thinking without language

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posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 06:56 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

Thematrix, most scientists believe that those animal behaviors you mention are the result of instinct, a powerful preconscious urge to perform a specific behavior.

All suppositions about animal cognitions are speculative, unless you're a mindreader.


I beg to differ greatly.

First of all, scientist talk bull#, they just say what people want to hear, definatly when its about something like other things then humans thinking.

A good example is that gorilla Amy or whats her name, that learned to speak over 150 signs in sign language.

I know this is a primate, so you'll propably say that its because of that. But do you think Amy wasn't able to think and relay her thoughts to her caretakers before she learned sign language? And do you think she thinks in signs now?

"Use of instincts" is something way to easely used by scientists and people alike, when it comes to animal behaviour.

A good example of clear communication between animals would be American Prairy dogs, I saw a few weeks back that they decyphered the squeeks of a specific colony of dogs, and found that they relay information in their barks, going from what is approaching, to its speed and even what color it has.

If you want to read up on scientific research and books regarding this topic, check out "Animal Cognition: The Mental Lives of Animals." by Clive Wynne, its a great start and resource for this subject imho.

Pritty much everything with a brain "thinks", not necceseraly the same way as we do(with language or pictures or other advanced things)




posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 07:11 PM
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Language is not necessary to think. I can dream without words. My dreams are visual and can be manipulated. Its my knowledge that converts the dreams to speach or my language when I re-tell my dreams. But in my head words or language is not necessary as object already have associations by what they are. The words describing them is just another "fact" about that object. As you learn multiple languages you begin to add on to the word "fact" portion of object description which allows you to call up certain words when describing the same object under certain instances. Like House or Casa or White or Blanco etc. White is a relative term that does not describe a real tangible object. Yet it is part of language. I can determine colors without the need to recall their names. In fact I can determine that two colors are different from each other even if I do not know the diference betwenn violet and purple. My visual ability to see that the two colored object are not the same allows me to understand that they are not the same, regardless of what "name" you may call them. Therefor you can think without having a language as I am sure the early humans were able to "think" without having a written language or even a set spoken dialect. I am sure they could tell one plant from another and one animal from another. In fact they could tell if they knew a person or not by facial recognition, whether they were family or a mate, or an enemy that they had encountered before or a member of a hostile tribe based mearly on the type of clothing or markings or type of equipment they may have had on them.

Language is not necessary to determine the ability to "think".



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by thematrix

I beg to differ greatly.

First of all, scientist talk bull#, they just say what people want to hear, definatly when its about something like other things then humans thinking.

A good example is that gorilla Amy or whats her name, that learned to speak over 150 signs in sign language.

f instincts" is something way to easely used by scientists and people alike, when it comes to animal behaviour.



Well, If as you say, "scientists talk bull#," then there's really nothing to talk about, is there? Discussing signing gorillas or the communication abilities of prarie dogs or bees is a waste of time, since it was scientists who reached THOSE conclusions, and, as you so eloquently put it, "scientists talk bull#."

The seminal study on animal language was originally done with a chimpanzee named coco. Many (but certainly not all) of the linguists who studied her case felt that while she created a few sensible ASL sentences, most of her signing seemed to be random. It has been compared to the noises a parrot makes. The animal is definitely capable of higher-order congnition. But that is not the same thing as human style language. In the 30 years since that first animal-language attempt, no one has been able to replicate even that level of limited success.

I don't know of anyone who would argue that animals are not capable of sophisticated thought. Anyone who has worked with horses or dogs knows how intelligent they are. But Language is a specific, highly speicallized type of communication. Language, with grammar and symbol usage, is something that animals don't seem to do very well. As was pointed out above, we don't know enough about whales to understand their communication.



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 09:48 PM
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I found some links to philosophical information about the issue and also a case about the "Aveyron Boy". After reading these two tid bits I think that without language thought is more or less instinctual. Being the the Aveyron Boy (Victor) was at a point in his life that it is difficult to learn a language successfully he was able to learn a few words but basically was a wild animal.



