Sushuri Madonna asked:

I want to ask a question that is potentially a very big one. All sorts of thoughts have been chasing about in my mind concerning language and culture, and while some of the questions may initially sound Tellurian, it is really from the perspective of our developing Aristasian understanding that I am asking them.

It is all so convoluted that it is hard to know where to begin, but let me try this question:

In a very knowledgeable book about Japan, I have read that when Japanese people have studied English sufficiently to become fully fluent and conversant, they have already changed from being the typical Japanese person. Language and culture are so deeply intertwined that ingesting English involves ingesting Western culture to the extent that they are, to some extent at least, transformed.

You can probably see already that this raises various thoughts concerning Aristasian culture and the language in which it is expressed. But let me stay with the Tellurian starting-point for the moment and ask the question that immediately came to my mind. It is a very simple question, and it is this:

Does it happen the other way round?

In other words, when English speakers are exposed to the Japanese language, and thereby to its underlying cultural assumptions, are they transformed into something somewhat different from the typical Westerner?

My guess is: sometimes they are, but only if they have a particular cultural sympathy: but generally, not nearly as often and not nearly as deeply.

Why not? I think the Tellurian Western answer – and to a large extent the Japanese answer too – would be that Japanese culture is very specific and definite, while Western culture is “wide open”. Having exposed a person from a closed culture to the “outside world” it is hard for her to go back.

This of course raises the further question of whether the late-Tellurian West, with its very specific attitudes and ideologies – which are so unlike anything that has gone before them in any part of the world – is really less closed and definite than Japanese culture.

Clearly it sees itself as such and clearly most of the world sees it as it sees itself. The rest of the world does not necessarily value it as it values itself, but it accepts it for what it purports to be – that is a vast, transparent world rather than a closed system.

And so a Japanese person exposed to Western Culture feels that she has been exposed to “the outside world” and is affected by what she sees as a “wider reality”: while, say, an American exposed to an Asian culture feels she has been exposed to a little closed system, interesting in itself and perhaps attractive, but not “reality” to any but its inhabitants.

Why is this? In the first place because the whole world has adopted not only the technical and economic systems of the West but has accepted that they and their strengths are predicated upon their underlying Western ,rationalist ideology.

In the second place because the West currently has a monopoly of prestige – using that word in the special sense that Aristasian analysts use it – of a sort of hypnotic influence that comes with wealth and power, making the holder of it seem culturally right and eminently to be imitated. This prestige of the West has been such a huge factor in Asian thought for the past century and a half that if it should dissipate with the dissipation of Western military and economic dominance, the results would be unpredictable and vast. But that is quite another question.

Also, given the bonding of culture and language: clearly our Puran mistresses deployed Aristasia in the English-speaking world for a reason. At one time we believed that English and Westrenne were near-identical (which they may be). Is Aristasian culture nearer to that expressed by English or that expressed by Japanese, or something else again?

Has anyone any comments on any of these vague and tumbling thoughts?

Lady Aquila commented:

Vague and tumbling thoughts indeed, dear blonde – but so bursting with ideas and suggestions that it is hard to know where to start. Brilliancy firing off in all directions at once. How very chelanalan (blonde-like)!

Well, a few equally random thoughts from a brunette.

English-language deployment of Aristasia-in-Telluria likely came about because:

1. English is the nearest thing to an Universal Language in current Telluria.

2. English-speaking countries, being by far the most deracinated, have the most need of Aristasia.

3. Exile Aristasians coming to a culture with so little remaining rootedness or identity are much more able to preserve their own Aristasian inheritance.

4. Adoptive Aristasians have a much less rooted culture for their new alignment to clash with.

I am guessing, and there may be more, but all these reasons make sense.

All these but the first might well indicate that, while there are obvious reasons for choosing English-speaking culture, the inbuilt cultural values of the language, certainly in its current state, are not well-disposed to Aristasian culture.

On the other hand, English is the Rajasic West-Tellurian language par excellence and therefore certainly bears a parallel relationship to the Aristasian Rajasic lingua Franca, Westrenne: so much so that many believe the two to be near-identical.

Nonetheless contemporary English does contain assumptions of the rationalist-revolutionary mentality that has shaped it since the 17th century, and Aristasian speakers in English need quite a large additional vocabulary just to express specifically Aristasian concepts or Aristasian perspectives on things we find in Telluria. These include:

English words used in a special Aristasian sense, like blonde and brunette.

Raihiralan (Aristasian) words like chelana or Raihiralan itself.

Words from other Tellurian languages used to express concepts not found in English, like Rajasic or Hestia.

