Tue, 30 May 2000
From: Dan Moonhawk Alford
To: Mia Kalish
Re: Nested Chomsky
[Mia] Another thing that is intuitively obvious to me: Here, there, and that which is neither but might be in the process. I don't read much by physicists, although I generally like what walks into my path. I am particularly fond of Heisenberg. I like to watch what it does to people's eyes in reponse to what it does to people's minds. I usually keep a straight face while watching this process. You knew, of course, that a person's mind, once stretched by a new idea, can never return to it's original shape.
[Moonhawk] In fact, as a teacher I count on that! (while similarly enjoying watching the eyes)
[Mia] [*Moonhawk previous] -- He played an image shell-game: becoming a cultural icon representing anti-establishment views, displaying in bullet-form exactly how the big, bad media Manufactures Consent ... while at the same time, by Manufacturing Consent in linguistics using the same bullet-pointed methods as he said the media used, creating the biggest, baddest linguistics empire that's ever been seen in this lazy little discipline since its inception in the early 19th-Century! Nobody's been able to drag it back from him, tho inertia is presently causing it to gently implode.
[Mia previous] And I thought I was the only one who noticed this! See how the Universe is? Friends show up just when you had gotten used to the idea of being alone. Chortle.
[Moonhawk] Funny how that works. And let's remember -- I was a duly trained and enthusiastic Chomskyan once upon a time, at my "release" from the UCLA brainwashing enclave.
[*Moonhawk previous] As I tell MY grad students from different disciplines: no matter what your discipline, if you REALLY want to know what it's about at the foundational level, find out who they're relentlessly beating up on and why! And if you're ever so lucky as me to find someone whom 4 or 5 disciplines have all ganged up to beat up on -- you'll have struck a goldmine!!!
[Mia] Moonhawk, I really, truly hate to tell you this. This is Chomsky. Chomsky always said, Look for what is not said. And he also always said, If you want to know who they really are, look for what makes them angry. These "principles" show up over and over in Letters_From_Lexington and The_Common_Good.
[Moonhawk] Well, as I always say, "Great minds run in the same ruts!" ;-) For 20 years I've been echoing something I didn't know existed! Well, Chomsky is one who beat up on Whorf, and inspired many others, like Pinker, to do likewise.
[Mia] Actually, I think I can put Chomsky into perspective. I agree that his position is crumbling due to inertia. And he has retired, so there should be little fuel added to the fire. I heard Minsky also retired, but I have no proof. That only leaves Patrick Henry Winston and Negroponte. Of course, we will probably have to deal with that idiot Pinker for the rest of our natural lives. Now, you ask, WHATEVER was it about Pinker that got me started.....
[Moonhawk] And I'm glad Pinker affects you in the same way. I thought it was only ME that saw him as an idiot.
[Mia] So who was the man with the Humboltian relativity?
[Moonhawk] Jost Winteler, a Humboldtian relativity linguist with whom Einstein lived and studied, and in later years Einstein mentioned him by name as the source of many of his early ideas. Works for me! ;-)
[Mia] Or perhaps the real question is: What do you do? Well, of course you change the world!
[Moonhawk] Argggh! Unmasked!
[Mia] I am only half-joking. I spent a major part of my life wondering what to do, thinking I was the only one who knew, except that I could hear others across the "network". I just couldn't see them. So I decided to trust my mind. And I decided to play with it, and see what I could create (tunatya). And Lo! And Behold! People move, see, think, and hear differently. The world moves differently. Now, I can contact some of my friends telepathically. Not all of them; most of them are still asleep under rocks, doing their best newt appearance.
[Moonhawk] Funny how it works! ;-)
[Mia] And I live "tunatya" as I think I understand it. I think a position/place/want, and then I wait to see who/what "shows up". You and Andy showed up that way. When I read your web page, and saw the code words, I knew you were somebody I wanted to talk to. I just didn't know if you would want to talk to me. So I sent a message (2, actually). And I waited. And there you were. How 'bout that.
