8 Comments
Jul 24, 2023Liked by Rachel Donald

I've never seen this idea described so eloquently. Nice writing 😁😁👏👏

Expand full comment
author

Thank you!

Expand full comment
Jul 27, 2023Liked by Rachel Donald

Well, your written words are actually spot on, Rachel! Brilliant!

And allow me to humbly share that you are truly an inspiration to me. Brava for doing all this immensely important work.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much Catherine!

Expand full comment
Jul 25, 2023Liked by Rachel Donald

Great episode. And a great introductory question: “How do we reimagine our relationship to language so it may reveal the real instead of hide it?” (And – I’d add – so that it better supports healthy relationships with our Planet and with each other.)

You touched on Indigenous ways of thinking as being helpful. Another helpful tradition, I think, is Buddhism. A good deal of Buddhist thinking – for example in Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka framework - is premised on the understanding that everything we experience is “imputed by mind”. Our mind – and, as a central part of that, our language, is constantly structuring, and, in a sense, creating everything we experience. This understanding, in my opinion, gives a much better basis than the Western tradition, for seeing through the reification of unhelpful ideas like “Growth”, “the Nation State”, etc.. Concepts are still useful, of course, but we recognise that they don’t have any independent reality – they are merely useful (for now) labels. And this helps with “learning our way into a healthy future”, without being attached to certainty, linearity, and so on.

This philosophy also recognises that everything is in a state of “Dependent Relationship”, and in constant flux, so placing dynamic relationships, rather than static “things”, at the centre of our worldview comes naturally.

I think it would be so helpful if Buddhist understandings become more assimilated into “mainstream” academic and practical discourse.

Expand full comment

oooft. thank you. this gets to the soul of what we're all up to. & gems of sentences abound in your writing. it fizzes. i'm moved. ON

Expand full comment

There are some words missing in my previous comment and I can't correct it. So fill out the blanks :)

Expand full comment

I don't think (at this point) you will deceive me with you thought process. "I love you just the way you are", says the song. That being written semiotics is the study of signs and symbols among other things and indeed the languages is are within it territory. The way we use language is equal to the way our buildings: square and right angles. There is a direct link between the way we live and the way we use languages. The imagination of people living in huts is not the same as the "rationals" of people living in square buildings. The moon is feminine in french, masculine in german and neutral in english and so on. When we talk directly to a person in french we use either 'tu' or 'vous" usually according to a level of deference we imagine we owe to someone. In english only 'you' is used though there is a 'thou' which is never used. The place we find it in Shakespeare or the Ten Commandments, etc.

Expand full comment