From: Peter Eyland (epe@newt.phys.unsw.edu.au)
Date: Mon Oct 21 1996 - 22:04:30 EDT

Thanks Wes for your input. You write with substance and imagination.

A word often has a cluster of various meanings associated with it and
these change with textual and temporal context. My interest in the word
*image* is that our present technological context has put unintended
meaning into past context.

Consider the history of the icon/image complex. The great debate that
split the Latin and Greek speaking churches (with apologies to Animal
Farm and anyone who takes unintended offense) was *two legs good,
three legs bad*. Thus *icon* drifted from statue to fairly flat in Gk/Rus
tradition. Then the Xerox Co in the 1950s invented the WIMP approach
to computing (Windows/ICON/Mouse/Pull-down menus), pushing
*icon* into symbol.

In the renaissance, optical images were shown to be illusions. They
are not reality, mere reflections (and refractions) of reality. There are
stories that certain New Guinea tribes could not interpret photographs,
and cats see the TV as mere wavering colours. Cinema images are
flickering illusions. Computer imagery is pixels, glyphs and morphing
(scheming?) leading to virtual reality. Political image can be
manufactured by PR firms.

Today the meaning of icon/image carries with it symbol/unreality. Thus
Jesus as the *image of God*, in temporal context, unconsciously implies
that he is the symbol and reflection of God. It implies that he is a mere
likeness and not a reality of personality and characteristics.


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