Language Part 1

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

For quite a while I played with the idea that we are somehow experiencing Life backwards. There are many ways to interpret this idea, and as far as my mind allowed, I explored them all. I still think it is a good idea, and that it might be true in some way, but when I realised that all this thinking didn’t help me to get a better life, I stopped doing that 24 hours per day.
One of the people that inspired me to have these thoughts was Terence McKenna. One of his best ideas, which wasn’t really his, but he made it popular, is the possibility that Life has an end. He meant that there are good arguments to think that Life is working to an end-state, which is sometimes called the Eschaton or the Singularity. Modern science has no concept of a future: it sees the present as a 100% product of the past. McKenna argumented that the future might have an influence on the present too. I will not go into details about how this might work, because I want to tell another story today.
The idea that Life has an end, has been a nightmare for many people throughout history. On my bookshelves are several books that collect apocalyptic beliefs. For McKenna the End was not necessarily a bad thing, and I never believed that either. But apart from the idea itself, I was fascinated by the way this information (and much more information, about which I maybe will write later) seemed to be “encoded” in language. It is not easy to explain all this in a few words, but I will try it anyhow.
First of all: if Life has an end-state, this End-state should be recognisable in everything that ever happened. Very much like a great artwork is recognisable in all the earlier artworks of that artist. And there should be hints and clues to that End-state in all art and processes, because all that happens and all that we create and do is part of the process to reach that End-state, whether we realise this or not. And as with all ideas: once you take it serious, you see proof of it everywhere.
I noticed for example that all our myths seem to tell (parts of) one and the same story. This has been noticed by others too; Joseph Campbell has spend his whole life on these matters. But what I added to all the information that I gathered, was the idea that we are living Life backwards. That would mean that deep in our minds, where our imagination is born, we know this, and that without realising it in the more superficial parts of our mind, we “remember” it. I mean: in our myths and in all our other inspired expressions, we show and tell it. Just like children that cannot not show and tell what they have on deeper layers of their mind.
There is one myth that interested me most of all: the story of a root-language. There are many versions of this story, but basically the story is that in the beginning of time the people on Earth all spoke one language. And in this language everything made sense: people understood each other and the world they lived in. The Root-language is often called a language-of-truth. What if these myths are our misunderstanding of an End-language? Because our linear thinking can see the present only as a product of the past, we place the cause at the beginning, but what if the cause is at the end, and works as an attractor? Again: all art is created by an attractor. When you make an artwork, you try to reproduce something that exists already in your mind, even if this image is mainly unconscious. That is why we can say that an artwork is good or bad; we even share this unconscious information.
To cut an already way too long story short: it seemed to me that there never has been a root-language, but there sure is an End-language, and that is modern English. Every day more people speak English, thanks to the Internet. So, I reasoned, if English is the mythical “root-language” that contained all the long lost secrets of Life, as the myths tell us, these secrets must be in popular English. Here I entered the Chapel Perilous, as *Robert Anton Wilson8 named it; and for a long time I was with one foot in Bedlam. But it was a fun time too.
Here is an excerpt from a talk by Terence McKenna on the Eschaton.