August 2021. Transformational times.

I draw from one of my favourite authors, Antjie Krog, in the prelude to her work ' A change of tongue' post the breakdown of Apartheid in South Africa, 2003

'Some rules, according to Naom Chomsky, are transformational: that is, they change one structure into another according to such prescribed conventions as moving, inserting, deleting and replacing items. Transformational Grammar has stipulated two levels of syntactic structure: deep structure (an abstract underlying structure that incorporates all the syntactic information required for the interpretation of a given sentence) and surface structure ( a structure that incorporates all the syntactic features of a sentence required to convert the sentence into a spoken or written version). Transformation links deep structure with surface structure.'

Recently I find myself transformed. I walk in the mountain often. I have always deeply appreciated the beauty and magnificence of fynbos, the incredible variety and complexity in amongst dramatic mountain scenery,.. but recently I find this appreciation changed. How can I put it? What used to be a deep appreciation of beauty for the sake of beauty, has transformed into a much deeper appreciation of what makes it tick, how it all fits together, the inner workings of it. Am I feeling myself move from surface structure to deep structure..?

To put it bluntly... I resisted it! Oh how I enjoyed the visual spectacle of a forest of proteas in bloom on the foot of Somerset Sneeukop and elsewhere and did not want it tainted with scientific facts, names and data! I find the same attitude in others (highly educated professionals) resisting learning the scientific name of this or that protea lepidocarpodendrum.. what what what?.. that it is beautiful and magnificent and awe-inspiring, is that not enough?!

Surprisingly not!

And so find myself transformed... and inaturalist and the inaturist community is to blame!!.... the
more I see, the more I am able to see, the more curious I become for what more there is to see, the more I want to see and learn, the more I see and so the cycle continues....

Am I doomed?!

No, transformed.. maybe saved....

Posted by dryfveer dryfveer, August 19, 2021 18:39


Lovely thoughts. Thank you for sharing. As a former computational linguist, I'm both surprised and delighted to see Noam Chomsky quoted in a botanical context.

Posted by ejwildlife 5 months ago (Flag)

Most welcome. This is what I love about inaturalist, it provides a gateway from one world into another, in both directions.

Posted by dryfveer 5 months ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments