Why you don't know what you're talking about
Posted on Sunday, 18 June, 2006 | 37 comments
Columnist: Ken Korczak
So, you think you know what you’re talking about? I’ve got news for you -- you don’t know what you’re talking about. The problem is that you’re using words, phrases and sentences which have only their own meaning; that is, the words you use to describe a reality which is not the “real” reality. All reality is suspended in language. But human language is not reality. Language is an artifical invention. At best, language is only an approximation of reality. Human beings using language have essentially mistaken the road map for the road.So if you’re not talking about reality when you speak, what are you talking about? The fact is, there can only be one answer: Nothing. You’re talking about nothing. You are enjoying your own self-invented game impregnated with it’s own artifical meanings -- meanings which inevitably circle and fold back on themselves, attached to nothing but themselves, and describing only themselves.The great physcist Neils Bohr realized this and found it deeply troubling. What led him to question the very nature of langauge itself were his attempts to describe the underlying nature of quantum reality. Bohr realized that quantum theory does not allow for the existence of independent elements of reality. Einstein objected deeply to this notion, saying: “I refuse to believe that the moon does not exist when we don’t observe it.”
But Einstein argument could not stand upon the discovery and verification of Bell’s Theorem. Bell's Theorem states: “No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.”But, of course, many will argue that language breaks down and becomes meaningless on the quantum level, but in the “ordinary world” -- the macro world regulated by classical Newtonian physics, language serves us just fine and helps us to not only model our reality, but actually represent reality. But what happens is, just as physics divides the world into objects in interaction so too the mind partitions experience into concepts that are bounded in thought. Our language “grabs” things and represents them as nouns or “objects” in our brains. But the model that forms in our brain is not that which is out there -- if there is anything “out there” at all. More on that in a minute.Think of a baby lying in a crib. The baby has yet to form language in its brain. A bird flies through the the window of the baby’s room. The baby goes wild with delight at the incredible miracle it is witnessing! It has no verbal definition for what is what this thing is! It’s wonderful beyond imagining! But sooner or later, the baby’s mother will tell him: “That’s a bird! A bird!” At that point, the word “bird” become the dominant association with the former flying miracle, and it becomes something dull and “known.” But the word bird cannot possible describe the entire reality of what a bird really is, if at all.
From the that point on, the child becomes ensnared in a lesser, more artifical reality. When he or she thinks of a bird or says “bird” the child has a greater association with the definition and the word than with the reality. We believe that naming something makes it what it is. It does not. In fact, the definition is so far removed from reality as to become meaningless.But it gets even worse when we come to more abstract concepts -- internal words and thoughts that have no solid match in the exterior world. Think about the word “the” or “spirituality” or “about.” They’re utter abstractions and have meaning only we invent for them. When we speak, we use all of our baseless, abstract words to tie together words that supposedly make acccurate representation of physical reality, which they don’t. The result is -- meaningless babble -- about nothing. This is what the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was getting at when he concluded: "My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless".In his book, “The Day the Universe Changed,” James Burke writing about scientific knowlege, says: “Knowledge acquired through the use of any structure is selective. There are no standards or beliefs guiding the search for knowledge which are not dependent on structure. Scientific knowledge, in sum, is not necessarily the clearest representation of what reality is ... Discovery in invention. Knowledge is man-made.” And we are always working with a structure that is suspended in artifical language.So you might say: “Okay, oaky, so our words amd meanings are not reflecting reality. Well, at least we have some meaning -- the meaning we invent for ourselves.” But there is a huge problem with that to. This is an assumption based on Rene Descartes famous statement: “I think; therefore, I am.” The problem is that Descartes was wrong.
He made a whopping, unsupportable and false assumption. He assumed there was an “I”. But an “I” cannot be proven to exist. An “I” cannot be proven to not exist. And finally, an “I” cannot be proven to exist and not exist at the same time. So relying on Descartes is hopeless.In a previous column here at Unexplained Mysteries, I argued that all existence is an illusion, and that, in fact, nothing exists, and there simply is no reality. Part of the reason we have the persistent and extremely tricky illusion that something does exist is our suspension in the unreality of language. If we could somehow de-tangle ourselves from the trap of modeling everything we know through the use of language, we would find ourselves experiencing a much richer and greater reality. It would be like some kind of psychedelic, magical realm of infinite meaning. It would be marvelous! But yet, there is someplace further to go. And if we could go beyond that vast, magical realm of language-free reality -- we would ultimately experience what is beyond that -- the nonexperience of Nothing -- which is the ultimate experience.
Ken welcomes you to visit his Web page: www.starcopywriter.com
Article Copyright© Ken Korczak - reproduced with permission.
Ken Korczak is the author of Minnesota Paranormala: