That we can meet another who has never experienced the same culture in which we were born and have always lived, nor we in theirs, yet exchange profound, precise ideas about the natural world if we share the same language, is the most wonderful and damning of all cultural embellishments to human’s natural existence. Wonderful because we can describe in minute detail what we see, feel and think as a means of evoking recognition of a truth, about which the words flutter like butterflies about nectar, as a common experience of something vaster than separate cultures can ever nail down. Damning because when we describe in minute detail what we see, feel and think, the reality of the natural connection of all parties' experience becomes obliterated by an argument over whose symbolic butterfly’s close order drill skills can best the other.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
BABEL ON GARDENS OF HANGING VERBIAGE
Ever so often I am stopped in whatever tracks I’m following when I encounter yet another example of communication that makes me realize what a powerful organic intelligence the development of language proves the physical body to be. Language enables one to listen to stories being told around fires since grunts and pointing became not enough. Language is the major cultural development responsible for the extended life expectancy of humans through the improved ability to describe more exactly the location of predators from saber-toothed tigers to omnivoracious viri. Whether language spread from the first word enunciated to become all the dictionaries in the world or from a “hundred monkeys” blooming in diversely separate groups of people is an interesting speculation but not relevant to my inquiry in this post. I am thinking of the process of spreading from any one point and how that must have evolved.