Friday, April 17, 2009
Language, Speaking, and the Art of Communication
This morning, I am scrambling to regain lost ground in reaching my daily objective of the one-thousand words per day minimum. Those with blood enzyme and anemia concerns should know better than to swill two glasses of (rather delicious, I might point out) iced tea after a brisk, hour-long morning walk! For those who have never had a caffeine hangover, you are not missing anything special: believe me! I awoke, however, thinking of a question posed to me last week by my son Torrese. He asked if I thought infants had a concept of time. This actually coincided with a discussion my three brighter-than-brilliant children and I have had regarding the existence of "unspoken" language (in a form similar to what is categorized as good, old-fashioned ESP) at birth...and whether or not the process of learning to speak or adopting verbal means of communication actually limits (rather than improves) the ability to communicate. Even as I answered his question (the subject, I understand, of debate among several of his college mates within the dorm), stating that I believed time to be a wholly human creation and telling him I also thought babies and infants responded to the world in terms of rhythms and vibrations until the concept of time was impressed upon them, I found myself thinking back to the days in which he and his sisters were tiny. They, like all tiny children, seemed to communicate without words, responding to silent yet very real cues without effort or thought. Anyone who has watched infants (of like ages) playing together has no doubt seen instances in which one child extends a toy or bottle or other object--wide-eyed yet silent--to his or her playmate only to have the other child either reach for it, smile at it, or in some how respond to the action as though there were some intuitive understanding of what was expected. I certainly noticed this when watching my own three; moreover, in later years, when the older two (only eighteen months apart in age) grew older, I frequently noticed that they still seemed to communicate without words, often beginning (after long periods of silence) conversations in the middle of thoughts or ideas, as if they had been talking all along...or had been "speaking" in one "language" before reverting to another.
For me, this is a compelling notion. What it, indeed, we begin our lives relating to the world in terms of energy and vibrations, responding to stimuli around us unconsciously, much as animals in the wild are able to "pick up" hints of danger by "instinct". Would it not be wonderful if we as human beings possessed--have long possessed--the unlimited ability to communicate with others wordlessly and on a level we take for granted in our daily lives? What if, in the process of learning to speak, we subconsciously diminish the capacity to do so as our dependency on spoken language grows? And, if such is even possible, what implications would it hold for the undiscovered, undetected, as yet untapped potential of the human mind--of creativity, of imagination, of intelligence, and of profound thought--as we know it.
Even for me, someone who revels in the beauty of the spoken and written word, the notion is somewhat...ensorcelling.