Go Back   David Icke's Official Forums > Conspiracy/Truth Researchers > General - The Researchers

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 30-03-2008, 11:33 AM   #1
krakhead
Premier Subscribers
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dark Side Of The Room
Posts: 11,335
Likes: 1 (1 Post)
Default Robert Anton Wilson: Towards Understanding E-Prime

I'd be very surprised if this hadn't been presented on this forum before. What do you think? Do you think it would help to reduce the number of arguments? I have seen a lot of IS-ness being presented on here, I find it disturbing and it appears, to me, to lead to more arguments.

IS this a better way of communicating?

TOWARD UNDERSTANDING E -PRIME

Robert Anton Wilson



E-PRIME, abolishing all forms of the verb "to be," has its roots in the field of general semantics, as presented by Alfred Korzybski in his 1933 book, Science and Sanity. Korzybski pointed out the pitfalls associated with, and produced by, two usages of "to be": identity and predication. His student D. David Bourland, Jr., observed that even linguistically sensitive people do not seem able to avoid identity and predication uses of "to be" if they continue to use the verb at all. Bourland pioneered in demonstrating that one can indeed write and speak without using any form of "to be," calling this subset of the English language "E-Prime." Many have urged the use of E-Prime in writing scientific and technical papers. Dr. Kellogg exemplifies a prime exponent of this activity. Dr. Albert Ellis has rewritten five of his books in E-Prime, in collaboration with Dr. Robert H. Moore, to improve their clarity and to reap the epistemological benefits of this language revision. Korzybski felt that all humans should receive training in general semantics from grade school on, as "semantic hygiene" against the most prevalent forms of logical error, emotional distortion, and "demonological thinking." E-Prime provides a straightforward training technique for acquiring such semantic hygiene.

To understand E-Prime, consider the human brain as a computer. (Note that I did not say the brain "is" a computer.) As the Prime Law of Computers tells us, GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT (GIGO, for short). The wrong software guarantees wrong answers. Conversely, finding the right software can "miraculously" solve problems that previously appeared intractable.

It seems likely that the principal software used in the human brain consists of words, metaphors, disguised metaphors, and linguistic structures in general. The Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski Hypothesis, in anthropology, holds that a change in language can alter our perception of the cosmos. A revision of language structure, in particular, can alter the brain as dramatically as a psychedelic. In our metaphor, if we change the software, the computer operates in a new way.

Consider the following paired sets of propositions, in which Standard English alternates with English-Prime (E-Prime):

lA. The electron is a wave.
lB. The electron appears as a wave when measured with instrument-l.
2A. The electron is a particle.
2B. The electron appears as a particle when measured with instrument-2.
3A. John is lethargic and unhappy.
3B. John appears lethargic and unhappy in the office.
4A. John is bright and cheerful.
4B. John appears bright and cheerful on holiday at the beach.
5A. This is the knife the first man used to stab the second man.
5B. The first man appeared to stab the second man with what looked like a knife to me.
6A. The car involved in the hit-and-run accident was a blue Ford.
6B. In memory, I think I recall the car involved in the hit-and-run accident as a blue Ford.
7A. This is a fascist idea.
7B. This seems like a fascist idea to me.
8A. Beethoven is better than Mozart.
8B. In my present mixed state of musical education and ignorance, Beethoven seems better to me than Mozart.
9A. That is a sexist movie.
9B. That seems like a sexist movie to me.
10A. The fetus is a person.
10B. In my system of metaphysics, I classify the fetus as a person.

The "A"-type statements (Standard English) all implicitly or explicitly assume the medieval view called "Aristotelian essentialism" or "naive realism." In other words, they assume a world made up of block-like entities with indwelling "essences" or spooks- "ghosts in the machine." The "B"-type statements (E-Prime) recast these sentences into a form isomorphic to modern science by first abolishing the "is" of Aristotelian essence and then reformulating each observation in terms of signals received and interpreted by a body (or instrument) moving in space-time.

Relativity, quantum mechanics, large sections of general physics, perception psychology, sociology, linguistics, modern math, anthropology, ethology, and several other sciences make perfect sense when put into the software of E-Prime. Each of these sciences generates paradoxes, some bordering on "nonsense" or "gibberish," if you try to translate them back into the software of Standard English.

Concretely, "The electron is a wave" employs the Aristotelian "is" and thereby introduces us to the false-to-experience notion that we can know the indwelling "essence" of the electron. "The electron appears as a wave when measured by instrument-1" reports what actually occurred in space-time, namely that the electron when constrained by a certain instrument behaved in a certain way.

Similarly, "The electron is a particle" contains medieval Aristotelian software, but "The electron appears as a particle when measured by instrument-2" contains modern scientific software. Once again, the software determines whether we impose a medieval or modern grid upon our reality-tunnel.

Note that "the electron is a wave" and "the electron is a particle" contradict each other and begin the insidious process by which we move gradually from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish. On the other hand, the modern scientific statements "the electron appears as a wave when measured one way" and "the electron appears as a particle measured another way" do not contradict, but rather complement each other. (Bohr's Principle of Complementarity, which explained this and revolutionized physics, would have appeared obvious to all, and not just to a person of his genius, if physicists had written in E-Prime all along. . . .)

Looking at our next pair, "John is lethargic and unhappy" vs. "John is bright and cheerful,' we see again how medieval software creates metaphysical puzzles and totally imaginary contradictions. Operationalizing the statements, as physicists since Bohr have learned to operationalize, we find that the E-Prime translations do not contain any contradiction, and even give us a clue as to causes of John's changing moods. (Look back if you forgot the translations.)

"The first man stabbed the second man with a knife" lacks the overt "is" of identity but contains Aristotelian software nonetheless. The E-Prime translation not only operationalizes the data, but may fit the facts better-if the incident occurred in a psychology class, which often conduct this experiment. (The first man "stabs," or makes stabbing gestures at, the second man, with a banana, but many students, conditioned by Aristotelian software, nonetheless "see" a knife. You don't need to take drugs to hallucinate; improper language can fill your world with phantoms and spooks of many kinds.)

The reader may employ his or her own ingenuity in analyzing how "is-ness" creates false-to-facts reality-tunnels in the remaining examples, and how E-Prime brings us back to the scientific, the operational, the existential, the phenomenological--to what humans and their instruments actually do in space-time as they create observations, perceptions, thoughts, deductions, and General Theories.

I have found repeatedly that when baffled by a problem in science, in "philosophy," or in daily life, I gain immediate insight by writing down what I know about the enigma in strict E-Prime. Often, solutions appear immediately-just as happens when you throw out the "wrong" software and put the "right" software into your PC. In other cases, I at least get an insight into why the problem remains intractable and where and how future science might go about finding an answer. (This has contributed greatly to my ever-escalating agnosticism about the political, ideological, and religious issues that still generate the most passion on this primitive planet.)

When a proposition resists all efforts to recast it in a form consistent with what we now call E-Prime, many consider it "meaningless." Korzybski, Wittgenstein, the Logical Positivists, and (in his own way) Niels Bohr promoted this view. I happen to agree with that verdict (which condemns 99 percent of theology and 99.999999 percent of metaphysics to the category of Noise rather than Meaning)--but we must save that subject for another article. For now, it suffices to note that those who fervently believe such Aristotelian propositions as "A piece of bread, blessed by a priest, is a person (who died two thousand years ago)," "The flag is a living being," or "The fetus is a human being" do not, in general, appear to make sense by normal twentieth-century scientific standards.

Original web-site - also includes an addendum that I think would be useful to read as well.


And, yes, I do see the problem with my quote from RAW in my sig!
__________________
This message brought to you by
Krakhead Inc.
“You simply cannot invent any conspiracy theory so ridiculous and
obviously satirical that some people somewhere don't already believe it.”
Rwy'n dy garu di
krakhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2008, 10:31 PM   #2
tim the enchanter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: England
Posts: 925
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

FNORD
tim the enchanter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2008, 09:54 PM   #3
lemonique
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,195
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Makes sense to 'do away' with is under certain conditions. Reminds me of the 'shoulds' in life....can 'do away' with those most of the time as well.

I grasp what this article is telling me, I just haven't had the time to study it fully. Thanks for posting.
I think the English language has quite a bit 'to answer for' IMO.

Lemonique
lemonique is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2008, 09:56 PM   #4
anonymousoneuk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 766
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Genius!

Very facinating!

I'm still attempting to mentally digest this, so in the mean time here's a another bump as i don't wish this thread to die...

Peace and Bless

anonymousoneuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2008, 10:36 PM   #5
lurkerskywalker
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 11
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

I've been browsing this forum and its precesor for quite some time now, and i feel like i've been growing in understanding allong with this community. Lately, the level of the concepts and ideas shared in this virtual place echo in me as very sharp. This thread could be the latest example... Let me come out of my slumber and agree wholeheartedly; some time ago i watched a documentary about some chaos theorist, who insisted in the insanity of our current language system, which functions on large fixed assumptions set on stone, disguising our inevitable ignorance (even to ourselves). Hope you understand as you might have guessed english is not my primary language ^^; The thing this guy proposed was expressing in percents (%) so instead of saying "the rose is red" a more appropiate way would be "the rose is 80% red". I thought of it as a crappy fix, but noted the idea as worth of mention. Not so surprinsingly, yesterday i watched a Terence Mckenna lecture (hope i got the name right) in which he made many points about language beign a key in a possible next step in awareness/consciousness. I think of all this as undeniable. I would even be so bold as to say the human brain does indeed appear to be a sort of computer, and the GIGO reasoning answers many questions regarding social behaviour. Just one last thing: in some languages there is more than one verb to handle the "to be" meanings, like spanish. But the changes this article suggest seem much deeper to me than the distinctions presently found in other languages. Thank you for your time!
lurkerskywalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 01:50 AM   #6
anonymousoneuk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 766
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurkerskywalker View Post
I've been browsing this forum and its precesor for quite some time now, and i feel like i've been growing in understanding allong with this community. Lately, the level of the concepts and ideas shared in this virtual place echo in me as very sharp. This thread could be the latest example... Let me come out of my slumber and agree wholeheartedly; some time ago i watched a documentary about some chaos theorist, who insisted in the insanity of our current language system, which functions on large fixed assumptions set on stone, disguising our inevitable ignorance (even to ourselves). Hope you understand as you might have guessed english is not my primary language ^^; The thing this guy proposed was expressing in percents (%) so instead of saying "the rose is red" a more appropiate way would be "the rose is 80% red". I thought of it as a crappy fix, but noted the idea as worth of mention. Not so surprinsingly, yesterday i watched a Terence Mckenna lecture (hope i got the name right) in which he made many points about language beign a key in a possible next step in awareness/consciousness. I think of all this as undeniable. I would even be so bold as to say the human brain does indeed appear to be a sort of computer, and the GIGO reasoning answers many questions regarding social behaviour. Just one last thing: in some languages there is more than one verb to handle the "to be" meanings, like spanish. But the changes this article suggest seem much deeper to me than the distinctions presently found in other languages. Thank you for your time!
Would really really like to know the name of that chaos theorist.

