Over here, I uttered something like language is just a tool to get information across -blasphemy of sorts I guess (spending too much time with geeks and their ever vanishing languages). Infinetly patient, an English teacher, explained to me the mechanisms of differentiating this from that, and gave the quote below, which bothers me in a fundamental sort of way. So I take a typical natural science approach, which is also a curious child’s approach to figure out the world -face value, without bothering to go into what made Ludwig Wittgenstein write this.
”The limits of our language are the limits of our mind.”
And I start to immediately wonder :
What if I am a mother to a deaf, mute and blind child? I have no words, no sentences, no language made up of words that I can impart to, or share with my child. What does that imply about my child’s mind? That it is limited, that the disability reached the mind. Its growth boundaries decided by a biological disability/ies? Language limits are the limits of the mind, then what does its absence mean? Mind is a wasteland. Or a fenced up coop?
What if I have dyslexic child? Or or an autistic child? Or Aspergers child? The complex interplay of under use/over use of words/languages/topics and the mixing up of social cues being nerve wracking enough for a parent of special needs child, what purpose do these maybe wise but plain inconsiderate sayings have? Is the entire network of people around a special needs child/individual to be ignored when talking of the human mind? Do they know the courage, strength and peace a parent derives from the thought of the unfettered mind of their special needs child?
Such a statement would infuriate me, it still does, and that the fact it came out of a philosopher’s mind bemuses me. That it is repeated by sane people is awesome.
Why would a philosopher imagine a world filled with ideal people? The world does include people who do not speak languages,or process and deliver language in ways that are not ideal, exact or nuanced and if they are numerically small as compared to the rest, it does not mean that they don’t exists. Or that their minds automatically becomes a zilch. Give me a philosopher who can think of the world of ‘not ideal’ people, I might listen a little more patiently.
These days I am often forced to face the lack of my education in liberal arts. It comes to me in the form of names and sayings, that seems to for ever roll of the people’s tongues, mostly Indians I occasionally pass by on the web. I always had the knack for dropping off information that’s not needed, which is handy as my work drowns me with excess information. So I hit wiki check out the names and go on with my life. But these names are usually philosophers and they come at me for a particular comment I made, and I am usually shooting from the hip, meaning just reacting to the facts presented. So I get weary with this kind of conversation and actually start to read these dead guys writings, hoping to see what connection if any they have to these conversations.
If all the answers were in the books, why blog, just go read it and imagine the world is free of problems or niceness. Incidentally, these names always belong to the ‘civilized’ western hemisphere for whatever reason. I don’t run into people who counter arguments with the Chinese or Latin American viewpoint, which one would think is more natural and obvious, since we for most part belong to the not so ‘civilized’ parts of the world and commonalities must be greater between Indian and developing country’s thinking and experiences. I am beginning to conclude that just like my field -Science is a western enterprise everything else in Indian thought from thinkers, academics and bloggers are tightly hinged to thoughts that emanates from the whites. No matter how irrelevant, the condition has to be twisted to fit the whites theory. It is bad enough that my area of science has little significance to the problems of my people, to think that the humanities and social sciences are also plagued with the same problems -is something that is coming as a shock to me, often it feels like why bother with this on the Indian blogs, I might as well go and attend the living white philosphers theorizing away – which I do every now and then, go there without expectation that they are aware of my part of the world and its issues and come feeling a little more informed about another society. Why bother having conversations with Indians, if they throw names and philosophies that I can listen to live, just a walk down from my workspace. I read Indian blogs, (half a dozen or so) to learn and share the Indian experience and instead come back learning about the white neighborhood that I live in. Strange. Sad. Funny.
From science I pick threads that have meaning and impact on the Indian way of life and search for parts that can be useful. Occasionally I find them in applied sciences, but it is only a framework to help look at the ground realities, reshaping those principles may work but I am not all convinced that it can ever substitute reasoning input by the actual user. The Indian.
Too lazy, too tired to give examples. BUT this is a giant problem for me with the internet-speak.