Old subject plus new question
Languages start out with impenetrable complexity, used for encryption.
Over time they simplify in ways appropriate for the groups that use them.
Reprinting from 2016:
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Modern debates about encryption (ie the Bitcoin scam or the fake dispute between Apple and FBI) ring hollow to my ear, but I hadn't figured out why until just now.
Both sides are missing the oldest and deepest fact.
Encryption is the PRIMARY form of communication. Encryption came first. Publicly readable speech and writing came later.
Most living things communicate through chemical, visual and audio signals. Some fish
communicate through AM and FM radio waves. Bacteria and mitochondria communicate electrically via wires. Most of these 'channels' are intrinsically and physically private.
Smarter vertebrates turn public audio channels into private channels through individual variations. Why do birds develop special grace notes? So a male can stand out as a mateworthy individual, and so members of a family can recognize each other.
Why did humans take it to the next level with more complex and more articulate syllables? Not so everyone could understand. That's SUICIDAL.
We developed language so OUR FAMILY and OUR TRIBE could communicate without OTHER FAMILIES picking up the information.
Why did humans later develop ways of recording information on clay or wood? Three semi-separate motivations. (1) The priesthood of bookkeepers (my kind of priesthood!) developed numbers so they could keep track of business transactions. After the idea of visual mapping became familiar, the specific number symbols for One Ox or One House came to represent the ox or house itself, and then the sounds for Ox or House. After that, metaphor expanded or specialized the symbols.
(2) Census-takers picked up the trick, using it to register information about residents for governmental purposes like debts and taxes. (3) Religious priesthoods used writing to keep the scriptures within bounds, so they could gain power and money by renting out little bits of the ceremony. Guilds developed their own special sublanguages to protect their ownership of skill-estate
, so they could rent out skilled labor without passing the skills to outsiders.
All of these priesthoods were trying to keep information within their own circles. Otherwise, why bother?
And that's where we are now. The same place we've always been.... except that AS FUCKING USUAL we intentionally reverse our understanding.
The initial and permanent purpose of communication is EXCLUSION. DIVISIVENESS. XENOPHOBIA. When communication REALLY MATTERS, it's coded.
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Language develops just like genes. All the complexity is there at the start, and each group loses or turns off the genes it doesn't need.
The original complexity of language must be contained in the genes, PLUS the original need for secret and encoded communication,
and facilities for creating variations in sound to ensure privacy. The variation ability is well recognized in birds, but not in humans. Do we have an innate sense or measuring tool for secrecy?
Labels: Asked and unanswered, Grand Blueprint, skill-estate