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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

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    Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Language of the Future

    “The soul must learn the sacred language of cosmic and theurgic sacrifice, which
    is the basis of all spiritual alchemy and noetic magic in Nature.”  — Aquarian Almanac

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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    September 9, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

    The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served by others as little
    as possible, and to serve others as much as possible. — LEO TOLSTOY

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    September 10, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

    The ‘Higher Ego’, as part of the essence of the UNIVERSAL MIND, is
    unconditionally omniscient on its own plane, and only potentially so in our
    terrestrial sphere, as it has to act solely through its ‘alter ego’, the Personal Self.
    — H. P. BLAVATSKY

    Life becomes sacred because all its acts and events
    are looked upon as sacraments. — B. P. WADIA

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    September 11, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

    Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
    The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
    Hath had elsewhere its setting.
    — WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    It is said that many modern languages, particularly English, are languages built around commerce and things material. What would language look like where the emphasis was on the spiritual? What is the relationship between speech and living a spiritual life?

    • Profile photo of barbara
      barbara
      Participant
      Profile photo of barbarabarbara

      Hi Gerry:

      “It is said that many modern languages, particularly English, are languages built around commerce and things material.”

      I don’t know what this means. Can you give an example on languages that are not based on things material? What is it in the English language that you think is built around commerce?

      Thanks.

      • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

        Well for one thing there is a paucity of words in the English language to describe things beyond the five senses. Other than God and Ether what words and concepts are there that describe the millions of denizens of the spiritual dimensions found in Greek, Tibetan, Sanskrit and other older languages? The English language often leaps from the physical to God in one giant leap. And the God idea in English is predominately a materialistic one. Whereas with cultures that have languages steeped in mythology and metaphysics there are many words for snow, in a manner of speaking. Many inspired English poets have helped to elevate the language but its focus is on goods and services and the “practical” side of life.

        • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
          Pierre Wouters
          Moderator
          Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

          You’ve answered your own question very well Gerry 🙂

          We can’t develop terminology for the metaphysical realm within a language until the experience has first been established and then coin terms for those experiences. Science does essentially the same when they encounter certain phenomena for which a terminology needs to be developed. So, especially in the east, metaphysical experiences have been established in a remote past that can be represented by a singular word for which we now have to use relatively clumsy approximations using many sentences that pertain mostly to the physical realm due to that lack of those experiences.

          • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
            Gerry Kiffe
            Moderator
            Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

            Pierre your comment brings up the interesting question of what comes first the experience or the language. One would assume that language is a bridge of sorts between those who have had the experience and those who have not. For the seeker, the language provides a bridge to experiences that lie on the horizon, whether distant or immediate. Perhaps this is why poetry and the arts are so important. They help to engage creative imagination which is so crucial to spiritual development. I believe the term “Shravaka” used in the East means “listener”. Training the mind to be still and listen intently to the teachings, to revere it, to ponder it,to try to use it, is and often overlooked skill.

          • Profile photo of KS
            KS
            Moderator
            Profile photo of KSKS

            Hello-

            So what I find interesting is that when we study the works of grammarian philosophers, whether sanskritists such as Nagesabhatta, Bhartṛhari, or even Pāṇini, we find that the fundamentals are entirely based upon the sciences and laws of grammar, and not so much some experience one may have and trying to find the words to match it. The doctrine of Sphoṭa reflects this quite clearly. The Vakyapadiya further expounds upon this topic showing that the laws of grammatical science lead one closer to understand the laws of Nature. Generally, these grammarians were Hindus, so they held to the Vedic Religion as their source of irrefutable fundamentals, the Vaidic Hymn being one source. From what I have personally studied it seems quite apparent that the “language” of the future isn’t the metaphysical sanskrit words or their “apparent meanings,” but rather the very construction and science of grammar associated with that language which becomes the “language” of the future… this much is directly spoken about by the majority of Grammarians.

            Sanskrit may be a popular example of this, but it is by no means unique…

            Arabic Grammarians hold to the same general opinions, yet going further in depth with this divine science. Holding to Quranic Truth, they have explained the deepest of Truths not only through the science of grammar and language, but even through the construct of individual letters- ‘ilm al-hurûf- sacred mathematic value associated with the letters of the alphabet, and sacred geometry associated with the actual construct of the letter.

