Comments:


Wildcat     Sat, Dec 19, 2009  Permanent link
A very good and enlightening post Xarene, thank you.

few points though
concerning:" who is the virus: (the) language (of technology) or technology itself?"

neither, the virus is probably the noise in between the intended meaning and the commonly conceived meaning.
I do not think that technology in itself is a virus, but then neither is language in itself. if we take language as the medium by which experiences move from one mind to another and technology as an extension of said minds, that which replicates is actually a distortion, a perturbation if you like, that we call ambiguity. the more complex we become both as individuals and as a civilization, the replicant 'noise' virus allows a new level of cross fertilization to come forth and emerge.

concerning:" Are we the hosts, or is our language the host? Are we the agents of change through the language or is technology changing us?"

Again as above I do not see 'us' as hosts per se but dynamically evolving agencies, interconnected and intertwined with and within our technoculture, in that we are language producing machines, some of which are designated as language, others designated as technology, the difference may be of style but not of kind.
in this I see both technology and language as products of mind (of humanity,of civilization, of culture) a kind of superior product of life in general, the change is symbiotic and correlated, simultaneous and inherently multiversal (in that it happens in many dimensions concomitantly .
moreover, in regard to :"However, the "they" are not the machines, the robots, etc. it is the language, the vowels, the consonants, the syllables. Soon we will speak code."

I think that the 'they' are more likely the " virus of noise" and soon as we are evolving that which we will speak will be the "ambiguous" a language so fraught with possibilities and potentialities that for all practicalities we shall be powerless to distinguish language from technology, ideas from concepts and content from context, in this future scenario the only reality (if such term will still bear any sense) will be one of creative co-extensive sense thought..
finally concerning:"So why should we insist on tracing our spoken and written language to a single common word, an instance in time, so long ago that we cannot even identify with?"

we shouldn't! and by refraining from doing so we may be able to unleash our prospective future as a specie.


(there is more and it will come eventually..)


btw : I have quoted your last paragraph on my tumblr blog
btw 1: the quote: Language is a virus from outer space is probably from : "The Ticket That Exploded (1962)" by William S. Burroughs
Wildcat     Sat, Dec 19, 2009  Permanent link
I also recommend seeing this: http://www.chrisharrison.net/projects/wordassociation/index.html 
     Sun, Dec 20, 2009  Permanent link
Nice points!

My title for this post, Language as Virus, is not from William S Burroughs' quote, "Language is a virus from outer space." I have not even been able to locate the context of that quote. (the internet may seem like a good place to look for something, but sometimes it is too big to find what you are looking for.)

Here you go! I actually find myself looking for that exact passage all the time to read over. Never ever seen it in print. Communication must be total and conscious before we can stop it.

The information liberation movement keeps on doing its thing. It's incredibly obnoxious and disgusting to try and imprison perfectly communicable, pertinent and important information behind things like money or other forms of coercion, isn't it? It's weird because it's linguistic entities (law etc) trying to limit other linguistic entities, as if viruses decided to start attacking each other.

I remember back in high school, my younger brother being angry about his teacher always nitpicking about how he used his language over silly little things. It's a thoughtless war against neologism. I told him to tell the teacher that she's going to win a darwin award if she keeps on stifling the evolution of language like that. Apparently she thought it was funny, but kept on doing her job. Lame.