Joscha's Page

              There is in every village a torch -the teacher, and an extinguisher -the clergyman.

Victor Hugo

  

This site is about to change quite a lot. 

Please check out my new site:

http://elt-one.webs.com

 

What this site is about

 I basically started this site because I thought it might be a nice idea to have one. Then I assembled it piece by piece. It has now acquired a new sense: To be a place for friends, students, workmates, family and so on to come together, talk and share. Also, of course, I use it to promote those parts of education that are closest to my heart: English, literature, and linguistics. Have a look around, and please don't hesitate to send feedback or sign up for the Forums. You can use them to talk about anything you want.

 If you are wondering about the picture -I have started a thread to be a forum on fantastic and SciFi literature, which I find grossly underestimated. Why don't you have a look?

Who I am

  Call me Joscha. Somehow that doesn't quite have the right ring, I have to confess, but I'm neither looking for a white whale nor called Melville. I'm rather one for literature, though, as the little quip might have told you.

 I am one of those German expatriates in Spain, though a bit young for it, perhaps: Though I came here for personal reasons, it has nothing much to do with spending the dirty end of my days in the sun. I might end up that way, anyway: A famous death is so vulgar, I'd rather grow old. There's a lot to do before.

 This site was established on 20-02-2008. I'm working on it.

What I do

 Teaching, for instance. And dabbling a bit in literature (as soon as I write anything good enough, be the first to read it here) and analysis of the same (have a look at the Download Section). Translating, as well.

 But mainly teaching. I'm still finding my feet there, but if you are one of those people who are really enthusiastic about some matter and feel they can, perhaps, now and then, pass on a bit of that enthusiasm to others...well, I'd say try and teach it.

 The thing I am enthusiastic enough about to teach it is English and literature in English. Quite a bit of this site is rather directly related with it.

 Also, I am rather passionately involved with some other matters. I'm writing on them, and I'd like you to check out my stuff and tell me what you think of it.  

 The guy you see in the photo, by way, is Terry Pratchett. Greatest writer alive, I'd say. You will find a link to his site in the LINKS section. Many of the ideas I have put onto this website are quite closely related to his books, though it may not always be obvious.

 Terry has been diagnosed with Alzheimer, which apart from being a terrible disease, and more so for a writer, is a blow to literature in English.

 Terry is one of many there. I lost my grandfather to another degenerative brain disease, Parkinson's. Both of them cannot be cured at the moment.

 Those are but two of the terrible diseases we are prey to. If you want to do your bit for humankind, please donate to one of the many bodies and organisations that try to help medical research along. You can buy your kids a new playstation or a TV set for their bedroom, or you can help others buy a life for many. To me, it's clear what to do.

 Apart from that, there is one more lesson there. If, one day, something can be done against those diseases, it will be due to stem cell research. I can't see any reason why a pinhead-sized clump of cells should be regarded as anything more than that. Have a look at the ENLIGHTENMENT & ATHEISM section on this page if you are of a different opinion, or know someone who is.

Happy birthday, Charles Darwin

 Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 -a few days ago, he would have made 200 years. His greatest book, On the Origin of Species, was published pretty exactly 50 years later, so 2009 is a double anniversary -the Darwin year.

 On the Origin of Species tackles the question of how life came to be as complex, beautiful and diverse as it is today, and it explains the mechanisms involved, always departing from detailed case studies, always questioning itself with rare vigour, in powerful, beautiful scientific prose. It gave biology a basis -suddenly it all made sense. 

 But not only that: Darwin's work taught us that natural emergent processes can, and do, lead to results that otherwise appear totally implausible. It gave science a confidence never known before. Also, it is another powerful impetus towards a rational outlook. Gods are no longer necessary to explain the world. Darwin was one of the greatest liberators of the human mind.

 Today, a campaign against rational thought that started 150 years ago and was backwards even then, appears to be gaining ground again. It is called creationism and systematically spreads lies in order to control the way we think. All of its objections were smashed by Darwin himself in Origin and elsewhere.

 Evolution happens, and it has done so since life began.

 Natural selection is not a chance process -it is its precise opposite.

 Creationism is not science -it is theology.

 If you want to read more, you can do so clicking on this link.

 

Linguistics

 Telling stories is what makes us what we are, not made tools, nor war, nor prostitution, all three of them human-made.

 I speak, therefore I am. I narrate, therefore I'm human.

 How and why do we tell stories? How can we understand that medium that enables us to think, that subliminally controls the way we construct the world? What do our stories look like? How can we improve our understanding of each other?

 Only understanding language can we even begin to understand these questions.

 Only understanding language can we even begin to understand how power works and how we may, one day, make it work for us as humankind.

 Quo vadis, homo? Language, if anything, may tell us.

Oh, and translation...

 The original is always better, but this little widget might just help you with a few words. Please read on in the download section, and contact me to give feedback, ask questions, give me food for thought, ask me to put your site into my Links section, or just say hello. See you around!

   

Mailing List

If you want to get news about what is going on on this page, please let me know. Just send me a mail using the Contact Me option and send me your address. I will then put you onto my mailing list, and you will receive e-mails whenever I update my page. Don't worry, I won't spam you, and no one else will get your address from me.

 You may also send me an e-mail directly, of course, or use the widget below to sign up to receive updates and so on. Oh, the confirmation e-mail for signing up may take a bit to arrive -don't ask me why. Might be a bug -I'll see what I can do.

 

Disclaimer

The not-for-profit site www.freewebs.com/joschafinger is the sole responsibility of its owner, Jan Joscha Finger. Should any problems arise, including problems of copyright, please contact me in order to solve the issues at hand. Material that is not the property of the owner should be understood as a kind of promotion, not piracy.

Contributions to the forum are not censored in any way. They reflect the members'  opinions, not necessarily those of the owner.