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Re: [xmca] The Genetic Belly Button and the Functional Belly

Dear Carol,
Let me know what you think. <joeg4us@roadrunner.com> 805-646-7686

				     Language Creates Culture

Language functions, in human society, as the generator of culture. By the effects on us of the sounds we utter, we inform ourselves of the effects on us of the things which make up our world. Since the only sense of the meaning of any thing is one and the same as the effect on us of the thing, and since we relate to our world through our words, language informs us of the meanings of things. This informing takes place when we use vocal sounds as words to refer to things.

We exist in a vacuous condition vis-a-vis any objective knowing the ultimate meaning of anything. We do not know the ultimate affect on us of anytrhing. If we operated by instinct, our choices would not depend on knowing, as our choices do. In this cluless context, we are informed by the affects on us of the sounds of our words of the affects on us of the things to which our words refer.

In the vacuum of outer space, a ship can be propelled by the constant, subtle force of an ion drive. In the outer space of our cluelessness as to the meaning of anything, we are informed of that meaning by the affect on us of the sounds of our words.

Spoken language is sound made by the body and used to refer to, to signify, things. We must thoroughly understand the basis of language in order to understand anything else about language. Why do we use certain words to signify certain things? Why are there similarities and differences among the various languages in how sound is used to refer to things? Is there a correlation between and among emotional states and vocal sounds? These and other questions must be answered if we are to know how language works.

We are born into a language-using group and learn the meanings of the things that
make up our world simply by learning our group’s language.

We have a distinct and unique reaction to each vocal sound just as we do to each facial expression and postural position. All forms of body language, postural, facial and vocal, are expressions of states of our internal goings-on, are born of those feeling/emotional states. and recreate these states by resonant entrainment.

The languages we humans speak currently are the results of the experiential contributions of our ancestors. However they, (our distant relatives), felt about whatever they had words for, we now feel again in the present moment, when we utter the words they originally uttered. Therefore language functions somewhat as a seed: the experience of past peoples was represented in the words they spoke and now, when we voice those words, we re-experience what they did.

Language is institutionalized perception. How we, as a society, perceive our world, is determined by the the affects on us of our vocal sounds, (a form of body language), we use to refer to the things that make it up.

Our actions are determined by our perceptions. If we want to change the way we act we must change the way we perceive our world. And we can change how we perceive our world by changing how we refer to the things that constitute our world.

The feelings/emotions of actors on stage and of all of us, are communicated by our actions. The way someone moves tells us much about how they feel. Our face conveys extensive and subtle information about our emotional state. The sounds of our voices carry emotional content. And, although we normally are not aware of it, the articulate vocal sounds, (the sounds of our vowels and consonants), are loaded with information about our emotional goings-on. The information that comes from the articulate sounds of our words rather than from the emotional overlay we place on them due to our transitory emotional states, is the same no matter what moods we may be experiencing while we speak. That aspect of information conveyance is institutionalized/standardized. The tone of voice, cadence, and volume dynamics can be unique to each situation without altering the fundamental referential communication.

One can experience the effect on ourselves of the various vocal sounds by, while in a sensitive, receptive mode, saying those sounds out loud and sensing their effects. I have done that and have, it seems, discovered their meanings. You can do that also. Doing so oneself will give one a more complete sense of the effects of vocal utterances than one could experience by reading what someone else has written about the effects of the vocal sounds on the emotions.

This covert function of language must be brought to light in order for us to be able to understand the importance of recreating culture. We must understand that our behavior, as a society, is fundamentally linked to our culture, which is a result of our language.
We do not objectively know the ultimate meaning of anything and consequently experience our sense of the meanings of things from the effects on us of our words.

These familiar phrases suggest a perception, perhaps a mystical perception, of the importance of the spoken word.

	The final word.

	What’s the word?

In the beginning was the wored and the word was with God and the word was God.

The tongue is the rudder of the soul. It is not what passes into our lips that defiles us but every untoward utterance that proceeds out of our mouths.
Words, as sounds, affect us subliminally, supplying us with a feeling for whatever we name. It is that feeling that we experience from the sounds of our words that supplies us with a subliminal consensus for our world-view.
We cannot realistically expect humans to act in a way contradictory to their culture’s bias. Marx’s economic/social theory was used as a rallying standard to enable regime change. After those individuals who had experienced the tyranny of the czar had left the scene, the body-politic eventually rejected collectivism, (the transplanted economic organ). Russian culture is fundamentally the same as it was when the roots of its present language were established and Russian society naturally reverted to its cultural default mode after the revolution. After a short time, the czar was replaced by the head commissar. Marx held that the economic relationships within society create all other human relations. It seems that culture is the cause of the nature of human relationships within any society.

The Culture Made Us Do It “The unrecognized function of language”

As an iceberg exists mostly under the surface of the water which supports it, the fundamental consequence of language tends to be hidden under the surface of our awareness. Most crucial human activities go on without awareness, for example, all of the bodily functions. Many conscious activities proceed without much deliberate awareness. Once one knows well how to drive a car, much less awareness is needed to operate the vehicle. The subconscious mind supports the same kinds of activities as does the conscious mind, however with less effort. Anything that can be automated, is. Automating essential activities frees the conscious mind to focus on issues about which we feel we need to learn in order to more effectively cope, (those issues that require conscious attention until new behavioral patterns are in place). There is no need to be aware of processes that take place well enough without attention. It is only when a problem arises that we humans, in an attempt to solve it, focus our awareness on it. If we are coping well enough without awareness, why be aware? We don’t fix something if it doesn’t seem broken. We don’t reinvent our wheel as long as it’s rolling. However, upon examination, our human condition appears to have been painfully broken for as long as we can recall, and must be repaired. How may we fix it?

