Of the Inner-Lingo Lingering Beneath the Cultural Shadow.

Linguistic relativity, otherwise known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, holds that language either controls thought (linguistic determinism) or merely influences it (linguistic probabilism.)

While I am not convinced language enables thought, even if this were the case it would not rule out personalized languages developed by a single individual that enabled her or him to engage in inner dialogue but could not be used in conversations with others, and perhaps could not even be verbalized or expressed in writing. I have experienced thinking in imagery, for instance, and one girl I know has claimed to sometimes think in colors.

If we take the Buddhist perspective and consider the mind a sense organ in and of itself, perhaps such personalized languages arose as a form of synesthesia. They describe a “mixing of the senses” whereby one sense is experienced as another. Taste is translated into shapes, for instance. Among those who share this or that form of synesthesia, however, there would not be a naturally shared language. Spicey might be seen as a triangle for one, a square for another. Metaphor, analogy and so on, such as that used in poetry, is often spoken of as if it were a form of synesthesia and may even suggest such a personalized language.

Given that, perhaps dreams are speaking to us clearly after all, it is only that they are doing so in our native, inner-tongue. Being conditioned to use our shared, cultural lingo as a default has simply made inner-lingo significantly less comprehensible.

We internalize our shared, cultural language out of convenience. Rather than having to stop and translate self-talk, we save time and energy. With more value placed in the herd than in the individual, with personal forms of language inaccessible to the herd, the herd would not find much value in it and referencing such rogue manners of thinking may even be seen as tantamount to heresy or treason. People bark at foreigners to “learn the language,” after all, and the language being condemned is a shared one from another culture. Inner-lingo, one might imagine, would spawn prejudice of even greater intensity.

Shared language limits what we are able to think and the connections that can be made between lingo-bound thoughts and the ways in which they can be connected. Some words are not translatable in another language, and things are always lost in translation regardless — plays on words, cultural references, allusions, metaphors, euphemisms, expressions.

Are the bilingual, the multilingual, able to think thoughts that the monolingual simply are not equipped to think — or perhaps only unable to share? Does a subliminal undercurrent of inner-lingo persist, however neglected — and might dreams be one example of this? The visual arts?

There may be other suggestions of inner-lingo as well — after all, we can know what we want to say but not be able to find the words to say it. And if I “cannot find the words to describe” something though know what and how I want to describe it, does that not suggest the presence of another language in my head that I am unable to convey through speech or translate onto the page?

All of this seems to suggest that, if nothing else, we possess another language, however unconscious, and we may all speak to ourselves in our own unique, native tongue — each mind Greek to the other and perhaps, under the influence of culture, even to itself.

Advertisements

Sophia the Untouchable.

Absolute nothing is a fertile field.

If a universe Big Banged ex nihilo once, then it may have happened countless times before. Universes may still be Banging away into existence as you read this, all of them doing so in a direction you can’t point to (with all of this dependent on time having any meaning outside the context of a given universe and in the superspace that contains the hypothetical multiverse). We would perceive but one universe in a vast multiverse — and not much of that one universe, it would seem.

Current estimations hold that our universe is composed of 68.3% dark energy and 26.8 percent dark matter — substance we can neither grab nor perceive makes up most of everything, and apparently we are not a part of it. The normal matter that is accessible to our senses (and of which our senses are composed) presently makes up only 4.9% of our cosmic pie (in a potential superspace bakery).

This is not to suggest that our senses are sensitive to so much as a considerable fraction of that 4.9%, of course. We have a set amount of senses among those available in the animal kingdom, each picking up but a narrow range of a specific type of signal. This data is edited by our subliminal beliefs and values, integrated and finally translated by genetically-hardwired processes. This translation is stored in sensory memory and subsequently and involuntarily recalled by consciousness in working memory. Only then does it become our “immediate” experience.

All we know of the external world derives from what we “remember” regarding what our body experiences. As a consequence, our Here and Now is truly There and Before. Even at our most attentive we have no hope of living in the moment; we are forever riding its coattails. We are all living in the past and no one is ever right where they are standing now.

When your body’s memory of the moment passes by working memory, it might be stored in long term memory, from which consciousness in working memory might summon it through retrieval cues. When long term memory swallows something, however, it seems to in some sense digest it, break it down, dismember it — and so recall always involves creativity on the part of the recollector, as memories must be literally “re-membered.” To some degree one always incorrectly recalls past events and may even go so far as to produce “false memories,” which is to say one recalls events that never even happened in the first place.