As time goes on, it seems the central issue i'm working around that needs to be worked out, is the nature of reality.

We base things on absolutistic asumptions and judgements, if a mind could process reality objectively, cutting into all of these statements such as "the rose is red", cutting past all of it, what would be a centre of it all...

Choas is clever stuff, the fact of it coming up in this thread after some weeks of my absence, is quite coincidental to me, as some of the things i'm studying right now, have some association with chaos theorey.

Also on my mind has been the nature of both time and language.

Big issues, i'm only just beginning to touch on, but i think are probably some of the most important ones so called "truth seekers" need to be discussing.

We need to study the nature of truth(which ties into the nature of reality and consciousness and minds), before i think we can really seek it, if our language isn't up to it, neither will our minds me.

Peace
anonymousoneuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 02:46 AM   #7
lurkerskywalker
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 11
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymousoneuk View Post
Would really really like to know the name of that chaos theorist.
Im afraid his name seems lost in oblivion for me; i can only recall the following: History channel doc, which wasnt about this guy but he frequently commented every "bite" of info, he looked rather young, was presented as a chaos theorist, and the rose example i'm almost positive was a literal example given by him. Sorry that i couldnt be more precise! bb
lurkerskywalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 03:15 AM   #8
amercury
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: coastal plain
Posts: 860
Likes: 1 (1 Post)
Default

First off let me say "How dare you!!" (the whole Bjork thing ha ha)

But yeah, your post really interests me.
"In the beginning was the word"
I think thought and language begin the process of creation, or perception of reality. I mean there are infinite possibilities in each moment, and we may be blocking out most of them with forms of language that restrict possibility.
I'm going to keep E prime in mind and try to use it in thought and problem solving.
Thanks
amercury is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 04:45 AM   #9
adimon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Inland Empire
Posts: 3,440
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

I tried to condition myself to e-Prime but found I could only take it so far...I think it was the subconscious and id that I couldn't reach.

But I'm all in favour of e-Prime - it should be available in schools.
__________________
"A little boy went out to play. When he opened his door, he saw the world. As he passed through the doorway, he caused a reflection. Evil was born. Evil was born, and followed the boy.....A little girl went out to play. Lost in the marketplace, as if half-born. Then, not through the marketplace - you see that, don't you? - but through the alley behind the marketplace. This is the way to the palace. But it isn't something you remember."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inland_Empire_%28film%29
adimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 04:48 AM   #10
anders lindman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 18,506
Likes: 61 (45 Posts)
Default

I have written about e-prime in another forum some year ago and had forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder. I may try e-prime in some posts.
anders lindman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 05:01 AM   #11
anonymousoneuk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 766
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

I feel that this stuff is great:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Prime

I wish to discipline my mind to think and comunicate in E-prime.
anonymousoneuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 05:32 AM   #12
jimmi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,161
Likes: 1 (1 Post)
Default

This is one of the best posts I've read here!

FUCK!


I would like to comment on the subject of the thread that I have most recently read and am now replying to through the interactve capability...eeerrrrr.....fuck it.


Thanks, excellent post!
J.
jimmi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 08:24 AM   #13
esse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Currently in Australia - not for too long
Posts: 601
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

[QUOTE=krakhead;326773]Not really! But I was disappointed that few people read and no-one commented when I put this article here. So now I've tricked you - have a read and tell me what you think

I'd be very surprised if this hadn't been presented on this forum before. What do you think? Do you think it would help to reduce the number of arguments? I have seen a lot of IS-ness being presented on here, I find it disturbing and it appears, to me, to lead to more arguments.

IS this a better way of communicating?

TOWARD UNDERSTANDING E -PRIME

Robert Anton Wilson
lA. The electron is a wave.
lB. The electron appears as a wave when measured with instrument-l.
2A. The electron is a particle.
2B. The electron appears as a particle when measured with instrument-2.
3A. John is lethargic and unhappy.
3B. John appears lethargic and unhappy in the office.
4A. John is bright and cheerful.
4B. John appears bright and cheerful on holiday at the beach.
5A. This is the knife the first man used to stab the second man.
5B. The first man appeared to stab the second man with what looked like a knife to me.
6A. The car involved in the hit-and-run accident was a blue Ford.
6B. In memory, I think I recall the car involved in the hit-and-run accident as a blue Ford.
7A. This is a fascist idea.
7B. This seems like a fascist idea to me.
8A. Beethoven is better than Mozart.
8B. In my present mixed state of musical education and ignorance, Beethoven seems better to me than Mozart.
9A. That is a sexist movie.
9B. That seems like a sexist movie to me.
10A. The fetus is a person.
10B. In my system of metaphysics, I classify the fetus as a person.

The "A"-type statements (Standard English) all implicitly or explicitly assume the medieval view called "Aristotelian essentialism" or "naive realism." In other words, they assume a world made up of block-like entities with indwelling "essences" or spooks- "ghosts in the machine." The "B"-type statements (E-Prime) recast these sentences into a form isomorphic to modern science by first abolishing the "is" of Aristotelian essence and then reformulating each observation in terms of signals received and interpreted by a body (or instrument) moving in space-time.

Relativity, quantum mechanics, large sections of general physics, perception psychology, sociology, linguistics, modern math, anthropology, ethology, and several other sciences make perfect sense when put into the software of E-Prime.



Interesting topic Krakhead - This brings to mind Buddhist teachings I have received where we discuss the difference between Relative and Absolute level. Or sometimes known in philosophy as big T -vs. little t truth.

Is there anything that can be said to be truth? This topic, I think - in essence questions the Absolute. Some would call this question Nihilistic. I think there is a very good point here in that Mr Anton Wilson is referencing ( that is is in this instance of which we are speaking...) the vast misuse of the word is. The complete negation of it, I would question however. Perhaps food for thought.

Is does seem to reference the present tense - the NOW if you like, and in that must have some validity as a signifier. So my take on this debate is that it needs further fleshing out. Not that it would need, or may need or that some could consider that it might - but that it does, or is in need of - Something I would try to establish given the chance.

Not saying that the topic itself has no validity, but "to be" "is" "isness" seems to me a desirable state, one we achieve when we are truly in the moment, without the shackles of sleep - the hindrance of thinking - but rather the clarity of awareness.

As far as Bjork goes - well, I like her music, but one must wonder when they see that magazine shoot she did with the Devil Horns, etc - and about that marriage to that freaky Guggenheim guy who came up with the Cremaster Series. You have got to have friends on the inside to get the whole Guggenheim shut down for months so you can make a crazy movie about the Masonry in it... I mean, I wonder...
__________________
It's a Strange World...
esse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2008, 01:41 PM   #14
supertzar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 13,455
Likes: 2,995 (1,865 Posts)
Default

It's a good way to begin dismantling the Belief Paradigm. When we are done with preconceived notions, which are enforced by the "to be" construct, reality will open up for us.

Certain other languages must be like this already. Does anyone know if Russian has a "to be" equivalent?
supertzar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2008, 08:22 AM   #15
esse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Currently in Australia - not for too long
Posts: 601
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

"to be" "isness" - The Now - what have these to do with preconceived notions?
__________________
It's a Strange World...
esse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2008, 08:46 PM   #16
tehuti
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 122
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by krakhead View Post
Not really! But I was disappointed that few people read and no-one commented when I put this article here. So now I've tricked you - have a read and tell me what you think

I'd be very surprised if this hadn't been presented on this forum before. What do you think? Do you think it would help to reduce the number of arguments? I have seen a lot of IS-ness being presented on here, I find it disturbing and it appears, to me, to lead to more arguments.

IS this a better way of communicating?

TOWARD UNDERSTANDING E -PRIME

Robert Anton Wilson



E-PRIME, abolishing all forms of the verb "to be," has its roots in the field of general semantics, as presented by Alfred Korzybski in his 1933 book, Science and Sanity. Korzybski pointed out the pitfalls associated with, and produced by, two usages of "to be": identity and predication. His student D. David Bourland, Jr., observed that even linguistically sensitive people do not seem able to avoid identity and predication uses of "to be" if they continue to use the verb at all. Bourland pioneered in demonstrating that one can indeed write and speak without using any form of "to be," calling this subset of the English language "E-Prime." Many have urged the use of E-Prime in writing scientific and technical papers. Dr. Kellogg exemplifies a prime exponent of this activity. Dr. Albert Ellis has rewritten five of his books in E-Prime, in collaboration with Dr. Robert H. Moore, to improve their clarity and to reap the epistemological benefits of this language revision. Korzybski felt that all humans should receive training in general semantics from grade school on, as "semantic hygiene" against the most prevalent forms of logical error, emotional distortion, and "demonological thinking." E-Prime provides a straightforward training technique for acquiring such semantic hygiene.

To understand E-Prime, consider the human brain as a computer. (Note that I did not say the brain "is" a computer.) As the Prime Law of Computers tells us, GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT (GIGO, for short). The wrong software guarantees wrong answers. Conversely, finding the right software can "miraculously" solve problems that previously appeared intractable.

It seems likely that the principal software used in the human brain consists of words, metaphors, disguised metaphors, and linguistic structures in general. The Sapir-Whorf-Korzybski Hypothesis, in anthropology, holds that a change in language can alter our perception of the cosmos. A revision of language structure, in particular, can alter the brain as dramatically as a psychedelic. In our metaphor, if we change the software, the computer operates in a new way.

Consider the following paired sets of propositions, in which Standard English alternates with English-Prime (E-Prime):

lA. The electron is a wave.
lB. The electron appears as a wave when measured with instrument-l.
2A. The electron is a particle.
2B. The electron appears as a particle when measured with instrument-2.
3A. John is lethargic and unhappy.
3B. John appears lethargic and unhappy in the office.
4A. John is bright and cheerful.
4B. John appears bright and cheerful on holiday at the beach.
5A. This is the knife the first man used to stab the second man.
5B. The first man appeared to stab the second man with what looked like a knife to me.
6A. The car involved in the hit-and-run accident was a blue Ford.
6B. In memory, I think I recall the car involved in the hit-and-run accident as a blue Ford.
7A. This is a fascist idea.
7B. This seems like a fascist idea to me.
8A. Beethoven is better than Mozart.
8B. In my present mixed state of musical education and ignorance, Beethoven seems better to me than Mozart.
9A. That is a sexist movie.
9B. That seems like a sexist movie to me.
10A. The fetus is a person.
10B. In my system of metaphysics, I classify the fetus as a person.

The "A"-type statements (Standard English) all implicitly or explicitly assume the medieval view called "Aristotelian essentialism" or "naive realism." In other words, they assume a world made up of block-like entities with indwelling "essences" or spooks- "ghosts in the machine." The "B"-type statements (E-Prime) recast these sentences into a form isomorphic to modern science by first abolishing the "is" of Aristotelian essence and then reformulating each observation in terms of signals received and interpreted by a body (or instrument) moving in space-time.

Relativity, quantum mechanics, large sections of general physics, perception psychology, sociology, linguistics, modern math, anthropology, ethology, and several other sciences make perfect sense when put into the software of E-Prime. Each of these sciences generates paradoxes, some bordering on "nonsense" or "gibberish," if you try to translate them back into the software of Standard English.

Concretely, "The electron is a wave" employs the Aristotelian "is" and thereby introduces us to the false-to-experience notion that we can know the indwelling "essence" of the electron. "The electron appears as a wave when measured by instrument-1" reports what actually occurred in space-time, namely that the electron when constrained by a certain instrument behaved in a certain way.

Similarly, "The electron is a particle" contains medieval Aristotelian software, but "The electron appears as a particle when measured by instrument-2" contains modern scientific software. Once again, the software determines whether we impose a medieval or modern grid upon our reality-tunnel.

Note that "the electron is a wave" and "the electron is a particle" contradict each other and begin the insidious process by which we move gradually from paradox to nonsense to total gibberish. On the other hand, the modern scientific statements "the electron appears as a wave when measured one way" and "the electron appears as a particle measured another way" do not contradict, but rather complement each other. (Bohr's Principle of Complementarity, which explained this and revolutionized physics, would have appeared obvious to all, and not just to a person of his genius, if physicists had written in E-Prime all along. . . .)

Looking at our next pair, "John is lethargic and unhappy" vs. "John is bright and cheerful,' we see again how medieval software creates metaphysical puzzles and totally imaginary contradictions. Operationalizing the statements, as physicists since Bohr have learned to operationalize, we find that the E-Prime translations do not contain any contradiction, and even give us a clue as to causes of John's changing moods. (Look back if you forgot the translations.)

"The first man stabbed the second man with a knife" lacks the overt "is" of identity but contains Aristotelian software nonetheless. The E-Prime translation not only operationalizes the data, but may fit the facts better-if the incident occurred in a psychology class, which often conduct this experiment. (The first man "stabs," or makes stabbing gestures at, the second man, with a banana, but many students, conditioned by Aristotelian software, nonetheless "see" a knife. You don't need to take drugs to hallucinate; improper language can fill your world with phantoms and spooks of many kinds.)

The reader may employ his or her own ingenuity in analyzing how "is-ness" creates false-to-facts reality-tunnels in the remaining examples, and how E-Prime brings us back to the scientific, the operational, the existential, the phenomenological--to what humans and their instruments actually do in space-time as they create observations, perceptions, thoughts, deductions, and General Theories.

