Does Language Influence Our Reality?

How we perceive the World Matrix around us and how we deal with it, what some call "Psychology".

Does Language Influence Our Reality?

Postby BSets » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:58 pm

So tell me, does the language you have as your native tongue shape your reality? I think it does, but in ways we are not normally consciously aware. But my biggest thought is not so much that language shapes our reality, but more the society that we are in when we acquire a native tongue shapes our reality.
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Language

Postby DocPtah » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:22 am

It is said that the curse of the Kali Yuga is language.

I'm not sure you can separate language and culture. Nor can you necessarily separate culture, language, and the language's alphabet.

As to whether or not, the language/alphabet/culture shapes our reality... absolutely! It's all part of our paradigm, the way we view reality to begin with. You can't get there from here unless you know where "here" is!

And if the language stuff is the curse, then the curse is where we begin the journey. It's also the way we perceive reality along the way.

Of course, if a picture or symbol is worth a thousand words... then while language influences our reality, it is... perhaps... not the most efficient means of influence.

Curious ideas, no doubt. Nice threads, BSets!
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Who's reality?

Postby AngelIsle » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:25 pm

Ah, but then one must consider where language came from and who created it? Can we honestly say that the individual people were responsible for its conception and formation, or did some form of interior or exterior force aid in its establishment? If it did then surely what we are witnessing is someone else’s reality, as we have no real control over our language or the existing recognized symbolism.

Just a thought.

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Postby AjnachakrA » Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:04 pm

Personally I see the Language influences reality / reality influences language concept as a false dichotomy. While this topic has been heavily debated I feel it is a relationship of reciprocity. While the materialistic reality does affect the language (see how many words American's have for 'Money') the structure of the language would also affect the paradigm of reality. Example:

English:
I am riding the horse.
Navajo:
The horse runs for me.

English:
I grew a plant.
Navajo:
The earth thought that it was good to to allow this plant to grow.

Here we see a difference in the concepts of control concerning extra-individual (not of yourself) relationships with reality. In English we often make things work (make a plant grow, perform the action of riding on or to the horse) In Navajo it is the other or the outside elements that allow one to perform an action.

(credit for examples goes to Language, Culture, and Communication: The Meaning of Messages by Nancy Bonvillain. Great book btw)

My 2cents here =)
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Postby DocPtah » Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:26 pm

AjnachakrA makes a good point concerning the differences in the English and Navajo languages. However...

I would think that the Navajo language is an unusual case. There may be numerous languages that lead to radically different views of reality, but are they that predominant in terms of actual speakers of the languages?

What about the cases of, say, English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, Greek, and Chinese? Do these languages have the same "assertiveness", and also are clearly distinct from the Navajo language?

I don't know that I know the answer, but the differences in languages of the above countries would suggest to me that the language differences tend to lead to distinctions in culture -- which mirrors at least to some degree the respective languages.

Then there is the distinct possibility that I way in over my head here. :)
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Postby RVB » Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:30 pm

Cool topic, I've been thinking about this along the way of life a couple of times.

I speak 6 languages, having lived around the globe here and there. I have the ability to speak a language I learned like a native, when I speak French for example, people automatically think that I am from Paris, even the native ones, and it is the same for the other languages too.

When I learned languages, I did not simply learn vocabulary and grammar, I also learned the culture and the psychology behind the people as a whole and how that influences speech.

The example from Ajnachakra shows it best. "The horse runs for me" shows that in the Navajo language. things do something of their own volition. It also shows respect and does not express the need to dominate i.e. "I am riding the horse." like in many other languages.

The language one learns from the beginning of one's life, influences the way one thinks. If it influences the way one thinks, it also influences one's reality for sure. One must also take into account a countries karma, which directly influences to some extent the way of thinking. A typical american has more self-esteem than say, a german, when it comes to History.

The best example how language can influence reality is "1984" by George Orwell. The ruling party actually bans words such as freedom or love, or other words which it judges harmful to the gov't.

Makes ya think, doesn't it?
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Postby AjnachakrA » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:03 pm

DocPtah wrote:AjnachakrA makes a good point concerning the differences in the English and Navajo languages. However...

I would think that the Navajo language is an unusual case. There may be numerous languages that lead to radically different views of reality, but are they that predominant in terms of actual speakers of the languages?

What about the cases of, say, English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, Greek, and Chinese? Do these languages have the same "assertiveness", and also are clearly distinct from the Navajo language?

I don't know that I know the answer, but the differences in languages of the above countries would suggest to me that the language differences tend to lead to distinctions in culture -- which mirrors at least to some degree the respective languages.

Then there is the distinct possibility that I way in over my head here. :)


Doc, As a side-note: the largest differences to be seen, I think, would not necessarily be from individual language to individual language but instead from language branch to language branch as this shows a much longer timeline of contact/influence with a particular structure. Example: Indo-European languages vs. African-Asiatic or Mongolic vs. Pama-Nyungan.

Also overall Morphology is an important aspect to look at (such as Analytic vs. Synthetic vs. Polysynthetic) If you look into that you can come to some pretty interesting conclusions ;)
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Postby UnholyEternity » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:41 pm

I myself am a little shaky with your definition of terms here...in so far as reality is concerned. Language definitely affects how one views their own relative reality, as in how it they view themselves in relation to others who do and do not speak their own language. However i think that it could be stated that the collective human consciousness is devoid of relativity imposed by any sort of social lens. Language is a medium for something that happens prior to speech or written word...so the reality is experienced "purely" by mind and is then filtered into existence through language and expression.
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Postby katsmeow » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:53 pm

UnholyEternity wrote:I myself am a little shaky with your definition of terms here...in so far as reality is concerned. Language definitely affects how one views their own relative reality, as in how it they view themselves in relation to others who do and do not speak their own language. However i think that it could be stated that the collective human consciousness is devoid of relativity imposed by any sort of social lens. Language is a medium for something that happens prior to speech or written word...so the reality is experienced "purely" by mind and is then filtered into existence through language and expression.


I tend to agree with you UnholyEternity, although I may express my understanding a bit differently. Language is a function of left brain thinking. Right brain does not concern itself with this "detail" and is associated with nonverbal intellect.

I ask a further question along this line. If part of what separates us and promotes division is the differences in views of our relative realities, as expressed through language, then what promotes unity?

If the Tower of Babel incident is taken as being symbolic of a "wounding" of mankind, then the key to healing is also contained in that wound. Could the answer be in our awareness and understanding of nonverbal intellect?

Esperanto, the language developed by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof, was an attempt to reconcile cultural differences and promote peace through a shared language. I am not sure that it can be called a success. That is debatable.

It could be that the cure is not a shared language, but more importantly, a realization that there is a shared reality that goes far beyond language or that we already have a way communicating.

As a side note, I would add that the Navajo language examples provided by AjnachakrA express more closely, the nature of that shared reality, as I have experienced it.
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Postby Sol » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:09 am

katsmeow wrote:If the Tower of Babel incident is taken as being symbolic of a "wounding" of mankind, then the key to healing is also contained in that wound.

Good point Kats! Funny, we were just talking about this a few weeks ago with the guy who started this thread, and I said pretty much the exact same thing. :)

I believe that the Tower of Babel myth is much more than merely about the "confusion of Mankind's languages". I think it's telling us about the point in our dim ancient history, in which War began for Mankind. This was the mythical beginning of our Disparity and Conflict.

Before that time people could reportedly "fully understand" each other, and thus had no problem working for a common goal - reaching for the Stars. Their Annunaki Overlords of that time couldn't tolerate such "competition" and introduced different languages, to prevent their human slaves from communicating with each other and reaching for the "god status". After that people became segregated by language into different societies and countries, which began competing and warring with each other, in the process forgettting all about their old common goal, the Stars.

I applaud the efforts of Zamenhoff and others, who seek to re-unite Humanity through the use of a common tongue. It's a vision for the far future, as there's little doubt that nothing like that could happen today, with each nation jealosly guarding its lingual difference from the rest.

The common means of communicating for all of Humanity probably lies in those deep roots of the collective subconscious, where all our common symbols reside. Language itself is indeed a function of "left-brain" or "logical" thinking, and perhaps we need to move away from that now.

The prevalent opinion on the Alternative Circuit is that any kind of a One World Language would be for a means of further enslaving us into a One World Order - but I think that's nonesese. We are ALREADY enslaved into a New World Order, which sells identical products everywhere and makes people wear and buy the same exact things the world over. You can go into a Macdonalds and order an identical Coca-cola ANYWHERE, this has already happened, my dear ones. (But that's another topic we'll be sure to fully hash out on the Conspiracy forum.)

This Takeover was done in different languages all over the world, because *they* they can translate anything they want and don't need a one-world-language for it. On the contrary, They do not WANT everybody in the world speaking the same language. Because if everyone the world over could just go and talk it out with each other, they may all forget about doing other very important big money-making things, like war.

Anyways, defintiely a whole bunch of very interesting subjects here, that I hope we continue exploring in the future.
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Postby katsmeow » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:08 pm

Sol wrote:The prevalent opinion on the Alternative Circuit is that any kind of a One World Language would be for a means of further enslaving us into a One World Order - but I think that's nonesese. We are ALREADY enslaved into a New World Order, which sells identical products everywhere and makes people wear and buy the same exact things the world over. You can go into a Macdonalds and order an identical Coca-cola ANYWHERE, this has already happened, my dear ones. (But that's another topic we'll be sure to fully hash out on the Conspiracy forum.)


Sol, I believe the language exists. The most difficult thing to say is, that you can do it too and the most difficult thing to hear is, that you can do it too.

Think about it. Left brain thinking has been encouraged for as long as I am aware of time. I am no historian, but people have always been encouraged to engage left brain.

In fact, those guys that lay down on a bed of nails or the men and women who have demostrated any knowledge of right brain thinking have up and died or been painted to be beings so far above the norm that most in their busy lives become enslaved by entropy.

How can I sit and pay my bills and devote myself like they did? Pft...That is the biggest load of hogwash sold to anyone. As long as the reality of this is words on a computer screen, we have been enslaved once more.

I am devoted. I cook dinner for my husband and do laundry. There is nothing denied to anyone, but our own self-imposed limits. Openess is the only pre-requisite, that and a good tutor, and I am not even that.
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Postby poppy » Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:32 pm

I question the idea that all recorded language is a left brain function. The ancient Egyptian and to a lesser extent modern Chinese, Hebrew and Arabic pictogram type languages seem to display complete symbolic thoughts of the right brain rather than the left brain linear letters to words to sentences.

I read that the original Greek alphabet was read from right to left as the pictogram's were but within 200 years this was switched to the present left to right to accommodate the left brain visual processing instead of the right brain symbol processing.

If this is so, then language has a great influence on our thought process.
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Postby Sol » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:47 pm

poppy wrote:I question the idea that all recorded language is a left brain function.

Good point Poppy. Many New Age theorists seem to take this for granted - but this is surely not a given and hasn't been proved.

The pictographic languages of ancient times certainly demonstrate that another, "non-linear" approach to written language is possible, expressing whole ideas through an "intuitive" ideogram. This is why many researchers claim that it was the invention of the Alphabet specifically, as opposed to writing itself, which moved Mankind into an entirely different "left-brain" and "logical" sphere of thinking.

There's an interesting recent book in that regard by one Leonard Shlain, some actually accredited brain researcher, called "The Alphabed Versus the Goddess", where he gives a reasonable investigation into how exactly the invention of the Alphabet was used by the evolving Patriarchal Society to suppress the earlier manifestation of Sacred Feminine cults.

What needs to be solved is *why* some societies switched to lef-to-right alphabetical written language, while others remained right-to-left or even pictographic - yet nearly all of Earth's main cultures (leaving the various small native tribes aside) are based on a rigid Patriarchal structure, as well as "logical" thinking. The Greeks did switch to writing from the left, it is said in order to politically distinguish themselves from the neighboring Phoenicians. But Hebrew and Arabic remained written right-to-left to this day - yet users of these languages are as "left-brain thinking" as anybody else.

It's obvious that a certain point the way we write stopped influencing or reflecting the way we think - because today the whole thing is mixed up and you can't tell anything about a people from it. One of the most "logical" societies is arguably the Japanese - and they still use pictograms. On the other hand, possibly the most "illogical" society has been India, whose people use a left-to-right alphabetical script. Both have been rigidly patriarchal for at least two thousand years.

So the question remains - if written language has this interrelationhsip with our thinking patterns, why hasn't the way we write continued influencing us to the present day.

Cheers,
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Postby poppy » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:42 am

Sol, I didn't mean in any way to imply that our written communication was the only factor causing our left brain thought patterns, In fact, as you so carefully pointed our, some pictographic cultures appear to be very logically orientated.

Robert Ornstein in his 1997 book, "The Right Mind" believes that the Greek switch to left to right writing was because of a complicated split brain vision in each eye making this easier to read. I believe that he pointed out that the Arabic script was symbols of ideas joined together rather than a true alphabet. It has been so long since I read the book that I have forgotten most of it and you understand languages far better than I do.

To me it seems that our tendency to move away from observing nature and developing technology instead caused our selfish dominance of the left brain ego here in the west. It was only in the 1960's with the writings of Abram Maslow and others including Timothy Leary, brought the metaphysical into public view here in the US.

Thank you for your comments.
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Re: Does Language Influence Our Reality?

Postby maliq » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:14 am

Laurie Anderson :
"Language is a virus from outer space."

But then again the same could be said for humans.
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