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 01:32 AM
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Here's an interesting theory. What if, in ancient times, humans communicated through telepathy, and the spoken languages are actually more recent inventions.

The following are excerpts are from a very interesting article which may be found here.

One Language, Few Words
In other words, what is being described is not a transition from one language such as ours to many languages such as ours; what is being described is a total change in the manner in which humans communicate, going from some fairly recent point, to the present.

…Communications amongst humans before the flood were telepathic in nature, other than for a small vocabulary of spoken words used by priests for ritualistic purposes. This was enabled by the electrostatic charge near the Earths surface and by the plasma of the antique solar system in general, and involved the use of the right side of the human brain as Julian Jaynes notes. When this system of communication broke down after the flood due to electrostatic collapse, humans were forced to very quickly develop the kinds of speech we use now. There never were super-families of languages; the main language families are unrelated.


When would the change from telepathic to auditory speech/language communication have occured and what caused it? The writer of the article theorizes that the electrostatic field of the earth began to be decreased after the Tower of Babel episode. He claims that the phrase "debarim 'echadim" in Genesis 11:1 may be also translated as "few words". I verified this by doing the research found below.

King James Version Genesis 11:1 And the whole earth was of one (’echad/’echat) language (sapah), and of one (‘echadim/‘chadiym) speech (dabar).

Transliterated Un-Accented Genesis 11:1 Wayhiy kal- ha'arets sapah 'echat uwdbariym'chadiym.

sapah*, n.f. & m. lips (of the mouth); by extension: speech, language; edge of an object, rim, border; the “lip of the sea” is the seashore

dabar, n.m. what is said, word (or any unit of speech such as a clause, or the whole of communication): matter (any event); thing (any object

‘echad, a.num. one; a certain one; first. ‘echadim/’chadim/’chadiym is the plural of ‘ehad, which may also be translated as “few”, as it is in the following three passages from the King James Version.

*These definitions are from the Hebrew dictionary of "The Strongest Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible".

KJV Genesis 27:42-44
42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away;

TUA Genesis 27:44 Wyashabta `imow yamiym 'chadiym`ad 'sher- tashuwb chmat 'achiyka.

KJV Genesis 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

TUA Genesis 29:20 Waya`bod Ya`qobb-Rachel sheba` shaniym. Wayihyuw b`eynayw kyamiym'chadiym b'ahbatow 'otah.


KJV Daniel 11:20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

TUA Daniel 11:20 W`amad `al- kanow ma`biyr nowges heder malkuwt.Uwbyamiym 'chadiym yishaber. Wlo' b'apayim wlo'bmilchamah.

The following definition is from the Ben Yehuda’s Pocket English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English Dictionary. Ehud Ben-Yehuda, Editor. David Weinstein, Associate Editor. Pocket Book, a division of Simon and Schuster Inc. New York. 1961, 1964. Pg. 6 (From the right hand cover).

‘echadim - some, few, several; units (in retail selling)

Thus, the phrase debarim ‘echadim from Genesis 11:1 which is translated as “one speech” in the KJV may also indeed be translated as “few words”.

Understanding something about Linguistics might help one to take this idea more seriously.

"The father of modern structural linguistics was Ferdinand de Saussure, who believed in language as a systematic structure serving as a link between thought and sound; he thought of language sounds as a series of linguistic signs that are purely arbitrary, as can be seen in the linguistic signs or words for horse: German Pferd, Turkish at, French cheval, and Russian loshad’. "

