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[Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance [Language as a form]



Respectfully:
i may be stepping into something heated here, because it is personal, whether it is meant to be or not. I would like to suggest that we can get some help from the linguistic relativity hypothesis: it’s strong and weak form. In its strong form, might say that communication between people who speak different languages is well nigh impossible because of differences in the way they construe the world. The weak form is that it is possible, though not easy. Learning a second language is not the monumental leap a first language is, but the greater the “distance” between two languages, the more impressive it is. I tend to think that, despite the conventionality of language that makes communication possible, all communication is to some extent metalinguistic because everybody’s language represents at least slight differences in perspectives on the world. And we spend much of our time repairing our muck ups to get it right. I agree with David about the importance of, what I think one can call iconicity in language. I think it is pervasive in the way we talk, even down to the perish and dapple of Andy. Our idoms and metaphors are riddled with sound symbolism, not so concrete as onomatopeia, but very much affected by the socially and personally preferred music of our speech, it’s tone and rhythm in the articulation of our syllables. And somehow, I think, this iconicity is related to the question Vera asks about the developmental issues in this thread. However abstract language becomes, it has its roots in the very physical connection between meaning and the phonological means we have of evoking that meaning. So much has been made of l’artbtraire of sign and referent (e.g., “dog" and “perro" neither sound like the four legged critter) that it camouflages how physical language expression is. McCluhan’s dictm, the medium is the message, makes much sense to me. And where does “sense”, as it has been used on this chat, if not at least partly from this physicality?    

If there has been any problems of miscommunication on this thread, perhaps it’s because sometimes we expect too much of written language? I love language, but I love dance (salsa anyone?), music, cinema, sculpture, architecture because of their iconicity, their immediacy. And because they all shout “creativity” to me. But then even the mundane, everyday use of language is creative. And the turns and returns of this chat are creative. And who says they have to always be comfortable? But they are not destructive. I am so grateful that we are living in a time unlike Vygotsky’s. His heroism is part of the reason we celebrate and mine his legacy. 

And now I offer my turn into the silence of the chat of the last hour that has given me a chance to craft what for most of you could have done in much less time. I so very much respect written language and the care you all take in getting it right. Frankly, I’m amazed. 

Henry


 


 
> On Nov 25, 2014, at 4:44 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> 
> Dear David,
> 
> Thank you for your reply. 
> 
> The shape of the discussion on this list is difficult to negotiate because it seems there is denial of any subjects here speaking to one another. It seems we are all just illusions speaking to ourselves. So we swap the word "subject" for "phantom." It still doesn't explain subjectivity. It is infinite regression, i.e., turtles all the way down. 
> 
> I hope I am not saying that I'm the only subject here, but it feels like that. We are all subjects, and how it is like for us, each of us, will give us far more information than abstracting all these forms into ideals. That is why I feel we haven't really moved from Descartes, we've only swapped words around. It doesn't solve "the duality problem."
> 
> If you want to eliminate duality, then there must be a basis for something appearing as dual. Meaning, what appears as two is really one. I don't see anyway around that. We can argue what is two and we can argue what is one, but the logic can't change. 
> 
> I haven't been satisfied with the discussion on the Fate, Luck and Chance thread, most of all because of the form of it, and the content for me is dubious. I'm sure the intentions are good even if they may be poorly formed. Whether that is true or not, I'm still a subject and I'm not in the mood for receiving blackeyes because I cannot argue with my muscles. I don't think knowledge takes place by beating it into a person.
> 
> As far as me taking things personally, I'm not sure how to take that except as personally. Which apparently is the wrong way to take it. So please explain how not to do that. Am I supposed to address you with my sock puppet? :) Tell me how should I take things?
> 
> I am a person and I am a speaker and I'm relating my thoughts and my feelings to the list, they aren't someone else's, they are not yours, and they certainly are not Andy's. :) I don't think I'm superimposing my point of view as those of anyone else's. Am I?
> 
> To be honest, and perhaps to provide you a little more material to respond, I was truly stumped by your reply and so the only connections I could make were to connect to what I had said before, and since what I'd discussed before were the meaning of pyramids and a mention of Sanskrit, I filled in some gaps. I certainly made a lot of assumptions but what else could I do?
> 
> I thought maybe you thought I was making strange assertions so I tried to clarify my assertions. Clearly I failed and made things more muddy.
> 
> Yet, these assumptions would occur similarly if I were talking about cats and then you talked about dogs. The connection I would make is that it must have to do with cats being animals because dogs are animals too. I can only relate to the world from where I stand. I'm not sure why that is seems to be controversial (relating from where I stand). I don't know anyone who doesn't relate to the world from one's own perspective. This ventriloquism of objectivity is quite daunting to me. It seems all together unhealthy and non-relational.
> 
> The clumping together of Korean shamanism and Vedic culture is done from the outside, by a Westerner. I in no way desire to trash Halliday, so please don't take that as my position. As a person who has spent sometime studying aspects of Vedic culture (not all, and I in no way mean to represent myself as an expert, maybe just a perty novice), this clumping together doesn't make any sense (to me). Clearly it does to you, so explain what that is like to you. I don't understand, because it is not what it is like to me.
> 
> It's like this:
> 
> Let's say I have a bookshelf full of books that I've previously placed in alphabetical order. The order of the books has a utility to me so that I not only store my books, but I can access them again after I've forgotten where I put my copy of Mind In Society, placed in my "V" section, of course. 
> 
> If I were to take all my books off my shelf and arrange them by the colors of their covers and position them like a color wheel, it would certainly look pretty, but I've completely destroyed my ability to find my books because it means an extra layer of complexity that is not based upon the content of the books or the authors, but their form. And now I've lost my copy of Mind in Society because I can't remember if my copy is the one with the aqua cover or the purple one!
> 
> This is what I think happens by classifying cultures in this way. Classifying things by their form has some use, but it is limited and can lead us astray. Just like novices will make associations based on surface features, we Westerners may be doing the same thing with cultures outside our own. (Please don't tell me this is a new idea for you!) There is one thing I know for certain. We Westerners are novices about the East.
> 
> For me to accept your premise I'd have to discuss with you at length what I understand to be Vedic culture, and I presume you being in Korean you know something about Korean shamanism and you'd need to explain that to me. We'd also have to understand what Halliday's objective was and whether it has a solid premise. In the end we still might be off because our understanding of the cultures might still be inaccurate to the task. Why? because we must still start from where we stand, within our own Western culture.
> 
> I'm not following what kind of thought sculpture you are inviting me to regard by looking at pyramids as mental mountains. It's clear to me that they had meaning to someone at some point in history, I'm not sure what it can tell me about the minds of Ancient Egyptians, because all I'm dealing with are the forms and very eroded forms at that. 
> 
> I know that I could never be a hero of history because it would mean living quite a long time, and I don't see myself that mythically. I'm just little old me. I apologize if I've made further wrong assumptions in my reply. 
> 
> Maybe we need to build a bridge or something...
> 
> Kind regards,
> 
> Annalisa
> 
> 
> 
>