Could it be that our behavior is governed by something that we cannot see, something of which we are not cognizant? Is there anything in our nature that would preclude such a possibility, the possibility that our behavior may be directed by influences not within the purview of our everyday consciousness? What could such a force be?

The ability to produce simple vocal sounds made it’s appearance on the scene before our progenitors made words of those sounds. The ability to vocalize articulately is a prerequisite to the ability to verbalize. Words appeared when our ancient ancestors became cognizant of the relatedness of stimuli to their own vocal reactions to them. When they began deliberately using vocalizations to bring to mind things, they made the transition between deriving their sense of the meaning of things by direct experience of the things to deriving a sense of the meaning of things by experiencing the affects of the sounds of the words for the things. This supersession of the primal world by the linguistic world was the start of culture.

Being able to talk about things was very advantageous to our distant relatives. They could confer and plan. More important, they experienced a common sense of the meaning of the things in their world by using common symbols with which to refer to them.

Culture was advantageous to our ancestors in the ancient, pre- industrial environment. Now our technology provides us with the power to create and reside in an artificial environment, however one made according to the values inherent in our primitive culture. Our culture provides us with marching orders and our technology enables us to march very forcefully. Are we marching toward the edge of a precipice?
All action is preceded by a decision to act, be that decision consciously or subconsciously made. All decisions are based on a consideration of the consequences of those decisions. These effects on us of the consequences of our actions are the same as and identical with the meanings of those actions. How do we know the meanings of things? How do we know the effects on us of any thing? Do we know the effects on us of things directly as a consequence of our direct experience with them or by indirect experience with them by using and experiencing the words for those things?

Language is the factory and culture is the product. Culture is an abstraction and language is the physical mechanism from which it springs. Language is emotionally evocative sounds used to represent things, thereby conveying to us a sense of the affects-on-us/the- meanings-of those things. Our sense of our own role in our culture provides us with our identity and therefore with guidance for our behavior. The cultural values, derived from our ancestors’ experiences long ago, as represented in our language, are instilled in us and direct our behavior today. A body continues in its state of motion unless it is acted upon by an outside force. Human culture will remain fundamentally unchanged unless it is deliberately changed; and that will not happen unless we feel the need to do so and know how to do it.

Culture resides in the subconscious mind. Many others have spoken about the need to change the way we, as a society, think: many have tried, by using means such as meditation, sleep deprivation, psychoactive substances, chanting, philosophical inquiry, etc. to accomplish this change and may have been successful to a degree. However, it seems they were not able to lastingly infuse into society at large their newfound vision, due to not addressing the status quo at the root/source, which is the culture. Understanding how language functions makes it possible to change our culture.

				       How did language arise?

How did language arise? Originally, our progenitors’ vocalizing only expressed internal-goings-on/emotion and did not refer to anything external to them. It was advantageous to members of the group to be informed of the emotional conditions of other members. Much later, when consciousness developed enough for them to see the connectedness of the sounds uttered to the things the sounds were uttered in reaction to, they realized that they could bring to mind the thought of the things by uttering their associated sounds, (names). The beginning of talking about things was the start of culture,and the talking about things refocused the talkers’ conscious attention away from the experience of the emotional reactions to the sounds of the words, and toward thoughts related to the things to which the words referred. While they were busy directing their attention to thoughts related to the things to which the words referred, they were being emotionally affected by the vocal sounds they were making to form their words. So, the effects of the sounds they were making vocally were experienced subliminally, while consciously, they were dealing with the thoughts of the things referred to by their words. The affects-on-us/meanings-of things cannot be proven. All they had and all we have to go on are the effects on us of the things and the effects on us of the sounds of the words that represent the things. While the effects of the things are changeable through time and somewhat unique to each individual, the effects on us of the sounds of the words are relatively consistent and universal. Having nothing else to go on, we accept the effects on us of the vocal sounds of words as revealing/representing the effects on us of the things referred to by the words. In this way, culture is formed and passed to succeeding generations. Our world views typically come from the sense of the meaning of things as represented by the sounds of our words rather than from the sense of meaning we may gain from the direct experience of the things themselves.

Do vocal sounds, themselves, communicate? When someone utters a vocal sound, such as a sigh, a growl, a whimper, a scream, etc., do we get a sense of how they are feeling? If so, they are communicating their condition. How does that communication take place? Do we receive information communicated in such a manner consciously, subconsciously or by both ways? What is the means by which an emotion can be conveyed by sound? Can emotion, or anything else be communicated by the articulate sounds of our vowels and consonants, or do only non-articulate vocal sounds convey meaning? If we allow that vocal sounds, simply as sounds, communicate, then is it possible or likely that the vocal sounds we use to make words also communicate as well when used as words? What would be the effect of using inherently emotionally meaningful sounds as symbols to represent external things? Would the inherent meaning of the sounds affect our perception of the things represented by the sounds?

These considerations may shed light on the issue of the root causes of human behavior. Naturally, those who contemplate our condition and would improve it if they could, would be attentive to these matters.

All of life’s processes exist as movements. Emotional conditions are patterns of motion. Similar structures, in keeping with the mechanics of resonation, impart, on each other, their movements. Our vocal apparatuses facilitate our ability to move with each other.