I have found repeatedly that when baffled by a problem in science, in "philosophy," or in daily life, I gain immediate insight by writing down what I know about the enigma in strict E-Prime. Often, solutions appear immediately-just as happens when you throw out the "wrong" software and put the "right" software into your PC. In other cases, I at least get an insight into why the problem remains intractable and where and how future science might go about finding an answer. (This has contributed greatly to my ever-escalating agnosticism about the political, ideological, and religious issues that still generate the most passion on this primitive planet.)

When a proposition resists all efforts to recast it in a form consistent with what we now call E-Prime, many consider it "meaningless." Korzybski, Wittgenstein, the Logical Positivists, and (in his own way) Niels Bohr promoted this view. I happen to agree with that verdict (which condemns 99 percent of theology and 99.999999 percent of metaphysics to the category of Noise rather than Meaning)--but we must save that subject for another article. For now, it suffices to note that those who fervently believe such Aristotelian propositions as "A piece of bread, blessed by a priest, is a person (who died two thousand years ago)," "The flag is a living being," or "The fetus is a human being" do not, in general, appear to make sense by normal twentieth-century scientific standards.

Original web-site - also includes an addendum that I think would be useful to read as well.

Further reading

And, yes, I do see the problem with my quote from RAW in my sig!
This seems interesting to me. aha? I've got the hang of e-prime and deconstruction.
The website is fantastic
www.anxietyculture.com

C O N T R O L S Y S T E M S print-friendly version >

The Metaphysical System
How unsuspected metaphysical assumptions control us, and how to undermine this control...

"Metaphysics is about what there really is"
The Bluffer’s Guide to Philosophy

Metaphysical musings about "what things really are" have been called "meaningless" by many modern thinkers. For example, consider these metaphysical statements:

"God is a gas" (Alan Partridge, Radio Norwich DJ)
"Saddam Hussein is evil" (President Fraudulence)
"Modern art is crap" (Phil O. Stein, BBC head)

How do you verify statements about the "true reality" (or "identity", or "essence") of God, Saddam Hussein or modern art? According to some people (eg the Logical Positivists), only verifiable statements have meaning, and metaphysics tends to produce unverifiable statements.

For example, how do you verify that modern art "is" (or isn’t) crap? Until somebody invents a Crap-o-Meter, the "crapness" remains a subjective evaluation – nobody can objectively detect "essence of crap" inside art.

What about "God is a gas"? We can verify gas, but not "God". And even statements such as "nitrogen is a gas" look dubious, since nitrogen "is" a liquid too.

Similarly, the statement "Saddam Hussein is evil" seems unverifiable, and therefore meaningless. So what can we verify? "Saddam gave an order to torture X people on date Y". We could verify that with documentary evidence. Prosecuting people under international law doesn’t require metaphysics.
How Metaphysics Controls Us

For most of us, our habitual language expresses unconscious metaphysical assumptions. And since our language tends to program our beliefs about "reality", we perceive reality in terms of metaphysics. This makes us act stupid.

A lot of western metaphysics derives from Plato and Aristotle. Let’s call this unfortunate Platonic/Aristotelian legacy "essentialism". Essentialism views reality in terms of block-like entities inhabited by "true essences". So, for example, the essence of "evil" inhabits the entity Saddam Hussein. Therefore, Saddam "really is" evil.

Anything that makes us act stupidly without knowing it, controls us. Essentialism makes us act stupidly by the process of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). If our incoming perceptions consist of block-entities with "true essences", our resulting thoughts won’t exhibit much complexity, flexibility or subtlety.

For example, if we perceive a human block-entity with a "dumb asshole" essence approaching, we act accordingly (like a monkey smelling an enemy). But if we perceive that this person merely behaved in "asshole" fashion in the past, after having a hard day, we might act more intelligently.

Abandoning the habit of metaphysical essentialism not only raises IQ, it also helps us feel better emotionally. Imagine being surrounded by people who "really are" bastards, bitches, liars, cheats, assholes, etc. Now imagine being surrounded by people who contain no such "bad" essences/identities, but who only behave part-time in ways we dislike.

(Note: as an amateur satirist, I can say that politicians "are" Stupid Assholes without contradicting what I preach in this article).

On a more serious note, many unpleasant "isms" (eg fascism, racism, sexism) arise from the perception that some individuals "really are" just units of a group essence/identity. We could eradicate all such "isms" at the level of perception, given an education which removes metaphysical essentialism from language – something to bear in mind for people who think philosophy "really is" nothing to do with the real world.
How to Undermine Metaphysics

"A change in language can transform our appreciation of the cosmos"
– Benjamin Lee Whorf

Over the last two centuries many strategies have emerged for undermining the metaphysical control system: Existentialism, Pragmatism, Instrumentalism, Deconstruction, General Semantics, Surrealism, etc. You could almost regard it as the major intellectual "conspiracy" of the 20th century.

Many fields besides philosophy have adopted this trend to a greater or lesser degree: modern science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, literature, etc. Unfortunately the fields that need it most – politics and religion/ideology – seem to have ignored it.

Let’s look at two popular strategies, one difficult and one easy: Deconstruction (difficult) and E-Prime (easy).
Deconstruction

In seeking "essential truth", metaphysicians want a solid foundation, a fundamental grounding of "truth" at a central point. With this centre/origin fixed, they also need to define its opposite: the false/peripheral.

