Was thumbing through Brain Cantwell Smith’s “On the Origin of Objects”1, and came across the following quote:
“One notices, if one will trust one’s eyes, the shadow cast by language upon truth.”
Auden, “Kairos & Logos“
This reminded me of my own ponderings as a school child (I can still hear the clank of china as I was washing cups in the church at the time!) as to whether I would be able to think more freely if I knew more languages and thus had more words and concepts, or whether, on the contrary, my mind would be most clear if I knew no language and was thus free of the conceptual straitjacket of English vocabulary. Of course all shades of Sapir-Whorf (although I didn’t know the term at the time), and now I hold a somewhere in-between view – language shapes thought but does not totally contain it2. Is that the moderation of maturity, or compromise of age?
- Trying to decide whether to start it again, as Luke Church, who I met at the PPIG meeting in September, told me it was worthwhile persevering with even though somewhat oddly written![back]
- I discuss this a bit in my transarticulation essay and paths and patches book chapter.[back]