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Thinking About Thoughts — Is There Any Thinking Beyond The Noise Of Words And Language?

To say, “Leave the room,” is less expressive than to point to the door. Place a finger on the lips is more forcible than whispering “Do not speak.”

No phrase can convey the idea of surprise so vividly as opening the eyes and raising the eyebrows. When Herbert Spencer said that, he was not demeaning the use of language.

All this make us think that language is not some pure medium through which we can get close to reality or become cognizant of our own original primitive thoughts.

The question here is — Can we think without the words and language?

How about the time when there was no language?
Was there no thinking?
🔹How about a child who has not learned any language? Is such a child thinking or just cognitively reacting to the outside world?

How the outside world is represented mentally and how we treat that representation without words and language.

Pre-verbal Thoughts

Thoughts existed before we could say anything. Animalistic or baby-type thoughts, let’s call it preverbal thoughts; could be physical impulses like hunger or pain or emotional need. How it is represented and got reacted without words and language?

Can we say that a child thinks and understands, but can’t express until he learns a language? But, still, the mind must be thinking in terms of some language that is not structured and cannot be communicated. Some animals like chimpanzees can still communicate using sign language

Can We Still Think Without Language?

Thinking does not come out from words and language. We may say the thinking is done using words and language.

Our need to understand and communicate, our need to survive by managing our environment, our need to look into the future, has given us linguistic representation. To share our learning, we created the conventions so that long and complex thoughts can be carried forward.

Should We Conclude? 👇

We may be able to think without language, but language lets us know that we are thinking

What is language in relation to mind and reality?
Is language a translating device for the lacking expression of thought or of the cognizance of experience?

Can we express everything in language or are there any limits?

Limits of Language

Limits of language can become the limits of thoughts. The limits of language are the limits of my world. When we think about — Who we are? Where are we from? Language and words become handicapped, they don’t help.

Do deliberate thoughts mislead us? Our efforts and our knowledge that is based on language block us to understand primitive thinking that was close to reality

As Wittgenstein put it, “Speaking a language is part of an activity, or of a form of life.”

Silence is the language of god,
all else is poor translation
Rumi

Thinking About Thoughts

Metarepresentational thinking, taking thoughts as the objects of thoughts and analyzing their relationship with other thoughts, still a language dependent thing, but it can provide a possible opportunity to abstract language from thinking.

Can we go back to the naïve state and see how we made those connections and why?

Or Is language, along with other mental capabilities, just a cognitive mental device for memory super augmentation; environmental interpretation; coordination and communication; data manipulation and representation; and future prediction/modeling.

As Alan Watts said, 👉 “The menu is not the meal” 👈 similarly language does not tell anything about reality

Conclusion

Languages are complicated things, but primitive thoughts were not so. Language empowered information to be stored in a memory greater than an individual’s ability to remember. Development of writing systems for language and math organized new learning even more. Ideas could be cataloged, retrieved, and communicated more easily.

Language is originally and essentially nothing but a system of signs or symbols, which denote real occurrences, or their echo in the human soul.

-Carl Jung, Psychology of the Unconscious

There are things beyond our ability to understand and conceive but thinking mind will still go ahead and put it in some language within the limits of language, and that is how sense becomes nonsense and language starts shaping our reality.

Go beyond concepts, go beyond words and language, and finally 🔗 go beyond thoughts.

18th century English writer, Samuel Johnson says 👉“Language is the dress of thought” 👈 So Be Clothed, Don’t Go Out Naked. While being social, chose proper words because people will judge your thoughts based on the words and language you use. But in solitude, when you are 🔗 getting bored on some Sunday afternoon try to unwind your words and language and if you see something awesome-worthy enjoy it firsthand. Just don’t say “Awesome”.

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