[Mia] Now, try and teach that to the world. I haven't even begun to deal with those issues. I am still working on the real basic stuff: "Words have power. We can prove it. We can test it." Almost sounds like a tautology, doesn't it.
[Moonhawk] Ya know what?! The kicker is, as I find out teaching non-major intro courses: EVEYBODY ACTUALLY KNOWS IT ALREADY! ;-) So .. let's take that as a principle and start from there.
[Mia] Albuquerque: Language of Spirituality Conference: Yes, I am here in NM for the summer. I would love to go to the conference. Bet there will be some real interesting people there. Tell me more.
[Moonhawk] This will be the 8th or 9th Bohmian Science Dialogue (see my "Report on Fetzer Dialogues" at URL) between quantum physicists and Native Americans (with a few linguists thrown in for good measure). Major heavies from Native America that you'll just love. Matthew should be there too.
[Mia] Is there a web page?
[Moonhawk] Yes -- see under "The Language of Spirituality" at http://www.seedopenu.org for details -- and for ordering info for last year's transcript and/or tapes.
[Mia] Gotta go back and do the non-metaphor thing. I don't see pictures as "metaphor".
[Moonhawk] Think of it this way: a major chunk of English metaphors are nouns, which are imminently picturable, perhaps moreso than verbs generally. With a non-nouny language (talk all day without uttering a single noun), there's that many fewer opportunities for metaphors, in a way. But there's something deeper going on re: categorization.
Have you come across my Cheyenne duck/rattlesnake example yet? /Se?Se/ is "duck" while if you add /-novote/ "goes into a hole" at the end of it, it suddenly means "rattlesnake"! When would a duck be a metaphor for a rattlesnake, or vice versa?! What can /Se?Se/ really "mean"?!
[Mia] I know what that woman is talking about. I frequently write from that kinesthetic space. Not now. Now I am writing from the verbal space, because I am "thinking" at you.
[Moonhawk] Yes -- my buddy Sakej calls literacy "left-brain telepathy"! Chew on that one for a while!
[Mia] However, when I write certain types of things, I "feel" at my audience. Maybe I have something that is neat enough to attach. (Squirreling). I found one. It's called "Blue-green River". It is one of the short stories in the Discourse_With_A_Lover collection that I am publishing on my web site. I have this belief that as a writer, I have to go deep inside, be real. Some people find this style of prose deeply personal and intimate. It touches things inside them that they wish it wouldn't.
[Moonhawk] I understand. With clairparlance we can actually "attach" emotional and spiritual "attachments" (intentions) with our writings. ;-)
[Mia] I will do the second piece later. I am reading Barriers... Chomsky at his abstruse best. Sometimes I think he imagines his components are running about in the sentences, hither and fro, with little paint brushes, marking each other for theme, and control and domination and government. Tiny little paint brushes. Lots of paint colors. Much squealing and trying to escape.
[Moonhawk] what an exquisite description! ;-)
[Mia] The totally abstruse Bijection Theory amuses me most at the moment. This is where we can't have a trace dominating its parasitic gap because this would be a violation of Bijection Theory.... although, and I MUST, MUST, MUST point this out because it is so Totally Funny: neither the trace nor the "parasitic gap" exist anywhere in any reality.
[Moonhawk] See -- the counterfactual at its absolute pinnacle! Pity the poor unbenighted (?) foreigners who lack this fantastic linguistic device! Instead of pie-in-the-sky theorizing, they have to make do daily with ceremonies, rituals, and Right Living instead!
[Mia] Laughing myself to tears....
[Moonhawk] I'm having a wonderful time swapping words with you, and am looking forward to a F2F meeting in ABQ! Then, next, I'll have to introduce you to a professional org, the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, where Matt and I hold down the linguistics chairs (co-founders 20 years ago because we needed to build our own audience for our renegade language and consciousness ideas, since linguists are decidedly not interested for the most part) -- we're always on the lookout for other disaffected mavericks and renegades!
warm regards, Moonhawk
"I don't need a compass to tell me which way the wind shines!" -- Roy, Mystery Men