Following is the core of my undergraduate thesis for Friends World College. It contains the core concept of the 'script' which has informed almost everything that I have thought, written, created, or said since then. Since 2002 I have been working sporadically on a book that would share what I have learned about these ideas in the last 30 years.
a) Human beings have a ’biological’ script.
b) This biological script is the stimu1us for all human experience.
c) Within the arena of human experience, which includes a ”state of consciousness” and a process of creativity (which affect not only the material world, but also the “state of consciousness” that perceives this material world), there is an accumulative phenomena which results in the constant transformation of the arena within which human experience is carried out.
d) The development and use of language and tools appears to be a distinctly human process (not apparent amongst other primates), which accounts for much of the accumulation/ transformation of the human arena.
e) It is not necessary to think of language and tool as exclusive categories. In fact, language is a tool.
f) Like any other tool, 1anguage has developed in relation to its function, the value of which has been created by the human biological script. Also, as with any other tool, once 1anguage has been created, it is no longer restricted to the use that it was intended for in its original function.
g) Competition and cooperation are important dynamics in human experience.
h) Language has been the most important too1 in the deve1opent of human social phenomena, and consequently, the deve1opment of human social phenomena has been one of the ma1n factors in the development of language.
i) Human experience has generated language to serve a certain function. This of course means that human experience preceded the development of language. A1though this is an obvious fact, it may be extreme1y difficu1t to realize its implication in the context of a transformed human arena where the use of language has already become an essentia1 aspect of human experience. The transformation which takes place in human consciousness in conjunction with the development (and use) of language is usually referred to as ”thought.”
j) It is possib1e to use language to describe human experience and natura1 phenomena which are of importance to human experience. It is not only ’possible’ to use language in this way, it is one of 1anguage’s main functions and therefore one of the main factors in language’s development.
k) At a certain point in the development of language an human ”thought,” there tends to be a distinction made between ”description” of phenomena and ”explanation” of phenomena. Such a distinction having formed, there is a tendency to attempt to apply the principle of ”explanation” to phenomena which are not understood as we11 as to phenomena which are understood.
l) Also, at a certain point in the development of 1anguage’s social function, it becomes used in implementing rules about social behavior. These rules about social behavior have a value in the development of social cooperation.
m) Language, as do other tools, has its accumulation/ transformation effect on the human arena, in conjunction with its own accumu1ation and an increasing dependency upon its function, which has become valuable as a means of carrying out the human biological script. Descriptions and explanations of human experience, descriptions and explanations of natural phenomena, descriptions of rules governing natural phenomena, statements of rules which should govern human social behavior, etc., accumulate in language (as a tool which is used to communicate them). This accumulation is greatly increased with the development of written language.
n) At a certain point in the development of social cooperation, and the accumulation of descriptive, explanatory, and prescriptive statements in language, comprehensive systems of thought tend to be formulated (belief systems, moral systems, philosophies, legends, religions, sciences, mytho1ogies, aesthetic systems, superstitions, etc.) Such comprehensive systems of thought will be referred to as scripts. The over-all system or inter-connection of several scripts, in a given language, will be referred to as a cultural script.
o) The development of a script requires people to believe in it, or else it disappears. Inducing people to believe in a script requires a system of enlistment or recruitment. Such a process takes p1ace on two fronts: the en1istment of children born to people who already believe in the script (this is called education), and the recruitment of adults who already be1ieve in a different script (this is called conversion or sometimes called re-education).
p) Once a script is being used by a group of people, they may individua11y or collectively have experiences which are not accounted for in the script or experiences which contradict the script. The demand of a script, however, is that all experiences be explained by it. This process, of explaining experience by recourse to a script, will be referred to as ”attribution to the script.”
q) The demand of a script for all occurrences to be attributed to its already existing system of thoughts, combined with the constant change of natura1 phenomena and the constant transformation of the human arena, creates a ”conflict of attribution.” When such a conflict results in ”dogmatism,” a great deal of suppression, repression, and ”loss of reality” tend to be generated.
r) The essence of this conflict (which occurs whenever a script demands attribution) is between using language as a creative tool to describe and attempt to explain human experience (realities), and using a standard script to perform this act.
s) Because interpretation of the script is a very important activity, individuals or groups who are in a position of being ”official interpreters” of the script tend to be very ”influential” peop1e.
t) Once a script has come into existence/use, despite the skill of any group of people who re-interpret, alter, or enforce the script, there is always (some degree of) conflict between new experience and attribution to the script.
u) Cultural scripts tend to come into existence and spread according to a geographical origin/center and tend to become limited according to natural geographical boundaries, or coming into conflict with another script.
v) Any script has internal conflicts due to the contradictions involved in attribution of experience to the script, and a cultural script tends to come into conflict geographically with other cultura1 scripts, which are emanating from different cultural centers and also from different languages. The former conflict is inward, and the latter conflict is outward.
w) A group of people who are in the position of interpreting Or enforcing a script within a certain geographical area, and who are finding it difficult to maintain this script, may find that it is extremely valuable to direct attitudes of conflict towards other scripts, and thus to minimize the levels of potential conflict within their own script.
x) The concrete factors which must be comprehensively dealt with in any one cultural script are innumerable. The most important factors are those of competition and cooperation, attitudes towards techno1ogical and aesthetic innovations, rules about economic accumulation, rules about human interaction, and attitudes concerning other scripts. These different aspects of a human reality are usually dealt with in a variety of different scripts, the overall organization of which makes up a ”cultural script.” This cultural script has internal contradictions. The most important factor in mobilizing the members of a cultural script into conflict with another cultural script, is convincing the members of this cultural script that despite the internal contradictions between different scripts, and between these scripts and reality, that the overall organization of these scripts, in ”their” cultural script, is something ”sacred,” as compared with other cultural scripts. This belief can be transformed into conflict with another cultural script by interpreting the activities of another cultural script as threatening (which they very well may be), or by creating a sense of moral obligation to convert members of another cultural script into the ”sacred.” The real factors invo1ved in such a mobilization rarely become conscious topics for debate.
y) When an over-all cultural script is mobilizing towards conflict with another cultural script, it becomes very difficult to use language as a tool to describe or attempt to explain actual realities.
z) Language is a tool. A script is a tool. Everybody is an artist.