the above foreign assimilation or alternatively a strong will for gaining independence. His basic motivation lies properly in the conviction that in principle any ethnic group depending on its size and political wish of its state and international recognition help is able to undergo structural accomplishment by building its own state, empowering a dialect as an official language and involving non-linguistic (monetary) system (even by borrowing a foreign one) declaring one religion as official and setting up due institutions on them.

Would you mind if I will stop here to give you the flour for the true conclusions of what I have up to now argue?

When we take into account that the official language, which is spoken within a national state and in which all public law documents are pu-blished, represents the universal means of communication in just the same way as the national currency unit within the economic sphere becomes clear enough that the ignorance of that language, sentences the person neglecting it to an outsider position referring the information flow. Respectively, it takes him out of the local power structures regardless of his intellectual capacities. Undoubtedly and surely that splits him from the majority of people who are taking decisions (on his behalf) affecting his family life. In mental aspect he becomes disintegrated from the community if he does not share the religious life of his fellow -citizens by which all of them join the basic moral stereotypes of behaviour which provide each opportunity for peaceful and comfortable existence. Therefore since ancient times the process of assimilation, which means equalisation, has been considered the only trustful path towards a real ,non-ephemeral integration with the individuals belonging to the major part of the nation in which he lives. In that sense namely any international document that does not support the assimilation policy is supporting silently the disintegration and the potential ethnic or minority will for national self determination. No matter how many languages have been proclaimed as official ones, that which will impose itself gaining high popularity is sure to grant the people who speak it as mother language exclusive privileges. At the same time the rest of the people will start feel more or less oppressed. No democratic law or system of laws will ever be able to weaken the hidden feeling of suppression and as a result the longing for the days when their language had or will have the status of officially supported sign system. Because the language together with our ritual symbols is a mediator in the economic exchange and therefore has a direct influence on money circulation process. Its dynamics objectively turns the minority problems into economical or political.

The above discussed problems actually concern structural regularities which result from the process of communication and can¹t be governed by fake laws. The objective circumstances for individual or group identification through the custom-religious system, language, money, and the particulars for each ethnicity structural co-ordination, are firmly bound with the existence of a self-determined state . Under insufficient identification conditions, in the case when a given ethnicity does not have its own state and respective money system it can¹t be said that the ethnicity doesn¹t suffer from the lack of structural completness or reliable state protection of ethnic specificity. The destiny of those ethnicities has always been to enclose themselves either increasing or decreasing in number. Nevertheless they have always strive after preserving their cultural identification.

Malina Stefanova
Sofías University

Notes 1 On the Bulgarian-Turkish borderline region (many times islamised, Christianized and reislamized) a young man is asking: Who am I? Why I am kneeling before Allah in the morning and in the night to Jesus Christ? Why my name is Ali when I meet Turkish speaking people and Laser when I meet Bulgarians?
2 According Ch. Morris «It is believed that such signs as ³good²,³better², ³best²,bad²,²worst² operate at the human level as fairly well-differentiated appraisors. Many signs which are designative also a recognisable appraise element such as ³honest², ³Thief², ³coward², or ³inconsiderate². And appraisive signs are frequently prescriptive. (Ch.Morris (1971).Writings on the General Theory of Signs ,Mouton The Hague,Paris , p.157) Our theory takes as basic another statement of him: «Anything which may be signified at all may be appraisingly signified, whether it be an object, an organism, a relational complex, a prescription, a statement, or even an appraisal itself»-ibid. p.160-161.
3 If Thriad consists of three pairs - as Ch.Pierce has stated, it could not be but a configuration which looks like any figure of a triangle.
4 the number of population should be but is not the ultimate criteria for recognition of any ethnic group as people.