i hope you still have more questions. i like questions. :)
Basically, what I am arguing here is that while we indeed have a lot to learn from animist languages, there is no doubt some value in our “b-english” since the bulk of the conversations are being discussed in that English. Obviously we all understand this language.
It’s been mentioned that a lack of acknowleding “facts” is a part of “primitive” languages. (I’m going to use the word “primitive” from now on since it makes the most sense to me.) This quote is an example of that, from Willem:
[i]Abandoning the Prison of Factuality
Civilized peoples worship facts, reliable unchange-ables. A common defense of the concept of “fact” goes, “Well, 'it’s” a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. That we know." Since I know many native american cultures that feel that in order for the sun to rise, they must call it up, and welcome it, and if they don’t, it may not rise that day, I know that it won’t surprise them when the Sun’s furnace goes cold, or if the earth itself gets pushed out of orbit by very real cosmic phenomena (asteroids, nomadic black holes, etc.). A civilized reaction to that would involve saying, “well, yes, our science predicts that, but you know “it’s” a fact that…”
Civilized people require “facts” to feel safe and to go about their day-to-day lives. To animist peoples, the ongoing change-ability and need to re-new and court the universe daily, monthly, yearly, gives life its meaning, gives life its center. They feel safe knowing the universe has moods just like us. That same notion horrifies civilized folks.[/i]
However, without the assumption of various “facts,” this discussion would not take place. Most people here consider it a “fact,” for example, that our present culture is unsustainable. Most people here consider it a “fact,” for example, that there’s something missing in standard English. We consider it a “fact” that agriculture is supporting our civilization, and our cities and towns, etc. We consider it a “fact” that electricity is required to run the computer that types our forums. If we did not think of these as facts, why would we be here? Obviously there is some value in acknowledging that there are “facts” versus “untruths” or “fiction,” even though we might debate what they are at times. For example, all of us must acknowledge that in order to survive, we must eat a certain amount of protein, vegetables, etc. That is a fact.
Another example: At Anthropik, for example, the authors are very keen on establishing various things as “facts” in order to bolster their arguments(inherent unsustainability of civ and agriculture, diminishing returns on complexity, interconnectedness of life on earth, etc.). I’m not going to argue whether their facts are true or not, but obviously it seems that by acknowledging these aspects of language, we have done so by stating things and arguing them as “facts.” Thus, it seems like acknowleding that is a valuable thing to have in a language. But of course, I would indeed agree that being blinded to a “factual” world is also not right as well. Some things do change, but others, obviously, do not. From that example, the sun does come up each morning, and I’ll bet even tribal cultures have their way of acknowleding that, even with ritual, etc. All of us acknowledge that some things are factual while others are not. Indeed, when Willem made those statements about animist languages, he stated them as facts!
Basically, I think that what can be learned from this thought experiment is there are values in understanding as many perceptions as possible–how we percieve the world, how “b-english” shapes our perception, andhow it is perceived by animists, etc., and not to be blinded by any type of perception.
I’m interested in your thoughts on it.