language and mind

May 3, 2011

The line of Saturn

Filed under: grammar, language, language processing, language use — Tags: , , — teresapelka @ 8:06 am

Language could not become a fast seduction

With varying degrees of success, humans have professed the idea of destiny since the Antiquity. Basically, the notion was used when trying to gain power over others. The tricky part was that trying this, you ended up most often balancing like on a tightrope – attempts to take over individual will tend to have side effects.Cicero himself, although using the term mostly in an oratorial fashion, had to renounce seeing the fortune to find his fate in the hands of Antony’s soldiers. The imagery behind both the close notions of destiny and fate would be that of a way and its end. The notion of a destination might support the picture.

Manifest Destiny as strengthening the sense of nationality made an impressive career in politics – you are here and you have a reason to be, being the message. Humans have always had some predilection for exceptionalism, group and national identities having inexorably stemmed from individual identification.

There are no groups without the individuals to make them – the fact does not need any polemic. A language classroom might promote group life. Language needs the individual most, however. Professing destiny in the context could make only unmotivated behavior of language work. Could a student be destined to learn or not?

Even if very talented and learned, the human needs to rely on his or her individual capacity for their work – or maybe especially then. To me, there always has been something simply and irresistibly pleasurable about being an individual on her own with language :) I’d leave destiny outside the language classroom.

‘Travelers in Grammar – The Whole Journey’

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