Aug 03, 1996 01:11 AM
by liesel f. deutsch
>Does that prove that words, or at least some sort of symbolic correlatives,
>are necessary for thinking? Maybe yes; maybe no.
Seems to me we've gotten into the habit of using words when we want to
think. Words have become our framework of communicating with others and I
think to a great extent with ourselves. To go beyond words ... it's a whole
nother art/science to interpret dreams which often function without words,
but seem to be other kinds of symbols. Try to put a dream into words & you
often lose part of it. But dreams are one realm beyond words which we
understand something of.
What other symbols do we have? and what's beyond symbols? Verbal symbols get
translated into written symbols, whether letters or pictures. I think Sensar
was pictures, and I don't really know what runes are ... but both have a
aura of magic about them. They're all symbols that the mind plays around
with, ie they have collective meaning, but they leave room for individual
images. I think any Frenchman to this day knows of a little roll called a
"madeleine". Proust wrote a whole famous essay on what a madeleine recalled
to him. To do this, he started with a symbol, the little madeleine, his mind
went beyond it, and then he brought back into words his recollections,
which may have come to him by means of words, or by means of other images
and symbols, and probably a mix of all. But who knows how much the "going
beyond" is done with word symbols, and how much of it is done with mental
who -knows -what, which are difficult to describe, or maybe impossible.
I wonder whether kinetics would qualify as communication without words. My
cat can't talk, but she can communicate her wishes & opinions by certain
actions. Some of those she just does, some of them we've agreed to use as
symbols. Like she just naturally raises her paw sometimes & shakes it, like
a person making a motion with their hand "ech, I don't want (or like) this".
Where we've just agreed to symbols ... when she starts scratching on the
edge of the pot closet with her forepaws that signifies that she's hungry.
As for what's our very basic thing beyond words... I wonder whether anyone
has ever set up an experiment to determine that. I just ordered Jung's "Man
& His Symbols" from the library. Maybe that will shed some light on the
question. If I find anything, I'll let you know back, but it'll be a while,
because I don't think my little local Library has that book on the shelves.
They'll order it for me from another Library.
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