On Philosophy
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On Philosophy

Silent Speech

Suppose you say,

“Does anyone have a pen?”

What happens when you say that?

The sound waves around you change for a few moments, hopefully registering on the eardrums of some pen-owning humans around you. And hopefully, one of them will understand what you said and pass you a pen.

By changing the sound waves around you, you change the information around you and others. By changing the information, you could get what you wanted: i.e. a pen.

In many ways, thinking is also like speaking. It is a form of “silent” speech. Like speech, it changes the information around you. And like speech, it might help you get what you want.

For example, rather than ask, “Does anyone have a pen?” you could “ask” yourself (i.e. think to yourself), “Where is that pen?”

And as a result, you might remember where the pen is.

Often we “speak without thinking”. Even more often “think without thinking”, meaning we think something, not knowing why or “where the thought came from”.

Some scientists even argue that we never “think with thinking”; that all thought is subconscious; and that we post-rationalize consciousness.

Much the same might apply to speech. We might always speak without thinking but convince ourselves that sometimes we do.

Regardless, and extending the analogy, what if we extend some rules of speech to thought?

For example, consider the three filters. For any thought, we could try and ask ourselves,

  1. Is this thought true?
  2. Is this thought useful?
  3. And finally, is this thought kind?

It is hard enough to apply the three filters to speech. Applying it to thought, sounds orders of magnitude harder.

Then again, we could try…

Source: Saatchi Art



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Nuwan I. Senaratna

Nuwan I. Senaratna


I am a Computer Scientist and Musician by training. A writer with interests in Philosophy, Economics, Technology, Politics, Business, the Arts and Fiction.