English phrases used to express Aristasian perspectives on Tellurian phenomena, such as Rationalist Revolution for “the Enlightenment”.

As you will notice, these additions to the language are so necessary to Aristasian discourse that examples of each type have already appeared in this post, and one never hears a conversation between Aristasians without encountering many of them.

Conversely, there are many English words and expressions that Aristasians do not use.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that many Aristasians in Telluria refer to the language they use as Westrenne, since even if it is not identical to Herthelan Westrenne (the Westrenne of Aristasia Pura), it is a language which begins by being a close parallel to it and has been further adapted into a Westrenne for Aristasian use.

On the question “Is Aristasian culture nearer to that expressed by English or that expressed by Japanese, or something else again?” an easy answer is to say that while English is somewhat parallel to Westrenne, Japanese is somewhat parallel to the non-Westrenne Raihiralan dialect of Novaria. However ther are many caveats one must add.

Raihiralan, and Estrenne language and culture, has much more influence on Westrenne culture than is the case with their Tellurian equivalents, and it is respected in the West as being “the Mother-Culture”. So the relationship between East and West, both historically and currently, is quite different.

Japanese is a language rich in protocol, respect and formality. English was much more so before the 20th century. Current Westrenne in, say, the Trentish Home Counties, falls between 19th-century English and modern (but not very untraditional) Japanese in terms of protocol, while the the “wild” Westrenne of the North (northern Quirinelle, Northern Vintesse and the northern tip of Trent) is more like the informal English of the first half of the 20th century, although the return to protocol is automatic on even slightly formal occasions.

For a girl brought up on late-Tellurian English, learning some Japanese or Chinese can be a very important cultural lesson, because it helps her to ingest some of the atmosphere of a more recently traditionally-based culture.

Interestingly, for an Aristasian girl in Telluria, it can have an effect rather similar to that of learning English upon a Japanese person. In other words it can help to loosen the apparent “universality” of the current West-Tellurian Weltanschauung and free her from the “box” of Pit thinking. It will not turn her into a Japanese girl, but it will release her from some of the mental constraints of her this-birth cultural conditioning and make it easier for her to be an Aristasian.

Sarah Newchurch commented:

It is, I think, true that language — being highly symbolic — profoundly affects one’s idea about reality and how one behaves in the world.

Language is not merely a set of phonetic utterances evolved from random vocalisations — despite such a claim by Darwinists — but is what binds the Maid to Dea, the physical to the spiritual.

Miss A L Trent writes in The Feminine Universe, “Modern people are apt to say that something is ‘only symbolic’ as if…it was devoid of power. In fact, symbols are the most potent effective forces in the world.” (p.111)

Sushuri Madonna responded:

I was discussing this very subject recently with dear Miss Lily.

Every Aristasian linguistics teacher in Telluria begins by explaining that there is a fundamental difference between the Tellurian Rationalist-Revolutionary and the Aristasian views of what language actually is.

The Tellurian “modernist” believes language to derive from the gradual elaboration of animal grunts and squeaks, while the Aristasian believes it to be the essence of the Primordial Word, which was first elaborated into the Tongue of Angels, then into the Primordial Human Language and gradually splintered and degenerated into the many languages we see today. Many would argue that one has only to compare the language of today with that of a hundred years ago to see that degeneration continues at a faster pace than ever before in history.

We were speaking of the curious changes in vowel-sounds that took place in similar ways in many European languages just about the time the societies were changing from Sattwic to Rajasic in orientation (during the 15th and 16th centuries). That these changes proceeded according to certain predictable laws has been known since the 19th century, but why this happened no Tellurian scholar has been able to determine.

An Aristasian, understanding that sounds and words are not mere arbitrary “signs” that could as well have been any others, will immediately see that sounds are intimately linked to the state of the soul (which is why sound figures so prominently in creation stories, and why the chanting of the Divine Names is so efficacious). Therefore when the group-soul undergoes profound changes in spiritual orientation, the sounds with which it expresses itself may also be expected to change suddenly.

It may be interesting here to note that British “Raihiralan” speech underwent the most radical sound-changes as a result of the Eclipse, and while on the surface these are easily explainable by the cult of proletarianisation, there is likely to be a deeper underlying cause.

Perhaps the use of pre-Eclipse British English by so many Aristasians has in itself a symbolic value which also played a role in the decision to deploy the first Exile Aristasians within the ambit of this language.

In any case there is an interesting piece about the Origins of Language
here. It has not been much mentioned, I think, so you may like to take a look.