LANGUAGE AND COUNSCIOUSNESS

At the gate of counsciousness

“Before my teacher came to me,

I did not know that I am.

I lived in a world that was a no-world.

I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious,

yet conscious time of nothingness.

Since I had no power of thought,

I did not compare one mental state with another.”

  Helen Keller

When I was a child maybe six, or seven years old, around 1960, started to wonder from where words acquired their meaning, it strike me that meaning had no relation to the word in question, and that by use, and habit words had the power to bring a mental image of the word in question, like if I said watermelon a compose word of two different elements= water + melon the fruit we associate with would appear in our minds, so soon I played with my father at deconstructing words, an using antonyms to bring a new word like earthmelon,  firemelon, or aircucumber, dirtbanana, etc. My father was amused with the game and indulged me in my silliness, a sleeping bag would become a waking envelope, a horseshoe a donkeyhat, etc.  Years before I ever heard of Jacques Derrida or he published his book, I played to deconstruct words.

Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1967 book Of Grammatology. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger’s concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading.Heidegger’s term referred to a process of exploring the categories and concepts that tradition has imposed on a word, and the history behind them.Derrida opted for deconstruction over the literal translation destruction to suggest precision rather than violence.

Deconstructing Abbey road

Ferdinand de Saussure a Swiss linguist now considered the father of twenty century Linguistics said:

“In language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language there are only differences without positive terms. Whether we take the signified or the signifier, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system. The idea or phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other signs that surround it. […] A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas; but the pairing of a certain number of acoustical signs with as many cuts made from the mass thought engenders a system of values.”

Ferdinand_de_Saussure

semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically Semiotics is often divided into three branches:

  • Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning

  • Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures

  • Pragmatics: Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them

In what language deaf people think? I think in English, because that’s what I speak. But since deaf people cannot hear, they can’t learn how to speak a language. Nevertheless, they must think in some language. Would they think in English if they use sign language and read English? How would they do that if they’ve never heard the words they are signing or reading pronounced? Or maybe they just see words in their head, instead of hearing themselves?

Can you think without language? Answer: Nope, at least not at the level humans are accustomed to. That’s why deafness can have far more serious consequences than blindness, developmentally speaking. The blind suffer many hardships, not the least of which is the inability to read in the usual manner. But even those sightless from birth acquire language by ear without difficulty in infancy, and having done so lead relatively ordinary lives. A congenitally deaf child isn’t so lucky: unless someone realizes very early that he’s not talking because he can’t hear, his grasp of communication may never progress beyond the rudiments.

About one child in a thousand, however, is born with no ability to hear whatsoever. Years ago such people were called deaf-mutes. Often they were considered retarded, and in a sense they were: they’d never learned language, a process that primes the pump for much later development. The critical age range seems to be 21 to 36 months. During this period children pick up the basics of language easily, and in so doing establish essential cognitive infrastructure. Later on it’s far more difficult. If the congenitally deaf aren’t diagnosed before they start school, they may face severe learning problems for the rest of their lives, even if in other respects their intelligence is normal.

Helen Keller

“Human consciousness, as constructed by human language, becomes the vehicle through which the self-reflective human mind envisions time. Language enables the viewer to reflect upon the actions of the doer (and the actions of one’s internal body), while projecting forward and backward — other possible bodily actions — into imagined space/time. Thus the projected and imagined space/time increasingly becomes the conscious world and reality of the viewer who imagines or remembers actions mapped onto that projected plan. The body thus becomes a physical entity progressing through the imaged world of the viewer. As the body progresses through this imaged world, the viewer also constructs a way to mark progress from one imagined event to another. Having once marked this imagined time into units, the conscious viewer begins to order the anticipated actions of the body into a linear progression of events.”

Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

Language of Counsciousness

So is clear that the beginning of Man as differentiated from the Animal kingdom has to do with the emergence of Language, since we can’t separate consciousness from Language. Scientist argue when Man was capable of speech, some go to 2.5 millions of years, some as recent as to 150,000 to 200,000 years ago.

Using statistical methods to estimate the time required to achieve the current spread and diversity in modern languages today, Johanna Nichols — a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley — argues that vocal language must have arisen in our species at least 100,000 years ago. This finding is independently supported by genetic, archaeological, paleontological and much other evidence suggesting that language probably emerged somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa during the Middle Stone Age, roughly contemporaneous with the speciation of Homo sapiens.

Linguists agree that there are no existing “primitive” languages: all modern human populations speak languages of at least roughly comparable complexity and expressive power.However, the twentieth century doctrine that the world’s spoken languages are and always were identical and invariant in complexity is no longer accepted: much recent scholarship has explored how linguistic complexity varies between and within languages over historical time.

We will never know for sure when or how Humans started to speak, however by logic we can infer that by listening to the sounds produced by animals, and birds they could imitate the sounds, and calls and in this way they could reproduce the cries of different animals he employed a primitive vocabulary and took the cries of different animals between which he lived: buffalo, elephant, goat, etc.. These onomatopoeia were the basis of human language.

Chauvet cave paintings

From that point we can see this sounds evolving in to words that designated the creatures themselves, and it is not difficult to see how he would use language as an extension to capture the essence of trees, rocks, water, and everything else he needed to  designate  in order to communicate, and this way evolving to the point of expressing not only things , but ideas, complex thought, knowledge, and wisdom.

I am not a linguist, neither I want to expose here the whole  post-modernist Western canon about the philosophy, and history of language, I just want to point out that language representing  abstract thought can become a play on words, concepts, and ideological choices, rather than an explanation of Reality, which in any case is subjective, and relative to axioms. Western Philosophy is plagued by endless over convoluted reasoning, and arguing, were language become the object of examination, and the proof of anything, now there seem to be  a thin line whether reading linguistics, or philosophy it all appear to be one and the same. Since very early in life I was dissatisfied with Western Philosophy, worried more about concepts, and logic, than on the attainment of States of Consciousness, that would translate in to a Way of Life marked by Wisdom, as with the old Greek philosophers.

Also I am opposed to Reductionism that give linear solutions to complex questions, and the use of chemical, biological-genetic explanations to sociological, historical,  political, moral, religious, or philosophical problems! Science it is a great tool who can teach us the physiology, and chemistry of the movement of my body, but sorry it can’t predict where I decide to move, what I will think, and what I will do, or don’t! Abandoning the responsibility of our actions, to Darwinism, biological, chemical, genetics, etc. is reductionism, and naïve.

What I find fascinating is the obvious relationship of thinking and language, however ironically when we talk about Consciousness, are we confusing thinking as a mental process of our talking mind, with the original Awareness? In other words are we confusing   what the organ does as a function, as what the organ is, and why?

But before examining the issue  we will to point to  a parallel of the use of language in a Spiritual sense, like the explanation of Man wisdom in the Jewish Haggada:

Creation of Adam and Eve by Jean Fouquet

“The wisdom of Adam displayed itself to greatest advantage when he gave names to the animals. Then it appeared that God, in combating the arguments of the angels that opposed the creation of man, had spoken well, when He insisted that man would possess more wisdom than they themselves. When Adam was barely an hour old, God assembled the whole world of animals before him and the angels. The latter were called upon to name the different kinds, but they were not equal to the task. Adam, however, spoke without hesitation: “O Lord of the world! The proper name for this animal is ox, for this one horse, for this one lion, for this one camel.” And so he called all in turn by name, suiting the name to the peculiarity of the animal. Then God asked him what his name was to be, and he said Adam, because he had been created out of Adamah, dust of the earth. Again, God asked him His own name, and he said: “Adonai, Lord, because Thou art Lord over all creatures”–the very name God had given unto Himself, the name by which the angels call Him, the name that will remain immutable evermore. But without the gift of the holy spirit, Adam could not have found names for all; he was in very truth a prophet, and his wisdom a prophetic quality.

The names of the animals were not the only inheritance handed down by Adam to the generations after him, for mankind owes all crafts to him, especially the art of writing, and he was the inventor of all the seventy languages. And still another task he accomplished for his descendants. God showed Adam the whole earth, and Adam designated what places were to be settled later by men, and what places were to remain waste.”

Haggadah_14th_century

Here is Ibn Arabi take on the same subject:

“All the Divine Names contained in in the divine form appear in this human organism. Thus it possesses the rank of containing and integrating this existence. It was by this that Allah set up the proof against the angels, so remember that! Allah admonishes you through others. Look at where that originates and where it ends up. The angels did not realize what was implied by the organism of the khalif, (Viceregent) nor did they realize what the presence of the Truth demanded as ‘ibâda (worship). Each one only knows from Allah what his essence accords him. The angels do not possess the universality of Adam, and they did not understand the Divine Names with which he has been favored, and by which he praises Allah and proclaims His purity. They only knew that Allah had names whose knowledge had not reached them, so they could not praise Him nor proclaim His purity through them. What we mentioned overcame them and this state overpowered them. They said about this organism, “Why put on it one who will  cause corruption on it?” (2:30) This is only the argument which they were voicing.

What they said regarding Adam is exactly the state they were with regard to Allah. Had it not been that their nature was in accord with it, they would not have said what they said in respect of Adam, “and yet they were not aware.” If they had had true recognition of themselves, they would have had knowledge, and had they been in possession of knowledge, they would have been protected and would not have resisted by belittling Adam and thus exceeding their claim of what they possessed of His praise and glorification. Adam was in possession of Divine Names which the angels did not have, so that their praise and glorification of Him was not the same as Adam’s praise and glorification of Him. Allah describes this to us so that we may ponder it and learn adab (etiquette) with Allah, and so that we will not lay claim to what we have not realized or possessed by pinning down. How can we allege something which is beyond us and of which we have no knowledge? We will only be exposed. This divine instruction is part of AllahÕs discipline of those of His slaves who are well-mannered, trusting and khalifs.”

