Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Somewhere in my past posts I asked the rhetorical question, “Now that you have learned a language, can you still think without it?” Yesterday, at lunch with a friend, he made the boldfaced statement that science has proven humans cannot think without language! My initial reply was, “What a giant load of bullshit.”

Since then I have ruminated upon the implications in his statement, both for him and for anyone else that swallows such horse twaddle. Could such ideas actually cut believers off from thinking anything outside the tautology of their cultural communication medium just because they can no longer recognize ideas lacking the hard edged definitions of language? Does free, creative thinking cease to exist for them? It would seem that anyone who would espouse such notions must surely have abdicated their ability to think outside the box to allow blind faith in anything the new religion of science farts to take absolute authority over all speculative ideation.

The shortsightedness of claiming language’s total responsibility for the birth and life of thoughts combined with his impossible, tautological challenge to prove that I can think without words has him convinced of his righteousness, despite my multiple examples of painters, improvisational musicians, preverbal babies and everyone’s occasional inability to express themselves to the contrary. The threshold between thought and action (in this case verbalization) of which I have previously posted has been totally ignored in this case resulting only in dialogue uttered around a permanently inserted foot in ones mouth. Confusion of thinking with its mode of communication seems able to induce a sort of schizophrenia whereby one may treat ones own creative thinking as xenophobically alien as a foreign-tongued stranger with whom one has yet to converse. Ah, well — folks sell their better self out in the desire to conform every day - as the music of naturally serendipitous brownian movement characteristic of human thought begins to assume the rote drum beat sound of boot camp platoons marching on the parade ground at graduation day.

Ignoring the existence of preverbal thought is like not noticing human beings until they graduate from a military academy. Maybe.


Lilwave said...

I'm so sick of "scientists" getting immediate value to their word as being factual. Their facts are based off of their own presuppositions in how they interpet evidence. Just by presenting ‘evidence’, you can convince a person that a particular scientific argument makes sense ‘on the facts’. But usually, if that person then hears a different interpretation of the same evidence that seems better than yours, that person will swing away from your argument, thinking they have found ‘stronger facts’.
Common sense would tell you that any form of language is created out of trying to communicate our thoughts. Not the other way around.

gregrandgar said...

Wow, Lilwave, great passion! I didn't think skepticism was a genetically inherited trait, so I'm thinking the complete failure of the US government to help the Gulf Coast after Katrina may have played a larger part in your mistrust of facts. Whatever the reason, I applaud your mistrust of "facts" all the way down to your slamming wishy-washy authority-worshipping, fact-harvesting, science-quoting folks who are not free to think out side the box in which they've chosen to live. I would warn you about using the term "common sense," though, in that it indicates facts taken to be true just because many people believe them. Common sense once convinced the world it was flat! Religions coagulate in order to be surrounded by agreement with themselves, just as debilitating to free thought as Science worship.

By the way, what is the latest on Pascagoula's using slave labor from India for that hurricane recovery mission?

Eagles Nest said...

Another item from the common sense file validated by a scientist. I would guess that he or she needed some reason to continue to collect a stipend check. But its not that you can't think without language it’s that you won't progress without it. Of course that presupposes that you have also figured out how to write it down. The American Indians had a language but they did not progress, they certainly thought but the culture was stagnant. The language and the ability to write it gave the Greeks the edge to move forward. I think you have to quickly dismissed the point without giving it due consideration. The scientist was partly correct but did not go far enough with the statement or he or she is saving that bite for the next check.

gregrandgar said...

Welcome, Eagle's Nest, and thanks for the insight. I must agree that "progress" is the result of manifesting preverbal thought, usually through language. That said, your example of the stagnant condition of native Americans is relative to the values of an invading culture that believed the earth is owned by man and is therefore a resource to be conquered. Whereas, the seemingly stagnant natives may have already achieved a balance with their environment so natural that need to write it to educate future generations never arose. The "progress" of the invading, earth-conquerors may have been tried and foregone as a path harmful to the symbiosis they enjoyed, or, more likely, the notion of treating the earth as an owned resource just never occurred to them.