…a little about how I came to be so obsessed with all this language stuff…
I first became interested in language through the exploration of questions. I was fascinated by how we could know enough about what we don’t know to ask a question about it. I was also curious about why some people ask a lot of questions and why some people don’t.
After that, my focus shifted to dualities, such as the curious nature of light as both a wave and a particle. Then I started seeing that both/and in more aspects of the world (nature and nurture, heart and mind) and that everything is so profoundly connected that we are all one. I began to wonder how we could better express these relationships of interdependent co-arising, like yin and yang, how we could speak from the perspective of being all one yet able to respect our uniqueness and differences. It seemed to me that there was a bias in our worldview toward seeing the world through the lenses of “either/or,” whereas I was starting to see through the lenses of “both/and.” For awhile I didn’t even see how deeply engrained that was for me because I was still opposing them in an either/or manner, like this
It wasn’t until I saw that either/or is actually a subset of both/and that I really understood the power of both/and thinking, and how it could honor difference and distinction while also joining together, like this
I started playing with inventing concepts based on the assumption of both/and in a novel I wrote called The One That Is Both. I’ll have a post or two about them.
One of the ways in which we are both/and is that we are both material and spiritual beings. But in typical either/or fashion, we have tended to emphasize the material part. The prevailing view was that humans are first and foremost a body, and, oh by the way, we have an animating, life-giving part called a spirit or a soul, or, oh consciousness, that’s just an epiphenomenon or emergent property of matter. When I started reading physicists who were saying “hey, matter might not be most primary—consciousness might be more primary,” I realized that they were having such a hard time making any real progress on that because our language (its structure not just its content) so thoroughly assumes that matter is primary that we have no way to speak from the perspective that consciousness is mu-ishi-wa with matter (that’s one of the concepts I made up—it means “there is only one side that serves as both sides [think of a Moebius strip]).
So in this blog, we’ll look at, and hopefully have exciting conversations about, expanding language (I like to say “taking language broadband”) to express our both/and-ness, the ever-evolving embedded energy-systems-in-process that comprise this “reality” we experience and co-create by our being, thinking, and our speaking.