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Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought" - Page 2 - Toki Pona Forums

Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

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jan Lopata
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby jan Lopata » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:50 am

Bearing in mind that I'm new to this...

Trying to think about this with as little cultural pollution as possible, it seems to me that East/West ought to explicitly reference 'suno'. 'open/pini suno' and 'sewi/anpa suno' equally make sense to me.

Approaching north/south and left/right from the pseudo-primitive perspective that I understand to be at the heart of toki pona's "simplicity" of thought, I'm inclined to rule out 'lete/seli' (despite its community cred) for two reasons: first because it's at best hemisphere-specific, and second because I feel it requires knowledge which breaches tp's pseudo-primitive point of view. Perhaps that's not entirely fair, given that one might know which direction the cold wind comes from - but in ma mute that may not correspond closely to the direction of the poles - especially in the tropics and ma nena.

Left and right also require cultural cues. There is no culture-neutral reason for left to be '(poka) open' and right to be '(poka) pini'. It makes sense if one considers toki pona culture to be driven by the left-right reading of the language as written in the Latin alphabet, but with toki pona culture seemingly strongly inclined toward alternate writing systems, that's not exactly a firm foundation. 'poka pilin' is a little better perhaps, except for the small minority whose hearts are in the 'right' place.

In the end though, I think all of this discussion of left/right, north/south and east/west misses the pona solution - perhaps because our medium is itself 'pona ala': If we want to talk about direction when speaking face to face, we would usually need little more than 'tawa ni' and a hand gesture. For anything more complicated than that, draw a map. pona anu seme?

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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby janKipo » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:12 am

If you want to work from the underlying base of tp, it is probably a good idea to get rid of the myths and go with what is actually there. A scan of the vocabulary shows that it is not more primitive than middle civilizations (‘mani’, esun’, etc.) , that it is not a positive language (one “good”, two “bad”s, death but no life, war but no peace, etc.). It has nothing much to do with Daoism (for whom the idea of yet another language would have been repellent. And so on. It is a (just barely) 21at century conlang constructed by 20th century conlangers, with all their quirks in place. Notice, there is no story to which the language attaches, even. (Several people have tried to write one and always failed.) So most of the talk about what Australian natives, for example, would do is basically irrelevant in a world of GPS and the like. Notice that the language, when used, is not about crops (most of us have never seen one) nor wild beasts (ditto) nor placating the Jubjub (well, more of that, under various names). They are about auto tribes and city streets and the latest tv shows. And, like all the textbooks, they write it in a fragment of the Latin alphabet. (The urge to code conlangs is almost universal among epigones, though creator do it less often: Sonja, Tolkien and whoever inventented Kelen are exceptions.)

From this point of view, i.e., tp as it is, the left to right order and the words deriving from it are pretty automatic (they are almost the only thing that distinguishes left and right, after all ). The ‘lete’// seli’ convention is biased toward the norther hemisphere and not very clear even then, but the two people in the southern hemisphere can lump it (they are used to it by now) and the alternative of map reading, which is up-to-date, suffers from the fact that different countries still use different conventions. And not much else works better. Yes, “east” and “west” should mention the sun and do in full form, but , when the situation is clear, the obvious gets omitted, as always. So, all in all, the system in place works pretty well, as well as most anything else, and so doen’t need more tinkering.

jan Lopata
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby jan Lopata » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:42 am

You are an arch-empiricist and -pragmatist aren't you? Also as (I assume) a long-time adherent of toki pona, somewhat of a conservative in this context.

I, on the other hand, am far more the introspective philosopher, and as a less-deeply-connected neophyte, more interested in (perhaps radical and impractical) possibilities.

You see an already-configured and functioning tool, where I see knobs and dials and wonder what they do when you shift them off 'default'.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if you don't test the problem-space, how do you know you haven't got stuck on a local maximum?

Ah, grasshopper, how can you be sure it has not been tested already?

