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

There’s No Free Lunch! – Philosophy

alove

 

I found this short article by accident and being drawn by the beautiful image, I paused to read. The words  opposite of love is power  really made me sit up and  think.  I’d thought the opposite of love was fear, now a new adjective – (power-ful). This reminds me of the quote from The Master of Sacred Knowledge by Allan Rufus, who says:  “Note and Quote to Self – What you think, say and do! Your life mainly consists of 3 things!

What you think,

What you say and

What you do!”

 

and remember thoughts are powerful too.

 

 


 

“As we see more deeply into our inner drives and defenses, we discover that the choices we are faced with aren’t all black and white. Life teaches us that our decisions aren’t necessarily based on “this” or “that.” We come to understand the truth of “both/and.”

The assumption that things are either good or bad, true or false, that I’m either happy or miserable, lovable or hateful, has been replaced by astonishing new facts: I both want to be good but my efforts can have bad effects; there’s falsehood mixed in with my truth; I want and don’t want whatever is my current desire; and I can both love and hate another person at the same time.

What about the two primary human drives, love and power? I used to think the opposite of love was hate. But life experience tells me that’s not true. Hate is so tinged with other emotions, including love! No. In my understanding, the opposite of love is power-ful. Love accepts and embraces. Power refuses and crushes opposition. Love is kind and knows how to forgive.”

—Patty De Llosa, “Power and Love.” Parabola Magazine, Spring 2011

 

Patty de Llosa, author of The Practice of Presence: Five Paths for Daily Life and Taming Your Inner Tyrant: A path to healing through dialogues with oneself, is a Tai Chi and Alexander teacher who lives and practices in New York City. She has studied many spiritual teachings while she made her living as a mainstream journalist at Time, Leisure and Fortune and raised a family.

 

Also by Patty De Llosa,

 

Happiness or Wisdom?

We all want to be happy. Is that wise? Perhaps it only works the other way around: those who become wise find happiness. The Buddha explained that what makes us feel miserable is the hankering and dejection to which we are continually subject. We hanker after what we desire, and become dejected because life doesn’t offer up what we want.

Does it take a lifetime to find the wisdom to accept what we’ve got? Not necessarily. The minute some of what we had is taken away we begin to appreciate it! Then, oh then, how we remember the Good Old Days!

Then there’s the opposite message, the folk wisdom that your reach should exceed your grasp. How to bring these opposites together? In my opinion, the solution lies in practice and, above all, work. If you aim both body and mind at what you want and work hard for it, your feet tend to stay on the ground and, hopefully, your head this side of the clouds. So inner and outer work are part of real wisdom, expressed in Madison Avenue’s adage that there’s no free lunch.

Speak No Evil – Philosophy

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Why is there so much evil in the world? To bemoan the evil so prevalent today is to fail to take account of our part. The walls we build around ourselves create an illusion of separateness. Our egos dwell there and crave power, authority, and dominion – stings of the serpent’s venom. The fundamental duality of good and evil is then taken as a law unto itself. Although it will not be stayed in its course, on a large, cosmic scale, evil derives from a blockage of a circulation of vital energy. Here, in this post, I’ve decided to address evil through quotes that I have come to admire on this topic. I hope they will be useful and interesting to the reader.  Eve

 

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From the viewpoint of the initiate seeking wisdom, evil is dissipation, a scattering of one’s energies and attention, whereas good is that which leads to spiritual concentration, that is to unity.

 

A permanent idea of good and evil can be formed in man only in connection with a permanent aim and a permanent understanding. If a man understands that he is asleep and if he wishes to awake, then everything that helps him to awake will be good and everything that hinders him, everything that prolongs his sleep, will be evil. But this is so only for those who want to awake, that is, for those who understand that they are asleep. Those who do not understand that they are asleep and those who can have no wish to awake, cannot have understanding of good and evil. And as the overwhelming majority of people do not realize and will never realize that they are asleep, neither good nor evil can actually exist for them.

-G. I. Gurdjieff.

 

Must I do all the evil I can before I learn to shun it? Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too much to give it up.

– Mohandas K. Gandhi

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The idea of sacred medicine teaches us that the universe is conscious only to conscious man, and that there are states of being in which universally active forces can reach my body from within my body. These forces cannot act upon my body from without, except as my body is part of organic life on earth with its great cycles of life, death, fertilization, and decay. The ego cannot battle against that either in nature or in the body. body. …

Man in the state of egoism is crushed by the universe, both actually and in theory. The ego alone, with all its bodily habits to support it, lives in a hostile universe because it constantly fights to preserve itself. It is a euphemism to speak of the universe of modern science as unalive, non-living. We call it a dead universe because we are unable to bear that our state of consciousness evokes a hostile universe. Traditional man was clearer about the enmity we gather when we live severed from a higher consciousness. It is a lawful enmity to be sure, not directed to me personally, but it is a genuine enmity and to communicate this, it is not so far from the mark to speak of evil spirits and of punishment.

