18.44, Tuesday 28 Jun 2005 Link to this post

Why do we forget our childhood? It's because we don't have language yet, so these memories simply are not ever encoded in language, and for that reason, never become part of an adult's autobiographical memory.

Language always surprises me. So high-level, but we need it for so many basic tasks, even for making some geometrical+colour deductions [pdf; from hack #61 in Mind Hacks].

I do wonder how much of this is learnable. Ben Cerveny did a great talk at reboot7 about complex systems. He talked about rule-sets as becoming a metaphor source, and eventually (from my notes), once you have enough entities and relationships, you can start having feelings about the game, make forecasts and so on. it becomes a language, the symbolic world. there are emotions, non-quantitative things.

...which is, he said, what Tarot is. I don't know whether you've mucked around with divination at all. It's bunk, of course (I say, offending billions of people simultaneously), but as a way of feeling the invisible texture of your own world, there's nothing like it. I Ching is particularly well constructed. And then there's Tom Carden's comment about Go being a primitive cellular automata. Yum.

I guess these experiments show that language-as-prop for memory and geometry isn't replaceable by a learned system. But perhaps learned systems can be props at a higher level? Does the religious framework let us see the otherwise-invisible geometry of the human condition, perhaps? And then we're back to neuroscience, with the Buddhist monks who can hold conflicting perceptions in mind without resolving them.

To see the isness and the perceived simultaneously; to sit outside language at the same time as holding language. Knowing a craft is to know the activity on its own terms, outside language.