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Passions in Poetry

When Thoughts and Words are Bygone

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Essorant
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0 posted 12-07-2002 09:00 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

After these technological attenae are attached on peoples heads in the future usurping all the kingdom of language, making thoughts and words bygone, what do you think will become of poetry and philosophy?  Will they be able to exist in such a state?  


[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-07-2002 09:07 PM).]

Brad
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1 posted 12-07-2002 10:53 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Uh, some of us don't think this would be possible.

Some of us think complex thinking and feeling isn't done in a language, it is the result of language.

Essorant
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2 posted 12-08-2002 10:46 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I can't read much very well of your words after "uh" because I feel like there is an attitude here full of something which you abstained to give the detail, a feeling of an impression perhaps that I am crazy beyond redemption, or perhaps you noticed a bit of the playfulness with which I posted and detest that where things should be strictly grave, or perhaps you hesitated wanting to say something sarcastic or harsh then decided you wouldn't on whim or shouldn't for decency's sake, but still gave that little token.  It is often inavoidable in speech , but you had the choice to type it or not if you were present to what you were typing.  And it was the first thing you put down, so it must mean something.  You can tell me exactly what you feel you don't have to forebear around me. I've never been able to put my philosophies into words and thoughts very well, but I keep on trying even though the result is that my philosophies become more of a mess and people think I'm insane.  So it will just go with the rest.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-08-2002 10:48 AM).]

Opeth
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3 posted 12-08-2002 10:49 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Kind of like innuendos, of which I have been a recipient of, in this forum.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (12-08-2002 10:49 AM).]

Local Rebel
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4 posted 12-08-2002 01:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Not defending Brad b/c he doesn't need any help from me -- just pointing out my own read on 'Uh' and other such comments since I use them myself sometimes.  I read them as I mean them -- just as a way to interject into this sterile environment some of the conversational subtleties that might exist if we were actually talking instead of typing.

I'm going to have to say though -- I don't think it is all that far fetched to imagine that it may be possible to network brains at some point in the future -- I would think that such a scenario would increase the need for language though -- and certainly the amount of it processed would be as progressive as our own in an age of mass communication compared to what our forebears had to in the good ole days.

Technology tends to drive the need for literacy and vocabulary.  Expect it to expand exponentially.

Just consider the so-called 'paperless' society -- computers have been a boom for the paper industry because now all we have to do is hit 'print'.
Christopher
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5 posted 12-08-2002 02:54 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

I agree with LR on the bit about "uh." I do the same as well.

And I agree with him as well about the possibilities. To think we once knew absolutely that the world was flat, that space flight was impossible, that the concept of speaking to someone halfway across the world via words appearing magically on a screen was once not even considered.

And, once more, I agree that it would make the need for language more imperative. One of the most difficult things about language is getting across a concept that exists within the mind. We by nature need to categorize and label things - concepts, images, emotions, etc.
Brad
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6 posted 12-08-2002 07:40 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Essorant,

The, 'uh' was used to point out that some of us don't make the same assumptions you do. You're not insane, most of the world believe that words are poor substitutes for the 'real thing'. I call this representationalism, Hilary Putnam calls it the 'copy' theory. The idea is simple, you have a complex idea that is reduced when put into language. I think it is reversed, you have a feeling, an instinct, that only becomes complex after you put it in language.

No language, no philosophy -- only attitude.

Your frustration doesn't stem from me, but from a false sense that what goes on in your brain outside of language is something more than it is.  
Local Parasite
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7 posted 12-08-2002 09:08 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Brad - aren't you being a little harsh?  Sure he could have put more matter with less art, but we're poets... the very nature of a poet is to take something simple and enhance it with language, often blowing it out of proportion.  If you had it your way, half of the stuff in Teen Poetry would simply say "I'm sad" or "I hate my ex."  What's the fun in that?     

Essorant - While your question is based on assumptions, I think I know what you're getting at.  Are you trying to say, when words are bygone, so will our thoughts, because we think in words?  Eventually, as you say, we may very well be able to function without the use of language.  But is all thought done in terms of language?  Maybe you enjoyed 1984 a little more than I did, but I'm going to have to disagree on this point.

Thinking obviously occurs even in creatures who have no language.  I don't think complex language is primary to complex thought... I just think that it happens to come hand-in-hand as a species evolves.  Human wouldn't have become so intelligent without the use of spoken or written language.  And why not?  Because we couldn't record any of our discoveries.  During your lifetime, did you personally discover fire, invent the wheel and the lightbulb, or learn to be ashamed of your body?  Of course not.  These are all things that have been passed down to us, the knowledge of others, through both spoken and written language.

In this way, language is very important in our success as a species.  But if we were to grow to the point where language was no longer important, we wouldn't do away with it only to find that it was important after all.  Otherwise, why would we have gotten rid of it?

I doubt language will be done away with, as it is so convenient for us.  Even if we do find more efficient ways of communicating with others (like antennae), we would have no reason to impliment them if they would do away with things like philosophy and poetry.

I doubt this would ever happen, so there's not much point in discussing the outcomes of it.  But as it's Sunday night and I'm bored and want to get my mind off the essay I should be writing, I'll indulge you.

As you say, thoughts and words would become unnecessary.  We would exist primarily for the purpose of serving ourselves.  So I guess we'd just be animals again, living for the sake of living, knowing how to survive but knowing nothing more.  If chimps don't have poetry, then neither will we.  Unless, of course, the definition of poetry changes drastically.

Rest assured though, it won't happen.  And even if it does, you'll be dead by then.
Brad
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8 posted 12-09-2002 01:41 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Harsh?

Actually, I do think thought is language. I think using words, I have dispositions without words, but I don't have complexity. It's difficult to see this as long as you remain in the Cartesian theatre.

You see language as an adornment, a convenience, (Essorant sees it as an obstacle) I see it as essential for what it is to be human. There's a lot of evidence because we have biologically evolved along side it and without we would actually be less than animals.

"I'm sad" does not represent an emotional state, it's a phrase used to explain to others what that emotional state is. Even if you only say it to yourself, what it does is categorize a number of multiple, competing, conflicting states that we all have at the same time. If you think this is reductionist, that's because you think language should be representational. I think language is a tool that allows us to control ourselves, to control those multiple, chaotic states, to control ourselves. In a way, it is the tool that allows us to create ourselves.

I guess my use of attitude there came off as harsh, but I wasn't saying that Essorant has an attitude, I just don't think we have anything else until it is put in a language. When we talk about something, when we allude to something beyond language, when we say that it can't be described in language, aren't we literally saying nothing at all?

And by saying nothing at all, you can believe it to be anything you want. It's a nice trick, but it doesn't work for me.

  
Essorant
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9 posted 12-09-2002 01:58 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"No language, no philosophy -- only attitude."

I don't hold opinion with you at all.  Feelings are complex, thats why language of words exists.  It is a complexion of feelings that has created these odd bodies in order to communicate, and the complexions of these bodies themselves are, thoughts.  We are not of the same currents of nature as other creatures, but in a excellent deviation, and where the informing fire is now abused by our race and little conductive to any peace.  As I observe all the world in its natures and respects, deeds and words, my feelings find stands and passions of wisdom on their own without words and thoughts-, these are philosophies.  Only when I want to dispense them  do I have to put them into these odd bodies of words and thoughts that never compare.  I believe most of all the best form of communicating philsophy is directly into life offhandly in the language of actions and deeds, setting examples, helping and doing courtesies, staying constant in doing what you know is right for nature and respect, --you shoudn't have to put yourselves through myriads of thought process in order to decide whats right or wrong--if it shows nature and respect, it is right, it it doesn't it is wrong.  If you can't be good individual in offhand manners, I will not let you in my house no matter how thoughtful you are.  The educated feeling more should know by now, the decades have gone through these processes, hammered thoughts like slaves, thought the "right thing", now it is time to do the right thing, right on the spot.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-09-2002 02:06 AM).]

Brad
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10 posted 12-09-2002 02:11 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

That feelings are complex is the result of using a language. Does a tiger feel remorse before killing a deer?

