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You can only think what You can say.

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posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 08:55 PM

Originally posted by schrodingers dog

But if you really think about it, as far as the mind goes, it is unable to process any information for which it has no word.

This is not true. In the English language you either have a God or Goddess. You have no word for something that encompasses them both. Sure, you can say, "The creator of all things" or "The Divine" but there is no one word for an entitie that is neither male nor female.

I thought of this with out the one word you demand.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:05 PM
In linguistics, this issue is addressed by the Sapir - Whorf Hypothesis, which claims that the grammatical categories of the speaker's home language also define the thought-categories through which the speaker views the world.

While I don't entirely agree, I am aware of concepts in German and Hebrew that are very difficult to render precisely into English.

If you don't speak more than one language, I recommend you learn a second before dismissing the Sapir Whorf hypothesis out of hand.

On the other hand are dreams.

My dreams are almost completely non-verbal. I journal my dreams, and they are often impossible to completely describe, regardless of how many pages I devote to the effort. Literally, things I have thought, first, and (unsuccessfully) tried to put into words after.

All the best.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:25 PM
reply to post by mrwupy

You are using the words "one word" too literally. When I refer to "word" I'm speaking of the spoken word in general. So the mind can use one word if there is that precise word in your language, or if there isn't, it will use a collection of words to describe what it is trying to convey. Either way the thought process is a verbal one.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:26 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Do infants not process thought then?

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:36 PM

Originally posted by loam
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Do infants not process thought then?

Their thoughts develop as they and their language develops. Babies process and communicate instinctively.
Look, some of you are misunderstanding the breadth of what I am trying to say. I am not saying that the mind/brain is limited to words. Like I said many times in this thread, the brain has extraordinary creative powers to convey all the places in our feelings for which there are no words. That is why we have poetry and music and paintings and sculpture. One painting can capture a moment that would take an entire book to describe.
I am only saying that insofar as processing sensory input, the brain can only do it in verbal terms. How it chooses to communicate that does not have to be verbal.
Thoughts happen in a verbal context, but thought are but one part of the brain.
Does that make sense?

[edit on 9/21/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:49 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

I'm only partly caught up on this thread since this morning, but I'm gonna answer anyway.

I've been thinking about it all day -- it's one of those topics, huh? -- mostly in words

But I'm still not convinced that language, as we usually use the word, is quite right. I would say that we can only think (consciously process information) in symbols.

Words are the most common of these symbols, but I don't think it has to be words. And I think maybe this is the process by which we make room for the unfamiliar in our self-stories.

I suppose you could argue that any set of symbols in relation to one another could be considered a language, but I don't think that's what you (SDog) were talking about when you said "what you can say".

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:50 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Originally posted by schrodingers dog
I am only saying that insofar as processing sensory input, the brain can only do it in verbal terms. How it chooses to communicate that does not have to be verbal.

Thoughts happen in a verbal context, but thought are but one part of the brain.

Does that make sense?

It does not.

Maybe part of the problem is that you seem to think it necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water on this one. It doesn't have to meet the extreme of what you describe.

I will agree that the language you think in impacts the *focus* of your perception.

But that is not the same as a capacity issue. Understand?

We have language, because we have thought-- not the other way around.

[edit on 21-9-2008 by loam]

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 09:54 PM
I do, and we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Enjoy your non-verbal thoughts.

[edit on 9/21/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 10:38 PM

Originally posted by schrodingers dog
reply to post by mapsurfer_

I really believe that the next evolutionary step for humanity is the shedding of language, though we're rushing to it. There is so much of our brains that remains unused and unexplored, but we're stuck at the at the most basic levels of knowledge and communication. The mind is an extraordinary tool, but it must be still to make use of it efficiently. In a seeming paradox, the more you stop thinking, the better it works.
Remember when you first learned to drive. You had to be told, shift, clutch, pedal etc. Then you learned other concepts like rpms and rolling backwards on hills. At first you had to THINK. "now, shift now at that horrible sound" But once you had became HABIT.
you don't have to think anymore. You KNOW it. words aren't neccessary anymore for your brain to work efficeintly now you can not think while you are driving and actually listen to the words in the song on the radio. Or daydream on a country road. Concepts become habits in the brain. Connections become so strong, you do not have to think in words anymore. But to think of something new and unpracticed you need words again. words can activate the old connections. Something new needs a new word. Like in that restaurant of yours Sdog... an undenyable presence entered the room.
Sometimes I am at a loss for words because my emotion overwhelms them. I have a hard time thinking in words while my brain is processing my physical reactions. When the body is calm the mind is still and then thoughts can wander.
If I am busy doing habitual things I can go for hours without "thinking".

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 10:40 PM

Originally posted by LastOutfiniteVoiceEternal
reply to post by FadeToBlack

I think what the Title of the O.P. is really meant to intend is that there is a word for every feeling, emotion, concept and image. But all of those must be as one, because for some words alone there are only concepts and no images.
This is not true for all cases.

What are the words that express Herbie Hancock's jazz standard Maiden Voyage?

Now - with using musical analysis one can break the tune down into its melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic parts. One can identify all of the motivic expressions in the piece. One can determine the structure of the piece -- it's form. But the terminology used for all of that comes from various traditional and modern music theories. The terminology is not derived from the music itself. The terminology was invented to be of service to the music. Yet Maiden Voyage when expressed in concert, either externally in a concert hall or internally in one's own mind, is unquantifiable and has no words attached to it, save the identifying title to one who would happen to know the title. Bear in mind, the music exists apart from its title.

Most listeners in an audience wouldn't be able to break Maiden Voyage down in verbal terms. And it's not necessary that they are able to. Those hearing the piece for the first time would not even know as much as the title of the piece, but after the concert is over they could, if memory permits, repeat the tune over and over again in their minds without any verbal expression whatsoever. They could sing the piece out loud, if they wanted to. Still no words would be necessary for the basic understanding of the piece. Certainly no words are necessary to be able to perform it.

When one considers all of the world class musicians who play and compose music by ear without the benefit of formal music training, the truth of the existence of non-verbal thought, language, and communication becomes clear.

As far as humans are concerned, language allows the organization of thoughts. Music is certainly benefited by many different written and spoken languages. Mathematics and physics also play a role. However, after all has been said and written, in whatever language, about a piece of music -- there exists the music which itself can function as a language apart from all the other languages.

At this time I think it's appropriate to highlight the obvious. Much of what we think about any given concept is intrinsic to our learned modes of comprehension. Some of us rely on Western methods and concepts; especially classification systems. Others rely on Eastern methods and concepts. Some of us benefit from a synthesis of the two. And still there are many other schools of thought to consider. What it breaks down to is folks will generally use what enables them to survive. Language enables survival. Whether you're a musician, an architect, a doctor, a chimpanzee, or honey bee, language is essential to transfer what is known and what has yet to be discovered.

And so for some, perhaps many, "there is a word for every feeling, emotion, concept and image" that those persons know of. But, depending on who you are, that may not be true at all. One's awareness is not limited to the finite parameters of any language.

However, I will concede that art, in its many different forms, is capable of provoking one's awareness to things previously unknown.

[edit on 21-9-2008 by Areal51]

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 10:47 PM
reply to post by Areal51

Ok, let me nip this in the bud. The title or the OP does NOT intend to convey that there is a word for every feeling.

I have now throughout the thread tried to clarify what I meant in the OP.
We don't have to agree, but I really can't explain it any better than I already have.

[edit on 9/21/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 10:55 PM
I totally get what you are trying to say here. Everyone that is not def always think in words and images, but the images are narrated by words. When you have a problem, when you are going to do something or solve anything you think in words.

So, we can only think what we can say? yes. Why? let's put it this way:
1-Our brain receive millions of information per second but we only process 1% and the rest goes to our subconscious.
2-Images(in our brain) are related to words, there for, if I tell you car, you think the car in your brain, not the other way around. this is why:
3- If we could use telepathy we would share information in images, you would see what I see and feel what I fee without the need of words (there is a reason why they say "I can read your thoughts" when it should be I can hear your thoughts) For this reason:
4- When we learn how to write and read we use our brain (potential) less. I no longer need to memorize anything because I can write it down.

We have languages to communicate. ( I believe we don't need them to do so) but languages are very limited, or limit our sense of perception. All the info that we receive is filter and process by our brain so we can word it, there for communicate.

Everything we see, think and dream we can make it into words. This the reason why our brain only register 1% of all the info; because our language have no words for the rest, there for, it can't be visualized; which means that it gets "canceled out".

I want to see the first person (that it's not deaf) to think without wording.

