Is this a new wonder-drug? The latest computer from japan? The Swahili word for water-closet? Another borrowing from Finnegans Wake?

Sombunall is, I think, a word we badly need. It means:


We have already pointed out that perception involves abstraction (or subtraction) - When we look at an apple we do not see all the apple but only part of the surface of the apple - And our generalizations of reality tunnels are made up of coordinates or orchestrations of these abstractions-

We never know "all"; we know, at best, somebunall.

Now, to return to my frequent occupation of writing science fiction, imagine a world which German did not contain the word "alles" or any of its derivatives, but did include some form of sombunall.

Adolph Hitler would never have been able to say, or even think , most of his generalizations about all Jews. At most, he would have been talking or thinking about sombunall Jews.

I don't claim this alone would necessarily have prevented the Holocaust - I am not about to offer some form of linguistic determinism to rival Marx's economic determinism of Hitler's own racial determinism, but:

Holocaust mentalities are encouraged by all-ness statements.
They are discouraged by sombunall statements.

Imagine Arthur Schopenhauer with a sombunall instead of an all in his vocabulary. He could still have generalized about sombunall women, but not about all women; and a major source of literary misogyny(definition:hatres or hostility towards women) would have vanished from our culture. Imagine the Feminists writing about sombunall men, but not all men. Imagine a debate about UFOs in which both sides could generalize as much as they wished about sombunall sightings but there was no linguistic form to generalize about all such sightings.

Imagine what would happen if, along with this semantic hygiene, the Aristotelian is were replaced by the neurologically-accurate "seems to me."

"All modern music is junk" would become "sombunall modern music seems like junk to me." Other dogmatic statements would become, e.g. "Sombunall scientists seem to me ignorant of art and culture," "Sombunall artists seem to me ignorant of science," "Sombunall Englishmen seem to me a bit pompous," "Sombunall Irishmen seem to me to drink alot"...

Idols would suddenly shrink back into models or reality-tunnels; we would remember that we created them, or that our ancestors did. We might become suddenly startlingly sane.

It's only a suggestion.

The New Inquisition pages 25-26 by Robert Anton Wilson