Language and the Technical

11. Language and the Technical


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين وسلّم


Title: Language and the Technical

Author: Uthman Ibrahim-Morrison

Publication date: 13/04/13

Civilisation and Society II: Technique and Science

11. Language and the Technical

Assalamu alaykum. Welcome to the Civilisation & Society Programme of the MFAS. This is the eleventh of 12 sessions which make up the Technique and Science module. The lecture will last approximately 40 minutes during which time you should make a written note of any questions that may occur to you for clarification after the lecture. 

Introduction 

The overall purpose of the Technique and Science course is to throw light on how science has developed a power – both ideological and physical – the like of which has never existed on earth before, and which has spread over the entire globe. In keeping with this theme today’s lecture will seek to explore how this power has spread with specific reference to the sphere of language. To that end we will look at how, through the application of scientific and technological methods, language has become a means or an instrument for the exercise of political control. The lecture will be divided into two main parts, beginning with an examination of language as an inherently human attribute. In the second part I will focus on the manner in which this natural attribute has been subjected to the processes of scientific methodology and the resulting consequences of this technique based appropriation of language as a fact of the European enlightenment and subsequent scientific and/or pseudo-scientific developments since that time.

Part I: Language as Inherently Human

To begin, I will relate a personal experience that happened to me well over twenty years ago when I had been Muslim for less than a year. In the course of a telephone conversation I was having with another new Muslim (though a little less new than I was), the man I was speaking to, who was not an Arabic speaker by any stretch of the imagination, enthusiastically and with utter conviction asserted that Arabic was far superior to English and was the superior in every way to all of the world’s other languages. It was not that I necessarily had any immediate objections to this assertion, on the contrary, it was something that I had already reflected upon and thought of it as something I might one day experience personally by direct exposure to the miraculous qualities of the Qur’an. However, as a teacher of grammar and literature, as well as having been a student of theoretical and applied linguistics, I was taken aback by the untrammelled confidence of his statement, which I was sure that neither he (who had no need of evidence) nor I, in spite of or perhaps even because of my specialised training, could have supported the position ‘empirically’ that is, in terms of the theoretical categorisations and descriptive frameworks of modern linguistic analysis. The thing that remained with me from this conversation during all the intervening years, was the profound sense of irreconcilable conflict between the ‘holistic’ response to language as the inseparable mediator of human experience on the one hand; and on the other hand, the subjugation of language to technical analysis and objectification, which this lecture now provides us with the opportunity to examine.

In the Qur’an we are reminded that amongst many other blessings man has been gifted with “two eyes, a tongue and two lips” (Al-Balad - The City 90:8-9). This reference to man’s face and lips and the specific attention given to the mouth is highly significant. As far as everyday existence is concerned, the face is the focal point of our physical appearance as human beings and represents the very seat, both of our individual identities, and of our collective human identity. Using the latest MRI scanning techniques, neuroscientists have found confirmation that our brains are ‘hard-wired’ in highly specific and complex ways for facial recognition, including the interpretation and emotional response to facial expressions. One need only recall the striking scene in the cult science fiction film The Matrix, where for refusing to cooperate with his captors, the mouth of the main protagonist is simply made to disappear, leaving behind a completely blank area of skin - the horrible sense of shock produced by the image is spontaneous and visceral. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, who can fail to be enchanted by the way in which even the youngest infants instinctively scan and respond to the faces around them, their gaze automatically drawn to the eyes and mouth - not to mention their reactions to the sound of recognisable voices. 

The lips are the immediately visible doorways to an entire speech-producing apparatus which ordinarily, apart from the tongue, is largely hidden and consists of lungs, trachea, larynx, pharynx, oral cavity (containing hard and soft palate and the teeth), then above there is the nasal cavity and below, the jaw. It would be an unnecessary distraction at this point to allow ourselves to become immersed in a blow-by-blow commentary on what has now become the popular spectator sport of evolutionism versus creationism, as the two positions arise out of mutually exclusive epistemological paradigms, which as such, represent permanent incompatibilities, any competition or comparisons between which, serve usefully only to reiterate the expanse of the gulf between these diametrically opposed views of reality. 

Therefore, we come from the point of departure of language as an inherent and inevitable human creational destiny, compatible and commensurate with man’s cosmic role in the universe as the conscious locus of conjunction between the apparent, but constantly vanishing nature of the ‘empirical’ experience of the apparently material universe, and the unseen realm of the infinite and everlasting. From this viewpoint language emerges as man’s necessary and indivisible means for contemplating, communicating, mediating and articulating the knowledge he perceives, at least up to that point where words themselves fall short and cognisance becomes direct, but that is another matter that lies beyond the scope of today’s lecture. 

Over the last two centuries the advance of the scientific method of explanation exclusively in terms of empirical measurement and experimentation, has now arrived at complete dominance over our way of thinking and knowing, and is constantly reinforced by every available means. Hence, some of you may be aware of the excited announcement made in the media earlier this week regarding the possible discovery of the key to the evolution of human speech by scientists long stumped by the enormous gap in language ability between the major primates and human beings. Reports included recordings of the Gelada, a species of baboon unique to the Ethiopian Highlands, whose strange call is said to share significant vocal and articulatory features with our own speech. 

It is not that such researches and speculations do not occasionally give rise to interesting observations or discoveries, it is simply that so long as the scientific approach relies upon the separation of the phenomena under investigation (in this case language) from the purposive organic and holistic environment that is the proof and source of their essential meaning; and so long as it relies upon the atomistic dispersal of its subject matter in pursuit of its basic constituents at the expense of an understanding of the whole, the ultimate in useful knowledge will continue to evade such techniques. Indeed, we will come in the second part to examine the question of what this technique is actually destined to capture, as opposed to the knowledge it fails to apprehend. Here I would also refer you to the Dean Abdassamad Clarke’s excellent recent lecture no.7 (16/03/13) on “The New Physics” for a picture of how even the most advanced quantum techniques have failed to achieve the grail of ‘objectivity’ which is supposed to lie at the heart the scientific paradigm. 

Therefore, far from being some coincidental, fortuitous or triumphant rearrangement of discrete and identifiable genetic and anatomical permutations winning through over countless millennia by way of natural selection, it must be understood that humankind is created and pre-equipped for language acquisition (which every normal child accomplishes with astounding readiness), including the production, perception and understanding of speech, together with a ready capacity for mastery of its secondary representations in the form of writing and other signs, and that this capacity is confined to that creational territory reserved for mankind in his role as Allah’s khalif on the earth and the very purpose of the Universe. The following key passages from the writing of Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir as-Sufi set the parameters to this perspective:

“Letters form a complete mapping of the vocal organ, the organ of speech. The letters of the alphabet are therefore placed along the organ at the points of impact where glottis contracts, tongue touches, lips move, and breath is aspired. Kafir semiotics cannot recognise the ‘fittingness’ of vocal organ to letter by which speech is possible. If examined there is absolutely nothing ‘accidental’ about speech. According to the Qur’an it is precisely speech which marks out man over all other creatures. We may say that every creature ‘expresses,’ but there is in this articulation of man the key to his meaning. Without the biological patterning of the vocal organ, speech would not have been possible.” (Indications from Signs p. 4)

Also:

“Qur’an is categoric in declaring that Allah taught Adam, primal man, all the names, or if you like, all the words. This implies that he found from within himself the capacity to decode what was outside himself. The evolutionist fiction of a simian intelligence beginning with grunt identification and moving on to complexified coding is not tenable. The evidence clearly demonstrates that the more primitive the language the more sophisticated and complex the communications web within it. Indeed we can now see from our present position of barbarism that language decays rather than develops. Arabic, being the oldest in the semitic group, ia an ancient language - it may even be the mother tongue of the human species, but only Allah knows.” (ibid. p. 8)

Finally:

“Language is not, after all, a skill. It is an essential element of the total organism, for man finds that he is a speech creature. Man-walking is man-talking. Man-knowing is man-speaking.” (ibid. p. 9)

The statement ‘Language is the House of Being’ will be familiar to anyone acquainted with the philosophy of the German thinker, Martin Heidegger, whose political insights featured prominently in last term’s course on the Politics of Power. In keeping with the Faculty’s explicit approach, which emphasises (and I quote from our website), “clear recognition of the essential advances to be gained through insights derived from the western intellectual tradition in combination with the most penetrating of contemporary Muslim scholarship,” I strongly recommend for our present purposes the very instructive lecture given previously in the current Technique and Science course by founder Fellow Ibrahim Lawson in lecture no.6 (09/03/13) “Concerning Technique”, as a most useful and informative introduction to Heidegger’s work. 