The vibrations made by the body convey the condition of the emotional body to other similar/human emotional bodies, and to some degree, to other animal emotional bodies. The more similar the other body, the more the condition is transposed. Humans receive each others’ vocal and other body-language communications more readily than other species receive human communication. Similar structures transmit their resonation/vibration to each other more readily than do dissimilar structures.
My quest for understanding of human behavior began long ago. When I was around the age of six, I became increasingly aware that the folkways and formal institutions of our society were lacking in humanity and common sense. I asked myself why this was so. As a child, I attributed the problem to people’s personal psychology and it was not until I was in my late teens that I realized that the cause of the problem is our culture. It was shortly after that that I understood how verbal/vocal communication works. The cause of The Problem seemed and seems to be the culture which is created by the relationship between vocal sounds and what they, as words, refer to.

Some of the reasoning that preceded this realization was first, that we are not created evil, but rather simply with survival instincts. Second, that if we were able to act sanely/rationally, we would be doing what produces the best results for everyone. Third, it must be something we learned, some misinformation, that causes us to behave in ways not in our own self-interest. Fourth, when I considered the question of from where this false information came, I identified as the source, the culture. Later, I realized that we do not, for sure, know the meaning of anything, and that, as far as we know, the only thing constant and predictable about any thing is its name, (the word- sound we produce in order to bring to consciousness whatever thing to which we choose to refer). After a time, I became aware of how the different vocal sounds we produce when we speak words, each create in us a unique effect and how those effects inform us subconsciously of the affect on us, (the meaning), of the thing itself to which the word sounds refer.

At this time, I also learned that the sequence of sounds of the letters of our alphabet represents a sequential delineation of emotional/experiential events. From A to Z, the succession of the sounds of the letters of our alphabet is an example of pattern- projection/recognition, the pattern, in this case, being the seminal emotional events that humans experience during their lives, in chronological order.

Emotions happen to us: They seem to come from the “great mystery”, God, or whatever image we may use to portray a place from which strong and compelling feelings emanate.

Given, all the vocal sounds that people can make, how would one arrange the sounds sequentially and from what archetype, (model), would the pattern of that sequence come? Even if the originators of the present alphabet deliberately imposed a pattern on their arrangement of the letter-sounds, whatever world view that existed in their minds caused them to feel most comfortable with the sequence of sounds they chose. The sequence they chose must have been agreeable with the story that was represented in their minds by those sounds in that sequence. If one admits that vocal sounds affect us, then how could a story, a sequence of affects, not be told by the sequence in which the sounds exist? Whether or not the originators of any particular alphabet had a conscious reason for arranging the sounds of that alphabet in the sequence in which they appear, subconscious reasons were influencing their arrangement none the less. Does this story, told by our alphabet make sense? Does it seem to be an accurate representation of the main events in a human’s life?

We tend to cling to our culture as if our lives depended on it, as a drowning person might cling to a life preserver. Culture offers an answer, -in this case subconsciously apprehended-, to the question, “What are the meanings of things?” Without culture, there tends to be no consensus about what things mean. Language informs us of the meanings of named things by the affects on us of the sounds of our words. Those who use the same language experience the same sense of the meanings of the things that make up their worlds. That sense emanates from the deep levels of their subconscious and their final assessment of the meanings of things results from their processing that deep, culturally caused base sense of meaning through the lens of their perception of their own relationship to the society in which they live.

For the sake of clarity, let us consider, hypothetically, what the result/s would be of using meaningful sounds to refer to things. Would the meanings of the sounds spill over into the perceived meanings of the things or would the meanings of the things influence the perceived meanings of the sounds? Or would neither influence the other or would they influence each other? Which has a stronger meaning-pressure, the sounds we make with our voice or the things which, with the sounds, we name?

The vocal sounds express/communicate states of the emotions first and foremost, and as an afterthought, so to speak, they are used to refer to things. They communicate emotion by moving the auditory apparatus of the hearer in a manner analogous to the movements of the vocal apparatus of the speaker, thereby creating in the hearer an emotion analogous to the emotion present in the speaker. Just as the touch of the hands conveys the intent of the toucher, so the vocal motion of the vocalizer creates in the hearer an emotional state analogous to that of the vocalizer.
Just as our becoming-human progenitors were gaining consciousness, (the ability to contemplate the consequences of their actions), they were, for the first time, using vocal expressions as words to refer to specific things, not only to express immediate emotional goings- on. Since they vocalized primarily under duress, their words were expressions born of fear rather than of conscious understanding. The mind concentrates on problems, on issues that could potentially be destructive to the perceiver. When this fear-based thinking bias becomes institutionalized in language, the language itself is a source of anxiety. The more we verbalize about any given problem, the more stressed-out we become. This reminds me of anEskimo method of killing a wolf. They would smear congealed blood on a very sharp knife and set it out, with the blade pointing upward, where wolves frequented. When a wolf licked the blood, it would bleed and lick its own blood not knowing it was bleeding to death. We are wolfish for knowledge and we pursue it by using our main thinking tool, our language.
			           The Unrecognized Role of Language
Culture is the hidden law-of-the-land. We are creatures of culture, and its subjects. Our culture originally enhanced our survivability and, in a technologically advanced world, may become the instrument of our destruction. Our culturally motivated ways of relating to one another may have once been viable, although perhaps immoral, and now, with our powerful ability to cause environmental change, are untenable.

”The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.” --- Albert Einstein

	I wish to change what is in that “heart”.

