"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever."
From the movie, The Notebook.
"Korzybski believed that the ability to communicate is the essence of being human. He advanced his belief by contrasting what he regarded as the distinctiveness of plants, animals, and people. Vegetation has the capacity to transform energy from the sun into an organic chemical nutrient. Because plants can photosynthesize, he labeled them "chemical binders." Animals can improve their situation by moving from place to place. Since they are not planted in one spot, he called them "space binders."
Human beings have an additional capacity to use symbols to pass on the accumulated experience of the past. We can tell our sons and daughters how to grow food, which snakes are poisonous, and the best way to find a job. Since language has a high value for survival, Korzybski saw a moral imperative for human beings to exercise their language ability and referred to us as "time binders." Communication is a solemn obligation; we ought to do it well. According to Korzybski, we don’t.
He and his followers picture us spinning enormous webs of words and then getting caught in our own symbolic nets. It’s not that we’re careless, irresponsible, or mean. Rather, the very structure of language leads us astray. As the fox in Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince warns, "Words are the source of misunderstandings." Not only do we possess a unique capability to bind time, we’re also the only creatures who can talk ourselves into trouble.
Wendell Johnson said that many men and women do just that. He surveyed people in all sorts of quandaries and concluded that, despite the diversity of their maladjustments, they shared a common inability to articulate their situations clearly. Is it possible, Johnson wondered, that the tyranny of words is responsible for their emotional distress–that language is the "crazy-making" agent? Korzybski believed so. The title of his epic tome, Science and Sanity, reflects his thesis that a careful, scientific use of language will guard against the confusion and unreality that words tend to produce. He agreed with the Sapir- Whorf hypothesis that language molds our thoughts.
English teachers often remind us that dictionaries don’t tell us how words should be used; dictionaries merely reflect how words are used. Traditional semantics focuses on the is rather than the ought. General semantics departs from this descriptive stance by urging us to alter the structure of language so that our word usage matches the clarity of scientific inquiry in mapping out reality. This quest is not so much a theory as it is a methodology to ensure that language more clearly mimics reality or a perspective to show the limitation of words."
These are things I have thought about tonight….
The Little Prince
"The Little Prince" is still the most widely translated book in the French language. Vastly different from Saint-Exupery’s other writings, this story of wisdom and wonder is cleverly disguised as a children’s book. It’s not a book to be described, but experienced on many levels. Part of the appeal of the book is in its charming watercolors executed by the author. Among its many themes are the importance of love and friendship, the ignorance of "grownups" who do not understand the difference between "matters of importance" and trivialities, mission, duty, and the fragility of joy. Written in New York, the book is filled with ironic jibes at American culture and its hurried, materialistic society. German philosopher Martin Heidegger regarded "The Little Prince" as one of the great existentialist books of the century. "Life is a comedy for him who thinks, and a tragedy for him who feels," wrote Jonathan Swift. Saint- Exupery was both a thinker and a feeler, so he was full of both humor and sadness, as was "The Little Prince."
Perhaps one of the most valuable interpretations of "The Little Prince" is to apply it to your inner life. This is a book to savor. Read it over and over. It’s bound to incite you to write, so you may want to think about stopping for freewrites. You may find the tale sufficiently haunting to engage in some spiritual searching of your own. Can you see sheep through the walls of boxes? Have you ever been stranded in your own inner desert? Can you live with the uncertainty and tension of opposing forces? And despite sorrow and longing, can you find laughter in the stars? Ellen Moore
In the end, I think that our lives are built on our ability to wonder, question and translate. God has truly blessed us with imaginations and with minds. I celebrate my individual will and the opportunity to live my life consciously…whether that is in my studio, in relationship with my family and friends, or in spiritual and political forums. The blessing in the political arena is that we have the opportunity to express our personal views. Again, I thank my parents for causing me to explore both my individual politic and my individual expression of faith.
The strongest message that can be sent at this time from any perspective, is for all Canadians to exercise their privilege to vote.
Now…some poetry by a man who used writing (1900) as a way of expressing his views and to some degree, those of the collective unconscious.
Today the paper reads…
"Canadian killed in Afghanistan."
66. I Dream’d in a Dream
|I DREAM’D in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;|
|I dream’d that was the new City of Friends;|
|Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love—it led the rest;|
|It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,|
And in all their looks and words.
83. I Sit and Look Out
"The faculty of creating is never given to us all by itself. It always goes hand in hand with the gift of observation. And the true creator may be recognized by his ability always to find about him, in the commonest and humblest thing, items worthy of note. He does not have to concern himself with a beautiful landscape, he does not need to surround himself with rare and precious objects. He does not have to put forth in search of discoveries: they are always within his reach. He will have only to cast a glance about him. Familiar things, things that are everywhere, attract his attention. The least accident holds his interest and guides his operations. If his finger slips, he will notice it; on occasion, he may draw profit from something unforeseen that a momentary lapse reveals to him."
— Igor Stravinsky Poetics of Music
Translated by Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl