SCUBA 2.0 RUN AWAY

Scuba diving is a relatively safe experience.  However, diving is not without peril. When thinking about trying scuba diving, being prepared to run, not walk, not swim, but run screaming. There are good reasons for your apprehension. Consider:

ruptured ear drums,

arterial gas embolism,

pulmonary barotrauma,

subcutaneous emphysema,

mediastinal emphysema,

pneumothorax,

suffocation,

drowning,

death,

and worse than death,

sharks.

If the list doesn’t look scary enough, try reading it out loud.

There are indeed monsters of the deep—sharks, octopus, barracuda, other divers, and especially yourself. However, these phenomena (from pneumothorax, to moray eels, to other divers) are signs perceived as “monsters.” That codification is more a social construction of reality, a products of an institutionalized intentionality. These creatures “reality” is much more complex. In fact, these monsters are such only in very rare conditions.  Today, we are cultivating the idea (at the denotative, connotative, and mythological and ideological levels) that sharks are beautiful creatures who, while being predators, mean no intentional harm to humans.  The most dangerous things under the sea is your imagination, and, worse, your  fear itself. As Frank Hebert (of Dune fame) said: “fear is the mind killer.”

Human creativity and consciousness excel at externalizing our fears, moving them from the immanent to the transcendent, projecting fears onto things that are real enough, but whose “reality” is forged in images and the Imaginary. So, real things are not the problem, at least, not as such.  It’s the signified not signifier (deSaussure), the plane of content and not the plane of expression that concerns (Hjemselev) us at this point.  It’s the significance, the conventions (which are, by definition, human constructions), that we ascribe to things that is truly at the heart of the matter.

My favorite example of human agency, and creating monsters, a political action for the purpose of entertainment, that don’t exist comes from one of the first movies actually shot underwater, “Beneath The Twelve Mile Reef.”

It’s easy to overlook human agency, and our fears projected on other things because we then must assume responsibility for our actions, ideal or real. Whether physical or psychological, communication mediates the out-there with the in here, and institutionalizes, even demonizes, things. as far as our study of communication is concerned, I find here that the immanent and transcendent create a binary, an opening into thought currently incomplete.

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