Sharer language: Subject = Object
Sharers uses plants and animals only as they are used in return. So, because Sharers consume plants and animals as food, they accept that they in turn will become food for other life forms; that predators will ultimately consume them.
A unique expression of the Sharer worldview is their language, in which subject and object are interchangeable. The Sharers know by context what subject and object are–but their language does not allow them to make a distinction. As a result, they always know that what one person “forces” upon another involves force in return. Their language prevents anyone from “giving orders” to dominate others. If someone says, “You must obey me,” the Sharer hears, “I must obey you,” or (the closest translation), “We must share agreement.” Their language reinforces the Sharers’ refusal to allow any individual to dominate another by force.
In A Door into Ocean, a Valan confronts a Sharer about their language:
“If Beryl bears a child, does the child bear Beryl? That’s ridiculous.”
“A mother is born when her child comes.”
“Or if I swim in the sea, does the sea swim in me?”
“You can’t be that crazy. You do know the difference, don’t you?”
“Of course. What does it matter?”
What do you think? Does the subject – object difference really matter? What would the world look like if we didn’t think so?