the constaints of language

I was trying to fall asleep and not able to. I had a headache this weekend, so I don’t know if my extra sleeping (while waiting for medicine to kick in) has thrown off my sleeping pattern. Probably, and I will regret it tomorrow morning.

Anyway, while I lay here awake, I was thinking about how language is actually a prison in which thoughts and ideas are bound and held captive. Many times we are left “speechless” because the ideas or thoughts contained in our heads are impossible to stuff into the simple words that we use to communicate. Music and art have an ability to communicate beyond what language can do. I wonder if societies that do not have written language are able to communicate better. Or at least communicate that which is abstract, better.

Or what about illiterate societies? I am thinking of in the Middle ages when peasants could not read. Their “bible” was the liturgy of the church, the stories on the stain glass windows, or the paintings on the cathedral walls. Maybe understanding God’s love in not at all a concrete idea, but an abstract experience and therefore understood and communicated perhaps better without the use of language.

If this is true with understanding God, and God created everything else that exists, all that we experience with our senses, all that we perceive and attempt to understand, then perhaps language is only a small tool in understanding and communicating. Reason and Logic are specific, concrete frameworks that fit within the realm of the usefulness of language. BUT could it not be argued that while creation contains a certain amount of logic, God is so much larger and more incredible than we can comprehend, therefore even in his creation, there is more that is incomprehensible then there is understandable. Which would then make me think that the scales of reality tip toward the concept that more things exist that are outside the realm of language. Does that make sense? Meaning that which exists in a neat and tidy, logical box and is able to be discussed with language, is less then the amount of that which exists and is unable to be capture in language.

At the same time, I cannot think of how I could discuss this very idea of language being restricting without using language.

Well, now that I have typed this out, I might be able to go to sleep.


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Filed under art, sleep, theology, words

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