Tag Archives: Philosophy

The Voice of Thought

How do you think? Do you think in English, German, or a universal language, such as math? Perhaps you think in code.. we all have a unique way of thinking.. but is there something that makes them unified?

I’m watching an anime by the name of Ergo Proxy. This anime contains enormous amounts of references to everything from religion (both ancient–such as Aztecs–to modern) to literature. The current episode places one of the characters in a book store.. but not so much a book store as an application of his own mind. All the books in this “store” are titled with the character’s name. The idea is relatively easy to grasp–your mind is like a library. Each memory is a book you can pull off the shelf and read. You need to know what you’re looking for before you can get the memory.

But it raises an interesting point.. how do we store those memories? My psychology book says that memory is stored with what you could call associative links.. words that can describe the event or memory are “hooked” into it and so when you retrieve that memory, you get a sometimes vague, sometimes precise representation.. all depends on the level of commitment you associated with it. But it did get me thinking.. do we think using our first language? Is the ability to think a product of language? Do you need to have a language to think?

The references the sub group (Shinsen-subs) placed at the end of the episode made references to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “On the Origin of Languages” and how it traced a hypothetical history of language and how by needing to learn to speak to think, we inherently create a paradox. We must speak to think but we must think to speak. “…speech appears to have been necessary to establish the use of speech.”

It makes one wonder about the origin of our ability to think. Perhaps such is the nature of what one would call instincts. Pure instinct lets you live without the need to develop complex thought patterns. Instinct could be considered a type of “basic” thought–one that does not require speech. But that’s just speculation.

I guess that also makes me wonder about the Tower of Babylon. If we all at one time spoke the same language and tried to build a tower to God, why would he do such a thing as destroy our ability to think? I guess one could say he was enforcing the idea that knowledge is a sin. If you follow that trend than everyone is a sinner, even the Amish.

*shrug* Heaven looked kind of boring anyway.