“And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.”–Genesis 11:1, KJV
Language divides, but also connects.
It divides us from one another, from linguistic community to community. For instance, one person who understands Greek typically understands another person who speaks Greek, but to the English speaker, Greek sounds like gibberish.
Language also “sits” between the objects, emotions, and concepts it represents and the speaker. Language is a symbolic representation, not the thing itself. If I ask you to picture a red rose, you probably see it in your mind’s eye and you may even be able to smell it, but the word rose is only a symbol, not the reality of it.
Language is a bridge that divides two shores, but it also connects one side to the other.
Very few words attempt to match the vibratory nature of the thing described, except for onomatopoeia (i.e. words that include sounds that are similar to the noises referred to, like “pow” or “smack”). These words, despite their relative rarity, are some of my favorites…not because of the words themselves, but because of the relatively direct connection they share with that which they seek to describe.
Onomatopoeia is a very short bridge.
The notion of onomatopoeia intrigues me. I mean, what if all words were not symbolic, but rather, directly correlated to or sympathetic to the vibratory nature of the thing they described? What if there was one language on earth, not because of a lack of diversity or evolutionary dynamics, but because the words were inseparable from the pattern they represented? What if the word was the thing itself and vice versa?
What if words weren’t symbols, but rather, extensions of the underlying reality?
It’s hard to imagine in today’s world, but I expect there would be a lot less misunderstanding. The meaning of words would be precise, not lick-your-thumb-to-find the wind type words that we tend to employ to describe our thoughts and feelings. You would, literally, say it like it is and it would be heard, literally, as it was.
I would also anticipate that creation and our role in it would be much better understood. Everything exists because of vibration. Were we more attuned to the vibratory patterns in and around us we would not be so at odds with them. There wouldn’t be such a constant struggle to find the right word(s) to describe what we were thinking or feeling.
We would also likely have a better understanding of how our words affected the world around us. The influence of one vibration upon another is the basis of creation or decay.
I wonder if we would be more careful with our words were their true creative or destructive impact comprehended in advance of their expression?
Would there be as many wars and rumors of wars? Would there be as much misery and suffering? I doubt it, because language also connects. A shared language reinforces bonds and facilitates understanding. When someone says “I hear you” they are saying more than just “your words reached my ears.” They are saying “I receive you.”
Feeling heard and feeling understood fosters closeness. Even the bitterest disputes can be overcome through open and clear communication. Feeling misunderstood is at the root of most human sadness and loneliness.
Sounds have shape, form. Sounds influence the world around them.
Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean: