Natural Language Processing Quotes

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What reading does, ultimately, is keep alive the dangerous and exhilarating idea that a life is not a sequence of lived moments, but a destiny...the time of reading, the time defined by the author's language resonating in the self, is not the world's time, but the soul's. The energies that otherwise tend to stream outward through a thousand channels of distraction are marshaled by the cadences of the prose; they are brought into focus by the fact that it is an ulterior, and entirely new, world that the reader has entered. The free-floating self--the self we diffusely commune with while driving or walking or puttering in the kitchen--is enlisted in the work of bringing the narrative to life. In the process, we are able to shake off the habitual burden of insufficient meaning and flex our deeper natures.
Sven Birkerts (The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age)
I believe we need wilderness in order to be more complete human beings, to not be fearful of the animals that we are, an animal who bows to the incomparable power of natural forces when standing on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, an animal who understands a sense of humility when watching a grizzly overturn a stump with its front paw to forage for grubs in the lodgepole pines of the northern Rockies, an animal who weeps over the sheer beauty of migrating cranes above the Bosque del Apache in November, an animal who is not afraid to cry with delight in the middle of a midnight swim in a phospherescent tide, an animal who has not forgotten what it means to pray before the unfurled blossom of the sacred datura, remembering the source of all true visions. As we step over the threshold of the twenty-first century, let us acknowledge that the preservation of wilderness is not so much a political process as a spiritual one, that the language of law and science used so successfully to define and defend what wilderness has been in the past century must now be fully joined with the language of the heart to illuminate what these lands mean to the future.
Terry Tempest Williams (Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert)
Even with skills that are primarily mental, such as computer programming or speaking a foreign language, it remains the case that we learn best through practice and repetition—the natural learning process.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
Jung has said that to be in a situation where there is no way out, or to be in a conflict where there is no solution, is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution: the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego-consciousness up against the wall, so that the man has to realise that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. Naturally, if a man says, "Oh well, then I shall just let everything go and make no decision, but just protract and wriggle out of [it]," the whole thing is equally wrong, for then naturally nothing happens. But if he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally because of the insolubility of the conscious situation, the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God. In psychological language the situation without issue, which the anima arranges with great skill in a man's life, is meant to drive him into a condition in which he is capable of experiencing the Self. When thinking of the anima as the soul guide, we are apt to think of Beatrice leading Dante up to Paradise, but we should not forget that he experienced that only after he had gone through Hell. Normally, the anima does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first into a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.
Marie-Louise von Franz (The Interpretation of Fairy Tales)
There are many subtle variants of theistic evolution, but a typical version rests upon the following premises: The universe came into being out of nothingness, approximately 14 billion years ago. Despite massive improbabilities, the properties of the universe appear to have been precisely tuned for life. While the precise mechanism of the origin of life on earth remains unknown, once life arose, the process of evolution and natural selection permitted the development of biological diversity and complexity over very long periods of time. Once evolution got under way, no special supernatural intervention was required. Humans are part of this process, sharing a common ancestor with the great apes. But humans are also unique in ways that defy evolutionary explanation and point to our spiritual nature. This includes the existence of the Moral Law (the knowledge of right and wrong) and the search for God that characterizes all human cultures throughout history.
Francis S. Collins (The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief)
I think about Rilke, who said that it's the questions that move us, not the answers. As a writer I believe it is our task, our responsibility, to hold the mirror up to social injustices that we see and to create a prayer of beauty. The questions serve us in that capacity. Pico Iyer describes his writing as "intimate letters to a stranger," and I think that is what the writing process is. It begins with a question, and then you follow this path of exploration. ... I write out of my questions. Hopefully, if we write out of our humanity, our vulnerable nature, then some chord is struck with a reader and we touch on the page. I know that is why I read, to find those parts of myself in a story that I cannot turn away from. The writers who move me are the ones who create beauty and truth out of their sufferings, their yearnings, their discoveries. It is what I call the patience of words born out of the search. ... Perhaps as writers we are really storytellers, finding that golden thread that connects us to the past, present, and future at once. I love language and landscape. For me, writing is the correspondence between these two passions. It is difficult to ever see yourself. I don't know how I've developed or grown as a writer. I hope I am continuing to take risks on the page. I hope I am continuing to ask the hard questions of myself. If we are attentive to the world and to those around us, I believe we will be attentive on the page. Writing is about presence. I want to be fully present wherever I am, alive to the pulse just beneath the skin. I want to dare to speak "the language women speak when there's no one around to correct them".
Terry Tempest Williams
Look everywhere. There are miracles and curiosities to fascinate and intrigue for many lifetimes: the intricacies of nature and everything in the world and universe around us from the miniscule to the infinite; physical, chemical and biological functionality; consciousness, intelligence and the ability to learn; evolution, and the imperative for life; beauty and other abstract interpretations; language and other forms of communication; how we make our way here and develop social patterns of culture and meaningfulness; how we organise ourselves and others; moral imperatives; the practicalities of survival and all the embellishments we pile on top; thought, beliefs, logic, intuition, ideas; inventing, creating, information, knowledge; emotions, sensations, experience, behaviour. We are each unique individuals arising from a combination of genetic, inherited, and learned information, all of which can be extremely fallible. Things taught to us when we are young are quite deeply ingrained. Obviously some of it (like don’t stick your finger in a wall socket) is very useful, but some of it is only opinion – an amalgamation of views from people you just happen to have had contact with. A bit later on we have access to lots of other information via books, media, internet etc, but it is important to remember that most of this is still just opinion, and often biased. Even subjects such as history are presented according to the presenter’s or author’s viewpoint, and science is continually changing. Newspapers and TV tend to cover news in the way that is most useful to them (and their funders/advisors), Research is also subject to the decisions of funders and can be distorted by business interests. Pretty much anyone can say what they want on the internet, so our powers of discernment need to be used to a great degree there too. Not one of us can have a completely objective view as we cannot possibly have access to, and filter, all knowledge available, so we must accept that our views are bound to be subjective. Our understanding and responses are all very personal, and our views extremely varied. We tend to make each new thing fit in with the picture we have already started in our heads, but we often have to go back and adjust the picture if we want to be honest about our view of reality as we continually expand it. We are taking in vast amounts of information from others all the time, so need to ensure we are processing that to develop our own true reflection of who we are.
Jay Woodman
There are few more powerful mirrors of the human brain's astonishing ability to rearrange itself to learn a new intellectual function than the act of reading. Underlying the brain's ability to learn reading lies its protean capacity to make new connections among structures and circuits originally devoted to other more basic brain processes that have enjoyed a longer existence in human evolution, such as vision and spoken language. [...] we come into the world programmed with the capacity to change what is given to us by nature, so that we can go beyond it. We are, it would seem from the start, genetically poised for breakthroughs.
Maryanne Wolf (Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain)
Ever since his first ecstasy or vision of Christminster and its possibilities, Jude had meditated much and curiously on the probable sort of process that was involved in turning the expressions of one language into those of another. He concluded that a grammar of the required tongue would contain, primarily, a rule, prescription, or clue of the nature of a secret cipher, which, once known, would enable him, by merely applying it, to change at will all words of his own speech into those of the foreign one. His childish idea was, in fact, a pushing to the extremity of mathematical precision what is everywhere known as Grimm's Law—an aggrandizement of rough rules to ideal completeness. Thus he assumed that the words of the required language were always to be found somewhere latent in the words of the given language by those who had the art to uncover them, such art being furnished by the books aforesaid.
Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure)
The destructive potential of language is contained within the very nature of representation. Words, particularly nouns, force an infinite of unique objects and processes into a finite number of categories.
Charles Eisenstein (The Ascent of Humanity)
If we ignore and repress an emotion, we won’t erase its message—we’ll just shoot the messenger and interfere with an important natural process. The unconscious then has two choices: to increase the intensity of the emotion and present it to us one more time (this is how unresolving moods or escalating emotional suffering may be activated), or to give up on us and stuff the emotional energy deep into our psyches. Now, that instinct will no longer be readable as itself—as fear or anger or despair—but it will still contain all its original intensity and information. Usually, this squelched intensity mutates into something else, like tics, compulsions, psychosomatic illness, addictions, or neuroses. Repressing our emotions is a perilous way to manage them.
Karla McLaren (The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You)
Nature had once produced an Englishman whose domed head had been a hive of words; a man who had only to breathe on any particle of his stupendous vocabulary to have that particle live and expand and throw out tremulous tentacles until it became a complex image with a pulsing brain and correlated limbs. Three centuries later, another man, in another country, was trying to render these rhythms and metaphors in a different tongue. This process entailed a prodigious amount of labour, for the necessity of which no real reason could be given. It was as if someone, having seen a certain oak tree (further called Individual T) growing in a certain land and casting its own unique shadow on the green and brown ground, had proceeded to erect in his garden a prodigiously intricate piece of machinery which in itself was as unlike that or any other tree as the translator's inspiration and language were unlike those of the original author, but which, by means of ingenious combination of parts, light effects, breeze-engendering engines, would, when completed, cast a shadow exactly similar to that of Individual T - the same outline, changing in the same manner, with the same double and single spots of sun rippling in the same position, at the same hour of the day. From a practical point of view, such a waste of time and material (those headaches, those midnight triumphs that turn out to be disasters in the sober light of morning!) was almost criminally absurd, since the greatest masterpiece of imitation presupposed a voluntary limitation of thought, in submission to another man's genius.
Vladimir Nabokov (Bend Sinister)
We are a biological species arising from Earth’s biosphere as one adapted species among many; and however splendid our languages and cultures, however rich and subtle our minds, however vast our creative powers, the mental process is the product of a brain shaped by the hammer of natural selection upon the anvil of nature.
Edward O. Wilson (On Human Nature)
One thinks about modern academics, especially philosophers and sociologists. Their language is often voiceless and without power because it is so utterly cut off from experience and things. There is no sense of words carrying experiences, only of reflecting relationships between other words or between "concepts." There is no sense of an actual self seeing a thing or having an experience... Sociology—by its very nature?—seems to be an enterprise whose practitioners cut themselves off from experience and things and deal entirely with categories about categories. As a result sociologists, more even than writers in other disciplines, often write language which has utterly died
Peter Elbow (Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process)
The voice that navigated was definitely that of a machine, and yet you could tell that the machine was a woman, which hurt my mind a little. How can machines have genders? The machine also had an American accent. How can machines have nationalities? This can't be a good idea, making machines talk like real people, can it? Giving machines humanoid identities?
Matthew Quick (The Good Luck of Right Now)
Eons ago, Homo sapiens were just as alert and aware as all other creatures, and for the same reason. They needed to be. Now we don't need to be - or do we, but just don't understand this anymore? Our sensory equipment and brains are still designed for this awareness. These instincts are still in each of us, just buried, maybe deeply buried. Connecting with bird language begins the process of unearthing them.
Jon Young (What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World)
Displaying the key elements of L1 and L2 acquisition, O’Neill, R. (1998) assesses that acquiring L2 as children acquire their L1 is a “wishful thinking and… based on a profound misconception about the nature of L2 learning - just as it is a misconception about how L1 acquisition occurs”. Hereinafter, O’Neill, R. (1998) maintains that “the best way to explore the differences between the two processes is to view them side-by-side – in parallel”.
Endri Shqerra (Acquisition of Word Formation Devices in First & Second Languages: Morphological Cross-linguistic Influence)
>>> puzzle_letters = nltk.FreqDist('egivrvonl') >>> obligatory = 'r' >>> wordlist = nltk.corpus.words.words() >>> [w for w in wordlist if len(w) >= 6 ...                      and obligatory in w ...                      and nltk.FreqDist(w) <= puzzle_letters] ['glover', 'gorlin', 'govern', 'grovel', 'ignore', 'involver', 'lienor', 'linger', 'longer', 'lovering', 'noiler', 'overling', 'region', 'renvoi', 'revolving', 'ringle', 'roving', 'violer', 'virole']
Steven Bird (Natural Language Processing with Python: Analyzing Text with the Natural Language Toolkit)
The dissolving, uniting forces combine what to us have been incompatible: attraction with repulsion, darkness with light, the erotic with the destructive.  If we can allow these opposites to meet they move our inner resonance to a higher vibratory plane, expanding consciousness into new realms.  It was exciting, through my explorations some of which I share in later chapters, to learn firsthand that the sacred marriage or coniunctio, the impulse to unite seeming opposites, does indeed seem to lie at the heart of the subtle body’s imaginal world. One important characteristic of the coniunctio is its paradoxical dual action.  The creative process of each sacred marriage, or conjoining of opposites, involves not only the unitive moment of joining together in a new creation or ‘third,’ but also, as I have mentioned, a separating or darkening moment.5 The idea that “darkness comes before dawn” captures this essential aspect of creativity.  To state an obvious truth we as a culture are just beginning to appreciate.  In alchemical language, when darkness falls, it is said to be the beginning of the inner work or the opus of transformation. The old king (ego) must die before the new reign dawns. The early alchemists called the dark, destructive side of these psychic unions the blackness or the nigredo.  Chaos, uncertainty, disillusionment, depression, despair, or madness prevails during these liminal times of  “making death.” The experiences surrounding these inner experiences of darkness and dying (the most difficult aspects were called mortificatio) may constitute our culture’s ruling taboo. This taboo interferes with our moving naturally to Stage Two in the individuating process, a process that requires that we pass through a descent into the underworld of the Dark Feminine realities of birthing an erotic intensity that leads to dying. Entranced by our happily-ever-after prejudiced culture, we often do not see that in any relationship, project or creative endeavor or idea some form of death follows naturally after periods of intense involvement.  When dark experiences befall, we tend to turn away, to move as quickly as possible to something positive or at least distracting, away from the negative affects of grieving, rage, terror, rotting and loss we associate with darkness and dying. As
Sandra Dennis (Embrace of the Daimon: Healing through the Subtle Energy Body: Jungian Psychology & the Dark Feminine)
LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods. For your lexicographer, having written his dictionary, comes to be considered "as one having authority," whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were a statue. Let the dictionary (for example) mark a good word as "obsolete" or "obsolescent" and few men thereafter venture to use it, whatever their need of it and however desirable its restoration to favor — whereby the process of improverishment is accelerated and speech decays. On the contrary, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has no following and is tartly reminded that "it isn't in the dictionary" — although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary. In the golden prime and high noon of English speech; when from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that made their own meaning and carried it in their very sound; when a Shakespeare and a Bacon were possible, and the language now rapidly perishing at one end and slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy preservation — sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion — the lexicographer was a person unknown, the dictionary a creation which his Creator had not created him to create.
Ambrose Bierce (The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary)
Hypnosis is a fascinating subject, and more common than we realize. How does it work? Essentially, when we relax our inner powers of discrimination, associated with our personal wills, and passively allow ideas and input into our subconscious mind, we are open to suggestions, which over time can be directed in specific ways that we call conditioning. The discriminating part of the mind is sometimes called the Gateway to the Unconscious. This gateway opens naturally and is most apparent, and useful, in the way children can quickly learn and adapt to their surroundings. This is an automatic occurrence and part of the learning process. This dynamic of “taking in” our surroundings is natural. It is fast and fluid and probably vital for the survival of our species to “learn” things rapidly. Our cultures, languages and civilizations are, to a great extent, passed on this way. Children are like sponges, we are told. We are delighted by this open and vital acceptance and curiosity of the world displayed by children. Interestingly enough, adults who maintain this open sense of wonder are labeled naive and gullible. I take delight in children, and encourage my clients to nurture their inner children.
Stephen Poplin (Inner Journeys, Cosmic Sojourns: Life transforming stories, adventures and messages from a spiritual hypnotherapist's casebook)
An answer may be found in the Akashic Record, more exactly in the Akashic field, augmented continuously by quantum holographic information. To routinely access this deeper level of intuitive information requires a natural openness to such information, enhanced by practice, and by learning to trust the validity of such experience. As suggested above, intuition should be considered a basic source of information (our “first sense”) available in nature long before humans evolved to use language and so-called left brain processes. Intuitive information affects us at the cellular level and is more associated with feeling than with thinking, intellect, and language.
Ervin Laszlo (The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field)
Left to our own devices, we are apt to backslide to our instinctive conceptual ways. This underscores the place of education in a scientifically literate democracy, and even suggests a statement of purpose for it (a surprisingly elusive principle in higher education today). The goal of education is to make up for the shortcomings in our instinctive ways of thinking about the physical and social world. And education is likely to succeed not by trying to implant abstract statements in empty minds but by taking the mental models that are our standard equipment, applying them to new subjects in selective analogies, and assembling them into new and more sophisticated combinations.
Steven Pinker (The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature)
We are the empty awareness (empty mind) that watches identity rehearsing itself in thoughts and memories relentlessly coming and going. Eventually the stream of thought falls silent, and you inhabit empty mind, free of that center of identity -free, that is, of the self-absorbed and relentless process of thought that precludes CONTACT in our day to day experience. It is here that you inhabit the full depth of immediate. Chinese poetry gets back near the process of nature by means of its vivid image, and its wealth of images. The prehistoric poets who created language discovered the whole harmonious framework of nature. We should avoid “is” and bring in a wealth of neglected English verbs.
David Hinton (The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape)
What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.' In other words, the essence of an object does not change depending on it's name. This is a common misconception not unlike the 'world is flat' belief. By verbally identifying an object, by giving it a name, we alter it. And at the same time we prevent it from changing. A name is like a forked stick that we use to hold a snake on the ground." Portnov imitated using a forked branch to press down an imaginary viper. "By the way, consider this: the contradictory nature of a statement almost certainly proves its legitimacy... Come in." [...] "May I continue? Thank you. However, there is also another misconception-by which a name automatically defines the properties of an object. Here is a pen." He tossed up and caught a dark-blue pen with a white top. "If I give it the name of... an earthworm, will it slither?" Second years, Group A, maintained a tense silence. No one wanted to risk an answer. "It will not." Portnov let the pen fall on his desk. "Because this given piece of plastic has nothing in common with the process and events that we are talking about, that we spend time studying... between dance parties and dealing with gastrointestinal problems. Besides, when I say 'give a name,' I do not imply any of the languages that are commonly used by any of the living persons. I am talking about Speech, which you will begin to study during your third year. Some of you may start earlier.
Marina Dyachenko (Vita Nostra (Vita Nostra, #1))
The fifth principle emphasizes another human strength: whenever possible, we should take measures to re-spatialize the information we think about. We inherited “a mind on the hoof,” as Andy Clark puts it: a brain that was built to pick a path through a landscape and to find the way back home. Neuroscientific research indicates that our brains process and store information—even, or especially, abstract information—in the form of mental maps. We can work in concert with the brain’s natural spatial orientation by placing the information we encounter into expressly spatial formats: creating memory palaces, for example, or designing concept maps. In the realm of education research, experts now speak of “spatializing the curriculum”—that is, simultaneously drawing on and strengthening students’ spatial capacities by having them employ spatial language and gestures, engage in sketching and mapmaking, and learn to interpret and create charts, tables, and diagrams. The spatialized
Annie Murphy Paul (The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain)
One way I try to do it is to observe that in any other area of life that people take seriously, they naturally assume there’s legitimacy to objective values. Take a golf swing. Nobody would seriously say, “Just go swing it any way you want to, because who am I to tell you what to do?” Well, how would that work out? Horrifically. We know that in something like golf, you start to internalize objective ideals, and in that process, you become freer and freer. You become a freer player of golf, and you can actually do what you want to do. That’s true of anything—language, music, politics, anything. You begin to internalize objective values in such a way that they now become the ground for your freedom, and not the enemy of your freedom. The binary option we have to get past is “my freedom versus your oppression.” What we need to say is, No, no, the objectivity of the moral good enables your freedom, opens freedom up. Once you get that, you see the Church is not the enemy of your flourishing, but the condition for it.
Robert Barron (To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age)
Revelation. I understand the mechanism of my own thinking. I know precisely how I know, and my understanding is recursive. I understand the infinite regress of this self-knowing, not by proceeding step by step endlessly, but by apprehending the limit. The nature of recursive cognition is clear to me. A new meaning of the term ‘self-aware.’ Fiat logos. I know my mind in terms of a language more expressive than any I’d previously imagined. Like God creating order from chaos with an utterance, I make myself anew with this language. It is meta-self-descriptive and self-editing; not only can it describe thought, it can describe and modify its own operations as well, at all levels. What Gödel would have given to see this language, where modifying a statement causes the entire grammar to be adjusted. With this language, I can see how my mind is operating. I don’t pretend to see my own neurons firing; such claims belong to John Lilly and his LSD experiments of the sixties. What I can do is perceive the gestalts; I see the mental structures forming, interacting. I see myself thinking, and I see the equations that describe my thinking, and I see myself comprehending the equations, and I see how the equations describe their being comprehended. I know how they make up my thoughts. These thoughts. Initially I am overwhelmed by all this input, paralyzed with awareness of my self. It is hours before I can control the flood of self-describing information. I haven’t filtered it away, nor pushed it into the background. It’s become integrated into my mental processes, for use during my normal activities. It will be longer before I can take advantage of it, effortlessly and effectively, the way a dancer uses her kinesthetic knowledge. All that I once knew theoretically about my mind, I now see detailed explicitly. The undercurrents of sex, aggression, and self-preservation, translated by the conditioning of my childhood, clash with and are sometimes disguised as rational thought. I recognize all the causes of my every mood, the motives behind my every decision. What
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
Human beings innate complexities resist reduction into simple sentences and neat paragraphs. The stories that come nearest to expressing the ambivalent nature of people are textured and occasionally inconsistent and express waves of inner uncertainty. A simile and a metaphor are not literally true. A figure of speech, symbols, and allegories are mere expressions that when interlinked with other text assist explain facts, ideas, and emotions. Useful facts are elusive; we must look for them, and then express them using whatever mechanism proves most authoritative. We can never directly describe emotions; we resort to metaphors to describe emotions and other illusive thoughts. Ideas by virtue of their untested nature are often untrue or at best rough approximations of truth. Lyrical writing is equivocal; it is never exactly true or precisely false. Lyrical language attempts to express and connect sentiments through extrapolation and misdirection. The writer’s task is to melt away durable facts, breakdown the symbolic depictions of solid reality, and discover the liquidity of a passionate inner life that provides the hot breath to our steamy humanness.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Men cooperate with one another. The totality of interhuman relations engendered by such cooperation is called society. Society is not an entity in itself. It is an aspect of human action. It does not exist or live outside of the conduct of people. It is an orientation of human action. Society neither thinks nor acts. Individuais in thinking and acting constitute a complex of relations and facts that are called social relations and facts. The issue has been confused by an arithmetical metaphor. Is society, people asked, merely a sum of individuals or is it more than this and thereby an entity endowed with independent reality? The question is nonsensical. Society is neither the sum of individuais nor more nor less. Arithmetical concepts cannot be applied to the matter. Another confusion arises from the no less empty question whether society is—in logic and in time—anterior to individuais or not. The evolution of society and that of civilization were not two distinct processes but one and the same process. The biological passing of a species of primates beyond the levei of a mere animal existence and their transformation into primitive men implied already the development of the first rudiments of social cooperation. Homo sapiens appeared on the stage of earthly events neither as a solitary foodseeker nor as a member of a gregarious flock, but as a being consciously cooperating with other beings of his own kind. Only in cooperation with his fellows could he develop language, the indispensable tool of thinking. We cannot even imagine a reasonable being living in perfect isolation and not cooperating at least with members of his family, clan, or tribe. Man as man is necessarily a social animal. Some sort of cooperation is an essential characteristic of his nature. But awareness of this fact does not justify dealing with social relations as if they were something else than relations or with society as if it were an independent entity outside or above the actions of individual men. Finally there are the misconstructions caused by the organismic metaphor. We may compare society to a biological organism. The tertium comparationis is the fact that division of labor and cooperation exist among the various parts of a biological body as among the various members of society. But the biological evolution that resulted in the emergence of the structurefunction systems of plant and animal bodies was a purely physiological process in which no trace of a conscious activity on the part of the cells can be discovered. On the other hand, human society is an intellectual and spiritual phenomenon. In cooperating with their fellows, individuais do not divest themselves of their individuality. They retain the power to act antisocially, and often make use of it. Its place in the structure of the body is invariably assigned to each cell. But individuais spontaneously choose the way in which they integrate themselves into social cooperation. Men have ideas and seek chosen ends, while the cells and organs of the body lack such autonomy.
Ludwig von Mises (Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution)
By their very nature, returnees seek a reconnection to a past life, a former identity marked more often than not by a single language or a single cultural frame of reference. We go back to what we know, including our native tongues. This process of reclaiming a homogenous existence runs counter to multi-culturalism on a societal level and hybridity on an individual level. Aren't we supposed to be complex, hybrid creatures containing multitudes? What about the concept of multiple belongings promoted by such internationally successful authors as Elif Shafak and Zadie Smith? On paper, where it mostly lives, this concept sounds ideal. "Multiple belongings are nurtured by cultural encounters but they are not only the preserve of people who travel", writes Shafak. "It is an attitude, a way of thinking, rather than the number of stamps on your passport. It is about thinking of yourself, and your fellow human beings, in more fluid terms than solid categories". I wouldn't go as far as to suggest that returns imply a repudiation of a complex view of identity or of globalization - it's globalization that has allowed the many people you'll meet in this book, me included, to come and go, to cross borders and cultures - but they force us to think of movement in multi-directional ways. Some returnees find that the life they thoughts they would have back home is a fantasy, so they make their way back to the host country. Homeland returns remain unpredictable, in part because despite their historical contexts, they don't have the clear road maps and narratives that outward migrations enjoy.
Kamal Al-Solaylee (Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Come From)
Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica. [M]en will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button. Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes. “[H]ighways … in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground. [V]ehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. [W]all screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. [T]he world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000. All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that! There will, therefore, be a worldwide propaganda drive in favor of birth control by rational and humane methods and, by 2014, it will undoubtedly have taken serious effect. Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be ‘farms’ turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. Schools will have to be oriented in this direction…. All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary “Fortran". [M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. [T]he most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work! in our a society of enforced leisure.
Isaac Asimov
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes. Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.
Nobody chooses to experience trauma. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a devastating accident, or an act of interpersonal violence, trauma often leaves people feeling violated and absent a sense of control. Because of this, it’s vital that survivors feel a sense of choice and autonomy in their mindfulness practice. We want them to know that in every moment of practice, they are in control. Nothing will be forced upon them. They can move at a pace that works for them, and they can always opt out of any practice. By emphasizing self-responsiveness, we help put power back in the hands of survivors. The body is central to this process. Survivors need to know they won’t be asked to override signals from their body, but to listen to them—one way they’ll learn to stay in their window of tolerance. We can accomplish this, in part, through our selection of language. Rather than give instructions as declarations, we can offer invitations that increase agency. Here are a few examples: • “In the next few breaths, whenever you’re ready, I invite you to close your eyes or have them open and downcast” (as opposed to “Close your eyes”). • “You appeared to be hyperventilating at the end of that last meditation. Would you like to talk to me for a minute about it?” (versus “You looked terrified. I need to talk to you”). In all of our interactions, we can tailor our instructions to be invitations instead of commands. Another way to emphasize choice is to provide different options in practice. We can offer students and clients the choice to have their eyes open or closed, or to adopt a posture that works best for them (e.g., standing, sitting, or lying down). Any time we are offering different ways people can practice, we can also work to normalize any choice they make—one way is not superior to the other.17 While we can encourage people to stay through the duration of a meditation period, we also want them to know that leaving the room—especially if they are surpassing their window of tolerance—is an option that is always available to them.
David A. Treleaven (Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing)
Dehumanization has fueled innumerable acts of violence, human rights violations, war crimes, and genocides. It makes slavery, torture, and human trafficking possible. Dehumanizing others is the process by which we become accepting of violations against human nature, the human spirit, and, for many of us, violations against the central tenets of our faith. How does this happen? Maiese explains that most of us believe that people’s basic human rights should not be violated—that crimes like murder, rape, and torture are wrong. Successful dehumanizing, however, creates moral exclusion. Groups targeted based on their identity—gender, ideology, skin color, ethnicity, religion, age—are depicted as “less than” or criminal or even evil. The targeted group eventually falls out of the scope of who is naturally protected by our moral code. This is moral exclusion, and dehumanization is at its core. Dehumanizing always starts with language, often followed by images. We see this throughout history. During the Holocaust, Nazis described Jews as Untermenschen—subhuman. They called Jews rats and depicted them as disease-carrying rodents in everything from military pamphlets to children’s books. Hutus involved in the Rwanda genocide called Tutsis cockroaches. Indigenous people are often referred to as savages. Serbs called Bosnians aliens. Slave owners throughout history considered slaves subhuman animals. I know it’s hard to believe that we ourselves could ever get to a place where we would exclude people from equal moral treatment, from our basic moral values, but we’re fighting biology here. We’re hardwired to believe what we see and to attach meaning to the words we hear. We can’t pretend that every citizen who participated in or was a bystander to human atrocities was a violent psychopath. That’s not possible, it’s not true, and it misses the point. The point is that we are all vulnerable to the slow and insidious practice of dehumanizing, therefore we are all responsible for recognizing it and stopping it. THE COURAGE TO EMBRACE OUR HUMANITY Because so many time-worn systems of power have placed certain people outside the realm of what we see as human, much of our work now is more a matter of “rehumanizing.” That starts in the same place dehumanizing starts—with words and images. Today we are edging closer and closer to a world where political and ideological discourse has become
Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone)
To wit, researchers recruited a large group of college students for a seven-day study. The participants were assigned to one of three experimental conditions. On day 1, all the participants learned a novel, artificial grammar, rather like learning a new computer coding language or a new form of algebra. It was just the type of memory task that REM sleep is known to promote. Everyone learned the new material to a high degree of proficiency on that first day—around 90 percent accuracy. Then, a week later, the participants were tested to see how much of that information had been solidified by the six nights of intervening sleep. What distinguished the three groups was the type of sleep they had. In the first group—the control condition—participants were allowed to sleep naturally and fully for all intervening nights. In the second group, the experimenters got the students a little drunk just before bed on the first night after daytime learning. They loaded up the participants with two to three shots of vodka mixed with orange juice, standardizing the specific blood alcohol amount on the basis of gender and body weight. In the third group, they allowed the participants to sleep naturally on the first and even the second night after learning, and then got them similarly drunk before bed on night 3. Note that all three groups learned the material on day 1 while sober, and were tested while sober on day 7. This way, any difference in memory among the three groups could not be explained by the direct effects of alcohol on memory formation or later recall, but must be due to the disruption of the memory facilitation that occurred in between. On day 7, participants in the control condition remembered everything they had originally learned, even showing an enhancement of abstraction and retention of knowledge relative to initial levels of learning, just as we’d expect from good sleep. In contrast, those who had their sleep laced with alcohol on the first night after learning suffered what can conservatively be described as partial amnesia seven days later, forgetting more than 50 percent of all that original knowledge. This fits well with evidence we discussed earlier: that of the brain’s non-negotiable requirement for sleep the first night after learning for the purposes of memory processing. The real surprise came in the results of the third group of participants. Despite getting two full nights of natural sleep after initial learning, having their sleep doused with alcohol on the third night still resulted in almost the same degree of amnesia—40 percent of the knowledge they had worked so hard to establish on day 1 was forgotten.
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams)
Every human being with normal mental and emotional faculties longs for more. People typically associate their longing for more with a desire to somehow improve their lot in life—to get a better job, a nicer house, a more loving spouse, become famous, and so on. If only this, that, or some other thing were different, we say to ourselves, then we’d feel complete and happy. Some chase this “if only” all their lives. For others, the “if only” turns into resentment when they lose hope of ever acquiring completeness. But even if we get lucky and acquire our “if only,” it never quite satisfies. Acquiring the better job, the bigger house, the new spouse, or world fame we longed for may provide a temporary sense of happiness and completeness, but it never lasts. Sooner or later, the hunger returns. The best word in any language that captures this vague, unquenchable yearning, according to C. S. Lewis and other writers, is the German word Sehnsucht (pronounced “zane-zookt”).[9] It’s an unusual word that is hard to translate, for it expresses a deep longing or craving for something that you can’t quite identify and that always feels just out of reach. Some have described Sehnsucht as a vague and bittersweet nostalgia and/or longing for a distant country, but one that cannot be found on earth. Others have described it as a quasi-mystical sense that we (and our present world) are incomplete, combined with an unattainable yearning for whatever it is that would complete it. Scientists have offered several different explanations for this puzzling phenomenon—puzzling, because it’s hard to understand how natural processes alone could have evolved beings that hunger for something nature itself doesn’t provide.[10] But this longing is not puzzling from a biblical perspective, for Scripture teaches us that humans and the entire creation are fallen and estranged from God. Lewis saw Sehnsucht as reflective of our “pilgrim status.” It indicates that we are not where we were meant to be, where we are destined to be; we are not home. Lewis once wrote to a friend that “our best havings are wantings,” for our “wantings” are reminders that humans are meant for a different and better state.[11] In another place he wrote: Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside is . . . the truest index of our real situation.[12] With Lewis, Christians have always identified this Sehnsucht that resides in the human heart as a yearning for God. As St. Augustine famously prayed, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”[13] In this light, we might think of Sehnsucht as a sort of homing device placed in us by our Creator to lead us into a passionate relationship with him.
Gregory A. Boyd (Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty)
The Communicative Approaches (the focus on meaning approaches) uphold that adults acquire their L2 through “subconscious learning process that allow them to pick up language ‘naturally’, as in the first language acquisition’’ (Markee 1996, 25). According to this view, the mastery of grammar (i. e. word-formation devices) comes naturally, through extended exposure to the target language (L2), similar to the way children become aware of word-formation’s devices of their mother tongue (L1). In contrast, Ullman, M. T. (2001, 1) upholds that “linguistic forms whose grammatical computation depends upon procedural memory in L1 are posited to be largely dependent upon declarative/lexical memory in L2”. In short, L2 learners have a limited acquisition capacity of linguistic forms (word-formation rules) compared to native children (Clahsen 2006; Ullman, M. T. 2001). The implication here is that L2 learners acquire L2 complex words as a unit rather than analytically. Yet, there is Cross-linguistic influence which affects L2 learners’ linguistic development and performance. Though, Cross-linguistic influence is both positively and negatively. Pre intermediate L2 learners are assisted by positive Cross-linguistic influence in their acquisition of L2 word-formation devices. On the other hand, Cross-linguistic influence diverts L2 learners from the natural order of acquiring L2 word-formation devices; impeding them in attaining an early native-like manifestation of their target language.
Endri Shqerra (Acquisition of Word Formation Devices in First & Second Languages: Morphological Cross-linguistic Influence)
As for the relatively fixed symbols, this example gives a fair idea of their general nature. There are a great many of them, and they may differ in individual cases by subtle shifts of meaning. It is only through comparative studies in mythology, folk-lore, religion and language that we can determine these symbols in a scientific way. The evolutionary stages through which the human psyche has passed are more clearly discernible in the dream than in consciousness. The dream speaks in images, and gives expression to instincts, that are derived from the most primitive levels of nature. Consciousness all too easily departs from the law of nature; but it can be brought again into harmony with the latter by the assimilation of unconscious contents. By fostering this process we lead the patient to the rediscovery of the law of his own being.
C.G. Jung (Modern Man in Search of a Soul)
I will develop the position that a hybrid discipline focusing on the neurobiological nature of brain operating systems (especially those that mediate motivational and emotional tendencies) is needed as a foundation for a mature and scientifically prosperous discipline of psychology. A guiding assumption of this approach is that a common language, incorporating behavioral, cognitive, and neuroscientific perspectives, must be found for discussing the fundamental psychoneurological processes that all mammals share.
Jaak Panksepp (Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions (Series in Affective Science))
Natural selection is a remarkably simple process that is essentially the outcome of three common phenomena. The first is variation: every organism differs from other members of its species. Your family, your neighbors, and other humans vary widely in weight, leg length, nose shape, personality, and so on. The second phenomenon is genetic heritability: some of the variations present in every population are inherited because parents pass their genes on to their offspring. Your height is much more heritable than your personality, and which language you speak has no genetically heritable basis at all. The third and final phenomenon is differential reproductive success: all organisms, including humans, differ in how many offspring they produce who, themselves, survive to reproduce. Often, differences in reproductive success seem small and inconsequential (my brother has one more child than I do), but these differences can be dramatic and significant when individuals have to struggle or compete to survive and reproduce. Every winter, about 30 to 40 percent of the squirrels in my neighborhood perish, as did similar proportions of humans during great famines and plagues. The Black Death wiped out at least a third of Europe’s population between 1348 and 1350. If you agree that variation, heritability, and differential reproductive success occur, then you must accept that natural selection occurs, because the inevitable outcome of these combined phenomena is natural selection. Like
Daniel E. Lieberman (The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease)
THE STRATEGIC CONSEQUENCES OF CHINESE RACISM: A Strategic Asymmetry for the United States Draft Report Submitted 7 January 2013 Project Number: HQ006721370003000 Since our genus Homo first evolved in the Pliocene, humans have favored those who are biologically related. In general, the closer the relationship, the greater the preferential treatment. The vast majority of animals behave in this way, and humans are no different. In a world of scarce resources and many threats, the evolutionary process would select nepotism, thus promoting the survival of the next generation. However, this process is relative. Parents are more willing to provide for their own children than for the children of relatives, or rarely for those of strangers. The essence of an inclusive fitness explanation of ethnocentrism, then, is that individuals generally should be more willing to support, privilege, and sacrifice for their own family, then their more distant kin, their ethnic group, and then others, such as a global community, in decreasing order of importance. ... The in-group/out-group division is also important for explaining ethnocentrism and individual readiness to kill outsiders before in-group members. Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt draws on psychologist Erik Erikson’s concept of “cultural pseudo speciation,” and says that in almost all cultures humans form subgroups usually based on kinship; these “eventually distinguish themselves from others by dialect and other subgroup characteristics and go on to form new cultures.” ... When an individual considers whether to support a larger group, several metrics are available. One of these ... is ethnocentrism, a continuation of one’s willingness to sacrifice for one’s family because of the notion of common kinship. As I discussed above, the ways humans determine their relations with unrelated individuals are complex, but the key factors are physical resemblance, as well as environmental causes like shared culture, history, and language. ... I have shown that in-group/out-group distinctions like ethnocentrism and xenophobia are not quirks of human behavior in certain settings. Instead, they are systematic and consistent behavioral strategies, or traits. They apply to all humans... They are widespread because they increased survival and reproductive success and were thus favored by natural selection over evolutionary history. ... Chinese racism ... is a strategic asset that makes a formidable adversary. ... The government educates the people to be proud of being Han and of China. In turn, the Chinese people are proud and fiercely patriotic as well as ethnocentric, racist, and xenophobic. This aids the government and permits them to maintain high levels of popular support. ...
But wise men pierce this rotten diction and fasten words again to visible things; so that picturesque language is at once a commanding certificate that he who employs it, is a man in alliance with truth and God. The moment our discourse rises above the ground line of familiar facts, and is inflamed with passion or exalted by thought, it clothes itself in images. A man conversing in earnest, if he watch his intellectual processes, will find that a material image, more or less luminous, arises in his mind, cotemporaneous with every thought, which furnishes the vestment of the thought. Hence, good writing and brilliant discourse are perpetual allegories. This imagery is spontaneous. It is the blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It is proper creation. It is the working of the Original Cause through the instruments he has already made.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature and Other Essays)
If we consider the superiority of the human species, the size of its brain, its powers of thinking, language and organization, we can say this: were there the slightest possibility that another rival or superior species might appear, on earth or elsewhere, man would use every means at his disposal to destroy it. Humans won't tolerate any other species - not even a superhuman one: they see them selves as the climax and culmination of the earthly entreprise, and they keep a vigorous check on any new intrusion in the cosmological process. Now there is no reason why this process should come to a halt with the human species, but, by universalizing itself (though only over a few thousand years) that species has more or less fixed it that an end be put to the occurrence of the world, assuming for itself all the possibilities of further evolution, reserving for itself a monopoly of natural and artificial species. This is not the ferocity of wild and predatory animal species, for these are part of cycles, and are located within constantly reversible hierarchies: neither their appearance nor their disappearance ever puts an end to the process. Only man invents a hierarchy against which there is no possible appeal, in which he is the keystone. This is a sort of ferocity raised to the second power, a disastrous pretension. The ferocity of man as a species is reflected in the ferocity of humanism as a way of thinking: his claim to universal transcendence and his intolerance of other types of thought is the very model of a superior racism.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
Earlier generations of European linguists, almost all of them speakers of IE languages, tended to assume without discussion that such a fine, upstanding proto-language as PIE, the speech of those splendid folk who carried their language into a huge area of the globe, must naturally have been equipped with a full set of numerals up to ‘100’, at least, and therefore tried stoutly to reconstruct a PIE numeral system of this size, invoking in the process any number of ‘replacements’ and ‘analogical formations’ to account for the wide discrepancies in the formation of the attested numerals. More recently, however, some specialists have begun to question this assumption, and to put forward the awful suggestion that the speakers of PIE could not count beyond ten. Their idea is that the numbers beyond ‘ten’ were created independently in the various daughter languages after they had diverged from the ancestral tongue. This makes a good deal of sense, and there is support for it. Most notably, the PIE word *kmtóm, found in all daughters and meaning ‘100’, did not necessarily have that precise sense in PIE. In Homeric Greek, the word seems to have meant simply ‘a large number’, while in Germanic it often means ‘120’ or ‘112’, as in the British hundredweight ‘112 pounds’. It therefore appears too rash to assume without discussion that PIE had numerals all the way up to 100 and even beyond. There is a moral here: even if a feature is found in all the daughter languages, we cannot presume it must necessarily have been present in the ancestral language, unless no other reasonable explanation is available.
Robert McColl Millar (Trask's Historical Linguistics)
As regards the modern liberal democrat who represents the class of victors in this process of emancipation, despite his loud bragging about transgressions, too much of his language and presuppositions sound discordant with the idea of freedom -- too much necessity, inevitability, irreversible change, and too many natural God-given drives. His language holds too many references to the tides of history and refers to excessive adapting, yielding, giving in, and indulging. There is also too much easiness in pursuing freedom, too much self-absolution, and too much nonchalance in dismissing all the caveats and counterarguments accumulated over the centuries. He appears more like an actor who takes part in a performance in which he has been ordered to play the role of a free man. He duly obeys the author's and director's orders but is utterly unaware that, by listening to those orders, he has already lost his chance to be his own master.
Ryszard Legutko (The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of False Idols)
For unknown ages after the explosive outpouring of matter and energy of the Big Bang, the Cosmos was without form. There were no galaxies, no planets, no life. Deep, impenetrable darkness was everywhere, hydrogen atoms in the void. Here and there, denser accumulations of gas were imperceptibly growing, globes of matter were condensing-hydrogen raindrops more massive than suns. Within these globes of gas was kindled the nuclear fire latent in matter. A first generation of stars was born, flooding the Cosmos with light. There were in those times, not yet any planets to receive the light, no living creatures to admire the radiance of the heavens. Deep in the stellar furnaces, the alchemy of nuclear fusion created heavy elements from the ashes of hydrogen burning, the atomic building blocks of future planets and lifeforms. Massive stars soon exhausted their stores of nuclear fuel. Rocked by colossal explosions, they returned most of their substance back into the thin gas from which they had once condensed. Here in the dark lush clouds between the stars, new raindrops made of many elements were forming, later generation of stars being born. Nearby, smaller raindrops grew, bodies far too little to ignite the nuclear fire, droplets in the interstellar mist on their way to form planets. Among them was a small world of stone and iron, the early Earth. Congealing and warming, the Earth released methane, ammonia, water and hydrogen gases that had been trapped within, forming the primitive atmosphere and the first oceans. Starlight from the Sun bathed and warmed the primeval Earth, drove storms, generated lightning and thunder. Volcanoes overflowed with lava. These processes disrupted molecules of the primitive atmosphere; the fragments fell back together into more and more complex forms, which dissolved into the early oceans. After a while the seas achieved the consistency of a warm, dilute soup. Molecules were organized, and complex chemical reactions driven, on the surface of clay. And one day a molecule arose that quite by accident was able to make crude copies of itself out of the other molecules in the broth. As time passed, more elaborate and more accurate self replicating molecules arose. Those combinations best suited to further replication were favored by the sieve of natural selection. Those that copied better produced more copies. And the primitive oceanic broth gradually grew thin as it was consumed by and transformed into complex condensations of self replicating organic molecules. Gradually, imperceptibly, life had begun. Single-celled plants evolved, and life began generating its own food. Photosynthesis transformed the atmosphere. Sex was invented. Once free living forms bonded together to make a complex cell with specialized functions. Chemical receptors evolved, and the Cosmos could taste and smell. One celled organisms evolved into multicellular colonies, elaborating their various parts into specialized organ systems. Eyes and ears evolved, and now the Cosmos could see and hear. Plants and animals discovered that land could support life. Organisms buzzed, crawled, scuttled, lumbered, glided, flapped, shimmied, climbed and soared. Colossal beasts thundered through steaming jungles. Small creatures emerged, born live instead of in hard-shelled containers, with a fluid like the early ocean coursing through their veins. They survived by swiftness and cunning. And then, only a moment ago, some small arboreal animals scampered down from the trees. They became upright and taught themselves the use of tools, domesticated other animals, plants and fire, and devised language. The ash of stellar alchemy was now emerging into consciousness. At an ever-accelerating pace, it invented writing, cities, art and science, and sent spaceships to the planets and the stars. These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do, given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
our brains are surprisingly similar to the parts of birds’ brains that hear, process and make language. Humans share more genes governing speech with songbirds than we do with other primates.
Florence Williams (The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative)
Another interesting aspect of how we process auditory information is the right-ear advantage. Our language comprehension is generally better and faster when heard in the right ear versus the left. It has to do with the lateralization of the brain so that what one hears in the right ear is routed first to the left side of the brain, where Wernicke’s area is located. There’s a left-ear advantage when it comes to the recognition of emotional aspects of speech as well as the perception and appreciation of music and sounds in nature.
Kate Murphy (You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters)
I deliberately chose not to follow the statistical convention here so that our natural language processing friends feel at home once they realize that this (Pearson correlation coefficient equation) is the exact same equation as for cosine similarity.
Tarek Amr (Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn and Scientific Python Toolkits: A practical guide to implementing supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms in Python)
To better understand the huge impact that AI will have on our lives, it is helpful to know that AI technologies now have the ability to see (computer vision), hear (speech recognition), and understand (natural language processing) more than ever before.
Lasse Rouhiainen (Artificial Intelligence: 101 Things You Must Know Today About Our Future)
Following Trump’s lead, everyone, it seemed, took to calling the procession a “caravan.” The journalist Luke O’Neil pointed out that the word’s Persian roots conjured the image of “people trekking across the desert with camels (i.e., terrorists of course).” What if journalists had resisted adopting Trumpian language in this case? They might have described the procession as the spontaneous movement of thousands who were fleeing a place more than they were pursuing a destination. They might even have called it an exodus, a term and an image that would have appealed to empathy—and tapped into religious associations—rather than to fear. A December 2018 study by MIT Media Lab showed that over the course of 2018, coverage of the movement of Central Americans toward the U.S. border had shed the words “refugee” and even “immigrant” and shifted instead to “migrant.” Study author Emily Boardman Ndulue wrote, “‘Migrants’ convey[s] individuals who are by nature itinerant, while ‘refugees’ impl[ies] those affected by situationally-forced migration, and ‘immigrants’ impl[ies] that the individuals will be entering and settling in the US. The media’s adoption of the phrase ‘migrant caravan’ and ‘migrants’ is further evidence of the adoption of Trump’s anti-immigrant framing and rhetoric.
Masha Gessen (Surviving Autocracy)
If literature were nothing more than verbal algebra, anyone could produce any book by essaying variations. The lapidary formula 'Everything flows' abbreviates in two words the philosophy of Heraclitus: Raymond Lully would say that, with the first word given, it would be sufficient to essay the intransitive verbs to discover the second and obtain, thanks to methodical chance, that philosophy and many others. Here it is fitting to reply that the formula obtained by this process of elimination would lack all value and even meaning; for it to have some virtue we must conceive it in terms of Heraclitus, in terms of an experience of Heraclitus, even though 'Heraclitus is nothing more than the presumed subject of that experience. I have said that a book is a dialogue, a form of relationship; in a dialogue, an interlocutor is not the sum or average of what he says: he may not speak and still reveal that he is intelligent, he may emit intelligent observations and reveal his stupidity. The same happens with literature; d'Artagnan executes innumerable feats and Don Quixote is beaten and ridiculed, but one feels the valour of Don Quixote more.
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings)
Fearful-Avoidant will: • Often demonstrate ongoing ambivalence in relationships—they constantly shift between being vulnerable with their partner and being distant. This behavior is consistent across all their relationships, regardless of whether they are romantic. • Generally express depth of processing—a tendency to overanalyze microexpressions, body language, and language for signs of betrayal. This occurs because they had an untrusting relationship with their caregivers in childhood. Living with a parent who is an addict or emotionally unwell are two examples of what may create this distrust. • Not trust naturally • Often feel as if betrayal is always on the horizon The core wounds for this attachment style revolve around feeling unworthy, being taken advantage of, and feeling unsafe. Why is the Fearful-Avoidant individual so unpredictable? Their core wounds and tumultuous behavior typically stem from some form of childhood abuse. However, this abuse is paired with one or both parents also being emotionally supportive at infrequent times. This combination creates an innate sense of distrust and confusion, and Fearful-Avoidants learn to expect betrayal while also craving love. It also becomes quite difficult for the Fearful-Avoidant to learn a strategy for attaching or bonding to caregivers because of the level of inconsistency. Moreover, since they perceived love as a chaotic entity from a young age, they tend to have immense internal conflict as adults. They simultaneously want to feel a sense of connection while subconsciously believing it to be a threat. This produces feelings of resentment or frustration that can be later projected onto relationships. Ultimately, the Fearful-Avoidant shows up in their relationships as a loving partner, and then will become frightened and pull away when they become vulnerable. To be in a successful relationship with a Fearful-Avoidant, the partner or friend must provide a deep connection in a consistent way. This means openness and respect for boundaries, paired with constant reassurance.
Thais Gibson (Attachment Theory: A Guide to Strengthening the Relationships in Your Life)
God 4.0' is a stunning tour de force of erudition, deftly summarizing forty thousand years of the human search for spiritual transcendence – via the painted caves of the Ice Age shamans, the Neolithic megaliths and Mesopotamian ziggurats, and the soaring Medieval cathedrals and mosques. The second half of the book turns inward to describe the structures and processes of the human brain that foster transcendence, and the factors that interfere with it. Robert and Sally Ornstein make an ideal team for this collaboration, Sally a painter and publisher of children’s books, and Robert a psychologist and neuroscientist. The result is a brilliant guided expedition through reams of archeological and neurological research, with the authors highlighting in easily understood language the important discoveries and developments in our perennial quest for meaning and purpose. — Lisa Alther, novelist and author of four New York Times best sellers
Robert Ornstein (God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called “God”)
The brain-disease model overlooks four fundamental truths: (1) our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being; (2) language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning; (3) we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching; and (4) we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive. When we ignore these quintessential dimensions of humanity, we deprive people of ways to heal from trauma and restore their autonomy. Being a patient, rather than a participant in one’s healing process, separates suffering people from their community and alienates them from an inner sense of self. Given the limitations of drugs, I started to wonder if we could find more natural ways to help people deal with their post-traumatic responses
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
On the transpersonal level, the sacred marriage extends beyond the boundaries of human understanding. One is united with the divine, the source and the power of love. Through the mystical union a portion of divine love is received and contained within oneself. In the act of sacrifice to a greater authority, earthly values, such as ego desires or identification with power, are transformed into a capacity to love on a plane which surpasses human reasoning. Instinctual nature, embedded in the body, carries this wisdom; the head cannot comprehend what the heart knows. Instinctual nature is not only the vehicle for biological processes but it also conveys the emotional feeling­tones of life in a way that could well be described as the language of the soul. Esther Harding provides the following description: "The ritual of the hieros gamos is religious. Through the acceptance of the power of instinct within her, while at the same time renouncing all claim to possessiveness in regard to it, a woman gains a new relation to herself. The power of instinct within her is recognized as belonging not to herself but to the nonhuman realm, to the goddess, whom she must serve, for whom her body must be a worthy vessel." From the union of the human and the divine, the Divine Child is born. The Divine Child is new life—life with new understanding, life which carries an illuminating vision into the world.
Nancy Qualls-Corbett (The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 32))
This is leading to the expectation that there are deeper theories than quantum mechanics, and that when those are developed entirely new forms of postquantum spookiness will be found at all scales. As I described in a previous book, Entangled Minds, the direction that physics is headed is becoming increasingly compatible with the kind of physical reality that is required to support psi phenomena. That is, common sense tells us that the everyday world is fixed in space and time. Our watches remind us of this, and we have to physically lug our bodies around to get from one place to the next. But within physics it is well established that beneath the appearances of common sense, space and time are relationships and not absolutes. We may be on the threshold of even more refined theories that redefine relationships as side effects arising out of a spaceless, timeless, informational reality. If we didn’t know better, we could imagine that this is what the yogis have been trying to tell us about the holistic nature of reality that they’ve experienced in samadhi. They just didn’t have the technical language to describe it. As physicist Vedral says, Space and time are two of the most fundamental classical concepts, but according to quantum mechanics they are secondary. The entanglements are primary. They interconnect quantum systems without reference to space and time. If there were a dividing line between the quantum and the classical worlds, we could use the space and time of the classical world to provide a framework for describing quantum processes. But without such a dividing line—and, indeed, without a truly classical world—we lose this framework. We must explain space and time as somehow emerging from fundamentally spaceless and timeless physics.358 (page 43) A half century ago, psi researchers were already proposing models based on quantum concepts.1, 2, 295, 360, 361 It appears that the rest of the scientific world is beginning to catch up.
Dean Radin (Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities)
Deep learning techniques are used when data features are numerous and there is a lack of domain understanding to identify and understand them. This data is typically complex, such as images, videos, or voice recordings. For example, an image contains an indefinite amount of data features (e.g., points, edges, shapes, or objects), and some are relevant to the problem being solved, but others are not. Deep learning is used to solve problems such as image classification, natural language processing, and speech recognition.
Pascal Bornet (INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION: Learn how to harness Artificial Intelligence to boost business & make our world more human)
I have no doubt that intellect, sociality, and language have played key roles in the process, and it goes without saying that the organisms capable of cultural invention, along with the specific faculties used in the invention, are present in humans by the grace of natural selection and genetic transmission. The idea is that something else was required to jump-start the saga of human cultures. That something else was a motive. I am referring specifically to feelings, from pain and suffering to well-being and pleasure.
António R. Damásio (The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of the Cultural Mind)
A definition is a dictionary's explanation of the meaning of an English word using other English words, intended to be read by a whole person, applying the entirety of his or her intelligence and language skills. A semantic representation is a person's knowledge of the meaning of an English word in a conceptual structure (the language of thought), processed by a system of the brain that manipulates chunks of conceptual structure and relates them to the senses. Definitions can afford to be incomplete because they can leave a lot to the imagination of a speaker of the language. Semantic representations have to be more explicit because they are the imagination of the speaker of the language.
Steven Pinker (The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature)
One of the defining elements of the human animal is its capacity for abstract visualization. Other creatures are better than us at smelling, biting, hunting, running. We alone can create whole universes in our heads based on nothing more than thought. This is the basis of language, math, science, everything that defines human civilization. It is something monkeys and dolphins will never have. When evolutionary theorists seek to explain how this capacity for abstract thought arose, the story often goes like this Our ancestors, beset by all sorts of deadly horrors in the African savannah, needed some way to anticipate risks before the moment those risks jumped out of the bushes, red in tooth and claw. So began the slow process by which the neural networks in our head, under pressure from the ruthless mechanism of natural selection, created the means to model risk before the risk manifested itself. What would happen if I went to forage for berries in that field and a lion appeared? Would I be able to make it to the protection of that outcropping? How many berries would I be able to get? How hungry am I? Is it worth the risk? Out of these habits of mind grew the whole mental apparatus by which we play out life scenarios as a game within our mind, before putting life and limb on the line in a true sense. The relationship between board games and real life is in some ways close.
Jonathan Kay (Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us about Life)
Darwin concluded that language ability is “an instinctive tendency to acquire an art,” a design that is not peculiar to humans but seen in other species such as song-learning birds. A language instinct may seem jarring to those who think of language as the zenith of the human intellect and who think of instincts as brute impulses that compel furry or feathered zombies to build a dam or up and fly south. But one of Darwin’s followers, William James, noted that an instinct possessor need not act as a “fatal automaton.” He argued that we have all the instincts that animals do, and many more besides; our flexible intelligence comes from the interplay of many instincts competing. Indeed, the instinctive nature of human thought is just what makes it so hard for us to see that it is an instinct: It takes…a mind debauched by learning to carry the process of making the natural seem strange, so far as to ask for the why of any instinctive human act. To the metaphysician alone can such questions occur as: Why do we smile, when pleased, and not scowl? Why are we unable to talk to a crowd as we talk to a single friend? Why does a particular maiden turn our wits so upside-down? The common man can only say, “Of course we smile, of course our heart palpitates at the sight of the crowd, of course we love the maiden, that beautiful soul clad in that perfect form, so palpably and flagrantly made for all eternity to be loved!” And so, probably, does each animal feel about the particular things it tends to do in presence of particular objects…. To the lion it is the lioness which is made to be loved; to the bear, the she-bear. To the broody hen the notion would probably seem monstrous that there should be a creature in the world to whom a nestful of eggs was not the utterly fascinating and precious and never-to-be-too-much-sat-upon object which it is to her.
Steven Pinker (The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language)
Religion is also a process of healing, I discovered – a healing of the soul. Even our language points to this relation. The words ‘holy’, ‘wholesome’ and ‘healing’ all have the same root. (In German, this is even more striking: heilig, heil and heilen.) Muslims believe that all humans are born in a state of purity, our fitra, and it is only in the course of our lives that we tarnish our soul through bad habits and wrong behaviour. Through spiritual practices such as prayer, recitation of Quran and dhikr we can cleanse these acquired ‘black spots’ in our soul and return towards our original primordial nature. More so, dhikr is said to enliven the heart.
Kristiane Backer (From MTV to Mecca: How Islam Inspired My Life)
But when she's asleep he likes to sit down beside her bed and make one further attempt to get to the bottom of what has seemed to him the greatest riddle in all the history of mankind: how processes, circumstances, or events of a general nature--such as war, famine, or even a civil servant's salary that fails to increase along with the galloping inflation--can infiltrate a private face. Here they turn a few hairs gray, there devour a pair of lovely cheeks until the skin is stretched taut across angular jawbones; the secession of Hungary, say, might result in a pair of lips bitten raw in the case of one particular woman, perhaps even his own wife. In other words, there is a constant translation between far outside and deep within, it's just that a different vocabulary exists for each of us, which no doubt explains why it's never been noticed that this is a language in the first place--and in fact, the only language valid across the world and for all time. ... It feels to him as if the top layer is crumbling away all at once from everything he sees and encounters, a layer that once prevented him from comprehending, and finally he is able to recognize what lies below. Minds = landscapes, ... what a happy coincidence that these observations happened to fall into his hands: the hands of one who has taken it upon himself to investigate this primeval tongue ...
Jenny Erpenbeck
Whether or not these ideas alone would solve any of the problems discussed, I look forward to the day when SLA is more widely recognized as the serious and socially responsive discipline I believe it can be. Chapters like this one (unpleasant for writer and assuredly some readers alike) would no longer be needed. One could instead concentrate on the genuine controversies and excitement in SLA and L3A: the roles of nature and nurture; special and general nativism; child-adult differences and the possibility of maturational constraints; cross-linguistic influence; acquisition and socialization; cognitive and social factors; resilience; stabilization; fossilization, and other putative mechanisms and processes in interlanguage change; the feasibility of pedagogical intervention; and, most of all, the development of viable theories.
