I am a linguistic philosopher and a psycholinguist. I find the history of language fascinating and the way it predisposes itself to certain emergent properties in the culture. I am a bit of a linguistic determinist in that I do think the thought tools included in a language keep the people in that culture thinking a certain way, especially if the language is dogmatically kept from evolving. Very few people have the ability to rise above the linguistic barrier, and see the forms of the good themselves, (plato’s cave) without the help of meditation or hallucinogenic or mind expanding experimentation. If you don’t give yourself permission, artistic license to coin new phrases or to express yourself poetically in new ways, you will not see or do anything new or unpredictable.
Back in the day, every civilization had a priest class, and only they could read and write, languages were very complicated, 2,000 hieroglyphs in Egyptian and 80,000 Chinese characters. Only the aristocracy was allowed to read and write and they made the laws, they were the deciders, they did all of the thinking. I am of a particular school of thought that believes that Abraham and Brahma are one and the same person. I am not the only person that thinks this, others have come to the same conclusion, furthermore, evidence has been found of a patriarchial ancestor matching the description of Abraham. (http://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48936742.html) My personal theory is that Abraham created a mutation and that mutation dealt with reading. If you observe people that do not have direct blood line with Abraham what you will notice is a marked difficulty and even disinterest in reading, sometimes even having problems like Dyslexia as is the case with Native Americans, what is interesting to note is that Mexicans from Mexico City have less of a problem with reading, and they have Spanish DNA.
If you read the Kabbalistic writings from around 300 years ago in spain you find some very interesting things on how Abraham attracted god’s attention by creating. In the act of creating artistically he was acting like god the creator and attracted god’s attention and blessing. There are even meditations on how to psych yourself up before setting hand to paper.
“Heresy arises as a pained outcry to liberate us from this strange, narrow pit, to raise us from the darkness of letters and platitudes to the light of thought and feeling. Such heresy eventually takes its stand in the centre of morality. It has a temporary legitimacy, for it must consume the filthy froth clinging to mindless faith. [………..] On the desolate ruins wrought by heresy, the sublime knowledge of God will build her temple.”
― Daniel Chanan Matt, The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism
You think about literary revolutions like the Gutenberg press and how it allowed everybody to have their own bible, and then later how the printing presses were used in revolutions in order to print one’s own propaganda, or apologetics, or polemics, in order to influence the minds of others and to express one’s own perspective on reality, what sweeping changes these were. If you think about ideas moving across continents and through time and which philosophies and concepts they retained and which they discarded that too is interesting. Which philosophies succeeded and so were kept. Which one’s were forgotten and so the people perished or dispersed.
Some languages allowed for things to be expressed more quickly yet more informally, causing them to sound banal or crass or low brow.
Hieratic is a cursive writing system, used in the provenance of the pharaohs in Egypt and Nubia, that developed alongside the hieroglyphic system, to which it is intimately related. It was primarily written in ink with a reed brush on papyrus, allowing scribes to write quickly without resorting to the time-consuming hieroglyphs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieratic
English, for example, is currently the Lingua franca of science.
A lingua franca also called a bridge language, or vehicular language, is a language systematically (as opposed to occasionally, or casually) used to make communication possible between persons not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.
The term “lingua franca“, Italian for “Frankish language”, is from a particular example, Mediterranean Lingua Franca. Lingua Franca was a mixed languagecomposed mostly (80%) of Italian with a broad vocabulary drawn from Old French, Greek, Arabic, Portuguese, Occitan and Spanish. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_franca
Not many people know this but the reason that America doesn’t have a national language is because the French, Germans, and British throughout history were constantly warring with one another. So in order to choose a national language, that would have created a disparate impact in favor of one particular group. Also our law code is an amalgam of french law and British law, which is why we have redundancies and invasive french terminology.
Ponder the language Aramaic…
Aramaic (Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡܝܐAramaya) is a family of languages (traditionally referred to as “dialects”) belonging to the Semitic family. More specifically, it is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily, which also includes Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician. The Aramaic script was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to both the Arabic and modern Hebrewalphabets.
During its over 3,000 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires and as a language of divine worship. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic
The language no longer exists today but it was the language of a people that wandered, hunter gatherers, back and forth across a vast territory, exposing themselves to many ideas and philosophies, that was one of the languages that Jesus spoke. No wonder he could connect with so many people and speaking their language convey something to them, touch them in a way nobody else could. Make connections that nobody else could.
Similar to the Romani who were named after the Romans, and are also known as the Gypsies, when coming from Egypt. Think of how much knowledge and wisdom and understanding was lost when the library at Alexandra was burned, the Treasure trove of the Gnostics and all the Mysteries of Hypatia possibly the wisest woman to ever have lived.
Now contemplate what Islam is doing, literally devolving the species. The fastest growing religion in the world is also the least literate. Why? They are literally devolving the species in terms of literacy. They have re instituted the tyrannical priest class, that tells them what to think and what to do. Saudi Arabia tyrannically controls all of the translating of books into Arabic, they control what people read, they control what people see, and they control what people think. Not only does the language predispose itself to pretension, and arrogance, it also predisposes itself to vagueries, obfuscation, and manipulation, which is built into the language. It allows the person speaking it to say one thing and to mean another, or to translate it differently at different times, to different people, depending on their status. This allows the person with Authority to arbitrarily rank another person, and translate the language in such a way as it puts the person understanding it in a position of power and control. Observe a few examples:
Islam (n.)“religious system revealed by Muhammad,” 1818, from Arabic islam, literally “submission” (to the will of God), from root of aslama “he resigned, he surrendered, he submitted,” causative conjunction of salima “he was safe,” and related to salam “peace.” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Islam
The Religion that is spread at sword tip on threat of death is named after Peace, which also means surrender, submit yourself to God at the tip of my sword.
Harem (pronounced [haˈɾem], Turkish, from Arabic: حرم ḥaram “forbidden place; sacrosanct, sanctum”, related to حريم ḥarīm, “a sacred inviolable place; female members of the family” and حرام ḥarām, “forbidden; sacred”) refers to the sphere of women in what is usually a polygynous household and their enclosed quarters which are forbidden to men. The term originated with the Near East. Harems are composed of wives and often sex slaves known as concubines. For the South Asian equivalent, see purdah and zenana.
Here in lies the question, Who is it sacred for? Who is it forbidden for? and who is “family”?
A little exert from a blog on how to learn Arabic:
I have been asked several times at my university in Oman to do a brief “cultural introduction” to native speakers of English from North America and Europe who have come to improve their Arabic. I start by mentioning that there is a large difference between learning how to speak a language and learning how to navigate a culture. Then I segue into a discussion of how to dress appropriately. My watchwords are: no knees or elbows on display in public. Usually, at this point, several of the listeners look angry, disbelieving and/or bored, especially the men wearing tight, casual T-shirts and women in spaghetti-strap underwear shirts.
But when I speak with Western students who are studying Arabic, most of them are dressed casually: sloppy flannel shirts, ripped jeans, shorts, bra straps, and sometimes underwear on display. http://chronicle.com/article/To-Learn-Arabic-You-Have-to/132057/