Everything then fits into binary opposites, with the first term articulating the fundamental, positive, true, solid "ground" – and the second term representing the negative, false, derivative, deficient, lacking, "dilution" or "corruption":

Being – Non-being
Presence – Absence
Good – Evil
Life – Death
Cause – Effect
Light – Dark
Strong – Weak
Pure – Impure
Simple – Complex
Original – Imitation

In this metaphysical system, the "negative" secondary term comes after the original term. The "primary", the "good", the "true" always comes first. Then the corruption follows. Politically and socially this translates into the belief that:

"Everything is turning to shit"

Like many 21st Century reactionaries, Plato believed in an original "Golden Age", with nothing but degeneration and corruption to expect in the future. You can see how this type of metaphysics might correlate with political conservatism.

A metaphysics of binary opposites limits logical reasoning to either/or choices. Either something "is" strong, or it "is" weak; either it "is" good or it "is" evil, etc. No in-between, no "maybe", no paradox, no irony.

Deconstruction subverts metaphysics by disrupting its foundations and dislodging its certitudes. How? By throwing a Zombie in the works. Zombies don’t fit into the metaphysical either/or categories of "alive or dead". And what about "inside or outside"? The force which controls a Zombie – "is" it inside or outside?

Metaphysical difficulties arise not just with "real" Zombies but also with glazed-eyed consumers in supermarkets (for example). Can you say with certainty whether zombie-like consumers "really are" hypnotised? Do you know anyone who "is" unhypnotised?

Deconstruction derails, destabilises, corrupts and contaminates metaphysical language. And that "really is bad" from the metaphysician’s perspective. But only metaphysics asks what deconstruction "really is".
E-Prime

"Whatever you say a thing is, it isn’t"
– Alfred Korzybski

English Prime, or E-prime for short, arose out of General Semantics. It looks like standard English, but with the words "is", "are", "was", "would be" (and other cognates of "is") removed. Removing the "is" (of identity) from language effectively eradicates metaphysical statements about what things "really are".

For example, the sentence: "Fred is a commie" would appear in E-Prime as something like: "I regard Fred as a commie". E-Prime expresses what we perceive and think about things, rather than what things "really are".

E-Prime makes sense when applied to science – eg the argument over whether an electron "really is" a wave or a particle:

Standard English:
"The electron is a particle"
"The electron is a wave"

E-Prime:
"The electron appears as a particle to instrument A"
"The electron appears as a wave to instrument B"

The two standard English statements contradict, whereas the E-Prime statements seem complementary. E-Prime makes sense of emotional "human" issues too:

"That film is sexist" (standard English)
"That film seems sexist to me" (E-Prime)

With standard English, debates often degenerate into hysterical "Yes, it is!", "No it isn’t!!" type arguments (monkey metaphysics). E-Prime seems to avoid this.

Who knows: in the future, E-Prime might even help prevent a war.
tehuti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2008, 09:06 PM   #17
demiurge
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 45
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

in every is there is an isn t and viceversa.
__________________
I have great faith in fools, self-confidence my friends call it.
demiurge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2008, 02:06 AM   #18
esse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Currently in Australia - not for too long
Posts: 601
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Well it all sounds very PC - Nothing is - all is subjective... In the relative this is often the case - don't think always.

A language like E-Prime might do away with debate altogether. Is it not another form of Newspeak? I find Robert Anton Wilson to be a very entertaining individual whose theories support nihilism, chaos - isn't that the same as the mystery schools? Goddess Thelema? Praise Bob? It's easy to think he's getting at something when he writes of all this, his school of slack etc - that perhaps he is helping us have a laugh and obviously he knows whats up - funny how he never comes out and directly speaks about it, (and how his more ardent culty followers don't really seem to get into research but rather into slack, partying and nihilism) but rather presents us with a cynicism and nihilism to embrace, a viewpoint that denies any Truth - Absolute or intrinsic thing, and sneers rather it's all a big cosmic joke and yr perceptions are nothing - worthless and need to be noted as such. Undermined perhaps. And what agenda does it serve if we all ascribe to chaos theory? Who can know the secret societies ARE? When all we can do is believe they are. Isn't the denial of the absolute akin to what the satanists do? I'm not Christian, but I do believe in an absolute reality - call it God, call it nature, call it Emptiness. I do believe in the virtues - that evil actions need to be known and noted as such I believe that that emptiness, call it what you will - is the essence of each one of us. Chogyam Trungpa calls it basic goodness.

Indians and Tibetans both say that butter is the essence of milk.
__________________
It's a Strange World...
esse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2008, 11:05 PM   #19
krakhead
Premier Subscribers
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dark Side Of The Room
Posts: 11,335
Likes: 1 (1 Post)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by esse View Post
Well it all sounds very PC - Nothing is - all is subjective... In the relative this is often the case - don't think always.

