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Old 05-11-2010, 07:10 PM   #57
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 15

Hello Josh,

I finished reading Snow Crash last night. This was a quick first reading, with the aim of making a response in this column, and the second reading will be slower. Have you come across Nicholas Ostler's Empires of the Word? Although rather different in style than Stephenson, it presents a history of language that sets ancient Sumerian in a context that is rather more robust than that of Snow Crash.

Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Hello Dr. Goldsbury,
I wanted to submit the name of a book to you: Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.
Some of the ideas, I thought, were interesting, maybe even relevant or related to Kotodama. I don't know a whole lot about this area, but the ideas struck me as related. Frankly, I don't mean for this post to be taken all that seriously, but rather in the hopes that it is interesting..just for the ideas, and to be taken only for what they're worth. A kind of comparison of what I took from both the book, and from this installment of TIE.
PAG. As far as I can see, Stephenson presents another version of Nakazono's Sumela Mikoto mythology, but in different wrappings. Nakazono employs the trope of a life of struggle, via successive masters (including Ueshiba), and with a strategic reading of the secret Takeuchi Documents--known to very few and revealed to far, far fewer--along the way, to present kotodama as his unique answer to all the problems facing the world. With Stephenson we have the Sumerian myths, neatly presented by the Librarian--who is able to fend off the difficult questions because he is a program, but in the form of a computer virus based on the supposedly unique language (Nakazono, again) that the Sumerians are alleged to have spoken around 4,000 BC.

Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
I thought it was very interesting about the 'lower level' nature of the code. Like language for us; is a 'mode' to communicate information. Pictures, and video certainly, as we have seen and heard...each more efficient than the next. But carrying information in 'more parallel' kind of way. A different 'mode' but still building in that way. The book's idea that there was a different 'way' to communicate.
Directly to the hardware. It is 'firmware' language that is directly appreciated by another 'interpreter' (meant in a computer-science, kind of way). In some way, I think 'touch-experience', can be a completely different 'way' to communicate information. It accesses a different level of awareness, perhaps.
PAG. Stephenson has certainly done his homework about the Bible and the Tower of Babel story, but seems to have neglected doing any linguistics or pragmatics. Similarly with the Wachowski brothers. I think if they had, they would have seen the difficulties involved with a supposedly unique language, that operates in a different way from any other known language. Nakazono and the Japanese kokugaku scholars brush these difficulties aside, partly because they believe the Japanese language to be unique in any case. The problem I have with Stephenson is that he has to present all the evidence of his unique language in metaphors, as you yourself have done in the above paragraph. Of course, he goes one further than Nakazono in that his language can be used by people who have no clue what they are talking about.

Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Thank you, and with much respect,
Josh P.
Not at all.


P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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