Jeph Jerman: calling out the voice of animated nature

Jeph Jerman could be described as an electro-acoustic artist, an experimental musician, or an avant-garde performer.  But what Jeph is, in actuality, is a guide.  He guides us to listen to the animated voice of nature, and his works provide us with pathways to experience daily life in new ways.  Once the listener truly grasps the intention behind Jeph’s creations, her life can never be the same again. Continue reading

The Alienation of Symbolic Communication: Oral and Written Language in Abram’s Spell of the Sensuous

[After watching the above video today, I thought about this review I wrote of "The Spell Of The Sensuous" and David Abram's mentioning of language extinction in this book.]

“It is our fall from a simplicity and fullness of life directly experienced, from the sensuous moment of knowing, which leaves a gap that the symbolic can never bridge.”

-John Zerzan[1]

Language is an “ephemeral perceptual boundary […] established by a common tongue” (256).  In The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram demonstrates how, through the development of the alphabet, this division between the human and non-human worlds amplifies. Abram demonstrates the socio-cultural evolution of the written language replaces experiential communication with and about the natural world with a symbolic representation of it, an abstraction of speech represented in phonetic signs or letters.  In oral cultures, speech is tied directly to place, and the breathed word with the air.  In Western civilization, the written language is a simulation of and instruction on mouth-sounds. The written language and the characters of the alphabet refer to human speech, rather than depending “upon the larger field of sensuous phenomena” (257). “The letters of the alphabet, each referring to a particular sound or sound-gesture of the human mouth, begin to function as mirrors reflecting us back upon ourselves” (187).  The irony is that those illiterates many see as bar-barous[2] seem to have a significantly more cognizant approach to language than the civilized, with our billions of tomes[3] that tell us how to grunt.

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