The E-primitive Thought Experiment


#81

[quote=“jason, post:80, topic:91”]I never mentioned any of the ideas we’ve talked about on the site, so why would you be sorry? I’m talking directly about your argument. Anthropik illustrates the failure of the civilized mindset in its own terms, including the notion of “facts.” But to say that this justifies it is just like my example about pliers and rusty nails in your foot. Sure, without the objectification of our sensuous experience of the living world, we wouldn’t be able to talk about the “facts” that point to the contradictory and self-defeating notion of the “fact.” But then, we wouldn’t need to, either, and wouldn’t that be much, much better?

I suppose you could think of patterns of thought like roads, they lead you from one conclusion to the next as they build up. Follow the trail of “facts” long enough, and you find out that it doubles back on itself and what “the facts” show is that “the facts” are worthless. So after years of following the trail and immense effort, you find out that the whole exercise was pointless. You’re saying that facts have value because only then can we see that facts have no value. I’m saying it’s a pointless trail to travel down, and we’d have been better off if we never had, as illustrated by the “fact” that all those “facts” ever led to was round and round in circles.[/quote]

All right, I’m sorry I apologized. I am also not arguing that you value that literate worldview as well.

But here’s my question: Are your ideas of the inherent unsustainability of civ and agriculture that you argue are “facts” then worthless? If there were no facts, then Peak Oil would not be existing, people could fly, and wouldn’t need to eat or die of starvation, and your arguments about how horticulture caps out at “village-level” versus “city-level” societies wouldn’t mean anything, and your ideas would not be true. So how are there not facts? You just wrote an article arguing that it’s a fact that humans have been domesticated. Certainly that is not worthless.

Technically, if there are no facts, then your ideas might not necessarily be true, and you’ve just debunked your ideas as truths.

But the only value in arguing those ideas was to defeat that paradigm. So the only value of the paradigm is that it allows for its own destruction? That's not a value at all.

No, I’m arguing that your argument that that paradigm was unsustainable was based on facts, and that the value of acknowleding facts is that there are indeed consistent facts. Sure, the Sun may go out in a few billion years, but not tomorrow. Again, the Sun will go out in a consistent pattern. Monoculture bleeds the soil because of nutrient depletion. No, defeating a paradigm is not the “only” value here, it’s that there are consistent facts in this world, and that I would argue that any language needs to be able to acknowledge that, even if they do it in a different way. I’m not closed to the possibility of different ways in other languages of contemplating facts and consistency.

You obviously had to have reasons for defeating that paradigm. If truly there were no facts, then you would have no way of arguing that there are “facts” to defeat that paradigm. I could then argue that your ideas about our paradigm’s inherent unsustainability were false because there are no facts and even if that was true, they would change.

If there are no facts, and all facts are worthless…maybe this paradigm is sustainable. Maybe people can fly. Maybe there is no law of diminishing returns. Maybe there is no laws of physics. Maybe Peak Oil does not exist, and we are not running out of oil. Maybe civilization itself does not need to always grow or collapse. If there is no concept of facts, how can these truths be acknowledged with consistency? People have to acknowledge they need to eat to survive, and that if they fell of a cliff, they will likely injure or hurt themselves. If I get up from my chair, I got up from my chair…or if I let go of a ball and nothing else is supporting it such as wires or strings, it will drop…maybe I didn’t get up from my chair or the ball will not drop if there were no acknowledgments of actual factual things that happen. I’m not arguing the invalidity of other ways of seeing the world, like the Dreamtime or the shamanic communications of animism. Personally, I think that the other ways of seeing the world are valid, but there is still merit to acknowledging that there are facts in our world as well as other ways of seeing the world.

Indeed, by arguing many of these things, you are arguing facts–that facts are worthless, and that there’s no value in this aspect of the paradigm! Obviously there’s a value here for that!


#82
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.

Absolutely. And I won’t speak for the other e-prime/primitive fans in the community, but I don’t feel a dedication to e-prime simply for its own sake. I value it because it helps me look at things from a different perspective. It bends my brain a little bit to have to stop and think “wait, how can i say this statement without making an equation?” And in that bending of my brain, I see and learn a new way of perceiving the world around me that doesn’t lock me into a system of equating, and I remind myself that all things change and that I can gain a lot by keeping myself open to the changes.


#83
Absolutely. And I won't speak for the other e-prime/primitive fans in the community, but I don't feel a dedication to e-prime simply for its own sake. I value it because it helps me look at things from a different perspective. It bends my brain a little bit to have to stop and think "wait, how can i say this statement without making an equation?" And in that bending of my brain, I see and learn a new way of perceiving the world around me that doesn't lock me into a system of equating, and I remind myself that all things change and that I can gain a lot by keeping myself open to the changes.

I agree. At the same time, I am arguing that one does not have to abandon all the ways of “b-english” to understand “e-prime,” nor is losing all of the thinking is “b-english” necessarily desirable. “B-english” is still a way of thinking. I don’t think it should have to be “either-or.”

Personally, I do think that making equations in many cases is a problem, and that most equations are false. However, nighttime is typically dark, and day is night. That’s a fact, and an equation that is truth.

The arguments I mentioned on Anthropik are just one of many examples of such facts that are argued that way, since in many cases they do not believe in exceptions (they argue there are no exceptions to civ’s inherent unsustainability, for example). But even so, there are still things that are true. The sun will go out, but not tommorow or the next month. We will all need to sleep later today and get a good night’s rest. I’m sure even in animism there are truths that are acknowledged.

I am also not saying I agree or disagree with Anthropik’s argument or anyone’s arguments. I am not here to argue their validity or the validity of anyone else’s arguments. That is another story.

To Jason: I understand your rusty nail analogy and what you are arguing. I still was going to make my counterargument, however.

Merely, as I have said before, I am arguing that since we do say things in these truthful, factual ways, there must be a value to thinking like that but not blinding ourselves to solely thinking like that, and to keep open minds as well. However, we also should acknowledge the value of having both perceptions–the factual and the non-factual, changing perception. In other words, to learn from both ways of thinking and create a way of thinking, or speaking, that unifies both ways of understanding as much as possible and to acknowledge the brilliance in all perception.

To quote a pantheist: “We have a responsibility to stick to what we know is factual based on evidence, but also do have the sacred duty of constant revision when a fact does change.” Einsteinian physics were once theory before they became factual, after all.


#84
But here's my question: Are your ideas of the inherent unsustainability of civ and agriculture that you argue are "facts" then worthless? If there were no facts, then Peak Oil would not be existing, people could fly, and wouldn't need to eat or die of starvation, and your arguments about how horticulture caps out at "village-level" versus "city-level" societies wouldn't mean anything, and your ideas would not be true. So how are there not facts? You just wrote an article arguing that it's a fact that humans have been domesticated. Certainly that is not worthless.

Put into E-Primitive terms, you’d simply say that humans act domesticated; civilizations acts unsustainably, and so on. Difficulty asserting something as a fact does not mean it’s difficult to assert something as an observation. It’s that critical distance between oft-corroborated observation and “fact,” with all its connotations of objective, capital-T Truth, where the value of E-Primitive comes in. I’d say that observing the domesticated behavior of humans provides us with something valuable, but “are” we domesticated? Is that an inalienable part of our essence? Do we HAVE an essence? No. Our very natures are in constant flux. These assertions as “facts,” this word “to be” asserts a static world that can never be. We’re stuck using it largely for lack of an alternative. We don’t really mean it, but we’re at a loss as to how to say it any differently, so it all comes with an unspoken, implied note of, “I don’t actually mean this, but I know of no other way to say it.”

Technically, if there are no facts, then your ideas might not necessarily be true, and you've just debunked your ideas as truths.

Absolutely. All I can offer are my observations. I’ve observed a good deal, and I’ve backed that up with even more observations by others, but that doesn’t make them irrefutable or any kind of inalienable, cosmic Truth, does it?

No, I'm arguing that your argument that that paradigm was unsustainable was based on facts, and that the value of acknowleding facts is that there are indeed consistent facts.

