Don't ask Language Log

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I did get one question phoned in by a journalist during my long stint on the night semantics desk. A reporter from the New York Daily News called to ask me about some things that former yoga instructor Rielle Hunter had said, about former Democratic politician John Edwards being "an old soul" with a "special energy" who could be a truly "transformational leader" if only he would use his heart more and his head less; and about her purpose on this Earth being "to help raise awareness about all this, to help the unenlightened become better reflections of their true, repressed selves." The reporter wanted to know what this meant — what becoming a better reflection of one's true repressed self would amount to, in precise terms. Doesn't it suggest that one's real self is trapped inside, he asked, and one's apparently real self that walks around among us, and eats breakfast, and experiences temptations regarding sexual relations with blonde videographers, is merely a reflection of that inner reality? Is this not, he went on (having apparently majored in philosophy at Columbia), a remarkable inversion of the way language is normally employed by philosophers talking about the self? Has Ms Hunter not got the outside inside and the inside outside?

I'm afraid I was unable to answer. In fact I have something of a headache, and since it is now breakfast time and I have been on duty all night I think I will have breakfast and go to bed. Ask Language Log, yes; but don't ask it absolutely anything at all. In particular, we are generally powerless to interpret reincarnationspeak and yogababble.

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