Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Language as Existence
Consciousness, or being alive, has a great many options available to it as it attempts to comprehend the condition of being dead. One option is to say that the thing that is me, goes somewhere after the thing that looks like me succumbs to wear and tear, drops its last cigarette into the coffee cup. A second option, is to say that when I die the thing that is me also evaporates, because there is no actual distinction between the thing that is me and the thing that looks like me. Which means that when I'm gone, I'll exist only in the brief memory of others, unless I can have my name associated with a pyramid or something just a little more temporal, but which at the moment seemed like a good idea. A third option, is to say that consciousness is a property of matter, which means that when I die the thing that is me will be reinterpreted, it'll gain another meaning, which will probably be as comprehensible to me at this moment in time, as a Marmite and Ham sandwich might be to a Chipmunk at any moment in time. I'll not have a familiar memory, or vocabulary, I will not be able to vocalize in the familiar way, or feel, or possess any one of those capacities that emerge as a consequence of being a particular living form. And how nice it might have been to exist as an Owl that ate only vegetables, and spent its day either defending Dove from Raptors or calling nonsensically across valleys because it just felt so good to do so..
Those of us who are somewhat idle or impatient with respect to the opinions of others, and who cleave to this third view of being, will try to tell you that even though when dead and gone we'll be without memory, or vocabulary, or names, or any of those pieces that identify the thing that is me, nonetheless the thing that is me will still have language. Nor is it necessary here, to look through the great tome in search of another word for "language." Find some nuance in Ancient Greek, Early Celt, Saxon, that expresses difference between language as cognitive, a product of learning then remembering words, then accessing a long suffering Broca's area of the brain, and language as some sort of machinery or battle axe that exists absent a life form with opposable thumbs. Not necessary either to look for straight lines in horrible places like Kansas, or go much beyond the joy of conceptualizing what a slope in a place of randomness might be like to sit upon And I say this because language is the object of the universe, the Moon speaks a remarkably complicated language called Moon, and I speak a dialect of Earthling, which is a subset of a simpler family of languages that can trace a lineage so long back it falls before bosons persuaded particles to gather mass. A political error in my view, rather than a product of cause and effect, because it was that persuasion that gave language it's first doomed word, which the bloody minded prefer to think of as some kind of number or equation. And you can call me a pan-psychic Jackass if you wish to, but give words to the alternatives first and recall the western understanding of knowledge as the coincidence of belief and true, which implies that a great deal of what we believe just isn't even remotely true. And yes indeed, I do like to preach, or call across the valley, because it feels just so good to do so.