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Why We Defend Language

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posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 04:34 PM
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Why We Defend Language




At some point in the distant past we evolved to become speaking animals. This capacity, and the ability to express infinite possibility from finite means by way of articulated sounds and symbols, is what ultimately sent us on a course beyond our fellow creatures. Since then Language has become so intertwined in human affairs that it’s epiphenomena, the artifacts remaining in the wake of this capacity, now serve as the measure of human progress even if humans have hardly evolved since we first started speaking.

It is the reason we revere one symbol yet fear and censor another, where we record and proclaim every thought and misapprehension from which every religion, myth and story finds their embodiment in our eyes—“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”—in words.

Every meme, and thus every God, every superstition, every myth, must necessarily pass from one human to the next by way of expression, or it is lost forever. It fears us to know that gods and devils have never existed beyond the meaning and syntax of our language. In this sense we are Genesis, Logos and Revelation all at once, because it was always from the minds and mouths of men where these words found meaning. The gods, whom are presumed to be eternally powerful, are infinitely weaker than us in this and every respect. We possess the very breath that gives them articulation, body, life, and it is in our silence or forgetfulness we bring them death. How powerful we are, but then again, how fearful we are of this power.

It is also in words where we find every law, every constitution, every commandment, and every decree. It contains our old and newest testaments. It is how we share ourselves, explain ourselves, and learn of the inner lives of others. If not our first, it is at least our oldest surviving technology. Even the unwritten rules are, eventually, written.

Language as art; Language as religion; Language as politics; Language as science. It is for trade and promotion as it is for calculation and inquiry. If it is not to speak about the world accurately, it is to speak about the world beautifully, or to let the poets do both. Maybe, like Halfdan’s runes, we can find our own marks on it.

And all we can do as otherwise feeble animals is carry these Gods with us, imprisoned in our books, songs and epics, only to let them out to run around every now and then. Our affairs are engraved in stone and tablet, scribed on papyrus or parchment for the sake of posterity, and nothing more.

But we should observe the extent of this grand artifact in abstracto—that is, read it, listen to it, make sense of all of it as the sum total of human expression, then finally, label it “human history”—then imagine one word of it gone, stolen, or destroyed, because someone could not bear to look at it. What then?

We might imagine a world where De Rerum Natura, Lucretius’ precious poem, was never rediscovered in the 15th century after all but disappearing from knowledge. How might this have altered the work of Machiavelli, Molière, Jefferson, or Bacon, if they were denied the opportunity to read it? What might have happened to the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, or the Enlightenment, had this one poem remained dormant, untranslated, and collecting dust in some monastery?

The chance that we might know more or less about human history and thought is as delicate as the Herculaneum papyri. Countless attempts have been made to unroll these ancient scrolls, buried as they were beneath a mountain of ash, but with disastrous results. When they crumbled into dust, so to did the voices of ancient people along with whatever chance we had of knowing them. The loss of medium, the words, is the loss of their message, and ultimately ours. We might all be Epicureans if it had turned out otherwise.

But again, the sum of our history depends on how we approach this edifice, our Tower of Babel: whether to build upon it, let it grow, or in the case of the censors, to destroy and suppress its movement. Should we gaze upon it with wonder, or like them, with fear? Do we trust Truth enough to let her decide what does and does not belong, or do we trust the fearful and solipsistic men, whom for the most part cannot see more than five steps ahead of themselves, to decide history’s fate for us?

That is where the men who sanctified only one book went wrong. They did not sanctify all books, all words, nor the beings that made them. In so doing they grew fearful and superstitious of anything that dissented. They saw certain combinations of articulated sounds and marks in stone as more dangerous, more ugly, more fearful than the next.

I cannot think of one good thing that has come from censorship. How could we know, when that very knowledge was silenced and stolen? But what comes from the ashes of their burning is Inquisition and Holocaust.

That’s why we should not envy the censors among us. Their actions against speech and thought, however small they may seem today, will reverberate throughout history and testify to their madness. Their shame will be forever tied to whatever they stole, and the lives they stole them from.

We defend language because there are those who would destroy it, form it in their own likeness and for personal gain. We defend language because these thieves rob the past of its thoughts, the present of its voice, and the future of its memory.

-LesMis





edit on 6-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 04:46 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

"The gods, whom are presumed to be eternally powerful, are infinitely weaker than us in this and every respect. We possess the very breath that gives them articulation, body, life, and it is in our silence or forgetfulness we bring them death. How powerful we are, but then again, how fearful we are of this power."

Yes, words and ideas rely on us to bring them into existence... but do not presume to think this makes us more powerful. You said it yourself: "At some point in the distant past we evolved to become speaking animals. This capacity, and the ability to express infinite possibility from finite means by way of articulated sounds and symbols, is what ultimately sent us on a course beyond our fellow creatures."

How quickly you forget the very things which these words give us to claim that we are more powerful than they. Make no mistake, they depend on us for our breath, and our actions to bring them into being: but we need them to be, need them for progress and communication, and ultimately civilization itself. Man can hold his breath and in so doing deny these "god" as you call them, life, but in doing so he consign himself to a life worse than death: for he should be estranged from his brethren and from his own mind; neither able to speak nor write nor even think, all in the effort to prove superiority over these "gods".

No higher fool than is he! Our relationship with words is symbiotic: we give them life, and they give us meaning.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 04:57 PM
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a reply to: LucidWarrior

Name one thing a word has given you that you haven't given yourself.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:00 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I was imagining this post to be more than rhetoric, perhaps an explanation of why we hold a particular language dear and separate. But pleasantly surprised I am.

Personally I hold language dear to my heart because language is history, it shows influence and fluidity. It constantly evolves and teaches us that we must constantly evolve...yet remain cognizant of our roots but not become stagnant.

The idea of free speech is a clever two sided one. I would not wish to squelch those with ideas counter to mine, however I will feel free to point out the flaws in their logic, as they should feel free to point out the flaws in mine. Therefore if you say something with which I disagree, I will disagree. It is this that makes compromise possible. And compromise is the basic premise of a republic, is it not?



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:09 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

For real dude?

From YOUR op, I don't even need to reach for any new words here:
"It is how we share ourselves, explain ourselves, and learn of the inner lives of others."

Just for s&g however...

I haven't given myself anything... can't give myself anything. This body, my voice... these things were given to me through no power of my own. The words that I find, even these I am typing now, give me the ability to express, to reason, to learn and grow.

I have a question for ya, man.

You write all these threads about words and their importance and value. But you take every chance you get to denounce them, to defame them, to strip from them everything that you can... using words.

My question is, why? Why do you care about words so much if you truly believe that they are worthless and can do 'nothing I couldn't do for myself'?



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:18 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: LucidWarrior

Name one thing a word has given you that you haven't given yourself.


How about Meaning?

Yah, yah, thats what I mean.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:22 PM
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a reply to: LucidWarrior




For real dude?

From YOUR op, I don't even need to reach for any new words here:
"It is how we share ourselves, explain ourselves, and learn of the inner lives of others."

Just for s&g however...


You should reach for new words, because those words explain how we do it for ourselves, how we use language for our benefit. They surely say nothing about how words are more powerful than us.




I have a question for ya, man.

You write all these threads about words and their importance and value. But you take every chance you get to denounce them, to defame them, to strip from them everything that you can... using words.

My question is, why? Why do you care about words so much if you truly believe that they are worthless and can do 'nothing I couldn't do for myself'?


I never mentioned any such nonsense in any of my threads, and you are misrepresenting my views. Most of my threads about the topic of words and speech are aimed at explaining why we shouldn't fear words and speech, why we shouldn't ban or censor words and speech, and why we should in fact defend and love words and speech.

edit on 6-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:23 PM
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a reply to: intrptr




How about Meaning?

Yah, yah, thats what I mean.


We give the words meaning.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:26 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Hahaha, duuude... if you really want an explanation of what words can give us... click on my profile, and click on ANY of my threads... I dare ya. But, you wont.. XD

Just like I'm not gonna say anything further in here... we've been at this before in a few of your other threads



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:30 PM
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a reply to: LucidWarrior




Hahaha, duuude... if you really want an explanation of what words can give us... click on my profile, and click on ANY of my threads... I dare ya. But, you wont.. XD

Just like I'm not gonna say anything further in here... we've been at this before in a few of your other threads


I don't need any explanation. Take care.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 05:45 PM
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a reply to: kelbtalfenek




The idea of free speech is a clever two sided one. I would not wish to squelch those with ideas counter to mine, however I will feel free to point out the flaws in their logic, as they should feel free to point out the flaws in mine. Therefore if you say something with which I disagree, I will disagree. It is this that makes compromise possible. And compromise is the basic premise of a republic, is it not?


That's exactly right.

Free speech is simply the belief that we shouldn't censor anyone, that we should never coerce, force or threaten anyone to speak or think a certain way. We can, however, appeal to their reason, to the truth, and in that sense teach and learn from one another.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 07:15 PM
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Today's left is entirely built upon the abuse and restructuring of language, weaponizing it to shame, blame and intimidate. A whole arsenal of words ending in -ist or -phobic that have paved the way for their ideology to take hold. People may think terms like "social justice" and "anti-semitism" are new but they've been around since at least the Bolshevik revolution. Even the flag of ANTIFA is a copy of the communist anti-fascists from almost a century ago.



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 07:26 PM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
Today's left is entirely built upon the abuse and restructuring of language, weaponizing it to shame, blame and intimidate. A whole arsenal of words ending in -ist or -phobic that have paved the way for their ideology to take hold. People may think terms like "social justice" and "anti-semitism" are new but they've been around since at least the Bolshevik revolution. Even the flag of ANTIFA is a copy of the communist anti-fascists from almost a century ago.


I agree with you completely. And it goes back to the Sophists of Ancient Greece. They falsely see words as powerful narcotics able to seduce or otherwise imprison the masses. It is no strange wonder that many post-modernist thinkers (Derrida, Lyotard) thought themselves as continuing the Sophist’s project by deconstructing what they saw as oppressive narratives and meta-narratives.
edit on 6-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 09:52 PM
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What could be more important than our language ?
This cuts right to the very heart of what is going on in the world today.
I see this thread being passed over which worries me that people avoid the real issues.
This shouldn't be too deep a subject for the average person unless
- the average isn't what it used to be.



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 01:52 AM
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In short, I think that globally having so many cultural and linguistic differences limits us as a species.

Compared to the efficiency of mono cultures, be it Japan or alien planets that have evolved inhabitants that all speak the same language, our world is full of conflict and misunderstanding at it's most basic level.

On the other hand, diversity and competition makes us strong.



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 02:21 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope
Why say or write all that?

In such an archaic form none the less, though it is very punctual. Personally I prefer to say it clearly, not in the words of our ancestors, but in our current language one which blends truths with untruths, personal opinions with facts, and theories as proof. But proof of what? You may ask.

Though today everybody is to busy being right, to take the time out of there busy day to be wrong for a change. Which leads to our current dilemma. Words! Yes! They are literally everywhere, and not just in puns, but also on papers and even on digital screens, and sometimes they are also on billboards.

It is dross to think about all that, or worse to speak or write on all that. So let us speak in the language of our times. And saying all that...Wow bro! Now that's is a whole lot of words there in your post. One would almost think your trying to say something. And I say...Almost!



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 07:05 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: intrptr




How about Meaning?

Yah, yah, thats what I mean.


We give the words meaning.

Words define and express our meaning. When we are babies and we are hungry we cry, when we learn the words, we say, we're hungry.

Expressions also have meaning, so do gestures, sign language, symbology, intuition, wisdom. In the latter, wisdom isn't about words or feelings.



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 11:06 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: intrptr




How about Meaning?

Yah, yah, thats what I mean.


We give the words meaning.

Words define and express our meaning. When we are babies and we are hungry we cry, when we learn the words, we say, we're hungry.

Expressions also have meaning, so do gestures, sign language, symbology, intuition, wisdom. In the latter, wisdom isn't about words or feelings.


We define and express meaning using words.

Words and other gestures are arbitrary symbols. If words had meaning we’d know a foreign language just by reading it.



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 11:13 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: intrptr




How about Meaning?

Yah, yah, thats what I mean.


We give the words meaning.

Words define and express our meaning. When we are babies and we are hungry we cry, when we learn the words, we say, we're hungry.

Expressions also have meaning, so do gestures, sign language, symbology, intuition, wisdom. In the latter, wisdom isn't about words or feelings.


We define and express meaning using words.

Words and other gestures are arbitrary symbols. If words had meaning we’d know a foreign language just by reading it.

Yes we use words to describe meaning, verbally, they were given to us was my point. I learned to read animal expressions, a universal language across higher species, including pack animals and predators.

I havnet figured out the intricacies of whale and dolphin speak yet, but I don't spend much time in the ocean.
What I know about chimpanzees, lions, dogs and some birds, I learned from TV and direct eye contact.



posted on Apr, 7 2018 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

They nay be arbitrary to begin with, but once they are agreed upon they are no longer arbitrary. The dictionary is no more arbitrary than are our current understanding of the laws of physics.




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