Arguably, the most significant existential philosopher of the last century, his understanding of language as the exclusive domain in which human ‘being’ is inherently present to himself and to existence itself, all but converges with the Qur’anic understanding as expressed above. In addition to this his preoccupation with, and deep insight into the fundamental influence of the dominant technological dispensation over the affairs of humanity as a whole, and therefore, inevitably over our relationship to language, I am left in no doubt that his contributions belong to those categories of knowledge which the Muslims are obliged by necessity and urged by tradition to seek out and benefit from - be it in China! For example, Heidegger states:

“For man is man only because he is granted the promise of language, because he is needful to language, that he may speak it.” [On the Way to Language, p. 90]

Note that the emphasis here is not on the fact of man’s need for language, but rather, on the realisation of man’s needfulness to language; that language is in need of man’s speech, not on the surface level of natural language as a syntactically coherent means of communication, but because of the indissoluble bond between the pre-existing essence of language, the being of language, in relation to the meaning reality of man’s destiny as speaker. In a rather pleasing way, this brings me back to the anecdote I related at the beginning of the lecture regarding my new Muslim interlocutor’s assertion of the superiority of the Arabic language over every other language, at which I was left speechless at the time, whether for or against the claim. This is because there is a meaningful parallel to be drawn here in the relationship between the pre-existent Qur’an (as preserved upon the Tablet of Forms - the lawhim-mahfudh) and the destiny of Arabic as the linguistic medium for the revelation. There can have been no greater or truer human ‘experience with language’ (as intended by Heidegger) than the momentous first occurrence of the convergence in time and space between the Final Revelation to mankind, the last and Master of the Messengers (peace be upon him) and the tremendous command: “Recite - In the Name of your Lord who created...” 

As for finally bringing a belated conclusion to the persistent memory of that early conversation I can find no more succinct way of summing it up than that offered by Shaykh Dr Abdalqadir as-Sufi, who states:

“The Qur’an was not ‘made from Arabic’ but rather Arabic can be seen to be made for the Qur’an. It is designed precisely to contain the message, and is the perfect vehicle for it.” [Indications from Signs, p. 5]

Returning to Heidegger, his work provides us with striking indications of the survival within modern, western philosophical effort of the capacity to transcend the technical strictures of scientism in order to claim access to the inalienable opportunity to properly identify and contemplate reality, that lies within the gift of language as profoundly destined for humanity, as opposed to language and thought as a methodological prison camp of the intellect. At the beginning of an essay whose subject is ‘The Way to Language’ the reader is advised in advance that the whole discussion could be read as a collection of scientifically untested and unverifiable propositions, but that the alternative is the possibility of experiencing something along the way by which the encounter with language is no longer as with something familiar. Whatever that ‘something’ is, Heidegger’s response to the question he himself rhetorically poses as to why a way to language should be needed at all, produces the following affirmation of that which we already know, but has been made doubtful:

“According to an ancient understanding, we ourselves are after all those beings who have the ability to speak and therefore already possess language. Nor is the ability to speak just one among man’s many talents, of the same order as the others. The ability to speak is what marks man as man. This mark contains the design of his being. Man would not be man if it were denied him to speak unceasingly, from everywhere, from every which way, in many variations, and to speak in terms of an “it is” that most often remains unspoken. Language, in granting all this to man, is the foundation of human being.” [On the Way to Language. p. 112]

Not only do we see here the reiteration of the inseparability between man, his ability to speak and the conformity of his being with that unique destiny, but crucially, we also see that something almost ineffable is being indicated that lies beyond speech itself, but which is the unnamed, originating source if the “it is” Heidegger refers to. Muslims will have no difficulty in identifying here the ‘Kun - fayakun’ (the ‘Be - and it is’) that belongs to the exclusive realm of Allah ta’ala, the timeless echo of which remains present in all the names, or as we observed before, all of the words He taught to sayyidina Adam. The profundity of Heidegger’s insight in this connection is further indicated by the closing sentence of the quote we are reading, where the word ‘language’ is deliberately invested with the capacity for agency in making the grant of speech to man; his silence or reticence on the matter of purpose or intentionality in it is easily supplied from the Qur’anic perspective. We should also note in the final clause that language in its granting to man is described not as the foundation of the human being, but rather, of human being, which goes to the very event of man’s existence as opposed to an attribute (speech), however fundamental, of his creational design.

