Language: what is its true purpose? Is it a symbol of man’s progression or the ultimate reason for man’s stagnation?
The following commentary is a reflection upon a statement I heard during a lecture– regarding English as being a bastardized and duplicitous language.
This blog is also a reflection upon a 1970’s article exploring mush mouth and jive talk and why it is a necessity and of importance to the English language.
The evil of language…
I will begin with a powerful allegory that believe to be true in so many ways. The Biblical story of the “Tower of Babel”. If you’re not familiar with it, it involves the Golden era of humanity. The people of earth were in harmony with each other so much so that they developed and enacted a plan to build a physical structure that would reach the heavens. God I’m his anger and insecurity both destroyed the physical construction and confused the people by giving the people different languages.
This story,whether you hold it true or not, speaks volumes on many levels. It’s implications are profound and I will touch on a few here.
I must set a few precepts. I stand on my philosophical conviction that we are a de-evolved species. As is my belief we were once androgynous beings who communicated without the use of language. As such, the Book of Genesis within the bible hints at man’s androgyny with its dual creation stories. As woman was separated from man… Implying they were once one… But that is for another Blog… This blog’s concern is the nefarious nature of language and the function it provides within a socially engaged community.
Above we have story– a myth of the “Tower of Babel” which I categorize as an allegory of some type. In a way it transcends allegorical function in my mind. The primary focus is the fact that we have man on one accord. This implies that there was peace throughout all of humanity, because you can not built in times of tension or stress because you are focused on defense and paranoia. You have man in such harmony that they intended on taking their “humanity” to the level of “God”.
And how is this done?
By creating a “physical structure” that will allow them to attain that which is of “God”– “Reach the realm of the Heavens”. Now, the Bible would allude that this physical structure was a physical manifestation of Brick and Mortar… But I would ascertain that the physical structure was of the human form and body–as above so below. I’d argue that man was so in-tuned with the collective consciousness of each other that they were quickly rebuilding themselves and ascending both physically and mentally to a higher level of humanity. So much so that they garnered the attention of “God” himself– and I say himself loosely. Because the text says let “us” go down and confuse them.
What was “God’s” response.
That of jealousy, rage, and fear. He decided to destroy the tower, and confuse the minds of men– only leaving them with scattered languages to communicate with themselves. The implications of this is quite prolific. Here you have an “omnipotent” being feeling vulnerable. He felt threatened as though he could in a sense be surpassed by man. His best defense is to crumble the physical structure that man has created and destroy the mental, psychological and psychic solidarity that man created– as above so below.
I believe this was done by first creating a schism in the minds of men; followed by creating a schism in the bodies of men– no longer united we have both man and woman.
Yet I digress because this blog is about the duplicitous nature of language and it’s undermining of men’s social interaction. The barrier of language keeps men grounded and in a barbaric state of being– communicating on the most fundamental level. Even grunts posses more soul than a monotoned string of syllables.
This conviction provides the precepts for this Blog…
Language is the undoing of man. Language has single-handedly provided the tool that has led to the destruction of man’s cohesiveness. The function and nature of language allows for so much room for error and manipulation. Language extracts an idea or image or symbol from a source, transfigured that into words, and those words are then interpreted by a subjective source– and a meaning is contrived from this interpretation. If you have ever participated in the childhood game of “telephone” you have an inclination as to how easily things get muddied in translation.
Language is often the basis for class distinction. If you are perceived to speak with a certain drawl or slang you are automatically put with a social paradigm. A box that may or not be accurate, although some willing place themselves with this box by choosing to speak and act a certain way.
And then you have the nuance of dialogue–in which some innately seem to transcend language. They choose not to be restricted by the chains and rigid structure of language and they tend to take language to the next level. They do this subconsciously without even knowing– they begin speaking in slang creating their own vernacular. They begin to remove syllables and shift around syntax and generally accepted grammatical notions. They begin to speak with feeling, often slurring words or placing emphasis on tones and inflections. Essentially grabbing hold of the language and using it as their own tool. And this too is frowned upon by those higher on the social ladder of society because they can’t understand. They fear the slang, they fear the code talk because you can’t control what you don’t understand. But either way you splice it–that is but another rift created between men.
Ideas are transported between men. Ideas are limited to the language that describes them. Essentially if a word doesn’t exist describe a notion the notion can not exist. Language so much defines our reality– it restricts and binds the minds of men. Often keeping men within stereotypes and predictable roles.
And that’s just tip of the ice burg because then you have the written word. The written word has tribes all unto itself as well. You have scientific language, which differs from computer tech language, which differs from liturgical language, which differs from legislative language, which differs from ecclesiastical language yet all these different branches are supposed to work together somehow. And come together to work for humanities benefit.
Perhaps I will delve deeper into the discussion of language in another blog.
But I’ll leave you with this. Who stands to benefit from the division of men?
Who is the master of the tongue? If you control the words that are placed in people’s minds…. Do you also control the actions that are a result of those ideas?