            A few quotations for consideration;

            “The meanings carried by letters encompass absolute Existence in its totality: Allah and the Universe (al-‘âlam), or more specifically, He who imposes the Law and those upon whom it is imposed. It is through the letter that both what is Written is drawn out, and the Law is fulfilled… Just as the letters of all encompassing reality, it is our goal to begin from these letters and to differentiate among them in a specifically precise, verified fashion that, when they become aware of it, is in no way different from men who have been blessed with unveiling. The fashion to which we refer begins with the simple (basâ’it) elements of which the letters are composed- huruf al-mu’jam- when they are each called by name, since their meaning remains incomprehensible to the individual seeking to penetrate them via reflection. When the simple elements were revealed to us, we found that the letters divide up into four different degrees;

            seven celestial spheres – ا ز ل
            eight… ن ص د
            nine…ع غ س ش
            ten… the remaining 18 letters of arabic alphabet

            The science of letters can thus not be looked at independently of the science of the heavenly bodies or of the cosmic cycles.”

            Know- may Allah give us Help- that the letters are a community whose members receive the word of Allah are are bound by the Law (mukhatabun wa mukallifun). They have messengers just as we have..

            “He who professes Oneness worships Allah in two ways: in the way of the Essence, in that the quality of absolute divinity comes back to him, and in the way of this divinity. Blessed is he who combines these two ways, for the worshipper is composed of both letters and meaning. This is why we do not worship Essence devoid of its quality of divinity, and divinity is not worshiped outside a relationship to some being qualified by it. Worship can only be based on what the servant’s reality is- composition- and not on what divine reality requires: Unity

            … But if the worshiper is composed of letters and meaning, existence is one, and the self is identical to the Self. Under the jealous veil of the letter smolders the fire of the self’s love for the Self:
            Existence is a letter, you are its meaning;
            and in creatures I have no hope
            other than He.”
            Ch. 2 of Revelations of Mecca (Futuhat al-Makkiyya).

            As far as Bhartṛhari describes, there are four basic fundamentals, all which can be logically explained through Panini’s daunting systematic approach of sanskrit grammar (see ashtadhyayi) i.e., Guna, dik, saghana karma, karana, karta and hetu, sampradana, apadana, adhikarana, and sambodhana… along with the rules of purusa and relation to upagraha, sankhya and linga…. Grammar is, according to him;

            “… the first step in the ladder leading to liberation; this is the straight royal road for all those who desire salvation.”

            So, perhaps it isn’t vocabulary, but grammar which will unveil the Laws of Nature and make apparent the mysteries.

            • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
              Jon Fergus
              Moderator
              Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

              One thing about the need for experience tied in to our use of language: I would say that, while it may or may not be that words are always coined following some experience or idea, I think we’re certainly in a position today where we are so severely lacking spiritual experience that we tend not to be capable of truly understanding the terms we read in languages like Sanskrit. For instance, take dharana, dhyana, samadhi. Who aside from high sages truly have a real sense of what these terms are attempting to represent?

              In my view, one difficultly for us in terms of language, is that most of us in our studies end up developing something like a system of words in our mind as a representation of “reality”, and then substitute this system of words in place of direct experience/knowledge. i.e. take raja yoga: we may study it and come to some general outline of what the system is, and be able to talk about it, and be able to write about it, or chart the terms in some systematic way, but it is not done with real experiential knowledge of the process of raja yoga.

              The question was asked above what a language designed for spiritual realities would look like, and I can’t help but suspect it might look something like the old Egyptian heiroglyphs, or the “old book” HPB references at the beginning of the SD, with its simple but profound symbols. Language as we commonly use it on this plane is very much a rational, logical mode of communication, and I doubt whether such a mode can ever adequately represent spiritual realities. A grammar based on the laws of Nature (as we find in the east, as pointed out by Kristan) goes a long way to help us understand how sound can be used to represent ideas on this plane, etc. but in order to “speak” of spiritual things while conscious on this plane would require, I suspect, a language that seeks to awaken intuition rather than one that seeks to aid the rational mind in its attempt to construct a conceptual framework.

              Spoken language is basically a mode of organizing sounds such that we can correspond them with ideas, but sound/vibration is a creative force of some kind that we at present do not understand and are seemingly incapable of properly utilizing. Because of this power, a language can be many things besides communication between two human beings, among them is that a language can be a tool for manifestation, i.e. a systematic construction of sounds in such a way that the practitioner can use said sounds to perform “magic” (manifestations, healing, and so on). In a sense, perhaps this is simply a language that is a mode of communication not with other humans, but with elementals and/or other beings. If we wished to construct a language which we could use to speak with ants, for instance, it would necessarily need to be much different than a language we would use to communicate with other humans. In any case, with a proper understanding of the role of sound across manifested nature, a language might be developed that acts as a tool not solely for communication of ideas to one another, but as a tool to be used for specific other purposes. I suspect the oldest Sanskrit and its proper pronunciation (which I don’t believe we have the proper keys to), or the Senzar etc. were developed for these kinds of purposes (in addition to communication of ideas).

              So… language of the future? It may be that we need several languages for several purposes; or perhaps it is possible to construct one language to serve all purposes; but in any case I think it will need to go far beyond what we typically understand language to be, and to be for. Perhaps such a language, instead of letters, would use geometrical forms; or perhaps it would use symbols drawn from nature (as the Egyptians did); and perhaps its sounds would be designed to carry magical potency; and so on…

          • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
            Pavel Axentiev
            Participant
            Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

            This is very interesting.

            I guess Plato would say that apart from the concrete experience and language there is also the Intellect (Nous), which is able to perceive the forms which can then be expressed using language.

            It appears to be a matter of contention among modern philosophers and logicians whether language is necessary for reasoning. More materialistic philosophers seem to lean towards the view that language is a prerequisite for thought. I have held the contrary opinion; however, it is difficult to sort this out.

          • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
            Pavel Axentiev
            Participant
            Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

            What is grammar? To put it simply, grammar is a set of rules for constructing sentences.

            What is a sentence? In short, a sentence a statement of relation. What can be said about anything other than how it relates to other things?

            Thus, a sentence necessarily includes a subject and a predicate.

            Wikipedia tells us that “[in traditional grammar, which] views a predicate as one of two main parts of a sentence, the other part being the subject … the purpose of the predicate is to complete an idea about the subject, such as what it does or what it is like.”

            • Profile photo of KS
              KS
              Moderator
              Profile photo of KSKS

              Grammar can be understood when we draw a closer relation to its rules and the general outlines of cosmogenesis found in esoteric philosophies.

              Words are not a construct, they are a fundamental part of Eternal Law. Likewise, grammar is not a construct, but a systematic order of governing laws in relation to the evocation of pre-existing (eternal) ideation. This may appear to be contrary for most people, but under some investigation and reflection, we find that “ideas dawn upon us” from a much subtler level than the rational or intellectual mind to eventually manifest as outwardly expressed speech- which must follow basic law to become conceived/properly expressed. This is shown very clearly through the 4 degrees of Vâk. However, speech alone is not without specific laws for construct. There mere fact that a word is present necessarily shows an entire cosmos of law to manifest said word. Nothing uttered (manifest) is without Governing Laws to manifest its expressive nature.

              This is evidence of a far deeper science of grammar- rather pointing to the grammar of philosophers. So, basically grammar is the “law and movement” initiating the thing to become expressed. Otherwise without a hierarchical order of law, nothing could present itself whatsoever. It is so very subtle, at least in my opinion.

              • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                Pierre Wouters
                Moderator
                Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                Hi Kristan,
                Well, as I understand it, we have been descending for ages from more subtle planes to our present gross material plane, or from a state of spiritual ideation (the Platonic ideas if you like), through worlds of thought (not to be misunderstood with our present lower state of thought) to our present state where those thoughts need to be expressed in words.

                With each descend something of that pristine ideation was lost, albeit still expressed in beautiful thought forms on the intermediate planes in which the whole of humanity shared (telepathic communication still being the norm into the early 4th root races). Eventually we became so enamored by material and individualized existence that we lost contact with each other on the plane of thought so that speech (and therefore language) needed to be introduced into the equation for communication to be possible on this material plane. HPB spends quite a few pages in the SD on that topic. So each descend meant a loss of unity and a push towards individual expression (obviously an intrinsic part of evolution). In other words, the “experiences” (by lack of a better word and illustrating the problem) we shared on those inner planes are now in need of a much hampered construct we call language, leading to the “confusion of tongues” and symbolized by the tower of Babel. A confusion of tongues not only between different languages, but even communicating within the same language.

                All of this doesn’t take away the superb value of the very erudite explanations you have given regarding the importance of language, but words are still a construct albeit not devoid from laws that still relate language to those original thought forms, but nevertheless a reduction in communication. So I do not see how it counters the idea that “experience” (and I’m referring here with the word experience to existing and living in those thought forms on the inner planes) necessarily precedes the necessity for the construction of language. I would imagine that we don’t “invent” a word and then try to find an experience for it. We experience something (be it on an inner or the outer plane) and then try to convey it with language (an extreme reduction of the “experience) in order to communicate it to others.

                In the Cratylus Plato spends a good deal of time on the importance of words, i.e., that words have not been attached in a merely arbitrary way to their objects, but are encoded descriptions of them. This can only be true if this encoding follows some strict laws – as you have indicated – whereby thought (the perception of subjects and objects) is encoded into words and why “objects” or “subjects” (especially in ancient languages) are represented by the correct words by means of the utterance of sound which in its noumenal form is representative of thought, thought being an activity and thus an “experience”.

                My 2 cents, and would love to hear your take on it.

                • Profile photo of KS
                  KS
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of KSKS

                  Good thoughts Pierre, I will try to pitch in some more pocket change 🙂

                  Just some of your quotations, which I thought were good points for discussion;

                  “With each descend something of that pristine ideation was lost, albeit still expressed in beautiful thought forms on the intermediate planes in which the whole of humanity shared…

                  …Eventually we became so enamored by material and individualized existence that we lost contact with each other on the plane of thought so that speech (and therefore language) needed to be introduced into the equation for communication to be possible on this material plane.”

                  I understand where you are coming from, and would generally agree, although I see it from a different perspective. If we were to follow the logic of the grammarians, this plane that you speak of as the thought plane is none other than a manifestation of speech (vâk) itself. It appears that they do not limit “speech” as either a vocalized expression or even that of a cognizant and explicit thought, meaning that there are other aspects of speech which is beyond a) vocalized transmission b) thought transmission c) emotional/psychic transmission. Sufis generally call this Barzakh (or the Cloud)- a multi-dementional arena for transmission and communication.
                  “The Barzakh is the substance of the cosmos, so it receives all the forms, spirits, and nature of the cosmos; it is a receptacle as infinitum.”

                  Whether we became enamored by material existence or not, Speech must, by necessity fulfill its outward expansion; from a pre-existent state of obscuration, to seeded potentiality, through a series of intermediate developments, and finally the outward bloom of vocalized expression. It appears to a natural order, an “inevitable occurrence” pre-ordained by Cyclic Law. As you mentioned, this is an intrinsic part of evolution, which is by no means dependent.

                  If we even turn to the construct of a sentence, we see a series of individualized words strung together and held in close bond through continuity, or unification- many words evoked and placed accordingly to form a single expressive thought. Each is a single unit striving to serve the Parental Impulse, just so with the wide page of Nature. How can Unity be ever diminished by its own expressive impulse? It is we who impose division by our general inability to understand, not Law.

                  So I understand that communication held on the physical plane (speech) is entirely equated with the objective existence of speech. Likewise, the other degrees of matter being determined by the degree of speech as well as its laws.

                  “The cosmos can have no existence without Speech on Allah’s part and listening on the part of the cosmos. Hence the existence of the paths of felicity only becomes manifest, and the differences between them and the paths of wretchedness only become known through the Divine Speech and the engendered listening … Through Speech we move about, and as a result of Speech we move about in listening. Hence Speech and listening are interrelated (co-dependent).”

                  Again, if we follow the grammarians logic, we technically never cease to “lose contact with each other on the plane of thought”- however we may be unconscious of its operation, but a Law is a Law. The grammarians declare in a few instances that thought transmission occurs ceaselessly, even so with the psychic/emotional transmission, however the communications often become corrupt due to the receivers inability to fully grasp the transmitters original impulse. Think of a fuzzy radio station. They declare that the mind of the one who listens must be in total association with the mind of the speaker- in other words, undivided concentration.
                  ______

                  “… words are still a construct albeit not devoid from laws that still relate language to those original thought forms, but nevertheless a reduction in communication…”

                  Who and what constructs? Each letter is represented by an element, quality, and intelligence, a combination of letters form a compound intelligence with its own governing capacities and “mode of operandi” (i.e., a thought form). Each “intelligence” has a correlating aspect in form, such as the geometric and mathematic expressions. Would it be crazy to propose the idea that these “thought forms” are “words,” or rather, messengers in their own right, serving Cyclic Law? Would it also be too far fetched to say that “they” exist within the tidal pool intimately connected with the minds humanity and the principles of the form? Ultimately, could one argue that all which is detected is the outward expression of Speech(thought) and the correlated form?

                  “The Divine Speech has no beginning and the immutable hearing has no beginning, while that which undergoes temporal origination is the existential hearing (al sam’ al-wujudi), which is a branch of the immutable hearing. Hence the state of hearing’s entity shifted, but the hearing itself did not shift, since entities do not shift from one state to another state. On the contrary, states cloth them in properties, so they become clothed in them.”

                  • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                    Pierre Wouters
                    Moderator
                    Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                    Hi Kristan,

                    great response and I see that we are actually seeing eye to eye but approaching the subject from a different angle. My response limited speech obviously only to the use of it within the lower-manasic context and it’s daily use on the material plane, whereas you bring in the context of the 3 other Vâchs relating it to speech in a much more universal approach. I was only concerned with the 4th or lowest realm relating to Vaikharî Vâch or uttered sound “which becomes comprehensive and objective to one of our physical senses, and may be brought under the laws of perception” (SD I:432)

                    SD II:199 fn†
                    “† Language is certainly coeval with reason, and could never have been developed before men became one with the informing principles in them — those who fructified and awoke to life the manasic element dormant in primitive man. For, as Professor Max Muller tells us in his “Science of Thought,” “Thought and language are identical.” Yet to add to this the reflection that thoughts which are too deep for words, do not really exist at all, is rather risky, as thought impressed upon the astral tablets exists in eternity whether expressed or not. Logos is both reason and speech. But language, proceeding in cycles, is not always adequate to express spiritual thoughts. Moreover, in one sense, the Greek Logos is the equivalent of the Sanscrit Vâch, “the immortal (intellectual) ray of spirit.” And the fact that Vâch (as Devasena, an aspect of Saraswati, the goddess of hidden Wisdom) is the spouse of the eternal celibate Kumâra, unveils a suggestive, though veiled, reference to the Kumâras, those “who refused to create,” but who were compelled later on to complete divine Man by incarnating in him. All this will be fully explained in the sections that follow.”

                    So I concur with your observations that the term “language” as an alternative use of the term Vâch is justified, but that observation deals with the use of language on a higher plane, a use which for most people who are not acquainted with this observation would be very confusing 🙂

                    So it’s good that you’ve opened up this subject, as it may be useful in its relation to the topic of the theme “The Language of the Future”.

                    Thanks for your response.

              • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
                Pavel Axentiev
                Participant
                Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

                Does speech create reality or represent reality?

                • Profile photo of Peter
                  Peter
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of PeterPeter

                  “Does speech create reality or represent reality?”

                  That’s a very interesting question, Pavel – one deserving of more attention. The term ‘reality’ and all that it implies might make it a difficult question to answer. Perhaps a preliminary question could be, ‘To what extent does speech (language) create the world of our experience or simply represent it?’

                  ~~

                • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                  Gerry Kiffe
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                  I would assume the answer to your question is both. As Peter points out we have to determine what we mean by “Reality” before we can go very far with this. But we know that speech is most certainly a representative for things it identifies. Chair, moon, sadness etc. might be examples. But speech is also an action with vibration, motive and emotion. And therefore has a reality all its own.

                  We all love Mr. Judge’s wise council, “Let us use with care those living messengers called words.” This expression seems to point to both sides of your question. Words are messengers, words are living.

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      English is sometimes referred to as the language of commerce and trade not because that’s all it’s good for or because it is a language built upon commerce, but largely because english has become a global language. Today it is taught as a second language in many countries around the world providing a common means of communication between peoples of many different languages and cultures. This has allowed a rich cross cultural exchange beyond just trade and commerce – one only has to consider the extent of spiritual and classical literature, ancient and modern, from around the world available today in english, despite the difficulties involved in translating specialised terminology between any two languages.

      Yes, of course english, like spanish, italian, french etc etc has its limitations. All language appears to be limited when it comes to exploring the nature of spirituality and metaphysics. No doubt this applied to what we now call ‘ancient’ languages. As the Taitreya Upanishad says, ‘words turn back along with the mind’ when approaching the bliss of Brahman (II-ix-1).

      Our primary limitation may have more to do with our lack of understanding and unwillingness to explore rather than whatever language we speak.

      ~~

      • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
        Gerry Kiffe
        Moderator
        Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

        And for that very reason so many only know English for its commercial use. They are unaware of the rich history of poetry, prose and literature which expands the language and deepens it.

        • Profile photo of Peter
          Peter
          Moderator
          Profile photo of PeterPeter

          Hello Gerry,
          I was responding to what you said earlier, namely, that the English language in particular is based upon commerce and material things. What you are saying above has a different emphasis, namely that the English language has a rich history of poetry, prose and literature, but many people are not aware of that aspect of the language. That may or may not be true. I’m not sure how we can determine what people might be aware of just on the basis of their using English for commercial purposes. I don’t personally know a single person who only uses English for its commercial use, so my experience is necessarily limited.

          Just as a by-the-way, English is used as the lingua franca (common language) across the globe in science, medicine, technology, health, academics, politics and education. So, if we also take into account the growing amount of literature (including poetry, spiritual and ancient philosophy & so on) from around the world that is translated into English we might think it’s not doing too bad, despite the obvious limitations. 🙂

          ~~

          • Profile photo of Jon Fergus
            Jon Fergus
            Moderator
            Profile photo of Jon FergusJon Fergus

            One thing I think we can fairly say about English is that it’s currently the fastest growing language on the planet in regards to its vocabulary. As you point out Peter, it is both picking up technical terms from many different languages and inventing its own at an impressive rate across nearly all disciplines. I would say, barring some major cataclysm or world shift in power, it will be both the laymans and technical language of our immediate future. I also suspect this was anticipated by the founders of the theosophical movement when they made a special effort to train HPB in English; at the time, it would’ve made just as much sense to do so in German since so much of the philosophical and religious writing in the world at that time was being done in German, but the choice was made to go with English, and here we are.

            In terms of theosophy, religious study, spirituality, etc. I suspect that English will continue to be the common tongue but that we will either do one of two things: 1) a more strict technical vocabulary will be established, with English technical terms replacing one-for-one technical terms from Sanskrit, Greek, Hebrew, etc., or (which I think is more likely) 2) we will gradually cease attempting to use English translations for those technical terms and simply adopt the native ones from those languages. We see this already in several key terms, like karma, dharma, yoga, etc. and of course with countless Greek terms that have already been absorbed into English.

            So I suspect what may happen in the short term is that the grammatical structure of English will be used, but along with technical terms from the other languages, and this will become the common theosophical/religious/etc. language of humanity (at least, for a time). And, I don’t think we’ll have a problem with English being too limited; we’ll just add words where needed as we’re always doing.

            • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
              Pierre Wouters
              Moderator
              Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

              In fact, French was the number one language used in the world way before HPBs time. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, thanks to the Enlightenment and French colonisation, France became the leading power in Europe and spread the language even further across the globe between the 17th and 18th centuries. The French language quickly became the lingua franca of diplomacy in Europe. French was also the language embraced by the royal courts of Europe, including the English court, the Russian court, the German court, the Italian court and even some overseas, especially in Africa, including the Egyptian royal court in the 19th century. HPB herself was fluent in French.

              So the foresight by the Adepts in her time of English becoming the number one language in the future for worldwide communication was spot on.

          • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
            Gerry Kiffe
            Moderator
            Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

            This is an interesting discussion and many good points are being made. I think Jon introduces a critical point. Language is like a river, it is flowing and changing constantly. With the advent of the theosophical movement we have actually witnessed the evolution of the English language, and perhaps all modern languages in various ways, into spiritual conceptions so precious to the ancients. Yoga, karma, Atman, Brahman, etc. are no longer foreign terms to English speakers. So the change is underway as Jon points out.

            By way of illustration about the commerce comment. I met a Polish man in Toronto while traveling by train in Canada who told me he only spoke English at work, only Polish at home and only French while socializing. I believe he lived in Montreal.

            I think the larger point is the spiritualization of consciousness and therefore language in the direction of unity, insight and enlightenment in whatever culture or society we might find ourselves.

            • Profile photo of Peter
              Peter
              Moderator
              Profile photo of PeterPeter

              Nice story, Gerry. I take it your travelling companion shared his story with you in French, then. 🙂

              ~~

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
    Participant
    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    I am reading a translation of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (published together with W.Q. Judge’s translation of Bhagavad Gita in a Borders edition), and there seem to be indications that speech is a spiritual faculty. Generally speaking, speech is atman. One obvious manifestation of the sacredness of speech is prayer. Another, perhaps less obvious, is song, chant.

    Every word you say
    I will be watching you.
    – ATMAN

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
      Moderator
      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      Here is from the Hymn to Vach

      When, O Lord of the Word, the Wise established

      Name-giving, the first principle of language,

      Their inmost essence, pristine and pure,

      Hidden deep within, was brought to light through love.

      When the Wise created language with the mind,

      As winnowing ground barley with a sieve,

      Friends acknowledged the essence of friendship;

      Upon their speech was impressed the mark of grace.

      With devotion they walked the path of the Word

      Which they saw abiding within the Seers.

      They drew it out, ordering it all ways.

      The Word which Seven Singers exalt.

      More can be found here: http://www.universaltheosophy.com/jewels-lotus/hymn-to-vach/

      There sure does seem to be plenty of evidence that speech and sound is sacred. Speech, according to the Hymn, is a gift from divine beings.

  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    September 12, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

    The communication of the will rests upon a kind of rapport
    between two wills. — FRANZ ANTON MESMER

    That higher sense which is the potential capacity of every human being
    is in eternal contact with Reality. — D. K. MAVALANKAR

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
    Participant
    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Verily, the self consists of speech, mind, and breath.
    – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.5.3

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    September 14, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Language of the Soul

    With all my heart, and in the tongue which is
    One in all men, I offered God my soul
    As a burnt offering for this new bliss.
    — DANTE ALIGHIERI

    There is a certain greatness and latitude of heart in
    love which is inexpressible. — JACOB BÖEHME

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    September 15, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Language of the Future

    If we would become one with the brightness of the Sun, we must follow love,
    and go out of ourselves into the Wayless, and then the Sun will draw us with our
    blinded eyes into Its own brightness, in which we shall possess unity with God.
    — JAN van RUYSBROECK

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
    Participant
    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Just found this, thought I will post for reference:

    “Saraswati Sukta of the Rigveda says that Vak or word is of four forms – Para (eternal), pasyanti (experienced by seer in a state of deep consciousness), madhyama (when it translates as idea in the intellect) and vaikhari (when it is verbally expressed). Realizing Para Vak or Nada Brahman through a regulated chanting of mantra, first externally then mentally and then finally without producing it, is mantra yoga.”

© 2017 Universal Theosophy

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