Adam and Eve from a copy of the Falnama

The mind is not consciousness, the mind is the product of consciousness, the relationships we have created through our life forming a web of knowledge, we call experiences, this forms, thoughts, sensations, flavors, sounds, likes, and dislikes, etc. Arise from this process, and it is what it forms our identity, who we believe to be, our past, our present, our ego. Can you go back and remember your first impression or thought when you were a child? It is that the moment you begun to exist, or just the first moment you were aware of yourself?

Nothing arises without Self. All existence is one in one’s own Self. When mind moves the world arises, so be still, throw away everything, and be free. Stillness of mind comes from giving up all attachments except that attachment to Self. Meditation is to effortlessly turn the mind toward that energy which energizes mind.When the mind is quiet, all is Self.

The Silence that I speak about is neither thinking nor sitting quiet. The Silence that I speak about has nothing to do with thinking or talking or not talking because then the mind is still running about here and there and everywhere. What I mean by Silence is that should be no thought rising from the mind. No thought rising from your mind is Silence.

Sadhu in Meditation

Aum the primordial word in the Mandukya Upanishad

1. OM! – This Imperishable Word is the whole of this visible universe. Its explanation is as follows: What has become, what is becoming, what will become, – verily, all of this is OM. And what is beyond these three states of the world of time, – that too, verily, is OM.

2. All this, verily, is Brahman. The Self is Brahman. This Self has four quarters.

3. The first quarter is Vaiśvānara. Its field is the waking state. Its consciousness is outward-turned. It is seven-limbed and nineteen-mouthed. It enjoys gross objects.

4. The second quarter is taijasa. Its field is the dream state. Its consciousness is inward-turned. It is seven-limbed and nineteen-mouthed. It enjoys subtle objects.

5. The third quarter is prājña, where one asleep neither desires anything nor beholds any dream: that is deep sleep. In this field of dreamless sleep, one becomes undivided, an undifferentiated mass of consciousness, consisting of bliss and feeding on bliss. His mouth is consciousness.

6. This is the Lord of All; the Omniscient; the Indwelling Controller; the Source of All. This is the beginning and end of all beings.

7. That is known as the fourth quarter: neither inward-turned nor outward-turned consciousness, nor the two together; not an undifferentiated mass of consciousness; neither knowing, nor unknowing; invisible, ineffable, intangible, devoid of characteristics, inconceivable, indefinable, its sole essence being the consciousness of its own Self; the coming to rest of all relative existence; utterly quiet; peaceful; blissful: without a second: this is the Ātman, the Self; this is to be realized.

8. This identical Ātman, or Self, in the realm of sound is the syllable OM, the above described four quarters of the Self being identical with the components of the syllable, and the components of the syllable being identical with the four quarters of the Self. The components of the Syllable are A, U, M.

9. Vaiśvānara, whose field is the waking state, is the first sound, A, because this encompasses all, and because it is the first. He who knows thus, encompasses all desirable objects; he becomes the first.

10. Taijasa, whose field is the dream state, is the second sound, U, because this is an excellence, and contains the qualities of the other two. He who knows thus, exalts the flow of knowledge and becomes equalized; in his family there will be born no one ignorant of Brahman.

11.Prājña, whose field is deep sleep, is the third sound, M, because this is the measure, and that into which all enters. He who knows thus, measures all and becomes all.

12. The fourth is soundless: unutterable, a quieting down of all relative manifestations, blissful, peaceful, non-dual. Thus, OM is the Ātman, verily. He who knows thus, merges his self in the Self; – yea, he who knows thus.

Om śantih; śantih; śantih

Om Peace! Peace! Peace!

An here we come to a full circle, a return to no mind, it is a return to the primordial Origin, Consciousness, the One and only  Reality. That to what you always have,  you are, and you will; Be.

Samadhi

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About theburningheart

Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Adam, Advaita Vedanta, Ancient Religions, Angels, Atman, Aum, Brahman, Cosmogony, Counsciousness, Deconstruction, Ferdinand de Sassure, Haggada, Helen Keller, History, Ibn Arabi, Imagination, Inner Journey, Jacques Derrida, Language, Mandukya Upanishad, OM, Ontology, Philosophy, Postmodernism, Pragmatics, Reality, Sanatana Dharma, Self, Semantics, Solipsism, Spirituality, Subjective, Syntactics, The Deaf, Theology, Transformation, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Words Meaning, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to LANGUAGE AND COUNSCIOUSNESS

  1. Pingback: Philosophy is Nothing To Scoff At… « Systematically Spasmodic

  2. Pingback: the root of language « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

  3. Pingback: understanding metaphors like the tree of life, the eyes to see and the ears to hear « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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