People ask me all the time why I’m so obsessed with language.
Here is why:
Language represents one of the most cutting edge evolutionary advancements. This simple system is a reaction to our environment. Nothing more. But its beauty is more complex than this. Take the sentence „The apple rests beneath the tree.“ Under our terrestrial existence it became necessary, at some point in time, to form the concepts up and down. The birth of such prepositions oriented our world in spectacular ways. A spatial hierarchy was carved right out off the stuff of space and order was granted to matter all around us.
The sky became up.
The earth became down.
The apple became beneath the tree.
But then something miraculous happened. Something beautiful. Language began to out-evolve its very purpose. Out of the depths of possibilities, for example, sprang forth sentences like „colorless green ideas sleep furiously,“ which flies in the face of reality, the rules of nature and the general order of the universe. Colorless things can't be green. Ideas can't sleep. Ideas can't be colored. Things can't sleep furiously. This evolutionary oddity serves no function for self-preservation or survival. However the utterance exists in this paragraph, as it exists now in your mind’s eye, as it exists in the imagination and reality of language itself. Here language trumps reality.
Then on cold, grey days we began to feel depressed and down. If we spent an entire day in chill autumn air we would fall sick or we came down with something. However after enjoying a vacation we would be in high spirits. If you got that new job then things would be looking up, it would have boosted your spirits. Our own spatial understanding shifted beyond the apple and the tree. These things are all true, but certainly not a reflection of reality. People do not actually fall to the ground with illness.
As if to steal from the collective imagination of its speakers, language began to grow a consciousness of its own.
Language began to evolve its own vernacular for understanding events, its own unique perspective on up and down. However not just one, but a plurality of realities sprang up around each new language. An entire crystal world encased in the folds of metaphors, structures and rules developed by each language to explain the nuances of the human condition. Today we have as many realities and as many truths as there are languages.
Naturally language fails at a time like this to fully explain its own poetry. Perhaps it doest not want to reveal itself, it covers its tracks. The beauty in language and languages however is only just beneath surface. Take a deeper look. The beauty is passed over every single day. With every breath of your mother tongue you are lulled deeper into its promise for clarity and truth. Do you actually believe your spirits are located upwards when you are happier? But how can you notice something so ubiquitous and enmeshed in your life as language? How does the fish stop to notice the current flowing around him influencing his movement?
The beauty of the crystal world inside which you order your thoughts is the realization that it is only one of many worlds. It is neither the absolute authority nor the truest representation of things.
If anything I beg you -
realize that your language, your crystal world, through its own consciousness is only ever trying its best to make sense of things, to develop a 99% focused picture of the world before you. Don't assume 100%.