When you hear the word “god”, what does it invoke?
When you read about “money”, what does it mean to you?
When you use the word “freedom”, what does it feel like?
You may have a clear image, or you may have a fuzzy understanding of that something, but almost certainly you will be prone to some kind of deception. For to be able to stand living in civilization, it takes mental adjustment to the many ways in which the system violates common sense and normal human behaviour. Civilization has taken our language and turned it into a weapon – against us. By redefining the meaning of words – and there are several methods and strategies available to her – she can invoke the deeper meaning, the concept of, a phrase within us while referring to a much shallower or even conflicting notion of it. Newspeakand Doublethink, far from being fictional ideas out of an oft-cited, rarely fully understood novel, are part of today’s state of affairs; they come as easy to us as breathing the pungent urban stench of civilization while thinking nothing of it… and it’s just as poisonnous.
The power of language and its intimate relationship not only with all the rest of cultural phenomena, but with reality itself, has been well documented. Just two among many relevant works may already suffice to make that point: Daniel Everett’s report “Don’tsleep, there are snakes” and Stuart Chase’s book “The tyranny of words”.
The project will start with the German language but I’m already looking for people who would work on the English version. Can you help?