Disappointment -- No soul? LO12268

ray evans harrell (mcore@soho.ios.com)
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 18:50:25 -0800

Replying to LO12189 --

Rol Fessenden wrote:

> Good to hear from you again. I am very glad you rejoined the list. I think I
> agree with what you are saying in large, but I may not have expressed myself
> well. I did not mean to imply that science in some fashion invented
> metaphor, but only that they have attempted to use it to gain insight .

Hi Rol,

Good to connect again. I really like the integrity that you bring to
these things. It is quite beautiful. My problem with science has to do
with the two-step that they do when borrowing something. It used to be
the Arts and Sciences, with each helping the other, but since the
Utilitarian wars of the last century and the literal wars of the past
century, science has declared itself victor and makes mistakes based upon
a lack of experience. It would be better if they would, (like Einstein)
learn to play the violin or write poetry first.

> I think you are saying that English is flawed because of its structure. Is
> this correct? Where you say "For the general public English doesn't mean
> metaphor but concrete reality," I wonder why you attribute that to the language
> rather than to the people or the culture.

I am saying that English and all languages, like in physics, has to deal
the issues of digital and analogue, process or object, particle or wave.
Sure all languages have both but they take a different relationship to
each. Cultures have to have ways of dealing with both in the expressions
of their lives or they become, like I've heard the French say about the
English "dull" or the English about the French "flaky".

In the case of Newton, Locke, and later the Utilitarians, it seems the
process or artistic side of the English culture and English language took
a beating. Of course Rousseau and the impressionists did a similar thing
in reverse for the French. Both of these are grossly over-simple but the
over-simple is unfortunately what is translated into the popular culture.

Witness the stress on "basic" education in America where they cut out the
process that develops the "Basic Education" that the "English only" folks
say they want. The process must not be pleasure, or as Freud calls it the
"pleasure principle," that principle which motivates all children to break
the language code before two years of age and develops the brain until
adolescence. The principles that language, math and literacy are built
upon are developed in perception and expression i.e. the arts.
Performance, aural and verbal team development (what we call ensemble you
call LOs) is also developed in the arts along with visual memory. The key
word here is "pleasure", it is fun to do the processes that build
literacy, memory, teamwork, self-expression and symbolization in the arts.
It often comes down to fun with "pot" or fun with music and the arts in
the high schools of NYCity, although the literacy crowd doesn't yet accept

> The subject, verb, direct object is
> common in many other languages, but some cultures -- France, Italy, Spain --
> appear to have a strong sense of metaphor in their culture. I think. Do you
> agree with this? Or am I missing the point?

I don't think you're missing the point. My experience in the arts and the
literature that I know simply says that it has to do with more than simply
metaphor. Metaphor opens up things across categories but it is also the
process use of kinds of time and space that makes the difference. Edward
T. Hall has done a whole series of books on the use of time, space, rhythm
and micro-gesture across cultures. What it comes down to is that we
create the world with our language and what we have learned how to see,
taste, feel, hear and express gesturally. We create it out of the stuff
of the environment but the filter that we use is not the environment but
the creation of our culture and psycho-genetic talent structure.

I use the concept of sympathetic resonance in acoustics as a metaphor for
how we create the world together. Sound that is the correct frequency,
volume, and color will vibrate an empty space configured to the
specifications of that frequency, volume and color. Like humming over a
bottle until the bottle hums back at you, we resonate each other with our
ideas, and modes of expression.

We can arrive at "facts" mutual agreements and conduct business with each
other but even the most sophisticated business agreement is primitive in
comparison to our perceptual potential. The problem is to expand our
agreements in the most efficient way possible. I believe that is through
the growth of knowledge in the body, the mind, the expression and the
spirit that we all share that lies the potential human future.

Respect, humility and joy of competition within the whole of existence,
strengthening our own genius while glorying in the diversity of the world,
are what my elders have taught as the potential of humans. Learning from
all of the world by expanding our filter (or internet) to include all
kinds of consciousness. If you were planted in the ground, you would die,
your consciousness does not include that "plant" type of food
transformation. Imagine a carrot as your teacher and you will begin the
understanding of the word humility.

> When you say, "it is the learning of the deeper thought processes that the
> languages are a part of, that seems of first importance." that is exactly what
> I was trying to say, but not as well.

I hear you.

> Perhaps I am drawing a different message than you from the story about the
> anthropologist taking MacBeth to the natives. While this is an admittedly
> egotistical thing to do, nevertheless, we gain an incredible insight about
> other cultures from the failure of this experiment.

I agree and I don't think it was a failure, just a different answer
than she thought.

> Perhaps we learn humility.
> Perhaps we will not need to conduct that experiment again.

I think the humility comes from the carrot or another life form that we
discover our relationship to (other than the eater and the eaten). I
don't think the concept of "experiment" is a good one for this learning. I
think we attain understanding through experiment but not mastery. We need
the ability to "practice" and analyze mistakes and practice again
correctly before we will be free of the bonds of that lesson. "How do you
get to Carnegie Hall?"

> We certainly
> learn, as scientists did about the earth before, that whites or Europeans or
> whatever are not the culture center of the Earth. Having observed whites
> working in foreign cultures for the last 25 years, I can say with some
> certainty that American appreciation and understanding has grown immensely.
> Perhaps more than the original colonial powers.

Perhaps we can eliminate the Red Yellow Black White discussions. The
Denke are wonderful and they are not the Lacondon. I've often wondered if
Wilt Chamberlain or Abdul Jabbar was Denke. The Lacondon have shocked the
Mexican and Guatemalan governments. These old and very beautiful ways of
knowing are tough and will destroy us if we don't respect them and replace
the "simplicity" of color with the glory of great traditions.

> When you say "I am suggesting that the genius of English must be recognized by
> English speakers and the limits as well, otherwise, in a competitive situation
> we are at a disadvantage.". this is a very insightful point that I did not
> understand at all. Thank you for that.

May I be as graceful as you.

> For me, it is also important to recognize that fundamentally, both business and
> science are separate, international cultures that have specific strengths and
> weaknesses, positive and negative characteristics, and requiring of the same
> struggle to understand as other cultures.

We say that science is the new shamanism of the West, while the business
practices of the present world have not done anything that a Nahuatl
Pochteca (businessman) would not have been comfortable with. I suspect
that there is nothing thus far that the Venetian merchants didn't think of
either. We should search less for breakthroughs and more for mastery.
Theory is only as strong as knowledge of history and skill in history's

> Ray, as always good to hear from you, and I would really appreciate hearing your
> thoughts on this. I am unsure I understand your points, but I struggle as
> always.

Rol, the feeling is mutual, please forgive my grammar and spelling, I
wanted to communicate with you. I must now go and teach my daughter a
voice lesson. My pleasure as a Father.


Ray Evans Harrell


ray evans harrell <mcore@soho.ios.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>