1.23.2002

[6] My grandson and I were sitting on the front steps one day. We were looking at the sky. I said, "Hey Nick, look at the clouds!" He didn't know what I meant. He liked the sky, however. Fortunately it was a windy day and there was a tall building across the street that obscured a slice of our view. I picked out a big, white, puffy cloud and pointed to it (ostensive teaching) and said watch -- it disappeared behind the building and then re-appeared. "That's a cloud," I said. Nick grasped this and his view of the sky has never been the same. Words create things like theories create facts. Thingness is not an in-itself quality, but an attribute conferred by linguistic designation. I'll put this out there but I am not wedded to it.

You gave me so much to think about that I need to give myself a good talking to. The anthropological questions can be suspended for a time, but I think we will need to re-visit these just to help illustrate and ground some argumentative points. Please tell me more about Pound's ideographic method. Note to myself: start studying Vietnamese and get a dog.

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