Names are powerful seals

The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.

Einstein

Deleuze thought that humans understand the world through concepts. We gain sensory information, we observe patterns, and then we name things. It is interesting that the second thing (after being fruitful and multiplying) God commands Adam to do in the Garden is to name things. It seems that naming things is absolutely essential to grasping the world we live in. Without attaching perceptions to symbols we cannot function in the world, we become animalistic in our behaviours and our incentive salience system takes over all behaviour. We are merely at the whims of our external reality.

Take a group of people who play soccer together, they organize games, they always play on the same team, they usually win. Let’s say they want to enter a league as a team. They can’t enter that league until they have name, it’s so obvious to us that they must have a name. They need one because until they have a name they are merely a group of disparate objects floating in space. A team name connected them and allows us to grasp the concept as a whole instantaneously.

This phenomenon, our fundamental way of understanding the universe through naming, becomes incredibly mind boggling and useful when we strip away one thing, and that’s language fixedness. In our culture, we think about language as if each word has a very specific meaning that is tied down eternally. We use words as if everyone understands what we mean and the connotations which come along with our language is perceived by those we are speaking with. This is not the case. The language we speak is fundamentally different from every single other person. We have understood the universe in our own way, through our own struggle, putting together the concepts brick by brick since our first word.

If we strip away our language fixedness it creates massive possibility for us to perceive the universe in new and useful ways. Now, I’m not proposing that we all cultivate our own meaning connected with each word, in my opinion that would be unnecessary and brutally effortful work. I am proposing that we free up our conception of language fixedness in order to bring further understanding of the world around us into our conscious understanding. We observe phenomena all day, we question things, we puzzle at why certain patterns appear to us, and most of the time we just let it slide. I think we should take a two step process when recognizing patterns and phenomena in the world, the first step is to search for the name or concept which explains this phenomena in our already developed language. And the second step which only proceeds if the first fails is to name it ourselves. Regardless of if the concept is or is not in our language, naming something will create a new conscious conceivable whole in your mind which you can then work with and develop further in order to understand further concepts. We can each as individuals develop our understanding of the world far faster than if we wait for scientists to develop the language and identify patterns. Each person has the capacity to understand unbelievably profound concepts, and shape their understanding of reality in a more and more coherent whole. And if stripping away our language fixedness does exactly this, why not go for it?

Hustle it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *