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[Xmca-l] Re: The Tower of Babel

Sorry, but the formatting was lost when it was sent.

Oh well!  I have tried to fix it a little bit below.


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 9:55 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l]   The Tower of Babel


I came across the story of the Tower of Babel in Technology and Culture: A Historical Romance by Barry Katz, and it seems to coincide somehow with recent discussions.

(Though I shamelessly admit, I have not been keeping my thumb on the all of content of the discussion and so my context is of a shallow angle, think perhaps a letter slot).

Regardless, I thought I would add this to the soup:

"The biblical passage that best focuses the question of technology is the parable of The Tower of Babel, brilliantly compressed into the first nine lines of the eleventh chapter of Genesis:

| All the earth had the same language and the same words.

| And it came to pass, as they journeyed east,that they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

| They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard." Bricks served them as stone, and bitumen served them as mortar.

| And they said, "Come build us a city, and a tower with its top to the sky, to make a name for ourselves, else we shall be scattered all over the world."

| The Lord came down to look at the city, and the tower which they had built, and the Lord said, "If as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing they propose to do will be out of their reach.

| "Let us then go down and confound their speech there, so that they shall not understand one another's speech."

| Thus the Lord scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

| That is why it is called Babel, because the Lord confounded the speech of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth."

(p. 14-15)

What I would like to attend to is the italicized text (which Katz had emphasized), namely:
"...then nothing they propose to do will be out of their reach."

Does it not mean that if we understood one another, together we could do anything? So much that we would be in company of the divine?

And does it mean also that the thing we propose to do, which is speech induced, is something like an incantation? i.e. magic? (prefiguration?)

And, and, and also, is not a brick like a word? and a book like a tower, that allows us to see out far distances?

And does not misunderstanding between people cause separation and distance? A scattering across the earth (the creation of refugees in leaky boats over rough seas, no less). While the act of working to build something together brings us together in more than geographic ways?

In this sense, what might be the text? and what the context? It seems they are both intertwined.

And should I now find a rope to climb down (or climb up) this tower of words, my post?

Kind regards,