Language is a social consensus
Language is determined by social consensus. We agree that the sounds “win-dow” are the apertures in the house you can see through, and “pa-per” is what you hold in your hands when reading. The sounds, in and of themselves, mean nothing. We have agreed, society has agreed, that these sounds have meaning and we are inoculated with this code from birth, by hearing our parents, our siblings and our world speak. We are both nurtured and trapped in the nexus of meaning.
Our perceptions of reality as well are controlled by social consensus, and our ultimate limitations are defined by it. In subtle and profound ways that involve complete immersion in a cultural and linguistic atmosphere, we receive and pass on the codes and definitions of so-called reality. Artists stretch those limits, tyrants and madmen break them, everyone else ignores them by living inside them.
You are too complex to understand yourself. It takes careful observation, and education, and reflection, and communication with others, just ...
When I design online ads for American Apparel, I almost always look for an angle that will provoke. Outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation all work equally well. Naturally, the sexy ones are probably those you remember most, but the formula worked for all types of images. Photos of kids dressed up like adults, dogs wearing clothes, ad copy that didn’t make any sense—all high-valence, viral images. If I could generate a reaction, I could propel the ad from being something I had to pay for people to see (by buying ad inventory) to something people would gladly post on the front page of their highly trafficked websites.