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Language

Language
February 09, 2012, 11:54:01 AM
I was skimming through that book written about the Simpsons and philosophy, not a book I would recommend but a family member had it so I was just checking it out for the hell of it. In this chapter about morality it goes off on this tangent-see below- that really hit home in a way I'd never read before ever since I started thinking about the limitations of language.



{So why did we ever believe there was something beyond what we experience, beyond "this" world, why did we ever think there was a distinction to be made between appearance and reality? One of the main reasons, Nietzsche says, is because of the structure of language. We see actions, deeds, being performed (that is, we experience phenomena in the chaotic world around us), and the only way we can make sense of these actions or phenomena, to grasp them, is to project behind them, by means of language, some stable subject which causes them. ("I" run; "you" yell; "Nelson" punches.) Because thinking and language cannot represent a world in flux, it is necessary to speak as if there were stable things which have properties, and stable subjects which cause actions. This limitation of thought and language then gets projected into the world. We actually come to believe in unity, substance, identity, permanence (in other words, being). Nietzsche says:

the popular mind separates the lightning from its flash and takes the latter for an ACTION, for the operation of a subject called lightning...But there is no such substratum; there is no "being" behind doing, effecting, becoming; "the doer" is merely a fiction added to the deed--the deed is everything. The popular mind in fact doubles the deed; when it sees the lightning flash, it is the deed of a deed: it posits the same event first as cause and then a second time as its effect.

We say, "lightning flashes," but are there really two things, the lightning AND the flash? No, of course not. But this seems to be the only way we're able to grasp and express things. We have to use a subject, "lightning," and a verb, "flashes," in order to express what we've experienced. But in so doing, we trick ourselves into believing that there's some stable thing behind the action which in fact causes it. That is, because we have the subject/predicate distinction built into our language, we come to believe that this adequately mirrors the structure of reality. But this is a mistake. We say, "Homer eats," "Homer drinks," when in reality there is nothing called "Homer" beyond the eating, drinking, and belching. There is no being behind the doing. Homer just is the sum of his actions, and no more.

This distinction between doer and deed petrified in our language is the beginning of the split between appearance and reality, Nietzsche tells us.....}



Well, this and other difficulties that come up that as a layperson I can't classify; I can't shake the feeling language is so unsatisfactory and a lot of that is not going to change; like I would maybe like to stop using language all together except for internal thoughts, I think about that a lot.

Re: Language
February 09, 2012, 09:17:40 PM
Language is fine, as long as it remembered that language is exactly that: a representation of something it, itself, is not.
People have generally come to believe that language is the thing, and whatever it may or may not represent, gets forgotten about.
This is why a man may be imprisoned, in Europe, for saying something that may be interpreted as a 'hate-crime', whether or not a 'hate-crime' had anything to do with what was said. Often, it doesn't even have to be said, only suspected of maybe being said, by a thought-process that may, or may not, at some point, say it.
No 'hate-crime' actually took place, or probably would ever have taken place, but the words, themselves, and possibly the thoughts behind them, stood in for the event.
I call that madness. Leftists call it wonderful. It makes, they imagine, the world a better place.



Squawk!

Re: Language
February 10, 2012, 03:39:09 AM
People have generally come to believe that language is the thing, and whatever it may or may not represent, gets forgotten about.

That's because language is the thing, if you're talking about a social situation.

People listen to humans, not reality. Reality perception is not equal and so it's safer to listen to whatever human is most popular.

Re: Language
February 10, 2012, 10:54:18 PM
language probably evolved so we could discuss survival, warn each other of danger like, "Hey watch out for that mammoth."..(and this is still relevant, in the wingman sense)