The Tragedy of Dying Languages


One global issue of great concern to me is the alarming rate of language death happening in the world today. It’s estimated that half of the world’s 6000 living languages will be extinct in the next 50 years, many with little to no record of their vocabularies, grammar, or potential for expression. I deeply love and am fascinated by language as it forms the vital medium for clear and direct communication at all levels. Without it there is no science, no politics, no philosophy or religion, virtually no art, and no substantial form of education. Every natural language carries with it some thousands of years of cultural history with it, shaping it as a unique lens to frame life and new experiences. Each of these lenses gives us a new view, a new angle to approach problems of the world or to be more creative. These languages are the backbone of unique indigenous culture, and indeed, one cannot separate language from culture itself. The death of a language is the effective death of a culture and the reduction of human diversity. This being at such a time where humanity is more capable of learning from one another than ever before is one of the greatest unspoken tragedies of modern man.

Coming from a multicultural background and having a diverse group of friends at a young age brought me to early consideration of the differences between cultures, and this only grew as I learned about religions and world history in high school. Having now traveled the world a bit and spent a great deal of time studying languages, I have learned just to how great an extent psychology and philosophy can be shaped by language. Language has long been considered the cornerstone of humankind and it has the potential to elevate us to unimaginable heights in the arts, sciences, and philosophy. Such an incredible tool is remarkable in its own regard but with a huge array of different such tools at our disposal, and for the sake of the over-all well-being of humanity such diversity must be maintained and promoted to make the world that much richer and more beautiful.

Imagining the Wealth of the Plutocrats (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

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I got to thinking about wealthy people and how to go about comprehending the large volumes of wealth possessed by the richest people in the world. There are graphics and charts and simple facts like the fact that the bottom 41 percent of Americans have less wealth than just the Walton family alone. But i wanted to make it even more personal in a way. We can all imagine how incredible making a million dollars would be, even over the course of decades. Sit and really imagine what you would do if on your taxes next year you had seven figures as your total amount…

Now imagine that you make that every week. A million dollars a week exactly. Every week. Even the weeks you’re doing nothing. Now let’s say that happens for you from the age of 16 all the way until 66. A typical time-frame of working ages to begin and retire. A million dollars a week, every week, for 50 straight years. That’s 2.6 billion dollars. Is there a job in the world that you could imagine being justifiably paid that kind of money for? It would maybe be justified for Superman, but even then just barely. You cannot possibly EARN that kind of money. You just can’t. And then now please consider that there are roughly about 700 people who surpass this amount of money. Seven-hundred. 700 individuals who make more money than anyone could even justify making in terms of “earnings”.

But let’s take it further.

Instead of a million a week, let’s make it $1,000,000 each and every day no matter what. Let’s then go from the working period beginning at age 16 and start from the moment you are brought into this world. And let’s assume you do not spend a dime of that. And then let’s assume that you luck out with genetics and live for 100 years, dying on your 100th birthday just so we can keep the math nice and even. Now, assuming you spent none of that money, that amounts to $36.5 billion. And still, there are real people in this world who possess MORE money than this. 13 of them. 13 people who have more wealth than you would if you made a million dollars a day for no reason from the moment you leave your mother’s vagina until your death after living for 100 years, and NEVER SPENT A DIME OF IT. That’s more money than more than half of the world’s countries can say they have.

More than half of the world’s countries.

I don’t care what your reasoning, you have to be mental to think that these people have EARNED that kind of money. You cannot EARN wealth to that degree. Nothing short of saving the planet from complete destruction single-handedly deserves the term “earned” in the context of this kind of wealth. And because they didn’t really earn it, they don’t have the right to all of it. Defending such disgusting greed is morally reprehensible and absurd.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.