Guugu Yimithirr is an aboriginal Australian language that only uses absolute directions when describing spatial relations — the position of everything is described by using the cardinal directions. A speaker of Guugu yimithirr will define a person as being "north of the house", while a speaker of English may say that he is "in front of the house" or "to the left of the house" depending on the speaker's point of view. This difference makes Guugu yimithirr speakers better at performing some kinds of tasks, such as finding and describing locations in open terrain, whereas English speakers perform better in tasks regarding the positioning of objects relative to the speaker. For example telling someone to set a round table putting forks to the right of the plate and knives to the left would be extremely difficult in Guugu yimithirr.
This connects the dots with the concept of "Umwelt" Daniel Dennett writes about in "Intuition pumps and other tools for thinking": "(The umwelt is) Our manifest image (it) really is manifest, really is subjective in a strong sense. It's the world we live in, the world according to us. (...) Much of our manifest image has been shaped by natural selection over eons, and is part of our genetic heritage. One of my favorite examples of how different an Umwelt can be compares an anteater to an insectivorous bird (Wimsatt, 1980). The bird tracks individual insects and must deal with their erratic flight patterns by having a high flicker-fusion rate (in effect it sees more “frames per second” than we do, and hence a movie would be like a slide show to it). The anteater just averages over the whole ant-infested area and lets its big tongue take up the slack. A philosopher might say that “ant” for an anteater is a mass term, like “water” and “ice” and “furniture,” not a sortal (you can count them) like “olives” and “raindrops” and “chairs.” When an anteater sees a nice blob of ant, it slurps it up with its tongue, as oblivious to the individuals as we are to the individual glucose molecules we slurp up when we eat a sweet."
Anteater / Insectivorous bird. Westerners / Guugu Yimithirr speakers. Now. We've always known that my perception of "blue" is not your perception of "blue". But allow me as I've been diving into Alan Watts' "Wisdom of Insecurity". What I'm imagining here is a fundamental change in our Umwelt. Maybe even better, a destruction so profound you would look at these w o r d s and see the l e t t e r s behind them. Look at the letters and see ink. Look at the ink and see a screen, atoms, void. Now imagine your Umwelt i. e. references change so profoundly every time you look at an object around you, your mouth freezes in awe... How do we get there? Good morning ladies and gents ;)