Slipping Glimpser LO30405

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 07/23/03

Replying to LO30384 --

Dear Organlearners,

Andrew Campbell < > wrote:

>In Bohr's words, "We are suspended in language in such
>a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down"

Greetings dear Andrew,

Thank you for all quotes as well as your own delightful reflections on how
much influence languages have on our thinking and living.

The one of Bohr above made me think of what my friend (who is fluent in
more than a dozen languages) often says: "Language drips with culture."
What he means is that when a language is studied in relationship to the
culture of those who speak it, so much of that culture had been taken into
that langauge that it seems to overflow out of it. It is especially
idiomatic expressions which reflect this culture.

My mother tongue Afrikaans is rich in idiomatic expressions. I often have
to caution myself not to use them when writing in English. They will cause
confusion if not annoying people.

>The writings of Bohr and Bohm have made it clear that, in the
>evolution of scientific thought, language is playing a more active
>role than is implied by a passive vehicle which merely conveys
>information. In the context of communication theory, linguists
>themselves have also pointed to the inadequacies of this traditional
>viewpoint, for it is clear that the listener is as active as the speaker
>in elaborating the content of the message.

It makes me think of music. Can one listen passively to music? As for
myself, i cannot do it. Nevertheless, in what manner is the listener
active? By continuously fitting the flow of data in the talk (information)
into what the listener knows. It is when that fitting cannot happen when
the message gets meaningless. One possibility is when the listener does
not know the language in which the speaker talks. Another possibility is
that speaker uses special terminology of which the listener has no
knowledge. A third possibility is a syndrome of the information deluge
blocking the mind.

This "fitting the flow of data in the talk into what the listener knows"
is a highly creative process. Should the listener have some or other lack
in creativity, less meaning will be derived from the talk. Sometimes i get
the vivid image that i am painting myself with the words used by the
speaker as the speaker also paints with them. And like creating any
painting, it gradually takes form until it has become completed.

>So long (sic;-) as we only ever see the 'subject' and 'surface'
>levels of complex living structures, org's, soc's and comm's
>we never arrive at the more whole appreciation of reality.

Goethe used the word "metamorphosis" to indicate how a complex system
takes its shape level for level. His book on the metamorphosis of plants
is one of the best examples how art and science join into a magnificent
work. Perhaps we should also try for more metamorphosis in our thinking
and hence in our writing. The dialogue is very useful in accomplishing

>Andrew, Leonardo, David and Albert know this...
><Movement gives shape to all things
>Structure gives order to movement>

The see-saw of creativity -- bifurcations and digestions!

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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