The premise of the Instrumentation language is that most common
words can be broken down into combinations of basic concepts or
'Types'. Here are a few simple examples from the 'Creation layer' of
a glyph, as shown in the image below.
An inner spoke, by itself, denotes the absolute of its 'Type'. Inner
spoke #7 means 'self' when plugged and 'not self' when unplugged.
The 'plug' is the triangle within the 'hub'. 'Unplugging the glyph'
means 'removing the triangle'.
Every unique combination of 'elements' (such as the inner spokes
above) within a glyph represents one or more words which can be
considered an amalgam of their Types, as shown below. Self plus time
is life. Self plus thought is mind. Self plus time plus thought is
agenda. Time plus thought is history.
Same Relationships for Visual Learners
For example, a 'record' is an Object
that involves both Thought
and Meaning. This is
illustrated with the blue spokes below. This can be a record of
anything. It can be written (a journal), visual (a picture or
movie), audible (a 'recording'), something else (telepathic
perhaps?) or some combination thereof. This image is taken from the
So where do these 'Types' come from?
The Types are taken from the I Ching or
"Book of Changes". The I Ching uses eight 'trigrams' to create 64
'hexagrams'. The trigrams represent eight universal criteria that
measure the rise and fall of individuals, institutions and events.
The hexagrams are traditionally used for meditation and fortune
The Way bears all things:
harmony nurtures them;
nature shapes them;
use completes them.
Each follows the Way and honors harmony,
not by law, but by being.
The Way bears, nurtures, shapes, completes,
shelters, comforts, and makes a home for them.
Bearing without possessing;
nurturing without taming;
shaping without forcing;
this is harmony.
-- Lao Tse, "Tao Te Ching"
The table below shows the eight trigram Types from the I Ching and
the derivative Types from each layer of the glyph that are used to
help specify terms. Instrumentation uses these Types to form
thoughts from inside to outside (or from initial Creation to
final Specification). The 'Ordinal State' column shows how
these Types align with the 'octants' of a glyph (as shown below the
The four layers of a glyph (as shown below) are inner spokes (term Creation), inner laths (term Description), outer spokes (term
Articulation) and outer
laths (term Specialization).
The outer laths are not used yet. The hub means 'true' when plugged
and 'false' when unplugged. The numbers show how the 'octants' (of
the glyph below) align with the Types listed in the table above.
Every unique combination of the elements of a glyph represents a
combination of Types which corresponds to a unique term. Many
simple terms (such as 'life') only require a Type or two from a single layer of the glyph to be
Description multiplies each 'basic'
noun into sixty-four related nouns and provides related
adjectives and adverbs. There is a tutorial on
Articulation supplies verb
conjugation (it turns 'eating' into 'I will eat') and also
supplies connecting words
such as 'and', 'inside' or 'because' . There is a tutorial
on verb formation here and a tutorial
on the rest of the Articulation terms here.
Negation makes a term into its opposite. 'happy' becomes 'not
The Description layer also provides common conversational phrases
such as "meet us at the usual place for drinks". This can reduce
"instant message" conversations to single glyphs.
The permutations of a single glyph can specify a total vocabulary of
over eight and a half billion
terms. Fortunately, you don't have to remember the locations of any
terms at all (or understand how a glyph works) because you can find
any term using the 'Search'
functions of the
Instrumentation smartphone application. Simplifying term 'Discovery' is one of the
major goals of this development project.
The I Ching Types (in the chart above) are the key to understanding
Learning Instrumentation isn't required to use the smartphone application, but it will
help you understand how (and why) the vocabulary was constructed
in the first place.
Once you see the way the octants (or trigrams) progress from one
Type to the next, it becomes apparent that they follow the ups and
downs of life. This, in turn, makes use of the language more of an
intuitive act than a mechanical process. The current prototype
vocabulary doesn't exhibit this intuition very well, but the
octant Types will endure when the basic vocabulary has been computer generated so learning them
now will still give you a leg up.
Below is the Instrumentation view of the fundamental Types. I
created this diagram while breaking the symbolism down so that I
could understand it. This
process consisted of making up the stories that the cycle tells in
several different perspectives.
However you do it, you need to feel the humors of the
Types as they race around their wheel. You need the info in the
other tutorials to use the
language (which is the best place to start), but you need to
understand the Types to truly understand the language. (and you
will be able to explain the I Ching, which is always handy)
There is a mystery,
ubiquitous and liquid,
the mother of nature.
It has no name, but I call it "the Way";
it has no limit, but I call it "limitless".
Being limitless, it flows away forever;
flowing away forever, it returns to my self:
the Way is limitless,
so nature is limitless,
so the world is limitless,
and so I am limitless.
For I am abstracted from the world,
the world from nature,
nature from the Way,
and the Way from what is beneath abstraction.
-- Lao Tse, "Tao Te Ching"
So that's the scoop. You can play with the game and then read the design
document if you want to know more. The design is not an easy read,
but it provides the essential details on the construction, structure
and strictures of the language. Personally, I would read the other tutorials first, but when you
are ready for the cannon origin story, the design
is the place to go.
I am indebted to Sonja Elen Kisa, the creator of the minimalist
Pona". Toki Pona was a great help to me in deciding what nouns
should provide the basic vocabulary for the Creation layer. Another
major influence was the classes and subdivisions of Roget's
Thesaurus by Dr. Peter Mark Roget. Finally the Apertium
translation system demonstrates that common 'structural' rules can
be applied to multiple languages.