The referential function of human language is merely the “tip of the iceberg” of the role of language. Its larger and more profound function is unacknowledged: It is spoken language’s informing us of the meanings of all to which we verbally refer. We are moved in a primal way by the sounds we produce with our voice and, in the absence of any “objective”, absolute information regarding (the affects on us)/(the meanings of) the things of our world, we accept the affects on us of the vocal sounds of our words as representing the affects on us of the things to which our words refer. In this way, we are informed subliminally, simply by learning our language, of the meaning of our world. How else could we, as very young children, have achieved a sense of how we were affected by the numerous things that made up our world?

This matter is of paramount importance because we act in accordance with how we perceive our world, (with what our world means to us), and our sense of that meaning is derived from the affects upon us of our words. Much of human behavior that is commonly attributed to “human nature” is actually motivated by cultural nature, which is created by language.

How and what would our society be if we had a culture which instilled in us the values that we would consciously choose to hold? Presently, we simply assimilate the culture in which we are born. Once we understand the mechanism of cultural transmission, we will be able to change our group program.

However, it seems that many of us may be too timid to venture forth from the false security of our unquestioned and familiar values. Some have expressed to me that language is a product of nature and that to change it deliberately would produce an unnatural result, a Frankenstein culture, the consequences of which would probably be destructive. To those I suggest that we are inherently unable to venture out of the natural realm, as we are inextricably woven into the web of nature. Furthermore it is entirely correct and wholesome for us, with the goal of improving our survivability, to choose to correct our culture at its source. Once we see how we may help ourselves, we would be within our progressive evolutionary tradition to use all our knowledge to do so.
Vocal sounds either communicate as vocal sounds or they do not. If we assume that vocal sounds do not communicate, then language only blindly and unintelligently refers to things. If we assume that vocal sounds do communicate something, as vocal sounds, then language does more than merely refer to things: it also informs us about the things named. Which is true? Do any of us believe that our vocal sounds do not express/communicate anything? If we believe that vocal sounds communicate/express something, then what is it that they communicate/ express? If vocal sounds do communicate as sounds, do they loose that communicative function when incorporated into words or do they continue to be expressive when used in words?

If vocal sounds that constitute words communicate something as sounds, then what effect does the sound of a word exert on our perception of the thing to which that word refers?

Many seem to have difficulty acceptingthe idea that the primary meanings of vocal sounds, including the sounds of words, are the effects they cause within each of us and not the things to which they refer when uttered as words. Another point that aided me in understanding the function of language is that we really do not know the meaning of anything but rather behave as though our taken-for- granted assumptions are valid only because they have not been held to the light of inquiry. It is only that which resides in our subconscious and of which we are not conscious and consequently do not question, that we act as if we “know” for sure. Remember the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland? When asked how he managed to coordinate the movements of all those legs, he became aware of the previously unconscious process of walking and then could not walk. The only sense of the meanings of things that we dependably share with the others of our society is instilled in each of us by the relationship between the sounds of our words and the things to which those words refer. Words are the link between our autonomic, cultural sense of meaning and the things that make up our world. We give things a familiarity by attaching to them sounds created by our body. Our words are related to things because the vocal sounds of our words are related to our reactions to those things. We may not ordinarily experience an emotional reaction to the things that make up our world. It is during our seminal moments that we experience emotional reactions to things.

What meaning, if any, do things have if we are not affected by those things? All meaning is relative. If we were totally unaffected by something, would it be meaningful? How would whatever meaning it may have be perceived? Clearly, what we want to know about something, (anything), is how it affects us, (what it is?).

After many attempts to share these findings with those in academia, their lack of understanding, even more their lack of interest in understanding the ideas I was putting forth , dampened my impulse to reach out to those whom I previously had thought were most likely to understand these findings.

I figured that what I was saying was challenging on a deep level to most, who would otherwise gain a glimpse of it. My discovery, seems to threaten the sense of security of those who consciously or otherwise treat their culture as an idol. Some of us, especially those of highly exercised intellectual abilities, feel that security is to be had by being able to “explain” the meaning of things. By uttering words, (sounds), about things, what meaning is revealed? Doing so may create the illusion of understanding by seeming to make the named things familiar. But does it, only inform us with the effect/meaning of the sounds of words, or with the meaning of the things as well? What are the meanings of the things?
It appears that culture is the root of all normal human behavior. We all behave according to our values and assumptions and those derive from our culture.

Do our academicians know what culture is, how it relates to the people who are instilled with it and how it may be changed?

We are informed subliminally of the meaning of our world by the language that we speak.

Why is it so difficult for people to understand how language generates culture? What is/are the missing piece/s of information that they need in order to grasp that concept?

A better way is possible. We need only the vision of this better world, as an everyday experience, in order for us to act in accord with it. The consciousness of how to act in order to create the world we wish must be the status quo, not the rarity that it now is. This changing of the status quo can be accomplished by changing the culture and changing culture is accomplished by changing language.

Are we conscious that we are affected by the sounds we make with our voice? We are commonly aware that the quality of singers voices affects us. We know that great orators and actors affect us with their delivery and vocal character. Everyone’s voice affects us. We are aware of the affect of tone of voice but not of the affect of articulated phonemes per se.

We have no way of knowing the final meaning of anything. We might think we know what a thing will do to us in the immediate future but what about how it will affect us much later? When we become aware of something, we question its meaning and once something is questioned, we never gain a sense of its absolute meaning Only that which remains in the subconscious we do not question. The feelings that well up from our subconscious, in reaction to various things, seems to be true absolutely. Our feelings strongly affect our train of thought.
The certainty of the uninformed is typically replaced by the wonderment of the “enlightened”.
Our culture/language supplies us with a sense of knowing the meaning of all things for which we have a name. This sense of the meaning of things helps us to feel secure in the face of an uncertain, threatening world. We gain that sense of knowing the meaning of things simply be having words for things. Our subconscious accepts the affects of the sound of the words as being the affects of the things to which the words refer. The words stand for the things we name with them and replace, subliminally, our perception of the things referred to with our perception of the words themselves. The words are all we have to go on for the sensing of the meaning/effect of the things.
Having words inform us of the meanings/effects of things seems to have some advantages compared to being informed of the meanings/ effects of things by direct perception of the things themselves. All those who use a particular language have the same basic subliminal sense of the meanings of named things and consequently, are able to participate in the group dynamic of their society. The words for things stay constant through time while how we are affected directly by things changes. We can share experience, knowledge and wisdom with words. Without words, our own personal experience would be all we would have and we would not be able to share it. Words enable abstract thought and planning.

We think, influenced by the feelings of the sounds of words for things and feel as though we were thinking with the perception of the things themselves.

Are we conscious that we are affected by the sounds we make with our voice? We are commonly aware that the quality of singers voices affects us. We know that great orators and actors affect us with their delivery and vocal character. Everyone’s voice affects us. We are aware of the affect of tone of voice but not of the affect of articulated phonemes per se.
When we utter vocal sounds that are simply sounds and not words, we may, more easily, experience consciously, the effects of the sounds, than when we speak words. When we speak words, we typically experience consciously the referential function of the words and not the affects on us of the sounds of the words, while we experience the effects of the vocal sounds of words subliminally. Because we experience the one thing, (the referential meanings of the words), consciously, and the other thing, (the affects on us of the sounds), subconsciously, we subconsciously interpret the subliminal effects of the vocal sounds as being the effects of the things to which the words refer. The subconscious mind supplies us with the bottom line of the meaning of whatever it is we are considering because we cannot reason with the subconscious mind and we can with the conscious mind. Whatever we are conscious of, we can question and whatever we question becomes uncertain. However we have a language-based subconscious reaction to that which the (meaning-of)/(effect-on-us) is consciously unknown as long as we have a word for it, and that subconscious reaction creates an experience of and hence a sense of knowing the meaning of that which, prior to being named, did not seem to be known. The word, made of sounds of our body, stands in for the unknown thing, the thing separate from our body. In the absence of any objective sense of the meanings of things, we rely on our words to provide us with a sense of knowing, because knowing relieves us of the stress of anxiety. We are driven into the perceived safety of our familiar culture, as represented in our language, by the stress of the fear generated by not knowing. One must be willing to accept the mystery of existence in order to experience, free from the bias of existing culture.

Considering words to be things in and of themselves, (sounds), and not only a means to refer to things, will enable us to examine them for their inherent meaning. The primary meaning of a word is not the thing wcich it represents. It is, rather, the affects on us of it’s sounds. We consciously consider the meaning of the word to be the thing to which the word refers and we subconsciously experience the meaning of the word as the effects on us of its sounds. Because we experience, profoundly and consistently, the effects on us of our human vocal sounds while we experience less intimately and less consistently the effects on us of the things to which we refer with words, the emotional effects of the words as sounds overrides the emotional effects of the things named, and informs us of the nature of named things.
In a similar way that explorers laid claim to land in the name of the monarch, we tend to lay claim to that which we name in order to render it seemingly familiar and known.
Everything that we perceive subconsciously creates an emotional reaction that may be experienced consciously and everything that we perceive consciously affects us subconsciously as well. We consciously perceive the sounds of spoken language and we are also affected subconsciously by those same sounds. In the course of verbal communication, we think of the things to which our words refer while subconsciously we are emotionally affected by the sounds of our words. This simultaneous occurrence of the thought of a thing and the subconscious experience of the emotion generated by the sound of the word we use to refer to that thing, subliminally informs us of the affect-on-us ,(the-meaning-of), the thing. In this way, we acquire a sense of the affects-on-us, (the-meanings-of), everything for which we have a word. This is important because our actions in relation to the things that make up our world are motivated by our perceptions of the meanings of those things. Therefore, if we would change, for the better, our societies’ behavior, we ought to change our languages.

Since spoken language is crucial in determining the course of human events, it would be better if we consciously agreed with the subliminal sense of the meanings of things which is instilled in us by our language.

We humans are not doing so well with our relationships with one another that we should be complacent regarding the improvement of our culture.

People have been attempting to address social and economic challenges ever since there were people. All the religions were attempts to provide a basis for our behavior. Marxism was/is an attempt to remedy social and economic inequality and exploitation. “Hippie” communes were typically instituted to provide healthy social environments. Organized politics and codified legal systems were/are created, supposedly, to improve our condition. Why is it unclear whether any of these deliberate social structures actually made/make our situation better or worse? Could it be that the cause of our malaise is something that is not being recognized by those who strive to improve our lot? For how many years, for how many centuries and millennium will we try to fix our broken world by creating laws, religions, political and economic institutions before we decide that doing so does not deal with the source of the problem? Marx’s mistake was believing that economics is the foundation upon which all of society’s other institutions are based. It seemed reasonable to him that since life is based upon the biological economics of survival, that economics must be the determining force in society. He did not see that our culture provides us with a sense of the meaning of all recognized things thereby assuaging the fear/terror that naturally arises as a result of our consciousness of our physical vulnerability and that we tend to protect and defend that culture because of the perceived security which it provides. Once culture is established, it causes the economic and social relationships to be what they are, and they cannot be lastingly changed without changing the culture.
The culture, created by language forms our values which then strongly influence the decisions we make consciously and subconsciously.

