Subliminal Perceptions and Signs

Subliminal Perceptions and Signs

By Janpha Thadphoothon

All is perception. It hence follows that our perception is not direct. As a human being, we have been programmed by the environments as well as our genetic endowments. We humans have evolved a being of perceptions.

In semiotics, a sign is defined as “anything that communicates a meaning that is not the sign itself to the interpreter of the sign.” In other words, it is anything representing something else, meaningful for an individual based on his or her capacity. That’s what semiotics says. In my opinion, it is a rather crude definition. In psychology, they talk about stimuli – anything that stimulates one’s perceptive organs. A stimulus can be a picture, sound, or touch, or a taste.

Semioticians have not delved deeply into human physiology or how one’s body works, like psychologists do. They are more interested in language or symbols.

Are all of our perceptions occur in the brain (our head)?

In psychology, they even talk about the so-called ‘subliminal perception’. This refers to the moment an organism perceives an oncoming entity or matter. There must be a table of registration in our brain somewhere.

In Buddhism, this phenomenon is called ‘contact’ or Passa (in Pali). There are many contacts that are so feeble or subtle that one’s mind (perception capability) cannot register as being a contact. But once, it is perceived, it is perceived, the interpretation process is at work.

In order to appreciate this science, one must recognize and understand that fact that many psychologists believe in the existence of the subconscious mind. A subliminal perception operates at that level. A sound sent out may not be audible enough that the conscious mind might register it, but it is be audible enough for the subconscious mind. We may not be aware of the perception. This is how many advertisers influence our perception or how the media may operate.

A sign can be in a weak signal, sending out in a high-frequency mode, to capitalize the ability of our subconscious capacity.

There are occasions when our perceptions are at the subliminal level. Subliminal perceptions, also known as subliminal messages, are messages, either visual or auditory, that are presented just beyond the threshold of human perception.

Subliminal modality is a powerful strategy in many areas, including campaigning. An advertisement is a form of propaganda. We might have heard of the term ‘subliminal advertising’. What is it? Subliminal advertising tries to influence people without them being aware of it, for example by showing messages for such a short time that people read them without realizing that they have done so. What is subliminal is not recognized or understood by the conscious mind, but still having an influence on it. It works like magic, sometimes.

In healthcare, we have learned about the use of subliminal perceptions under different therapies – one of which is called ‘subliminal therapy.’ This is nothing new. Subliminal therapy started back in the early 1900’s. One of the first methods of subliminal suggestion used was called whisper therapy, in which a patient was whispered suggestions in hopes of subconsciously induce him/her for behavior improvement.

The point I would like to make here before we move on is this – signs need to be perceived by an agent before it can be called a sign – in other words – a signal becomes a sign the moment it is perceived by an agent. Sometimes, the perception is too weak for the conscious mind to register, but the subconscious mind is in operation.

That’s why a sign needs to have two components – the signifier and the signified. The process is the mental one. By this very definition, we can notice that any flash of thought running across our mind is also a sign or maybe a set of signs. After all, a sign does not have to be a thing.


How to Train a Chatbot

Are you thinking of creating a chatbot?

A chatbot is a robot that can talk like us humans. AI enables us to create more intelligent chatbots.

A chatbot or robot is a machine that can interact with users (humans) in a natural manner. A chatbot needs to be trained. This can be done based on the principle -many ways to say the same thing. The topic can be a single NP (e.g. discipline).

There are many different syntactic structure (forms) to make an inquiry.

English-X is a chatbot powered by Dialogflow.
  • Tell me about discipline.
    • discipline
    • Tell me about discipline.
      • discipline
    • Can you look up discipline?
      • discipline
    • I need to know about discipline.
      • discipline
    • I want to know about discipline.
      • discipline
    • What is discipline?
      • discipline
    • Where can I find out about discipline?
      • Discipline

Create a chatbot intent

In a software called Dialogflow, for example, you can learn how to train chatbots. One lesson is to create a lot of intents. An intent in Dialogflow captures a single kind of request and response interaction between your chatbot and your user.

For example, the following interaction is modeled as an intent:

  • User: “Hi, I want some information about the HR manual.”

This question activates the HR manual intent.

  • Chatbot: “OK, I’d be happy to help with that. What topic are you interested in?”

In ELT, we can conceptualize an intent as a combination of intention and topic. It is more helpful to think of a chat session as a social event involving not just questions and answers.

The Ontological Aspect of Nothingness – The only thing that eventually exists is not a thing?

The Ontological Aspect of Nothingness – when the only thing that eventually exists is not a thing.

Janpha Thadphoothon

Hello. This is Janpha Thadphoothon, an English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand. I am here writing an entry to my blog to share with you my thought and feelings on things that matter, I hope. Here I am in front of my laptop, trying to get something done first and share with you my thought.

There is one tiny issue I have been pondering upon for years, that is the issue of thing and concepts or ideas. This is, of course, not my own cosmic question. In fact, it has been posted and discussed over several millenniums.

The tiniest thing or matter we have been told is an atom – cannot be divided. Somehow, scientists got confused and say that there are more things tiniest than atoms. There are names I am not familiar with. Who knows, in the near future, they may discover smaller things, and the search continues. This seems endless.