Despite this, memory serves as the backbone for our sense of identity and our understanding of the world. Long-term memory suggests the temporal dimension, which is the only way we can make sense of the spatial dimensions suggested by sensory memory. Our reliance upon memory is inescapable. We require it to compile and associate data, scientific or otherwise. If we are honest, all that any of us ever know is memory, and all memory is ultimately false memory.

Even what we accept as imagination and fantasy is dependent upon the ingredients supplied by memory: it is no coincidence that the way in which we experience anything subjectively has analogues to our biological experience. Inner-senses are modeled after our biological senses and for all we know reveal our true consciousness as accurately and completely as our biological senses do with respect to external reality.

We try to make sense out of our external experience and so form worldviews; we try to make sense out of our internal experience and its relation to external experience and so form identity. As a consequence of our worldviews, we tend to conform our experience to them, and so further obscure our sense of reality. As a consequence of our identity, we tend to conform our internal experience in such a way that it reinforces our identifications. In so doing, we further obscure our sense of self. To make matters worse in both cases, this fatal flaw is the law and it is followed without exception: we can do no more, no less, if we have any hope to survive.

Lifeline for the Double-Blind.

Physicists and cosmologists both have come to seriously entertain notions that our universe may in fact be part of a multiverse, and the implication is that our universe may be but a small part. 

 When it comes to our universe, human beings were a little late to the party. Carl Sagan compressed the entire history of our universe, from the Big Bang New Years Day until New Years Eve now, into a single calendar year. Our recorded history, he tells us, would comprise only the final seconds in the very last minute of December 31st.
 
In our present universe, according to current estimates, dark energy makes up 72% of the universe, dark matter makes up 23% and our familiar matter a mere 4.6%. We are, then, a small, late part of our universe, which may itself be a small part of a vast multiverse. 
 
Our senses each pick up a certain type and range of signal from the roughly four percent of the objective universe to which the body belongs. Our senses then influence one another, as in how the sense of smell effects the sense of taste. Our sense signals are then translated into a species-specific symbolic perception. This perception is in turn influenced or sabotaged by a coupling of present conceptions and memory.
 
Our memories of these perceptions are influenced by other past perceptions and are further contaminated by our present state of mind.
 
So no, I won’t “just have faith.” I will examine, I will question, I will uproot what my culture holds sacred and examine and challenge my own fundamental axioms as well. 
 
No one can trust their perceptions. No one can trust their memory. 
 
Experiments suggest that we cannot even trust the timing of our decision-making, nor that our conscious thinking and emotional evaluation processes gave birth to it.
 
We try to overcome obstacles that keep us from directly contacting reality, that keep us from directly contacting ourselves. A meat-machine tries to pierce through the thick veil to achieve greater understanding of the universe at large through use of strategy, methodology, and the creation and use of technology.
 
He first sees if others have found some of the answers he seeks. If so, that will save him time and will no doubt inspire further questions to be explored. If they have not found the answers, they will provide inspiration for his own ideas.
 
The idea may not be born rational, but that is the quality of the hypothesis that results. He then experiments to falsify or verify. He leaves the fate of his ideas in the hands of the experiment’s ultimate feedback. Going on to revise ideas if found wrong, or test further to ensure we’re as right as it at first seems. 
 
That’s the only hope we have of taking so much as a glimpse beyond the thick cocoon of maya standing between self and reality, self and self.

Useful Illusion.

We don’t live in the world, we live in pictures of the world we make and keep inside our heads. People often talk about where they’re at as if they would like to be somewhere — nay, anywhere — else, but perhaps they seek something on the spatial axis that they will only find on the psychological axis. Psychology just isn’t another ingredient in the cake we call reality, it is the predominant one. The essential one.

Most of life is driven by reaction to something based on an interpretation of the stimulus, the consequence of which is most often attributed to the stimulus itself, freeing us of responsibility, but with it a powerful form of liberty. Our reaction is just our answer to the question of experience, which may come across as an abundantly cheesy statement, but I say it to offer contrast with the popular notion that reaction is just a button pressed by the finger we call the stimulus. This being the case, merely changing one’s state of mind can transform reality, as if your brain were a flask in which you preformed some existential alchemy with the prima materia offered by the cosmos through the conduit of your bodily senses.

This does not need to be hopeless and futile. This does not need to be so dismal. Confidence can be found.

So I tell myself, if only to offer a useful illusion.