martes, 29 de septiembre de 2009

Epigenesis of language

Language constitutes a sort of genetic constraint on the speech act. There are as many languages as genetic recombinations for life, but as molecular biologists know well, the real diversity is found in the small portion of DNA regulating gene expression. It is this process also called transcription, that enable us to understand why despite the high percentage of genetic code shared between two organisms they might end up being quite different at the level of phenotype –you would be surprised to know how much of genetic code you share with the E. coli bacteria–. Coming back to language, the invitation is to use the former insight to understand how and why dissent growths from "facts". It provides a model to imagine how heterodoxy can be functionally integrated with orthodoxy in as much the same way constitutional law is expressed in lower laws, diverse enough as to address different contexts of application –see for example the article Fidelity in Translation by Lawrence Lessig, for a discussion of trial as gene expression–. Another example is the ramification of journalism in the cyberspace. Before the internet, "gene expression" of news were limited to a small elite of columnists and a bulk of public opinion unable to articulate a speech, complex enough as to avoid its manipulation by those with the privilege of expression. The internet is now providing a space for an epigenesis of real time information [1]. It also provides a way to address the relation between power, speech and language. The idea is to play creatively with this biological analogy. For example one may associate to language the role of those genes not involved directly with transcriptional functions. This would imply that language has as much freedom for the realization of ideas as gene expression. Neither should we underestimate the role of non-transcriptional genes. Despite the versatility of transcription, it is often more effective the reformulation of phenotypic functions at the non-transcriptional level avoiding problems such as complexity catastrophe. Following this analogy, speech could be seen as a language plus some mechanisms to read itself, that is the role of transcriptional genes. This may explain the power of speech to constrain language. Power can be seen as the functional level of evolution, driving but also constrained by language and their mechanisms to read itself.

[1] I am comparing real time information with the genetic code not because they are relatively stable along time, which is certainly not the case for real time information, but in the sense that both are units of reality, like words or atoms they have emerge or have been designed to remain un-deconstructed.
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