A quote by theologian Anthony Thiselton seems relevant here:
“loss of stability, loss of stable identity, and loss of confidence in global norms or goals breed deep uncertainty, insecurity, and anxiety.”
It is interesting that in the history of TEI-markup, what pressed its development forward was an intense fear, that if did not adopt a common practice – chaos would ensue. With this idea, we can view this language as a means for seeking control. It’s no wonder than, that in class, some of us felt uncomfortable. As one person put it, “I can’t afford to miss a word.” We are driven to understand this language for a grade, yes, but we are driven by a further fear that knowing just one language, English, is no longer enough. Our attachment to technology is so inextricable, and yet, so many of us cannot speak the language of computers that run much of that technology. As someone said, it is like learning a new language, because it is a new language. Many of us seemed to have mixed feelings towards this new ‘language’. It implies being outside something, and working towards getting to some kind of knowable centre, where our tongue will bend and conform to its mold. I guess like learning any new language, we are also afraid of saying the wrong thing, in this case, of doing the wrong thing, or worse, living in the margins of silence. Perhaps, we don’t want to feel left behind, and as everyone grapples through this process, it becomes interesting, because we’re learning to combine our understanding of both languages. The literary language of poetry and the TEI code together. And it is interesting that we are at once insecure, and trying to secure fixed structures. A wildly passionate practice that draws from inspiration, and one that is stringent and fixed in computer science.