I think I may have become a minimalist.

Apparently, I’m very good at summarizing things and giving minimalist examples. I came to this realization during my ASB104: Intro to Social-Cultural Anthropology Discussion. We were talking about language, one kid, a complete idiot named William or something, said that humans were the only um, being, that used vocal language as a mean of communication. My immediate though was “What the Fuck? are you kidding?” and then it occurred to me that he was a complete second hander. He only knew how to regurgitate whatever he’d heard before. I know that bush babies communicate because Dr. Nash specializes in bush babies. and i know that vervets have certain vocalizations that they use and each vocalization has a different meaning.

William defended his point with the argument that humans are the only species whose vocalizations differ in meaning across groups, but i know that in samiri, two different colonies may use entirely different vocalizations, and the species are still the same, because there hasn’t been enough time for speciation to occur. So we went on talking about language and thought.

The working question was ‘Does language determine how you think, or does you thinking determine your language’ I said that in a certain way language determines your thinking process. William, piped up and said something that i either ignored or forgot ( I seriously forgot if i forgot or ignored him) To which the teach responded with a huge smile. So i gave an example from my ENG class, where the different definitions of ’emptying mind’ came into play.  The entire process ended up falling on deaf ears because everyone ignored me, and the teacher moved over me. So my response was that in order for thoughts to form a language and completely prevent the influence of language on thought was if the community remained static, with no new births and no new members in the community. That was shot down quickly the the same argument that they used the first time.

Everyone agreed that i was wrong. But I have a reason I stick to this idea: I speak three languages.

What is the English word for soberbia? There is none, there is no such concept in English. So in English, you can be angry or you can be vengeful, but neither word really describes that feeling. Or if you’re in Mexico, you can be filled with soberbia.

Or even better, What is the English word for Arder, Ardeur in French? Well, you can itch, you can burn, you can be in pain, but you have no actual word for it. So in America we think in terms of burning, in terms of itching. In Mexico, in Spain, in France you can Arder.

I could go on.  But i fell, like I’ve proven my point. language does influence the way you think. the way you word things, the concepts you can understand, that’s how words are adopted. English such a rich language, has many words for concepts that we would have otherwise never some into contact with. And its thought eh language, that we arrive at the concept. True, originally the concept created the word. but eventually the word determined the concept. Poetry for example. the way that words are used give rise to concepts, they affect the way we think.

In class we ended up accepting the mild language has very little influence over thought. I agree, but I also believe that it has more influence than we believe.

Back to Minimalism. I’ve been thinking that i may be a bit of a minimalist because i use few words to describe certain things. At times i like being concise and at other times i like being verbose. So i may be a minimalist, only part of the time.


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