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Vanity writes...

Punchinello and yourself discussed "sententiousness" in quite lenghty detail. If I remember right the main buckling of the topic of one's being sentient was ultimately his ability to communicate ideas. I don't seem to remember any talk about awareness of thought and decision.
If a Russian speaker was adopted into your household, and could not understand nor speak a single word of English, you cannot communicate with him on any level of aphroristic expression (if you infact cannot speak Russian). In fact the communication would very much be like that between man and an animal. When he wants a drink and says (whatever in Russian means 'I want to drink your water'); you will overtime perhaps reckognize what he wants through mere repitition. Never though be able to ask him if he liked the water, describe the compositional qualities that make up the glass, or how the purification system(s) in your water plant makes that water safe for you and your family to drink. You can say it he won't know it.
Yet he can still make the moral judgement on his own princibles that he understands in his own language as to if he will leave the toilet seat up or not. His sentience is still very much intact as is yours, but in communication most of what we consider humanesque intelligible relay of thought is lost.

He can learn but he may not learn English just as you can but may not learn Russian. Words are words, but diction, structural differences, and phonetic discrepencies between the two languages make changing your thinking process from thinking as an Englishmen(English speaking man not man born on England) to thinking as a Russian quite likely impossible. Even if you learn Russian as to be able to go to Moscow and fool everyone into thinking that you are indeed a native Russian. Your nueral networking will still under most serious probability process thought in English just, as it does; it will translate that process to Russian in a fashion quite like my thoughts now are magically appearing in this post box thingy by mere change of production from thought to text by fingur relay in the procession from mind to hand to finger to keyboard to computer to eventually cyber-wherever. I do not think like a keyboard or a computer yet I can communicate using one but only in the language I am prepared to use it with.

Gargoyles as well can type on keyboards and relay thought. Lexington with very little experience in terms of years and could only practice at night, was able to punch a keyboard judging by the "clicking" sound of the keyboard at nearly 129 words per minute, without looking and locate Coldstone in MacBeth's mansion. Quite impressive really. Yet his thoughts were in English. (note if you were in Madrid when you first seen Gargoyles and they spoke in Spanish and of course you did too you might argue they thought in Spanish and you would most likely be right mi amigo). But not as an English Man but and English Gargoyle again not as a nationality but as a tongue. Still Lex's moral judgements can be made too stand on thier own and can communicate with anything Man or Gargoyle or Oberon's Child that also speaks English, whether they think "English" or not.

Language is not merely a tool for communication it is a way of thinking Eskimos have something like seven words that really just mean "snow". Yet an Eskimo thinks like an Eskimo and can judge the minor differences in the type of snow they see and to them one kind of snow is not "a" snow but a "d" snow and ect..

Luckily for us I suppose that as humans we all relatively think alike even with our differing way of thinking. The means of production are different but the product is still the same. This allows for learning multiple languages each human no matter his language that language has the ability to "learn" or adapt to the use of another language and that is quite a remarkable thing. Almost too remarkable to be chance.

I don't have the full answer, just what I feel like that (and as arrogantly as I can feel it) that I know what perhaps I know or don't know and go with that by fusing it with things that I learn or that are revealed to me by you and others who post and participate. I very much enjoy this site and the people who participate it is so cool, this is the greates fandom in the world.

Greg responds...

You say you don't have the full answer. I'm just not clear what the question was.

I don't disagree with anything you said, except for the notion that Punchinello and I were defining sentience as simply the ability to communicate. I don't think either of us ever did that.

And I agree: Greatest Fandom in the World.

Response recorded on July 18, 2003