What is culture?

I define culture as the common fundamental values held by the members of a society. These values derive from our perception of the meanings of, (the affects on us of), the things that make up our world. “Things” are whatever we identify as being distinguishable from other things, which include feelings, thoughts, values, people and ideals. The meanings of things are one with and the same as the affects on us of those things. How do we acquire our sense of, (the affects on us of)/(the meanings of), things? Is it from our own individual experiences with things? Is it from what we say to ourselves and to each other about things? If it were based on individual experience, how would we achieve consensus and if we could, why would all cultures not be pretty much the same?

Most would hold that even within a given society our individual values are not the same and surely the popular view of what our values are, indicated by a cursory survey of our behavior, seems to support that conclusion. When attempting to assess the values that underlie behavior we should consider the influence of the role that each individual sees themselves as playing within their culture. Given the same subliminal, fundamental values, individuals within any society tend to behave not only relative to those basic values but also relative to how they perceive themselves, (who they perceive themselves to be), within their soviety.

It seems that the cause of the problem of why we do so many seemingly destructive and self-defeating things must be so basic, so fundamental as to escape our awareness. It must be housed in the subconscious mind since all our attempts to address it have been futile. It is that which we don’t consciously know that we subconsciously know that sometimes makes us wonder why we do what we do. Our emotional reactions are influenced by that which resides in the subconscious just as they are by that of which we are conscious, and often, we create rationales to explain our behavior, while the actual reasons for the feelings that motivate us may be other than what we choose to think.

What does every cultural group share within itself that affects its members profoundly and without their conscious knowledge? Where are the hidden rules, by which we live, to be found? Our culture is an artifact, inherited from distant ancestors, formed in an environment vastly different than today. Ways of interacting with one another that may have seemed to work then now appear to be dysfunctional. The primary example is war, which before weapons of mutual destruction, was rationalizable by the victors. But now, with nuclear weapons, would there be any victors? We still think as we did then but we cannot afford to act today as we may have believed we could then. Our technology has evolved tremendously but our culture has not. We are ill-equipped to cope with the situation our technology has enabled us to create. Furthermore, even if war seemed winnable, wouldn’t we prefer peace?
If we admit that vocal sounds inherently affect us, as do facial expressions and general body posture, then we may ask how our sense of the meaning of the things which make up our world is affected by using inherently meaningful symbols to refer to them. What is the relative strength of the emotional effects upon us of our symbols compared to the emotional effects of the things to which they refer? Considering that the emotional effects of the things themselves vary with context and is peculiar of each of us, and that the emotional effects of the vocal symbols is relatively consistant and universal, can we assume that the meanings of the symbols create the perceived meanings of the things? Is this relationship the same or different within the conscious and subconscious minds? Does our conscious or subconscious mind more strongly influence our behavior? Are our behaviors affected by our subconscious minds even when we are trying to do what we consciously think we should do?

We either are or are not affected by our vocal utterances. I see that we are. If we were not affected by our vocal utterances, we would not vocalize. The whole purpose of vocalizing is communication! And in order to communicate, we must be affected by that which we use to communicate.

What, we may ask, is communicated by vocalizing? What is communicated when other animals vocalize? It is clear that animals communicate their instantaneous emotional states by their vocalizations. How is this communication accomplished? The vibrating of the body of the vocalizer, (sender), causes the body of the receiver to vibrate in sympathy. The receiver experiences the motions and consequently the emotions of the sender. This simple process is the foundation of our vocal activity, our verbal activity, (our language), and our culture. Many of us seem to balk at accepting the idea that our lofty retorical proclamations are founded upon such primal processes. If you are one of these, consider that our genetic blueprint is shared, in the majority, by all other vertebrates and largely by all other animals. To those who disparage animals, please be reminded that the Grand Creator authored ALL of everything, not only us and those of whom we approve.

What are the ingredients that make up the mix of influences that determine human behavior? Given that we are intelligent enough to appreciate and cherish the truths that are our guiding principles, and given that we are not born self destructive, then for what reason/ s did we act as we have? From where does the false information come that motivates much of our behavior? “Human nature” does not account for our inhuman actions. The cause of our destructiveness must exist among the things which we learn.

From what ultimate source do we acquire our information regarding the meaning of our world? Our culture is that source.

What have we got to go on in order to achieve a sense of the meaning of our world other than the words we speak?

Do we have a benchmark for establishing the meaning of things? If everything is relative, what is it relative to? We need not look further than ourselves to find that. How could it be otherwise? We look out from our eyes and hear with our ears and think that we can objectively determine the nature of each and every thing that we examine. However, with our survival in the ballance, as it inescapably is, how whatever it is that we examine relates to our survival determines what it must mean to us.How we are affected by the things that constitute our world establishes their meaning. The vocal sounds we make express and convey the different emotional effects we experience. Our words are made up of these body-sounds. Therefore, our words convey emotional meaning and inform us of the affects on us of things for which we have names.

Language exists in both the conscious and the subconscious. We are conscious of the words we speak and of the things to which they refer, while they inform us subconsciously of the effects on us, (the meanings of), those things to which they refer.

Does it matter what things mean? Does it matter what we think they mean? Do our actions relative to them depend on what they mean to us? Do we act in relation to things according to what they mean to us? How do we know the ultimate effect on us of any thing? Is the effect on us of any thing its meaning? How can any thing mean to us anything other than what its effect on us is? How do we obtain a sense of the meanings of things? Do we get that sense of the affects- on-us/ the-meanings-of things directly from our own experience with things or as mediated by language?
Of all forms of body language, (vocalization, facial expression and overall body posture), only one of them,vocalization, is commonly used to represent things other than conditions of the emotional body. Our general posture is very communicative of our physical-emotional state without our deliberate intent and is sometimes used deliberately to convey the same. Facial expression can be more finely communicative of our state of being/feeling than is general body posture. Vocalization, while being profoundly expressive/ communicative, is, by civilized people, ordinarily exclusively reserved for uttering words. While we are not aware of the affect upon ourselves of the phones we utter, we are aware of the effect upon ourselves of the emotional embellishments we add to them. Often, we consciously add emotional content to our words in order to embellish their referential meaning. Since we are busy, often consciously, processing the referential meaning of our words, we are unaware of the emotional impact of the sounds that make them up. Each distinct articulate vocal sound affects us in its own unique way. Understanding this is crucial to understanding the workings of the culture-creating function of language.

We not only refer to things with our words. More profoundly, we inform ourselves of the very meaning of those things simply by using a word, (a vocal sound), to refer to them. This information as to the affects upon us, (the meanings of), the things which make up our world, constitutes our culture. Culture is information, (in- formation). Since we are not aware of the nature of this information, it exists in our subconscious minds. We act according to a subconscious program put in place by our language. If we understand how we receive information regarding the meaning or our world, we can change that information so that it agrees with what we believe to be the nature of our world. Our culture was passed down, from long ago; from before electronics, before motorized transport and the printing press. If we were to deliberately create our language today, would we create the one we currently use? If so or if not, why? Would we know how to create a language that conveys the meanings of things that are their actual meanings? If we would know, how would we know? If not, why not?

That which affects us profoundly and constantly must be in close proximity. Things right in front of us are often overlooked when we search for that which affects us powerfully. We tend to assume that if the causes of major difficulties were so close to us, it would be obvious and we would have discovered them by now. Let us reexamine our major influences to look for what causes us to behave as we do.

Our species, is plenty smart enough to understand why our saints and prophets are correct when they exhort us to be “good”. We create secular laws that mirror our religious tenants and are sensitive to any critique of our behavior. Our feelings of guilt seem to be well developed. Why then do we act as we do; making war against one another and engaging in all kinds of destructive activity?

I have heard many claim that it is simply “human nature” to act in destructive ways.Those who believe that, feel that there is nothing to be done to correct our human malaise other than punishment. Evil ones must be trimmed back, like a noxious and thorny vine. I do not subscribe to that depressing idea and know that the truth of the matter is that we humans are inherently survival oriented and will learn whatever seems as though it will further our survival. It is because of our native intelligence coupled with our survival desire that we voluntarily stretch our consciousness in order to glimpse a better way for ourselves to carry on.

What are the forces that influence our behavior? What we believe to be good and correct does not, it seems, by itself, determine our actions. Do we not fully believe that what seems to be right to us is truly right? Or is there some other influence that informs us of what the world and all the things and concepts and people in it mean to us, something else that influences our perception of how we must behave in order to survive?

Our behavior is related to how we are affected by the things that make up our world. We behave in relation to the various things that fill our awareness, according to how they affect our survivability, (how we PERCEIVE that they affect our survivability). We perceive the world directly through personal contact with it and indirectly through contact with that which represents the world to us, (our language). Language represents the world by labeling everything about which we speak, with sounds made by our bodies. Those vocal sounds are part and parcel of states of our emotions. Our preverbal progenitors and our children when young, make vocal sounds in reaction to various environmental stimuli. Those emotive sounds are intuitively made sense of by all who hear them. We sense the vocalizations and they make sense to us. The vocal sounds are made by a body in an emotional state and cause that state to be reproduced in the emotional body of the hearer of those sounds. The sending body vibrates and the receiving body vibrates similarly. An emotionally linked vibrational pattern is spread from the originator of the vocal sound-vibration to whoever’s auditory apparatus is moved by it. The transmittance of the vibrational pattern is the transmission of the emotion. We are emotionally affected by the emotions of others.

Language is an institution, a standardized way we move our bodies, specifically our vocal apparatuses, our ears, central nervous system and emotions, in relation to the various things that make up our world. In relation to a book, we who speak English, utter the sound, “book”. In relation to a book, a Spanish-speaking person utters the sound, “ libro”. These two different sounds move us in different ways, giving us a different experience of that which refers to and represents that object and consequently, of the thing referred to. The primal meaning of a word is the effect the sound of it creates within us. The secondary, more distant meaning of a word is that to which it refers. The secondary meaning is what we commonly accept as being the one and only meaning. We are generally not aware of the primary meaning, because we are affected by the vocal sounds of our words subliminally and by the secondary, referential, meaning of words consciously. Awareness of the primary meanings of vocal sounds was superceeded by the awareness of the secondary, -referential-, meaning of vocal sounds used as words.

To understand the functionality, the “nuts and bolts”, of language, is to free ourselves of domination by culture, to be the masters of culture rather than its subjects. We have been inextricably attached to culture, for better or for worse, ever since our use of language began. Now we can intentionally create a language/culture that informs us as we would like to be informed, of the effects on us, (the meanings of), all the things we name.

