From: Reed Konsler (
Date: Thu 06 Mar 2003 - 14:24:12 GMT

  • Next message: Reed Konsler: "Mean Um Meaning Mean"

    _____ You might also recall that priests still speak latin in the Vatican, Jews still speak Hebrew in Israel and priests still speak ancient Greek in Istambul. The church has kept these languages alive through the mass and other ceremonies as well as scholars have done in universities around the world. There are people communicating with each other in Latin, Greek and Hebrew as part of a culture in today's world. Although the cultures are not a big as they once were, they are alive and as well as the church groups that support them.

    I agree. Take the Greeks as an example. Is the culture of classical Greece still in existence? If I read the Illiad in the original, does it mean that I understand what it meant to Homer when he authored it, or to a Greek of the time who heard it?

    I read an English translation in college and it meant something to me. A lot of it wasn't accessible. I dated a Classics major for a while and she explained some of the historical details and present academic controversy surrounding the interpretation of various parts to me. Afterwards it made more sense.

    I don't understand the arguement that the meaning or memes *intrinsic* to the text changed between my freshman year and my junior year. The Illiad didn't make sense as a result of my ignorance. I can entertain the notion that there isn't any meaning intrinsic to such artifacts of communication, past or present. But the idea that there is some absolute meaning inherent in the artifacts that fluctuates is hard to credit. It leads to inconsitencies like: is the meaning based on my limited understanding, my former girlfriend's more complete understanding, or her professors supposedly authoritative understanding? What if two authorities disagree as to the meaning of an artifact.

    Do you see how, even among people that supposedly share a culture (for instance, we could concievably find ourselves talking about the subject at a departmental cocktail party) the meaning of the Illiad is different depending on what other memes are in our *individual* heads?



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