4 Comments

  1. Win Bill

    There are plenty of times where I literally “give in” to my pain and curse at the world as to why I am “suffering” so much. I was literally angry at everybody. I was also projecting such energy as if the world owes me everything.
    Later on I realized that no matter how much I complained, the pain was still there. Instead of complaining about it, I took it as a chance to understand others who were also in pain. I talked to people who had similar experiences and hope that my suffering could help them and let them realize that they are not alone. Were you like that too?

    • Thabo Nkomo

      Hi win,

      I don’t suffer from chronic pain, but I’m a caregiver for someone who does. The series came as a result of getting to know a lot of pain sufferers who go back and forth between  despair and hope. I found out that there’s an element of “Determinism”–this notion that they are forever doomed to have their  pain dictate  how they live in the world–in those who feel despair.

      However, there’s a belief that they are more than their pain from those who feel hopeful about the future. They acknowledge that how they describe their  pain and how others describe their pain may effect how they perceive  the world. They draw the line when the conclusion is  that such acknowledgement means the description of their   pain will determine their  reality. I wanted to give voice to this sentiment  by showing  why and how they are right.

      Isolation is also a big deal with people who suffer from chronic pain. I think it’s a great thing that you’re reaching out to people whit similar experiences. I’m sure that just letting  them know that they are not alone is exactly what those living with wide spread chronic pain need to hear.

  2. Megan

    Outstanding critique of linguistic Determinism. I also love the angle you used as how this impacts on how a person suffering from widespread pain copes with his or her situation in terms of whether they believe that the future will get better. Those who believe that they will recover or at least will achieve a physical plateau can define their illness as an interruption, a “time out” from their usual life that does not warrant a change in how they see the future. Once illness becomes intrusive, however, maintaining a sense of who you are becomes more difficult. I think this is when a pain sufferer may develop a mind set that their pain will determine their future. They are ripe to believe in all that linguistic determinism entails.

    I also realize that you didn’t write this post from an academic point of view. That said, I think this post–and thee remaining series–would be good reading for students of Linguistic Determinism, such as my self, who believe that the theory though interesting has big flaws. Here is one thing that I suggest you might want to do in a future post. You might want to explain how Stevenson’s position commits him to Linguistic Determinism. How does his dispositional account of meaning entail Linguistic Determinism? Must Stevenson be a Linguistic Determinism to uphold his theories?

    The reason I go into all this is because I think you have achieved in your post and series–I have just started reading the second one and the preview for the final installment– something that you may not have realized. If one understands the answers to these questions, then one will quickly understand why your excellent critique of I.D. is also a successful critique of Stevenson. Awesome job!

    • Hi Megan,

      I think most people when first experiencing sudden illness of potential life altering situation like chronic illness at first feel that they must do everything they can to stay positive about the future. This becomes increasingly difficult, however, as the effects of the illness broaden. Eventually, individuals can find themselves immersed in illness, losing their sense of who they are. They can come to believe that they are their pain. I think this is where some thing like Linguistic Determinism can have a negative effect on how such a person sees the future. I am so glad that you appreciated the fact that I explored this angle of Linguistic Determinism.

      I also thank very much about the comments on Stevenson. You gave me a lot to think about. I look forward to hearing your comments on the rest of the series.

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