Our True Language

Have you ever experienced that? You just want to say something, but you can’t. You know WHAT you want to say, but you haven’t the faintest idea of HOW to say it. That’s because words are inadequate. Words are just terrible. Even as I’m writing this, I know that whatever I may right will just be inadequate. Keeping that in mind, whatever I write will end up being my best attempt to communicate my point. I will fall short, as you will learn. But I will do my best to use words to form sentences with which you can understand my point.

What is the point of using words and language? The point of language is to communicate to another person our thoughts, or our feelings. We want to help the person with whom we are speaking to understand a thought/feeling that is in my head. Sometimes we need them to explain something to us. Other times, we are trying to explain something, like Peter Parker above trying to ask out Gwen Stacy. Ask anyone, and they will either tell you that they are not the perfect orator, or they will lie and tell you that they are. Words are used to communicate ourselves to others.

Whenever someone communicates with someone else, they are communicating as a subject to an object. When someone is known as a subject, that means that they can see and understand the world from your perspective. Someone is an object to us because that is all we can see them as. You are a reader of this blog; I’m hugging a friend; I’m talking with a friend. I can never know what they are truly thinking or feeling as a subject. I can only see them from my own perspective as an object of an action. Words our man’s attempt to communicate his subjectivity to an object. No one can ever know someone else as a subject, only as an object. The reason why we develop relationships and communicate, using words, is to try to learn about and understand someone else as a subject. While we know that will never happen, we still try our best. That is how we know we care about someone else or someone else cares about us: if they continue to communicate with us, trying to understand us as a subject.

Words are not enough. When translating between different languages, while one language may have a word for something, another language doesn’t. In Greek, there is the word storge, agape, philia, and eros. The English translates all four of those into one word: Love. They mean vastly different things, and yet the English Language considers them all to mean the same thing. “Love” is also used in English for other instances. If I say that I love bacon, that does not mean the same thing as when I say that I love my Mom. Or when I say that I love my household brother, it’s not the same as when I love God. When I say something, the words that I use can never actually convey the entire message that I’m trying to communicate. Words can’t do justice to the ideas of myself as a subject, trying to communicate and deliver them to the other as an object.

IntrovertSo if the point of communicating is to make it so that the other person understands our thoughts and feelings, communication is futile. We might as well not ever try to talk to anyone, because they won’t understand us anyway! It is impossible to make someone actually understand us as a subject. So we might as well just keep to ourselves and never talk to anyone else, right? Yeah! The introvert’s dream! No. That is a terrible idea. When we talk to people, when we try to learn them as a subject, it shows that we care enough about them to try to understand. It’s like this: God is a mystery. But even though He is a mystery, we love Him enough to try to learn about Him. We will never truly know Him fully, because He is God. But we still try. It’s the same way with people. When we care about and love someone else enough, we take the time to talk with them and learn more about them. Because, even though we won’t ever know them as a subject, we think that they are worth the effort. That is why the silent treatment hurts so much: we want to develop that relationship and understand them as a person, as a subject, but they won’t let us.

BuddytheelfBut there is this interesting phenomenon. As we get to know a person, there is no need to talk with them. But why is that? We don’t actually truly know them as a subject. No matter how much we try, we can only know them as an object. If we look at Peter Parker above, he has no idea what to say or how to say it. But Gwen Stacy knows exactly what he is saying. It is through, not words, but silence that we fully and truly communicate with someone. Silence is the language that we were made for. Whether or not you believe the story to be true, there’s a story in Genesis about the Tower of Babel. They built up to high, so God cast it down and spread the people all across the world, giving them different languages to speak. At that point, people couldn’t understand each other anymore. They were bound by a language barrier. Even those who spoke the same language became destined to not understand each other. The story reveals a deeper truth than just what’s on the surface. Our true form of communication is squandered by those who try to communicate with language. We can best communicate in the silence.

Some people truly despise the silence. Some people can’t get enough of it. Why is it that there are such differing opinions on silence? It is only silence that we have no distractions. Look at the world: at all times, we’re either talking, listening to music, texting, on our computers, watching TV. There are so many things that distract us, that take our time and keep us occupied. But the word “distraction” often connotes something from which we are distracted, something to which we cannot give our attention. What is that if we are always surrounded by these “distractions”? Ourselves. And God. And others. When we are silent, we are firstly distracted from looking at ourselves and who we truly are. When we are talking to others, or listening to music, we aren’t forced to look at ourselves, our true selves. We can lie about who we are, or we can get so lost into what we are doing that we don’t even think about it. But when we just sit in the silence of our surroundings, we are present with our true selves; there is nothing that separates our minds from who we are.

Silence also brings our true selves into presence with God. Our inmost being has an intimate connection with God. Most of the time, we try to stay away from that part of ourselves, because we don’t want God to see who we truly are. But when we are in that silence, we allow God to meet us where we are; we allow Him to be present to us. When we get lost in using words, we get lost in who we want to be, or in who we think others want us to be. Words spoil thoughts, feelings, and identity. Words deny us and God the ability to truly just be present, to just be. I’m not saying that we should never use words. But at those times when we should be stand true with ourselves and with God, we end up not; we take that away by trying, and failing, to communicate by using imperfect words.

This is the same way with our relationships with others. When we truly care about them and wish to be in relationship with them, while they can never know us as a subject, we want them to know us, and to communicate with us. But when we try and use words, we are misunderstood and unclear in conveying ourselves and our message. That is why two people who are in love tend to be okay with just sitting with each other in silence. It’s not that they are bored of each other. Rather, they understand that words would provide an injustice to their relationship. Words would be a waste in their attempts to know each other better. Silence is the clearest way to communicate oneself to another. They won’t fully know you, but that can never happen. To know someone is to be truly and fully one. And I will not get into that, because that would be too big of a tangent. Silence is the purest and surest way of communicating the realities of oneself to someone else.

As I’ve said several times above, we know that someone truly cares about us and loves us when they are truly willing to communicate with us. The purest way to communicate with us is by simply being with us, in silence. So when someone is communicating with someone else, they are loving them. So as you boil it all down to the bare minimum, to the simplest form, communication is love. When I communicate with them, whatever words I may be saying, even if I’m not saying anything, I communicate that I love them. That’s why ignorance, a lack of communication, tells someone else that you are not happy with them, basically that you don’t love them. When someone tells another that they hate them, they are basically just contradicting themselves. They are making the effort to communicate something of themselves to the other, and yet, while their words say one thing, their communication conveys the completely contradictory message: love. If someone truly wishes to convey that they don’t care about or love someone else, they should stay away and ignore them. When we communicate with someone, they are worth our time, our effort; we truly care about them and love them. The purest form of communication, in essence, is silence, which communicates our true love and care for that person.

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Duc In Altum

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. animusatramenti
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 16:19:50

    Cool. I like the place you took the subject/object observation.

    Reply

  2. Claritas Pastor
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 17:40:05

    I really like this, Ryan. Nice post!

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Who Am I? How Am I? | EarendilStar
  4. Trackback: Attempts Continue | Frustrated Self
  5. Trackback: The Power of Words | EarendilStar

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