Is it possible to think without language?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by g0pher, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Language is a form whereby humans use sound from their mouths to communicate through proper pronunciation and words, is it possible to think without using language?
  2. Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.
    -Friedrich Nietzsche
  3. how would we learn language if we couldn't think?
  4. I have a cousin who's just a fucking GENIUS on pen and paper guy, an he's like - 'i only thinks thrugh "images" and "screenshots" an shit :rolleyes: ... ?
    So how DO we think man? does a blind person think the same as normal person? or vice versa?
  5. we all think in a lot of ways that are the same. minute electrical charges are emitted from our nuerons which stimulate the release of chemicals (nuero transmitters) into the synaptic gaps between the synapses of our nuerons which in turn induce an electrical impulse in the next nueron, on down the line. there are an estimated 4 billion synaptic gaps in our brains.

    we all think in a unique way as well. we all perceive our environment in different ways. there is really more than one way to skin a cat, lol. the way we perceive stimuli is a product of our genetics as well as conditioning. even identical twins have qualities that are unique to the individual among the twins.

  6. Maybe We think in a similar way to computers , like it's almost binary or something. 1 Or 0 on or off, left or right, if this then that, if that then this that or that and this if not this then that this that and the other. wtf? :confused:
  7. Whats facinates me is that we are all individuals, living in our own bubble of life. each person's bubble is as individually important to himself as it is to YOURself. Thats just facinating to me man.
  8. yes, it is definitely possible to think without language.
    i've been thinking like this for a good year or so, and it's definitely interesting. it's always there, but you have to hone your thinking into appreciating full thoughts rather than what you can extract from them in words. there are huge auras and nuances in thoughts/thought patterns, just have to let them be recieved fully.

    this dude was trippin on acid last night at my friends place and wouldn't stop talking. i turned on some loud music. he then proceeded to get into another mindset, where his babbling ended, and he appreciated what was happening.
    it's time to move out of over-processing and into experiencing. your brain will automatically associate images, smells, feelings with anything that you sense. of course, it is very possible to look around without thinking about what anything is, just seeing it as an image; colours in shapes. it's very possible to imagine something in your head - a burger for example - then conjure up the saliva needed to eat the entire thing in 3 bites. reason being: your mind holds your existence. existence in itself doesn't exist on a mental dimension. it's just whatever's on the earth; syntheses and constructions of it; buildings and the burning of oils, plants (yum), garbage; the wear and tear by the living.
    we spread knowledge so that more people will have a greater grasp of what is. it's why people tell stories, write books, and, more recently, create websites. same deal: knowledge spreading.
  9. It's definitely possible to learn how to communicate without using words; words are a medium, or technology that we use to express our intent. However, since intent is a inner cognition, one must translate that intent into a medium before it can be understood.

    If anybody is familiar with the phrase, "The medium is the message", there was a man who earned his reputation on the study of communication and technology. Effectively predicting the internet in the 1930s.

    He challenged people to explore the fact that, regardless of the content of a medium, the medium carries it's own message, and the content of a medium is simply another medium. I could sit here and explain what he theorized, however you might as well get it from him, Marshall McLuhan, (I recommend starting with the book the medium is the message, and if you get that, you pretty much will understand his thinking processes) however I'll warn you that it takes a specific type of person to be able to get the full understanding of what he says.

    The reason why I have mentioned this is that since language has permeated our senses, it serves as a limiter on the ideas or thoughts which we are able to have; as long as we think within the confines of a specific medium, we are limited to that mediums structure and logical premises (grammar and so on) which is inherent in the medium.

    These logical premises serve to reinforce our ideas of time, consciousness and to a great extent our social hierarchies and status. This is because these concepts all originate in the same area of the brain, and their vary use causes this type of mentality to become dominant (this is why our society is primarily left brain, as it is drilled into us from birth to death, and serves as a indicator of our success).

    Absent of these logical premises our mind will revert to artistic and abstract thought, which have little to no concept of the aforementioned ideals.

    A person, such as myself (and possibly your cousin), who has the abilty to see both the logical and structured side of life (left brain) and the artistic abstract side of life (right brain) is capable of not only realizing the patterns and pitfalls associated with the specific mentality, but also understanding that there is another higher mentality which operates under the balance of the two sides.
  10. dogs and babies do and ive wondered the same thing but its impossible to tell how they do it now that we have our medium or language to think through

  11. yes.
    next thread!


    all my words are but a mere attempt at translating and conveying the thought. thought can be like the great formlessness that can become all forms.
  12. I think the study of language is fascinating - seemingly almost for the same reason that language is said to be 'limiting' above.

    Language is just us trying to communicate the oh-so-complex thoughts (somehow compiled out of oh-so-mysterious brain signals) to each other using common symbols. There are INCREDIBLY cool studies that have been done about deaf kids who (no shit) INVENTED their own sign language - without any of them having been taught more than a couple words of any language (sign or otherwise) in their entire lives. Simply knowing that they *ought* to be able to communicate the thoughts in their head to each other was enough for them to build their own language. It's mind-boggling.

    In continuation/response to HighGrowMan's thoughts, sometimes there are words to describe the exact sentiment I would like to express, and sometimes I find myself fighting through each word in a sentence, unable to quite get across my intended meaning. The study of literature is all about how people can manipulate words to get across a message that is more than just the sum total of the words written.

    I wouldn't call language a limiter, per say - but it's certainly an imperfect medium. All of our methods of interaction with others have been imperfect - I wonder what kind of system we could be moving towards that would serve us better.

  13. Great point, messed up the + rep with quick typing though LOL

    It is of my personal understanding that everything is brought about by thought; from the grass growing to the way water moves. We just want it to be real so we split ourselves up and limited our consciousness. Most of our potential of our brain is apparently unused or so it would seem. From the visions I have had it is being used we just can't perceive it with our normal senses.

    Dreams show our ability to experience without senses: a completely made up reality. This I feel is the one thing the Creator didn't suppress, for whatever reason we dream. It may just be to show what reality really is, it may just be a coincidence. But from the visions I had, it is no coincidence- it is just your mind using it's ability to create reality because it can. Not because it has to, not because it's bored, not even because it wants to.

    Because it can.
  14. Opps, more to say =)

    For a long time, we thought we were the only animals that used language. We knew, of course, that other animals made noises, even in 'communication' with other animals. We even accepted that some animals were conveying specific emotional messages in their cries: cats keening ('I want pussy!') or small mammals with 'predator warning' screams. The line we drew to prove human superiority is that we were the only animals to use specific sounds to convey specific bits of data - not just emotion, but information.

    Then, one day, researchers studying (I think) spider monkeys noticed that there were differences in the 'predator warning' cries. They taped and replayed the cries, and it turned out that there was a specific cry for 'attack from the air' (birds) and 'attack from the ground' (cats&such) and for other types of predators. * How cool is that?!? Those monkeys have DIFFERENT WORDS for those types of predators - not words we taught them, like with lots of primates we've studied, but words they made up and use all by themselves.

    *Even cuter, baby monkeys will occasionally make the sounds for the wrong items - like, a leaf will fall from a tree, and the infant will make the sound for 'attack from the air,' or a warthog will shuffle up, and the infant will say 'attack from the ground!' It reminds me sooo much of when my little brother was in the stage where everything small and four-legged was called a cat =)
  15. Great posts geologyrox, I liked hearing about deaf people making up their own language. I love to imagine cave men trying to communicate and find names for things. Sitting around a fire for an hour making the Oooooooo sound because it sounded cool or the short sounds I bet they would get stuck on. Uh! Huh? Uh! Bah? UUUUUH!!! Ka? Naaaaahhhh!!!!!!!

    Think about the alphabet, them sounding out each letter and getting excited at the sounds they liked... It would be hilarious. A completely made up language, formed from mouth sounds and body signals, from nothing. Absolutely nothing to go off.

    It blows me away.
  16. What boggles my mind is when bilingual peoplethink in their second language instead of their native one.

    ex I learn how to speak german, and eventually think in german,abandoning english

    Edit: this has to be the most unecessarily complicated stupid post on GC.
  17. I think in thought.
    sometimes i translate it into a linguistic language and simulate speaking it in my mind, sometimes i have even gone so far as to allow myself to convince myself that those are the thoughts themselves, but ultimately i know, the words are not the thoughts. the words both come after the thought, and incite more thoughts.

    if you accept that the words are the thoughts, then he who controls the words, can control your thoughts. if the words were the thoughts, the dictionary writers and language teachers would be the consciousness shapers.

    thankfully, thought is one of the great trimurtis. "three into one". Energy, Matter, Thought.

    the label markers we use, are but a form that come later from this fundamental.
  18. if wecouldnt associate names and things to words, and then there would be no such thing as language.

    I think this is a which came first the chicken or the egg question. I think before there was language someone had to think up associations between things and words. So yes, It is possible to think w/o language. Just because you cant communicate doesnt mean you dont think. Nonverbal communition is not really a langauge but you still think while making jestures
  19. I used to try and wrap my mind around this topic for weeks on end. I was taking a social/Art sciences class, and smoking a lot of real dank chronic (1/8 per session).

    One thing that tripped me out for a while was the realization that technology in itself causes the creation of multiple personalities to adapt to each situation, whether your aware of it or not.

    This addition of personalities causes us to compartmentalize our mind, so that we can adapt to each situation, think about the difference between talking on MSN and talking on the phone, or talking in person... I don't know about you, but I've met many people that are completely different, and I know that for myself I am completely different through written text, then through a verbal conversation.

    From this one can deduce that technology essentially part of the cause for the separation or confusion between action and cause. For example, 911, the action was that everybody watched a building collapse, unhindered at near free fall, however we believe that it was caused by a external force, or impacting jet, and not an internal force such as explosives and demolition equipment. Therefore our mind must be fragmented to believe two separate realities, in order to understand one thing by one, and not understand it by another.

    I believe that this is talked about in ancient texts often, because one must understand that to a fragmented personality, the personality that is writing those texts can convey what is possible through the medium that is being used.
  20. Of coarse It's possible, sometimes you think merely using objects and symbols right? And there was thought process before language was developed because you need it in order to speak and organize language...

    The brain's a complicated organ capable of many things.
    Also they say that fetus' inside the womb can have dreams, If the most primal form of our species can gather enough brain power to dream even before they fully develop the organ responsible for dreaming and thought process, just imagine what else is possible.
    Now what fetus' might dream about is another question and something I've always wondered...

Share This Page