You say we are on different current, what current would that be?
Essorant
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11 posted 12-09-2002 02:31 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Local Parasite
It was an extreme suggestion.  I agree with much of what you say, especially about thought and language to evolution.  
I just feel like the age has grown to dependent and in excess with thought and language to a point where we are losing all natural  sense of direction, and ability to do the right thing offhandedly from the heart.  
Essorant
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12 posted 12-09-2002 03:18 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Brad
I think the tiger only behaves within the capacity of its own nature, like any beast.
Humans have a different nature that is more accumulative in perceptions and memory, but less sharp in action and flow for that thoughts disturb the course of the current to the natural peace and balance of the whole world.  We thus have to try to " force" our selves to peace, in a way that other creatures don't seem to have to, but peace will always be impaired for us because we're never free with this force always having to be doing something.  When this extra force  becomes too complex and in excess it is probably as far away from Nature and God as you can get...there is no "chime" at all between humans and Nature, but humans are in excess and evildisposed, and nature is in smother under them.   Thoughts and machines are parallell, they are governed by our hearts, but feelings lose themselves and the sense of direction of what they want in these, when their machines are too complex and overwheleming, they lose control, and natures become hurt.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-09-2002 03:58 AM).]

Essorant
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13 posted 12-09-2002 10:52 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Humans seem to kill without remorse too.  And they don't just kill for survival. If thought and language as complex and structuralized to the fierce point of today were better to human nature than we would be seeing less violence and perversity in our natures, but we don't.  Our own devices are making us more unnatural and evil.  It is not the direction of the heart that polluts and destroys, it is the direction of our thoughts.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-09-2002 11:46 AM).]

Ron
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14 posted 12-09-2002 02:08 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Essorant, the human heart pumps blood. Period. It doesn't set a direction for us to follow. It is not the center of emotion or feelings. Those originate in the same place as, and are very little different from, our thoughts. Besides, cruelty isn't limited to mankind. Ever watch a cat play with a mouse?

Brad, I have to admit you're setting an interesting path, and one I've never explored. Is it possible to "think" without the use of language? Clearly, we don't, but I question whether that implies we can't. Let's reduce the question to a simpler one. Is it possible to count without numbers? Is it possible to "think" how many mouths there are back at the cave that need to be fed without any use of a numbering system? Does a one-to-one correspondence with my fingers constitute language? Does any attempt to count without numbers inevitably lead to the invention of numbers? Chicken? Or egg?


jbouder
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15 posted 12-09-2002 03:34 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

Sounds a little like British Empiricism, except that a verbal repertoire would be the means by which we catalogue our experiences and are enabled to reflect on them.

I'm going to have to think more on this one.

Jim
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16 posted 12-09-2002 11:02 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Leading theories among anthropologists suggest the advanced brain development in homo sapiens was made possible (vegetarians don't read this part) by the eating of meat and the subsequent reduction in the amount of energy required to digest the fat contained therein compared to digesting complex carbs like grain and nuts.  This allowed for a break in the constant hunt for complex carbohydrate, eat, sleep, hunt for more carbohydrate cycle.

This higher brain development allowed for more cognitive processing (obviously) which paved the way for language -- which was also developed as a direct result of eating meat -- while the males were out hunting it -- the mothers of the males developed language so they could report to their sons any infedelities commited by their wives while they were off on the hunt.

The development of language and it's import to culture, religion, society has long been revered -- look at the sequence in Hebrew mythology where Adam names the animals -- and the reverence in worship among the Jews for the writing of the Torah and Talmuud -- even to the point of each person actually helping to write it by hand even down to the current generation.  Or -- look at the Gospel of John and the focus on 'the Word'.  By 'the Word' all things were created.

I've always maintained that until we can actually name something it doesn't truly exist within our realm of perception... but even at that it is a thin veil of reality...

For example -- we recognize the blue on this page -- but in words only -- describe the color blue so that a person born blind can understand the concept -- or even the concept of light and dark.

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (12-09-2002 11:04 PM).]

Brad
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17 posted 12-10-2002 02:00 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I wouldn't say 'paved the way' so much as developed in tandem with language. What evolutionary advantage exists with higher cognitive processing (the kind of thing we do and not, presumably, chimpanzees)? I think that advantage is language and with language, culture.

Yes, historically, human societies have often attributed magic powers to language, but if we can demystify it without, at the same time, losing a sense of awe at what it actually does (This is very similar to my views on poetry).

Ron asked, can we think without a language? Chimpanzees, apparently, can count to three, but I don't see how you can get from counting to three to the square root of negative 1 without it. It is possible to imagine a language in pictures, but that language, in order for it to do the things that language does (recontextualization, metaphoricality, associational drift etc.), it still needs some type of grammar and discrete 'pictures' that can be separated by that grammar.

