Slaves and the origins of language

I smoked some weed last night for the first time in god knows how long. It was pretty awesome! I felt great, I felt life to be a lot more tolerable. The last time I smoked I remember how anxious I was, it was like I was just reading everyone’s reaction to me, all the little passive aggressive moves, all my little misteps, the strange implications of everything I say. I think I become a lot more open to the perspectives of others when I’m high. That made me anxious, and I experienced that last night too, but I guess I didn’t really care all that much what people thought about me.

Anyways, I think the biggest thing I realized was how real all that I had been speaking of is. For example, when I spoke about Bartleby’s tautology, I emphasized its origins in negativity and rejection. But when I was high yesterday I realized that there was absolutely no difference in reality between Bartleby’s tautology and, say, the person in front of me. I had been unwittingly thinking about it as some kind of rare or spiritual occurence, when it is in fact, I believe, very real.

The big connection I want to make is between this tautology and the work. This is related to the “bottomless human” principle, “human all the way down”. For example, without even thinking about the details, we can imagine the general project of the philosophy of math to be, to demonstrate that the structure of math is not axiomatic, not derived from assumptions and rules, but rather “human” despite its “pretensions” to purity. I put the word “pretension” in quotes because we are pushing towards a model where it is not high (as the word suggests) but *low* — a lowly, subconscious operation. But, as we were saying, this project would basically be to say that math is human “all the way down”. Consider, for example, that math is really a drawing of boundaries: we are interested in this and not that. What distinguishes pure math from practical math, or theory from application? Well, purity involves a certain sort of imagination — it is not a matter that purity is somehow more “rule based” or anything. So this imagination is, in fact, still “human” in some way, it is not some pure principle, but rather a hazily defined set of assumptions and visions.

So, it occured to me last night that I had been unwittingly assuming that the tautology “wasn’t real” in some way. But nothing is real, which means that the tautology is just as real as everything else. But it is nonetheless based on some principle of rejection, which is very real, very social — I mean, we are literally talking about “minorities” or something similar. The big connection I want to make is that:

The tautology arises from slave labor.

The slave is someone who works without deriving meaning from his work. In fact, I consider it to be the rejection of meaning — well, if only because he was in turn excluded, himself. But the paradox here is the chicken and the egg, when it comes to the slave and the master. The basic question here is how the negation can in fact be original. Because the slave, indeed, can only exist within a system under the master, the slave is one who is, for some reason or another, forced to do work from which he derives no benefit, does not find meaningful. But this “mutual rejection” then exists to postulate a new subconscious that has always been around, that is, in fact, I believe, the origin.

It is the origin because of this consideration: supposing that we are the first species on this planet to develop language — why are we so special? Communication is in fact universal to all species, and in fact all the vast majority of higher animals are capable even of aural communication. Yet language differes fundamentally from communication. Thus, language does not at all follow “naturally” from sound, but needs that extra push — which is, I believe, precisely the master-slave society.


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