Review of The Selfish Meme

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Fri 01 Jul 2005 - 20:23:33 GMT

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    Kate wrote,

    " Words may have different connotations, or different meanings in different contexts, but this doesn 't imply that they have no meaning at all, or that it is impossible to use them to say exactly what you mean. Well - I hope not . "

    << I 'm afraid I must dash all the hope you' ve left Kate !

    In his 1984 book, Illusion and Reality, D. Smail writes on pg 67, (Dutch version), " It is sure that without words we can 't think in the ways we use the word. But it is also true that words aren 't always necessary to perform complex activities. You can try to put those things, like how a cat plays with a mouse , but none will satify. This isn 't a simple question, they have complicated philosophical and psychological consequentions."

    What is important is making a clear distinction between experience, Smail uses the word intuition, and language. What then comes alight are two things, first that language has become within our society the plomp instrument of the objectiviness and secondly that distorting the truth has become the main function of language.

    What language does_ because we ain't got the precise linguistic elements to say what we really want to say, although we think it is fair enough_ is always talking with a near- the- truth- system, reality as it is somewhere out there isn 't ours to grasp. No doubt that we're pretty sure that someone can actualy explain his behavior and reasons for it ( or he should damn lie) but that is just because we live within the same representational system.

    So it becomes very easy to conclude without any further thought on our part that what someone talks about must be the result of an internal pro- contra process where in fact there isn 't such a thing. Most things we do/ talk about aren 't well considered, but mostly automatic social/ cultural representations to use the term. Order of the day is that if someone talks to us that we consider it as being the truth and that thus this is the real sense of the events happening. But with language in mind that ain't true, we extract meaning from it, and the possibility exist that we drag different meanings out of it in different settings but it is impossible to know that the things someone says to us are exactly what he means. Neither his linguistic system and our representational system is up for that task.



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