A language like E-Prime might do away with debate altogether. Is it not another form of Newspeak? I find Robert Anton Wilson to be a very entertaining individual whose theories support nihilism, chaos - isn't that the same as the mystery schools? Goddess Thelema? Praise Bob? It's easy to think he's getting at something when he writes of all this, his school of slack etc - that perhaps he is helping us have a laugh and obviously he knows whats up - funny how he never comes out and directly speaks about it, (and how his more ardent culty followers don't really seem to get into research but rather into slack, partying and nihilism) but rather presents us with a cynicism and nihilism to embrace, a viewpoint that denies any Truth - Absolute or intrinsic thing, and sneers rather it's all a big cosmic joke and yr perceptions are nothing - worthless and need to be noted as such. Undermined perhaps. And what agenda does it serve if we all ascribe to chaos theory? Who can know the secret societies ARE? When all we can do is believe they are. Isn't the denial of the absolute akin to what the satanists do? I'm not Christian, but I do believe in an absolute reality - call it God, call it nature, call it Emptiness. I do believe in the virtues - that evil actions need to be known and noted as such I believe that that emptiness, call it what you will - is the essence of each one of us. Chogyam Trungpa calls it basic goodness.

Indians and Tibetans both say that butter is the essence of milk.

Wow! It appears that you have a very different take on this subject than I do! All this talk of nihilism and sneering - not something I've ever got from RAW or E-Prime. As for your beliefs - have a look here - http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23294

The point of E-Prime for me would be to constantly remind myself that my perception of the world around me can only be considered as just that - MY perception. 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter' sort of thing.

My God IS true, yours IS false - where is the TRUTH in that? Can't the only honest statement be - I consider my perception of 'god' to be the true one etc. - and no, I don't feel that if people spoke along these lines more often, there would be less debate, I think it would make debate clearer and more honest. I do, however, feel that it would lead to less ARGUMENTS.

I've been discussing this type of concept with people for many years and it has always appeared to me that the people with very fixed belief systems to be the ones who have a harder time accepting it than those who are more 'agnostic' in their personality.

I'm not saying anyone should give up their view on the world, but the realisation that my view on the world was just that - MY view - helped me immeasurably in my ability to relate to others and become - I feel - a better person.

I hope that the people who posted about their willingness to try out E-Prime will come back to this thread and discuss further the results of their experiments......
__________________
This message brought to you by
Krakhead Inc.
“You simply cannot invent any conspiracy theory so ridiculous and
obviously satirical that some people somewhere don't already believe it.”
Rwy'n dy garu di
krakhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2008, 05:16 AM   #20
esse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Currently in Australia - not for too long
Posts: 601
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
Default

Krakhead - I raised some questions - and sorry if I went on a bit of a tangent into other stuff about R. Anton's work - I've spent a fair time studying the guy's work and philosophies and find them to be nihilistic - which is not the point of Zen, in fact, is considered a downfall in all Buddhist schools. In yr response you have not answered any of my questions - I'm serious about how this is a language which also has heavy implications philosophically - and how these seem to be coming from a dark place (chaos) If you look into more of Anton's work you will find there is a lot there which is promoting chaos, nihilism and a general cynical and dismissive "belief system". It is quite in line with what the secret societies and Golden Dawn etc teach, and, while I am sure he is well aware of the occult and many things going on on the planet, I have for a long time questioned this and what he's about - and his works seem to me to have mainly promoted a view that - well, it doesn't seem to help - to say the least. The guy can be funny, and is very intelligent, but I've found him full of his own kinds of programming. My view, take from it what you will.
- you only say that you still have reason to like E-Prime and want yr supporters back. I see relevance in things yr saying, I agree there is such a thing as subjectivity in this world - of course, we are all subject to this - and problems like the ones you are describing occur - though I think this is due to people not using logic properly.
Belief should be respected, anyone's beliefs, we are all different and entitled. But belief is quite seperate from that which can be objectively observed - Something all our sciences and much of our signifiers need be based on. What I object to - is that It seems in E-Prime, what is being questioned is not the problem of one mans God or "Belief" over another so much as that there could be any objective reality at all.
"What is that" someone asks - That is the red light you just ran - I mean, is it that the red light is an illusion, is it a. an illusion which we are all experiencing collectively objectively and need to be able to communicate about in this collective objective reality which granted is not the absolute reality - but a relative illusion --- If this is the case, what purpose does E-Prime serve other than as an exercise to cut thru the ego - In this way, it has a positive use, but if it promotes nihilism - and the viewpoint that the objectivity experienced in the relative collective illusion or matirx reality etc is non-existant - that seems to me to be baseless and only promoting a greater confusion, neurosis and mental illness. We do know and see things - our beliefs are not our knowledge. Beliefs should not be pushed on others - but shared and respected... But try to tell the guy ya crashed into that you didn't see the red light ya ran because he only believes it exists... Well, this is the point I'm trying to make...
__________________
It's a Strange World...

Last edited by esse; 07-05-2008 at 05:30 AM.
esse is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:35 PM.


Shoutbox provided by vBShout (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.