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The Loom of Language


Then Jesus beholding him loved
him, and said unto him. One thing
thou lackest go thy way, sell
whatsoever thou hast, and give to
the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven and come, take
up the cross, and follow me And
he was sad at that saying, and went
away grieved for he had great
possessions And Jesus looked
round about, and saith unto his
disciples, How hardly shall they
that have riches enter into the
kingdom of God1 And the dis-
ciples were astonished at his words
But Jesus answereth again;, and
saith unto them. Children, how
hard is it for them that trust m
riches to enter into the kingdom
of God'

And the multitude of them that
believed were of one heart and one
soul neither said any of them that
ought of the things which he
possessed was his own, but they
had all things common . Neither
was there any among them that
lacked for as many as were pos-
sessors of lands or houses sold
them, and brought the prices of
the things that were sold, and laid
them down at the apostles* feet
and distribution was made unto
every man according as he had


And Jesus, looking on him, and
loving him, said, There is one
thing needed go, get money for
your goods, and give it to the poor,
and you will have wealth in
heaven and come with me But
his face became sad at the saying,
and he went away sorrowing for
he was one who had much pro-
perty And Jesus, looking round
about, said to his disciples, How
hard it is for those who have
wealth to come into the kingdom
of God1 And the disciples were
full of wonder at his words But
Jesus said to them again, Children,
how hard it is for those who put
faith in wealth to come into the
kingdom of God1

And all those who were of the
faith were one in heart and soul
and not one of them said that any
of the things which he had was his
property only, but they had all
things in common And no one
among them was in need, for
everyone who had land or houses,
exchanging them for money, took
the price of them, and put it at the
feet of the Apostles for distribution
to everyone as he had need

Some critics of Basic will say that it is tainted with the philosophical
preoccupations of Wilkins, Leibniz, and Bentham—the armchair view
that the main business of language is to "transmit ideas " To be sure,
transmission of ideas is an unnecessarily charitable description of the
everyday speech of people who have to eat, dress, buy cigarettes, pay
rent, mate, or excrete Admittedly a large part of the daily intercourse of
intellectuals themselves deals with situations in which it is not con-
venient to define a beefsteak as a cut from the back end of a male cow