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Old July 1 2013, 04:45 PM   #542
Fleet Captain
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Re: What are you reading?

Kolinahr wrote: View Post
RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
^^ You're right, it's definitely an oversimplification. Reason is vital, of course, but it's not what stands between us and chaos-- the animal kingdom is not chaotic, merely animalistic. Many of the qualities we consider noble-- love, sympathy, loyalty, compassion-- are present in mammals generally (and other classes as well). What really defines Humanity are the arts and sciences.
What about history? Does that also distinguish Humans from other animals? We do, after all, learn from the past if we take the time to sit down and listen.
Histories are very important. From technical manuals that keep technology growing to blueprints for buildings, to religious documents--all is meant to share with a wider range of audiences than our own circle, and possibly, to teach the next generation.

However, I would classify language as more important before that. Most animals communicate, but rarely do they have symbols and abstractions that can be applied in new and seemingly unlimited ways. That's our most important tool, but it is still a tool. We have a language center of the brain and if it's disturbed, we lose our ability to communicate. But that area in people who are deaf, morphs into something else when language is not available. It resolves conflicts, it communicates ideas and concepts, our nuance. And basic understanding of language, allows us to move into higher thinking centers of the brain when we become adults. It is how we are able to share ideas right now on this message board.

Each word carries with it a general concept, it has to stay general in order for it to be applied to more than one situation, and it has to apply to more than one situation in order for it to mean something when it is shared. I say "I am sitting in a chair." You have never seen me, but you know the position of my body, the concept of I (HaventGotALife), chair, sit are contained in that sentence. The concept of present-tense (what I am doing at the time of this post), is also present because I didn't say "sat." It's simple to us, a sentence like that. But it wasn't always. And we continue to learn and grow from those simple concepts in language, to more complex material and more obscure concepts. The more we are a master of language, the more precise we can be in our communication, sharing ideas, and possibly re-shaping the world.

Anyway, this is WAAY off topic, and if you want to continue this discussion, I think we need to start another thread.
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