For this write-up I am extrapolating from the definition of language
well-written by rafial
: "A system of symbol
s developed to communicate idea
s between intelligent entities
." Notice the enormous span of this definition. Absolutely anything
can be made symbolic
. If I'm playing bridge
, my partner and I can define two fart
s to mean "play spades". A metadefinition
can be applied to any entity
so that it symbolize
s something else. A bar-code
is just a series of black and white lines, but if you understand binary
then you can understand it represents a number
are independent of definitions
. For example, you and I could make an agreement that the words "yes" and "no" will henceforth have swapped meanings. So yes means no
and no means yes
. It's all arbitrary. In the realm of oral natural language
s like English
, a particular sound pattern is representative of a particular idea, to be associated inside a brain
by learning. Obviously language is native to the realm of the mind. Without a mind to ascribe meaning
, the Library of Congress
is merely a big pile of paper and ink molecules. So language is pure abstract
ion, not tied to any physical
This is exactly what thought is, and perhaps consciousness itself. When you look around a room, you see blues and grays, flats and curves, hards and softs; the moment something enters your thoughts, it is labeled; it is impossible to do otherwise (you can't think of something without thinking about it and making associations). You are looking at language. The mind works by association and language is merely association. When I look at a glass of water, much more than "glass of water" enters my mind. I question whether I'm thirsty or not; I wonder if someone will spill it; I get the urge to take a piss. This is difficult to grasp, but here is a simple equation: language = symbolism = thought. Which brings me to the point:
You are language. By you, I mean the voice in your head that right now is reading these words off the screen. Look away for a moment and words will continue to flow through your mind. You can't help it. Where are the spaces between thoughts? At this level, you are not in control of your own mind. This is probably the first thing you learned if you've ever tried meditation.
Don't think of an elephant! I just planted a word virus in you. You can't get the word 'elephant' out of your thoughts because you are your thoughts and thinking "ok now, stop thinking 'elephant'" is a paradox. So if you are your thoughts and thoughts are language, then you are language. As such, you are a being capable of the singular talent of metaprogramming, a phrase coined by John C. Lilly in Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer.
See also: language is a virus and language is a virus from outer space.
Terence McKenna thinks that language will soon evolve into visible language. Maybe as soon as December 21, 2012.