Re: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Monday, June 30, 2008, 1:47|
Mark J. Reed wrote:
> Hey, now. As a fellow atheist, I resent the implication that we don't
> care what happens after we're gone. That's a very selfish attitude to
> take. Just because I won't be around to observe the fate of my
> family, descendants, and planet, that means I should care less about
> it? Poppycock.
I'm not really sure why, but I also have concerns for the future of life
here. It seems a pretty natural thing, really. Life goes on, and I may
not have descendants, but all humans are pretty much like me in more
ways than they're different.
I've been thinking lately about what to do with the rest of my life. One
of those things that I really want to do is document my languages
better, maybe even publish a book or two on the world and the people who
speak them. I don't expect many people will read them, but maybe someday
conlanging will develop into a more mature art form and these early
records will be seen as something like the cave paintings. I also think
I have contributions to make in the development of 21st century
microtonal music. Not that I'm much of a composer, but I can actually
understand some of the math, and act as a bridge between the musicians
and the mathematicians.
Well, I've almost settled for waiting until after I retire to start
these tasks, figuring that I really need to devote my full attention to
them. But when you think about it, no one really knows how much time
they have left, until it's too late. Here all this time I've been
collecting Pokémon and trying to get through Guitar Hero on Expert
level, I could have been organizing my grammars and figuring out the
rules of microtonal harmony. I could be writing stories in Yasaro
instead of sitting through bad movies on the SciFi Channel. Maybe I
could find the time to learn to draw again and illustrate some of these
One idea that really resonates with me is the old Star Trek idea of
"infinite diversity in infinite combinations". From that perspective, I
don't think it's arrogant at all to want to see more variety and
creativity in the world. One way to judge an idea is to imagine what the
world would be like if everyone adopted it. Sure, not everything that
everyone writes is going to be remembered for long, but it has a better
chance than if it never gets expressed in the first place.
So ... I might want to shift around my priorities a bit. No one is going
to care how many achievements I rack up in Lego Indiana Jones, but
someone might have a use for a word they come across in the Tirelat
vocabulary or an interesting chord progression that's only possible in
> On 6/29/08, firstname.lastname@example.org <li_sasxsek@...> wrote:
>>> [mailto:CONLANG@listserv.brown.edu] On Behalf Of Rick Harrison
>>> If you have a personal language that you've never revealed to
>>> anyone else, for example: would you want to write a
>> description of
>>> the language ahead of time, and make arrangements to have it
>>> published after passing away? How would you make such
>> I suppose you could have a will that leaves a small trust fund
>> to cover the costs of publishing it on the web. Written
>> publication could become very expensive though so probably not
>> worthwhile without some big bucks. Of course you'd need and
>> executor who's capable and trustworthy to carry out your wished.
>>> If you have web pages that you want to stay online after you
>>> no longer pay the hosting bill, what options are available?
>>> Wayback Machine at archive.org doesn't catch everything and it
>>> not be around forever.
>> That would be the point of the trust fund. How long would
>> basically mean how much you leave behind. There are hosts that
>> can run as little as $100/year. It's just a matter of having
>> someone else to keep the site maintained.
>> I know archive.org won't be carrying on my sites. I had to
>> threaten them with a copyright lawsuit to get them to take my
>> domain down. The point was that I don't want obsolete
>> information being posted.
>>> The conlangers of ancient times published their ideas in
>>> which has preserved them to some degree, although some of the
>>> books are scarce collectors' items, unavailable from libraries
>>> never webified.
>> And for all we know there are many who never wrote anything and
>> their ideas are long forgotten.
>>> Is it arrogant to want some of your ideas to live on after you
>> Well, now you're getting philosophical. As an atheist, I could
>> care less what happens after I cease to exist, and it's the
>> quality of the existence that matters more than the duration.