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>>>While people may see my decision-making as autocratic, I know myself that
>>>I listen to the community, and that the EFFECTIVE decision-making process
>>>is by consensus.
>>I suspect JCB feels the same way.
>JCB DOES NOT feel this way.
I suspect you are missing my point, which is that the world looks different
looking out than looking in. You know JCB better than I. However, your
opinion is also colored by the schism in which you were a participant. My
impression from my (limited) past discussions with JCB is that JCB does
*believe* that he was a consensus seeker. Although you deny that JCB used
consensus in decision-making, it appears that you (and others) *were* able
to convince JCB to make some changes to Loglan before the 1984 schism.
Don't these (hard-won) changes represent JCB's use of consensus? It might
have been unpleasant, and you may have objected to JCB's leadership style,
but as I understand it, you did wield some influence in introducing <y>,
constructing the Loglan dictionary and in other areas of the language, as
did Nora, pc and others. Am I wrong in my impression?
>He has specifically stated several times that
>his opinions and decsions about langauge design will NOT be swayed by what
>he disparagingly calls "the masses", and indeed that anyone who attempts the
>political act of raising support among the masses for an idea is de facto
>"Acting politically" and hence persona non grata in the ranks of those with
>any power in the Loglan community. Indeed this very argument was the
>heart and soul of the 1982-4 dispute that almost killed Loglan and eventually
>gave birth to Lojban.
>JCBs definition of "politics" is an unusual one "agonistic behavior to
>try to manuevere someone else into doing what you want them to". He feels
>that the language design process should be dispassionate and based solely on
(some text deleted)
>Lojban cannot be
>politics-free for the reasons you have stated BUT politics must be eschewed
>rather than embraced as the measn to solve problems. At least politics of the
>JCB kind, where there are winners and losers - we can survive consensus
>politics, so long as we continue to be able to build consensus.
Your definition of politics seems identical to what you claim is JCB's
definition of politics. Both definitions seem to consider politics a dirty
word. Generalizing from your TLI experience to conclude that politics must
be eschewed is analogous to refusing to use paper because Mein Kampf was
written on paper.
>>A leader must embrace politics-it is the way
>>things get done.
>Well, I am arguing this issue with you so obviously I am not completely
>eschewing politics. But you may also notice that Cowan and pc and several
>others are largely silent even though they are also leaders. I am the
>sacrificial stuckee for the political chores, having a strong stomach.
>But "embrace" - no. The leadership does not "embrace" politics. It suffers
>politics, as a necessity to avoid repeating JCB's folly.
(some stuff deleted)
>The strength of your insistence and the succeeding political debate
>stemming from your proposal remains somewhat of an irritant because the
>implication is received if not intended that you are voting no-confidence in
>my leadership becauseof the differences in opinion.
You repeatedly have attributed opinions to me that I do not have and have
not expressed. Perhaps you are confusing my statements with those of others
who are discussing these matters. I was not the first to express concern
about the issue of rebaselining. When I *did* express concern about the
future management of lojban, I received three private e-mail messages from
other lojbaners also expressing concern, and thanking me for discussing it;
apparently, from excerpts I read on the list, you have also had private
discussion of these matters with others. I did not start this political
debate. My participation in this debate does not constitute a vote of
no-confidence in your leadership. I have repeatedly indicated I appreciate
all your hard work and *support* your leadership.
Here is where I believe we agree:
1. Baselining the language is important to encourage development of a
community of speakers.
2. Failure to achieve broad consensus regarding changes which are
officially implemented in lojban after baselining may have a corrosive,
destructive effect on the language.
3. Formal change to the language after baselining should be very hard, and
should be delayed for five to ten years after initial baselining.
4. The future of lojban is best served by seeking a consensus among those
who are most committed to the language, as demonstrated by expertise in
using lojban, willingness to participate in projects involving lojban, and
value of past contributions made.
5. Some previous conlangs have been stillborn because of the political
incompetence of their creators.
6. "Those who do not remember their past are condemned to relive it."
Here is where I believe we have yet to agree:
1. Slang lojban is acceptable in lojban utterances.
2. A formal apparatus of some sort (i.e., a lojban academy) will be helpful
in assuring the future development of lojban.
3. The lojban academy will periodically survey problems with the language,
slang usage in the community of lojban speakers, and advancements in the
science of linguistics, and incorporate improvements and corrections to the
official specification of the language where this seems advisable.
4. Politics is unavoidable wherever there is a resource, a threat, and more
than two people. lojban central must acknowledge this, and plan
5. "Dead battles, like dead generals, hold the military mind in their dead
grip and Germans, no less than other peoples, prepare for the *last* war."
(from "1914" by Barbara Tuchman, emphasis mine)
>>My understanding is the selmaho beginning with <x> are "experimental," so
>>*somebody* anticipated the desirability for having post-baselining
>>evolution of the lojban language
>And that is cmavo, not selma'o, thoughI think your intent is
>understood. But I did expect thatpeople would largely wait until after the
> baseline to start introducing experimental cmavo,
>and that such introduction
>would be, after Jorge's (and mine much earlier) concept that such proposals
>should ONLY be made in Lojban.
Again, there is no formal proposal regarding fuzzy logic in lojban. But
there is slang fuzzyness, as suggested by & and enthusiastically being
explored by some, which I am hoping you will not discourage. My slang will
include the use of the experimental cmavo <xoi> and <xio>. When and if a
formal fuzzy logic proposal is brought to the lojban academy, it ought be
submitted in lojban.
>>If the initial baselining simply said
>>that <xoi> and <xio> are experimental constructs that somehow deal with
>>fuzzy logic, that would be fine with me.
>It is intended that the baseline will say about the experimental cmavo
> they are available. Proposals made before the baseline starts for the use
>of the experimental cmavo are not part of the baseline andprobably will not
>be documented at all (expcet for archival purposes), because it is their
>introduction and use after the baseline IN LOJBAN that counts.
I can live with that.
>>My other suggestion is not about lojban but about how the language ought be
>>managed after baselining. I do not agree with your assertion that
>>acknowledging that the language is unfinished at the time of initial
>>baselining will hurt the prospects for the use of the language.
>My assertion is based simply on statements from MANY membersof the community
>- more than are currently on Lojban List I suspect if I dug through the
>archives and counted them - have explicitly stated that they will learn the
>language when it is "finished" and not before. Yes, even natural languages
>evolve - but they do not do so as conscious acts of will by one or even
>several users of the language, and to my knowledge all evolutionary languages
>changes are not really "completeing" the language, but "changing" that which is
> already a complete and whole entity.
>Yet on the other hand we DO admit that the language is "incopmplete" in some
>areas - usage and vocabulary and style. I have recruited people to be the
>Chaucers and Shakespeares of Lojban history - the people who make the language
>come to life, probably introducing and solidifying many changes through their
>writings, but for the most part in fairly limited areas of the language.
There is no consensus that the refgrammer is complete. For example, IMHO,
the lack of fuzziness is a serious, major flaw, which I will work to
correct by whatever acceptable means are available to me. If you say the
refgrammer is now frozen, and no formal proposals for <xoi> or <xio> will
be considered, then I will accept this and start working on introducing
these as slang, eventually hoping to win inclusion in a future baselining.
If there never are any future baselinings, I will be disheartened.
>>If the lojban creators are hell-bent on getting lojban out
>>as quickly as possible, fine, go ahead.
>>But acknowledge that there is no
>>consensus that the baselined language is complete, and explicitly plan for
>>another baselining in 5 or (better) 10 years.
>The plan is thatthere will be a decision made in at least 5 years as to
>whether a new/final baseline is needed. The process for making that decision
>is unspecified, and should be decided by the community of users of the
>hopefully-then-living language, and not by people speaking in this alien
>tongue of la gliban.
>>It is imperative
>>that you understand and acknowledge that lojban is a political enterprise,
>>that its political nature will not end at baselining
>Oh certainly not. But who can say what the nature of politics solely
>expressed in Lojban will be like.
Interesting point. Perhaps this will serve as a test bed of Sapir-Whorf.
>What we do know is that when the Esperanto world conference first managed to
>conduct itself speaking solely in ESperanto (I think that was in 1904), that
>it was THEN and ONLY THEN that people became convinced that the language was
>truly "for real". The strength of the Esperanto community -a strength that
>has probably seen people die because they were part of that community - stems
>largely from that significant moment. (My source on this is Nick Nicholas
>who has studied Esperanto history rather carefully).
My only regret is that I have but one life to give for our conlang.
>Lojban is not Esperanto, but Esperanto is the only known "working" community
>of an artificial language, and an argument based on the experience of that
>community is thus quite strong against philsophical musings about what should
>or what could be.
Extrapolating from a single datum is a hazardous endeavor, at best.
Regardless, you must certainly concede that the development of Esperanto
was rife with political activity. During the American Red Scare of the
1950s, esperanto speakers were even accused of being one-worlder
>And we certainly have MANY examples of failed conlangs,
>many of which failed because they could not control change and evolved
>themselves out of existence, or out of the interest of most of their community.
Not sure what to make of these failed conlangs. Some of them were esperanto
knock-offs, many were badly flawed from the outset. There has never been as
carefully and well designed a conlang as lojban. The general point you are
making here is that the leaders of a conlang effort ought to consider
carefully the interests of their community of speakers. I agree. Some
members of the lojban community do not agree with post-baselining anarchy,
but support some formal structure for change management after baselining. I
hope you will take their views into consideration.
Regarding definitions of "politics", it is interesting to see the
differences between Loglan and lojban:
<ganli> [...into...for...] "organize"
<garni> [rule over...] "govern"
<gunti> [of people...] "country"
<kamti> [of...with task...] "committee"
<bende> [x1 is a team of persons x2 led by x3 organized for purpose x4]
<bilni> [x1 is regimented by system x2 for purpose x3]
<cuntu> [x1 is an organized activity involving person(s) x2]
<ganzu> [x1 organizes x2 into x3 by system/principle(s) x4]
<jecta> [x1 is a polity/state governing territory/domain x2]
<kamni> [x1 (mass) is a committee with task/purpose x2 of body x3]
<turni> [x1 governs people/territory/domain/subjects x2]
In this area lojban is richer than Loglan, with more and fatter gismu.
However it is fascinating that neither language has a distinct gismu for
"political activity"!! An appalling oversight. The apple does not fall far
from the tree.
Seems to me that the rest of unused gismu space will be available for
slang, so here goes:
<polti> [x1 is a political system (means of achieving consensus, resolving
conflict or compromising) used by x2 for purpose x3 under authority x4]
(Yes, I know I could lujvo or fuhivla this. But what are the plans for
unused gismu space? There have been a few other "slang" gismu
proposed-obviously these were also not derived via the gismu algorithm. Is
someone making a list of these so I can use them in my lojban utterances?
Steven M. Belknap, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria