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Her Name is Ed Wilson

Thoughts, Anyone?

Pictured is the famous Rosetta Stone, essential in cracking the code of Hieroglyphics

The above quote was uttered by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. To me,  Goethe was a human prism. His acute imagination seeped into many branches of creative expression: dramaturgy, science, theology, and philosophy.  He wrote one of my favorite influential works, Faust. A story about a man who thought he knew everything and became bored with all surrounding mediocrity. Faust was then paid a visit by the Devil who promises him that he will free his mind so he can finally discover the true purpose of living. Yet, there was one caveat, once Faust did his soul would become the property of the devil.

The reason I even bring this up is because of a post that I read on the i09 blog. In this post, Linguist John McWhorter predicts that ninety percent of languages will be extinct in the next century and he thinks it’s an irrevocable reality.   Honestly, it’s enticing to me to have that immediate convenience of communication. I mean, lord knows I’ve slept through lots of foreign language classes in middle school. I didn’t really develop an appreciation for understanding multiple languages until I went to high school and then college when I learned French.  Of course I could still use lots of practice, but to envision a world where there are only prescript ways of speaking and by that very nature a regulated way of thinking is intensely disconcerting to me.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t see McWorter as a bogey man for espousing his bold opinions, but let’s make no mistake in asserting that the loss of these languages is “natural.” If anything it’s contrived and the languages that have been able to slip through the sieve have done so because of a global system where all value is derived from “the market.” I also want to make clear that I’m not promoting  “noble savage” idealism where all that is natural is immaculate and should be protected from criticism. Indigenous cultures can gain greatly with an awareness of medical advancements and science. I am simply positing that the world we are speeding towards is one in which we become blissful adopters of  a single communicable canon where value is priced in your ability to lift, pull, and type until you breathe your last breath.  The only fortune to be found is not in self determination but self-accommodation.

I think this is summed up perfectly in a response left by SJ_edward:

“The right not to be forced to have to speak another’s language, whether through violence or economic coercion, is part and parcel of the struggle for all human beings to have the right to survival, self determination and not to be forced to become the slaves that impoverishes all of us economically, psychologically and culturally, as well as destroy the natural environment and undermine the conditions necessary for the continuation of civilisation, in order to enrich a tiny minority of the human population.”

I sort of think of Wall-e when he finds the humans left earth to live fat and sallow with every comfort being simply fingertips away.

Is it just to simply silence the  harmonic notes of the human mind?

Any thoughts?

-e.d.w.

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