Sapir-Whorfing Yourself

Unique language is a good example of "the future mindset is already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." Today I want to focus on how to do "multi-perspective thinking" by using a find-replace mechanism with certain words. Let's check it out!

Replacing X with Y


I'm a big fan of the Snake People to Snake People extension, which replaces every instance of "snake person" with "snake person". It begs the question: what other words should we (as humanity) "find-replace"? (And that I personally "find-replace" [in my mind] as I'm typing them.)

  • Competition --> Co-evolution: Win-win, positive-sum games ftw! A variant on "coopetition".
  • Revolution --> Evolution: Revolution is too unstable. See Nicky Case.

"Find-Attach" for Two Sides of the Coin (Multi-Perspective Thinking)

There's more to explore outside of a direct "find-replace". For example, instead of replacing, you can do a "find-attach." There are a variety of forms here.

  1. "X as negative Y". When this form shows up, you likely want to attach the negative to the positive (or vice versa). It helps you empathize with/steelman both sides of an argument. Examples:
  • Gentrification (as negative) Development: These are (essentially) always found with each other. There's no gentrification ("negative" change from bottom-up POV) without development ("positive" change from top-down POV). So whenever you see one, always add the other.
  • Appropriation (as negative) Appreciation: This is another classic from a SJA perspective. Appropriation is when a (traditionally powerful) group "uses" a (traditionally less powerful) group's culture. But there's also some appreciation there! I'm reminded of a recent brass band festival that I went to. The 1st band was playing "I'll Fly Away". I thought "this is lovely version of this song!" My friend said "wow, is today just going to be full of racial appropriation?"
  • Weaponization (as negative) Remix: This is mostly easily seen with hashtags, e.g. #____LivesMatter.
  • Co-opted (as negative) Integrated: This is seen in nonviolent movements. i.e. When the movement gets what it wants, does that mean it's goals have been "co-opted" by the powerful, or have they just been "integrated"? See my interview with Tim Hwang that touches on this.
  • Judgment (as negative) discernment: Not SJA-y, but instead Buddhist. There's probably a whole set of these buddhist ones (e.g. metta vs. happiness).
  • Woke = Red Pill: This is slightly different, but highly related, so I'm going to add it here. Instead of the negative and positive versions of an action, this is a different wrapper on a personal experience—becoming aware of a "new world". From an SJA perspective, this is becoming "woke" to systems of structural oppression and power. From an alt-right perspective, this is "taking the Red Pill". See VGR's Grey Pill for an example of this in a repeated game.

Not sure the best way to implement this form. You can either do it as a slash, e.g. gentrification/development, or as a parenthetical, e.g. gentrification (and development!).

2. Negative emotion (and need). In this form, you add the underlying need to any negative emotion. e.g. Whenever you hear about folks being super angry, remember that anger is the result of unmet needs.

3. Slashes to denote an ambiguous idea that's in the process of coalescing. If there's an idea (or set of related ideas) that haven't "collapsed" into their specific semantic space, then you just slash them! e.g.

That's it for today! I still have a lot of language experimentation to explore, which I'll hopefully get to next week.

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