Re: virus: "the self"

Mark Hornberger (
Mon, 28 Apr 1997 01:20:33 -0500 (CDT)

On Sun, 27 Apr 1997, David McFadzean wrote:

> > From: Mark Hornberger <>
> > Date: Saturday, April 26, 1997 6:17 AM
> > Did you ever think that you're over-analyzing it? Language is at best an
> > imperfect and imprecise tool we use to describe what we see (or think we
> > see) around us - the term "I" is no exception, but I think it does it's job
> > passably well. It is just a pronoun used to denote the person speaking -
> > to let us know you are speaking of you, rather than me or that guy over
> > there. It is language, nothing more.
> No, language is not merely descriptive, it is also generative. Language
> has causal powers, it affects objective reality. The term "I" literally
> creates "the self". "I" means "the self" in the sense that the effect
> of "I" is "the self".

I disagree in that I think you are mistaking the word for the thing it
refers to. The term "I" may create or affect our conception of what the
"self" is, but it doesn't affect objective reality - if we were all
illiterate apes incapable of abstract thought (of this magnitude) we would
still be individual apes. We would perhaps lack a sense of self, or
self-consciousness, but this would be a manifestation of our own
inadequate powers of perception, not an indication that objective reality
is fundamentally different.

Language or the use of it may have
ramifications in the objective world (the making of the hydrogen bomb, or
the writings of Henry Miller) but this is I think on a different level
than we started out talking about - the simplicity of "I."

Mark Hornberger