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For the last several thousand years, language has been deemed a good thing... unless, of course, you count that unfortunate incident at the Tower of Babel.  Language has been promulgated as something worthwhile and valued, because the sophistication of language has provided for the accelerated progress of civilization.  It has done this by the relatively simple expedient of allowing each individual to benefit from the successes and failures of countless others.  As such, it has allowed for an enormously greater opportunity for individual (and collective) physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.  Language has been to some degree a catalyst -- that curious freak of nature which accelerates a reaction or interaction, without itself being appreciably changed in the process.

For Updates, see also the Halexandria Forum
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However, language is in reality only marginally a catalyst, because it too can be changed by the reaction/interaction process.  More significantly, language can be modified for the sole purpose of manipulation and control.  The Etymology of a word, such as Lunatics, for example, was originally applied to those individuals who worshipped or revered the Moon (i.e. Luna).  Or even who lived on or came from the Moon!  But by redefining (in the classic history revisionist style) the word to mean “an insane person”... anyone who reveres the Moon is, at the stroke of a pen, equated to being crazy.  Meanwhile, virgin used to denote a woman beholden to no man (e.g. the virgin goddess, Aphrodite), but the male patriarchy has narrowly applied the term to mean a woman who has never sexually known a man - as if that were something good, and which Aphrodite would suggest is not.

 Language can even deceive us about the true nature of reality.  David Bohm has noted that while we think of language as being a neutral medium for communication, actually it is language that shapes our Paradigms -- our largely unconscious view of reality.  Worse yet, naming a thing is akin to limiting it.  By taking the name of your parents, for example, a child is identified as a member of a specific clan or family -- and is thereafter expected to act in a specific, characteristic manner.  Other names imply a religious affiliation (which can be useful or troublesome).  And some names are politically loaded.  “Adolph”, for example, used to be a nice German name.

 Language provides a strong, albeit subtle, pressure to fragment the world into a static entity.  It is the means by which we create fixed structures in our mind, such that we can categorize and group objects, thoughts, and actions into convenient little cubby holes.  Instead of allowing individuality -- wherein Uniqueness Implies Value -- the idea is to limit something by defining it similar to another thing.

 Roget’s Thesaurus has been criticized for this same manner of crime -- by using synonyms which purport to equate dissimilar words.  Crossword puzzles are the best example of this, in that for a clue which reads “snake”, one might write in a space of 7 letters, “serpent”.  Yet the two words are dissimilar.  In a conversation about lawyers or politicians, one might talk of a “snake in the grass”, but would probably not refer to either as a “serpent in the grass.”  Similarly, there was a serpent in the Garden of Eden, but not a snake. 


Language has a limited ability to distinguish and individualize, but is more often used to categorize -- to overlook uniqueness in terms of relating it to something already familiar.  Language is thus the basis for maintenance of an established paradigm -- even one in which the current paradigm’s fundamental shakiness is readily evident.  Language allows specialization to often triumph over generalization -- although the latter is the only means in which we can appreciate the unlimited, interconnection of all things.  [The latter being a proven aspect of Connective Physics and modern understanding.]


 As in the case of all double edged swords, language has provided a means of control and manipulation of one individual or group over another.  The greater one’s facility with words, the more likely that individual will be able to follow their own agenda and, if necessary, at the expense of others.  With the introduction of multiple languages, this advantage has been extended to multilinguals who can politically and otherwise control the individuals with facility in a single language by acting as translator from one language to another.  This tends to label advocates of bilingual education as Babelers, i.e. those who support the concept of multiple languages in order to divide and conquer.  Communication on a level playing field, on the other hand, implies a single, universal language. 


 Furthermore, in the context of Education, in which the issue of Bilingual or Multilingual education comes to the fore, there are several issues worth discussing.  For example, one issue is the choice of which additional language(s) one might choose, OR which single, international language is best, OR why we teach additional languages at all.  An answer to the latter is likely learning about and appreciating diverse cultures.  But, can you know a culture without knowing it’s language?  Possibly, although not quite to the same depth.  On the other hand, is language the most effective, efficient means of getting there?  Could you plume the true reality of a culture, obtain the really important aspects (its history, its Paradigms, its unique contributions) without knowing the language?  Certainly, language of a culture would have its place, but as a priority, it would likely rank near the bottom.

 Language is known in some circles as the curse of the Kali Yuga.  Not a blessing.  Curse.  The Kali Yuga, in turn, is not the best ten percent of the full range of the grander scheme of things.  All of the ingredients discussed above -- as to the shortcomings of language -- is perhaps the best justification for thinking of language as a curse.

 Robert Hand, http://www.stariq.com has observed that Consciousness appears to include being aware of something, as well as a collective shared awareness, one that is dependent upon language.  He goes on to note that, “When we know something together with someone, we experience each other as fully alive and aware.  When we do not, we do not fully accept each other as conscious, or, ultimately, as human.  We accomplish shared awareness by means of language.  Shared languages enable us fully to experience someone else as aware.  So while it is debatable that language is necessary for us to experience our own awareness, language is necessary for us to experience each other and to share awareness.”

 It’s intriguing that when we do not share our awareness by means of language -- in those cases where we do not share the same language -- then we do not accept the foreign devils as “conscious, or, ultimately, as human.”  Thus we treat them in an inhuman fashion!  You don’t have to be an Iraqi -- where they don’t even use the same alphabet, for Pete’s sake! -- to appreciate being treated with something less than with human values.

 Alternatively, however, ESP does not appear to depend upon language.  Dealing in Symbolism and shared perceptions of life appears to be enormously more useful in really communicating effectively.  A picture is still worth a thousand words.  Even intuition and shared experiences seem superior.  When we’re making Music together, for example, we’re often fully in harmony and on the same beat, even if there are no words or language being utilized to coordinate our activities.  The same is true of dance, painting, sculpture, and a host of other art forms.  Basically, art often supercedes language.  



As Native American Indians have observed, it’s better to live your life as if you cannot speak.  I.e. let your actions speak louder than any possible words that you might utter.  (In which case, you’re almost always likely to appear far less, utterly ridiculous.)


(2/9/9) The above description only briefly touches upon the topic of language. For a broader spectrum of ideas and thoughts, try checking out the Halexandria Forums, in particular the thread on the question of "Does Language Influence Our Reality". (And while you're there, feel free to contribute to the topic... or any other of the intriguing conversations currently going on at the Forums).

For Updates, see also the Halexandria Forum
(And for some special insights, see the DoK)


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