Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Love of Knowledge is a Kind of Madness

Then something happened which completely altered his state of mind. The creature, which was still steaming and shaking itself on the back and had obviously not seen him, opened its mouth and began to make noises. This in itself was not remarkable; but a lifetime of linguistic study assured Ransom almost at once that these were articulate noises. The creature was talking. It had a language. If you are not yourself a philologist, I am afraid you must take on trust the prodigious emotional consequences of this realization in Ransom's mind. A new world he had already seen--but a new, an extra-terrestrial, a non-human language was a different matter...The love of knowledge is a kind of madness. In the fraction of a second which it took Ransom to decide that the creature was really talking, and while he still knew that he might be facing instant death, his imagination had leaped over every fear and hope and probability of his situation to follow the dazzling project of making a Malacandrian grammar. An Introduction to the Malacandrian language---The Lunar verb--A Concise Martian-English Dictionary...the titles flitted through his mind. And what might one not discover from the speech of a non-human race? The very form of language itself, the principle behind all possible languages, might fall into his hands.
~C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet, Chapter 9 (1938)


Link of the day: The Love of Squirrels is a Kind of ....never mind

4 Comment(s):

At Tue Nov 23, 08:59:00 AM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

Ransom is such a nerd. :D

At Tue Nov 23, 07:56:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

You're so right, Sandi!

I can just imagine some evening Tolkien and Lewis having a conversation about this very subject. They were both so interested in words. I imagine that for them, discovering an entirely new language would be a geeky dream come true.

At Tue Nov 23, 11:04:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

Yeah, that would be equivalent to me-- my mind just filled up with a dozen images of complete, wonderful geekdom. Let me get back to you on that one. ;)

Quite frankly, if I discovered an alien language, I'd be amazed by it, and, like Ransom, try to think of a way to capitalize on it.

At Tue Nov 23, 11:05:00 PM EST, Blogger Anamire said...

I agree with you two...nerd. But hey, to each his own! :)


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