Michael H. Long (Problems in Second Language Acquisition)
The continuing appeal of Tolkien’s fantasy, completely unexpected and completely unpredictable though it was, cannot then be seen as a mere freak of popular taste, to be dismissed or ignored by those sufficiently well-educated to know better. It deserves an explanation and a defence, which this book tries to supply. In the process, I argue that his continuing appeal rests not on mere charm or strangeness (though both are there and can again to some extent be explained), but on a deeply serious response to what will be seen in the end as the major issues of his century: the origin and nature of evil (an eternal issue, but one in Tolkien’s lifetime terribly re-focused); human existence in Middle-earth, without the support of divine Revelation; cultural relativity; and the corruptions and continuities of language. These are themes which no one can afford to despise, or need be ashamed of studying. It is true that Tolkien’s answers will not appeal to everyone, and are wildly at odds with those given even by many of his contemporaries as listed above. But the first qualification applies to every author who has ever lived, and the second is one of the things that make him distinctive. However, one of the other things that make him distinctive is his professional authority. On some subjects Tolkien simply knew more, and had thought more deeply, than anyone else in the world. Some have felt (and said) that he should have written his results up in academic treatises instead of fantasy fiction. He might then have been taken more seriously by a limited academic audience. On the other hand, all through his lifetime that academic audience was shrinking, and has now all but vanished. There is an Old English proverb that says (in Old English, and with the usual provocative Old English obscurity), Ciggendra gehwelc wile pœt hine man gehere, ‘Everyone who cries out wants to be heard!’ (Here and in a few places later on, I use the old runic letters þ, ð and 3. The first usually represents ‘th’ as in ‘thin’, the second ‘th’ as in ‘then’. Where the third is used in this book, it represents -3 at the end of a word, -gh- in the middle of one.) Tolkien wanted to be heard, and he was. But what was it that he had to say?
Tom Shippey (J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century)
Today, the questions that remain most controversial in language evolution are the following: Was there one crucial gateway to language through which only humans have passed? Is there anything in the way language is processed by the brain that is unique to language, rather than a more general form of cognition? At what points in the trajectory of language evolution has natural selection come into play? Can any elements of the language suite be clearly identified as spandrels?
Christine Kenneally
There is an analogy to this in the way you express a thought. Modern psychology and philosophy both tell us that the initial part of thinking does not take place in words. We pull up our ideas-the thought-from some unconscious level, then find a combination of words and phrases to express them. The thought exists, and its expression in words follows. You can see this, or I should say feel this, if you speak more than one language. Suppose your company is doing business in Moscow and some of the people around the table with you speak only Russian, some only English. You have something to say and you express that thought in Russian; a moment later you express the same thought in English. The "thought" exists somehow independent of how you put it in words. You have an intention of saying something, and find words by some subconscious process to express it. The result is utterance. It can be short and spontaneous, as in a conversation; or lengthy, put together piece by piece, as with a speech you are preparing. Either way it is a combination of ideas and concepts linked together for some purpose, expressed in sentences and phrases, and ultimately in words. You are not mindful of creating a combination, but you have done that nonetheless. It is the same with technology. The designer intends something, picks a toolbox or language for expression, envisions the concepts and functionalities needed to carry it out in his or her "mind's eye," then finds a suitable combination of components to achieve it. The envisioning can happen at one time more or less spontaneously. Or it can be drawn out, and put together in parts with much revision. We will look at how such creation works in more detail in the next chapter. But for now, notice that as with language, intention comes first and the means to fulfill it- the appropriate combination of components-fall in behind it. Design is expression.
W. Brian Arthur (The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves)
In his book Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort, Zipf argues that he has found a unifying principle, the Principle of Least Effort, which underlies essentially the entire human condition (the book even includes some questionable remarks on human sexuality!). The Principle of Least Effort argues that people will act so as to minimize their probable average rate of work (i.e., not only to minimize the work that they would have to do immediately, but taking due consideration of future work that might result from doing work poorly in the short term).
Christopher Manning (Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing)
As part of evolutionary spiritual growth there is a biological change followed by a psychological change. In order to advance both have to progress. Some people get too absorbed in the physical changes and don’t work on the psychological changes which can slow ones progress. Worrying about when you are going to become a butterfly will not help advance the metamorphosis, let the process flow freely. There will be growth only if we remain open and intelligent enough to clear our conditioning and let our filters dissolve. Learning to trust in one's intuition, for guidance, to learn independence and self-sovereignty and to become a master unto oneself. Otherwise we will project the old beliefs of our personality to the world, which are basically a bunch of patterns. Truth is outside religion, nation, language and gender and is only available for those who are ready to let go of our filters and be open to consciousness itself. Otherwise our access to truth is blocked. The more filters you let go of, the more wisdom you receive, which can be seen as stepping stones to guide you forward towards truth. Intelligence is awakened when truth is exposed and in order to continue to live in that intelligence one has to align with truth in everyday life. This is a very natural state and it’s very easy to live. Living outside truth is the hardest but we have been conditioned to live the harder way. The choice is ours to break that conditioning anytime and join the mainstream of truth.
Vivbala (Life is Binary: The Choice to Live Love or Limitation)
Language both required additional cognitive capacities and made new ones possible, and these changes took space and connections to achieve. The space problem was solved, as we saw earlier, by moving some things around in existing cortical space, and also by adding more space. But the connection problem was only partially solved. The part that was solved, connectivity within cortical processing networks, made the enhanced cognitive capacities of the hominid brain possible. But the part that hasn't been fully solved is connectivity between cognitive systems and other parts of the mental trilogy-emotional and motivational systems. This is why a brilliant mathematician or artist, or a successful entrepreneur, can like anyone else fall victim to sexual seduction, road rage, or jealousy, or be a child abuser or rapist, or can have a crippling depression or anxiety. Our brain has not evolved to the point where the new systems that make complex thinking possible can easily control the old systems that give rise to our base needs and motives, and emotional reactions. This doesn't mean that we're simply victims of our brains and should just give in to our urges. It means that downward causation is sometimes hard work. Doing the right thing doesn't always flow naturally from knowing what the right thing to do is. In the end, then, the self is maintained by systems that function both explicitly and implicitly. Through explicit systems, we try to willfully dictate who we are, and how we will behave. But we are only partially effective in doing so, since we have imperfect conscious access to emotional systems, which play such a crucial role in coordinating learning by other systems. In spite of their importance, though, emotion systems are not always active and have only episodic influence on what other brain systems learn and store. Furthermore, because there are multiple independent emotion systems, the episodic influence of any one system is itself but a component of the total impact of emotions on self-development.
Joseph E. LeDoux
These days many poets live in cities, or at least in suburbs, and the natural world grows ever more distant from our everyday lives. Most people, in fact, live in cities, and therefore most readers are not necessarily very familiar with the natural world. And yet the natural world has always been the great warehouse of symbolic imagery. Poetry is one of the ancient arts, and it began, as did all the fine arts, within the original wilderness of the earth. Also, it began through the process of seeing, and feeling, and hearing, and smelling, and touching, and then remembering—I mean remembering in words—what these perceptual experiences were like, while trying to describe the endless invisible fears and desires of our inner lives. The poet used the actual, known event or experience to elucidate the inner, invisible experience—or, in other words, the poet used figurative language, relying for those figures on the natural world.
Mary Oliver (A Poetry Handbook)
>>> wn.synset('car.n.01').definition 'a motor vehicle with four wheels; usually propelled by an internal combustion engine' >>> wn.synset('car.n.01').examples ['he needs a car to get to work']
Steven Bird (Natural Language Processing with Python: Analyzing Text with the Natural Language Toolkit)
The social and technological process by which we establish facts becomes invisible to us because we naturalize it. Language-dependent and institutional facts come to seem like brute facts to us: this is true for social institutions, like money, but even more so for claims about the natural world which are, in truth, theory dependent: we have naturalized the idea that the heights of mountains should be measured from sea level, an idea that would have made no sense in the Middle Ages.
David Wootton (The Invention of Science: The Scientific Revolution from 1500 to 1750)
Heuristic ordinarily has the meaning of “that which leads to discovery and invention.” … The primary heuristic has two features that are worth noting. One is that it takes the logical form of induction, generalizing into the future what worked in the past. That is, the successful variants are fed back into the gene pool, where they will be available for sampling by future generations. This is the conservative, pragmatic part of the heuristic. The other is the generation of novel variants by chance processes. This is the radical, inventive component of the heuristic. It is nature’s way of injecting new components into the system in order, possibly, to make up for the deficiencies that may occur if what worked in the past no longer does so because the world has changed.
Frank R. Wilson (The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture)
As we reviewed in Chapter 7, we will get away from keyboards in the office, also known as “death by a thousand clicks,” and replace them with computer processing of natural language into notes.98–100
Eric J. Topol (The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands)
Consciously or not, the Senator (or his staffer) was only attempting to speak the language of the locals. He was value-adding (or adding alpha as very refined managers say). Value-adding is a mantra of modern economics: it describes the increase in value that a particular manufacturing process, or design or labelling or some other enhancement brings to a product before its sale. Those who talk a lot about value-adding often sound as if they are trying to achieve the same effect with the language: they force it into a new mould, streamline it, give it cachet. They make it into a machine with a minimum of moving parts, but with constant upgrades and (naturally) enhancements. And if you want to get reconciliation taken seriously, you had better put your case in these terms. The Senator’s imitation of the style is a remote sign of the gathering belief that the whole world – or such parts of it that function properly – can be understood either as a metaphor for free market economics and the management philosophies it has spawned, or as an actual consequence of them. That is to say, as an outcome or an event.
Don Watson (Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language)
Whenever the nature of the subject permits the reasoning process to be without danger carried on mechanically, the language should be constructed on as mechanical principles as possible; while in the contrary case it should be so constructed, that there shall be the greatest possible obstacle to a mere mechanical use of it
John Stuart Mill (A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive: Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation)
The appearance of reason and language in the course of biological history seems, from the point of view of available forms of explanation, something radically emergent—if, as I assume, it cannot be understood behavioristically. Like consciousness, it presents problems of both constitutive and historical explanation. It appeared long after the emergence of conscious creatures, yet it also seems to be essentially a development of consciousness and ought to be understandable as part of that history. Like consciousness, reason is inseparable from the physical life of organisms that have it, since it acts on the material provided by perception and natural desire and controls action, both directly and indirectly. Any understanding of it will transform our understanding of physical organisms and their development as well. The great cognitive shift is an expansion of consciousness from the perspectival form contained in the lives of particular creatures to an objective, world-encompassing form that exists both individually and intersubjectively. It was originally a biological evolutionary process, and in our species it has become a collective cultural process as well. Each of our lives is a part of the lengthy process of the universe gradually waking up and becoming aware of itself.
Thomas Nagel (Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False)
English, like any other natural language, has two major communicative functions. The first is an ideational function: to get an idea across, as when I say, It’s raining, or I love you. It also has an interactive-interpersonal function: to influence the attitudes and behaviours of others, and, in a myriad ways, change an aspect of the world’s states of affairs in the process
Vyvyan Evans
fact there is evidence that culture can affect genes, thus enriching the process of natural selection. Anthropologists Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd have made the case that ‘the process of cultural evolution has played an active, leading role in the evolution of genes.’ If they are correct, then culture affects our biological evolution and our genes. And our genes are the alphabet by which their syntax writes the outline of our lives. The discussion
Daniel L. Everett (Language: The Cultural Tool)
fourth epoch, driven by technological advances such as cognitive computing. Whereas the previous eras developed efficiencies in an established process, the technologies available or in development today enable us fundamentally to rethink the process. Rather than simply replicating the established methods of managing wealth, they offer an opportunity to augment these in new ways. We are at a point where advances in computing power and lower computing costs enable us to apply artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks and a host of other tools to everyday tasks. The opportunities for wealth management are genuinely epoch-making.
Susanne Chishti (The WEALTHTECH Book: The FinTech Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Finance Visionaries)
Chinese and American companies have already kick-started this process, leaping out to massive leads over the rest of the world. Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and a few other countries play host to top-notch talent and research labs, but they often lack the other ingredients needed to become true AI superpowers: a large base of users and a vibrant entrepreneurial and venture-capital ecosystem. Other than London’s DeepMind, we have yet to see groundbreaking AI companies emerge from these countries. All of the seven AI giants and an overwhelming portion of the best AI engineers are already concentrated in the United States and China. They are building huge stores of data that are feeding into a variety of different product verticals, such as self-driving cars, language translation, autonomous drones, facial recognition, natural-language processing, and much more. The more data these companies accumulate, the harder it will be for companies in any other countries to ever compete.
Kai-Fu Lee (AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order)
With these innovations, however, the succession of reductions employed by the impressionist method is by no means exhausted. The very colours which impressionism uses alter and distort those of our everyday experience. We think, for example, of a piece of ‘white’ paper as white in every lighting, despite the coloured reflexes which it shows in ordinary daylight. In other words: the ‘remembered colour’ which we associate with an object, and which is the result of long experience and habit, displaces the concrete impression gained from immediate perception; impressionism now goes back behind the remembered, theoretically established colour to the real sensation, which is, incidentally, in no sense a spontaneous act, but represents a supremely artificial and extremely complicated psychological process.
Arnold Hauser (The Social History of Art: Volume 4: Naturalism, Impressionism, The Film Age)
The worst of it was that she had no aptitude for literature. She did not like phrases. She had even some natural antipathy to that process of self-examination, that perpetual effort to understand one's own feeling, and express it beautifully, fitly, or energetically in language, which constituted so great a part of her mother's existence. She was, on the contrary, inclined to be silent; she shrank from expressing herself even in talk, let alone in writing.
Virginia Woolf (Night and Day)
Now, believe it or not, we are threatened by such a free God because it takes away all of our ability to control or engineer the process. It leaves us powerless, and changes the language from any language of performance or achievement to that of surrender, trust and vulnerability. . . . That is the so-called “wildness” of God. We cannot control God by any means whatsoever, not even by our good behavior, which tends to be our first and natural instinct. . . . That utter and absolute freedom of God is fortunately used totally in our favor, even though we are still afraid of it. It is called providence, forgiveness, free election or mercy. . . . But to us, it feels like wildness — precisely because we cannot control it, manipulate it, direct it, earn it or lose it. Anyone into controlling God by his or her actions will feel very useless, impotent and ineffective. — Richard Rohr
Peter Scazzero (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day: A 40-Day Journey with the Daily Office)
Most commonly, noun phrases are arguments of verbs. The arguments of verbs can be described at various levels. One can classify the arguments via semantic roles. The agent of an action is the person or thing that is doing something, the patient is the person or thing that is having something done to it, and other roles like instrument and goal describe yet other classes of semantic relationships. Alternatively, one can describe the syntactic possibilities for arguments in terms of grammatical relations. All English verbs take a subject, which is the noun phrase that appears before the verb. Many verbs take an object noun phrase, which normally appears immediately after the verb. Pronouns are in the subject case when they are subjects of a verb, and in the object case when they are objects of a verb.
Christopher Manning (Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing)
There had to be something near racial parity in the early stages because setting up the infernal machine required at least as many Europeans as Africans. Consequently, the original contact language had to be not too far from the language of the slave owners. Because at this stage Europeans were teaching Africans what they had to do, the contact language had to be intelligible to native speakers of the European language. Because so many interactions were between Europeans and Africans, the latter would have much better access to that European language than at any later stage in plantation history. We should remember that Africans, unlike modern Americans, do not regard monolingualism as a natural state, but expect to have to use several languages in the course of their lives. (In Ghana, our house-boy, Attinga, spoke six languages-two European, four African-and this was nothing out of the ordinary.) But as soon as the infrastructure was in place, the slave population of sugar colonies had to be increased both massively and very rapidly. If not, the plantation owners, who had invested significant amounts of capital, would have gone bankrupt and the economies of those colonies would have collapsed. When the slave population ballooned in this way, new hands heavily outnumbered old hands. No longer did Europeans instruct Africans; now it was the older hands among the Africans instructing the new ones, and the vast majority of interactions were no longer European to African, the were African to African. Since this was the case, there was no longer any need for the contact language to remain mutually intelligible with the European language. Africans in positions of authority could become bilingual, using one language with Europeans, another with fellow Africans. The code-switching I found in Guyana, which I had assumed was a relatively recent development, had been there, like most other things, from the very beginning. In any case, Africans in authority could not have gone on using the original contact language even if they'd wanted to. As we saw, it would have been as opaque to the new arrivals as undiluted French or English. The old hands had to use a primitive pidgin to communicate with the new hands. And, needless to add, the new hands had to use a primitive pidgin to communicate with one another. Since new hands now constituted a large majority of the total population, the primitive pidgin soon became the lingua franca of that population. A minority of relatively privileged slaves (house slaves and artisans) may have kept the original contact language alive among themselves, thus giving rise to the intermediate varieties in the continuum that confronted me when I first arrived in Guyana. (For reasons still unknown, this process seems to have happened more often in English than in French colonies.) But it was the primitive, unstructured pidgin that formed the input to the children of the expansion phase. Therefore it was the children of the expansion phase-not the relatively few children of the establishment phase, the first locally born generation, as I had originally thought-who were the creators of the Creole. They were the ones who encountered the pidgin in its most basic and rudimentary form, and consequently they were the ones who had to draw most heavily on the inborn knowledge of language that formed as much a part of their biological heritage as wisdom teeth or prehensile hands.
Derek Bickerton (Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages)
As an example, suppose we want to translate a text from English to French. The noisy channel model for translation assumes that the true text is in French, but that, unfortunately, when it was transmitted to us, it went through a noisy communication channel and came out as English. So the word cow we see in the text was really vache, garbled by the noisy channel to cow. All we need to do in order to translate is to recover the original French – or to decode the English to get the French.
Christopher Manning (Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing)
Failures as people: millions of Americans felt that this description fit them to a T. Seeking a solution, any solution, they eagerly forked over their cash to any huckster who promised release, the quicker and more effortlessly the better: therapies like “bioenergetics” (“The Revolutionary Therapy That Uses the Language of the Body to Heal the Problems of the Mind”); Primal Scream (which held that when patients shrieked in a therapist’s office, childhood trauma could be reexperienced, then released; John Lennon and James Earl Jones were fans); or Transcendental Meditation, which promised that deliverance could come if you merely closed your eyes and chanted a mantra (the “TM” organization sold personal mantras, each supposedly “unique,” to hundreds of thousands of devotees). Or “religions” like the Church Universal and Triumphant, or the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, or “Scientology”—this last one invented by a science fiction writer, reportedly on a bet. Devotees paid cash to be “audited” by practitioners who claimed the power—if, naturally, you paid for enough sessions—to remove “trauma patterns” accreted over the 75 million years that had passed since Xenu, tyrant of the Galactic Confederacy, deposited billions of people on earth next to volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs inside those volcanos, thus scattering harming “body thetans” to attach to the souls of the living, which once unlatched allowed practitioners to cross the “bridge to total freedom” and “unlimited creativity.” Another religion, the story had it, promised “perfect knowledge”—though its adherents’ public meeting was held up several hours because none of them knew how to run the movie projector. Gallup reported that six million Americans had tried TM, five million had twisted themselves into yoga poses, and two million had sampled some sort of Oriental religion. And hundreds of thousands of Americans in eleven cities had plunked down $250 for the privilege being screamed at as “assholes.” “est”—Erhard Seminars Training, named after the only-in-America hustler who invented it, Werner Erhard, originally Jack Rosenberg, a former used-car and encyclopedia salesman who had tried and failed to join the Marines (this was not incidental) at the age of seventeen, and experienced a spiritual rebirth one morning while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge (“I realized that I knew nothing. . . . In the next instant—after I realized that I knew nothing—I realized that I knew everything”)—promised “to transform one’s ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up just in the process of life itself,” all that in just sixty hours, courtesy of a for-profit corporation whose president had been general manager of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of California and a former member of the Harvard Business School faculty. A
Rick Perlstein (The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan)
The editing process uncovered Joseph's anomalous assumptions about the nature of revealed words. He never considered the wording infallible. God's language stood in an indefinite relationship to the human language coming through the Prophet. The revealed preface to the Book of Commandments specified that the language of the revelations was Joseph Smith's
Not long after this attempt, the issue arose again. A conference on November 8 instructed Joseph Smith to review the commandments and 'correct those errors or mistakes which he may discover by the holy Spirit.' Correcting 'errors' in language supposedly spoken by God again raised the question of authenticity. If from God, how could the language be corrected? Correction implied Joseph's human mind had introduced errors; if so, were the revelations really his productions? The editing process uncovered Joseph's anomalous assumptions about the nature of revealed words. He never considered the wording infallible. God's language stood in an indefinite relationship to the human language coming through the Prophet. The revealed preface to the Book of Commandments specified that the language of the revelations was Joseph Smith's: 'These commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.' They were couched in language suitable to Joseph's time. The idioms, the grammar, even the tone had to be combrehensible to 1830s Americans. Recognizing the pliability of the revealed words, Joseph freely edited the revelations 'by the Holy Spirit,' making emendations with each new edition. He thought of his revelations as imprinted on his mind, not graven in stone. With each edition, he patched pieces together and altered the wording to clarify meaning. The words were both his and God's.
Richard L. Bushman (Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling)
This uncovered a number of basic features of our thought processes: that the mind deploys a set of rival frames that can construe even the most plodding everyday event in more than one way; that a frame for thinking about a change of location in real space can be metaphorically extended to conceptualize a change of state as motion in state-space; and that when the mind conceives of an entity as being somewhere or going somewhere, it tends to melt it down to a holistic blob.
Steven Pinker (The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature)
In some ways this was Goethe’s greatest achievement: the search for the serial relationships in nature, emphasizing border experiences, the junctures where “the real joints of nature” are located, is most likely to reveal the process of change, development, organizing principles. This is also why it needed individuals who were both poet and scientist, who could combine “imagination, observation and thought in the act of language.
Peter Watson (The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century)
Natural language processing (NLP) research aims to enable computers to interpret and react to human languages.
Arlene G. Taylor (The Organization of Information)
But, in special, we detest and refuse the usurped authority of that Roman Antichrist upon the Scriptures of God, upon the Kirk, the civil magistrate, and consciences of men; all his tyrannous laws made upon indifferent things against our Christian liberty; his erroneous doctrine against the sufficiency of the written Word, the perfection of the law, the office of Christ, and His blessed evangel; his corrupted doctrine concerning original sin, our natural inability and rebellion to God's law, our justification by faith only, our imperfect sanctification and obedience to the law; the nature, number, and use of the holy sacraments; his five bastard sacraments, with all his rites, ceremonies, and false doctrine, added to the ministration of the true sacraments without the word of God; his cruel judgment against infants departing without the sacrament; his absolute necessity of baptism; his blasphemous opinion of transubstantiation, or real presence of Christ's body in the elements, and receiving of the same by the wicked, or bodies of men; his dispensations with solemn oaths, perjuries, and degrees of marriage forbidden in the Word; his cruelty against the innocent divorced; his devilish mass; his blasphemous priesthood; his profane sacrifice for sins of the dead and the quick; his canonization of men; calling upon angels or saints departed, worshipping of imagery, relics, and crosses; dedicating of kirks, altars, days; vows to creatures; his purgatory, prayers for the dead; praying or speaking in a strange language, with his processions, and blasphemous litany, and multitude of advocates or mediators; his manifold orders, auricular confession; his desperate and uncertain repentance; his general and doubtsome faith; his satisfactions of men for their sins; his justification by works, opus operatum, works of supererogation, merits, pardons, peregrinations, and stations; his holy water, baptizing of bells, conjuring of spirits, crossing, sayning, anointing, conjuring, hallowing of God's good creatures, with the superstitious opinion joined therewith; his worldly monarchy, and wicked hierarchy; his three solemn vows, with all his shavellings of sundry sorts; his erroneous and bloody decrees made at Trent, with all the subscribers or approvers of that cruel and bloody band, conjured against the Kirk of God. And finally, we detest all his vain allegories, rites, signs, and traditions brought in the Kirk, without or against the word of God, and doctrine of this true reformed Kirk; to the which we join ourselves willingly, in doctrine, faith, religion, discipline, and use of the holy sacraments, as lively members of the same in Christ our head: promising and swearing, by the great name of the LORD our GOD, that we shall continue in the obedience of the doctrine and discipline of this Kirk, and shall defend the same, according to our vocation and power, all the days of our lives; under the pains contained in the law, and danger both of body and soul in the day of God's fearful judgment.
James Kerr (The Covenanted Reformation)
Man is a classifying animal: in one sense it may be said that the whole process of speaking is nothing but distributing phenomena, of which no two are alike in every respect, into different classes on the strength of perceived similarities and dissimilarities. In the name-giving process we witness the same ineradicable and very useful tendency to see likenesses and to express similarity in the phenomena through similarity in name. — Otto Jespersen Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin (1922)
Otto Jespersen
We must rediscover the structure of the perceived world through a process similar to that of an archaeologist. For the structure of the perceived world is buried under the sedimentations of later knowledge. Digging down to the perceived world, we see that sensory qualities are not opaque, indivisible "givens," which are simply exhibited to a remote consciousness—a favorite idea of classical philosophy. We see too that colors (each surrounded by an affective atmosphere which psychologists have been able to study and define) are themselves different modalities of our co-existence with the world. We also find that spatial forms or distances are not so much relations between different points in objective space as they are relations between these points and a central perspective—our body. In short, these relations are different ways for external stimuli to test, to solicit, and to vary our grasp on the world, our horizontal and vertical anchorage in a place and in a here-and-now. We find that perceived things, unlike geometrical objects, are not bounded entities whose laws of construction we possess a priori, but that they are open, inexhaustible systems which we recognize through a certain style of development, although we are never able, in principle, to explore them entirely, and even though they never give us more than profiles and perspectival views of themselves. Finally, we find that the perceived world, in its turn, is not a pure object of thought without fissures or lacunae; it is, rather, like a universal style shared in by all perceptual beings. While the world no doubt coordinates these perceptual beings, we can never presume that its work is finished. Our world, as Malebranche said, is an "unfinished task." If we now wish to characterize a subject capable of this perceptual experience, it obviously will not be a self-transparent thought, absolutely present to itself without the interference of its body and its history. The perceiving subject is not this absolute thinker; rather, it functions according to a natal pact between our body and the world, between ourselves and our body. Given a perpetually new natural and historical situation to control, the perceiving subject undergoes a continued birth; at each instant it is something new. Every incarnate subject is like an open notebook in which we do not yet know what will be written. Or it is like a new language; we do not know what works it will accomplish but only that, once it has appeared, it cannot fail to say little or much, to have a history and a meaning. The very productivity or freedom of human life, far from denying our situation, utilizes it and turns it into a means of expression.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (The Primacy of Perception: And Other Essays on Phenomenological Psychology, the Philosophy of Art, History and Politics)
Everything we think we know about the world is a model. Every word and every language is a model. All maps and statistics, books and databases, equations and computer programs are models. So are the ways I picture the world in my head—my mental models. None of these is or ever will be the real world. Our models usually have a strong congruence with the world. That is why we are such a successful species in the biosphere. Especially complex and sophisticated are the mental models we develop from direct, intimate experience of nature, people, and organizations immediately around us. However, and conversely, our models fall far short of representing the world fully. That is why we make mistakes and why we are regularly surprised. In our heads, we can keep track of only a few variables at one time. We often draw illogical conclusions from accurate assumptions, or logical conclusions from inaccurate assumptions. Most of us, for instance, are surprised by the amount of growth an exponential process can generate. Few of us can intuit how to damp oscillations in a complex system.
Donella H. Meadows (Thinking in Systems: A Primer)
A man’s power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so to utter it, depends on the simplicity of his character, that is, upon his love of truth and his desire to communicate it without loss. The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language. When simplicity of character and the sovereignty of ideas is broken up by the prevalence of secondary desires—the desire of riches, of pleasure, of power, and of praise—and duplicity and falsehood take place of simplicity and truth, the power over nature as an interpreter of the will is in a degree lost; new imagery ceases to be created, and old words are perverted to stand for things which are not; a paper currency is employed, when there is no bullion in the vaults. In due time the fraud is manifest, and words lose all power to stimulate the understanding or the affections. Hundreds of writers may be found in every long-civilized nation who for a short time believe and make others believe that they see and utter truths, who do not of themselves clothe one thought in its natural garment, but who feed unconsciously on the language created by the primary writers of the country, those, namely, who hold primarily on nature. But wise men pierce this rotten diction and fasten words again to visible things; so that picturesque language is at once a commanding certificate that he who employs it is a man in alliance with truth and God. The moment our discourse rises above the ground line of familiar facts and is inflamed with passion or exalted by thought, it clothes itself in images. A man conversing in earnest, if he watch his intellectual processes, will find that a material image more or less luminous arises in his mind, contemporaneous with every thought, which furnishes the vestment of the thought. Hence, good writing and brilliant discourse are perpetual allegories. This imagery is spontaneous. It is the blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It is proper creation. It is the working of the Original Cause through the instruments he has already made.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Both metaphor and simile depend on our innate capacity for seeing correspondences. Such is an essential part of our ability to make sense of the world. Observing (perceiving) that ‘this resembles that’ (in abstract as well as visible ways) is an intellectual process central to the narratives we spin about our lives, about others, about natural processes, about any spiritual (religious) beliefs we might have. We use this intellectual process seriously in trying to explain things, and unselfconsciously in our everyday language. It is also an essential trait of humour.
Simon Unwin (Metaphor: an exploration of the metaphorical dimensions and potential of architecture (Analysing Architecture Notebooks))
If ... we hear ourselves speaking words that convey attunement to the process unfolding in this moment--a felt sense of receiving, cultivating, believing, supporting and trusting--we are more apt to be attending from the right with support from the left. This way of experiencing may also be coupled with attention to felt sense, comfort with being rather than pressure to do, and a respect for the undulating rise and fall of healing that unfolds naturally in the space between. When we are in this mode, we have a tendency to speak more tentatively and to check in with our relational partner about how he or she is receiving what we are offering. This past part is particularly important because it reflects our growing felt-sense awareness that the system of the person we are helping knows more about what needs to happen next than we do. In addition to the humility and respect this engenders, we may also notice that instead of wanting to get rid of some state, we are more apt to acknowledge its meaningfulness and be present to it just as it is. Listening in this way, the so-called negative state may reveal itself as telling an important truth and become an opening toward healing. We may also be aware of the limitation and incompleteness of words, leading us to honor silence as well.
Bonnie Badenoch (The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships)
Of course, a first-time computer user cannot map what they see on a screen to a prior digital experience. However, their cognitive processing of any digital artifact will still be based on natural language. Linguistically associating physical-world metaphors to on-screen actions and objects allows them to participate in a human-to-computer interaction.
Daniel Rosenberg (UX Magic)
I had been sitting in Joan Countryman’s living room for two hours talking about mathematics. My pulse was steady, the hand that held my note-taking pencil didn’t shake and wasn’t even clammy. Where was that old math anxiety? I hadn’t been at any loss for questions; they came to me naturally. Like the process of writing, the process of asking questions had been a form of learning, raising further questions and telling me what I wanted to know next. I was genuinely curious. It never occurred to me that this was a subject I wasn’t supposed to be any good at. What did occur to me was that mathematics was not some arcane system of numbers; it was a language, a way of putting thoughts together. I might never master the language—my checkbook might still go unbalanced—but at least I had begun to glimpse what the language was trying to say and how it could help people to understand the world around them.
William Zinsser (Writing to Learn: How to Write--And Think--Clearly about Any Subject at All)
Summing Up • Central to the debates about the applicability of Romans 1: 24-27 to contemporary committed gay and lesbian relationships is Paul’s claim that the sexual misbehavior he describes in these verses is “unnatural,” or “contrary to nature.” We must understand the moral logic underlying this claim in order to discern how to apply these verses to contemporary life. • The Greek word that Paul uses for “nature” here (phusis) does not occur in the Septuagint, the early translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Rather, it arises in Jewish discourse after 200 BCE, when Jewish writers make use of it as a Stoic category in order to interpret Jewish ethics to Gentiles. • In the ancient world there were three dimensions to the understanding of nature, and we find each of these reflected in Paul’s use of the word: ° Nature was understood as one’s individual nature or disposition. Paul’s language in Romans 1 thus reflects the ancient notion that same-sex eroticism was driven by an insatiable thirst for the exotic by those who were not content with “natural” desires for the same sex. The ancient world had no notion of sexual orientation. ° Nature was also understood as what contributed to the good order of society as a whole. In this sense, it looks very much like social convention, and many ancient understandings of what is natural, particularly those concerning gender roles, seem quaint at best to us today. ° Nature was also understood in the ancient world in relationship to biological processes, particularly procreation. Paul’s references to sexual misbehavior in Romans 1: 24-27 as “unnatural” spring in part from their nonprocreative character. Yet there is no evidence that people in the ancient world linked natural gender roles more specifically to the complementary sexual organs of male and female, apart from a general concern with the “naturalness” of procreation. • While we as modern persons should still seek a convergence of the personal, social, and physical worlds, just as the ancients did under the category of nature, we must recognize, even apart from the question of same-sex relationships, that this convergence will look different to us than it looked in the ancient world. • The biblical vision of a new creation invites us to imagine what living into a deeper vision of “nature” as the convergence of individual disposition, social order, and the physical world might look like, under the guidance and power of the Spirit of God. This might also entail the cultivation of a vision for how consecrated and committed gay and lesbian relationships might fit into such a new order.
James V. Brownson (Bible, Gender, Sexuality)
When two fixed points are projected in succession on a screen they are seen as two traces of a single movement in which they even lose their distinct existence. Here what happens is that the external forces insert themselves into a system of equivalents that is ready to function and in which they operate upon us, like signs in a language, not by arousing their uniquely correspondent significations but, like mileposts, in a process which is still unfolding, or as though they were picking out a path which, as it were, inspired them from a distance. Thus perception is already expression. But this natural language does not isolate; it does not ''bring out" what is expressed, but allows it to adhere in its own way more to the "perceptual chain" than to the "verbal chain." When Gestalt theorists show that the perception of motion depends upon numerous figural moments and ultimately on the whole structure of the field, they are sketching in the same way as the perceiving subject a sort of thinking apparatus which is his incarnate and habitua! being. The accomplishment of motion and change of location emanate from a field structure apart from which they are unintelligible.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Eloge De La Philosophie Et Autres Essais)
As the brain and body were shaped by natural selection, consumer goods adapted to the mind through a parallel process of product selection, which has rendered them ever more fluent, expressive, and fascinating to our senses.
David B. Givens (The NONVERBAL DICTIONARY of gestures, signs and body language cues)
Here the individual experience of thinking, 'how it feels', is presented as the ultimate evidence for the nature of thought. But as I hope Chapter 2 will make clear, language is not an imitation of thought, but its condition. It is only within language that the production of meaning is possible, however much our individual experience of producing meaning is one of stumbling and panic, and of looking for adequate formulations of what seems intuitive. Of course it is true that the written text does not necessarily reproduce the empirical process of thinking, but our analysis of the nature of thought need not confine itself to the question of how it feels to think. Frye's final appeal to experience, in conjunction with his account of a thought process culminating in 'a completely incommunicable intuition' places him within the same empiricist-idealist problematic as the New Critics. And for all its claims to science and systematicity, his own theory, like theirs, is fundamentally non-explanatory. Meaning for Frye inheres timelessly in 'verbal structures', intuitively available to readers in quite different ages and places because they recognize in them the echo of their own wishes and anxieties. But the only evidence for this concept of an essentially unchanging human nature is precisely the body of literary texts which the concept apparently offers to explain. The relationship between desire and language and between language and meaning is not discussed. At the same time, Frye's theory
Catherine Belsey (Critical Practice (New Accents))
if one thinks about non-verbal communication and how it is so taken for granted by NT people. Try to imagine that, after many years, you discover that other people on this planet could read what someone was thinking if that person wanted them to, and you were one of the few people who could not do this. You would have grown up in the world without this knowledge because all those around would have presumed you had the ability, which was natural and automatic. It would not have occurred to them that you could not do this and it was therefore never questioned by them and, of course, you never said anything. Because you did not know this ability existed, you just struggled to understand people according to what they said and the non-verbal language they used, and when they got upset because you had not read their internal thoughts, you could not understand what you had done wrong. How could you have known what they meant? Why had they not communicated to you what they meant? Your partner accuses you of giving out the wrong signals and not sending the right thought patterns. This is simply because you do not have and have never had this ability. You can work things out up to a point, but could never reach the level that other people can, because this ability to read minds does not exist in you. If you can imagine what this would feel like, you will be able to grasp what it is like for people with Asperger syndrome and just how confusing the whole process of communication is for them.
Maxine C. Aston (Aspergers in Love)
We Will Let You Down: If We’re Close Enough to Help, We’re Close Enough to Hurt Bob Nobody wants to be the church that hurts people. But at some point, every church ends up doing just that. Early in our church life we came to the painful realization that as much as we were determined to be a church that healed and not hurt, human nature and our own sinful tendencies were going to make it impossible to never cause hurt to anyone. More, we discovered that the nature of community ensured that at some point, some hurt would happen. As we moved through the early years of our church, we realized just how much emotional weight people were putting on the community. The fact that they had found in our church a safe place to be in process, a place where it seemed they could be their authentic selves and form close relationships, meant that when something happened that confused or consternated them, the dissonance between the idealized version of church that they held in their heads and hearts and the real flesh-and-blood community they were participating in felt like a betrayal. That’s when we knew we had to develop some language around the issue and help people to realize that at some point we, the pastors or other elders, or other people in the community, or perhaps the church as a whole, were going to let them down. We would not recognize or use their gifts in the ways they hoped we would. We would say something from the pulpit or make a decision as elders that they disagreed with or found hurtful. We would go left when everything in them screamed “right!” We wanted people to do three things with that information. First, we wanted them to know in advance that it was coming, so that when it happened it wasn’t a shock. It’s not as though we were claiming to be a perfect community, and certainly no one has ever said that they thought we were. But forewarning people that we would eventually let them down in some way seemed to lessen the impact when it happened.1 Second, we really wanted people to understand that the cost of real community is vulnerability to hurt. We loved all the close relationships we were seeing as people moved in together into community houses, or formed new friendships through our church as they found people who had been on a similar journey. But the cost of being close to others is that they now have the ability to step on your toes—hard. The closer the relationship, in fact, the more potential it has for impact in our lives, both positive and negative. As we occasionally had to come in and help untangle some knots people had gotten into with one another, we reminded them that if we’re close enough to help, we’re close enough to hurt. The only way to ever ensure we will never be hurt in community is to keep people at a distance, but that means cutting ourselves off from all the ways those people could help us as well.
J.R. Briggs (Ministry Mantras: Language for Cultivating Kingdom Culture)
American culture quite naturally provides these ideological supports to those it favors and elects as fellow participants in the social and psychological institutions which regulate its established arrangements. Essentially, these favored persons have been middle-class white men. A middle-class white man's evolution out of embeddedness in the interpersonal is not a moving spectacle in our culture precisely because there is no spectacle - you cannot watch it (unless you look closely at a given individual over time". It will stand out in the private relations of the person's immediate network but it does not stand out as figure on the cultural ground precisely because it is embedded in the tacit ideology of the culture. This is one reason the tacit ideology is so powerful and insidious for those it excludes: it cannot be seen; it is not held up for examination. What may be the most important consequence of the upheavals of the last fifteen years - largely through the attention these upheavals brought to the arrangements between blacks and whites (the 'civil rights' movement'), men and women (the 'women's movement'), and the government and the governed (the 'anti-war movement') is that the ideological nature of American life was made explicit. (Evolutionarily, if I were to apply my scheme to the culture at large, I should have to say the upheavals of the sixties and early seventies represented the transitional angst of the emergences out of 'institutional' embeddedness; of course, from the point of view of the old world not yet left behind, this same upheaval must look like a collapse of our basic institutions, which is just what popular analyses says.) For persons excluded from the tacit culture of ideology to make this move, it is necessary for them to construct their own ideological support which will necessarily stand out. Whether the ideology is feminism or black power or gay rights, it will have common features which serve the absolutely crucial function of supporting the evolution of meaning. It holds and recognizes the group-extensiveness of the new differentiation ('black pride,' 'I am woman') and protects against reabsorption into the old embeddedness (whether by moratoria from intimate relations with men, say, or turning to women - one's comrades - for intimate relations; or the adoption of a strident language which can be as much an effort to hold off an old self as it is an address to others).
Robert Kegan (The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development)
One of the undoubted virtues of English is that it is a fluid and democratic language in which meanings shift and change in response to the pressures of common usage rather than the dictates of committees. It is a natural process that has been going on for centuries. To interfere with that process is arguably both arrogant and futile, since clearly the weight of usage will push new meanings into currency no matter how many authorities hurl themselves into the path of change.
Bill Bryson (The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way)
when she's asleep he likes to sit down beside her bed and make one further attempt to get to the bottom of what has seemed to him the greatest riddle in all the history of mankind: how processes, circumstances, or events of a general nature – such as war, famine, or even a civil servant's salary that fails to increase along with the galloping inflation – can infiltrate a private face. Here they turn a few hairs gray, there devour a pair of lovely cheeks until the skin is stretched taut across singular jawbones; the secession of Hungary, say, might result in a pair of lips bitten raw in the case of one particular woman, perhaps even his own wife. In other words, there is a constant translation between far outside and deep within, it's just that a different vocabulary exists for each of us, which no doubt explains why it's never been noticed that this is a language in the first place – and in fact, the only language valid across the world and for all time. -- Jenny Erpenbeck, The End of Days (2012), trans. Susan Bernofsky, 2014, p. 73.
Jenny Erpenbeck (The End of Days)
With the term vita activa, I propose to designate three fundamental human activities: labor, work, and action. They are fundamental because each corresponds to one of the basic conditions under which life on earth has been given to man. Labor is the activity which corresponds to the biological process of the human body, whose spontaneous growth, metabolism, and eventual decay are bound to the vital necessities produced and fed into the life process by labor. The human condition of labor is life itself. Work is the activity which corresponds to the unnaturalness of human existence, which is not imbedded in, and whose mortality is not compensated by, the species’ ever-recurring life cycle. Work provides an “artificial” world of things, distinctly different from all natural surroundings. Within its borders each individual life is housed, while this world itself is meant to outlast and transcend them all. The human condition of work is worldliness. Action, the only activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter, corresponds to the human condition of plurality, to the fact that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world. While all aspects of the human condition are somehow related to politics, this plurality is specifically the condition—not only the conditio sine qua non, but the conditio per quam—of all political life. Thus the language of the Romans, perhaps the most political people we have known, used the words “to live” and “to be among men” (inter homines esse) or “to die” and “to cease to be among men” (inter homines esse desinere) as synonyms.
Hannah Arendt (The Human Condition)
Her exposition took the form of notes lettered A through G, extending to nearly three times the length of Menabrea’s essay. They offered a vision of the future more general and more prescient than any expressed by Babbage himself. How general? The engine did not just calculate; it performed operations, she said, defining an operation as “any process which alters the mutual relation of two or more things,” and declaring: “This is the most general definition, and would include all subjects in the universe.” The science of operations, as she conceived it, is a science of itself, and has its own abstract truth and value; just as logic has its own peculiar truth and value, independently of the subjects to which we may apply its reasonings and processes.… One main reason why the separate nature of the science of operations has been little felt, and in general little dwelt on, is the shifting meaning of many of the symbols used. Symbols and meaning: she was emphatically not speaking of mathematics alone. The engine “might act upon other things besides number.” Babbage had inscribed numerals on those thousands of dials, but their working could represent symbols more abstractly. The engine might process any meaningful relationships. It might manipulate language. It might create music. “Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.
James Gleick (The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood)
True Love never needs the Expression of Words, It Speaks the Language Blessed by God and when it speaks, Only Miracles Happen.” REMEMBER: The best Expression of love is sending message for ““Nikah” (Marriage) to the guardians of the one you like or love, if you are true to someone and approaching him/her by choosing the “Sirat e Mustaqeem” (Guide us on the straight path) you will tell people that ““Nikah” (Marriage)” is miraculous. "LOVE" is not something that becomes your weakness; it's something that becomes your Strength by caring for you, keeping you on right track, like your parents love you truly, they sacrifice everything for you and want you to become a good human being in the society, to become a role model for the coming generations with great character, I understand no body is perfect, including me and it’s really hard to keep yourself on right track in this era but we must priorities the things, like becoming someone that can have a great life by recognizing the purpose of it , then making your parents proud by working on it, then it comes to the life partner when you are mature enough to take the right decision for that, then there is nothing wrong to like someone and considering him/her as your life partner if they choose the right way to approach each other, they involve their parents and guardians by taking permission, they don’t break the laws of nature, if anyone breaks the laws our Quran tells us “Women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity” — Ayah 26 of Surah an-Nur mentions this wonderful line. People who are thinking that they can express love in words or in any way by breaking the spiritual, physical and emotional laws like marriage “Nikah” (Marriage), they are making fool of themselves. Once you are in that circle of breaking law, your series of actions becomes the source of sabotages for coming life, your spiritual, emotional and physical patterns are controlled by a gravitation pull of evil. Once you are impure then it’s hard to resist. Remember one thing love does exists in responsibilities of taking care of each-other's character, no matter how much someone is attractive to you, if he or she is expressing it to create physical desire before marriage, it leads you to the dark part. I would like to quote saying of Allama Iqbal (RA) at the end, "People who have no hold over their process of thinking are likely to be ruined by liberty of thought. If thought is immature, liberty of thought becomes a method of converting men into animals.
Mohsin Ali Shaukat
Therein lies the key, I think, to Einstein’s brilliance and the lessons of his life. As a young student he never did well with rote learning. And later, as a theorist, his success came not from the brute strength of his mental processing power but from his imagination and creativity. He could construct complex equations, but more important, he knew that math is the language nature uses to describe her wonders. So he could visualize how equations were reflected in realities—how the electromagnetic field equations discovered by James Clerk Maxwell, for example, would manifest themselves to a boy riding alongside a light beam. As he once declared, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”6
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
Submitting to the rules that govern language and the forms of social interaction is not a natural process, although we all do it.
Christopher Kul-Want (Introducing Continental Philosophy: A Graphic Guide (Introducing...))
What this finally comes to mean, in slightly less elaborate terms, is (a) that historical discourse, like political discourse (and, as we shall see, journalistic discourse) is a series of decisions, of revisions, many or most of which are calculated to certain ends, while others are accidental; and (b) that myth treats these choices as inevitable, presents such discourses as faits accompli, thereby lending an apparently— but falsely—natural (predestined) grounding to choices that, ultimately, could have turned out otherwise. In a sense, this is also what Jacques Derrida sought to do through deconstruction: to challenge the center, or the grounding, of those “truths that we hold to be self-evident,” as the expression goes, to expose human constructs as constructs, and to “de-construct” (emphasis on the first syllable of construct, as a noun) ourselves, that is, rid ourselves of the burden of such assumptions. In exposing those “self-evident” groundings as fallacies, we encounter both the curse and the blessing of the shifting center: on the one hand we realize that all reality becomes somehow less reliable in the process, mutable as the center shifts, now this way, now that; on the other, we are liberated from constructs masquerading as absolute truths. Thus is all language politicized.43
Matthew Strecher (The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami)
The Adopted Baby A young married couple learned early on they could not have children naturally so they decided to adopt. They had to go through quite a lengthy process, but one day they received great news.  Their adoption had gone through and they were to get a baby boy.  The young couple was overjoyed. A few days later they stopped by a community college and enrolled in a Japanese language night class. The clerk that registered the couple was curious and asked, “I’m just wondering why you want to study Japanese?” “Well, we just adopted a Japanese baby,” the father said, “and when he gets old enough to talk we want to be able to understand him.
Peter Jenkins (Funny Jokes for Adults: All Clean Jokes, Funny Jokes that are Perfect to Share with Family and Friends, Great for Any Occasion)
A PROCESSION OF ANGELS Then I saw a powerful angel walk up to Jesus. The Lord spoke to this angel, although I did not understand the words that passed back and forth between them. However, I did understand that this angel had been working in Tanzania and had been on an important assignment. I really do not understand how I knew what was transpiring. I just had a supernatural revelation of what was taking place as the Lord stood over me and gave instruction to the angel. Perhaps just being so close to the Lord allowed me to have some understanding of the things that were unfolding before me in the spirit. Shortly, I saw this angel “ascend” upon Jesus. I knew that this angel was returning into the realms of Heaven, and that the assignment that it had been on had now been completed. I was astonished to see the angel ascend into the heavens “on” Jesus. It was very similar to the night in Springdale when I saw Jesus ascend back through the open heaven spinning in the sanctuary in Living Waters Church. (See John 1:51.) The Lord looked at me and gave me a big smile. He began to speak to me again, just as a loving friend would to a small child. In just a moment or two, He was again interrupted by a second strong angel. This time the angel descended from the realms of Heaven upon Jesus and stepped onto the beach. Once again the Lord and the angel began to speak, though again I was unable to understand the language that they spoke. I could see this second angel was powerful and very strong. He carried himself in the manner of a warrior, and there was a large sword in his right hand. He also had a large, polished, shiny golden shield in his left hand. Upon his belt were other weapons, including an ornate buckler and a smaller type of sword. As I was looking, I suddenly saw Jesus pat the angel upon his powerful shoulder and point with His right hand. Immediately, the angel turned in military fashion and ran off in the direction that the Lord had indicated. I was astonished, but I was also absolutely certain that Jesus had just commissioned the strong second angel to an important mission in the nation of Tanzania. Then Jesus turned His loving gaze back upon me as I lay on the beach. The waters were still billowing around me. The Lord again began to speak to me and told me that it was important that I began to study and learn to understand about the “seer anointing.” At that moment, I did not have any knowledge of the seer anointing, so I was a little concerned about my ignorance. As if sensing I was uncomfortable, the Lord smiled and gently began to speak with me about the seer prophets of old. This encounter with the Lord continued from about 4:15 A.M. until about 6:30 A.M. in the natural. However, in the realm of the spirit, it seemed to last for many more hours. The Lord continued to speak to me in great detail about the seer gift or anointing. I could determine the passage of time because the sun shifted its position over the sea of glass-like crystal as He continued to speak. The other reason I was aware of time passing was that there began to be a steady stream of angels ascending and descending upon the Lord Jesus Christ. ANGELS ON MISSIONS This procession of angels was quite impressive. After the first few, I began to relax. I had been
Kevin Basconi (How to Work with Angels in Your Life: The Reality of Angelic Ministry Today (Angels in the Realms of Heaven, Book 2))
The mongrelized gears of the human mind respond to both logical and emotional trigger points. Language acts as a sparkplug that ignites a dense network of mental synapses in the human mind. By the graciousness of nature, our active and synchronized mental workings effectively process both facts and feelings. In a gifted writer’s hand, the incantatory power of language reveals truth. A multiplex of word pictures educing sounds, scents, taste, and acts of touching enables the reader to comprehend the full panoply of historical facts. The tradition of using expressive and allusive language affords the reader with an opportunity to integrate for themselves the full emotional reveille of the symbiotic beats of connected events that trigger the interworks of an engaged mind.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
When a significant process or transformation in the domain is not a natural responsibility of an ENTITY or VALUE OBJECT, add an operation to the model as a standalone interface declared as a SERVICE. Define the interface in terms of the language of the model and make sure the operation name is part of the UBIQUITOUS LAN- GUAGE. Make the SERVICE stateless.
Eric Evans (Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software)
The democratic gospel of the French Revolution rested upon the glorification of man rather than God. The Church of Rome recognized this and struck back at the heresy as she had always done. She saw more clearly than did most Protestant churches that the devil, when it is to his advantage, is democratic. Ten thousand people telling a lie do not turn the lie into truth. That is an important lesson from the Age of Progress for Christians of every generation. The freedom to vote and a chance to learn do not guarantee the arrival of utopia. The Christian faith has always insisted that the flaw in human nature is more basic than any fault in man’s political or social institutions. Alexis de Tocqueville, a visitor in the United States during the nineteenth century, issued a warning in his classic study, Democracy in America. In the United States, he said, neither aristocracy nor princely tyranny exist. Yet, asked de Tocqueville, does not this unprecedented “equality of conditions” itself pose a fateful threat: the “tyranny of the majority”? In the processes of government, de Tocqueville warned, rule of the majority can mean oppression of the minority, control by erratic public moods rather than reasoned leadership.
Bruce L. Shelley (Church History in Plain Language)
Certain present-day tendencies make us wonder if succeeding generations of young people are not in danger of growing up impervious to style and insensitive to the quality of real literature. Granted the need for books for beginners in which the vocabulary is adapted to their ability, it is nevertheless disconcerting to find editors rewriting classics for children in what they consider to be more suitable language. Working material to aid a child’s learning process, material which is interesting and appropriate for his age, is needed, of course, but it should be provided without reducing a masterpiece to the commonplace. To the average fortunate child the classics among books written for children, and the classics in adult literature suitable for boys and girls, come naturally into his experience at a time when they can be appreciated and enjoyed. In the midst of the flood of the mediocre which assails the young person of the present day, a classic, here and there—Alice, Robinson Crusoe, Hawthorne’s Wonder Book, Gulliver’s Travels—provides, albeit unconsciously to the children, a touchstone to distinguish the work of a master hand from that of a journeyman. When these classics are rewritten, however, and “modified as to vocabulary,” the touchstone loses its power.
Anne Thaxter Eaton (Reading with Children)
First, using images made from the oldest components of the organism’s interior—the processes of metabolic chemistry largely carried out in viscera and in the blood circulation and the movements they generated—nature gradually fashioned feelings. Second, using images from a less ancient component of the interior—the skeletal frame and the muscles attached to it—nature generated a representation of the encasement of each life, a literal representation of the house inhabited by each life. The eventual combination of these two sets of representations opened the way for consciousness. Third, using the same image-making devices and an inherent power of images—the power to stand for and symbolize something else—nature developed verbal languages.
António R. Damásio (The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of the Cultural Mind)
But, actually, the idea of a personal god or spirit who peevishly withholds food, or maliciously hurls lightning, gets a boost from the evolved human brain. People reared in modern scientific societies may consider it only natural to ponder some feature of the world—the weather, say—and try to come up with a mechanistic explanation couched in the abstract language of natural law. But evolutionary psychology suggests that a much more natural way to explain anything is to attribute it to a humanlike agent. This is the way we’re “designed” by natural selection to explain things. Our brain’s capacity to think about causality—to ask why something happened and come up with theories that help us predict what will happen in the future—evolved in a specific context: other brains. When our distant ancestors first asked “Why,” they weren’t asking about the behavior of water or weather or illness; they were asking about the behavior of their peers. That’s a somewhat speculative (and, yes, hard-to-test!) claim. We have no way of observing our prehuman ancestors one or two or three million years ago, when the capacity to think explicitly about causality was evolving by natural selection. But there are ways to shed light on the process. For starters, we can observe our nearest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees. We didn’t evolve from chimps, but chimps and humans do share a common ancestor in the not-too-distant past (4 to 7 million years ago). And chimps are probably a lot more like that common ancestor than humans are. Chimps aren’t examples of our ancestors circa 5 million BCE but they’re close enough to be illuminating. As the primatologist Frans de Waal has shown, chimpanzee society shows some clear parallels with human society. One of them is in the title of his book Chimpanzee Politics. Groups of chimps form coalitions—alliances—and the most powerful alliance gets preferred access to resources (notably a resource that in Darwinian terms is important: sex partners). Natural selection has equipped chimps with emotional and cognitive tools for playing this political game. One such tool is anticipation of a given chimp’s future behavior based on past behavior. De Waal writes of a reigning alpha male, Yeroen, who faced growing hostility from a former ally named Luit: “He already sensed that Luit’s attitude was changing and he knew that his position was threatened.” 8 One could argue about whether Yeroen was actually pondering the situation in as clear and conscious a way as de Waal suggests. But even if chimps aren’t quite up to explicit inference, they do seem close. If you imagine their politics getting more complex (more like, say, human politics), and them getting smarter (more like humans), you’re imagining an organism evolving toward conscious thought about causality. And the causal agents about which these organisms will think are other such organisms, because the arena of causality is the social arena. In this realm, when a bad thing happens (like a challenge for Yeroen’s alpha spot) or a good thing happens (like an ally coming to Yeroen’s aid), it is another organism that is making the bad or good thing happen.
Robert Wright (The Evolution of God)
Modern language can feel inadequate when it comes to expressing wonder and for giving meaning to the living world around us and out part in it. Words can lead to a terrible sense of separation and loss of intimacy with the aliveness of the world. We don't weep because it does not hold any meaning for us, we have lost our emotional connection with the more-than-human world. It's why science alone won't save us; we need art and poetry, creative mediums of expression and meaning-making that can help people process our experiences of a rapidly changing world and connect emotionally.
Easkey Britton (Saltwater in the Blood: Surfing, Natural Cycles and the Sea's Power to Heal)
Your words have power. [...] "How are you?" "Ah - can't complain," or "No use complaining," or "Not too bad." How does the brain respond to these dreary views? Is it a "pain in the neck" to do the dishes? Is it "one big headache" to balance your checkbook? Are you "sick and tired" of the weather we are having? I am convinced that [doctors] owe a large part of their income to the words we use. Remember, the brain is no subtle interpreter. It says, "This guy's asking for a headache. Okay. One headache coming up." Of course, every time that we say something gives us a pain, a pain does not immediately result. The body's natural state is good health, and all its processes are geared toward health. In time, though, with enough verbal pounding away at its defenses, it delivers up the very illnesses we order.
José Silva (The Silva Mind Control Method)
THE work of deciding cases goes on every day in hundreds of courts throughout the land. Any judge, one might suppose, would find it easy to describe the process which he had followed a thousand times and more. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Let some intelligent layman ask him to explain:  he will not go very far before taking refuge in the excuse that the language of craftsmen is unintelligible to those untutored in the craft. Such an excuse may cover with a semblance of respectability an otherwise ignominious retreat. It will hardly serve to still the pricks of curiosity and conscience. In moments of introspection, when there {10} is no longer a necessity of putting off with a show of wisdom the uninitiated interlocutor, the troublesome problem will recur, and press for a solution. What is it that I do when I decide a case? To what sources of information do I appeal for guidance? In what proportions do I permit them to contribute to the result? In what proportions ought they to contribute? If a precedent is applicable, when do I refuse to follow it? If no precedent is applicable, how do I reach the rule that will make a precedent for the future? If I am seeking logical consistency, the symmetry of the legal structure, how far shall I seek it? At what point shall the quest be halted by some discrepant custom, by some consideration of the social welfare, by my own or the common standards of justice and morals? Into that strange compound which is brewed daily in the caldron of the courts, all these ingredients enter in varying proportions. I am not concerned to inquire whether judges ought to be allowed to brew such a compound at all. I take judge-made law as one of the existing realities of life. There, before us, {11} is the brew. Not a judge on the bench but has had a hand in the making.
Benjamin N. Cardozo (The Nature of the Judicial Process (Annotated) (Legal Legends Series))
Metaphysically astigmatic, perhaps, the early Chinese thinkers never seem to have perceived any substances that remained the same through time; rather in our interpretation they saw “things” relationally, and related differently, at different periods of time. Dao, the totality of all things (wanwu ), is a process that requires the language of both “change (bian )” and “persistence (tong )” to capture its dynamic disposition. This processional nature of experience is captured in the Analects 9.17: The Master was standing on the riverbank, and observed, “Isn’t life’s passing just like this, never ceasing day or night!
Confucius (The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation)