Limitations of Language
Sometimes I find that when I’m with people I am slowly becoming someone else. I am slowly being the person that is selfish and only waits for his turn to speak. But this room is empty. I thought I was there with people, but the people don’t understand, so they can not be there with me. The room is unexpectedly empty.
Our language is a wall that separates us from other people. We can’t express our true selves through language alone. For me in the past, I couldn’t express myself truly within the limits of the English language.
I saw this particularly when I moved to Canada from Slovakia when I was 16. I was not raised speaking English, for the most part. I was born in Slovakia, most of my teen life and education is from Slovakia. So I found myself to be thinking in Slovakian and having difficulty expressing myself in English. So when people didn’t understand the concepts I was raising, it was because of the limitations of that social construct.
We take what we need from specific people. There are certain traits in every person that we find slightly annoying or irritating. I try not to dismiss a person because of a particular trait that is annoying. It’s important to note however that if you have a good understanding of the reality of determinism then you find yourself less frustrated with personally annoying traits, because you know they are intrinsic within the person.
Limitations of Language
Language is a concept that isn’t discussed in mainstream circles. We think that everyone understands us. But they don’t. We have a window of opportunity to express what we believe in and we think that other people are capable of identifying with our problems. But they just look at it from their point of view. From their window. When we hear an opinion we interpret it the way we deem fit. I would like to say that we, I won’t try to put a percentage point on it, don’t grasp the full picture. And this is where mental practice comes in handy or a way of conversational skills comes in handy.
To use an example. I have recently gotten into a discussion on a long trip by car on capitalism and someone said that I use the term capitalism wrong. I said that I use it in a worldview sense not just in the economical. The individual said that it is just used in the economical, financial. And then I used the example that socialism is not just the financial but also the social, philosophical, etc. aspect of it. The limitations of language are that we do not understand each other because we have different definitions of terms.
Another example would be when people are talking about sports. If we start discussing hockey, my first thought would be Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks. All these teams are somehow involved with my favorite team which is the Canucks. My mind doesn’t go to Pittsburgh’s team or New York’s. Similarly with basketball and with any other sport.
When I think about music I understand it from my own point of view as well. I think about John Mayer or Chon or Snarky Puppy. I would like to say that all of these have given me something unique. They make me happy, they make me energized to do an activity or to think about an experience I’ve had. Most of music is all about nostalgia. Most of music is the stuff I remember about the first moment I listened to that particular song. And so when you say this is my favorite song and people look at you with distaste for your style of music, you must respond with understanding. There was a place in your life that made you enjoy that song. You have been manufactured to enjoy it.
I use all the examples to express that when we address a topic such as humor, music, etc. I will always look at these from the standpoint of what I understand about them. If you ask me what I think about the Grammys, I won’t tell you much for I know very little about them. I can’t say that I like them nor that I disagree with the award show. All I know is that it is an important part of cinema. And I enjoy cinema so I remain indifferent. The people in charge of that award show might argue that it is the most important part of cinema because actors and directors and producers are getting rewarded for art, for their craft. Which for millennia has not been happening, not on the scale that we are capable today. I can not appreciate the Grammys, because I have nothing to do with them. That is not to say that I don’t show my respect to the act of acting. It is just in different ways. If an actor came to me and asked what I think about the Grammys, I would have to respond: I am indifferent, but I love the idea, since it seems other people are interested. Same comes to the X-Factor, America’s Got Talent, etc.
My point is simple: language is a construct that was developed for certain purposes. Without a full grasp of language we can not understand clearly how or what other people are thinking. Furthermore, language can not even fully grasp reality. We are stuck in a room with no windows, trying to communicate with each other, but truly no one can understand or hear each other.
This is how conflict starts within relationships. We have an idea of the truth, and it has to be our way, because we have been manufactured to believe in it, we express that truth, we get confronted with disagreement and we assume that the other individual is inferior, or can not understand this truth, since you have different perspectives on the issue. What one should celebrate is the fact that these are distinct perspectives. They are different aspects of the truth and that should be celebrated.
Language is only a means to an end. What can sometimes be more powerful is the touch of a hand, hug, smile, physical approval, etc. This is something I keep needing to remind myself before I start communicating with different ideas. I sometimes get caught up in my own room, despite only being able to communicate with myself. The art is to use the door, get out the room, knock on someone else’s door, respectively get in, understand the concept, communicate with him and it, get out and become more enlightened: overcoming the limitations of language.