Part II: The Technical Appropriation of Language

We will take another statement of Heidegger’s as the opening to the second part of today’s lecture, which will focus upon the subjection of language to the processes of scientific methodology and the resulting consequences:

“Of late, the scientific and philosophical investigation of languages is aiming ever more resolutely at the production of what is called “metalanguage.” Analytical philosophy, which is set on producing this super-language, is thus quite consistent when it considers itself metalinguistics. That sounds like metaphysics - not only sounds like it, it IS metaphysics. Metalinguistics is the metaphysics of the thoroughgoing technicalization of all languages into the sole operative instrument of interplanetary information. Metalanguage and sputnik, metalinguistics and rocketry are the Same.” [ibid. p. 58]

It is hardly necessary to enter into the detail of the various philosophical and linguistic trends and disciplines to which Heidegger is referring here in order to grasp his fundamental point. To be sure, in the twentieth century analytical philosophy, as associated with names such as Wittgentein, Russell and Frege, brought an admiration for methods associated with the natural sciences and introduced an emphasis on arriving at linguistic consistency and clarity of thought through the application of formal predicate logic and mathematical technique to the analysis of language. 

However, prior to twentieth century developments, the scientific study of language in the nineteenth century was dominated by an approach to their researches that is variously referred to as ‘philology’, ‘historical linguistics’ or ‘diachronic linguistics’, the primary focus of which was the systematic investigation of the origin of languages, the discovery and reconstruction of extinct ‘proto-languages’, and the classification of their descendants into family groupings. For example, therefore, the Indo-European family, which includes most European languages and those of Northern India is predicated upon the theoretical existence of a Proto-Indo-European language. Although to some extent the example of classical physics (as opposed to quantum physics) took the lead in the study of sound-changes in language, the scientific movement within philology tended to take the majority of its impetus from the biological rather than the mathematical, hence, the determination to see languages as organic objects to be described objectively, and the overriding influence of Darwinian evolutionary theory over the direction of linguistic research and the interpretation of evidence. 

The scientific emphasis in the study of language which gave rise to what we know as linguistics was almost exclusively the preserve of German scholars, including: Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) who is noted as being the first in Europe to approach language as a system governed by rules; Jacob Grimm 1785-1863 (of the Brothers Grimm) after whom ‘Grimm’s Law’ describing Proto-Germanic consonant-shift is named; Franz Bopp (1791-1867) whose Lautgesetz, ‘sound-law’ offered a ‘mechanical’ explanation for the alternation of vowels in morphological paradigms comparable to that found in the irregular English verbal forms, ‘sing - sang - sung’; August Schleicher (1821-1868) who produced the Stammbaum, or ‘family tree’ theory of language evolution in immediate response to Darwin’s Origin of the Species; August von Schlegel (1767-1845) who is credited with the three-way classification of languages into ‘isolating’, ‘agglutinating’ and ‘inflecting’ as ideal types; and worthy of mention is the Dane, Erasmus Rask (1787-1832) who was not only actually the first to state Grimm’s Law but he also mastered at least twenty-five languages and dialects in the course of his investigations, and his grave, unsurprisingly, carries inscriptions in Arabic, Old Norse and Sanskrit!

Of course, none of these tendencies towards the scientific paradigm could have been the case if not for the advent of the ‘age of reason’ or the Enlightenment in Europe (c.1650-1789) which we looked at last term in lecture no.2 “The European Context” (08/09/12) as part of the Politics of Power module, where we find the following powerful summary of the Enlightenment’s purpose and impact by the contemporary philosopher A.C. Grayling:

“Recognising the aspiration to that change of authority [from religion to science] is the key to understanding the Enlightenment, informed in its very essence by the idea that the spirit of science should be extended into all domains… That was what the Enlightenment was: an enlargement of the scientific approach - to put it at its most general: the empirically controlled, responsible, non-dogmatic exercise of reason - to wider domains of concern… major examples of its consequences, to speak again in general terms, are all the revolutions of the eighteenth century.” [Towards the Light. A.C. Grayling, pp. 103-4]

Our concern here, of course, is how that “spirit of science” has been extended into the realm of language. The Enlightenment took its main impetus from the Renaissance, which occurs more or less between the 13th and 17th centuries. Through a fascinating series of essays gathered under the title Vernacular Values by the philosopher, academic and radical social commentator Ivan Illich (1926-2002) we are provided with a dramatic view of the how in 1492 the scholar and grammarian Antonio de Nebrija (1441-1522) petitions Queen Isabella to support his project for the deliberate and systematic displacement of vernacular language by means of the professional formulation and imposition of abstract grammatical rules and the compilation of dictionaries, through which gradual process Illich identifies “...the coming of the market-intensive society in which we now live.” The following passage paints a stunning picture:

“Nebrija frankly states what he wants to do and even provides the outline of his incredible project. He deliberately turns the mate of empire into its slave. Here the first modern language expert advises the Crown on the way to make, out of a people’s speech and lives, tools that befit the state and its pursuits. Nebrija’s grammar is conceived by him as a pillar of the nation-state. Through it, the state is seen, from its very beginning, as an aggressively productive agency.

The new state takes from people the words on which they subsist, and transforms them into the standardized language which henceforth they are compelled to use, each one at the level of education that has been institutionally imputed to him. Henceforth, people will have to rely on the language they receive from above, rather than to develop a tongue in common with one another. The switch from the vernacular to an officially taught mother tongue is perhaps the most significant - and, therefore, least researched - event in the coming of a commodity-intensive society.

The radical change from the vernacular to taught language foreshadows the switch from breast to bottle, from subsistence to welfare, from production for use to production for market, from expectations divided between state and church to a world where the Church is marginal, religion is privatized, and the state assumes the maternal functions heretofore claimed only by the Church. Formerly, there had been no salvation outside the Church; now, there would be no reading, no writing - if possible, no speaking - outside the educational sphere. People would have to be reborn out of the monarch’s womb, and be nourished at her breast. Both the citizen of the modern state and his state-provided language come into being for the first time - both are without precedent anywhere in history.” [Vernacular Values - Ivan Illich]  

To continue then, the period from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century marks the age of the scientific revolution and the early modern age. The personalities associated with it have become iconic: Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) is the bridge from the Renaissance and is followed by the likes of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642); Johannes Kepler (1571-1630);  René Descartes (1596-1650); Isaac Newton (1642-1727); Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) and Francis Bacon (1561-1626). For a fuller account of the creation of modern science I strongly recommend Abdassamad Clarke’s lecture no.2 of the present module “The Rise of Science” (09/02/13).

By the time we come to the twentieth century onwards, the shift away from the historical or philological orientation of the previous century is complete, and the biological paradigm, which equated language with an organic species, had been abandoned due to a lack of convincing data and the fact that biology itself had become the poorer relation with respect to the mathematical and physical sciences. What we have witnessed instead is the rise of what has been called ‘synchronic linguistics’ which focuses upon the task of describing as a complete system the abstract entities we think of as languages that underlie the living utterances that people actually make every day. It is the description of language as a present social fact. 

This departure was initiated by Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) who, although considered the father of twentieth-century linguistics, having postulated the new ontological question  which linguistic theory would from then on seek to answer, various theoretical approaches and models have since entered the stage. It is beyond both the scope and purpose of today’s lecture to conduct a comprehensive survey of these developments, especially given the immense extension and proliferation of different grammatical theories and new disciplines such as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, computational linguistics, applied linguistics, discourse analysis, language acquisition, etc. Major theoretical approaches include the Descriptivists, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the Prague School (functional linguistics), generative grammar, generative phonology and relational grammar, to name a few of the most influential schools. 

At the core of linguistics is the study of language structure or grammar, which is understood to comprise at least five principal sub-fields: phonology (sounds); morphology (words); syntax (sentences); semantics (meaning); and pragmatics (context). By far the most influential single grammatical development of modern times is the generative theory first proposed by Noam Chomsky (1928-) in his seminal work Syntactic Structures (1957) which is generally acknowledged amongst linguists to have had a revolutionary impact on their discipline. In essence his theory proposes the existence of syntactic universals at a ‘deep structure’ level within the human brain capable of generating the ‘surface’ structures which represent the familiar forms of any human language. His highly mathematical approach to the description of how these structures operate and the highly complex hierarchical schematic diagrams required to visualise the role of each theoretical constituent, are not intelligible to the uninitiated. However, what they do project most graphically is an opening up and an ordering of language towards forms of manipulation or exploitation hitherto possible only in the realms of science fiction. Subsequent elaborations of this approach and its extension to related cognitive and other fields of investigation and application have in very little time, accelerated by the enormous advances made in the increased capacity of microprocessors, presented us with technological marvels such as speech synthesis (or machine speech), natural language processing, electronic voice recognition, machine translation and human experimentation with methods such as neuro-linguistic programming.

At this point we must return to Heidegger for the key to understanding the way in which scientific method has commandeered through man (whilst including man himself) the resources of the entire planet as a store of available material (standing reserve). Man is gathered into an enveloping technological ‘enframing’ (Ge-stell) and so is called in all of his actions, perceptions and language to the fulfilment of that way. He states:

“Because Framing challenges man, that is, provokes him to order and set up all that is present being as technical inventory... all ordering finds itself channeled into calculative thinking and therefore speaks the language of Framing. Speaking is challenged to correspond in every respect to Framing in which all present beings can be commandeered. Within Framing, speaking turns into information. It informs itself about itself in order to safeguard its own procedures by information theories. Framing - the nature of modern technology holding sway in all directions - commandeers for its purposes a formalised language, the kind of communication which ‘informs’ man uniformly, that is, gives him the form in which he is fitted into the technological-calculative universe and gradually abandons ‘natural language’.” [On the Way to Language, p. 131-2]

As indicated in the first part of this lecture, it is my conviction that the way of Muhammad (saws) is the last and only universally accessible way forward with freedom for mankind. 

That brings us to the end of today’s lecture. Next week is our final lecture of the module and will consist of an overall conclusion to the course. Thank you for your attention. Assalamu alaykum.

Postscript

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” [Bernays, E.L. Propaganda, p. 9]

The MFAS Spring Symposium 2012, Prophethood, Power and Privilege, raised the question of language in relation to the ability or otherwise, of the participants to communicate effectively for the purposes of any enterprise requiring collaborative intellectual enquiry. The discussion led to the recognition that the fundamental ‘subversion’ of our collective linguistic resources through mass education and entertainment, the corporate domination of the communications media and the resulting alienation of the means of semantic transmission, was a matter whose primary importance could not be ignored. 

In examining the power phenomenon of scientific technique, the present lecture has taken as its central focus the matrix of the linguistic sciences, which while it draws attention to the notorious case of Antonio de Nebrija and the political applications of his Grammar of the Castilian Language in the 15th century, it stops short of highlighting the case of Edward Bernays (1891-1995), the early twentieth century innovator in the field of propaganda and public relations whose infamous techniques based upon theories of crowd psychology and the psychoanalytical insights of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, were directed at the manipulation of public opinion and behaviour for political and commercial ends. In this connection the award-winning 1992 BBC documentary The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis is highly recommended viewing. 

However, as a final reflection on the technological enframing and commandeering of all things that characterises the lived reality of our time, it is worthy of note that within barely ten years of the fascinating revelations highlighted by Curtis, the term ‘neuromarketing’ had already been coined to describe the most recent applications of brain scanning and other biometric technology to gauge the unconscious processes governing the consumer’s sensorimotor, cognitive, and emotional responses to advertising, making it possible not only to accurately predict marketing effectiveness, but also to predict our decisions a full seven seconds in advance of them being consciously made by us. These developments have revolutionised the fields of advertising and marketing, with the largest corporations investing in their own research facilities. What we have in this instance is a clear example of how the challenge imposed upon us by the inescapable urgency of technique has subjugated our own scientific fantasies to excavation by our own media corporations for commercial entertainment purposes (here the film Minority Report comes readily to mind), whilst the technological paraphernalia propelled into functionality by corporate giants such as Volkswagen and Coca-Cola are already being employed to mine the unconscious activity of our central nervous systems for ever greater promotional advantages.

References

Bernays, E.L. Propaganda. Horace Liveright New York, 1928

Grayling, A.C. Towards The Light of Liberty. Walker & Company, 2007

Heidegger, M. On the Way to Language. Harper San Francisco, 1982

Illich, I. Essays from CoEvolution Quarterly formed the basis the book Shadow Work. Marion Boyars, 1981

Sampson, G. Schools of Linguistics: Competition and Evolution. Hutchinson & Co. Ltd, 1980

Further reading:

Abdassamad Clarke lecture no.2 Technique and Science “The Rise of Science” (09/02/13)

Ibrahim Lawson lecture no.6 Technique and Science “Concerning Technique” (09/03/13)

Philosophy and the Vision of Language by Paul M. Livingston. Routledge U.K., 2008 (see Part IV The question of language)