Brain, Don’t Fail Me Now!

Image > Imagination > Creativity

Language-learning, according to the professionals, the pedagogues, proceeds in several steps: recognize a word or phrase, speak or write as part of instructional dialogue… but you do not own the word/phrase until you can “produce it,” saying it spontaneously in new/unscripted situation. That applies to all learning.  “Put your hands on the subject.”

Yunus Emre wrote, “The world is a lie.” What you believe is not. This is no paradox. Words and thoughts are no lie. Atheism is an oxymoron, belief is the existence of God. The taste of words… bitter, sweet, nauseating. Thinking of a friend who said that mushrooms made him vomit. He could eat a pizza believing it did not contain mushrooms but finding out later that it did he became nauseous!Far_Side_-_Cat_Fud

At what stage and level of abstraction, at what junction and under what circumstances will a small mind draw the line, refusing to accept a higher or deeper meaning of symbols? A letter in the alphabet is just a line. A word is just a series of letters. A phrase is only a series of words…

Science and Sanity

>He survived the horrific battlegrounds of World War I and wondered why humans could progress and advance in some areas, but not in others. He theorized that the attitudes and methodologies responsible for advance­ments in engineering, the sciences, and mathematics could be applied to the daily af­fairs of individuals, and ultimately cultures. He called this new field “general semantics” and introduced it as a practical, teachable system in his 1933 book, Science and Sanity.

Korzybski  “argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and the languages humans have developed, and thus no one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain’s responses to reality. His best known dictum is “The map is not the territory”.


The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words “Dog Cookies.” The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. “You see,” Korzybski remarked, “I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.”[4]

Typically we spend the first twenty years of life learning to think, speak and write. Assuming mostly that direct, definitive and explicit language is best. That we must be able to put everything in words. Certainly for most studies that is true. Isn’t that necessary for law, science, medicine? But poetry is always there if we recognize it, or use, or not! USA Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in one famous decision about pornography, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.” Chinese poet Zhou Zuoren wrote, “What can be contained in words has little value.” No student in Math or quantitative sciences or of a second language can go far without mastering principles related to semantics and symbols, although he or she may not know them by name or in other contexts.

“In the beginning was The Word and The Word was God and The Word was with God.”-Gospel of John

In the original Greek version of the Bible, Logos was the word now translated in English as The Word. Logos meant much more than could be translated to any English word. It corresponds to meaning and logic, relationships, structure and content of all objects, physical and abstract.

Has the English language after 2000 years still no translation to fulfill the Greek word Logos? PO, Meme’s The Word. God is a meme and memes are God.

I find it useful when discussing this distinction to consider the Greek words from which our English words “logical” and “mythical” have been derived, logos and mythos. Both Greek words can be translated as something like “story” or “account”; mythical thinking and logical thinking both provide an account of the world, but they do so in very different ways. Those using logical thinking approach the world scientifically and empirically. They look for explanations using observable facts, controlled experiments, and deductive proofs. Truth discovered through logos seeks to be objective and universal. Those using mythical thinking, on the other hand, approach the world through less direct, more intuitive means. A person might gain poetic insights into the nature of the world by seeing a caterpillar emerge from a cocoon or watching a full moon rise as the sun sets. Truth discovered through mythos is more subjective, based on individual feelings and experiences.

In the modern view of semantics and thought, connotations and denotations, Logos may be less subjective than Mythos, and Logos may seek to be more objective and universal but can never be divorced from personal and individual circumstances and subjectivity.

Isak Dinesen discussed Logos and Mythos in one of her short stories but I have not found a good link.


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