Attention on language (and linguistic boundaries of identity)


English: An overview of Tamil language learning.

Attention is distinct from language. Attention is this “nothing” that is back “here” reading this language out there on the screen (that “not me” of little shapes of alphanumeric characters, whether still or animated).

Attention can identify in language with a memory of old language about “how I really am” and “who I am” and so on. Those constructs in language are called self-images or identities or personas or characters. Those constructs always refer through language back to a past (a construction of the past in language). The self-image (or self-concept, self-conceiving) is a product of some past conditioning and training, a construct in language from the past about the past. If there is a comment about the future from the self-image, that future is still just a linguistic construction based on language learning in the past, a projection.

Boundary (topology)

Boundary (topology) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For instance, if I speak about what I am planning to do in the next hour (the future), that commentary must be rooted in the past. Why? Because commentaries involve language and “my language” is always an incremental exploration rooted in past linguistic adventures (commentaries).

So, attention can notice the forming of statements about “how I am special,” but attention can also recognize that there is nothing special about attention. Attention is not unique at all. What is special (as in widely varying) are the linguistic identifyings of a particular way of relating to a particular past (as “exclusively mine” as well as “our past” and so on).

Attention can notice memories arising (the arising of perceptions and the labeling of those perceptions as “my memories”). What is the boundary between dreams and imagination and memory? There may be no absolute boundary except in language. In fact, outside of language, there may be no such thing as an absolute boundary.

Girls learning the American Sign Language.

Girls learning the American Sign Language. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Outside of language, is there any boundary between “that side of the room” and “this side of the room?” Is there any boundary between “the front of my hand” and “the back of my hand?” We can say that there is a physical boundary between “the space under the table” and “the table.” However. is that really a boundary or just a variation?

One part of the earth is wet and one part is dry, so there is a variation and those variations can be named, but how many different boundaries are there along the spectrum of wetness and dryness? Are there exactly two boundaries: wet earth and dry earth? Are there exactly four boundaries: dry earth, moist earth, wet earth, and “bodies of water?”

What is the exactly boundary between a stream, a river, a bay, and an ocean? Is there a boundary between the waves and the ocean?

My 1 Year Old eating his birthday cake

Image by FrankGuido via Flickr

Boundary exists in language. Variations in physicality are distinct from the linguistic labels applied to those variations. As attention develops a vocabulary, more and more precise variations can be labeled and recognized. Recognizing something involves labeling it in language, identifying a pattern and naming it or coding it symbolically.

rusting foreground boundary

rusting foreground boundary (Photo credit: jhave2)

Language is the source of identity. Language is the source of boundary. Language allows for the perceiving of boundary. One form of linguistic boundary is identity. Identity is a linguistic construction of how to relate to the past (and, by default, the future).

Attention is distinction from anything perceived, such as the perceiving of something as a “familiar memory.” Attention can noticing itself labeling itself as supreme, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, as well as extremely dramatic and playful. Attention has quite a lot of personality!

In fact, attention has all of the personalities. Attention has all of language (including all parts of all languages) and thus attention has all boundaries of identity and character. Attention has all perception. There is nothing that attention does not have.

For attention, anything is possible. For an identity bounded in language, it may seem foolish to construct the words of “anything is possible.”

"The Tower of Babel" by Pieter Brueg...

“The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Oil on board, 1563. The Tower of Babel symbolises the division of mankind by a multitude of tongues provided through heavenly intervention. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For God (which may be another label for attention), the wisdom of the identity may be recognized as foolishness. For God, nothing is impossible. Any construction in language is possible, even the possibility of “the impossible.” Without attention, there is no such thing as the linguistic label “impossible” or “unreal” and so on.

Everything that is possible points directly to attention. Even the impossible points directly to attention.

Only attention can recognize the secret of words. Without attention, there is no such thing as recognition and no such thing as a secret and no such thing as words and no such thing as “no such thing.”

Only attention can say “I am just an isolated identity in language. I am not attention. I am not God. I am only this but not that.” Only attention can form a self-image. Only attention can recognize that self-images are just perceptual variations labeled with linguistic constructions about “my past” as distinct from “my future” or “your past” or God’s past” and so on.

Coptic cross modified

Coptic cross modified (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



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2 Responses to “Attention on language (and linguistic boundaries of identity)”

  1. Musings: What Languages Do You Speak In Your Dreams? | Mirth and Motivation Says:

    […] Attention on language (and linguistic boundaries of identity) ( […]

  2. Loving Language Says:

    Thanks for the pingback!

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