Volume 11, Issue 2, page 7

LL KNOWLEDGE," said Anatole France, 1900. Similarly, many of the"new" ideas and
"is a lessening of certainties", "profound" thoughts they garble into fresh,
an epigramatic thought followed by new words are actually as old as human history
his definition of the true skeptic and are contained in a good many volumes writ as o n e w ho believes everything -- ten prior 1900.

In an historic argument about the English
not one who believes nothing. The summa- language and its natural worth as opposed to
tion of these two thoughts comes readily: the whimsical altering of words and coinage of
the learned person is a rather simple- words, Jonathan Swift pointed out that if the
minded fool who has, by an extended ero- English language is allowed to change radically
sion of his confidence, become malleable in a hurry, the generations ahead will be incapable of mind to give serious considera- capable of comprehending the generations beenough to even the most absurd sdcon hind without an interpreter. Machiavelli also
tion that one of the techniques for separatI would apply this, in some esoteric fash- ing the present from the past, all in the inion, to the "Auditorial" of The ABERREE editor terest of political manipulation, is a simple
in his criticism of the fantastic nomenclature change in language.
developed by Scientologists (March issue). I Everyone who writes a bit these days hopes
am denied the opportunity to criticize Scien- that some future generation will read his
tological developments simply because I cannot works, but if the stable language becomes a
learn what Scientology is, and I am like Thor- constantly - changing one, this will not come
eau: wary of any proposition that requires a about. The literary currency will be in the
new pair of pants before we begin it. If we same state that a nation's finances would be
are required to learn a new language in order if every other year the dollar became the kotto learn a new philosophical system, we are in mer, the pystadi, and the formidaserk, each
worse troubles with our philosophers than man with a varying ratio of worth. The result
has ever been before. would be confusion.
We have been told repeatedly by those who - The result IS confusion, insofar as much of
speak three minutes of German and a quarter of linguistic communication is concerned today.
an hour of French that "English is a limited For we have poets who write what they call
language, incapable of full expression of a "poetry" which no one can understand, or is
truly good mind." We have been told it, but we supposed to understand. We have philosophers
never believed it. Any idea that can be enter- who have entire systems of thought that remind
tained by the human mind can be expressed in us of Hegel's famous statement: "Two men have
the English language. If the expression of the read me and neither understands me". We have
idea comes out fuzzy and without coherent novels like James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake"
meaning, the fault lies not with the English that require "keys" to unlock, and even then
language but with the philosopher. This is ap- they cannot be comprehended. These are taken
plicable not only to philosophical thought, seriously by those whose lessening of certain,' but to such miscellaneous maunderings as the ties have resulted in their becoming malleable
novels of James Joyce, the poetry of Ezra enough of mind to give serious consideration
- Pound, and the whatever-it-is that e, e. cummings to the most absurd ideas, or what is more apt,
committed to paper and called "poetry". the unintelligible idea.
The spontaneous invention of "new words" is For the amateur writer, whose familiarity
not unique with Scientology. It is a social with the English language is limited to the
custom among the Zulus that the term used to daily newspapers and the captions in LIFE Magi designate an object must be altered frequently, azine, to presume to alter the language and
especially just after one has seen his mother- coin new words is like a bachelor criticizing
in-law. The self-styled linguists of jazz and marriage .
the primitive music (which is currently called It may very well be that Scientology holds
w "modern") constantly change the meanings of the "hope of the world", is the "First True
p4 their catch-phrases, as those of us who were Philosophy", and the only obstacle to many of
c)4 "hot" a decade ago are now "cool", and "up" us marching in that army is that we can't comnow means "down ", and if you are in the used prehend the commands. Ben Hecht once wrote that
W car business, "low" means rather high, and you the human mind is a vestigial organ, like the
CO must go to "low-low-low" to reach a genuinely human appendix, and has outlived its useful(X attractive bargain. There seems to be develop- ness, which may or may not have some subing a subconscious wish on the part of many stance. If this is true then mass lobotomies
appersons to use language to obscure an idea, will solve all mankind's earthly problems. On
rather than to illuminate it. This is an un- the other hand, if there is anything to Sense
F derstandable enterprise since most of us are at all -- and I have suffered to be educated
familiar with the varying forms of insanity enough to question it -- we ought to apply it
these days, but a significant aspect of the to our communications in English.
language changers is this: few of them are $
actually familiar enough with the English lan- Freedom of thought is worthless if one is
7 guage to comprehend anything written prior to denied freedom of expression.