Language And Consciousness – Philosophy

Flowers in the fountain
Flowers in the fountain – Eve’s photography

 

“Before my teacher came to me,
I did not know that  “I am.”

I lived in a world that was a no-world.
I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious,
yet conscious time of nothingness.
Since I had no power of thought,
I did not compare one mental state with another.”
~ Helen Keller

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The unity of language and consciousness.

If we want to know more about communication between people, epochs and cultures, we must investigate the nature of the means of communication—language. Language is the highest form of thought expression, the basic means of controlling behaviour, of knowing reality and knowing oneself and the existence of culture. Without the gift of speech man could never acquire cultural values. Consciousness presupposes speech as its material reality in the form of gesture, sound, symbol, and so on. Speech may convey thoughts, feelings and volition in the process of mutual communication, because words are material and can therefore be sensuously perceived. Speech is language functioning in a specific situation of communication. It is the activity of communication and its recorded results. Russian speech, for example, embraces an infinite number of statements by specific individuals and all that has been written in that language. Language, on the other hand, is a specific vocabulary and grammar, expressed in rules and sentence patterns, which have been evolved historically and are national in character. But specific sentences, both spoken and written, belong not to language but to speech: they form the symbolic reality that constitutes the existence of language.

~ A. Spirkin – Consciousness of the World

 

Ferdinand de Saussure a Swiss linguist now considered the father of twenty century Linguistics said:


“In language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language there are only differences without positive terms. Whether we take the signified or the signifier, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system. The idea or phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other signs that surround it. […] A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas; but the pairing of a certain number of acoustical signs with as many cuts made from the mass thought engenders a system of values.

Petals in the fountain - by Eve
Petals in the fountain – by Eve


Semiology is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indications, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically Semiotics is often divided into three branches.”

Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning

Relations among signs in formal structures

Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them

….

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In what language  do deaf people think? I think in English, because that’s what I speak. But since deaf people cannot hear, they can’t learn how to speak a language. Nevertheless, they must think in some language. Would they think in English if they use sign language and read English? How would they do that if they’ve never heard the words they are signing or reading pronounced? Or maybe they just see words in their head, instead of hearing themselves?


Can you think without language? Answer: Nope, at least not at the level humans are accustomed to. That’s why deafness can have far more serious consequences than blindness, developmentally speaking. The blind suffer many hardships, not the least of which is the inability to read in the usual manner. But even those sightless from birth acquire language by ear without difficulty in infancy, and having done so lead relatively ordinary lives. A congenitally deaf child isn’t so lucky: unless someone realizes very early that he’s not talking because he can’t hear, his grasp of communication may never progress beyond the rudiments.


About one child in a thousand, however, is born with no ability to hear. Years ago such people were called deaf-mutes. Often they were considered retarded, and in a sense they were: they’d never learned language, a process that primes the pump for much later development. The critical age range seems to be 21 to 36 months. During this period children pick up the basics of language easily, and in so doing establish essential cognitive infrastructure. Later on it’s far more difficult. If the congenitally deaf aren’t diagnosed before they start school, they may face severe learning problems for the rest of their lives, even if in other respects their intelligence is normal.

 

 

Photo of Helen Keller in mid-life


Helen Keller

A few more thoughts!

“Human consciousness, as constructed by human language, becomes the vehicle through which the self-reflective human mind envisions time. Language enables the viewer to reflect upon the actions of the doer (and the actions of one’s internal body), while projecting forward and backward — other possible bodily actions — into imagined space/time. Thus the projected and imagined space/time increasingly becomes the conscious world and reality of the viewer who imagines or remembers actions mapped onto that projected plan. The body thus becomes a physical entity progressing through the imaged world of the viewer. As the body progresses through this imaged world, the viewer also constructs a way to mark progress from one imagined event to another. Having once marked this imagined time into units, the conscious viewer begins to order the anticipated actions of the body into a linear progression of events.” ~Sue Savage-Rumbaugh


Kindly pusblished through  the generousity of Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com

 

 

flowers in the fountain

flowers in the fountain

 

To end on:

 

There is nothing in this world that can arise without the Self. All existence is one – in one’s Self. When the mind moves, like a restless wave, the world arises also. Be still, throw away everything and be free. Free of those burdens that keep you bound to suffering.  Stillness of mind comes from giving up all desires and attachments,  except that attachment to Self. Meditation, the masters say,  is to effortlessly turn the mind inward.  When the mind is quiet, all is Self. There is nothing else.  ~  Eve

Two Spirit People

I’d not  heard of “two spirit people” in native American culture until recently. I found the subject profoundly interesting, and was eager to learn more, although my knowledge about them is still limited. The you tube above is a history of “two spirit people” that covers facts from  both the present and past about  their tragic history.

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We-Wah, a Zuni Berdache, from New Mexico, who was born biologically male but lived as a Two Spirit woman.

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Excerpted from Walter L Williams article on The Two Spirit People

Rather than the physical body, Native Americans emphasized a person’s “spirit”, or character, as being most important. Instead of seeing two-spirit persons as transsexuals who try to make themselves into “the opposite sex”, it is more accurate to understand them as individuals who take on a gender status that is different from both men and women. This alternative gender status offers a range of possibilities, from slightly effeminate males or masculine females, to androgynous or transgender persons, to those who completely cross-dress and act as the other gender. The emphasis of Native Americans is not to force every person into one box, but to allow for the reality of diversity in gender and sexual identities.

Most of the evidence for respectful two-spirit traditions is focused on the native peoples of the Plains, the Great Lakes, the Southwest, and California. With over a thousand vastly different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, it is important not to overgeneralise for the indigenous peoples of North America. Some documentary sources suggest that a minority of societies treated two-spirit persons disrespectfully, by kidding them or discouraging children from taking on a two-spirit role. However, many of the documents that report negative reactions are themselves suspect, and should be evaluated critically in light of the preponderance of evidence that suggests a respectful attitude. Some European commentators, from early frontier explorers to modern anthropologists, also were influenced by their own homophobic prejudices to distort native attitudes.

Two-spirit people were respected by native societies not only due to religious attitudes, but also because of practical concerns. Because their gender roles involved a mixture of both masculine and feminine traits, two-spirit persons could do both the work of men and of women. They were often considered to be hard workers and artistically gifted, of great value to their extended families and community. Among some groups, such as the Navajo, a family was believed to be economically benefited by having a “nadleh” (literally translated as “one who is transformed”) androgynous person as a relative. Two-spirit persons assisted their siblings’ children and took care of elderly relatives, and often served as adoptive parents for homeless children.

A feminine male who preferred to do women’s work (gathering wild plants or farming domestic plants) was logically expected to marry a masculine male, who did men’s work (hunting and warfare). Because a family needed both plant foods and meat, a masculine female hunter, in turn, usually married a feminine female, to provide these complementary gender roles for economic survival. The gender-conforming spouse of two-spirit people did not see themselves as “homosexual” or as anything other than “normal”.

In the 20th-century, as homophobic European Christian influences increased among many Native Americans, respect for same-sex love and for androgynous persons greatly declined. Two-spirit people were often forced, either by government officials, Christian missionaries or their own community, to conform to standard gender roles. Some, who could not conform, either went underground or committed suicide. With the imposition of Euro-American marriage laws, same-sex marriages between two-spirit people and their spouses were no longer legally recognised. But with the revitalisation of Native American “red power” cultural pride since the 60s, and the rise of gay and lesbian liberation movements at the same time, a new respect for androgyny started slowly re-emerging among American Indian people.

Walter L Williams is the author of The Spirit and the Flesh (Boston: Beacon Press) and is Professor of Anthropology, History and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. His most recent book, Two Spirits: A Story Of Life With The Navajo has been released.

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Historic photo of Navajo couple from the collection of the Museum of New Mexico, 1866.

Native American notions of identity are communal. They depend upon community context, status and history. In many ways, gender is more fluid in Native American cultures in comparison to the rigid binary concepts of male-female that we know in Western societies.

Navajo scholar Wesley Thomas explains that Navajo culture has four genders:

  1. Given that Navajo culture is matrilineal , the first gender is feminine woman (asdzaan). They are born biologically female and function socially as women;
  2. Masculine man (hastiin), are born biologically male and adopt the role of men;
  3. Feminine man (nádleehí) are born biologically male and function socially as women; and
  4. Masculine woman (dilbaa) are born biologically female but function as men.

http://othersociologist.com/2013/09/09/two-spirit-people/

See The Divine In Everyone – Early Devotees

I bumped into Anil Kumar in Samadhi Road. He stopped and said, “do you want a photo?” I replied “yes!”

★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

When you see the world with the eye of divine bliss, you will find bliss everywhere. If there is hatred in your vision, you will see hatred everywhere. Hence, change your vision to start with. Look at the world with the vision of peace, love, and compassion. Then the whole world will appear loving and peaceful. When your heart is filled with love, you will experience the Divine in the entire cosmos. See the Divine in everyone. Eschew hatred and ill will. After years of devotion, many still lack a broad outlook and an all-encompassing love. Embodiments of love! Promote love in your hearts incessantly, love that is immortal and infinite. – Baba

★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

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Role of our life

You are only actors on the stage before the footlights. The Director, who knows the Play, who assigns the roles, who gives the cues, who calls you in and puts you on, is behind the curtain. You are a puppet; He holds the strings. If He must be seen, you have to be His ‘Sakhaa’ (friend) or ‘Bandhu’ (kinsman). Merely being an onlooker will not entitle you to approach Him and be in His Holy Company. Cultivate His Friendship or Kinship by the attitude of Love and dedicated Service. -Baba

★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

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I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to confirm each in his own faith – so that the Christian becomes a better Christian, the Muslim, a better Muslim, and the Hindu a better Hindu. -Baba

★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

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Bear all and do nothing;

Hear all and say nothing;

Give all and take nothing; – Baba

★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

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Party Time for Peter

★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

Love

Make your life a rose that speaks silently in the language of the heart. The Lord will be watching with a thousand eyes the least activity of man to discover any slight trace of selfless love sweetening it. Bear all and do nothing; Hear all and say nothing; Give all and take nothing; Serve all and be nothing. -Baba

I spend my time here during the winter months.
Here I find sanctury.

.★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

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  Serve all and be nothing. -Baba

.★ ★ ☾ ° ★. .

me? have been visiting Puttaparthi for 21 years.
many changes since my first visit. Time has
slipped by so quickly.

Anil’s shoes

Strange  story about the photo of Anil Kumar shoes. My camera would not work well on my recent  visit to PN. The focus kept jumping about and nothing could stop it, no matter how often i changed the settings. I had previously put the camera setting to “bracketing mode” (3 shots per click.) |I am not sure if I’d not left it there. Often, I captured the most appalling shots of people or ” parts” of people.  I had not aimed that camera towards Anil’s shoes. But there you are, here are his shoes.