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[Xmca-l] Re: Time




I seem to be a verb

R. Buckminster Fuller 1970

> Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 00:36:03 -0700
> From: greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
> To: ablunden@mira.net; xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Time
> 
> Interesting how you have taken this Andy - to suggest that the Hopi lack a
> founding principle of Natural Science.
> 
> Whorf actually takes this in generally the opposite direction. In his work
> on the Hopi language, he suggests that one finds a language much better
> suited to thinking about the theoretical physics of Whorf's day (e.g.,
> Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, etc.). In that sense,
> Hopi is, in fact, closer to describing the way the world really is. (and
> I'll quickly rescind those last six words if you have any objections!).
> 
> As to your assumption that science requires the objectification of the
> natural world, I'm sure there are others on the list who would agree with
> me that there is good reason to question the necessity of subject/object
> dualism for science. (and perhaps you were referring to a particular
> scientific tradition by calling it "Natural Science" - maybe scary scare
> quotes are needed?).
> 
> -greg
> 
> 
> On Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 11:57 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> >
> > That is an extremely interesting paragraph or two on the contrast between
> > typical modern expressions of Time and how the Hopi language expresses
> > corresponding situations. It seems that taking Nature (including Time) to
> > be something which exists independently of us humans and can be known as
> > such, in other words, the founding principle of Natural Science, is built
> > into a premodern language, and is not shared by (at least one) indigenous
> > people.
> >
> > Andy
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> > Greg Thompson wrote:
> >
> >> Helena and David,
> >> I wonder if this quote below from Benjamin Whorf (one of the so-called
> >> authors of the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis - a kindred tradition to
> >> Vygotsky's) might be useful. In it Whorf is comparing the Hopi notion of
> >> "time" to the SAE (Standard Average European - including English) notion
> >> of
> >> "time" and how each of these languages offers different affordances of
> >> meaning. Whereas Hopi has a much more processual understanding, English
> >> has
> >> a much more reified/objectified/entified sense of time. (btw, I think the
> >> first paragraph is easier to follow than the second - and in that first
> >> paragraph you'll find our old friend "imagination").
> >> David, does this jibe with what you were pointing to?
> >> -greg
> >>
> >> Taken from:
> >> http://web.stanford.edu/dept/SUL/library/extra4/sloan/
> >> mousesite/Secondary/Whorfframe2.html
> >>
> >> " "Such terms as summer, winter, September, morning, noon, sunset" are
> >> with
> >> us nouns, and have little formal linguistic difference from other nouns.
> >> They can be subjects or objects, and we say "at sunset" or "in winter"
> >> just
> >> as we say "at a corner" or "in an orchard." They are pluralized and
> >> numerated like nouns of physical objects, as we have seen. Our thought
> >> about the referents of such words hence becomes objectified. Without
> >> objectification, it would be a subjective experience of real time, i.e. of
> >> the consciousness of "becoming later and later"--simply a cyclic phase
> >> similar to an earlier phase in that ever-later-becoming duration. Only by
> >> imagination can such a cyclic phase be set beside another and another in
> >> the manner of a spatial (i.e. visually perceived) configuration. "But such
> >> is the power of linguistic analogy that we do so objectify cyclic phasing.
> >> We do it even by saying "a phase" and "phases" instead of e.g., "phasing."
> >> And the pattern of individual and mass nouns, with the resulting binomial
> >> formula of formless item plus form, is so general that it is implicit for
> >> all nouns, and hence our very generalized formless items like "substance,
> >> matter," by which we can fill out the binomial for an enormously wide
> >> range
> >> of nouns. But even these are not quite generalized enough to take in our
> >> phase nouns. So for the phase nouns we have made a formless item, "time."
> >> We have made it by using "a time," i.e. an occasion or a phase, in the
> >> pattern of a mass noun, just as from "a summer" we make "summer" in the
> >> pattern of a mass noun. Thus with our binomial formula we can say and
> >> think
> >> "a moment of time, a second of time, a year of time." Let me again point
> >> out that the pattern is simply that of "a bottle of milk" or "a piece of
> >> cheese." Thus we are assisted to imagine that "a summer" actually contains
> >> or consists of such-and-such a quantity of "time."
> >>
> >> In Hopi however all phase terms, like "summer, morning," etc., are not
> >> nouns but a kind of adverb, to use the nearest SAE analogy. They are a
> >> formal part of speech by themselves, distinct from nouns, verbs, and even
> >> other Hopi "adverbs." Such a word is not a case form or a locative
> >> pattern,
> >> like "des Abends" or "in the morning." It contains no morpheme like one of
> >> "in the house" or "at the tree." It means "when it is morning" or "while
> >> morning-phase is occurring." These "temporal s" are not used as subjects
> >> or
> >> objects, or at all like nouns. One does not say "it's a hot summer" or
> >> "summer is hot"; summer is not hot, summer is only WHEN conditions are
> >> hot,
> >> WHEN heat occurs. One does not say "THIS summer," but "summer now" or
> >> "summer recently." There is no objectification, as a region, an extent, a
> >> quantity, of the subjective duration feeling. Nothing is suggested about
> >> time except the perpetual "getting later" of it. And so there is no basis
> >> here for a formless item answering to our "time." "
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> 
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson