Some thoughts of Benjamin Lee Whorf*

There is no one metaphysical pool of universal human thought.


Speakers of different languages see the Cosmos differently; evaluate it differently, sometimes not by much, sometimes widely.


Thinking is relative to the language learned.


There are no primitive languages.


Research is needed to discover the world view of many unexplored languages, some now in danger of extinction.


Somewhere along the line it may be possible to develop a real international language.


Someday all peoples will use language at capacity, and so think much straighter than we now do.


So far as we can envision the future, we must envision it in terms of mental growth.



* Carroll, J. (ed.) Language, Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956.


El Matallana

Poison and elixir



How sweet the ambivalence

How bitter the ambivalence

poison and elixir

in the glass

in the body

death and pleasures


Your voice saying hello

says goodbye

Your rejecting hand

offers the belly


Your words that inspire love

but hurt

your secrets that reveal

but hide


You inspire me

you convoke me

you attack me

you scare me


You take me

you release me

you ignore me

you want me


How sweet the ambivalence

How bitter the ambivalence

How beautiful and awful love

that lives because it dies


El Matallana

Benjamin Lee Whorf: Knowledge and native language*


“Science cannot yet understand the transcendental logic of such a state of affairs, for it has not yet freed itself from the illusory necessities of common logic which are only at bottom necessities of grammatical pattern in Western Aryan grammar; necessities for substances which are only necessities for substantives in certain sentence positions, necessities for forces, attractions, etc. which are only necessities for verbs in certain other positions, and so on. Science, if it survives the impending darkness, will next take up the consideration of linguistic principles and divest itself of these illusory linguistic necessities, too long held to be the substance of Reason itself.”

Language, Mind and Reality (1942)


Short biography

Whorf graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1918 as a chemical engineer. Shortly after graduation, he began his successful career as a fire prevention engineer (inspector) for the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. Afterward he became interested in Native American, Mayan and Aztec languages. In the late 1920s, Whorf communicated his ideas to the intellectual community. As a result, he won a grant from the Social Science Research Council for a trip to Mexico in 1930 and made significant contributions to research on the Aztec language. In 1931, the well known linguist Edward Sapir took a job teaching at Yale University, and Whorf enrolled there as a part-time, non-degree graduate student. Sapir recommended Whorf to study the Hopi language. Whorf published three papers in MIT’s Technology Review in 1940 and 1941, and died of cancer at the age of 44 on July 26, 1941, at his home in Wethersfield, Connecticut.


* Carroll, J. (ed.) Language, Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956.


El Matallana

Present is lightning

April 3/2006


The lasso vibrates

as it unites

heaven with earth


and this sound

of the light

it is only an echo,

agonizing vestige

of the angel

already fallen



the obscure cloud spills

and another comes



the river flow increases

so that it is never the same…


Present is lightning

past is thunder

life is this rain

that eventually ceases.


El Matallana

Presente es relámpago

Abril 3/2006


Vibra el lazo

cuando une

al cielo con la tierra


y este sonido

de la luz

es sólo un eco,

vestigio agonizante

del ángel ya caído.



la nube obscura se derrama

y viene otra



los caudales del río se incrementan

para que nunca sea el mismo…


Presente es relámpago

pasado trueno

vida es esta lluvia

que eventualmente cesa.


El Matallana


“Las personas que sufren de alexitimia están limitadas en su capacidad de experimentar fantasías o sueños o pensar de forma imaginativa. Por el contrario, tienen una forma de pensar enfocada externamente, basándose en los hechos y detalles. Las personas con alexitimia son a menudo descritas por los demás, incluyendo a sus seres queridos, frías y distantes. Carecen de habilidades empáticas y tienen grandes dificultades para comprender y responder con eficacia a los sentimientos de otras personas.”

Creo que hay muchas personas con este problema, incluyendo un par que han sido muy importantes en mi vida:

Los que soñamos debemos ayudarlos.

El Matallana

Veneno y elixir



Qué dulce ambivalencia

Qué amarga ambivalencia

veneno y elixir

en la copa

en el cuerpo

los placeres y la muerte


Tu voz al despedirse

dice hola

Tu mano al rechazar

ofrece el vientre


Tus palabras que enamoran

pero hieren

tus secretos que revelan

mas esconden


Me inspiras,

me convocas,

me atacas

y me asustas


Me tomas,

me sueltas,

me ignoras

y me quieres


Qué dulce ambivalencia

Qué amarga ambivalencia

Qué bello y feo amor

que vive porque muere



El Matallana