Comment on Is Language a Window into Human Nature?

Wildcat Wed, Nov 26, 2008
I have a strong agreement with the weak version of the Sapir Whorf Hypothesis, namely, I believe that language has an interactive activity with thought. Though it is true that language affects thought to some extent, it will be untrue to fully support the idea (a’ la Orwell) of strong language determinism. En passant let me mention that though I have some strong agreements with S.Pinker I disagree with his fundamental premise concerning the idea that thought is independent of language.

Language influences thought and thought influences language; Yet that is only part of the equation, our perceptual mechanisms based on our hardwired brains are at the core of our language procedures, and though there is no doubt that initially it is an individual enterprise, the very fact that we are part of a larger collective (humanity) demands it to be a ‘we’ enterprise.

I have no argument that a comprehensive and elaborated vocabulary and extensive knowledge of language/s has a strong influence on our capability to express both subtleties of emotions and larger realities. However the evolution of civilization and with it our newly found technological prowess demands of us new modes of expression that are fundamentally inexistent in our hardwired perceptual mechanisms. So in a sense we need all of these to work in tandem, we need both an elaboration of the existing linguistic tools that are already at our disposal and the extension of these tools into a new set of meanings and implications. Moreover, we need both work on the project of upgrading our language on an individual basis and simultaneously evolve a better form of collaborative tools, prime amongst which is a new set of agreements concerning language.
Finally I definitely agree that as a new kind of mind is emerging, what is generally referred to as the extended mind (via technology) in hyperconnectivity, a transformation is occurring, said transformation is concomitantly an individual transformation (both of modes of thought and the language involved) and an application of the same to our communicative agreements, which makes it a cultural development (and thus implies a ‘we’).

No mind exists independently and thus no change occurs on an individual basis only, hence any evolutionary perspective an individual takes, necessarily implies a correlative realization of its implication on its mind ecology, namely other minds, ideas ,society, culture, civilization and so on (these, as an ensemble stand for the ecology of mind).

What I see is an emergence of a new kind of language that will (and in a sense already is) progress in parallel with the existing one, both evolving with and transcending that which already exists. The level of plasticity and subtlety demanded of the modern mind in its actual self-perception and in consequence self-description, is of such magnitude that for all practical purposes our cultural language is continuously lagging behind the thought processes responsible for the change we see. A language that is capable of transmission and parsing the integration of sense and thought, conveying the extended reality of an extended being in hyperconnectivity is thus a necessity.

I have mentioned a while ago the incorporation of the term polylogue (for example), a term designating the simultaneous conversations taking place between two or more minds in two or more channels, across two or more dimensions of time and space, a cross time space polylogue. This term, polylogue is an example of a reality of hyperconnectivity to which we could not relate before our present time, for the simple reason that it did not exist , nevertheless, it does now and thus influences our sense thought processes. How are we to relate to such a simultaneous, multidimensional on going communication? since our present language has evolved in a situation that did not require these tools and implementations we did not develop the necessary instruments to convey this kind of reality.
but now we do need these tools, and now we have both the means and mind-frame that allows the new language to arise.