There are no consistent facts.

Sure, the Sun may go out in a few billion years, but not tomorrow. Again, the Sun will go out in a consistent pattern.

Observations follow consistent patterns, but not facts. To be a fact, it must always be true. It must BE, not just ACT. You can’t mention your observation of the sun’s behavior and then assign it the immutable truth of “TO BE.” If it’s a fact, it’s always a fact.

Monoculture bleeds the soil because of nutrient depletion.

You’re still observing behavior. These are all ACT, not BE.

No, defeating a paradigm is not the "only" value here, it's that there are consistent facts in this world, and that I would argue that any language needs to be able to acknowledge that, even if they do it in a different way. I'm not closed to the possibility of different ways in other languages of contemplating facts and consistency.

There are no consistent facts; any language that traps you into asserting them traps you into constantly muddled thinking. Even the most seemingly basic “facts” are subject to change. There are ways to state observations very strongly in native languages, but that final leap from “this is the way it has always been and everyone has always seen and experienced this,” to “this is how it is,” is something that’s very difficult to make.

If there are no facts, and all facts are worthless...maybe this paradigm is sustainable. Maybe people can fly. Maybe there is no law of diminishing returns. Maybe there is no laws of physics. Maybe Peak Oil does not exist, and we are not running out of oil. Maybe civilization itself does not need to always grow or collapse. If there is no concept of facts, how can these truths be acknowledged with consistency?

That’s where a lot of literate minds end up going when they run into the inescapably bankrupt nature of our paradigm, because having already been divorced from their senses, when they find they can’t live solely by literate logic, either, they take flight into the nihilist void of post-modernism. But that’s hardly useful, obviously. We’re not left wandering without a guide; we can always come back to our senses, the inescapable ground of all relationship and knowledge. We can state our observations and experiences quite strongly, but that doesn’t translate to some Platonic world of Forms and perfect knowledge implied by the “fact.” That it always carries a certain note of uncertainty reminds us that we are always grounded in our senses; we are forced to come back again and again to what we’ve observed, what we’ve experienced, what we’ve seen, what we’ve tasted, what we’ve touched. When we talk about “facts,” we try to forsake our senses, and instead appeal to some cosmic level of truth, like Plato’s world of Forms. A fact does not appeal to our senses, but to our logical constructs that distance us from our senses.

Indeed, by arguing many of these things, you are arguing facts--that facts are worthless, and that there's no value in this aspect of the paradigm! Obviously there's a value here for that!

If it weren’t for the literate mind, we wouldn’t need that literacy in the first place, would we?

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.

One of the major tenets of animism around the world is the equation of power, potency, etc. to a wealth of perspectives. The most powerful beings are shape-changers, and to a significant extent defined by their shape-shifting. It is that wealth of perspective that makes them powerful.

Which is precisely the problem with B-English. It shuts down different points of view. It cannot coexist. It creates what one Haudenosaunee author called “the colonized mind.”

I agree. At the same time, I am arguing that one does not have to abandon all the ways of "b-english" to understand "e-prime," nor is losing all of the thinking is "b-english" necessarily desirable. "B-english" is still a way of thinking. I don't think it should have to be "either-or."

If we were to replace B-English with random pattern of thought X, that would be absolutely true. But B-English is unique in that it cannot co-exist with other patterns. It is a colonizing pattern that wipes out all other paradigms it comes into contact with, leading to a homogeneity of thought at once divorced from our phenomenological experience of the world, and yet too potent on a purely mental level to relinquish. Once experienced, freeing ourselves of “the colonized mind” is a daunting task–perhaps the most difficult part of rewilding.

However, nighttime is typically dark, and day is night. That's a fact, and an equation that is truth.

Really? Day IS bright, and night IS dark? And what of a solar eclipse? Or a full moon? What you really mean to say is that what you’ve observed is that it’s usually darker at night than at day. That’s a very common observation. But IS day bright? Is brightness part of the essence of day? No. It’s an observation, not a cosmic truth. Appealing to your sensuous experience rather than a Platonic ideal is both more honest, more realistic, and more human.

Merely, as I have said before, I am arguing that since we do say things in these truthful, factual ways, there must be a value to thinking like that...

Since all the kids with broken legs walk with a limp, there must be a value in walking like that … it doesn’t follow. We speak like this because we’re impoverished and have nothing better, not because it’s a good thing.

"We have a responsibility to stick to what we know is factual based on evidence, but also do have the sacred duty of constant revision when a fact does change."

That quote rather strikes to the core of the problem, doesn’t it? Facts don’t change. If you have to change it, it was never a fact in the first place; asserting that it was a fact was simply erroneous, an assertion of ego more than truth. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have simply said what you observed or experienced, rather than trying to appeal to some cosmic “fact”? Then, when you observe something different, it’s not nearly so difficult to amend that observation. If we had an evidentiary case, no scientific hypothesis, theory or law would ever be stated in anything else.


#85

You all have me pissing my pants with happiness. Thank you. :slight_smile:


#86

Whoa, whoa! Hold on now, I think we’re confusing ourselves with the “facts”.

Here, chew on this for a bit.

I see what you’re saying Jason, and am perfectly willing to say that you’re probably right about that definition of “fact”, but I’ve never had the compulsion to think that “if it’s a fact, it’s always a fact”. But that may well just be me…


#87

I think Jhereg is right here, and on the “spectrum” idea. I mean, I have never closed my mind off to the changing of facts. I’ve been revising them all of my life. My mother lived her life as a book editor–so even she found herself able to change what people have written. The literate world is not all unchanging. I have never assumed a fact was unchanging, even when reading it in “B-English,” and have always been open to other ways of perception. So I cannot understand how literacy closes us off to other ways of perception. I can understand why relying solely on literate ways of thinking does, but have never relied solely on literate ways of thinking my entire life.

Indeed, I had a speech delay growing up as a child. The only way I learned how to talk was by learning how to read. But then I could talk, and understood both ways of speech.

I’ve meditated and silently worshipped things in ways I could not write about. I’ve perceived many sounds as loud even though many of them were not perceived as loud to other people. Sure, I’ve written a novel, but in writing it I experienced a sensory experience very profound–by crying when I wrote the plight of various characters and feeling happy when my characters were happy. So I don’t see how literacy in itself has to close people’s minds to other sensory experiences.

Personally, I do not believe that those facts you have argued cannot be unchanging. I was trying to argue that you had argued them as consistent, unchanging facts–that was not my belief. Indeed, I do not feel shut off from other perspectives–I have indeed felt many sensory experiences and a mysticism during many meditations I have done with myself. If you were not arguing them as unchanging facts, I apologize.

Jason, I do agree that facts are indeed observations, and that facts do change. In fact, I’m glad that you specified how an observation can be stated in E-Primitive. But I don’t see how B-English cannot coexist with other ways of thinking, for I have NEVER equated using “to be” with unchanging fact, as Jhereg said. In fact, I believe that speaking in unchanging equations is indeed false. Of course things change. I’ve never closed my mind to unchanging fact, even with using the words “to be” or the concept. I’ve never made that connection.

So I cannot understand why using the words “to be” inherently causes people to be blinded to an unchanging, literate world–I’ve seen the value of being able to read and write since I found I could write a novel and a story, but I don’t shut myself off from the changing world of outside. I’ve spoken the English I’ve grown accustomed to, but have never just literally assumed that just because I used the word BE automatically specifices unchanging fact. That is foreign to me. I’ve defined be as act many times. Even when I have stated “this is how it is,” I have not closed my mind to the possibility of change. So I cannot understand why one MUST close their mind with those ideas.

Indeed, human beings often do change their emotions and opinions–that’s what you learn when growing up even in a nuclear family. Sometimes my mother is feeling sad but then she can feel happy. Of course things do change. But I didn’t have to abandon “to be,” a concept I had not even considered before this discussion, to acknowledge that. I also do believe that using a “scientific, unemotional” way of thinking to describe human emotions does not work–because of the changing nature of the human experience and human emotions.

But if there are no consistent facts, how do you explain your assertions of them? You have asserted as consistent that civilization is inherently unsustainable, and also, that human beings must hate hierarchy due to their nature, and that these things never change.

You have also argued that a “die-off” of billions of people is inevitable because horticulture, permaculture, hunting and gathering, etc. cannot support 6.5 billion people because it doesn’t scale, as well as it’s limitations to only being able to support villages and not cities, that only agriculture can support cities, only industrial agriculture can support 6.5 billion people, 6.5 billion people is not sustainable, billions of people in general are not sustainable, that civilization is a case of overshoot and that the human population is currently in overshoot, and the only sustainable form of cultivation can support millions of people, based on what I have read on your site. If those facts are not consistent, then maybe that die-off is not inevitable, and 6.5 billion people are sustainable.

Yes, there are solar eclipses and the moonlight at night. I’m not arguing that. But even people in our factual world do acknowledge this without having to abandon the “B-English” way of thinking. We call them exceptions.

But suppose I found exceptions in your facts of civilization and agriculture’s inherent unsustainability, as well as the “die-off” argument of billions, your argument about humans being in overshoot, and that only millions of people can be maintained sustainably. You’d argue against my counterarguments, wouldn’t you, and not accept the variability in your own facts that you defend, and argue that civilization and agriculture could never be sustainable, right. If all of the facts I have used as examples have exceptions, such as night and day, could it not be concluded that there’s an exception here?

How do you explain this? Surely this is your observation. But then you would have to open your mind to the fact that maybe someone could observe that a human being might not mind a hierarchal setting, for another example. Again, the changing nature of language is not closed off in a literate setting, as is shown by people who do change their minds. We even have word for it–to “retract” something. Yet you assert consistently based on your research that “nobody likes civilization.” Is that a fact, or an observation? Could you accept an observation that is different from yours?

But consider a Native American who has lived his whole life with an animist mindset and an animist language who then learns English. Has he lost his sensual perceptions or his memory of them? No, many Native Americans did not lose that, despite being able to understand both perceptions.

Or consider David Abram’s example of the very highly animist beliefs of the “civilized” people of Bali. Obviously they did not close their minds to all of their sensual experiences, despite their civilized nature.

If this is not a fact, then here’s another observation you have argued as consistent: The literate mind deadens the senses.

My observation: This is not entirely true. One of my most sensuous experiences I’ve ever had was writing a novel, where I felt I could feel the feelings of the characters I created. It seemed magic to me. Even David Abram pointed out that literacy in itself did not become inherently “closed-minded” at first, in his book “Spell of the Sensuous.”

Finally, how did you get to this point? What research did you to to argue that the literate mind was closing to the senses, and to argue the differences with animism? You had to conclude this somewhere as well as your other arguments.

I’ll now wait for anyone else’s thoughts as well as Jason’s.


#88

Imho, “to be” has a tendency to narrow imagination/perspective. Does this mean it must lead to an atrophied perspective? I don’t think so, but it seems more likely to develop an atrophied perspective by relying on “to be”.

Further, we should probably keep in mind that, as in most topics of this complexity, we’ll find more spectrums/continuums than binaries.


#89
I see what you're saying Jason, and am perfectly willing to say that you're probably right about that definition of "fact", but I've never had the compulsion to think that "if it's a fact, it's always a fact". But that may well just be me....

That’s because the notion of the “fact” is so absurd that we resist it. Even so, it seeps into our thinking and always tries to push us more towards a static view of the world, the “thingness” of literacy and the static nature of “TO BE.”

To make sure we’re all on the same page, consider this, by Robert Anton Wilson:

Concretely, "The electron is a wave" employs the Aristotelian "is" and thereby introduces us to the false-to-experience notion that we can know the indwelling "essence" of the electron. "The electron appears as a wave when measured by instrument-1" reports what actually occurred in space-time, namely that the electron when constrained by a certain instrument behaved in a certain way.

Similarly, “The electron is a particle” contains medieval Aristotelian software, but “The electron appears as a particle when measured by instrument-2” contains modern scientific software. Once again, the software determines whether we impose a medieval or modern grid upon our reality-tunnel.

Note that “the electron is a wave” and “the electron is a particle” contradict each other and begin the insidious process by which we move gradually from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish. On the other hand, the modern scientific statements “the electron appears as a wave when measured one way” and “the electron appears as a particle measured another way” do not contradict, but rather complement each other. (Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity, which explained this and revolutionized physics, would have appeared obvious to all, and not just to a person of his genius, if physicists had written in E-Prime all along. . . .)

Or these quotes from Walter Ong’s Literacy & Orality:

Though words are grounded in oral speech, writing tyrannically locks them into a visual field forever. A literate person, asked to think of the word “nevertheless,” will normally (and I strongly suspect always) have some image, at least vague, of the spelled-out word and be quite unable ever to think of the word “nevertheless” for, let us say, 60 seconds, without adverting to any lettering but only to the sound. This is to say, a literate person cannot fully recover a sense of what the word is to purely oral people.
In a primary oral culture where no one has ever ‘looked up’ anything is an empty phrase: it would have no conceivable meaning. Without writing, words have no visual presence, even when the objects they represent are visual. They are sounds. You might “call” them back–”recall” them. But there is nowhere to “look” for them. They have no focus and no trace (a visual metaphor, showing dependency on writing), not even a trajectory. They are occurrences, events.

And finally, from Goody & Watt’s “Consquences of Literacy”:

The advent of writing in literate cultures changes the structure of knowledge and cultural tradition. Human interaction is not limited to the impermanence of oral utterance in an event-bound context. (Goody & Watt, 1968) Writing fixes utterance as visual records that are stable, transferable across space and time, and cumulative outside the memory of individuals.

Goody (1977) explains that writing transforms speech by abstracting its components. Words in written texts are more “thing-like” (Ong, 1982, p. 97). Their meaning can be looked up in other written texts and do not require direct ratification through interpersonal situations. Written texts enable backward-scanning of thought to make corrections and resolve inconsistencies. This self-analysis or criticism is inhibited by face-to-face communication in oral cultures.

Writing enables both the recording and the dissecting of verbal utterance. Literate cultures have permanent records of past thought which can be compared and questioned skeptically. Such skepticism enables the building and testing of alternative explanations of knowledge. In ancient Greece, the shift from oral to literate thought processes resulted in the “logical, specialized, and cumulative intellectual tradition” of Plato.

So, what we’re talking about with facts, “to be” and the static nature of English is the cognitive consequence of literacy. Literacy harbors the illusion of a world as static as the literate medium, a basic worldview in which facts and “to be” make perfect sense. But that’s an illusion that has nothing to do with the real world. The real world is in constant flux. I read of an anthropologist who showed the same photograph to some speakers of Indian languages, and to some English speakers. He asked what it was a photograph of, and the English speakers told him the objects in the photograph, but the Indian speakers told him the actions and relationships in the photograph. That’s the difference between a noun-denominated universe of objects, and a verb-denominated universe of events.

I think Jhereg is right here. I mean, I have never closed my mind off to the changing of facts. I've been revising them all of my life.

Right; because you know the absurdity of the notion of a “fact” and instinctually rebel against it. That’s why you can speak of “revising” facts. But of course, you also know that facts can’t be revised; if they can, that just means they were never facts to begin with, because facts are defined by their everlasting truth. They are true statements about an unchanging universe, which is a universe that can only exist in written words, never in oral speech, much less in reality.

My mother lived her life as a book editor--so even she found herself able to change what people have written. The literate world is not all unchanging.

Really? Your mother could strike out what someone else had written, and send the book to the press with the changes she had made, but that book isn’t quite the same book the author sent to her, was it? I mean, the author’s version still existed, right? And after it went to press, did the book ever change? Should I go double-check the books on my shelf to see if they’ve changed the ending on me since I last read them? A proliferation of different versions does not change the static nature of the literate world, nor the illusion of a static, “thing-like” universe that it captures us in.

I have never assumed a fact was unchanging...

That’s not an assumption, that’s the definition of a fact. Facts never change; that’s what makes them fact. You may (even often) discover that something you thought was a fact was never actually a fact, but that isn’t a matter of facts changing: that’s a matter of you correcting your misconception of what is and is not a fact.

Sure, I've written a novel, but in writing it I experienced a sensory experience very profound--by crying when I wrote the plight of various characters and feeling happy when my characters were happy.

That’s empathy, and while empathy is very important to an appreciation of the sensuous world, it is not, in itself, really a sensory experience.

So I don't see how literacy in itself has to close people's minds to other sensory experiences.

Read above. Ong’s exploration is really one of the cornerstones of literate cognition. Oral languages possess an almost musical quality; they are events, rather than things like books or even words to be “looked up.” Rhythm is more important than syntax. Indeed, the very mentality of breaking things down follows from books made of chapters made of paragraphs made of sentences made of words made of letters, and the pursuit of the atom–the basic unit of the universe analogous to the letter. Orality focuses us instead on the relationship between the words, the rhythm and how they flow together. You don’t analyze a song the way you analyze a book; a song is appreciated as an event, the relationships between the notes.

Can you write something that relates somebody to their senses? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that to do so, you’re swimming upstream, and largely trying to use literature to heal the gap that literacy created.

Jason, I do agree that facts are indeed observations, and that people cannot understand all facts.

Facts are absolutely not observations. Observations relate a sensuous experience; I saw, I heard, I tasted, I touched, I felt, etc. They are couched in a subjective experience. But facts lay claim to objective truth. They aren’t simply felt or seen or touched, they ARE. Indeed, we doubt our senses when they don’t line up with “the facts.” The very definition of a fact lies in its claim to absolute, objective truth. That’s quite different from an observation, which simply states what you have experienced yourself.

We regularly discover that the things we once thought were facts, are not actually facts. That doesn’t change the facts; that just means that our knowledge of the facts is imperfect. The facts do not change, but our knowledge of them does. Facts cannot change, that’s what makes them facts.

And that’s what makes them absurd. The world is constantly changing, and all we ever have is our sensuous experience of the living world around us.

But I don't see how B-English cannot coexist with other ways of thinking, for I have NEVER equated using "to be" with unchanging fact, as Jhereg said.

You have, and if you think you haven’t, that just shows that you’ve done it even more. That’s what “to be” means. Every time you use some form of the words “to be,” you imply in your own mind and in the minds of everyone around you an implacable, essential, and thus unchanging, quality. That’s what the word means. When you step back to think about it, you may realize that’s not the case and deny it, but that’s not what we’re talking about. That’s not important; that’s not the kind of unconscious habit of thought that molds our brains so powerfully from constant repetition.

Speaking B-English produces “the colonized mind” because it so powerfully usurps all other viewpoints and frames of reference. Consider your own example. You know that facts do not actually exist (since you’ve spoken now about facts “changing,” which is a contradiction in terms; you might as well tell us about frozen fire), and yet your mind has been so thoroughly colonized by the literate mode of thinking that you’re trying to contend that “facts” provide a necessary and valuable frame of reference, except for being a fantasy produced by the cognitive consequences of literacy.

It’s like Robert Anton Wilson wrote in the quote above, “we move gradually from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish.” When we’re grounded in our sensuous experience, we have a wealth of mutual perspectives to draw upon. But when we include one with delusions of grandeur that lays claim to objective truth, we’re forced into absurd positions like “light is a particle,” and “light is a wave,” that leads us “from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish.”

So we end up in the position where we talk about how faulty and unreliable our senses are, because they don’t agree with the objective truth claims of the literate mind. They percieve only this pale, sensuous shadow of the pure world of Forms, as Plato wrote. We’re ultimately put in the position of disparaging our only genuine experience of the world, and all that remains is the literate mind, the “colonized mind.”

In fact, I believe that speaking in unchanging equations is indeed false.

Well, that’s E-Prime. “To be” always implies an unchanging equation. If I say, “Those leaves are green,” then I’ve claimed that green is an inherent quality of those leaves. When they turn red in the autumn, my statement is shown to be false. The leaves aren’t green; they appear green right now, but they might appear some other way at some other time. If I say those leaves appear green, then my statement is undeniably true. The difference is that the first statement asserts a fact, that greenness is an inherent property of the nature of those leaves. Like all facts, this ultimately fails; greenness is not an inherent property of the nature of those leaves, because those leaves have no static nature. Green actually is a relationship between the leaf and my visual cortex, mediated by light waves and my eye. It is how I experience the leaf visually, it is not a property of the leaf itself. So it is much more true to speak about my experience–the leaf appears green–than to try to lay claim to objective truth.

I've always defined be as act.

I suppose if you redefine “be” to something almost completely opposite of what the word means, then removing “to be” from English would mean much less. But even if you actually have completely redefined the word for yourself (and it sounds like you haven’t, you’ve just pushed it all to the subconscious level where it can rule over you without any possibility of your interference), no one you’re speaking to or writing for understands the word that way. Unchanging, static reality is what “to be” means. We can equivocate about how what we thought was an unchanging fact before has been shown to not be an unchanging fact; now this is the unchanging fact, but every time you say “to be,” you assert a static equation, an objective truth. That’s what the word means. It’s like asking why everyone assumes that “coyote” has to mean a wild canid smaller than wolf that usually hunts small game alone. After all, I’ve always defined a coyote as a bunny rabbit.

Sometimes my mother is feeling sad but then she can feel happy. Of course things do change. But I didn't have to abandon "to be," a concept I had not even considered before this discussion, to acknowledge that.

Only because we all know that “to be” is really nonsense.

3A. John is lethargic and unhappy. 3B. John appears lethargic and unhappy in the office. 4A. John is bright and cheerful. 4B. John appears bright and cheerful on holiday at the beach.

Looking at our next pair, “John is lethargic and unhappy” vs. "John is bright and cheerful,’ we see again how medieval software creates metaphysical puzzles and totally imaginary contradictions. Operationalizing the statements, as physicists since Bohr have learned to operationalize, we find that the E-Prime translations do not contain any contradiction, and even give us a clue as to causes of John’s changing moods.

The B-English “A” statements assign a property to John; John is lethargic and unhappy; John [i]is[/] bright and cheerful. These contradict each other; is John unhappy, or cheerful? But we recognize that we couldn’t possibly mean what we’re saying, because what we’re saying is absurd. No person ever is a single emotion. So we fill in what we actually mean: John appears unhappy right now, or John appears cheerful right now. Wouldn’t it be more truthful to say what we actually mean–in other words, to not use “is” at all?

But if there are no consistent facts, how do you explain your assertions of them? You have asserted as consistent that civilization is inherently unsustainable, and also, that human beings must hate hierarchy due to their nature, and that these things never change.

Once again, my point is to show how civilized logic defeats itself, so I talk about “facts” in a “for the sake of argument” case; not because I accept their validity, but because the people I’m trying to persuade do.

But in my own case, I will confess to a poverty of language. I have no other way to express myself but in the stunted, domesticated language I have. I’ve been trying to expand that, but that is a difficult and crucial part of rewilding. To someone who recognizes the absurdity of facts, I would say that those are very consistent observations.


#90

Hit the character limit, so I had to break this up…

You argued with Terra that the Kwakiutl were not sustainable because of this in your forum. Yet even then you have argued in your "Exceptions that Prove the Rule" series on Anthropik that the Kwakiutl were sustainable because even though there was competition, it was limited to the salmon runs. That argument makes more sense, since how could they maintain an escalation with salmon runs if the amount of salmon was pretty much the same, more or less, and did not get smaller or larger?