– Jacob Needleman

 

 

 

 

Christian Mysticism – Philosophy/Religion

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~ Essence of  Love by Kiernan Antares ~

Lit up from
Within
I am

Free
Empowered
Whole
I am

Stars aflame
Soul on fire
With passion
I am

Birthed anew
Radiating a light
A force
A Source

FOR reasons that are not too clear, thirteenth-century Europe represents the single greatest flowering of mysticism in the West. It was also a time, nearly unique in Western history, for the extent to which feminine voices were raised, tolerated, and even revered. In the following article, Jake has generously given us many unknown facts, certainly unknown to me, and to which I offer my gratitude. Having read and enjoyed books on Christian Mysticism over the years, I cannot find the language to do them justice. Jake does. (Jake Murray graduated from Oxford Uni. He works as a Freelance theatre director, teacher and writer. )

What is Christian Mysticism?

by Jake Murray

Christian Mysticism is probably the least known and least understood Mystical Tradition in the world. Indeed, most people, including most Christians, would be astonished and shocked to learn that there was such a thing as Christian Mysticism at all. Since the Reformation it has been viewed with enormous suspicion, especially among the Protestant Churches who traditionally have disliked the idea of a body of knowledge available to an elite and, with the defining doctrine of Sola Scriptura, have, by and large, not liked metaphysical speculation or mysticism as part of their discourse. This is not to say that there have not been important Protestant Christian Mystics – Jakob Boehme, William Blake, Jane Leade, Valentine Weigel, Emmanuel Swedenborg for instance – but they have always tended to run into trouble with the authorities. Blake was very much a lone gunman, Boehme was forced to promise never to make his books public and Swedenborg was put on trial. Within Catholicism Mysticism was actively encouraged for many centuries and then became badly entangled with fears about heresy and the Reformation, when even major figures like St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, were hugely harassed. As a consequence, Mysticism has largely died out in the Western Churches. In the Greek and Eastern Orthodox Churches it has never gone away, Mysticism always being a key aspect of their experience of Christianity. But we in the West are very ignorant about the Orthodox Churches, so for us that Mysticism, much of it deeply ecstatic, has also been kept from us.

Another reason for the relative obscurity of Christian Mysticism, especially among those who are interested in Mysticism in general, is the hostility so many people feel towards the Churches. To most people Christianity is one long litany of misogyny, intolerance, persecution, oppression, control of minds and sexualities, corruption, child abuse, conformism, Inquisitions, anti-semitism, religious wars and so on. The idea that it has had anything to offer on a mystical level is almost unthinkable to many. For many spiritually-minded people the emphasis on Sin, Damnation, fear and general anti-life doom and gloom are things one has to get away from. As a consequence the hidden tradition of Christian Mystical thought has been all but lost to us compared with, for instance, the sublime wisdom of the East – Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism – or even Western traditions such as Kabbalah, Sufism and Hermeticism, all of which seem to be far more liberating and all-embracing than anything Christianity has to offer. The very imagery of Christianity is associated with enormous negativity to many. The terminology is off-putting, to such an extent that for most people, reading the core texts is almost impossible without centuries of accrued meanings that may not even be there.

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There is an enormous amount of truth in all of this. The negative historical karma of Christianity is there for all to see. But it is far from the whole story of the Tradition, and a great shame, as Hidden beneath all the rubble is a vast reservoir of rich mystical literature of the most astonishing visionary quality, much of which has a great deal in common with all the other Traditions mentioned above. It has often been said that, for instance, Meister Eckhart would have a great deal to say to the Buddha were they to meet (indeed there has been a famous study of Eckhart by the Zen Master Suzuki). Orthodox Christianity has an extraordinarily spiritual, all-embracing, take on Christianity, a vision shared in the Western Churches through a mutual connection with the Neo-Platonic tradition drawn from St Dionysius the Areopagite.

Early Christianity was much simpler, far more diverse and far more mystically-orientated than it is now. We forget, for instance, that until the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, rather than being a persecuting religion it was an entirely persecuted one with a profound revolutionary, as well as ascetic tradition. An accepted, indisputable, rigid canon of Scripture such as we find now in the modern editions of the Bible was not even established until midway through the 4th Century, and then only after vigorous debate, with books like Revelation, responsible for so much confusion since, only being included at the last minute. Early Church fathers such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St Augustine and others freely acknowledged other authorities as having insight – Plato, Plotinus, even Hermes Trismegistus. Reincarnation was not denounced as a heresy until the 6th Century in the Catholic Church and as late as the 7th in the Celtic when it amalgamated with Rome. We forget also that until the fall of Constantinople in the 15th Century the centers of Christianity were Meditterannean  and Middle Eastern – Alexandria, Carthage,  Rome, Syria, Greece – all of which had rich esoteric traditions. In terms of misogyny, the New Testament itself suggests that women had as much of a role in the early Church as the men (see Romans 16), and even after that it is a curious feature of Christian Mysticism just how much of a massive contribution women’s voices had to make.

No other spirituality or religion in the world has had so many women Mystics – St Teresa of Avila, St Clare of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Hadewijch, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete and a host of others. The fact that so much of this has been lost is mainly to do with the reasons mentioned above. The modern, impoverished view of Christianity, apparently so militant and so reactionary, in which a highly complex set of ideas have been reduced to a simple set of answers revolving around Sin and Redemption, is a sign of Christianity’s rejection of its own mystical roots. The decline of Christianity as a progressive cultural force can be seen with the beginnings of its own suppression of its Mystics during the time of the Middle Ages and Reformation. In spite of revivals during the Counter-Reformation and the Renaissance, by the 17th Century Science, Philosophy and the Enlightenment were starting to take over as the main means of understanding existence. Its taken until now for Christian Mysticism to start to be uncovered again, in part kick-started by growing interest in Christian Gnosticism, which has caused many people to reexamine Western spirituality.

St. Francis - dancing
St. Francis – dancing
GertrudetheGreat
St Gertrude
Carmelite Monastery
Carmelite Monastery

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