The ancestral environment is the ground state of information and reality and human beings have developed in it along with their abilities to read its signs. This ancestral environment of the human family was a world of predominantly natural information. This environment was profoundly coherent because of the regular interplay of signs and things. It shows how a certain order of signs and things makes for a coherent and well-articulated world; it also indicates that the economy of information depends on a certain character of reality, which can be neutrally called significant structure. The ancestral environment of the Salish was well-ordered and coherent because some natural signs stood as landmarks from among the inconspicuous and transitory signs of creeks, rocks, trees, and tracks. Conventional signs developed from the stationary and monumental to the mobile and instrumental and so became better signs.
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