Of course, what I just stated above is my opinion and I believe it to be correct.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 11:24 PM
I'm not sure what the confusion on this thread is about deaf/mute people. They are not without language! They presumably think most of their thoughts in the language they speak (ASL mostly, here). Just because the symbols are not letters or sounds, does not make it not a language.

Actually, maybe that answers a lot of the trouble I've been having agreeing with the OP throughout the thread. When I'm thinking of counterexamples, I'm just thinking of non-alphabetic, non-phonetic symbolic systems. But they can still be considered language.

I could be wrong about this, but I think that a deaf person will translate the word "sign" and "say" the same - i.e., if a sign language interpreter is signing first "He said this" referring to vocal communication, and then "she signed that" referring to ASL, the sign is the same.

And I think that what the OP is trying to get at is not at all that there is a word for every feeling or emotion or experience because they are objectively real and preexistent and once we experience them we just have to look for the word that describes them. I think what he's saying is that this process of labelling simplifies experience.

I was thinking about this in terms of newborns, whose mental processes are completely nonverbal, and did some googling. One thing I found was this study which I actually think fits well with the spiritual intuition behind the OP (as I've understood it, anyway).

During the first year of life, exchanges and communication between a mother and her infant are exclusively preverbal and are based on the mother's ability to understand her infant's needs and feelings (i.e., empathy) and on imitation of the infant's facial expressions; this promotes a social dialog that influences the development of the infant self.

It seems to me that the process they describe could be the mothers teaching the infants to channel their experiences into modes of communication that will work with other humans that don't have the same empathic link that a parent does (the study was with mothers, but I'm not ruling out fathers or adoptive parents - maybe whoever the infant imprints with). In other words, laying the basis for language.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 11:52 PM
Certainly. This is a perfect reason why mystics and such have always had a difficult time explaining their experiences.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 11:57 PM
I think I must be on "global ignore."

Oh well. enjoy.

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 12:34 AM
reply to post by dr_strangecraft

I doubt it -- your post is getting starred

Agreed that I think we're basically discussing the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (mentioned in the article I linked on p. 1). But I think that the OP came to this conclusion on his own via meditation, so the discussion has mostly been non-academic.

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 12:45 AM
reply to post by americandingbat

A lot of things in life are observed only when they become absent. We all have been at some point sitting in a room and did not notice some random background noise until it stops. And we say to ourselves, man it's really quiet now.
Meditation is essentially the same thing. Through habit, we don't really notice how much mental noise we generate until we manage to quiet the mind.
The OP is just one such realization.

[edit on 9/22/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 01:08 AM
This is sort of off topic, but I think it goes in nicely but I was talking to this Russian exchange student whose English isn't the greatest (he has to think about things to say) and I was just thinking about how weird it is that he thinks in Russian, just as we think in English. Pretty weird if you ask me, anyways discussion interuption over.

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 01:42 AM
reply to post by dr_strangecraft

You are not. I read your post and read your link, and initially didn't have much to say beyond "I agree." Of course those types of one-line posts are discouraged by ATS so I didn't post.

I've been thinking about it since though, and it has occurred to me to mention that when I am thinking in German, not only do I think the German words and terminology, but my thinking patterns are different because German sentence structure differs from English. German sentences translated into English can be very awkward because things are ordered differently. So when my language changes, my thinking patterns change, too.

Also, because German uses definitive articles for objects that specify gender (der, die, das), when I am thinking in German the idea of an object (table, window, door, plate, etc.) comes with its attached "gender," (masculine, feminine, or neuter) although in English I don't think of objects as having a gender, because in English they don't. How weird is that?

Hey SD, what would you think about expanding your thread to consider how the internet has changed our thinking processes by changing our language? Just as an example, my first reaction these days to someone asking me about a subject I don't know much about is "I don't know, let's google it." The concept of "googling' something didn't exist just a few years ago; faced with the same question I would have had to say "I don't know, we need to find someone who knows more about it or look it up at the library..." That's just one little example there because I don't want to derail your thread without getting your reaction ... but what do you think? Or perhaps it could be worth its own thread...

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 01:43 AM
Look, it's quite simple. There is a way to explain everything.

If you think that there isn't it's because you're not trying hard enough.

I can explain all of my feelings with words, the dictionary and thesaurus are more than plenty to help me.

If you don't believe that you can explain how you feel it's because you can't find the words, sound familiar? Not because they don't actually exist. There's a concept for everything. EVEN MUSIC. Let's not over complicate the simplicities and over simplify the complexities.

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