The Insufficiencies of Language

Abstracting

”…when reading the bible, some people say ‘Jesus meant this’, others say ‘No, he meant that’ because it is subject to interpretation, and therefore you get the Christians, the Lutherans, the Seventh-day Adventists…” — Jacque Fresco

People reading the same source but understanding different aspects may be explained on a neurological level where the nervous system abstracts, therefore, selecting, picking out, separating, summarizing, deducting, removing, omitting, disengaging, taking away and stripping are actual parts of the abstracting process. Similarly to what the untrained mind might do about the current system that exists today. Most western countries have police departments to go to if someone is harassing them, they have a medical system to go to if you wish to get some help. You can call a plumber if you have a problem. There are transportation systems that can carry you around the world. They are not as efficient as they can be, but we cannot dismiss that in China they have an operating Maglev train, in the UAE they wish to build the Hyperloop. In Switzerland they have CERN. Many reputable university professors e.g. Robert Sapolsky, teach that there is no ‘free will‘ nor ‘human nature‘ as most people mean it. Most of the relevant information to create what we wish to see in society exists in this system, because of this system. It is scattered everywhere, separated by nations and people’s values. This is one small part of what The Venus Project is trying to improve  bringing all the latest information together to create a better system. Not the best, but much better than what we have today!

When deep criticism of the current system occurs in some of Jacque Fresco’s lectures, it is because he does not have enough time to go into most inadequacies of capitalism. Repeating these criticisms yourself publically does not justify his many decades of research and experience. Learning from his sources enables you to manage the information optimally depending on the situation you are in. In other words, you can present the parts that are relevant to your audience according to their background and capacity, but you must not give the impression that This is all there is to know. Also, if people are not interested in what you are saying, you need to understand that two people looking at the same picture extract different aspects. Looking at a picture of a car, depending on your background you might wonder, How fast does it go?; another might think, Does it come in black?; a third person might wonder, How rich is the owner of this car? We abstract that which we are interested in based on our background.

“A tree does not just grow; it needs sunlight, water, gravity…” — Jacque Fresco.

Conclusively, the subject of ‘all knowing,’ i.e. saying the tree just grows, omitting everything else as if it grows on its own without external influences, is not a statement of fact. Always be aware that you might be selecting something based on your environment or just making an easy statement which might be interpreted in a way that can give the wrong picture. Saying he is a criminal, sounds as if you are saying this is all he is. He might be a good engineer or a great speaker. It is this way of thinking that has imprisoned many people — that this is all there is to know about the subject. Such attitude and other factors have locked the human mind in a loop of placing labels on people and events. If we can create the notion that there is always more to something or someone we can somehow reduce the arrogance and ignorance when people talk at each other.

The ‘all knowing’ attitude manifests when a father enforces his beliefs on his child as if he is the ‘all knowing’ being, saying This is what you will believe, and this is how you will act, and there is nothing more! We see it in certain leaders and in most teachers today, giving the impression that what they say is not questionable. Even nations express their ‘all-knowingness’ to each other, and this is one mechanism that builds walls between nations and people, even between parents. Next time you hear a child saying, Mom doesn’t understand me. The child has been a victim of ‘all-knowingness’ and reverberates the same back to the mother. This in turn, along with other factors, causes tension and resentment which slow down individual and social development towards a saner attitude.

As the population of the world gets older, we become more rigid in our ways and carry attitudes from the past which hinder our progress. Attitudes that say, It will never happen, or It’s no use. Our outdated opinions and those which are inherent in our language tend to hinder tremendously our progress as a more capable species.

Summary

We have discussed:

  • The difference between Technical Terms vs Non-technical Terms,
  • Speaker vs Listener
  • Statement of fact vs Inference (Guess or Assumption)
  • Efficient Observer vs Inefficient Observer
  • Identification
  • Abstraction

All of these in combination make our language subject to interpretation and effect our lives in multiple ways. If we are to move towards a saner future, as proposed by The Venus Project, we have to place everything we know under intense scrutiny. Indeed, we cannot continue with our current ways of thinking if we wish to see some sort of change that enhances all life on Earth.

19 Comments

  1. I’d love to see sign language taught to all toddlers. That way we could have a truly universal language. No need to learn a second language as we all would have one. Plus it would limit the hurdles that deaf people face.

    • Except all countries have their own unique sign language, so it wouldn’t necessarily bring us any closer than we are now. To do that you would have to agree on a common language for all, or invent a new one, which is exactly the same as if you were teaching all children to speak the same verbal language.

    • I think we have to go beyond just the language thing.. everyone will continue to speak its own language.., but surely need to use our hability to speak beyond language..

  2. i see in our future a way to connect the picture we can easily create in our mind to a screen , and a picture can speak 1k words . i think that conection its necesary , if we may learn to have telepatic imagination would be great…

    but in any case, any language we learn it might be good if its learned in the way its embeded into the subconcious mind . i learn english by watching tv and doing internet stuff , i’m not sure this is the way to realy connect the words to subconcious mind .

  3. … And what about graffitis? Are they going to be part of the new world. The first kind of expression in Lascaux’s cave in the paleolithic times was primarily essentiel as we could get a sense of proper historical traces. Bones, hand made tools… archeological studies can always find new stuffs but still if all disappear on earth should we use some laser graff in the universe in order to send message for our spatial explorers?
    So many interpretations could be done for words but for man like for dogs the best thing he can do is just pee on walls to say it’s his property; “it’s where I lived It’s where I was”.

  4. It still amazes me how languages were formed and re-formed. I don’t particularly like it when slang takes over however and thus destroys the origin of a respectful language. icariin 98%

  5. Hi, i completely agree with this opinion about language.
    I am a speach and language therapist, i work with children, many of them affected by sensorial disease. I can see evryday the importance of using alternative channels to reach a good level of communication with ourselves first and with other.
    Emotional communication is more significative than every word of every codified language.
    ‘Cause emotional intention is related to the autobiografic facts of every person’s life related with his community. I think emotional communication is similar in every culture. So i consider communication as relation : the expression of our humanity as the first choice in relastionship, coperation and co-creation of better way of living for all the people.
    I believe every one wishes get well and peacefully and getting good vibes with himself and the world outside. If we have good thinking about us we can change the world.
    (Sorry for my english)
    Thankyou

    Pam

  6. There ARE NO BAD WORDS. slang IS language, In no way is it differemt from the original. Simply different. If We hang up on small irrelivent details We comlletely miss the point, and stiffle growth.

  7. Also, Esperanto IS a great politically hidden asset of humankind. Since it is wrongly interpreted as an intent to destroy nationalism, then it is put aside by politicians. Sometimes you need to convey spoken words, since you can not see the other person for sign language. English is NOT the most perfect means to do it. Esperanto is way SUPERIOR to English (and any other “naturally” devloped language) in arguably about 25 very importante issues.

  8. With the technological advances we have today it is very conceivable to have personal translators that we just carry with us or wear on our persons. All languages would be imported into a world database (regardless of region) and people could hear their own language being spoke to them regardless of the language being spoken. Translators and voice recognition has exponentially grown in the last 20 years. Imagine the advancement in the next 20 years.

    This would actually only require people to learn “a language”… Not any particular language. Once the database was implemented new words would just be added as necessary and people could adjust their translators according to their needs and region visited. (This was actually done on Star Trek 30 years ago… Haha)

  9. Interesting discussion, but not surprising for Jaque as he has such a young and pliable mind. Great observations on his part and many of his concerns about the shortcomings of language have been echoed by Chomsky and others. I spend a lot of spare time working with peers to develop meta languages and meta models to support common patterns in business domains, across supply chains, value chains, and amongst stakeholders who wish to map their scenarios to better understand causality and predict future outcomes, risks, and opportunities.

    One of the ways we have begun to address the gaps in communications is to introduce contextual relevance with terms as Jaque rightly pointed out: any term can be interpreted in numerous ways based on a variety of filters. The challenge is identifying the right context for a given situation in order to ensure consistency of perspective from the “speaker” to the “listener”.

  10. Hello,
    I appreciate your concern and was delighted to read the entire piece of content. The language has evolved over time and various technological advancement have resulted in reducing the language barrier which are yet to be demolished. My concern is not with the vocal language itself but the understanding in different fields. Great cities are not possible if the stake holders do not work together and to make this happen every one needs to be share a common goal. This can be communicated but the difficulty which arise due to different understanding among professionals might prevent in fulfilling this goal and results in inefficiencies. How to reduce this gap? Another issue remains with urban planning being a very less know profession as highlighted on
    http://planningtank.com/blog/urban-planning-largely-unknown-profession

    Can awareness about urban planning help in reducing this gap and inefficiencies, what do you think?

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  12. Its interesting to know and understand how cities grew. Urban areas and the field is now getting more and more attention. The importance has now been realized also the related fields like geography, civil engineering also playing important role in building cities. Your article really helped. Probably a short video will also add to the usefulness of this information. A similar article with apt information on Concentric Zone Model and Central Place Theory valuable facts and information. Details on other such topics like Sector theory, multiple nuclei theory will add to the quality of content.

  13. Interesting to discover and read this article about the language barrier. I was just having a conversation last night with someone about this subject. I have had numerous epiphanies about different words and their convoluted ness. Such as the word believe. I’ve known for over 20 years it had a connotation of doubt. It came to me one day out of the blue to break it down into syllables. Be lie ve. I found it quite interesting what the middle syllable spells. I started looking at other words and how their definition didn’t line up. Take the word insane. It’s definition is a crazy or bizarre act or thought but, the two words forming the one imply something acceptable. (In Sane) Should it not be unsane . There are many others. Have words been rearranged and meanings changed through the ages to dumb down communication. It may be.

  14. If I remember correctly, the time frame of written language, mathematics, agriculture and cities sprang up 10 to 12 thousand years ago and within a few hundred years. This is based on archeological evidence clearly in plain sight but, denied by the political mainstream scientist’s and media. Megolithic cities around the globe that we are fed to be-lie-ve were built by slaves with hammers and chisels, towing 100 ton blocks into place. There are quarries many miles away that have abandoned stone blocks partially cut that cracked or broke during the process that have clearly undeniable saw marks. We cannot duplicate today what was performed then. We have devolved, not evolved. In particular the language. Take the word believe. It has a canotation of doubt. If you do not know something then you do not know. Whatever you believe is mere supposition, speculation or opinion. What is the middle syllable spell? Is this by design? There are numerous words I’ve noticed to be ambiguous and convoluted. Another, insane. It seems to depict normalcy. Should the word not be, unsane?

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