"...Transformational-Generative Grammar In the 1950s the school of linguistic thought known as transformational-generative grammar received wide acclaim through the works of Noam Chomsky. Chomsky postulated a syntactic base of language (called deep structure), which consists of a series of phrase-structure rewrite rules, i.e., a series of (possibly universal) rules that generates the underlying phrase-structure of a sentence, and a series of rules (called transformations) that act upon the phrase-structure to form more complex sentences. The end result of a transformational-generative grammar is a surface structure that, after the addition of words and pronunciations, is identical to an actual sentence of a language. All languages have the same deep structure, but they differ from each other in surface structure because of the application of different rules for transformations, pronunciation, and word insertion. Another important distinction made in transformational-generative grammar is the difference between language competence (the subconscious control of a linguistic system) and language performance (the speaker’s actual use of language). Although the first work done in transformational-generative grammar was syntactic, later studies have applied the theory to the phonological and semantic components of language."

www.bartleby.com...


"Deep Structure (DS) is a linguistic level proposed by generative grammarians as a necessary competence of language. It is deeper than the surface level linguistics that we see in language behaviour. DS is similar to surface structure in that it is a grammatical description, but is much closer to the idea of an underlying logical expression of semantics. In particular it does not contain discontinuous constituents and represents the underlying semantic relations more or less directly. It is primarily SAAD."

kmi.open.ac.uk...


See also:
His Green, Colorful Ideas Awaken Furiously
www.chomsky.info...

Universal Grammar and Linguistics
zena.secureforum.com...

The Origin of Language and Communication
www.trueorigin.org...



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 02:35 AM
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Ive thought about this before.....ALOT really. Good topic BTW!

I WISH I could think without lanuage...the constant "blah blah blah" of ~WORDS~ running through my mind gets on my nerves.

Ive gotten into meditation to try and quiet this prosess...wich it DOES to a certain extent....... BUT, no matter how quiet my mind gets there is ALWAYS this little "blah blah blah" going on I wish would stop.

I wish I could think without language.I wished I thought in colors and waves and emotions.....

I used to wonder about Helen Keller and ~HOW~ did her mind work prior to language concepts being introduced.......just something I wonder about.



[edit on 15-8-2004 by theRiverGoddess]



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 03:14 AM
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i tend not to think in language. i think with my feeling and emotions. i use situations or "visuals" to think. i dont believe i use actual language in my thoughts. i usually bring up a smell i havent smelled in a very long time or a feeling i had to remember something or put something else in a context. i think im more sensory oriented with my thoughts.

my thought processes are quite hard for me to explain as i barely understand them myself. i think with pictures i guess. pictures, feelings emotions even things ive smelled touched tasted...i'm just WEIRD. thats all there is to it.



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 04:32 AM
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chomsky says we're all born with a "universal grammar" that is the basic stuff of all languages. so, it's like we are born with language-stuff already built in. i guess that means there's no way to think without language, even when we are too young to discern it consciously. anyway i found an interesting page about universal grammar here:

www.southerncrossreview.org...



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 04:59 AM
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Originally posted by randomviolins
i guess that means there's no way to think without language, even when we are too young to discern it consciously.


I agree. Our brains are constantly making connections between thoughts, emotions, feelings (audio/visual/olafactory/sensual stimuli) whether we consciously realize it or not. Whenever we hear words or see/visualize images, our brain automatically associates them with images, emotions, smells, ideas, memories, songs, other words, other images, etc. I do believe in the idea of the deep structure and a universal, fundamental, even spiritual language known intrinsically and inherently by all human beings, so I think the expression of sentient, intelligent consciousness is only possible with language and words.

And thanks for the link. Hopefully I'll have time to read it a little later.

[edit on 15-8-2004 by Ischyros]



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 05:14 AM
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English is my native language and I usually do not think in it. I usually think in symbols, images, and numbers. I doubt this is true for everyone, but I know thats how my mind works. I figure there is a universal language without words, based soley on brain wave patterns.



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 08:46 AM
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There are two kinds of thinking:

1) first level thinking does not require language. Animals have lots of problem-solving abilities, and problem-solving is thinking, but not in a consious way.

2) second level thinking involves language. It is conciousness: I think that I think. This can only be done through a language.

First humans were more like animals, i.e. they were not conscious of their existence. That's why when someone from the group died, they did not do any ceremonies for him/her, they just left the body where it was.



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 08:52 AM
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Language is not required to think, I cant remember who said it but as I was studying engineering, someone said that all designers and engineers should learn how to draw 3d since, since for the subconscience mind, there is no language, only pictures and symbols.

To this day I believe this is true, ok we can use language to think but that is thinking via the conscience mind.



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 05:02 PM
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Originally posted by Ischyros
And thanks for the link. Hopefully I'll have time to read it a little later.


de nada. and thanks for all of your info and links - i've been exploring some and they are quite interesting.

on one page i found a challenge to try to think of something without attaching a word to it, without 'knowing' what the thing is or without being able to describe its characteristics (these are all functions that require language). go ahead, try.

yeah, makes your brain hurt, doesn't it?



posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 07:58 AM
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So I am told I am going to be "taken" very soon. They do not all use language.So...I will have to learn theirs?
"Symbols."
"Easy to learn?"
"Not exactly."
"I see.Even learning proper English takes us all of our childhood life."
"Like sanskrit.Not primitive.Advanced."2IC

[edit on 16-8-2004 by stgeorge]



posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by stgeorge
So I am told I am going to be "taken" very soon. They do not all use language.So...I will have to learn theirs?
"Symbols."
"Easy to learn?"
"Not exactly."
"I see.Even learning proper English takes us all of our childhood life."
"Like sanskrit.Not primitive.Advanced."2IC

[edit on 16-8-2004 by stgeorge]


Would you care to elaborate on the Who, What, When, Where, and How of your claim?



posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 12:55 PM
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What do you want?my whole life story? Go look me up on these site forums besides this one.

www.abduct.com
www.worldofthestrange.com



posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 01:30 PM
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Originally posted by stgeorge
What do you want?my whole life story? Go look me up on these site forums besides this one.

www.abduct.com
www.worldofthestrange.com


Don't want your life story...perhaps listing the links to your claim would have been helpful when you posted it to begin with though. It's not my job to search the net for you abduction stories.



posted on Aug, 17 2004 @ 02:29 AM
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Originally posted by randomviolins

de nada. and thanks for all of your info and links - i've been exploring some and they are quite interesting.


No problem. I'm glad someone besides myself can appreciate it.


Originally posted by randomviolinson one page i found a challenge to try to think of something without attaching a word to it, without 'knowing' what the thing is or without being able to describe its characteristics (these are all functions that require language). go ahead, try.

yeah, makes your brain hurt, doesn't it?



Heh. I would have to agree. Even if you can manage to get the image to appear in your head first, which is not easy, the associated word or words appear right along with it.

Have you ever thought about just how powerful our imagination is, how words, images, or memories can conjure up feelings, emotions, and states of mind which have no relation to the current actual position of our physical bodies in space-time? It is also truly a great and often dangerous power we have, the ability to use language to communicate and possibly alter the consciousness of another individual by the mere use of words, whether written or spoken.

[edit on 18-8-2004 by Ischyros]



posted on Aug, 17 2004 @ 07:44 AM
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I would not use her as THE example.For she was already speaking ,a little,before her fever,and higher than average intelligence.
All are pathetic.I wonder if it is a karma thing?
"I tortured people myself.That is all I will say." H.Keller



posted on Aug, 17 2004 @ 09:10 AM
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Another thing to remember is dreams, and comunication in dreams, even without words, without speaking to someone in your dreams through your mind.... Though that is still words...that is not what i'm talking about.

I'm talking about just knowing in your dreams without being told anything, without thinking about it.... just knowing what another person is feeling, what another person is thinking, what they are going to do, what is going tohapen, and why an event happpened, etc.


But my guess is this. If you were brought up without language, your reaction times to things would be MUCH quicker.... I'd have to say you'd be much more in touch with your subconscious mind....





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