Quantum theorists tell us that space is not really empty, it is full of virtual molecules. They are not a thing in our language. The concept of nothingness is related to the concept of being, an ontological issue.

Back to the point I have been discussing – the thing. The only thing that really exists is not a thing, but the story you are telling yourself.

An Acrostic Poem Based on Karfie’s Paws on my Keyboard

One may ask what an acrostic poem is. An acrostic poem is a poem where certain letters in each line spell out a word or phrase. For example, the word ‘CAT’ can be made into an acrostic poem as files:

CAT = Cute And Talented

I have composed many acrostic poems and found the experience to be delightful. It is a good way to learn English, too.

Karfie in the garden

While I was working on my laptop, Karfie came and stood on my keyboard . Her paws wrote a word ‘P4E747DYS’. I knew that the combination does not make sense, but we humans can help make the word (by Karfie) a meaningful one. Acrostics can be used to make it happen.

Below is the result of my acrostic effort to turn the code into the text.


P = People will fight
4= for
E = everything Not to get into a new Boing
During the COVID-19 crisis.
You know, no one wants to get

People will fight for everything not to have to get into a new Boeing 747 during the COVID-19 crisis. You know, no one want to get sick.

A haiku on a raining evening in Bangkok

I enjoy writing haiku poems. One reason is that haiku is short and you can kind of get it done in one sitting. Yet, good haikus are hard to compose.

If you want to try writing one, all you need is a pen or a pencil, but it helps to have a notebook or a piece of paper. You write three lines, and the first line you try to make it in 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5 – simple, really simple, isn’t it.

The second constraint is the theme, which has to be about seasons or weather.

Why? You may ask about this requirement. Well, it is about honoring the Japanese tradition. One man who came up with the idea of writing haiku poems was a Japanese poet and vagabond by the name of Basho. Who was he? Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) was a famous Japanese poet. He composed about 1000 haiku poems through the lifetime. He spent time traveling around Japan.

His writing “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” is the most famous haiku collection in Japan.

I just finished one – in fact, I was composing it while I was in a car, getting stuck in the jammed traffic of Bangkok.

Here it is:

A raining evening

Programming in a cafe

Traffic jammed outside

Creative Grammar

In this short note, I would like to explain what I mean by the term ‘Creative Grammar’. Some people argue that creativity and grammar are contradictory. Grammar is a set of rules, but creativity requires freedom and imagination. I would argue that creativity and grammar are supportive, complimentary, and are not contradictory.

Can grammar be creative?

When I say creative grammar, I mean the learning of grammar in creative manner, as opposed to a boring stuff. With creative writing, grammar can be fun and creative.

Time and Tide

There is a particular saying we all agree to be true, almost like a cliche, for some, that is, “Time and tide wait for no man”. If anything, the saying reminds us to start doing things we keep postponing, and to appreciate the certain amount of time we all have in the world. It defines the true essence of mankind, of what it is like to be mortal.

Often times, we throw AWAY OPPORTUNITIES IN LIFE, and waste time. We keep putting off deadlines and ignoring this limitation of time and the uncertainties of things. We, many a time, regret it afterwards .

When a river flows down the gulf , it rarely flows back to the mountain. Time is all the same. Life is just like that; it moves toward the future. The constraint of time makes life worth living. Life would be less beautiful if we are all immortal.

Realizing the constraint of time and the uncertainty of life we should spend our lives prudently and stay healthy. For me, I enjoy the moment when the sun is rising above the hill or the mountain range, sipping coffee and thinking about the wonderful nature and the place we are in the universe.

Challenges and Opportunities

Every challenge offers us some opportunities. It is said that wise people embrace difficulties with prudence and see opportunities. However, it is hard to overcome our own weaknesses, physical and psychological limitations. After all, we are far from perfect.

Uncertainties require determination.

One way to deal with problems is to remain positive. Staying positive, however hard it may be, requires moral and human support. We can bank on family and friends, including relatives from their support. Often times, we feel discouraged by their reactions and that’s fine. They too need our support. We need to support other people and be supported by them – the givers and the receivers.

In an attempt to overcome obstacles, we may upset some and we find it hard to please the majority. This is quite alright. If you are trying to please everybody, you will please none.

Form, Use, Function, and Meaning

If you are teaching English or learning it, chances are that you have, sooner or later, deal with the issues of language for, , language use, language functions, and the issues of meanings. These topics are fundamentals to language education and communication in general. In this short article, I would like to explain what they are and their relatedness .

Semantics is the study of meanings.

Firstly, let’s look into their definitions. Language form is the structures of the language, e.i. syntactic structures, For example, S + V2 + Object. Every language has its own grammatical rules, and there are rules universal to every language, for example, NP and VP.

Next, language use is when the language is put into use. Language use is related to language functions or the doing of the language.

Thirdly, the form cannot function on its own,; it must be accompanied by meaning. This is more like the inseparability of signifiers and their signifieds.

The relationship between forms and uses can be exemplified as follows. Let’s say that you want to tell someone that you love her. That’s the use of the language (function) – to tell someone that you love him or her. Now, let’s think about ways or language form, and you will see that there are many ways to say the same thing. Experts can tell you that there are more than ten ways to let someone how how much you care for him or her. Many language structures simply express the same pragmatic meaning. You may say “I love your or “I don’t want to live without you,” You will see that the two forms express the same function.

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