You know, we used to have a kid on Anthropik named Taylor. He was autistic, so the usual unspoken assumptions, like I mentioned before about how nobody ever actually means that John is sad, were very difficult for him to grasp. He made hundreds of comments at a time, pointing out little nitpicks like this that weren’t even actual contradictions, because he had a hard time understanding those unspoken assumptions, and of course I have a hard time thinking of every unspoken assumption that might need to be stated explicitly. He also posted under several different names, using them as sock puppets to create the illusion of a great many people, where really there was only one. He’d have one name say something like, “I read your discussion with Taylor, and he made a good point you didn’t answer, etc., etc.” That was where we really drew the line, because at that point it became fairly deceptive. His writing style was also very much like yours, and since I directed the Anthropik forum members over here, I really have to ask–Dickens, are you Taylor?

As for the Kwakiutl, it’s a bit of a side-track here, but my point in the Exceptions series was that the Kwakiutl weren’t able to overrun their neighbors. What I wrote was, “The Kwakiutl’s energy source forced a level of sustainability upon them.” Emphasis added. They weren’t sustainable, but they were more sustainable than agricultural peoples. The escalating potlatch meant that their pattern couldn’t go on forever, but there was still a certain level of sustainability forced on them by the nature of their food supply. Does that make them sustainable? No, but it makes them less unsustainable. You really answered your own objection; how can you continue to increase each year’s potlatch when the salmon runs don’t icnrease as well? When you reach that point, you’d be looking at the end of the Kwakiutl chiefdoms, just like peak oil forces our society to face its end because it means the end of growth, and the end of the promise that next year will have more than this year, a promise fundamental to both the Kwakiutl and our own society.

Also, you argued that Sungir was not sustainable because they hunted the mammoth to extinction, supporting the "Overkill" theory. You even argue the sustainability of Sungir in your essay on them in the "Exceptions that prove the rule" article on them, and that they collapsed due to shifting mammoth migrations. You have also tried to extensively debunk the "overkill" theory in your essay "Overkill, Overchill, and Human Nature" as well as in countless discussions. So obviously your observations do change if you are able to argue sustainability in one article and unsustainability in another.

Much the same situation as the Kwakiutl. As far as “Overkill” goes, the mammoth extinction is the one part that does make some sense, which I said in the essay you claim contradicts that. Even in our discussion of Sungir, I said that the Overkill hypothesis has been vastly overstated. I haven’t changed my views on the Overkill hypothesis; they’re still the same as stated in the essay, but they’re a more nuanced view than simply “Overkill good” or “Overkill bad.”

But then you would have to open your mind to the fact that maybe someone could observe that a human being might not mind a hierarchal setting, for another example.

Such a being would be so far removed from the rest of humanity that I’m not sure such a creature would actually still be human. Having buried his resentment, sure. Having found various means to cope with it psychologically, so that he could reasonably convince himself he was OK with it, absolutely. But genuinely happy with it, without any need for various means to cope with it psychologically and bury it in their subconscious? That I’m not so sure.

(Interestingly, Taylor and his sock puppets are the only other people who’ve ever told me about how humans might like being in a hierarchical setting, and he argued the point at great length.)

Again, the changing nature of language is not closed off in a literate setting, as is shown by people who do change their minds. We even have word for it--to "retract" something. Yet you assert consistently based on your research that "nobody likes civilization." Is that a fact, or an observation? Could you accept an observation that is different from yours?

The word “retract” rather proves my point. If we’re sharing observations, there’s no need to retract something. You can hardly be in error if you’re stating what you’ve observed. Retraction only makes sense when you’re trying to make objectively true claims, and find that you’ve failed. Then you are in “error,” and your statement must be “retracted,” because you failed to accurately describe objective truth, which was rather inevitable.

It’s my observation that not liking civilization is a basic element of the human condition. If you’ve observed something different, I can certainly accept that. That doesn’t mean the two statements are equally valid, of course; it means we need to discuss your observations and figure out how to reconcile our observations. Maybe you missed all of the psychological pressures that person uses to appear as if they enjoy hierarchy and to bury their resentment, for instance (I’d say that’s probably the most likely case).

But consider a Native American who has lived his whole life with an animist mindset and an animist language who then learns English. Has he lost his sensual perceptions or his memory of them? No, many Native Americans did not lose that, despite being able to understand both perceptions.

Actually, they did start to lose their animist mindset, especially children who were taught English first.

Or consider David Abram's example of the very highly animist beliefs of the "civilized" people of Bali. Obviously they did not close their minds to all of their sensual experiences, despite their civilized nature.

They also don’t have writing. (This was another of Taylor’s favorite arguments; if you’re not Taylor, you’ve certainly studied his comments closely.)

If this is not a fact, then here's another observation you have argued as consistent: The literate mind deadens the senses.

That’s right. That’s a consequence of literacy, the way a little itchy bump is the consequence of a mosquito bite. I don’t need to lay claim to objective truth to observe that A causes B.

This is not entirely true. One of my most sensuous experiences I've ever had was writing a novel, where I felt I could feel the feelings of the characters I created. It seemed magic to me.

That’s empathy, and empathy is magical. But it’s not sensuous.

Even David Abram pointed out that literacy in itself did not become inherently "closed-minded" at first, in his book "Spell of the Sensuous."

That’s right. When they still made reference to the sensuous world, they were less deadening. It was a sliding scale. Each step was a little more removed, because each step brought with it a greater “thingness” to the universe it implied.

Finally, how did you get to this point? What research did you to to argue that the literate mind was closing to the senses, and to argue the differences with animism? You had to conclude this someone as well as your other arguments.

Like I said, I followed the trail of facts all the way around until the facts proved that facts are bullshit. As far as the impact of literacy, I’ve been pretty open about that: Abram and Ong are the major works, and there’s plenty of other articles on the subject.


#91

yes there is a duality to meanings in Japanese.
For example,I am shujin-husband,but the same word,also means master/owner,and mistress.
As far as it being a language that could adapt an e-prime type use,I don’t see how it is possible.
There are elements of the language called particles,or post-positions that serve as such things as am/are/is,and the language simply doesn’t work without these.
At least on basic levels-there are myriad slang and the ways that men and boys speak is very much different from the way that people in general speak.


#92

I don’t know Japanese, but my understanding of its basic structure led me to believe that it’s probably one of the most domesticated languages we have. Fifteen hundred years ago, English was the language of one of the least civilized groups in Europe; I think people forget just how superficial domestication of English has been, and looking at other languages like Japanese, or the “formal tense” for one’s “superiors” even in other Germanic lnaguages can remind us that it could’ve been much worse. At least our problems are largely confined to the question of “to be, or not to be.”


#93

That’s because the notion of the “fact” is so absurd that we resist it. Even so, it seeps into our thinking and always tries to push us more towards a static view of the world, the “thingness” of literacy and the static nature of “TO BE.”[/quote]

Fair to say. As you probably noticed via my comments on one of JMG’s posts a few weeks back, I do have a strong tendency to “alter” the absurd.

As off-topic as it is, I have to say that this reminded me of old stones w/ runic markings. You sometimes find repetitions/paterns of runes, rather than words. So you mind find something like 7 of one particular rune followed by 3 of another and ended by 11 of a third, yet the assumption is that some meaning was imparted by this. We’ll never truly know, but I wonder if this is an example of a waypoint on the road to where we are now.

(I really need to practice my e-prime!)


#94

I agree with you Jason, Japanese is massively domesticated.it is one of the most stratified cultures I can think of,next to maybe the Hindu caste system.


#95

[quote=“tsuchi akurei, post:91, topic:91”]yes there is a duality to meanings in Japanese.
For example,I am shujin-husband,but the same word,also means master/owner,and mistress.[/quote]

Yeah, I think Japanese has a different set of issues than B-English. My Japanese is pretty rusty, tho’, and I was never completely fluent.

[quote=“tsuchi akurei, post:91, topic:91”]As far as it being a language that could adapt an e-prime type use,I don’t see how it is possible.
There are elements of the language called particles,or post-positions that serve as such things as am/are/is,and the language simply doesn’t work without these.
At least on basic levels-there are myriad slang and the ways that men and boys speak is very much different from the way that people in general speak.[/quote]

Again, my Japanese is pretty rusty, but I’m having difficulty really thinking of a good correlate of ‘to be’ in Japanese (particle or otherwise). Unless we get funky and say that ‘existence’ doesn’t conform to e-prime. Hmm, dunno.

