Hit the character limit as well, so I'll post the rest of my reply here. Due to a technical difficulty, the rest of my continued post was pushed after "Teek-Tok's."
I also will argue something else. In your quotes of orality and literacy, it is stated, in Goody and Watt:
[i]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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“thing-likeÃ¢â‚¬Â (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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“logical, specialized, and cumulative intellectual traditionÃ¢â‚¬Â of Plato.[/i]
After reading the excerpt from Goody and Watt, however, I ask the following: could it not be considered a form of blindness to not have that ability to have that self-analysis and questioning that writing allows in a culture? What's so wrong with both--the oral tradition and the written tradition? Why is there no value in the ability to self-analyze or criticize what one has written or said, or to have records of past thoughts?
I know I've read your arguments on this, and have asked similar questions before that you have responded to.
I ask them now because my observations, my life experiences, and my research have led to conclusions different from yours, Jason. You've said your observations, and now I have said mine.
But I haven't defended them as facts. I've defended them as consistent observations, even as consequences, but not as facts. If I used such language, it was due to my poverty of language. All I have is this crappy, domesticated language riddled with "TO BE" and other such nonsense, and it makes it impossible to think, much less communicate, clearly.
You did not use such language. I misunderstood you. But again, you were still able to communicate the flaws I made in this "crappy, domesticated" language. We can still use this "crappy, domesticated" language to show how it can blind us. I just don't understand how "TO BE" and other nonsense MUST equate domestication, or unclear communication. When you wrote your true intentions, even in "b-english," I understood them. You didn't have to transfer to another form of English to acknowledge these shortcomings.
But I don't instinctively believe in them, and if we can redefine what words like "to be" should mean, why do we have to change our wording if we can reinterpret those words in a new way? Me--I would find it a lot easier to just redefine words rather than having to change everything I say if I understand what those changes should be. It makes it easier for me to communicate with other people. Not everyone who joins this discussion after all, will know about E-Prime before we introduce it to them. At some time, we on this forum might need a way of explaning the differences in both versions of English--"B-English" and "E-Prime," as well as our "E-Primitive."
I think also of the Internet. The Internet has enabled you to have an audience in a way you could not. Yet the Internet requires writing. Of course, that doesn't argue the value of the Internet, but I have noticed a different writing style that the Internet has that books don't have.
Words do change on the Internet. You update your web site constantly. So does any web site maker, webmaster, or a person who maintains a website. So I think the Internet not only is a way of short-cutting hierarchy due to "open-source" blogs, it also shows literality and writing in a way that does change. I've changed my words constantly on this forum. I've noticed I can change words in a way I can't. So I see how writing is different on the Internet versus a book. Endings can change the way they can't on books.
Now, onto another argument.
DICKENS: 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).
JASON: By in large, they weren't nouns, that's the whole point. You're obviously not understanding how big the difference is here.
So how do you acknowledge differences between males, females, other genders, or differences between rabbits, coyotes, deer, and other animals, without a concept of nouns? Could you elaborate on this?
Also, could you elaborate more on how an animist language mixes their nouns and verbs? While I am arguing and debating some of your points on your posts, I'm also interested in learning as much as I can about E-prime, E-primitive, the impacts of "to be," and other related concepts, etc.
Because writing deadens your senses. You can't have both because writing doesn't play well with others.
Are you stating this as fact, or as one of your observations?
I still don't understand this, though, based on my own experience--why? Why doesn't writing play well with other perceptions? Why must writing deaden your senses? Why do you think this?
I know I've been repeating myself numerous times and I have asked these questions and many others before, but I think it's in part because I am just not convinced by your arguments yet. I haven't observed this in myself, who as I said before, used writing with what I observed were my other perceptions. Those were my observations on my experiences with writing.
David Abram also shows, in his book, that the alphabet is a form of magic, and a form of animism in itself. We've taken these dead symbols and put life to them. Why is writing so deadening to the senses if it is actually magical and a form of animism in of itself? I agree with Abram's point of view here. Sure, Plato and Aristotle used literacy to blind themselves to plants and other objects, but Homer's poems were used to aid an oral story, not to blind oneself to an oral way of thinking. Literacy, apparently, can be used in various ways.
I also noticed you did not make any mention here about poetry. Poetry is a very different form of writing, and most people see that. David Abram even shows how poetry, in the form of Homer's poems, was used for a different purpose than Plato and Aristotle's works. Abram classifies poetry as a different form of writing than the works of Plato and Aristotle. Do you think, or have you observed, poetry to be just as deadening to one's senses as other forms of writing? If you think poetry is just as deadening, then why do you think that?
There are obviously many different forms of writing here that need to be discussed if you have observed, or argue that all writing must be deadening to one's senses.
Also, you are literate too and have not given up literacy. You will also always be literate. How do you envision your own rewilding and going feral if you are still literate? Obviously your path is not mine, but it is still your path.
So, "the leaves are green" is a contraction for, "the leaves appear green, even though I'm saying they 'are' green, I don't actually mean that, because that would be absurd"? What about saying what you mean rather than making people guess? Do you see the confusion this all causes?
How does this cause confusion? Almost everyone I know assumes that when someone says "the leaves are green," that's based on their appearance. And most people will agree that in spring and summer, leaves are green, and are always green on "evergreen" trees--thus the name "evergreen" trees. Why would someone be making people guess if that's what they're thinking already? Do you automatically assume that if someone says the "leaves are green" they must be that way in an unchanging context? I haven't thought like that.
My observations have been that people don't take things exactly literally. So where's the confusion?
Which is quite irrelevant. It's the languages you learn when you're young that shape your mind. An Indian who learns English as an adult may be able to speak English, but he doesn't think in English.
I think it is relevant. If an Indian like Sitting Bull can learn English as an adult but still not think in English, then a literate person who learns to speak an animist language, or "E-Primitive" should be able to understand both languages. Why wouldn't this work both ways? But if that was true, then all of us who know "B-English" would then be unable to understand any other language. My question is--if it's possible for even a person speaking "B-English" to learn an animist language, or to create "E-Prime," then how did or does literacy deaden our senses entirely, or how does speaking verbs like "to be," and our concept of "nouns" and "verbs" inherently blind us?
If we say a word like "to be," or read a static text, which is supposed to mean "static," yet mentally acknowledge a changing world despite our ability to read or the words we speak, I just don't see what the big deal is about having to change words or abandon a form of communication such as literacy to attain that perception.
I'm also not convinced by your argument about how learning English as a child must necessarily force you to think differently than a person speaking a Native American, or animist language. How do you "think in English" versus "not think in English?" as you said in your quote, rather than "think in a Native American language" versus "not think in a Native American language." Obviously people have been able to be bilingual and speak English and Native American languages at the same time. Some originally spoke English, others spoke Native American. Every society does have some element of animism--even English does have some traces of animism, such as our acknowledgement of onamatopeic words, and the onamataopeic words we do have, such as our words for animal sounds, like "bark," "moo," "oink," etc.
I think of the Native American names you've talked about and mentioned before in this discussion, such as "Dances with Wolves," and "Stands with a Fist," that appeared in the Kevin Costner movie "Dances with Wolves." You say they are silly because of our language--I do not think that they are.
How are they silly? I think that the fact that we can still translate their mixed "noun-verbs" or "verbs" that link things with relationships with actions means that even in standard English, or "B-English," we are still able to translate and explain the differences between a Native American language in our standard English language means that our problems lie more with definitions than just mere words. Words are just letters and/or sounds put together--it's what they mean that counts. We understand that the name "Dances with Wolves" relates to a different language and culture with different nouns/verbs, or verbs entirely. What more needs to be understood? We translated their names into the English language, and were able to perform that translation. If so, then what needs to be changed about our language to understand the difference of the relationships of the world, and the nature of "quantum physics," etc.?
How do our ways of speaking, our "nouns" and "verbs," in our English language change the way we see things? I know these have been answered before many times, and I've said this question before, and I'm repeating myself again as I've done before, but these questions are all interrelated and keep appearing in my mind multiple times when I read your responses to my posts.
When reading your posts and the early part of this discussion (before I joined this discussion), I've considered the following possibilities in my brain--are the "noun-verb" differences of English versus other Native American languages the difference between an animist versus a non-animist language, or are they just differences between one language and another? I would assume that there are differences even between two "animist" languages. Obviously they are different than "B-English" and an "animist" language, but there would still be differences. I mention this because even you admit that there is no fully "non-animist" culture, and humans require some form of animism to function. As stated above, I believe that even English has some form of animist influence in it, because it still does have "verbs" and some onamatopeic words (assuming those things do define animist languages).
So I sometimes think that to call a language "animist" or "non-animist" seems to be a little misleading at times. Perhaps another form of terms might make a little more sense. Sure, the shamans of Bali may not have writing, and may be domesticated, but they are still animist, so obviously there can be forms of animism in a civilization.
It's similar to Shinto in Japan--it's quite an animistic religion as well, even though someone argued on this forum that Japanese is a "domesticated" language. I don't know a word of Japanese, however, so I couldn't confirm one way or another about the content of the Japanese language, and how domesticated or wild it is, etc.
Finally, if a civilization does not have writing, then what are those other ways it can, or must "objectify the world," in the way you are discussing? Could you describe an example of this, or elaborate a little more on this?
How does a person speak English but not "think in English?" What do you mean by this?
That's just my opinion, and my observation, based on my life story and what I have felt in my life.
Literally, after all, one of the very few times I've actually seen the words "to be" used often was in the famous quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To be or not to be, that is the question." How would you translate that in E-Prime?
To summarize my questions on the response to this quote, or comment, whatever you wish to call it: I ask these questions not because I believe any ideas here are wrong or right. Neither do I ask these questions because I don't know all of the answers myself. I ask them because when I think about, attempt to understand, and then understand the ideas presented here, these are some of the questions that come up, and have came up, in my mind. For this and other reasons, I have written some of the questions I have pondered, in my mind, on this forum, and on this post. What you see here are some of those questions I asked myself when thinking over your previous response.
If we look at some deer tracks together, and debate where we think it went, are we discussing "facts" or sharing our observations and opinions? I don't think this is a discussion of "facts," but a question of where the tracks lead.
Exactly. Of course this is not a discussion about facts. We are sharing our observations and opinions. That is precisely what I believe this discussion is--a discussion of observations and opinions.
Because of the character limit, I'm not going to address any more quotes, reponses, or things you have said, but I will say that I do understand your arguments a little more than I did. I didn't want to say this after every argument I asked a question about (so I wouldn't repeat myself too much, or more than I already have), but I guess I'm just not convinced by all of your arguments yet. I'm still interested in what you have to say, however.
Thank you for your time, Jason. I'll stop now and wait for your thoughts on these posts.
I'll be out of town for the next few weeks, however, with no Internet access when I'm traveling, so I won't be writing any responses any time soon.