Saturday, June 17, 2017

Language

Words are indices made out of squiggles. Codes made of squiggles map onto memories in various ways in various languages. Phonetic languages map squiggles onto a speech database, pictogram and heiroglyphic languages map squiggles onto the structure of the system of squiggle itself, leading to a sort of natural archaeology of its own meaning. The latter forms of writing can deviate greatly from speech. In any case, words and speech hold their basic meaning through consistency of use across population overtime. The basic technology of using squiggles to index a large number of patterns holds across audio and visual inputs. Once an experience of note is correctly encoded in all its various media, from auditory patterns to speech to writing to images even to action loops, a network connection forms that facilitates the formation of concepts. Concepts become object-like in that they also form networks that form higher concepts. Concepts can easily escape the confines of individual biology such that they are only perceivable intersubjectively. The difference between objects and lower level concepts blurs the higher the concept level one views them from. Indeed, from a collective consciousness, boundaries between objects, concepts, even people blur. However, at the most basic level of perception, there is still a real perceivable difference between objects and concepts. (The previous statement is not really backed up by any evidence other than that it seems absurd to have words in a world where objects and concepts didn't differ in any important way, I much rather take the simpler explanation that objects have become too small to notice next to the big concepts).

Of course, it would be great if we could "rectify" our languages, as Confucius says but that the task seems so unsurmountable only reminds us that we live in an age where symbolic systems are battling fiercely for supremacy. The size of our concepts have grown in proportion to the energy that we consume. These large concepts can only be wielded by collectives and most of these collectives expend immense energy erecting barriers to access these concepts and the objects that they control. Wars manifest themselves in whatever way they can, like the fruits of decay, between concepts too large for any individual to perceive. But it seems to create new concepts, old ones must be destroyed.

Perhaps it was never a good time for the task of rectifying language. Perhaps it has only ever been done the only way it could, in piecemeal. Babel, if it ever existed, must not have lasted very long anyway.

What tools do we have at our disposal?

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