The function of this center was not only to orient, balance, and organize the structure-one cannot in fact conceive of an unorganized structure-but above all to make sure that the organizing principle of the structure would limit what we might call the freeplay of the structure.
No doubt that by orienting and organizing the coherence of the system, the center of a structure permits the freeplay of its elements inside the total form. And even today the notion of a structure lacking any center represents the unthinkable itself.
The article described the extreme simplicity of the tribe’s living conditions and culture.
The Pirahã, Everett wrote, have no numbers, no fixed color terms, no perfect tense, no deep memory, no tradition of art or drawing, and no words for “all,” “each,” “every,” “most,” or “few”—terms of quantification believed by some linguists to be among the common building blocks of human cognition.
Structuralists view society and its rules as expressions of deep structures, often binary codes, that express our primary natures. A systematic study of such codes is semiotics, which was later hijacked by Poststructuralists as evidence that language alone provides a true reality.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
- Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
Language pervades everything, building and destroying as time marches ever forward.
And while even the most learned scholars can’t even begin to fully explain its physiology, origins, structures and pretty much every other component, they’ve certainly done a pretty lovely job scratching the surface.
he Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man is a book by Marshall McLuhan, in which he analyzes the effects of mass media, especially the printing press, on European culture and human consciousness.
It popularized the term global village, which refers to the idea that mass communication allows a village-like mindset to apply to the entire world; and Gutenberg Galaxy, which we may regard today to refer to the accumulated body of recorded works of human art and knowledge, especially books.
McLuhan studies the emergence of what he calls Gutenberg Man, the subject produced by the change of consciousness wrought by the advent of the printed book. Apropos of his axiom, “The medium is the message,” McLuhan argues that technologies are not simply inventions which people employ but are the means by which people are re-invented. The invention of movable type was the decisive moment in the change from a culture in which all the senses partook of a common interplay to a tyranny of the visual. He also argued that the development of the printing press led to the creation of nationalism, dualism, domination of rationalism, automatisation of scientific research, uniformation and standardisation of culture and alienation of individuals.
Movable type, with its ability to reproduce texts accurately and swiftly, extended the drive toward homogeneity and repeatability already in evidence in the emergence of perspectival art and the exigencies of the single “point of view”. He writes:
- the world of visual perspective is one of unified and homogeneous space. Such a world is alien to the resonating diversity of spoken words. So language was the last art to accept the visual logic of Gutenberg technology, and the first to rebound in the electric age.
Noam Chomsky joined the faculty of MIT in 1955, and, soon enough established himself as “the father of modern linguistics.” (Watch him debate Michel Foucault in 1971.) During the 60s, he also firmly positioned himself as a leading public intellectual taking aim at American foreign policy and global capitalism, and we regularly saw him engaging with figures like William F. Buckley.
All of these years later, it’s quite fitting that Chomsky, now 82 years old, would pay a visit to Occupy Boston and deliver a talk in the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series. Why has our political system become more responsive to corporations than citizens? How has wealth become increasingly concentrated in the hands of an ever smaller elite — a plutocracy, to put it simply? And why do billionaire hedge fund managers enjoy a lower tax rate than maligned school teachers and pretty much everyone else? Chomsky explains how we got to this point, and what’s to be done about it. Find his talk in three parts: Part 1 (above), Part 2 and Part 3. via Dangerous Minds.