Again, I suspect that Japanese has it’s own set of issues. I can’t even say that I would necessarily decry the “formal tense” in it’s entirety. It contains some pretty strong notions of hierarchy, certainly, but it comes from a core of politeness or etiquette.

I’m less certain. Sure, we can find some very strong notions of hierarchy, but we can also find some remnants of animism strong enough that even most “experts” recognize it as such. Have we found a “The electron is a particle”/“The electron is a wave” paradox/error? :wink:


#96

Ah, found it. ‘Desu’ is commony used to create equations and is probably a contraction of ‘de arimasu’. ‘Arimasu’ itself actually means ‘to be’, so, I stand corrected.


#97
So, what we're talking about with facts, "to be" and the static nature of English is the cognitive consequence of literacy. Literacy harbors the illusion of a world as static as the literate medium, a basic worldview in which facts and "to be" make perfect sense. But that's an illusion that has nothing to do with the real world. The real world is in constant flux. I read of an anthropologist who showed the same photograph to some speakers of Indian languages, and to some English speakers. He asked what it was a photograph of, and the English speakers told him the objects in the photograph, but the Indian speakers told him the actions and relationships in the photograph. That's the difference between a noun-denominated universe of objects, and a verb-denominated universe of events.

We didn’t have to give up literacy to acknowledge the flux of the world or understand it now, did we? I believe in the flux of the world, I sense the flux of the world, but I still like the fact that I can read and write with my language.

All right, I acknowledge the differences between nouns and verbs. But we still understand both of them, don’t we? Even Native Americans had words for buffalo, longhouse, man, woman, “two-spirit,” and tipi, which had to be nouns, even if they had different meanings or more than word for buffalo (as did some Native American languages).

There are objects in the picture, the picture is a picture, but there are actions as well. Cartoonists can show actions and verbs in pictures, like the “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoon mentioned in this thread. What’s wrong with acknowledging both? Can’t the two ways of seeing the picture be both valid?

Right; because you know the absurdity of the notion of a "fact" and instinctually rebel against it. That's why you can speak of "revising" facts. But of course, you also know that facts can't be revised; if they can, that just means they were never facts to begin with, because facts are defined by their everlasting truth. They are true statements about an unchanging universe, which is a universe that can only exist in written words, never in oral speech, much less in reality.

Wait a minute. It was we who define words. You’ve redefined horticulture and agriculture countless times, can we not redefine what a fact is or acknowledge it should be redefined? How does “redefining” a word invalidate using it?

Really? Your mother could strike out what someone else had written, and send the book to the press with the changes she had made, but that book isn't quite the same book the author sent to her, was it? I mean, the author's version still existed, right? And after it went to press, did the book ever change? Should I go double-check the books on my shelf to see if they've changed the ending on me since I last read them? A proliferation of different versions does not change the static nature of the literate world, nor the illusion of a static, "thing-like" universe that it captures us in.

Sure, the book changed. But it obviously could change. Yes, the author’s version still existed, but it was not published. Yes, they couldn’t change after a while, but they still changed while being written.

Here’s another example–I edit my words constantly. The posts I’ve written–I sometimes edit ten times before I finish them. Notice that I erased the point about the Kwakiutl after writing it even though you quoted it, since I saw that it was indeed off-track. I change them if I feel like it. Yes, the editing must stop, but some change initially is possible. It’s not all-or-nothing the way I felt you argued it. Of course, if you didn’t argue that, then I apologize for misunderstanding you.

That's empathy, and while empathy is very important to an appreciation of the sensuous world, it is not, in itself, really a sensory experience.

How is this not?

Read above. Ong's exploration is really one of the cornerstones of literate cognition. Oral languages possess an almost musical quality; they are events, rather than things like books or even words to be "looked up." Rhythm is more important than syntax. Indeed, the very mentality of breaking things down follows from books made of chapters made of paragraphs made of sentences made of words made of letters, and the pursuit of the atom--the basic unit of the universe analogous to the letter. Orality focuses us instead on the relationship between the words, the rhythm and how they flow together. You don't analyze a song the way you analyze a book; a song is appreciated as an event, the relationships between the notes.

Yes, and obviously one can still analyze things in oral settings even when they are still literate. Sure, a song is different–so why does literacy inherently blind you if we still know how to analyze oral things differently? Sure, I analyze songs differently.

Can you write something that relates somebody to their senses? Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that to do so, you're swimming upstream, and largely trying to use literature to heal the gap that literacy created.

No. I would not write something that relates to their senses. I would acknowledge that their senses is something that is not in literacy. But I can still acknowledge that while being literate.

I had a speech delay as a child. I could not talk fluently until the age of six. The only way I could communicate was by writing. Now I can talk very fluently. Again, I just don’t see what’s wrong with literacy and writing since we still all do speak with an oral language, and we’re all writing right now and are communicating these “anti-literacy” feelings.

Facts are absolutely not observations.

All right, I misunderstood this you said in the past, then:

There are no consistent facts; any language that traps you into asserting them traps you into constantly muddled thinking. Even the most seemingly basic “facts” are subject to change. There are ways to state observations very strongly in native languages, but that final leap from “this is the way it has always been and everyone has always seen and experienced this,” to “this is how it is,” is something that’s very difficult to make.

Observations relate a sensuous experience; I saw, I heard, I tasted, I touched, I felt, etc. They are couched in a subjective experience. But facts lay claim to objective truth. They aren't simply felt or seen or touched, they ARE. Indeed, we doubt our [i]senses[/i] when they don't line up with "the facts." The very definition of a fact lies in its claim to absolute, objective truth. That's quite different from an observation, which simply states what you have experienced yourself.

We regularly discover that the things we once thought were facts, are not actually facts. That doesn’t change the facts; that just means that our knowledge of the facts is imperfect. The facts do not change, but our knowledge of them does. Facts cannot change, that’s what makes them facts.

And a true scientist is unaware of this? Also, the people I know are aware of how their senses percieve things. Yes, I saw and I heard. I heard a sound that was loud and it bothered me–others didn’t get bothered about it. I do believe that emotions are not facts.

And that's what makes them absurd. The world is constantly changing, and all we ever have is our sensuous experience of the living world around us.

You still were able to acknowledge that in a “literate” context.

You have, and if you think you haven't, that just shows that you've done it even more. That's what "to be" means. Every time you use some form of the words "to be," you imply in your own mind and in the minds of everyone around you an implacable, essential, and thus unchanging, quality. That's what the word means. When you step back to think about it, you may realize that's not the case and deny it, but that's not what we're talking about. That's not important; that's not the kind of unconscious habit of thought that molds our brains so powerfully from constant repetition.

Speaking B-English produces “the colonized mind” because it so powerfully usurps all other viewpoints and frames of reference. Consider your own example. You know that facts do not actually exist (since you’ve spoken now about facts “changing,” which is a contradiction in terms; you might as well tell us about frozen fire), and yet your mind has been so thoroughly colonized by the literate mode of thinking that you’re trying to contend that “facts” provide a necessary and valuable frame of reference, except for being a fantasy produced by the cognitive consequences of literacy.

I will not deny that my mind has probably been colonized in some form by literacy. I’m sure yours has too. What I am arguing, however, is that this does not necessarily have to be the case. I see value in visual speech, and Abram does not believe writing has to be given up entirely either. Again, my argument here is this: can one think dually, and that is acknowledge a context for the “literate” mind as well as acknowledge the “sensuous” mind? I believe so. You might not, but my “observations” have made me conclude that I can.

Yet I will argue these points:

I said valuable, not necessary. I was also pointing out that you have defended facts as consistent. Again, I did not say that I believed those facts were consistent or unchanging, just that that was how you defended them. If I said something else, I will “retract” that.

How is that the case if I did not think of those things as unchanging, nor did I think I was saying that? I must have a difficult time understanding “to be” then. What examples then, constitute “to be?”

All right, I admit. However, you did argue consistent facts. And yes, things do change. But they still are sometimes in the frameworks of larger facts.

Consider mathematics. Two plus two equals four. Four plus four equals eight. Even animist cultures could count. See the mathematical systems of Native Americans at this site: http://math.truman.edu/~thammond/history/AmericanIndians.html. Sure, they were different, but they did have concepts of numbers.

Again, it’s based on the idea of defining facts that way. So is “frozen fire”–that’s based on the assumption that fire is hot. Scientists have not given up believing in facts to acknowledge that there is moonlight at night and sunlight at day. There’s even moonlight during the day at times!

Okay, how about gravity? Apples drop when you let go of them unless they are otherwise supported. That’s consistent, is it not? Every apple that is let go drops, or a ball.

It's like Robert Anton Wilson wrote in the quote above, "we move gradually from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish." When we're grounded in our sensuous experience, we have a wealth of mutual perspectives to draw upon. But when we include one with delusions of grandeur that lays claim to objective truth, we're forced into absurd positions like "light is a particle," and "light is a wave," that leads us "from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish."

So we end up in the position where we talk about how faulty and unreliable our senses are, because they don’t agree with the objective truth claims of the literate mind. They percieve only this pale, sensuous shadow of the pure world of Forms, as Plato wrote. We’re ultimately put in the position of disparaging our only genuine experience of the world, and all that remains is the literate mind, the “colonized mind.”

I do not think my senses are unreliable. Indeed, if I don’t feel a sound is loud that someone else tells me is loud, I’ll discard their assumption. But I’ll still acknowledge that he might think that sound is loud.

Well, that's E-Prime. "To be" always implies an unchanging equation. If I say, "Those leaves are green," then I've claimed that green is an inherent quality of those leaves. When they turn red in the autumn, my statement is shown to be false. The leaves aren't green; they appear green right now, but they might appear some other way at some other time. If I say those leaves appear green, then my statement is undeniably true. The difference is that the first statement asserts a fact, that greenness is an inherent property of the nature of those leaves. Like all facts, this ultimately fails; greenness is not an inherent property of the nature of those leaves, because those leaves have no static nature. Green actually is a relationship between the leaf and my visual cortex, mediated by light waves and my eye. It is how I experience the leaf visually, it is not a property of the leaf itself. So it is much more true to speak about my experience--the leaf appears green--than to try to lay claim to objective truth.

Yes, that’s true. But again, why do you have to say “appears” consistently? People might prefer saying the “leaves are green,” but they know they will turn brown.

If it’s easier for you to say that the leaf is green, wouldn’t people want to say it? People know that leaves turn brown, like in the Simon and Garfunkel song “Leaves that are Green,” where they sing “And the leaves that are green turn to brown, and they wither with the wind.” People in their minds revise that to know that the leaves will be green. Again, people do not have to take things literally, and they don’t–just like in a metaphor.

Why did I have to change my speech to acknowledge that leaves will turn brown. We also know that green is based on our sensuous experience–a colorblind person would not see it as green at all. But again, that is still implied. For example, in clay-marking, artists often say “slip and score” to discuss a part of making clay. But it’s actually “score and slip” based on true order. We acknowledge that, but still say it.

We also put quotation marks among words when we want to redefine that.

Perhaps it’s our definition of “facts” that has caused this problem more than just facts themselves, and the fact that we have created this prison, more than just speaking. I intuitively discard facts if I find them untrue, don’t you do that as well, Jason? Why is acknowledging a fact automatically imprison you?

I’ve said “the leaves are green” many times, but never implied they would always be green.

I suppose if you redefine "be" to something almost completely opposite of what the word means, then removing "to be" from English would mean much less. But even if you actually have completely redefined the word for yourself (and it sounds like you haven't, you've just pushed it all to the subconscious level where it can rule over you without any possibility of your interference), no one you're speaking to or writing for understands the word that way.

First, what is “to be?”

Unchanging, static reality is what "to be" [i]means[/i]. We can equivocate about how what we thought was an unchanging fact before has been shown to not be an unchanging fact; now this is the unchanging fact, but every time you say "to be," you assert a static equation, an objective truth.

Okay, now you’ve defined it. Strike the question I just said above. I’ve just changed the fact that now I know what you’ve said and what “to be” means. I could do that with writing.

Again, I’ve said things at static equations, but I didn’t have to lose my literacy to be open to the possibility they might change.

That's what the word means. It's like asking why everyone assumes that "coyote" [i]has[/i] to mean a wild canid smaller than wolf that usually hunts small game alone. After all, I've always defined a coyote as a bunny rabbit.

Okay. But again, that’s a way of defining something. Why is that not valid? Native Americans had a different word for coyote and wolf as well.

How do you know that? Everyone thinks differently. I cannot anticipate your responses to my comments.

Only because we all know that "to be" is really nonsense.

Yes, and we did that without giving up writing. We did it instinctively, and argued that literacy had one way of thinking, but we had to use another way of thinking to analyze emotions.

3A. John is lethargic and unhappy. 3B. John appears lethargic and unhappy in the office. 4A. John is bright and cheerful. 4B. John appears bright and cheerful on holiday at the beach.

Looking at our next pair, “John is lethargic and unhappy” vs. "John is bright and cheerful,’ we see again how medieval software creates metaphysical puzzles and totally imaginary contradictions. Operationalizing the statements, as physicists since Bohr have learned to operationalize, we find that the E-Prime translations do not contain any contradiction, and even give us a clue as to causes of John’s changing moods.

Why does everything have to be taken literally? People do acknowledge the changing reality of things.

The B-English "A" statements assign a property to John; John [i]is[/i] lethargic and unhappy; John [i]is[/] bright and cheerful. These contradict each other; is John unhappy, or cheerful? But we recognize that we couldn't possibly mean what we're saying, because what we're saying is absurd. No person ever [i]is[/i] a single emotion. So we fill in what we actually mean: John appears unhappy right now, or John appears cheerful right now. Wouldn't it be more truthful to say what we actually mean--in other words, to not use "is" at all?

Not if it’s easier for us to say it. If we all instinctively will change what we mean, what’s the problem with saying is, if we’re willing to nonverbally and subconsciously change it?

But if there are no consistent facts, how do you explain your assertions of them? You have asserted as consistent that civilization is inherently unsustainable, and also, that human beings must hate hierarchy due to their nature, and that these things never change.

Once again, my point is to show how civilized logic defeats itself, so I talk about “facts” in a “for the sake of argument” case; not because I accept their validity, but because the people I’m trying to persuade do.

But in my own case, I will confess to a poverty of language. I have no other way to express myself but in the stunted, domesticated language I have. I’ve been trying to expand that, but that is a difficult and crucial part of rewilding. To someone who recognizes the absurdity of facts, I would say that those are very consistent observations.
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They are. That was precisely my point. And two plus two equals four. And as you mentioned later, you argue the Kwakiutl are unsustainable, even though they were not civilized based on the definition of civilization.


#98
You know, we used to have a kid on Anthropik named Taylor. He was autistic, so the usual unspoken assumptions, like I mentioned before about how nobody ever actually means that John [i]is[/i] sad, were very difficult for him to grasp. He made hundreds of comments at a time, pointing out little nitpicks like this that weren't even actual contradictions, because he had a hard time understanding those unspoken assumptions, and of course I have a hard time thinking of every unspoken assumption that might need to be stated explicitly. He also posted under several different names, using them as sock puppets to create the illusion of a great many people, where really there was only one. He'd have one name say something like, "I read your discussion with Taylor, and he made a good point you didn't answer, etc., etc." That was where we really drew the line, because at that point it became fairly deceptive. His writing style was also very much like yours, and since I directed the Anthropik forum members over here, I really have to ask--Dickens, are you Taylor?

Interesting. I learned about the Kwakiutl argument based on Terra’s argument, whom you thought was Taylor as well.

