Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

Imagine waking up one day after a thick night’s sleep that forces your eyes to stay closed. Anyhow, you check the time on your smartphone. You find that it's already too late to be in bed and you reluctantly throw away the bedsheet and walk toward the bathroom to brush your teeth. You slap your face with cold water and hear a yell from your father commenting on a politician, while watching TV, getting ready to go to work.

You walk toward him and you are unaware of the spilled water in the room,

“Beware!” your father alerts, “you might fly if you step on it,”

You chuckle at his interesting choice of word ‘fly’ instead of ‘fall’ and walk toward him.

You sit beside him, who gets intent on wearing socks. He looks at your face and says happily, “It's thirty years, you know?” his face gets enlarged with a flush of fresh blood, “It's the day, your mother and I got divorced.”

You are confused. Your eyes twitch, your face shortens, your ears get hot and your body trembles for a moment. You get up with an incoherent shock and run toward the kitchen. You see your mother preparing breakfast while a happy whistle emerges from her mouth.

“What happened?” she asks.

You stay silent.

“Look what I am preparing here? Your father hated idlis. How slow time flows? Can you imagine? Today’s our thirtieth divorce anniversary. We got divorced the day this country turned away from Democracy. We got our first wrong to vote when Monarchy was established; which you might learn in your school to be a system run by the people.”

You watch her with an open mouth.

She grabs your shoulders and turns you around saying, “Go on, don’t stand here. Go tell your mother to get ready and don’t let her wear those stinky shoes under those socks”

The scenario that is shown above may not strike you are sensible or even meaningful. The dialogues, especially where one speaks of the other word discarding its imagined absolute meaning. Now to make sense of it, all you have to do is imagine yourself as a kid whose memory from yesternight's sleep has vanished altogether. Now, read it again.

Language; is a necessary evil.

Casper some great minds, creativity s the culmination of things from entirely different domains. No individual field of study can hop onto the ladder of progress or excel in creating anything valuable in the past. If I were to bring things from extreme ends together and compare them with each other, it would, at best, astonish the mind used with ritualized sentences. For example; Death is a joke. Instinctively the sentence may seem offensive and if we were to take some seconds apart and calculate it rationally, that offensive sentence is nothing more than a stroke of creative creation.

“How can death be a joke?” You may ask. A joke is something unexpected, eccentric, and unbound to our natural existence. We need not be conscious while we experience it. It must happen as it must, and so is death.

Comparisons like these are common among comedians today. They are highly capable of connecting things we find absurd in our day-to-day lives. But when the words they chose take a turn around to include Religion, God, Country, and other beliefs, they are hated by many and enjoyed by less.

God is a word. God is an English word. The earliest written form of the Germanic word "god" comes from the 6th century Christian Codex Argenteus, which descends from the Old English guþ from the Proto-Germanic.

The moment you hear the word GOD, your mind rumbles around firing millions of neurons rummaging through stories, quotes, ideas, morals, and a bit of history. If a single word from a language that was invented around the 5th century AD could mine your mind and evoke uncontrollable emotions, imagine what numerous words from numerous languages could dictate your will unbeknownst to yourself. It's difficult to accept that human emotion and some of our rational abilities are nothing but slaves to languages we invented.

Talleyrand, a French diplomat of the early nineteenth century once said “Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts,”. He was right.

Most of our thoughts are vague, unreliable, and mostly incomprehensible. Our brain, one of the efficient organic machines procreates these thoughts all the time- unless one is a trained meditator who keeps his senses alert at the present. We need speech to organize thoughts and filter out those which are not necessary for our survival as a species. If listening to thoughts and funneling them were easy, every human on earth would have been an award-winning writer.

Our ancestors wanted to make sense of their surroundings, so they painted on cave walls. They wanted to make sense of their suffering, so they made up God as an escape. When they wanted to make sense of themselves, they had to come up with an astounding tool called language. Apart from other animals, what pushes humans apart from the crowd is our intention behind employing language- gossip.

Language and a new reality.

“There is no doubt at all that the strictly human form of life arose when a man could speak,” says Aldous Huxley in one of his essays called Language in his book, ‘The Human Situation. This particular essay profoundly enlarged my horizon of perception, which spread further and further until I realized that I was only fixated on one city instead of looking at the whole planet. He goes on to argue that a pure form of intellectualism exists very rarely. He says that we are all under the influence of misplaced intellectualism. It is a kind of intellectualism that regards words and concepts as being somehow more real and more important than actual events and things.

To illustrate it more clearly, let me pick our country as an example. India is not real, it is a legal fiction that exists in the minds of people creating an intersubjective reality that unites and divides strangers across the world. The same logic follows money, religion, and beliefs.

This reality is not absolute. It is something that we agree on forcibly or intentionally and its existence relies on the length of agreeableness. India was ruled, divided into innumerable parts, by kings and their charlatans. Now none of them exist today. If we look at it objectively, all that’s changed are the abstracts of kingdoms, rules, and customs but nothing really like stone or soil that was present from the beginning of the earth.

This scrutiny of language over a feeble human mind is due to the unconditional reigning power of knowledge about things that don’t exist. If we couldn’t speak, we couldn’t identify and call a piece of land a country and name it with something while pushing our deepest emotions into its establishment while harnessing ill intentions over those across these imagined borders. Unbeknownst to us, many of our beliefs and ideas are emergent structures from languages. Without language, there wouldn’t be abstracts. Without abstracts, there wouldn’t be imagined realities. Without imagined realities, there wouldn’t be a collective ground for humans to unite. Without unity, we are merely those apes who fight for a banana instead of 'who rules heaven or hell?'.

What about our emotions? They are real, isn't it? If we look at it from a bird's point of view flying overhead analyzing our minutest actions at every moment of the day, we get to see how weird and mad each of us is. And if we scan deeply enough, we find that emotions are nothing but selective firing of random neurons inside our head. It would be hopeless if we did describe emotions as mechanical stimuli inside our cranium as it would be complex and far-fetched from our understanding. Language makes it easier. By writing or reading about things we feel, we give meaning to biological activity and make it seem wondrous and special. Without words and languages, we wouldn't be sure if we feel the way we feel. Feelings are nothing but words forming an association with unseen biological stimuli.

Words becoming things.

We are all pattern-matching animals, we try to find meaning in stars, soil, time, hair, and the cat that happen to pass in front of us. Perception is not a passive reception of material from the outside world; it is an active process of selection and imposing of patterns. In spite of the neurological selection and abstraction which has gone on, the profusion is confusion. And here is where language comes in. We proceed to a higher level of abstraction using language and select in this conscious and semi-conscious or pre-conscious way those materials which are useful to us biologically. We enjoy the process of symbolization; it is as though there was a kind of art-for-art-sake pleasure in the procedure

The proper relationship between words and things had been reversed during the whole of the middle ages. All the totalitarian tyrannies of our time have been based upon the wrong relationship between things and words; words have not been regarded by them as symbols arbitrarily standing for things, but things have been regarded as illustrations of words.

When Hitler prayed for Eugenics to cleanse the unfit, the whole world stood watching this drama with disturbing horror while Nazis went on with their task as it was an act similar to exterminating a spoilt onion from a sack. What was being exterminated was not a human being; it was merely the illustration of an idea. The opposition is simply equated with the concretization of a bad abstraction.

All those extreme movements that lead to mass murders under the name of nationality, ethnicity, and sacredness are nothing but humans under the false impression of the world they live in. All credits to language. If we have free will, I bet that’s been manipulated by Language. What if the idea of free will is just an idea? Nothing more than an abstract consolation like the purity of the soul? It's hard to consider these implications and move on with the language that is conditioning us to be nobody but scribbles on paper and digital code.

A perfect example to defend this subheading is Orwell’s 1984. One of the most influential works that undermine our reliance on ourselves when confronted with a language and its paradoxes. If two plus two is four and if in any case our brain can be made to believe- even with brute force, that two plus two is five, then that becomes the truth and our freedom vanishes into thin air with the overthrow of facts over abstracts.

Leaders and Stories.

There is no greatest person in the world than a storyteller and all world-class leaders are storytellers. Leaders are formed when they could manipulate others with their choice of words, be it positively or negatively. Mahatma Gandhi used the words, Non-Violence, and Peace. Hitler used the words, Eugenics and Superiority. Both of them were unstoppable even when the opposing forces outnumbered their own. All I can do is warn the reader to be weary of leaders who try to inject abstracts and stories more than facts in their words. They are playing with your innate beliefs and these beliefs are hard to recognize we are adept at wanting ourselves to be true and honest all the time. The trigger would only set fire if don’t consider the birth of those words and in-depth stories that stand biased before our minds.

From the time humans began to speak, there has been a lot of emphasis on Fantasies. All of us can imagine, but not everyone can put it into words and pictures. Now to make sense of our imagination and harness the weirdness factor around us, we read what others imagine through novels. If we look at all the best-selling novels of all time, most of the list would comprise those that involve characters moving out of the layman’s way of life to find himself/herself in a world of magic where everything is animistic and unnatural. We like to escape and stories are the easy flight requiring very little effort from our end. That’s the reason why, it is stories that change the world, not just ideas.

History too is just a form of a story from a person’s point of view who happens to be educated at that time. If we are judging history, it means we wish our beliefs to survive in that story. As William Shakespeare put it through Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”, we need to be cautious while we think. So how to get out of this loop, where we need to use language to understand its spiteful influence of it?

There is very little room left to escape and one of which is the method that emerged out of Socrates. He says, “I can’t change someone’s mind. I can only make them think.”. Ask, ask and ask. Ask yourself why are you thinking the way you are thinking. Analyzing our thinking is a complex thing that involves a lot of patience and the right frame of reference while involved in the process. It's not for everyone and those who do it are often cited as maniacs. Remember that when you read history, most of the well-remembered characters are maniacs.

Language and the end.

There is no end to language. The thing that may vanish is an animal that uses it. Even if humanity disappears from the face of the earth, there may be some planet far across the galaxy in this incomprehensible universe harnessing a life form with a different biological composition that gets complex and complex until it creates its language in the name of Gossip, then finally to fight with its kind just because someone used the wrong phrase.

Language is what we made, and, unfortunately, we are being made by it. 

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