In the beautiful Translator’s Note from Dante’s Inferno, John Ciardi uses the metaphor of languages as instruments: “When a violin repeats what the piano has just played, it cannot make the same sounds. It can, however, make recognizably the same “music,” the same air. But it can do so only when it is as faithful to the self-logic of the violin as it is to the self-logic of the piano.”
Research has shown that the language we speak influences our relationship with the world around us and our perception of it. But it isn’t a one-way relationship: our experience of the world changes language just as languages change our perception of the world.
It ends with Castro calling attention to how other languages and cultures, in the present and the past, can influence and change our relationship to “attention”.
Hat tip to Austin Kleon!