No, I am actually not Taylor. Yes, I did read Taylor’s arguments, yet found myself just as puzzled as Taylor. I didn’t catch the arguments of unsustainability in your “Exceptions that Prove the Rule” argument. I also read your arguments in Tim Boucher’s “Pop Occulture,” where you argued to the “technocracy” man that the Kwakiutl maintained a more-or-less sustainable chiefdom based on foraging. Again, I’ll bet more-or-less is your nuance here, but it seemed ambiguous to me.

As for the Kwakiutl, it's a bit of a side-track here, but my point in the Exceptions series was that the Kwakiutl weren't able to overrun their neighbors. What I wrote was, "The Kwakiutl’s energy source forced [i]a level[/i] of sustainability upon them." Emphasis added. They weren't sustainable, but they were more sustainable than agricultural peoples. The escalating potlatch meant that their pattern couldn't go on forever, but there was still a certain level of sustainability forced on them by the nature of their food supply. Does that make them sustainable? No, but it makes them less unsustainable. You really answered your own objection; how can you continue to increase each year's potlatch when the salmon runs don't icnrease as well? When you reach that point, you'd be looking at the end of the Kwakiutl chiefdoms, just like peak oil forces our society to face its end because it means the end of growth, and the end of the promise that next year will have more than this year, a promise fundamental to both the Kwakiutl and our own society.

The Kwakiutl existed for thousands of years. And you also ignored the Tlingit, Makah, Haida, Chinook, and Salish cultures who also had their own variations of that culture, each with differences. Some of those cultures were matrilineal, others were patrilineal. Also, if the salmon runs did not increase, would there not have been environmental destruction before that time took place. You mentioned the Kwakiutl did not destroy their environment, and were kept in check with their carrying capacity. So how could that expansion have taken place?

Also, I’m curious about where you have found the evidence that the Kwakiutl needed to grow and needed bigger potlatches. Do you have a citation or source for this? I know Taylor often asked for that, but that’s because I didn’t find anything else to back up your argument, and I’ve read about the Kwakiutl a little bit. It still doesn’t make sense. They didn’t deplete their resources, they were not agriculturalists, and not a civilization, so why would they need growth? I have not found another source that says the Kwakiutl were growing like that.

Yes, it’s off track, but so I’ll get back to my main point. However, we still argued “facts” now, didn’t we? You’re arguing that the Kwakiutl needed growth–stated as a consistent fact, because of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, which emerges during hierarchies due to human nature–a consistent fact.

You argue that billions will have to die because of overshoot, and that they are not sustainable, and that no ecology can support billions sustainably, just millions. That you have stated as a consistent fact.

Much the same situation as the Kwakiutl. As far as "Overkill" goes, the mammoth extinction is the one part that does make some sense, which I said in the essay you claim contradicts that. Even in our discussion of Sungir, I said that the Overkill hypothesis has been vastly overstated. I haven't changed my views on the Overkill hypothesis; they're still the same as stated in the essay, but they're a more nuanced view than simply "Overkill good" or "Overkill bad."

Okay. So the argument that Sungir is unsustainable, I guess, can not be proven and might never will be. So let’s not try to argue that they are unsustainable or sustainable if this is a “fact” that cannot be proven.

Such a being would be so far removed from the rest of humanity that I'm not sure such a creature would actually still be human. Having buried his resentment, sure. Having found various means to cope with it psychologically, so that he could reasonably convince himself he was OK with it, absolutely. But genuinely happy with it, without any need for various means to cope with it psychologically and bury it in their subconscious? That I'm not so sure.

Interestingly, Taylor and his sock puppets are the only other people who’ve ever told me about how humans might like being in a hierarchical setting, and he argued the point at great length.

Yes, Taylor argued that. But again, being able to cope with it–so what? Isn’t that called “adaptation?” Why is having to adapt to hierarchy make it not part of human nature, or how does that argue that people can’t not like it?

The word "retract" rather proves my point.

I was making a point in that you can still retract words even when they are written officially. So literality is not inherently unchanging.

If we're sharing observations, there's no need to retract something. You can hardly be in error if you're stating what you've observed. Retraction only makes sense when you're trying to make objectively true claims, and find that you've failed. Then you are in "error," and your statement must be "retracted," because you failed to accurately describe objective truth, which was rather inevitable.

Yes. I am stating what I have observed. Of course I don’t need to retract that.

It's my observation that not liking civilization is a basic element of the human condition. If you've observed something different, I can certainly accept that. That doesn't mean the two statements are equally valid, of course; it means we need to discuss your observations and figure out how to reconcile our observations. Maybe you missed all of the psychological pressures that person uses to appear as if they enjoy hierarchy and to bury their resentment, for instance (I'd say that's probably the most likely case).

Sorry, I’ve observed that there are people that like civilization. They prefer living in large cities. They prefer working and they like their work. They would abhor the nation of leaving civilization.

Actually, they did start to lose their animist mindset, especially children who were taught English first.

I am not talking about children who learned English, I am talking about adult Native Americans like Sitting Bull who did learn English and could argue their animism in speeches to the “white man.”

Like Taylor, I also work with children. I like that because of their “semi-animist” perspectives, since many of them cannot read. I can relate to them. So even though I learned how to read before I can talk, I still can understand sensory experiences.

I, for example, have a need to worship something–maybe it isn’t God–or a spiritual entity. I do that and do not write about it.

They also don't have writing. (This was another of Taylor's favorite arguments; if you're not Taylor, you've certainly studied his comments closely.)

I don’t remember Taylor arguing they had writing. But obviously you can have civilization without writing–you’ve said so yourself in your definitions of civilizations. Taylor did make the point that there are elements of animism in civilization–I won’t argue that here.

That's right. That's a consequence of literacy, the way a little itchy bump is the consequence of a mosquito bite. I don't need to lay claim to objective truth to observe that A causes B.

Okay, you acknowledged a fact. But that’s my point! There obviously has to be a way to observe or argue that A causes be without arguing objective truth!

That's empathy, and empathy [i]is[/i] magical. But it's not sensuous.

Could you elaborate on this? I feel tons of emotions when I read books.

That's right. When they still made reference to the sensuous world, they were less deadening. It was a sliding scale. Each step was a little more removed, because each step brought with it a greater "thingness" to the universe it implied.

I feel a value in sensual experience and literal experience with words. Why do I have to give up writing and reading to accept a little bit of both? David Abram did not argue that. Did Ong argue that?

Like I said, I followed the trail of facts all the way around until the facts proved that facts are bullshit. As far as the impact of literacy, I've been pretty open about that: Abram and Ong are the major works, and there's plenty of other articles on the subject.

All right, I won’t argue this. You did your research, and I’m glad you could tell me.

Now, onto your thoughts of my ideas…


#99
Two plus two equals four

I have a couple different ways I could look at this, at first I thought, well yes, mathematics! That provides straight up 100% fact right? 1+1 = 2?

But lets change it around and instead of saying 2 + 2 is 4
lets try (not sure the best way to put this but…) 2 + 2 sometimes equals 4

here I see two reasons for this,

  1. An equation has two sides, 2+2=4 and 4=2+2 but…
    does 4 not equal 2*2? 1+3? 5-1?
    so unless you want to put the infinite amount of possibilities here…
    4 sometimes equals 2+2

also, what if we modify the whole equation.

say
(2+2) *3
does this equate to 4? Sure 2+2 occurs in it, and sure 2+2 equals 4, but what really is 2+2? and 4?
is 2+2 a number? an action? an equation?
so if 2+2 is an equation, is an equation always 2+2?
is 4 always 2+2?
mmm yeah…


#100

Ah, found it. ‘Desu’ is commony used to create equations and is probably a contraction of ‘de arimasu’. ‘Arimasu’ itself actually means ‘to be’, so, I stand corrected.
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desu is a coupla which is used to end a sentence.there are others such as desu ka which makes the sentence a question.
but yes arimasu means to be.

After a year of Nihongo,I was pretty burnt out on it.
learning 2 basic written systems and then starting on Kanji and grammatical structure was just quite enough.
so my apologies, not to detour from the main topic at hand.