Monday, March 7, 2011

The Language Of Thinking

I came across a theory recently that all thinking has stemmed from Language. Even moreso, that language is the basis of thinking, and thoughts are nothing without language.
But is such a statement true? What does thinking boil down to, really?

think

verb, thought, think·ing, adjective, noun
–verb (used without object)
1.
to have a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc.
2.
to employ one's mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation: Think carefully before you begin.
Those are the first two definitions Dictionary.com has to offer. So my blog post will be based on those two definitions, for sake of organized analysis.
A conscious mind is one in tune with its surroundings, taking in account experiences and the like, one alert, active, functioning. Can one only have a concious mind with language? For example, the first language I learned was Spanish. But by age three I was learning to master English. My thoughts are either a combination of phrases, or abstract ideas.
For example, I look around a classroom and see people whom react differently to learning, to a new concept. Some are eager to understand it, some are repelled and prefer to shut down mentally, and others still are impatient, desperate to be dismissed so they can contend with bigger fish to fry, like smoking their lungs to death.
The way I analyze and categorize these people is almost instant, I can read into their persona and obtain a well rounded idea of whom they are, why they feel a certain way and what environment molded their attitudes. But do I use language when doing so? Not always. Sometimes I just decipher facial expressions and inmediately connect it to an idea. Or sometimes their manner is parallel to something I've seen before, and I make that synapsis. Although a lot of thoughts are explained in words, and some yet haven't been able to be expounded in text, my thoughts, my thought-process, my conscientiousness is not merely language.
So do I agree that without language we can't have thoughts? No. I think without language we can't have fruitful, viable, productive communication between others- therefore the solidity of relationships. But inside my mind, thinking is always taking place in the outfits of imagery, scents, smells, memories, feelings, expressinos.. things that are deep, abstract, and wordless.
I Can Has Thinking Powers?
Think of kids born deaf. What constitutes their language/thinking prior to learning sign language? Would anyone dare state they don't think until they learn sign language? That they aren't capable of solid, positive, or weighty ideas? Of course not.
But then again, this is my perspective. I'm open to hear otherwise.

5 comments:

Tohte said...

loved the blog, hate the font, hard to read

Nina "Ninfamous" said...

Thanks for your input. The monkeys are right on it.

Marvin said...

I agree with you on this one McBlogger. Babies are an example of thinkers without language. I learned that babies analyze and come to understand things by putting objects in their mouth, banging on things, just to mention some examples. Language, like you said is good for communication. To some extent, it allows us to take an abstract thought and be able to make it understandable to others.

Nina "Ninfamous" said...

Some even go the distance that if you can't put it in words, you can't have a purposeful thought. Nonsense. There are some ideas I don't share with others, just keep them in my infinite wisdom bank. ;)

Marvin said...

There are some ideas i keep to myself just so that others don't come the conclusion that I am as stupid as I look.