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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby janKipo » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:02 am

Good question. And the answer , of course, is that it ha been over and over. I’ve only been involved for the last 15 years, but I have seen all the points you rise -- and then a few -- over and over. The writing solution for left and right seems to ahve been the turning point, with more and more eople falling in line with and thu clarifying east and west. Northa nad south remain in diispute, though just about everyone goes along with the convention (one Aussie and one Kiwi don’t make much of a noise). I suppose there are pockets of resistance here and there (on Discord, say) , but by and large the idioms are set.You can object and may even get some support, but not much is likely to change short of a total rethink of the whole issue, which seems unlikely.

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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby janKipo » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:10 am

Good question. And the answer , of course, is that it ha been over and over. I’ve only been involved for the last 15 years, but I have seen all the points you rise -- and then a few -- over and over. The writing solution for left and right seems to ahve been the turning point, with more and more eople falling in line with and thu clarifying east and west. Northa nad south remain in diispute, though just about everyone goes along with the convention (one Aussie and one Kiwi don’t make much of a noise). I suppose there are pockets of resistance here and there (on Discord, say) , but by and large the idioms are set.You can object and may even get some support, but not much is likely to change short of a total rethink of the whole issue, which seems unlikely.

By the way, am professionally an empirical philosopher (student of Caarnap, etc. from UCLA in the 60s)so, while I would deny that I am conservative in any pejprative sense, I do like to stick with what works and what 20 years of tpists have learned. Sonja doesn’t fall into this camp and is capable of introducing wild innovations without warning or exxplanation. Happily, aside frm the good little automata, nnot everyone goes along.

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jan Seloki
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby jan Seloki » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:39 am

As I said, I see the meaning of anpa/sewi, but I don't think most people would see using open/pini as a big deal. If you see tp as the kind of language a primitive culture would use (which I do. because in a lot of ways that's exactly what it resembles) they wouldn't necessarily have any concept of the sun rising & setting anyway. the Egyptians for example thought the sun was a god that was reborn each day. in that sense open/pini wouldn't be unreasonable translations.It fits the obsessively minimalist philosophy of toki pona too.regardless toki pona is structured to discourage setting official translations for things. Blame Sonja for that. 'telo pimeja wawa' vs 'telo ike mute' is an example.
人り有え人上ら人り要物無。



ญนํลีโญเอะญนํเศะวีลญนํลีวีเละอีโญอล.

janKipo
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby janKipo » Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:17 pm

In fact, “the sun rises” and “the sun sets” are. pretty universals, since they are apparent to sight in almost all environments. “The sun starts” or even “the day starts” are less obvious and common. Still, as you say, nothing is really fixed in spite of the usefulness of familiarity, so go ahead ahhead and use ‘pini’ and ‘’’open’ or ‘kama’. People will probably get it (we are programmed to understand weird stuff and this isn’t even very weird). But, when I make up a handy-dandy word guide, I’ll use ‘sewi’ and anpa’. Sonja, oof course, lies about not having fixed terms, since she has created and enforced countless cases, even refusing to recognize obvios deviation.Another part of the mythology of tp, like minimalism. In this case, there is the added goal of not confusing -- as earlier discussions did -- the east-west and the left -right ranges. Read a lot of tp and live in it a while and it will start to make more -- but very different -- sense to you.

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jan Seloki
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby jan Seloki » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:03 am

人り有え人上ら人り要物無。



ญนํลีโญเอะญนํเศะวีลญนํลีวีเละอีโญอล.

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jan Seloki
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby jan Seloki » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:24 am

人り有え人上ら人り要物無。



ญนํลีโญเอะญนํเศะวีลญนํลีวีเละอีโญอล.

User avatar
jan Seloki
Posts: 56
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Re: Left, right, numbers and "The Stuff of Thought"

Postby jan Seloki » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:25 am

Here's something weird I just found:

人り有え人上ら人り要物無。



ญนํลีโญเอะญนํเศะวีลญนํลีวีเละอีโญอล.


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