Sunday, 7 September 2008

Here is a video in which the most common theory of the origin of languages is explained:

To see the development of languages as a tree, that is growing more and more branches over time, is a beautiful model. But it is just a model, and the beauty of models sometimes make people forget to look at the facts.
According to the people who believe that this model is true, all languages have one root language and in the beginning (whenever that was) all people on this planet spoke the same language. The myth of the Babylonian Tower is often used to support this theory. A funny thing is that I know of at least ten people, who come from different countries, with different languages, who claim that their language is the Root language. In Holland we have Willem Rietbrink, who thinks that the Dutch language is the Root-language. He has written fascinating books about his idea’s, and I will come back to them later. But I don’t belief in a Root language.
Ten years ago I realised that the Internet made the whole world speak English. That is not yet the case, but there is definitely a tendency that American English is becoming the World language. I had already noticed that other myths made more sense if they were seen as describing the future than the past. I mean, maybe myths are not based on memories of true events from the past, but on unconscious insights in future situations. I began to think: what if there is not a Root language, but an End-language? And what if American English is that End-language? Not that it all matters very much; it doesn’t help making an end to wars and other miseries. But for a while I was fascinated by the idea that our creative imagination, which is also the writer of myths, has unconscious knowledge of the future. And that we tend to see time upside down, or backwards. Maybe the causes are not (only) in the past, but (also) I the future. Maybe the world is shaped by an image that lies ahead in time in stead of by events that happened in the past. And not only the world, but most of all me, my own life.
So far I had been trying to shape my life from the past: in every moment I sort of tried to calculate the future from what I knew of the past. That never worked, but I never knew any alternative. Everybody was seeing the future as the outcome of the past, and everybody thought that the future was some kind of extrapolation of the past. But what if the present was a mere shadow of the future, casting itself backwards in time? What if the future is shaping the present, or at least trying to do so? I realised that almost all human efforts are efforts to prevent the future to happen! Not the real future, but the fantasy future that people calculate, based on their interpretations of the past. I began to wonder how my life would be if I just let it happen and if I stopped trying to create or control it. And like I said, my efforts never worked well in the first place, so I had little to loose.
To cut a long story short: not very much changed, but my life has become a lot easier. I have much more time and energy left, that I used to waste on trying to organise my future. And I am more relaxed, I sleep better and I worry much less. But it is difficult to live from this standpoint: my mind has been trained for 40 years to think in a backwards way, and it doesn’t change it’s habits in a few years. But it is getting better and easier every year. And none of the disasters, that many people think that will occur when they give up their efforts, happened to me. But one person, trying something half heartily for ten years, is no proof for the idea that the future is much brighter than most people seem to think and that much of the misery may be caused by our efforts to prevent them. But I think that it is true. That is why I tell it here.
When you let go of the past and let the future happen without trying to intervene, time sort of ends. I used to be constantly looking at the past; that was needed, because I believed that it was the seed of the future. Now that I see the present as the mixed product of the future and my own efforts to change the scenarios that my mind produces, I more and more let go all scenarios that my mind produces. And the more I stop believing these scenario’s, the less my mind produces them. It is for a large part conditioning. To live in the present is far more easy than to constantly be worrying about the future and thinking about the past.
The idea that there is no need to do efforts at all, is not new. But I never understood that the people who said this meant it literally.
Neil Diamond wrote a song about this idea. In order to understand it properly, you should try to imagine that is written by your future You, sending a message to back in time, to the present you. I changed one word to make it better fit my vocabulary:

Listen easy, you can hear Me calling
Walking barefoot by a stream
Come unto me, your hair’s softly falling
On my face as in a dream
And the time will be our time
And the grass won’t pay no mind

Saying nothing, lying where the sun is
Baking down upon our sides
My lips touch you, with their soft wet kisses
Your hands gentle in reply
And the time will be our time
And the grass won’t pay no mind

Child, touch my soul with your cries
And the music will know what we’ve found
I, hear a hundred good-byes
But today I hear only one sound
The moment we’re living is now
Now now now now now now now

Young birds flying, and a soft wind blowing
Cools the sweat inside my palms
Close my eyes, hear the flowers growing
As you lay sleeping in my arms
And the time will be our time
And the grass won’t pay no mind
No the grass won’t pay no mind

Here is Elvis singing this message from your future You to the you here and now: