WORDS

“One significant contribution to science from the linguistic point of view may be the greater development of our sense of perspective.  We shall no longer be able to see a few recent dialects of the Indo-European family, and the rationalizing techniques elaborated from their patterns, as the apex of the evolution of the human mind, nor their present wide spread as due to any survival from fitness or to anything but a few events of history – events that could be called fortunate only form the parochial point of view of the favored parties.  They, and our own thought processes with them, can no longer be envisioned as spanning the gamut of reason and knowledge but only as one constellation in a galactic expanse.  A fair realization of the incredible degree of diversity of linguistic system that ranges over the globe leaves one with an inescapable feeling that the human spirit is inconceivably old; that the few thousand years of history covered by our written records are no more than the thickness of a pencil mark on the scale that measures our past experience on this planet; that the events of these recent millenniums spell nothing in any evolutionary wise, that the race has taken no sudden spurt, achieved no commanding synthesis during recent millenniums, but has only played a little with a few of the linguistic formulations and views of nature bequeathed from an inexpressibly longer past.  Yet neither this feeling nor the sense of precarious dependence of all we know upon linguistic tools which themselves are largely unknown need be discouraging to science but should, rather, foster that humility which accompanies the true scientific spirit, and thus forbid that arrogance of the mind that hinders real scientific curiosity and detachment.” Benjamin Lee Whorf

“The map is not the territory.”  Alfred Korzybski

“What fetters the mind and benumbs the spirit is ever the dogged acceptance of absolutes.” Edward Sapir

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  1. Pingback: TWENTY SIXTEEN: IN REVIEW | TEETH, FEET & FINGERS

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