by LJ Frank
The origins of language remains open to theoretical guesswork. Fossils are still being studied as is the human cell. I suspect language is related to our cellular evolution with cells learning over time from each other where the opportunities are to progress. Language in this context requires chance, opportunity, and communication with other cells. Language is not fate or destiny. It was favorable genetic circumstances within a social-biological framework that was dependent on actual events.
Words are rooted in social interaction over hundreds of thousands of years. With the development of language came inspiration and greater learning. Cells learn from each other. (See William B. Miller Jr., MD, Evolutionary Biologist).
Increased efficacy in language skills led to labeling and identifying the world around us. A world of names for flora and fauna increased approachability to that flora and fauna. The brain created its own internal library that led to questions about what was real and nor real. Facts, myth snd religion were overlayed with each other. Myth was viewed as inherent within a given culture and part of their reality.
The developing rational brain seeks what is true. The mind’s habits are complicated. Did ancient men and women dream in words and images? Did the images and words offer clarity over conflict or serve as a tool to reinforce existing habits? When, how, and why were the transitions? The fossil record and huma cells will continue to be studied.
Reality and dreams thereof? There’s a point in life where it appears to be more propitious to fantasize about life and styles of living than attempting to change the reliability and relatability of the one’s circumstances or situation. Reality is easily compromised and can lead to a conflicted mind. That conflict affects subsequent action, regardless of intent. So, dreams of desire can become more significant than the reality one is experiencing as one ages. The joys of life are transitional with the caveat that joy is best served when associated with others in one’s life. Joy is not singular though it doesn’t need a postcard expressing “wish you were here” for the sake of look at me and what I attained. That’s the arrogance of consumerism and by linkage, capitalism. Are you happy is a question of the moment not focused on the spiritual quest that the Paleolithic naturalistic mind sought. (See Martin Buber, I and Thou and, Brian Hayden, Shamans, Sorcerers and Saints).
The existential of life comes in to play at any given moment. While driving across the country my car wouldn’t start one morning. I had it delivered to a dealer’s repair shop by a towing service. I called the next morning and found out they had no record of my car being delivered to them and then noted they had nothing recorded either about me. My existence and my car’s existence was called into question. Thirty hours later I received a call at the hotel room from the dealer affirming that I existed as did my car. Thanks. That’s a very small existential dilemma. The larger global ones deal with climate, AI, nuclear war, viruses that are a dime a dozen, health care, greed, poverty, disinformation, clean water, and mass starvation and so forth.
Not long ago a dear friend of mine walked outside naked, under a clear sky, in freezing weather. He laid down on the ground. His neighbor called out to him. He said he was weary after such a long life some of which was quite good, though he now lived in poverty. He couldn’t afford to live any longer. He was in his nineties and he said, “it’s a good day to die.” And he died.
Yesterday I received an email from someone who knew me from years ago. I recalled the poignant and cursory time. Life is fleeting. They began the email writing, “I hear you’re still alive. That’s good news. Frankly, I didn’t know you had died but got word you were still here. So, I assumed something had happened but not actually. But now that I know you’re still around, welcome back from wherever.”
The most useful paradigms or models to understand meaning in everyday life are organic (biological, natural). The organic is also rooted in the actual facts of existence and includes self-honesty. (See Irvin D. Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy)
Tomorrow is another opportunity to observe that which is and to explore that which is a possibility in a world where “reality compromised” feels like an existential paradox.