Posts Tagged ‘absolute’

the activity of God, including the activity of language

June 17, 2012
Al Franken: God Spoke

Al Franken: God Spoke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This is a reply to a comment on another blog of mine:

Let us notice that there are two kinds of interactions. First, there are direct physical interactions, like heat from the sun and shaking hands and the power of gravity. Second, there are interactions through the medium of language, which involves neuro-chemistry in the processing of sounds or (in this case) various little shapes of black on this screen (letters and words).

In the audio of [the prior] blog (and perhaps in the text- I do not recall and did not check), the speaker (me) was very specific that the supremacy of language is relative. There is no such thing as absolute supremacy. Language is a relational or relative process. The supremacy of language is the recognition that language CAN guide other physical process, and itself is distinct from other physical processes. However, given that language is entirely neuro-chemical, language is actually just another physical process.

So, humans have the capacity for highly-developed language. You may be a native speaker of some language unfamiliar to me. I may use some words that are unfamiliar to you. Language is only supreme or superior when it is and how it is. Without neurology, these shapes on this screen are not language, but are only shapes on a screen, though they would not even be recognized as shapes on a screen for such recognition already implies the labeling or categorizing activity of language, which further implies active neuro-chemistry (perceiving).

One of the ironies of the title [of the prior blog post] is that supremacy is so often presumed to be absolute. That is one of the subtle points of this content. “Supremacy” is just a word. “Absolute” is also just a word.

“The absolute supremacy of God” is an entirely valid phrase, though it is entirely linguistic, as in neurochemical. Language itself has no direct influence over clouds or puppies or anything at all. Language is exclusively an indirect influence.

Can the words of a particular language alter the activity of clouds or puppies? Not as scribbles of ink on a sign, nor through sound waves. Only through the mechanism of neuro-chemistry. The neuro-chemistry can convert the sound waves or shapes of writing in to another form of energy. It is real energy. It is real influence. It is through language that bridges are built and through language that soldiers burn down bridges.

Language is just “software” or programming. Without hardware and power, it is useless. (However, how useful is hardware with electrical power, but no software?)

With hardware and electricity and language together, there is great potential. Further, the idea that language CANNOT influence clouds and puppies is entirely a construction in language, an idea, a belief, a superstition. Language is magic- just as magical as crystals of quartz that can “send and receive” radio waves and convert them in to sound in cell phones and TVs and radios. The crystals of course do not really “do” anything.

Teresa had written:

“I do not agree that language conditions; a behaviorist traumatizing a human individual would try to use an euphemism – ‘Language does it’. No. The trauma does it…. I don’t really understand the question of supremacy….”

As for behaviorists and trauma and operant conditioning, everything is conditioning. Everything is influence.

Consider the word momentum. It means an existing movement. Psychologically or spiritually, an existing momentum is called a motive or karma. It means the moving of energy or force.

You are the moving of energy or vital force. You do not have karma so much as you are karma.

In the absence of karmic activity, there is no linguistic activity (neuro-chemically) of the identifying of an isolated self. That is just a program of conditioning.

What is actually happening? There is neurological activity- like in reading these shapes but also in the organizing of this specific sequence of shapes. Further, these shapes were invented.

That is the activity of Logos or Language or God’s Will or God’s Karma or the Divine Word or the Tao. The activity of the Tao includes when a brain forms a signal that produces the firing of nerves and the twitching of muscle tissues and the typing of these words as well as the prior construction of these computers. The activity of the Tao includes the invention of language and alphabets and the formation of species and the invention of nerves and neurology and planets and chemistry and so on.

So, words can present a hierarchy or chronology. Of course, these will just be a bunch of words, right?

One hierarchy is that the originating category of Tao or God or Life or Nature FORMS ITSELF in to a subcategory called heaven, (like a seed sprouts in to a trunk). Next, the subcategory of heaven branches and branches and branches and eventually forms itself in to humanity and then all the various language groups and then the various societies which can distinguish themselves from other groups of humans that speak the same language.

What “divides” the social organization called “the United States” from the social organization called “Canada?” To the extent that both are subcategories of the speaking of English, we can say that the boundary between them only exists within the English language. A native american may call both societies “the European colonial occupation” which is an entirely valid linguistic construction in whatever other native language (translated in to English of course). What divides the state of California from the state of Arizona? It is a categorical distinction in language. The activity of language organizes all other divisions or distinctions between the operations of California and the operations of Arizona. Outside of language, California and Arizona do not exist at all.

Again, these are like branches of a hierarchy. God divides in to heaven and earth, then God as earth divides in to various neurological momentums which God as earthling calls “language” or “human language,” and then God as earth and earthling and language further subdivides in to individual societies or in to individual organisms or in to
personas and personalities.

The Supremacy of the Heavenly God is like the activity of a mustard seed. It branches. The original vine of the Heavenly God abides in each of the vines or branches.

When God knows itself as Heaven and Earth and Earthling and Language and Personality, then there is a “fulfillment” of social conditioning. An individual is born spiritually. God (as society) gives birth to itself as individual. This is not the same as the persona which is entirely a construct of social conditioning. This is the birth of the awareness of language and God as the same process.

God is not a personality. God is a symbolic code in the English language. God represents an idea that is represented with other linguistic codes (words) in other languages. God (or Allah or Brahman etc) is the label for the origin of languages.
God is a linguistic unit for what is supreme over language (the source of language). Language is supreme, through ONLY the authority or supremacy of God- supreme over all categorizing and labeling and organizing that happens through the linguistic neuro-logical programming or structuring of experience (experiences). When God recognizes itself as language, that is the presence of God.

One can recognize that there is only the presence of God, in many forms. One can also deny the presence of God totally or reject the presence of God in a particular case, such as “I am the isolated individual branch over here and God is the distant trunk over there, and now I need to struggle to connect with God. What is the best way for me to struggle to re-connect with God?”

Again, that is all just a bunch of language. In other words, that is all just a variety of forms of the activity of God.

So, does a quartz crystal “send and receive” anything? Not really. Does “Canada” actually do anything on its own (isolated from God or Nature or Reality)? Not at all. Do I “do” anything? Only as an instrument of God or agent of God.

The language that recognizes God within is distinct from the language of the isolated personality that does not recognize the presence of God within. Both patterns in language are formations of God. Formations of God are all God.

Formations of God can construct patterns in language of “I am not a formation of God, but only a formation BY God.” However, consider that formations of God do not in themselves “do” anything. God can divide in to “formations by God,” but that “dividing” is like the dividing of the front of the hand “from” the back of the hand. It is only a division in language. It is only a division within God.

There are no linguistic units that are isolated from language. There are no branches of God that are isolated from God. God is within every branch of God. Every linguistic unit is intrinsically the activity of language.

why I do not believe in the existence of atheists

March 29, 2012

Below is a dialogue between myself and Mark Newbrook, “resident” Linguist of Skeptical Humanities (as of a few weeks ago):

Major levels of linguistic structure

Major levels of linguistic structure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This dialogue emerged from my recent post linked below, with Mark’s original comment (not interspersed with my reply) posted at this link:

…It is claimed here that language means nothing and never will mean anything.
It is claimed where? Let’s imagine that someone did claim exactly what you stated. Wouldn’t it be self-evident as nonsense and thus inspire no further comment?
Given my deep appreciation for parody, let’s imagine that I may have said “language does not mean anything.” If I were to say something so obviously absurd, such as “this sentence is not an instance of language,” that might only be for the “philosophical” point of playfully demonstrating the absurdity of the issue.
Of course language has meaning. For instance, one obvious definition would be that language means “symbolic codes for directing the attention and behavior of other humans.”
However, what I may have written (and I also reserve the right to make innocent typographical mistakes), is that no particular symbolic code has any particular meaning. The same word can denote a few very different things or a multitude of not very related things, and that is just denotation- not even connotation.
The mere fact that there is such a thing as connotation (as well as “secret codes”) points to the fundamental reality of language: the meaning is not in the words themselves. The meaning is in the social context in which the words arise- not just in the context of syntax, but of non-linguistic social “cues.”
From sounds, language arises. However, the mere fact that it is possible NOT to be fluent in a particular language is prima facie evidence that the language itself inherently means nothing. Only in a particular social context can language arise, and the social context DEFINES the meaning of the language.
What do these shapes on this screen “mean” to my cat or my infant? Nothing at all.
What do these shapes on this screen “mean” to you? Something very specific!
Language is amazing. In fact, it is so amazing that I titled this video that:
Now, is this supposed to be news to linguists or anyone else? Of course not. It is self-evident. Everyone knows from direct experience that language is amazing and that social contexts define the meaning of language, like “I love you” can be spoken with several different tones that all communicate different WAYS OF RELATING, such as the soothing “oh, sweetie, I love you” and the apologetic “Really, I love you” and the defensive “hey, I love you, alright?” and the longing, manipulative “but, but…. I love you!”
Actually, it is all manipulative. Language is manipulating. That is what it is for- at least in the broad sense of manipulating as influencing or re-organziing.
So, I state the obvious not to inform you of something new, but to establish a particular context or way of relating.  Now, let’s explore from here together, given that what we have been doing all along is self-evidently nothing more than that.
English Language and Linguistics

English Language and Linguistics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  Subject to the major issues regarding how the term nothing is being used here, this viewpoint is, of course, contrary to prevailing opinion both popular and academic (the latter including both linguists and philosophers), and thus needs to be justified at this point. Indeed, it might be suggested that if language ‘means nothing’ it cannot itself be used to say anything useful.  And, while – as is proclaimed here (albeit in somewhat strange wording) – language can be seen as ‘a sequence of codes for the directing of attention’, it is generally taken as obvious that language has other functions and aspects in addition to this.
Such as? I challenge you to name one instance of language that is not directing my attention to whatever alleged instance of language you might name.
You could say that language is the moving of attention or the motion of intelligence or the activity of consciousness, but all that would be a trivial variation on the other statement. You can say that “unconscious linguistic events” do not qualify as “directing attention,” but that is limiting the verb “directing” to its transitive case only, which is not the only possible meaning.
Within language, it is accepted here that different words and letters are distinct.  (The use of the term letters seems to betray a folk-linguistic starting-point; a writer with knowledge of linguistics would instead talk here primarily of phonemes.)
…perhaps unless writing for an audience that may lack a knowledge of the formal lexicon of non-folk linguistics. Whatever, though…. Or are you unplayfully applying the standards of a academic linguistics journal to a non-academic linguistics journal internet blog entry?
  But these words and letters are all seen as variations on ‘nothing’ (this raises the above-mentioned issues regarding this term); and, while they do possess meaning (this apparently contradicts what is said earlier), this supposedly arises only ‘through perception’. Concepts are identified as ‘linguistic formations’ arising ‘out of nothing’, which is ‘the capacity for linguistic formations to simply happen by themselves’.  Like individual words and ‘letters’, each specific language is distinct, being seen as ‘a specific set of distinct, isolated formations’ – and is ‘finite’, in contrast with ‘language itself’ which is ‘infinite’; it is not clear how the terms finite and especially infinite are to be understood here.  And boundaries between languages are, again, seen as different manifestations of ‘nothing’.  I find the conceptualising obscure at this point, and it is difficult to comment helpfully.
What if all concepts are inherently obscure and only so precise? What if the spectrum ranging between precision and obscurity is one which language can never escape?
Further, returning to the issue of language as a utilitarian (or “useful”) phenomenon, what if directing attention does not require any more precision than actually “required?” What if, upon the fulfillment of whatever amount of clarity is deemed subjectively “enough,” the activity of language simply ceases?
I add here brief comments on some specific points in later sections of the material.‘One language evolves into another, with perhaps an entire family of languages being similar to each other’While essentially ‘along the right lines’, this claim apparently mixes diachronic and synchronic points and needs to be clarified.  (The term evolve is also contentious here.)
I admit that in the case in point, I was just synchronicalizing mixtures of diachronology. Okay, I might have just made up those words, but apparently you made up synchronic and diachronic first before I did because, when I see those words, I instantly recognize that they are synonyms for harmeronomic diaxophosphate, by which I mean slightly unfamilair to me.

linguistics (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

‘Languages mix and influence each other.  Languages may be called distinct, but the boundaries between them shift’Although the reference to shifting boundaries is obscurely expressed and perhaps mis-conceptualised, these general points are, of course, very familiar to linguists. 
This reminds me again of my clearly stated disclaimer at the beginning of the article: “this is written exclusively to professional full-time linguists, both of them.”
‘If the boundaries shift, then the boundaries are arbitrary. In fact, the alleged boundaries between various languages are alive, existing only through the declaration of language’This appears obscure.  There may be a good (if familiar) point in the former of these two sentences, though it needs to be much more clearly expressed; but the second sentence, as expressed, is very strange (what do alive and declaration mean here?).
Alive means changing or evolving. And that was a great question: what do these words actually MEAN?
My analogy is this: how many colors are there. Are there exactly 6 colors, as any 2 year old can tell you? Or, are there actually 24 different colors, as anyone 4 year old with the big yellow box can tell you? Or, are there any number of colors depending on however many distinct labels one chooses to categorize?
Language is categorizing. How many languages are there? 214? 32,915? That is a trivial question. Fundamentally, there is one language which is language itself.
The most famous poets of human history, such as Lao Tzu and Buddha and Abraham, have referenced the singularity of that universal meta-language by such labels as Logos, Tao, and even The Heavenly Father, through which “the world of subjective experience” is “created” by what method: speech!
Name one word that is not fundamentally just a word. Yahweh? YHWH? Jehovah?
No, those are all words, too- though those “words” are all references to something “subtler than all other concepts.” Linguists who do not comprehend “metaphysics” may be liars, insofar as metaphysics and linguistics could be two labels for the same- but wait, that simply could not be possible to have two labels or appellations or names or titles for the exact same pattern, right?
What if when ignorant translators translate some ancient Sanskrit phrase in to the English words “name and form” and then call it “Buddhist mystical metaphysics,” that is an ENTIRELY ARBITRARY way of relating to those Sanskrit terms, though of course an entirely valid way of interpreting them or labeling them or translating them or relating to them? Was the Buddha a linguist or not? Well, if the English word “linguist” had not been invented by the time of his life, then how could he have been a linguist? Maybe he is finally now a linguist, but only became a linguist within the last few sentences- not that I care, by the way- but that brings me back to the earlier question raised by our academic correspondent of what is meant by declaration: by declaration, I mean all instances of language, as in all instances of the directing of attention, including gestures or then again possibly not… 😉
Anyway, there was no such thing as a linguist until someone created the term “linguist” and then declared self-authoritatively themselves to be the apt target of such a label. “Linguist” is a totally arbitrary label like all labels of symbolic code, but many “academic” linguists may or may not pretend otherwise, even though they do not deny the self-evidence of any of it.
Before there was a linguist, there was language. Linguist is just an instance of language, as is “The Buddha” and “metaphysics” and “spiritual poetry” and “incurable diaxyphosphatitis.”
I am the author of language. Why? Because I said so.
Is it even true, though? Well, declarations in language are never exactly TRUE. They are just more or less USEFUL. Precision (aka “TRUTH”) is a spectrum invented in language and language never can get all the way to the end of a spectrum that only exists as a linguistic concept.
In other words, precision is just a relative term. In fact, because precision is just a relative term, all terms are just relative terms. Truth is just a relative term. Language is just a relative term. “Absolute” is, ironically, just a relative term.
In the ancient Hindu tradition of Advaita (“non-dualism”), the fundamental relativity of all terms of linguistic relating is relatively recognized as just one way of relating to the absolute relativity of all language, except of course for the word “joke,” which is actually not a word at all. 😉
‘Is Creole [= a particular creole language? (MN)] a language? Clearly it is entirely composed of other languages.  [Not necessarily the case. (MN)]  However, it is also not a dialect of any particular language. What is it? It is whatever it is called!’It is not clear that there is a genuine issue here regarding creoles as such.  There are relevant definitional-cum-philosophical issues at a more general level concerning the individuation of languages, the ‘language’-‘dialect’ distinction, etc.; but these are not rehearsed here.
Labelification is individuation. That was my point.
The fact is that “languages” is just a label and so is “dialects.” You can’t get away from the fact that all words are just symbolic categorical linguistic conceptualizations of individuation or division or duality. Beyond language is the non-duality called “nothing” by certain Buddhists, about which there is really not a lot that can be said, but then again, all language is an expression of that nothing and a labeling of that nothing and a directing of that nothing.
While quite contradictory, language is inherently contradictory. Or then again, maybe not. However, there either are or are not any instances of contra-diction except only in language. If language is not inherently contradictory, fine, then I take it back and contradict myself as if to demonstrate the point: language gives rise to the possibility of contradiction, not that it is at all important to point this out.
It may simply be a lot of fun. But that could be important, too, right?

‘Is there such a thing as “I” (“me”)? In many languages there is such a thing as “I” or similar concepts to the concept of “I.” However, “I” is fundamentally a concept, a construct of language, merely a thing. “I” is not itself fundamental (which is the ancient teaching called anatma).’

There, of course, are words meaning ‘I’ in all languages.  But it is not clear how significant linguistic facts of this kind might be for philosophical issues regarding the reality or otherwise of persons; as I have argued elsewhere, it is probably dangerous in a philosophical context to focus too heavily upon the ways in which ideas are expressed in specific languages – although this approach is common enough in mainstream ‘analytical’ philosophy.

What do you mean by the “reality or otherwise?” What are you talking about in reference to something besides reality?
“Person” is a real WORD. Isn’t that enough? Is it so dangerous for me to just come out and say what is self-evident? Next thing you know you are going to launch in to some obscure poetry about “nothing.” That would be very diaxyphoshate of you, sir!
 ‘Language is more fundamental than “I,” and nothing is more fundamental than language.’It is not clear what fundamental means here, or what this claim amounts to.


The same source presents  This material again deals with some linguistic issues, this time in the context of an essentially religious discussion involving claims regarding souls, sin, etc.  Linguistics, as an empirical discipline, cannot be grounded in specific theological viewpoints; and as an atheist I would prefer not to engage in this context in discussion which assumes a religious stance that I do not share.

“Religion” is just a category of language. If you deny the existence of that particular category of language, that is entirely alright with me.
As a worshiper of Santa Claus, I would just like to state for the record, your honor, that there is no such thing as mythology or poetry or humor. Also, I do not believe in atheists. There is simply no such thing, by which I mean no such word.
 However: it is undoubtedly true, as is claimed here, that it is a conceptual error to mistake a piece of language, such as a word, for the item in the non-linguistic world to which it refers.  Like the well-known picture of a pipe by Magritte, the word pipe is not itself a pipe.  Some such conceptual errors are potentially damaging.  But the further claim that ‘belief in words is the root of all malice or ill will’ is not adequately defended and appears vastly overstated.
I completely agree. I furthermore assert that the hypocritical idiot who made such a ridiculously dramatic accusation was entirely precise in an “absolute truth” kind of way. Forthwith, the diachronic subjective experiential pattern of “malice” is completely unrelated to words, which are just ways of relating, and therefore do not exist, at least not in the absolute sense of the word. I arrest my case.
More credentials of Mark:

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