Symbols at the Edge of Time


Symbols at the Edge of Time: This website is maintained as a communication vehicle for the Spring 2012 sabbatical research project by Prof. Ed Tywoniak of the Department of Communication at Saint Mary’s College of California, and is intended to provide a conceptual framework for understanding how we use symbolic abstractions to construct meaning.  Viewed through the combined lenses of Media Ecology and General Semantics, questions are raised as to the role of language in the construction of reality and the various ways we have historically attempted to understand grand cosmological questions through logos.  Drawing upon the combined disciplines of anthropology, psychology, semantics and linguistics to provide context – and using the theories of Alfred Korzybski, Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and Suzanne Langer for insight – this project is intended to offer a rich fabric of perspective to timeless questions concerning God, death, and creation, while simultaneously drawing upon contemporary views of reality as understood in the current age of networked digital technologies.  Particular focus will be on recent research into cosmology narratives among the Australian aboriginals and the historical distinctions of symbolic abstraction among oral and literate cultures – including the tensions that are raised as the ancient and the modern are thrown together in the Australian contemporary age.

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Br. Cal Cusack, FSC of the Lasallian Mentone Community in Melbourne, Australia for documents and insights relating to the Wirrimanu people and the Kukatja language.  Gracious acknowledgement of support for this project goes to the Office of Faculty Development and Steve Woolpert, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Saint Mary’s College of California, and the Foudy Foundation Faculty Research Fellowship.  Also, a special thanks goes to Brothers Dominic Berardelli, Dominic Ruegg, and Bernie Lococo of the Alememany Community at Saint Mary’s College of California; and the Christian Brothers Communities at Mentone (Melbourne), Bankstown (Sydney), and Logan (Brisbane).  Further thanks are extended to Br. Brendan Crowe (Melbourne), Trish Carroll (and her husband, Brian) and Br. John Cantwell of the Lasallian Office of Education (Melbourne); and Tracey Adams, Director of Boys Town (Brisbane).  Technical kudos to Nick Hooks for his management of this website. Finally, a sincere thanks goes to Ambassador Jeff Bleisch (U.S. Ambassador to Australia) and Prof. Hayden Ramsey (Assistant Vice-Provost, University of Notre Dame, Australia-Sydney) for their gracious hospitality.

Webmaster: This site is maintained by Nick Hooks, a research assistant in the Department of Communication at Saint Mary’s College of California, and currently studying at the University of Notre Dame – Sydney, Australia.

Contact: Nick Hooks <>