Ecology, physics, process philosophies, Buddhism, Daoism, and language : A case study of William Golding’s The Inheritors and Pincher Martin

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Much has been written about the ecological perspectives of Buddhism and Daoism, as examples of philosophies which emphasize process, impermanence, interconnectedness, and compassion for nature. And the interconnectedness of the various elements of the biosphere and the Earth’s crust is the basis of ecological Gaia theory. Some physicists and process philosophers have drawn attention to the inadequacies of European languages to represent the world of quantum reality, radical undifferentiated wholeness and interconnectedness, and the dynamism and uncontrollability of the material world. Notable among these were physicists David Bohm and David Peat, who looked to Blackfoot, an Algonquin language of North America, for a better representation of the natural world as interacting processes.

This article explores some of the commonalities between Buddhism/Daoism, process philosophies, modern physics and ecological theory. It then addresses the question of the affordances different languages and grammars provide for a deep ecological representation in tune with quantum physics and Buddhism/Daoism. The climax of the article starts with the work of Michael Halliday on the local grammar of William Golding’s The Inheritors (Golding, William. 1961 [1955]. The Inheritors. London: Faber), and performs a similar grammatical analysis of two passages from Golding’s later work Pincher Martin (Golding, William. 1956. Pincher Martin. London: Faber). It concludes that the Neanderthal mind style and life style in The Inheritors and the world of the drowning Pincher Martin are represented in a grammatical style more appropriate for a Buddhist/Daoist/quantum physics/deep ecological worldview of human interaction with the natural world.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of World Languages
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • buddhism
  • Daosim
  • systemic functional grammar
  • William Golding

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