Language is supreme- what divides last year from “a new year”

Spring Unveils Saturn's Hexagon

Spring Unveils Saturn’s Hexagon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is supreme? Many ancient traditions direct attention to the idea of something supreme over all other things- almighty, eternal, everpresent.

Before I remind you of the obvious answer, let’s explore some simple questions of logic: What divides earth from the sky? Where is the exact boundary between the atmosphere of the earth and “space?”

Saturn's moon Iapetus lit by Saturnshine. This...

Saturn’s moon Iapetus lit by Saturnshine. This is an enhanced picture; the Saturn light is too faint by contrast to be visible to the unaided human eye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next, what divides the night from the day? What is the exact boundary between them? What are the exact boundaries between pre-dawn, dawn, and post-dawn?

When identifying dawn, what if the morning is very cloudy? How exactly can we tell the specific moment when it is dawn and when it is not? What if there is a huge mountain to the east? How do we know exactly when it is dawn and when it is not?

We tend to think of night and day as times, but on different parts of the earth, it is always both night somewhere and day somewhere else. So, technically, night and day are different places.

Day never ends. It simply moves around the planet. Night never ends either. Night is just the shadow of the earth blocking the sunlight.

When pilots or astronauts travel very high away from the surface of the earth, how do they know if it is day or night or dawn or midnight or what? If a satellite hovering over the earth is in shadow of the earth all the time for years and years, then is it always night on the satellite?

Sistine Chapel, fresco Michelangelo,

God dividing the light from the darkness- Sistine Chapel, fresco Michelangelo, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, what divides the light from the darkness? Actually, darkness does not have any tangible existence. It is not a physical substance. There is literally no such thing as darkness… except in language!

In contrast, light is something visible. We can measure the brightness of light. We can even name a variety of colors of light (whether 6 or 64). What divides blue from green? What divides aqua from turquoise? How many different colors are there? 6 or 64 or 256?

In fact, there is no specific limit to the number of colors. Why? Because colors are labels that only exist in language.

However, darkness is just a label in language for the relative absence of light. For instance, if you add one unit of light to one unit of darkness, the result is that there is only light. That is because there was never any such thing as darkness… except in language.

“Adding darkness” is like adding zero to any number. Zero is just a concept in language. Darkness is also just a concept in language.

What other concepts in language can be named? Lights, colors, days, nights, and everything else is a concept in language. Those words are all just labels. They are symbolic categories of human experience. In other words, they are just language.

Language is supreme. It is everywhere. It divides all things from each other. It is eternal (for it is the origin of all systems of referencing time and measuring distinct periods of time).

Without language, there is no such thing as time or seasons or a “new year.” That is why, in different cultures, there are different dates for the “new year,” such as the Chinese New Year, the Jewish New Year, and the new year of the Holy Roman Empire‘s calendar (which in English is called the first day of January).

We can say that the winter solstice is the “scientific” new year. That seems to make a lot of sense at first, except that every winter solstice is also a summer solstice across the equator on the other hemisphere of the earth. Whenever it is winter somewhere, it is always summer somewhere else (like with night and day). So, “winter solstice” is not actually a time, but a place- at least from the perspective of an astronaut floating far above the equator of the earth.

At the equator, there are no solstices and no equinoxes (which brings in to question whether years really even exist outside of language). However, one system of measuring time that is consistent across the entire planet is using the circle of heavenly constellations and noting where the sun is within those 360 units or degrees (which are close approximates of the 365+ days of the “tropical” year).

That more ancient system based on the zodiac is actually the origin of the Roman calendar. Note that in the Roman calendar, there are 3 months ending in the letters “ber:” October, November, and December, which literally mean the 8th, 9th,and 10th months. Romans originally used the spring equinox in Rome (around the third week of March) as the boundary between the New Year and a prior year. So, the 8th month of the original Roman calendar was October which simply means “8th month.”

Of course, the word month is derived from the word moon, as is the word Monday. The various major planetary deities of European mythology are named in the 7 days of the Roman week: Sun’s day, Moon’s day, Tyr’s day (Aries/Mars, hence Mardi in French, as in the holiday of “Mardi Gras”), Wodin’s day (Hermes/Mercury, hence Mercredi in French), Thor’s day (Jupiter/Zeus), Freya’s day (Venus/Aphrodite), Saturn’s day (AKA Chronos, the god of time as in the words chronology and chronic). Saturn’s day is the the ancient Sabbath (or in Spanish, “Sábado”) because Saturn is “Father Time,” also personified as “the grim reaper” or Satan or, in Egyptian culture, Set. (Technically, the pitchfork-bearing ocean deities of Neptune and Poseidon bear more historical similarities to the familiar modern “red goat devil.”)

I am a Sun Devil

The Satanic logo of Arizona State University (Photo credit: rscottjones)

Sun Devil Stadium

Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ (Photo credit: rscottjones)

So, without language, there is no such thing as place or boundary or category or identity. Language sets boundaries. Language divides or contrasts.

For instance, what is the boundary between the front of my right hand and the back of my right hand. There is no actual boundary on the surface of the skin of my hand. Those “identities” (the front of the hand as distinct from the back of the hand) are just linguistic concepts or “symbolic poetry.”

There is no absolute boundary between any two categories in language. All boundaries are made through language.

Language divides the night from the day and the light from the darkness (or the alleged darkness). Language creates categories like “supreme” and “subordinate” or “inferior.”

In the ancient Hebrew tradition, there was a set of sayings that were passed orally from generation to generation and then recorded in writing as the book of Ecclesiastes. In that set of sayings, a series of pairs are listed: peace and war, love and hate, sowing seeds and harvesting crops. The teaching instructs that there is a proper time for all purposes.

Language creates the division between contrasting categories like love and hate, good and evil, right and wrong. These linguistic divisions are useful tools. Those who are wise can instruct others in what behaviors will be rewarding (rewarded) and what behaviors bring a risk of loss or punishment. However, there is nothing inherently good or evil about any particular behavior, such as killing a human. That is why we are warned about the “tree” of the perception of “good and evil” (duality) as distinct from the tree of life (wholeness, holism, holiness, wellness, health).

So, rituals of human sacrifice have been practiced throughout human history, from the willingness of Abraham (the prophet who is claimed by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) to execute his son, to the crucifixion of Martyrs and Messiahs, to the Holy Roman Empire’s Crusades and Inquisition and the Witch Hunts of Puritans and the public executions of convicted criminals (or prisoners of war) by governments like the USA, Nazi Germany, and the USSR, as well as warfare and other forms of genocide to intentionally kill thousands or even millions of civilians and soldiers within short periods of time. What would the teachings of Ecclesiastes say about such things? “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Let there be lights

Let there be lights (Photo credit: melodramababs)

What is the basis of such a potentially startling observation? The basis is observation itself- simply noticing that there are many purposes, such as the purpose of making war and the purpose of making peace and the purpose of sowing seeds and the purpose of reaping harvests. For every purpose that can be identified in language, there is an occasion or time when that purpose is active or apparent. We can perceive these various purposes and label them.

How can we learn to perceive more and more precisely? Through the development of linguistic fluency, precise perception develops. As we learn more words (categories in language), we can perceive more variations of purpose.

How are large herds of people ruled by their rulers? Language is used to influence attention and perception (as well as behavior).

That use of language for influencing or governing or ruling is what leaders have been doing for many thousands of years. Some leaders create churches and some create coercive military systems of extortion called governments(which criminalize competing extortion operations to discourage competition).

So, there is a time for every form, for every category, for every pattern, for every variation. To recognize what purpose is relevant in any particular occasion is the calling of prophets.

English: Saturn's Rings in Ultraviolet Light F...

The scientific origin of the Halo around the head of deities – English: Saturn’s Rings in Ultraviolet Light Français : Les anneaux de saturne présentés par ultraviolet Tiếng Việt: Các vòng đai của Sao Thổ trong ánh sáng cực tím. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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