TOTW: Language

  • Posted on: 4 December 2016
  • By: thecollective

Words dilute and brutalize; words depersonalize; words make the uncommon common. Culture is made up of languages - languages of words and numbers, of concepts and assumptions, of conventions and expectations, of problems and solutions, of answers and questions. Languages write our lives: they set the options whenever we make a choice, however free we may be in selecting. At the same time, it is our use of them that makes them what they are and reproduces them. This week we’re looking into how languages enforce their constraints upon us and ways to adjust, subvert, and remake anarchist dialogue.

How do you define your ideas about and on language? Is there a specific anarchist lexicon that defines our views of this world? A favorite theorist of language you have (and why)? Is the problem of language the problem of civilization? If so, how can we create an (anti)-politics of language and time that unravels these issues?

On the less theoretical side of things: What part of the world would you like to see more translations from? Have you translated texts previously? If so what advice can you offer other translators in terms of tips, techniques, and useful tools?

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Comments

"Words dilute and brutalize; words depersonalize; words make the uncommon common - words lie in the way."
-Me

There is harsh language for everyone who goes 'off the rez' in any direction but one. Now why is that?
The right-winger is quickly given the bums-rush. Centrists are widely despised & Prims are regularly told to get lost...its just on one side the borders are porous...any red-fascist lunatic can rock up on any anarchist website & carry on like a two-bob-watch for as long as they like and be accepted as good-faith activists. Whats up with THAT!?
Genuinely puzzled
Prof

In a way regional slang is a dialect and the evolution of languages required a parochial isolation to attain its own distinct characteristics. These days diversity in language is reduced due to the dominant global hegemony of capitalist english. Just a thought.
What interests me is the metaphorical content of a language beyond the empirical concrete noun-name, the use of poetry as a transcontextual tool to create new concepts and how children can be freed from cognitive retardation and indoctrination by a careful linguistically guided introduction to critical thinking in their formative infant years. That's what puzzles me.

Well you should be confused, because what you just said isn't true.
You are certainly confused indeed.

Nothing is true, truth is a subjective illusion.

If "nothing is true" and "truth is a subjective illusion" then by your own criteria these statements are not true, are mere subjective illusion; since then they're not true , that means they are true; but if they are true then they're not ....ad nauseam. Such are the joys of disappearing up your own arsehole.

Truth doesn't have to be absolute, idiot. What is "true" refers to what is factual or authentic, which, unless for some bubble-boy pseudo-philosopher, unarguable exists as far as the senses are reliable. The truths have nothing to do with some metaphysical Truth, that you yourself are asserting here by saying 'there is no truth, lol'.

This reflects the dogma so typical of today's Left and Right cultism, where the truth no longer matter, but only their performative validation by peer (hearsay, rhetorical devices, etc). So fuck you for defending the factory of illusions of this society, and find a better job in some mainstream media outlet.

"Truth" is just the process of acquiring more and more accurate information over time. It's never complete but that doesn't mean you don't keep gathering data, unless you're a zealot or solipsist? If so, I envy the intellectual complacency, that must be nice!

Wtf are you on? I only said "thruth doesn't have to be absolute" as you are making it to be, in your logic fallacy. Truth is not the process (which is inquiry, investigation, experimentation, research, survey, etc) but the goal, the object, of confirming or denying an assertion as true/false. But wait... whooeeewwww binaries coming right for us AGAIN!

no … actually I'm a different poster who was basically agreeing with you. I -am- on drugs as a rule but don't see how that's relevant here? I certainly don't drink that all-binaries-are-bad koolaid, tastes like shit to me!

yeah, it's just a feature of today (where some human thought it up out of nowhere and not as a reaction to generations of events, and other right and left magically agreed), not that humans don't have access to a god's eye view reality, and therefore putting logical constructs before direct experience presents an incomplete view of reality.

none of those logical constructs taken as more real than reality could cause any underlying tensions...(You're just being a Mainstream Reporter).

all the world's a stage, and we're just flattened into prefab roles (belief in noun-based being), eh?

In my experience nobody brings up the subjective nature of truth, reality etc, outside of philosophical discussions actually about "truth", except when they're losing an argument. Analysis that isn’t shit doesn't need to cast doubt on all possible facts to make a point.

That's not true, you must be confused?

It's true! Because there is no truth.... which is the Truth!

(but here's a little secret: it's not! Oh wait...)

Why make a secret of the fact that its not true? Oh wait....I see what you mean. hugs and kisses.

The nice thing about being an existentialist is that it negates the binary perspective which creates a 'subjectivity'. I'm above and beyond having this 'asshole' within which I can disappear, unlike your predicament. Anyway Sam, ideological stances aside, cheers for the Dakota pipeline decision, I mean it.

Ever noticed how truth is the most abundently used rhetorical tool of the ideologues and politicians.

No I didn't. You sure you're not making up a rhetorical tool to serve your own shitty bias?

Anyway, BACK to TOTW, before I was derailed I stated that ----
"These days diversity in language is reduced due to the dominant global hegemony of capitalist english."
I should have eleaborated, by 'capitalist english' I meant an obsessive overload of economic futures discourse, percentagea and mathematical probabilities in everyday talk, that its going exponential, the man in the street is loosing his poetic and imaginative charm in the art of conversation?.

Probably because what's actually interesting about modern anarchism has almost nothing to do with online circle-jerks and most of the tendencies you mentioned aren't much good for anything else?

translation: my ideology means that i can't understand what happens online, and instead of trying to i'll just generalize all activity until it's flattened."

what a genuine set of skills you bring to the table

restrictive framework is restrictive.

you could join a cult that restricts and then helps you rationalize lack of engagement with the world. i hear scientology is expensive.

I think your translator is broken? The reality is that online circle-jerks hardly matter and no amount of intellectual-feathers-ruffled-sanctimony on your part will change that. I've wasted enough years of my time here and elsewhere online to verify beyond any doubt that electronic discourse matters only because it manifests action in the physical world or it's just noise. Those are your choices, sorry/not-sorry if you don't like it?

Most of this is a CrimethInc. text. Appearing as a text from thecollective. Very strange. I mean, I like CrimethInc., but damn do they have their hands in everything now. I didn't expect to see them here of all places.

I don't believe in "logical truth" unless it is what I experience myself, therefore I don't believe 'the muslim extremists attacked the World Trade Center towers on 9/11." but I believe the sun rises every morning if I'm there seeing/feeling/knowing that if has risen. The adjective "logical" is bounded by rules and protocols originating from the Indo-European Roman(ce) languages cultural legacy of rationale consciousness loved by all the reformist lberals of the 70s. Nothing is true, unless I live within its plenum ;)
You can think me a wingnut or moronic but I am not, I am the opposite.

How do you know that "rationale consciousness" is loved by "reformist liberals of the 70s"? Did you directly experience these liberals loving "rationale consciousness" in the 1970's? How do you know the 1970's even existed? How do you know that the adjective "logical" originated from "Indo-European Romance Languages cultural legacy of rationale consciousness?" How can you say that is the case if you weren't there to experience it's development over the centuries?

Oh, we have a logician arguing for the truth of his own system of cognition bombarding the non-believer with rhetorical questions in the typical style of the arrogant Western master of the totality. I may have "been there", but I don't believe I was, the same language within me tells me one doesn;t have to be there to know where it came from historically, therefore I don't have to answer what become irrelevent questions to prove reformist liberals think rationally.

PS I don't believe in the "winner/loser" binary, or arguments which are based around a true/false dichotomy, therefore, DONT reply to this comment, no one reply, unless they also share my view on Western logical grand fallacy and all of the restrictions it places upon the evolution of the free consciousness.

You're the one bombarding this site with complete BS comments driven by irrational prejudice and hate all the time.

Bigot.

Both of you are philistines. You cannot look beyond the narrow confines of your semantic reality and live for the Now, thus your everyday social relationships are wearied by time and your consciousness stagnated by historicity.
At least my BS is concise.

At least you can thank Tor for still allowing you to post here.

Hmm truuuue; but I thank more those who allow me to vent and dry-reach my outlandish opinions, the beautiful anarchist collective, living up to their ethos to liberate humanity from its erroneous oppressive ways.

if there is truth, and we know about it, we at once require language to speak it to other minds, yet it wouldn't have required this or that language; that reality is, doesn't re quire minds describing it. Therefore truth is not a thing you find, but a product that results from adequate descriptions given language games, "non-linguistic reality" being the most important player.

One word that I think has purchase in the anarchist world is semantic meaning. So take the fictional proposition lois lane loves superman. By the rules of truth preserving (salva veritate) it follows that Lois Lane loves clark Kent. Here we force the intentional attitude of Lois Lane's belief about that man with something that is foreign to her set of beliefs. She doesn't believe that Clark Kent saved her last week, or that he always managed to save her or whatever.. Anyways.

The vast majority of terms utilized by leftists are semantic terms foisted on specific intentions. The everyday person in the street doesn't have a conception of use that intends to name everyone of a class; so that when one says another is being ableist because they just used the term retarded to refer to another person that wasn't being on point by their view, one has changed the topic, slowed the conversation, because they have shifted from an intentionally inflected conversation to a semantic discussion. There is truth all around here; but the point of being truthful with other people is to be fair and to attend to what they mean so that our criticisms are in fact truthful. Another example would be referring to something as gay, or "lame". One way to semantically unfuck the conversation is to say "that's so gay, in the bad sense".

Therefore linguistic activism is a conversation stopper, in that it cancels the possibility of truth doing its good work...

"What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms -- in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors - in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all... --- Nietzsche

Yes, because some demented philosopher said so.

"Also today on antianarchistnews.org, same 2-3 usual trolls are reported to be attempting to make sense."

not all truths are on the same footing. Some are banal, like for instance the truth that you replied to me; the facts in this case: that I wrote something and that you replied, are what we approach with our words. Evidently what N was referring to are not these simple banal beliefs, but rather nontrivial positions like, for instance the belief that what Nietzsche said was correct in some sense. Did Nietzsche have some insight into reality? Or was Nietzsche like Hume in trying to purge us of our firmly held positions? I agree that there is a place for skepticism. I would start with any of the purported truths of high level physics, or the belief you have in the plenum. Whether anything non-trivial is true depends on somehow being non-human enough to know referents as they really are.

our unfolding-in-the-now relational situational sense-experience is the NATURAL inductive actualizer of our actions.

on the other hand, truth and reason can be used to construct 'semantic realities' that we can use as 'operational reality' in which case we use our rational 'intention' to direct our behaviour; e.g. 'the commies [muslims, jews] are out to get us, we must smoke out and neutralize commies [muslims, jews].

Nietzsche point out that truth and reason, when put into unnatural precedence over relational experience based intuition, has been the source of incoherence in the relational social dynamic.

It is evidently continuing to fuck us up since politicians continue to advocate putting intention into an unnatural precedence over the unfolding-in-the-now relational situational sense-experience and people have become herd-like followers of the 'semantic operative realities' that politicians construct.

[see 'the problem of socrates' in Nietzsche's 'Twilight of the Idols or Philosophizing with a Hammer' (breaking down the belief in " truths [that] are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins." e.g. the commies are out to get us.

You presume I haven't studied Nietzsche? Come on man: You're not even engaging! Nietzsche had some things to say for sure; but after Nietzsche there was all of American Pragmatism, up to and including Rorty, and before Nietzsche there was David Hume.

Dude … or preferred pronoun; are you new here? Talking to emile is like screaming at the sky from a mountaintop, maybe you need to get it out of your system but there's nobody actually listening.

More like sending a radio signal out into the universe and expecting to get a reply from an alien or castaway astronaut, Oops, we can expect a reply from Dave Bowman soon, or Hal9000,,,,,,,

you may be looking to 'the field of philosophy' for answers, but my citings of Nietzsche are like Emma Goldman's citings of Nietzsche; i.e. the understanding of anarchism comes before Western philosophy; i.e. it is in Taoism and in the indigenous aboriginal tradition. Nietzsche's writings contribute to an understanding of anarchism and how it is possible to transcend the master-slave social paradigm. see, for example, "Nietzsche and the Anarchists" by Spencer Sunshine, an excerpt from which is as follows;

"There were many things that drew anarchists to Nietzsche: his hatred of the state; his disgust for the mindless social behavior of “herds”; his (almost pathological) anti-Christianity; his distrust of the effect of both the market and the State on cultural production; his desire for an “overman” — that is, for a new human who was to be neither master nor slave; his praise of the ecstatic and creative self, with the artist as his prototype, who could say, “Yes” to the self-creation of a new world on the basis of nothing; and his forwarding of the “transvaluation of values” as source of change, as opposed to a Marxist conception of class struggle and the dialectic of a linear history." -- Spencer Sunshine" "Nietzsche and the Anarchists"

As Sunshine 'sums it up';

One, it seems, does not need to combine Nietzsche and anarchism: they are already joined, and we have already inherited the fruit of their union.

You appear to be hung up on belief in 'the ultimate truth' and see the study of philosophy and philosophers as slashing their way through the jungle of confusion to open a path to the temple of truth. Nietzsche is not claiming that he is forging a path to the temple of truth, he is saying that the reciprocal complement of 'forging a path' is 'opening the way' by "philosophizing with a hammer". 'truth' is one of the hollow claims that has to go. his view is not presented as "a truth", it is presented in the sense of Heraclitus; "listening not to me but to the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one". As Nietzsche puts it, the world we live in is like Bohm's plenum or 'holomovement';

"And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income …” –Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power’, 1067

from this view of the world, as a transforming relational continuum, comes all of these other views [see above, starting with "hatred of the state"] that have appeal to anarchists.

this is not about 'philosophy' and 'philosophers' as some kind of hoped for path to an ultimate truth, ... it is about Nietzschean mocking of such a position, and in the process, having forged a union with anarchism.

Nietzsche's rage against Marx stemmed from his dislike for the organization of humanity's herds into proactive movements dedicated to the fulfillment of all human potentialities, which disagreed with his idea of economic and creative aesthetics in cultural transformations.
This terrorism is not new but part of the ancient Manichean duality which has tainted the historical narrative. Anti-terrorism is the other half of the coin, Neolithic terrorist groups in mainland Asia, after trekking overland from Africa and crossing Eurasia, discovered canoe building techniques and began one of the earliest global terrorist conquests and migrations of ancient times, conquering and colonizing other canoe cultures and imposing their terrorist cannibalistic social values upon them. This is just a quick overview and lacks some detail and accurate dates. The only way to defeat terrorism is to kill the inner terrorist which exists within all those who have their lives organized by others.

I'm going to dig up Fred's corpse and see if you're so full of shit that he'll overcome death itself to tell you to shut the fuck up too. Feeling optimistic!

Not so hasty, I'm sure he will concur with the general gist of my opinion and definition of the potential metaphysical 'primordial terrorist' which exists within the human DNA, if he was instructed and brought up to date with modern genetics and then translated the language and terminology of his era to the analogous concept in post-modern terminology.

the semantic concept of a 'subject' implies 'being'. believing in 'being' is a belief in the binary (EITHER 'is' OR 'is not') and is the source of the 'ego-self' and all the crap that that brings with it such as herd behaviour.

the herd is a collection of people who put their ego-self into an unnatural precedence over their natural Self [the natural Self of one's own cosmic fetalizing associating with one's unique situational inclusion in the transforming relational continuum, the world given only once without subject-object division]. The relational world is the world of indigenous anarchists, Nietzsche Bohm, Schroedinger et al. There are no 'beings' aka 'things-in-themselves' in the physical space of our actual experience, a 'relational' and 'fluid' space.

Western man's ego-self starts from and builds on local visible tangible APPEARANCES of forms such as man or storm-cell and uses semantic subject-verb constructs to notionally break the relational form out of the flux and semantically 'talk it up' as an independently-existing 'being' notionally equipped with internal process driven and directed development and behaviour. this is the Western philosophical underpinning of the concepts of 'organismic reproduction' and 'herd behaviour' in which 'appearances' are put into an unnatural precedence over the relational dynamics of our physical experience. reproducing organisms/inhabitants are a means of depicting a transforming habitat. Two types of logic can be invoked here; (a) (Einstein's choice) impredicative logic: the coming or going of an inhabitant changes the definition of all other inhabitants (as in a relational plenum), (b) (Newton's choice) predicative logic: the coming or going of an inhabitant does not effect the definition of the other inhabitants (as in a Euclidian space).

The tautological combination of 3D euclidian space and measuring apparatus are all one needs to notionally isolate relational forms and recast them in noun-and-verb language, as 'independently-existing beings that are the local authors of their own development and actions'. after 'breaking them out' as 'independent beings in space/habitat that is independent of its independent contents/inhabitants', it follows that you can hitch them together like horses to multiply their purported cause-and-effect authoring powers, the only question being in regard to the nature of the unifying force; i.e. 'who will hold the reins' and direct this power?'

evidently, it will have to be 'the Word of a chosen one', as is the message of Christianity;

"Comment on Genesis1:3-5: God said, Let there be light; he willed it, and at once there was light. Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding. Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord. Darkness would have been always upon fallen man, if the Son of God had not come and given us understanding, 1Jo 5:20. The light which God willed, he approved of. God divided the light from the darkness; for what fellowship has light with darkness? In heaven there is perfect light, and no darkness at all; in hell, utter darkness, and no gleam of light.

Christianity, as Nietzsche pointed out, came up with the concept of a 'right way' and 'wrong way' for the herd to march, and thus it was requisite for those eager to become herd members to have the ability to choose a leader that would march them together in the right direction.

Who says there is a 'right direction' to move in? If we accept that there is no 'right direction' then one can't be accused of moving in the wrong direction. Such a society that is 'beyond good and evil' (beyond moral judging of right and wrong) does not collapse into 'anarchy' in the sense of 'chaos', nature thrives on diversity (the sense of balance and harmony are an imminent guiding influence in nature). the diverse dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat (common living space) at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants.

Beneath all the talk about this in the language of Nietzsche's era and/or the language of post-modernism, there are these basic pre-lingual symmetries that can be precipitated into language and used as the basis for a 'semantic operative reality'.

"“Finally, our Euclidean geometry is itself only a sort of convention of language; dynamical facts might be enunciated with reference to a non-Euclidean space which would be a guide less convenient than, but just as legitimate as, our ordinary space ; the enunciation would thus become much more complicated, but it would remain possible. Thus absolute space, absolute time, geometry itself, are not conditions which impose themselves on dynamics ; all these things are no more antecedent to dynamics than the French language is logically antecedent to the verities one expresses in French.” – Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis

in other words, herd behaviour in humans who see themselves as independent 'BEINGS' is an artefact of noun-and-verb language-and-grammar.

"Is there a specific anarchist lexicon that defines our views of this world?"

I don't know how much it "defines," but I think that there is a lexicon. Words such as autonomous, authoritarian, horizontal, spontaneous... I find them used as a vetting process of sorts. We circle one another's butts, sniffing for the scent of dropped jargon and slang. You smell like "TAZ" okay okay. I promote a whiff of "mutualism." Got it got it. It might symbolize where we've been, in theory. ;) It can feel comforting and like I'm in a subculture.
But when I'm talking to people who aren't anarchists, I try to explain my thoughts differently each and every time, and I try to avoid what I consider the lexicon. It's a good workout to find new ways to say the same thing, and I avoid a lot of knee-jerk reactions from others. Also, when I avoid using this lexicon when chatting with people who aren't anarchists (unless it's to elaborate after a long while or to reference where more theory could be found) it protects that same language from becoming tired, or co-opted til it's meaningless.

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