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The Pope sat on the Chair

The Pope as a difference machine / meme / algorithm / agent ...

One way to define your identity is to see it as the particular repertoire of your own affordances. Affordances are, in this sense, not just what you can - hypothetically - do, but also what you actually do, are capable of, and are willing to do. Affordances "are to be found ... not in you, or in your environment; they are created in the interaction between the two, and each interaction changes, at the least, the micro-environment". (See here for more detail).

So here are two Popes, who interpret the affordances of a chair quite differently. They both define themselves (and their office) by what they are capable of, and willing to do (or not to do) when 'the Pope sits on the chair'. They also define each other - and redefine the history and the politics of everything contained in the seemingly simple sentence "'The Pope sat on the chair", too. "Difference is our operating system" as they say in semiotics, and in Hastac

So too, the way you create and establish your online presence is a way of 'writing' or 'inscribing' your identity in cyberspace (or Vatican space, in this case).

The changes you make to your identity might depend on who others think you are (or should be) and/or on what (external) power and (inner) strength you have to make those changes. Its remarkable what affordances (for sitting in this case) you can create, if you put your mind to it.

The differences in the 'popes on seats' are detailed in a recent post in the Zim Catholic Times:


1. Changed the golden throne by a wooden chair... Something more appropriate for the disciple of a carpenter.

2. Discards the gold-embroidered red stole, Heir of the Roman Empire, and the red chasuble...

3. Uses same old black shoes, not the classic red ones.

4. Uses a plain metal cross, no rubies or diamonds.

5. His papal ring is silver, not gold.

6. Uses the same black pants under the cassock, to remind himself that he is a just another priest.

Have you discovered the 7th?

7. Removed the red carpet... He is not interested in fame and applause...

(Cross-posted to here ... )