Many wrote to me in private, thanking me for my development of the topic
of soul/openheart by using metaphors from my experience in the wild
(doves, snakes, dogs, succulents). I want to thank all those people for
their most kind words of appreciation and encouragement. It means very
much to me since my country (South Africa) is now experiencing bifurcation
upon bifurcation as a result of the high production rate of entropy.
I will be openhearted to you all. The moment I laid my eyes on Sherri's
clarion call for more soul, I had an incredible urge to TEACH you the
value of metaphors to get through language barriers. (Yes, I sometimes
switch to the teach mode. No. Most of my contributions are in the learn
mode.) I know that in our schools and universities it gets very little
attention, if ever. It is probably not very different elsewhere.
Here in our country we have 11 major black languages (Zulu, Xhosa, ....),
Afrikaans (born in africa - youngest language in the world, except for
possibly Ebonics), English and languages spoken by large Indian, Chinese,
Libanese, Italian, Portuguese, Greek and German communities. You probably
have heard the new term for the SouthAfrican Nation, namely the 'rainbow
nation'. It is indeed the case.
Few people HERE IN South Africa realise how much we, the rainbow nation,
make use of metaphors to communicate. Although the black languages have an
underdeveloped predicate system (adverbs and adjectives), they make up for
it by an extraodinary use of metaphors. (I get the impression that it is
the same for the american Indian languages.) The use of these black
languages continuously generates the need for metaphors, ALSO in the other
languages spoken in our country.
I myself, when I began my studies at the university in the natural
sciences, was often cautioned and chastened by my professors not to use
analogies (my perception of metaphors those days) to communicate
scientific findings, but to use the correct terminology. Eventually, about
at the time I did my masters in physics, I used metaphors only when
speaking to myself, always enjoying their incredible power, but feeling
guilty about it like about sex.
Today I am very thankful to my professors. From them I have learnt how to
move from my tacit level of knowledge to my formal level of knowledge by
keep on hunting for the correct word to express what I tacitly know.
Sometimes I even have to create new words like the word 'monadicity'. In
other words, the very thing for which I was cautioned and chastened for
not doing then, I am now being cautioned and chastened for doing now. But
I am also thankful to myself that I have not completely stopped using
metaphors. I discovered that when a student or pupil find it difficult to
understand things, I can become the midwife for noble thoughts to be borne
by using metaphors. I discovered that when I travel in my rainbow country
and have to communicate exactly what pot under the rainbow I am looking
for, metaphors do the job best. (Yes, although the hunt for succulents
appears to be like hunting for a pot of gold, the metaphor goes much
The overriding reason why I write today, is not to tell you about the
power of communicating with metaphors, but to caution you that the use of
metaphors is only part of our cultural fabric. Yesterday I had to overcome
the protection of some succulent who was in need of soul communication.
And were it not for my previous contribution to you on the
openheart-succulent connection, I would not have learnt yesterday exactly
HOW I pierced this person's protection. To my surprise, I did not use a
metaphor (unless you want to stretch your imagination), but I used the
very formal intricacies which my mother tongue Afrikaans allows me to do.
As I did it, I had this blinding insight in less than a second of how I
was doing it. I could not then think it all out because the person needed
my attention. So let us see if I can explain to myself today what I did.
In English the immature, the diminutive and the affectionate form of a
noun is usually a different noun. For example, a baby dog is a puppy. But
in Afrikaans it is done by a postfix 'xie' where 'x' stands for any one of
a number of consonants and the vowel 'ie' sounds like the 'y' in
electricity or the 'ie' in sweetie, but not in pie.
Here the cultural part comes in. The 'brother' and 'sister' of English has
a much richer use in South Africa. In the black cultures, all your
cousins, nephews and nieces are your brothers and sisters. In the culture
of the Afrikaners, the christian religion still plays a major role.
Therefor, in Afrikaans you will use the words 'broer' (brother) or
'suster' (sister) to refer to
1 your parent's children when speaking to other Afrikaners,
2 your fellow christians when speaking to protestant believers,
3 your family members of like and lower rank when speaking to
When we Afrikaners speak in the affective dimension of our brothers and
sisters (of our own parents), or refer to the younger ones among them, we
use 'boetie' and 'sussie' (diminutive + collapse). But when we wish to
speak affectionately to a person of our age or younger, even if this
person is not related to us, then we often use 'broer+tjie' or
'suster+tjie' (only the rule, no collapse). The 'broer' in 'broertjie' and
the 'suster' in 'sustertjie' having the full weight of all three uses
above. Its loaded with culture, and the affectionate signal 'xie', the 'x'
being 'tj' (halfway between the consonants 'c' and 't' of 'culture'.)
Now, when I wish to indicate that I am willing to participate in a soul
dialogue with a person in which I recognise both spiritual need and
openheart protection, I begin the dialogue with 'broertjie' or
'sustertjie'. Usually, it works immediately like a handshake. (People in
computer networking also call their electronic initialising tricks
'handshaking'. It is this annoying noice when you accidentally dial a fax
machine: beep pelepelpele beep.....).
When an Afrikaans speaking man and woman loves each other, they often
develop a whole set of endearment terms between them, most of the terms in
the diminutive form. The whole set is used to signal (by the diminutive
rule) an openheart/soul dialogue, but each term is used to indicate a
particular mood! I suspect that the increasing number of divorces among
Afrikaners and the decreasing number of married Afrikaner couples using a
set of endearment terms in the dimunitive form, may be related to each
The idea which I wish to convey is that the complex fabric of all the
cultures in our country and the fabric of a particular culture is carried
by the mother tongue of such a particular culture.
I do not know what you English speaking people do to signal for soul
dialogue, but I wish I knew because I am in dire need of knowing.
But I also have this other worry nagging at me. The more English becomes
the super lingua franca of all the cultures in the world in order to
communicate information on the lower levels of complexity, the more
difficult it becomes for people of the English culture to steer its power
to open up dialogue in the higher levels of complexity. In other words,
the price to be paid for having English spoken all over the world by all
its peoples, mostly as their second language, is not to be able any more
to speak to English people on all that matters, especially the soul. (It
is like developing English into a jumbo jet, very good for carrying many
passengers all over the world, but very diffcult to pilot for personal
use.) In the mean time, many of these peoples give up their precious
mother tongues, believing that English will be good for everything. It
happens here in South Africa to the majority of the black peoples. Now, in
the aftermath of apartheid, they want us Afrikaners to do the same. And
the fall of apartheid gave them as the majority the power to use all
public institutions to force us to do so. I may be completley wrong, but
then why do I have this nagging worry
1 that you are in serious trouble by having to steer a jumbo jet
for your personal use
2 that our troubles of conserving Afrikaans (our powerful
3 the wilful giving up of their mother tongue by many third world
are all related to each other.
Sherri ended her introduction of this thread by saying something like
being sorry for causing trouble again. I am sorry for all the trouble I
will be causing by having to wrote the paragraph above. Unfortunately,
nobody said they did not want soul dailogue.
If this contribution left you with the feeling that it is just another
jumbo jet in a long distance flight and thus of no good for your own daily
personal use, I have empathy with this feeling. I get the same feeling at
least once a day, depending on my mood.
At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>