Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter
Number 2 - 24 February 2000
Copyright 2000 Meru Foundation
Written by Cynthia Tenen
Meru's Research staff -- Stan and Cynthia Tenen -- are currently visiting
the San Francisco Bay area, and plan to stay through at least the month
of March. If you're on the west coast, and would like to speak with
us, please send us an email at <email@example.com>
and let us know how we can reach you. As of today, we don't have
any formal classes planned, but if we do schedule a public presentation
of the Meru research, I'll send an email announcement.
The Meru Foundation website,<www.meru.org>,
has reached a significant milestone -- we passed 100,000 hits as of January
20, 2000, and our traffic is steadily increasing. Also, as
those of you who received our November 1999 newsletter know, we have opened
a new secure-server distribution website, <www.meetingtent.com>,
so that you may now order Meru Foundation videotapes, models, and other
products directly on line. We have had good success with this new
site so far, thanks to Meru's President, Bill Haber, who is now running
Meru's retail distribution. But of course there's always more we
could do. If you have feedback on our new website, or suggestions
as to ways we can increase traffic to <www.meetingtent.com>,
please write to Bill Haber at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
STAN TENEN on ART BELL's COAST to COAST
Stan Tenen is scheduled to appear again on Art Bell's Coast to Coast,
the all-night radio interview program heard throughout the United States,
at 11 PM Pacific Time on Monday, February 28. Stan will be interviewed
by guest-host Rollie James. Stan's last appearances on Art's show
were on June 9 and July 7, 1997. To find out what radio station broadcasts Coast to Coast in your area, go to the Art Bell website at <www.artbell.com/stations.html>.
If there's no radio station in your area that carries Coast to Coast,
you can also hear the program live on streaming RealAudio(tm) via
the Art Bell website -- go to <www.artbell.com/audio.html>.
RECENT SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS ON GESTURES AND THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE
Over the past several months, current research strongly indicating
the primacy of gesture language in human development has received growing
attention in the press. This new work is beginning to establish a
foundation meaningful to the scientific community for our proposal that
the origins of Western sacred alphabets lie in hand gestures. As
noted in the Meru eTORUS
Newsletter #1, several of these articles are described in
the Squaring the Circle section on the Meru Foundation website,
with links to them posted at <www.meru.org/3220lecture/contents.html>.
In the last few months, several additional articles have come to our
A news report in the New York Times about the oldest alphabetic
inscriptions yet found, in Egypt at Wadi-el-hol. This discovery places
the origin of written characters far earlier than previously thought, and
one symbol in particular -- the symbol identified as "H" -- clearly shows
the stick-figure of a human making the same gesture that Meru research
suggests for the letter "He." The article itself is posted on the New York Times website at
(The NY Times will ask you to join their online service to see this
article. I recommend doing this; the service is free, and it gives
you access to the entire, very extensive, NY Times online archive).
The Internet version of the Times article does not include the picture
used the print version, of the "H" symbol mentioned above, but you can
view it at <http://www.meru.org/Gestures/Wadi-el-hol-He.html>,
along with a comparison to the letter "He" as reprinted from the Meru Foundation
chart of Hebrew letter-gestures.
A second recent news report also appeared in the NY Times, on
the work of Dr. Joseph Greenberg, an anthropologist and linguist with an
unusual -- and very controversial -- perspective on how languages spread
and evolve. There are two URLs, one for the article, and another
for a very evocative chart which is part of the article. They are:
The chart, in particular, shows the close relationship, and extreme
similarity, of words in several different languages having meanings
related to the concepts of one, finger, or point. Standard linguistic
theory maintains these words are unrelated, but Dr. Greenberg's work shows
a scientific basis for their real relationship. Dr. Greenberg does
not include Hebrew, but the hand-gesture for the letter Yod, meaning "I,"
"me", "to me", and point/pointer (as an expression of personal will or
volition) as pictured on the Meru letter-gesture chart, is clearly consistent
with his findings. Yad, "hand," spelled Yud-Dalet (I-D), fits the
pattern of root letters used to spell the word meaning "pointer" throughout
Dr. Greenberg's chart.
A third and very interesting article is published in PSYCOLOQUY,
a refereed online journal of open peer commentary sponsored by the American
Psychological Association. This article, titled The Role of
the Hand in the Evolution of Language, by the late Prof. Ullin T. Place,
is yet another recent report indicating the primacy of gesture language.
Sadly, Prof. Place died on January 2, 2000, shortly before the publication
of this article. Here is an excerpt from the Abstract:
"Section III sets out eleven pieces of evidence for the view
that vocal language must have been preceded by an earlier language of gesture.
Based on those principles and evidence, Section IV sets out seven proposed
stages in the process whereby language evolved: (1) the use of mimed movement
to indicate an action to be performed, (2) the development of referential
pointing which, when combined with mimed movement, leads to a language
of gesture, ..."
You can read Prof. Place's full article online at <http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?11.007>.
PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS BY STAN TENEN
In recent months, Stan has been participating in a number of electronic
discussion lists on the topic of science and consciousness, or science
and spirituality. During the course of these conversations, from
time to time he writes impromptu essays that we feel are of interest to
readers of the eTORUS Newsletter -- because they discuss new work, or explain
in detail points not elaborated on elsewhere, and provide perspective on
some of the underlying principles of this research.
For the Winter issue, I've chosen an essay on the topic of how the way
we look at the Hebrew Bible, and what we presume its history to be, profoundly
affects what we see in it. Rather than send the complete essay in
this newsletter, I've posted it to a special section on the Meru website
where these newsletters will be archived, at <http://www.meru.org/Newsletter/textnotstories.html>.
Below is a short excerpt that sets the tone for this piece:
"If you were alive several thousand years
ago, and you came upon, learned, had revealed to you, whatever, a meditation
that had integrative and therapeutic value and brought you into a sense
of connectedness with life and the Transcendent, and you wanted to record
it for posterity, what could you do? Obviously, writing a story doesn't
solve the problem. Meditational exercises are notoriously impossible
to convey in word-descriptions. You could do what any reasonable
person would do today: you could create a special formal language
for the purpose of recording meditation. This is what I'm suggesting
as the origin of the Hebrew alphabet as a gesture-language.
"But recording a series of gestures would be
of no interest to the general public. Given that the educated elite
is the first to be wiped out in bad times, how could you see to it that
your formal record of a meditational dance would survive? Why would
persons who could not perform, and who could not appreciate the meditational
dance, preserve your record of it?
"This is why the Hebrew Bible has to have a
clear-text, and why a religion has to have culturally attractive and community-binding
rituals. If the clear-text is an attractive or fascinating cultural
history, then those reading it would have sufficient reason to maintain
it, even if they didn't know of or couldn't perform the meditations.
If you read the Hebrew sages, they tell you that the stories -- the clear-text
-- only became readable after historical events occurred. Well, if
you were choosing a clear-text, wouldn't you choose to say things that
were believed to be true? It makes no sense to read the stories of
the Bible in a way that makes them oppose history. That would lower
their credibility, and consequently their survivability."
(Essay excerpt ©1999, 2000 Stan Tenen)
You can read this complete "e-list essay" by Stan Tenen at <http://www.meru.org/Newsletter/textnotstories.html>.
I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS
Newsletter. We welcome your feedback; if you have questions,
or suggestions, please don't hesitate to write me at:
Cynthia Tenen <email@example.com>
Thank you for your interest in the work of the Meru Foundation.
The Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter is copyright 1999, 2000,
2001 Meru Foundation.
Past issues of eTORUS(tm) are archived online on the Meru Foundation
You may duplicate and pass along this newsletter, in its entirety, as
long as you include this copyright notice and the contact information below.
Please send comments and questions to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Meru Foundation research offices:
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Sharon, MA 02067 USA
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