Welcome to Consciously Evolving Language, a blog about all three of those words together as well as each one individually, interspersed with forays into linguistics, metaphysics, spirituality, psychology, possibility, and the future. My hope, in writing this blog and getting a conversation started, is to question some of the ways in which language (English primarily, but others as well) has structured our thinking and how we might synergistically alter language as our thinking shifts. For example, the very structure we use to construct sentences contains assumptions about the way the world is.  How? If I say “I love you,” arguably the content words that are most expressive of connectedness and oneness, the very structure of the statement—subject-verb-object—separates me from the one I love. The assumption of separateness between ourselves as subjects and the world as objects is embedded in such a grammatical structure, and this is the world we speak into existence in every utterance—a world in which we are separate from everything else. We can’t help but assume separateness because that is the reality our language creates every time we use it. Even now. I’m guilty of it this moment, as I refer to myself as if I am separate from the language I’m now using and as I refer to language as if it is something “out there” existent in space and time regardless of my participation in it.

How can we formulate answers to questions about our assumptions if we use the same assumptions to ask the questions?

This shift in who we know ourselves to be–separate or interconnected (and correspondingly how we speak and write about that)–is an important piece of our growth and development not only as humans but as beings who share the universe with a bunch of other types of beings. A few short centuries ago, our ancestors faced a similar type of shift, which seems oh-so-obvious today: they shifted from thinking the earth was flat to thinking the earth is round. Today we are faced with a similar but different shift, from thinking that we are each separate to thinking that we are already always interconnected.

Go to the blog–that’s where the party is. I recommend reading it from the bottom up, i.e., start with the first post at the very end because later entries build upon earlier entries. Consider adding your voice to this quest to explore ways in which we can “catch language up” to the unfolding spiritual-scientific worldview.  Although there’s a judgment in claiming to “catch language up,” a sense of “there’s something wrong here,” I acknowledge that and assert that there really isn’t anything wrong.  There’s an opportunity to be creative.  There wasn’t anything wrong when the Wright brothers (and others) noticed that humans couldn’t fly, but there was an opportunity to create the ability to fly.  That’s what we have before us, an opportunity to expand our horizons in thought, word, and deed.

How do we do that?  When presented with a doughnut, some people see the doughy part and some people see the hole.  Some people study the qualities and characteristics of what exists in exquisite detail, and others see what’s missing. Lao Tze said this on seeing the hole:

“Thirty spokes converge on a single hub,
but it is in the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the cart lies.
Clay is molded to make a pot,
but it is in the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the clay pot lies.
Cut out doors and windows to make a room,
but it is in the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the room lies.
benefit may be derived from something,
but it is in nothing that we find usefulness.”

Tao Te Ching, translated by Victor H. Mair

It’s not as easy to point to what’s not there as it is to point to what’s there, and in this blog I’m going to try to point to what’s not there and speculate on what could be created.

In a nutshell, what we shall explore here includes  (but is not limited to):

  • how the assumptions of the rational materialist worldview of the 18th century are so embedded in language that we keep speaking such a world into existence even as we try to create new paradigms. How do we embed different assumptions about the world into our language(s)?
  • how discoveries in physics and biology are shifting our worldview very radically.
  • some of our basic assumptions about things, including the very nature of “thingness”
  • the structure of language and how to expand, modify, stretch, and mess with it so that it might better reflect those shifting worldviews, assumptions, and scientific discoveries
  • all manner of other things I’m interested in, including alternative currencies and gift economies, the metaphoric basis of our language, the Mayan calendar, paradox, tango, sailing, our profound interconnectedness, and how all this bears on the world we want to create and are creating for our future.

Question of the Week Archives