Archive for the ‘linguistics’ Category

A Deca-Millionaire’s Library for $5

November 3, 2013

One of the great advantages of the cyber world, one of which evidently few take advantage given the number of downloads registered, is the possibility of acquiring a digital book collection comparable to anything any Lord or Noble of the last 500 years could have assembled. When you consider the cost of building rooms to house tens of thousands of books, often having the shelves extend to the roof so that a ladder mounted on a rail was necessary to access the upper reaches, and the cost of heating those rooms so the books didn’t develop rot, along with the cost and bother of cataloging and labeling (and perhaps hiring a full-time librarian), you can see that, up until now, only a wealthy nobleman or business magnate has had the capacity to enjoy such a library

Nor does this consider the time, cost, and bother of visiting hundreds of bookstores in assembling a collection, or paying the exorbitant prices that books have reached during the last 30 years. This vast expenditure of time, effort, and money, was formerly necessary to anyone suffering from the disease of Bibliomania, and its attendant perversion, Librophilia.

But no more. Now, for about $5 worth of CDs or DVDs, the avid but economically modest Bibliophile can legally obtain a collection that would rival any ensembled in the last half-millenium by the wealthiest of the wealthy. Nor would he have to go from room to room, climbing ladders and re-descending, to look at a few books. On the computer, he could visit these tomes in moments, and know if they are the ones of which he has need or desire.

But given the pathetically low number of downloads we see on scholarly and literary books of all kinds, after years of being available online, we can see that this vast gift is not being taken advantage of by hundreds of millions of people.

Mankind is slowly degenerating in mind, and his language reflects this. Reading the prose of people who lived before the age of homogenized Fascism, we are brought in contact with ways of perceiving reality that are lost to the modern robotized man. And not only is that prose perceptive, but aesthetically elegant, unlike the dry bureaucratese that modern writers and politicians think and talk in.

There’s an old saying that if you’re carrying books and gold, and you fall down and drop both of them, first pick up the books.

So live like a wealthy nobleman in Cromwell’s day or the Deca-millionaires of our time, with a literature collection the envy of all Mediaeval England. Go pick up the books.

Hooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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Libertarians: Capitalists or Free-Marketeers?

April 12, 2013

In re-reading Professor Murray Rothbard’s wonderful essay, “Capitalism vs. Statism”, we were reminded that “capitalism” is a term invented by Marx and used by the Marxists. In contrast to this is the idea of the “free-market”, which arises naturally whenever men are left to their own devices, as in a peasant or jungle society. It needs no central planning, as each man produces or does what he has in abundance or trades his unique skills for the products of other producers, without any coercion. Any contractual disputes between producers and consumers are brought before the wise elders of the community or tribe, and settled.

So, this distinction set us thinking about whether we should use the term “capitalist” at all, and choose rather to employ the term “free-marketeer” in its place. Is not using a term coined by Marxists to describe the free-market  playing into their hands?

Indeed, what image does the term “capitalist” conjure up in the mind? Does it not mean someone whose one drive is to acquire capital, or money? In other words, someone obsessed with money? In getting this term dispersed in wide-spread usage, the Marxists have achieved a popular view that capitalists are money-obsessed individuals.

Now, what does the term “free-marketeer” imply? Much more that someone who is money-obsessed. Firstly, it stresses that one wants freedom not only for oneself, but for the other party in the transaction. And also, one wants freedom for everybody else doing transactions, and making markets. Freedom for all! Not just for me. Secondly, it shifts the emphasis from the money-half of the transaction to the commodity-half of the transaction. In other words, the true free-marketeer is interested in the commodity he is either getting, or getting rid of in the market, much more than the money-half of the transaction. Certainly, the seller is very interested in taking receipt of the asking price in terms of cash, but that cash is almost always as a means to some commodity or service that the seller values. The wealthy seller may find it in the added security of having his cash balance just a little bit larger, and further away from bankruptcy; the hungry seller in the lentil sandwich he just bought with the proceeds of his last sale. But in both cases there is some value, be it the elimination of the physical discomfort of hunger or the psychological gratification of being slightly more financially secure, which makes it worthwhile for the seller or buyer to engage in his action.

This emphasis on the commodity and its implimentation by the new owner for some physical or psychological value is the real meaning of the “free-market”, not two parties to a transaction who are only interested in the capital-half of the transaction. Obviously, the buyer is far more interested in the thing or service he is receiving for his money rather than just his money, or he wouldn’t have spent it. Even when one is “forced” to sell or buy, it is always to achieve a desired physical or psychological need, be it bread or selling one thing to pay off the debt on another thing. So “free-market” implies not money, but action, i.e. the action to which the acquired commodity is put.

Now, it seems to us that Mr. Libertarian, Thomas Jefferson, saw this subtle distinction between physical property and the ends to which it is put. Jefferson, in our view, was a Renaissance Man; one of the greatest. In his life’s actions, one can see the intellect of the Renaissance Man constantly at work, whether he was approaching gardening and farming, the construction of Monticello so that the U.S. Mint could put it on the back of the nickel 180 years later, playing the violin, collecting and reading books, arguing for the Abolition of Capital Punishment in Virginia, or putting forth the most lucid case ever for the Natural Law philosophy of Libertarianism in his masterpieces, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

In earlier documents the phrase “Man is endowed with certain inalienable Rights, amongst which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” had read “Life, Liberty, and Property”. But we believe Jefferson had the amazing insight to make the Libertarian leap from mere “property” to the much larger cause or aim to which it is put, that is “the pursuit of happiness”. This insight directly correlates to Ludwig von Mises subjective valuation principle which is one of the major breakthroughs in economics of the Austrian School — that the value of anything is its subjective value to the owner or purchaser, and that value can never be predicted. No wonder all the other schools of economics could never ever figure out how to measure the value of an object; it cannot be done except subjectively. It can only be measured it terms of its psychological gratification and value to the property owner.

Now, Professor Rothbard in his essay breaks Capitalism down into two breeds: “state Capitalism” and “free-market Capitalism”. State capitalism is what we have in America and the West: the government and associated industries looting wealth from individual Capitalists, a form of Mussolini’s Fascism. “Free-market Capitalism” would be — well, no one really knows exactly what it would be like since it has never really existed except in remote peasant and jungle communities that are probably unknown to modern history. Free-market Capitalism’s days as a world economic system are ahead of it, in the future, and not in the past which has never known it.

Whether we should use the rather longwinded terms “free-market Capitalism” and “free-market Capitalist” every time we want to refer to Capitalism or the Free-Market, or whether we should comply with the Marxists by using a term they coined which, as we have pointed out, has prejudicial connotations, or lastly whether we should always use the term “free-marketeer” instead  of “Capitalist”, is a hard decision which each Libertarian must make for himself. The subtle distinctions are probably beyond the comprehension (or interest) of most Socialists.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

Aspects of the Meaning of Meaning

August 20, 2012

Two men meet on a desert trail. One is a Trobriand Islander; the other a Roumanian. They wish to barter water for cash with each other, but neither can make himself intelligible to his interlocutor. In this case, the meaning of words and sounds cannot be established without several months or years of intense study. Thus, there is no transaction, and a certain thirsty death for one of the pair, while the other misses a commercial profit he needed to pay off his hernia surgery. Does the lack of meaning of their words mean that an unnecessary tragedy has occurred, and does that tragedy in itself give the situation meaning?

(Here, it should be added, for documentary reasons, that, in the aforementioned case, the Trobriand Islander had been kidnapped as a baby by a troupe of roving Roumanian musicians, which had been touring the South Seas, and he’d been raised in the suburbs of Bucharest, so that he spoke only pure Roumanian, while the Roumanian had emigrated to the Trobriand Islands at the age of 21, and there been almost struck by a bolt of lighting which, landing but a few feet from him, had caused such an electrical shock to his system, that his entire previous life, including his years in Roumania and his encyclopedic knowledge of the Roumanian language and its syntax, were completely wiped out from his memory, so that he was left with only the ability to speak the lip of the Trobriand Islanders. Please never assume!)

Then there is the case of two men who speak the same language and are discussing some vitally important philosophical or personal problem. They exchange many words, which they both understand, and finally arrive at some insight which clarifies the philosophical issue or solves the personal problem in a great psychological catharsis for one or both of the interlocutors. Words have made things pellucidly clear, and the two men feel happy, whereas when they began the dialogue, one or both were in a state of mental turmoil. In this case, meaning between two brains has been established, with positive outcome, unlike the first case.

But standing back from these two men, what does the situation of two men communicating or communing in a philosophical dialogue mean when looked at as an objective act on the earth? Standing back from that dialogue, perhaps observing the whole scene with the eye of Nature which does not understand these men’s language, one can ask, “What is the meaning of that event?” Obviously, from the standpoint of Nature, that event of two men babbling to each other and understanding their words to their philosophical and psychological benefit has just as little meaning as the first case where the two men did not understand each other and suffered tragedy.

And on a larger scale, what would be the meaning of creating an Earth that functioned beautifully, with no violence at all and a pristine environment, all achieved after centuries and millenia of travail and sorrow? Would it have any extraneous meaning to anything if, only a day after achieving this state of global nirvana, the Earth were swallowed in a black hole, and all existence as we know it on this planet were to be sucked away in an instant? What would be the meaning of all that Human effort at reform, destroyed instantaneously by a laughingly meaningless Cosmos?

Y’all understand my meaning?

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

The Internationalization of Language: Another InterNet Effect

April 6, 2010

One of the more profound effects of the internet on the world, and world history, an effect which Silverwolf things has not been noted with due importance, is what he would call the “internationalization of language”. This occurs when people of differing cultures and languages are forced, or rather, are forced by the force of their own personal choice, to learn the languages of others, usually for motives of profit or romance. With virtually instant translators, and translating pages, making the ancient art of live translation one reserved only for tour guides, and the Socialists and Racists of the UN, the necessity for spending several tedious hours with a foreign dictionary to decipher a missive has been snipped off with bypass loppers.

Perhaps the greatest aid to this spreading of the knowledge of foreign languages has been the posting of film clips on the net in foreign languages with subtitled translations. This excellent method of absorbing foreign languages is well illustrated by a film such as “Dersu Uzala” by Kurosawa, in which an ethnic Goldi, with strong Asian features, who speaks a very primitive Russian, meets a Russian team of surveyors in the wilderness. Though he knew perhaps 10 words in Russian beforehand, by the end of the film, Silverwolf had probably learned an equal amount of new words, as he heard Dersu use the same limited vocabulary, over and over, to convey his “primitive” ideas to the Russkies. As we Silverwolves say to guests traveling through the forest, “Moy dom, doy dom” (my house is your house).

Perhaps another force driving the learning of the international languages comes from reading the comments written in chat columns by humans under 20. One can quickly gain the “in” words and phrases used in current parlance through this procedure, though of course not until one has a primitive but broad comprehension of the language. A beginner could not do this, but a second term student could.

Of course, this phenomenon was started years ago, in Europe, when books began to be published showing the titles of photos or art exhibits in the four main Euro languages simultaneously. It’s easy to see why so many Europeans were fluent in several languages, a process which Silverwolf thinks has a very beneficent effect on the brain, forcing it to memorize, retain, compare, and instantly translate. This process had been completely absent in America, where students struggle for years to learn a foreign language that they may read, but will rarely speak, and so will tend to forget. However, the massive influx of Latinos into the Southwest has brought about a similar simultaneous translation of signs, instructions, tax forms, etc. which, through osmosis, has slightly exposed the Anglo-Euro culture in America to Spanish, while Spanish-speaking students, in Silverwolf’s opinion, have a great advantage over the Anglos since it is their brains which will benefit from the necessity to develop two sets of language to communicate in.

Silverwolf thinks it may well be that this “internationalization” of language will lead to new ways of expressing the thoughts that seem to run through the heads of those Human Beings we Wolves are forced to share our earth with, an Earth which the Big Guy Upstairs clearly meant should belong to us Wolves alone. In fact, Silverwolf thinks that in one- to three-thousand years from now, our language will be as unintelligible to future speakers as Beowulf is now unintelligible to modern American high school students. Words will be pilfered from every language, first here, first there, according to men’s tastes, and the composite gallimaufry stew of the international language will have all the flavours of Mankind.

And so, Silverwolf can envision a future, several thousand years from now, where someone might send a postcard written in “Earthlish” (or email by thought-projection by then?) to a friend, while on their summer vacation, that might run something like this:

“Dear Hans,

Ich wanted de ecrire a usted wegen los jeunes filles yo ha deckoed promenading aroom la place de la Concorde. Sono a bunch buenos kvinner la, blondines, rothpellos, schwarzhairs, et otras pretty flickas. Nemmen dein pick.  Ha redden con ein, and she ma dite “Flake off, dork.” Pero, el segundo me sprachen tres jolie, and nosotros “made nice”.

Si usted is ever a Paris, io recommendare a usted go therein, et check out the local talent. Molti molti foxy madchen la, encircare el statue de il molto famoso Libertarian of il 21st Century, Senator Lobo Silverwolf, el Senator desde the State de Nevada, il y a 2000 years ago. Cette statue famoso, rests sur ein plynth inscribe mit los argots qui form Silverwolf’s well-known motto , “Liberty, Equality, Frugality”.

Dein amico,                   Werewolf.”

Undoubtedly, men will talk like this in the far future.

Es certo. Silverwolf lo speculare!

Hooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf