Sunday, December 02, 2007

Meaning and power

I was reading today about Cordelia in King Lear. When she refuses to flatter her father with how much she loves him, King Lear accepts the blatantly meaningless praise of his other two daughters and banishes Cordelia.

This 'lazy' unwillingness to probe deeper seems to plague us today. We are too willing to accept results that a computer produces than go out and do the work ourselves. We make a mistake when we say to ourselves 'computers know best' because computers only show what somebody else has told them to do.

So when I write an email about Cockatiels it gets accused of being pornographic and in the most extreme case this email may lead to me getting into trouble.

We have lost the ability to think. A teacher in Sudan is in jail because of this.

We are told that 'the facts speak for themselves' - the facts say nothing but what other people want them to say and the sooner we come back to this fundamental understanding of language the better.