This may seem a bit contradictory but I'm actually saying two things here. One, that the difference between humans and chimps is not one of kind but of degree. We just aren't that different (Dare I say in an objective sense?), but that that difference is the use of a complex language and once that is in place, it changes us and, literally, gives us a world (In a subjective sense.).

If I'm right, there's still plenty of space for awe.

Essorant
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18 posted 12-11-2002 12:44 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Ron
I was referring to feelings with "heart"
In other beasts, feelings seem very stationary in their natures - they little seem to accumulate or transcend out of their traditional habitat and manners.  We as humans however deviate, and revolutionize, as our feelings become "thoughtful".  
Most of all I believe feelings are the core of reason and thought, not language.  They are the truth and wisdom of the being ruling the language as best they can.   If the feeling didn't twist and compile complex, neither thoughts nor language would exist as they do in humans.  
The cat has been hitting mouses around thus for ages, but his feelings have been in the same "current" --so he doesn't have nor morals or thoughts to consider perhaps the mouse doesn't deserve to be toyed with cruelly.  Humans have have compiled ages of volumes in thoughts and reasons, and ammendments, but for all these in this age,  have less wisdom and peace.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-11-2002 02:55 AM).]

Local Rebel
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19 posted 12-11-2002 11:03 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Brad -- not going to say that I disagree that there wasn't some parallel development -- but I'm also not going to agree completely -- I'm thinking in terms of hardware vs. software -- the language is just the formatting -- first I think there had to be some capacity there.

I just find it humorous that the first purported use of language was to gossip.

I think there is some evidence that we can point to that suggests though that there can be be thought without language -- I'm not sure how complex (and I'll get to the chimp thing in a second) -- but look at the development of children -- anyone who has ever raised a child knows about how the thinking begins before the langauge does -- and the ability of infant twins to develop their own language helps to illustrate both that we are hard wired for language and that the cognitive ability must exist without it in order to develop it from scratch -- of course all of these are my modest opinions.  I certainly have no authority on the subject matter.

I do recall though that Chimpanzees share 98 percent or so of our DNA structure -- so there is little difference -- and on the cognitive/language level -- the only reason that I know of that chimps can't talk is because they don't have the vocal chords for it -- they have successfully learned and used sign language.

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (12-11-2002 11:05 PM).]

Essorant
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20 posted 12-11-2002 11:37 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Thoughts seem to be complex feelings that "measure" and articulate themselves in language.  There is always a level of thought existing because there is always a level of complexity of feeling which results in a language.  For instance, if we were indeed to have antennae put on our heads that would virtually seem to erase thought and language because it would not include words but only signals, instensities and frequencies to send and recieve as electrical waves directly to "know", there would still inevitably be a form of language.  All creatures must communicate in one way or another whether it through be scents, gestures, eyes, growls.  If humans somehow were unable to communicate through words and numbers...there would be another form somehow someway, and we would still be very complex I believe for it is in our very natures.  Just my opinion.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-11-2002 11:41 PM).]

jbouder
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21 posted 12-12-2002 08:58 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

LR:

I think you may be putting too much emphasis on expressive language.  A child's receptive language repertoire develops several months before expressive language does.  Even before a child speaks or approximates its first word, its ability with language is well beyond that of a chimp ... even one that can count to three.

Jim
Brad
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22 posted 12-12-2002 07:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Reading Daniel Dennet's "Consciousness Explained" right now. He would agree with Local Rebel that the brain's capacity increased before language was developed, but he offers no hypothesis for this development and the speed of that development-- at least so far. However, his mythical story for the development of specifically human consciousness is language based through and through. We began thinking when we began using language more or less -- and this is done in a kind of proto-language, a term he doesn't describe -- at least so far.

One wonders what those hominids with man-sized brains were doing before the advent of language -- even by his account.

As far as complex feelings are concerned, I agree that we have them, I don't think a chimpanzee does. Once we gain language, feelings can be reworked, complexified beyond the four f's: fight, flee, feed, . . . and mate.

Brad
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23 posted 12-12-2002 10:01 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness . . .Since I had no power of thought, I did not compare one mental state with another.


Helen Keller, 1908

Taken from the book mentioned above, p. 227.

This is what I see you advocating, Essorant. Earlier, I meant what I said when language gives us a world.
jbouder
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24 posted 12-13-2002 12:48 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

Excellent quote.  Such a state is terrifying to imagine.

Jim
 
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