Luther Askeland 1941-2006
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Even when we were still limited, for information, to newspapers, TV, and radio, and when science still had not progressed beyond the polio vaccine and atomic bombs, we were often told how "sophisticated" we were compared with all previous generations. And thanks to good nutrition and large doses of sex in advertising, we often heard how quickly, compared with earlier generations, our children "matured." Today, of course-witness such developments as the Web, the Genome Project, and missile defense-we have advanced further still. But could it be that these mantras about our sophistication and maturity-about our unparalleled awareness of "what is" and of "how things are"-are something less than unexamined assumptions? Could they be pure nonsense?
When the Word-Animal Discovers Signlessness takes up this question in relation to our most immediate and intimate sensings of "who we are" and "where we are," and of who or what we should aspire to become. It attempts a description of the way in which such sensings manifest in "modern consciousness," as well as an analysis of some ways in which these sensings were verbalized, in the past, in the major philosophical and religious traditions of both East and West. While doing so, it dwells at considerable length on the way in which awareness in us is molded by language, for we naturally and habitually accept language, that is, "verbal signs," as the primary mediator, to us, of "who" and "where" we are. Hence the title's implied, and tentative, definition of humankind as the "word-animal," the animal of the logos.
"...I know of myself that I sometimes require, and may then spontaneously conjure up,
an image of tranquillity and strength, someone who seems to move through decisions, events,
and time as effortlessly as a fish coasts, after one causal sweep of its tail, through the water."
Luther Askeland died peacefully at 7am on Saturday, February 11th, 2006. You can contact his daughter Kari Askeland at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Kari Askeland 2020