Certainly we agree that we are affected by the sounds we utter. What then is the consequence of referring to all the things to which we refer, (all the things that make up our conscious world), with inherently meaningful sounds? If we were able to refer to things with “meaningless” symbols, then all we would be conveying is the thought of the thing. When we refer to things with inherently meaningful symbols, we are also informing ourselves of the meanings of the things to which we are referring. Is there such a thing as a meaningless symbol? Is anything meaningless? In order to perceive anything, including a symbol, that symbol must register upon our senses and in order to register upon our senses, the sensed thing must affect us. No effect on us, equals no perception by us. Whatever the affect on us is, is the fundamental meaning of the sensed thing. When we refer to things, we are primarily being affected by the symbol which we use to do the referring and secondarily by the memory, if there is a memory, of the thing to which we are referring. When we refer to something with which we have no direct experience, we have only the symbol, (word), to affect us and thus to inform us.

If there is a discrete connection between a vocal sound and a thing, and a connection likewise between a particular vocal sound and a specific effect on the emotions, then there is a connection between the effect on us of the sound and the thing to which that sound, (word), refers.

We are aware that sound has an effect and that the word is sound and that the word has an effect and that the word refers to a thing. Are we aware that, for all intents and purposes, the effect seems to be the thing. How we are affected by a thing, our perception of a thing, is accepted subliminally as being the meaning of the thing. Our actions relative to the things in our world, are related to the perceived meanings of those things.
We feel the feelings generated by the sounds of our words at the same time as we are deliberately focusing on the things to which the words refer. As a consequence, we associate particular vocal-sound- generated feelings with particular things. The thing does not define the feeling. Rather, the feeling defines the thing. The feeling of the word determines what is accepted subliminally as the meaning of the thing. The word enables us to experience feelings of the meanings of things not present, and unknown by direct experience. It establishes a sense of consensus which wells up from the subconscious minds among the speakers of a given language.

All throughout human history, language has been playing this role of consensus creator based on the information we derive from the sounds of our words regarding the-affects-on-us/the-meanings-of, the things that make up our worlds. If we would rather live in a culture of our own creation than in just any one in which we happened to be born, we might consider experimenting with cultural change through language renewal.

I have been asked what I hope to achieve with this information. My desire is that we become aware of the forces that affect us so that we may be able to change the circumstances that exist to circumstances that we would prefer.
Because of the inherent shortcommings inherent in existing languages, although words can be used in a kindly manner to help get us back on track when we lose our way, they cannot, in and of themselves, guide anyone who is determined to see things in a certain way. Only the willing can be helped. How can we help people to be willing?

I observe that culture is the prosthetic subconscious of society, that which we who live in a particular society share with one another and have in common. It has to do with our world-view. Our world view is formed by what things mean to us. How do we obtain our sense of the meaning of our world? Do we share that sense with the others in our group or is it individual to each of us? Is it a conscious, subconscious or unconscious sense, or more than one of them?

When I discovered that the sounds of words convey a sense of meaning, I realized that I had found the answers to these questions. We are informed subliminally of the meaning of our world by the language that we speak.
Having words inform us of the meanings/effects of things seems to have some advantages compared to being informed of the meanings/ effects of things by direct perception of the things themselves. All those who use a particular language have the same basic subliminal sense of the meanings of named things and consequently, are able to participate in the group dynamic of their society. The words for things stay constant through time while how we are affected directly by things changes. We can share experience, knowledge and wisdom with words. Without words, our own personal experience would be all we would have and we would not be able to share it. Words enable abstract thought and planning.

We think, influenced by the feelings of the sounds of words for things and feel as though we were thinking with the perception of the things themselves.

Are we conscious that we are affected by the sounds we make with our voice? We are commonly aware that the quality of singers voices affects us. We know that great orators and actors affect us with their delivery and vocal character. Everyone’s voice affects us. We are aware of the affect of tone of voice but not of the affect of articulated phonemes per se.

When we make word-free sounds with our voice, we more readily experience the effects of those sounds than when we utter words. We generally do not sense the effects of those sounds when we verbalize because our attention is redirected from the affects on us of the vocal sounds to comprehending what the words represent. The primary affects upon us of the sounds of our words remain, on a subliminal level, when we use our vocal sounds as words. Using the sounds as words directs our attention to the things toi which the words refer. We are affected by sounds of our words whether we make them simply as vocal sounds or as words.

				How We Are Affected By Our Culture			
			     	     And How We Can Change It?	


The behavioral choices we make, be they deliberately or subliminally driven. are informed by our perception of ourselves in context to our perception of the world, -by the affects on us of the things that make up our world. We achieve a sense of how we are affected by the world more as a result of our language than as a result of our own nonlinguistic experience. Is that sense due to the actual first-hand effect of things on each of us individually? How do-we/can- we know what the ultimate effect of anything is upon us, either as an individual or as a society? Do we even know the meaning of life? How can we know the ultimate effect on us of anything if we do not know the purpose/goal of life? A particular way we are affected is either desirable or not, as that effect relates to that large purpose, and who among us knows that purpose and is able to show others, by proof, what it is? We seem to share, with other “reasonable” people, what we think is a commonsense view of life, but there is so much room for different choices. On what basis do we make our choices?

In the vacuum created by the questioning mind, we have only our conventional wisdom, residing subliminally, as represented by our culture, to inform us. The more we question, the more we realize that we do not know. How can we act not knowing what things mean? We must have something to go on, a given, on which to base our choices. That given is our language. The sounds we use to refer to the various things we refer vocally to, seem to enable us to experience a feeling of the effect/meaning of the named things. We have nothing else to rely on, as individuals and more-so as a group, since our common language provides us with a common frame of reference.

Vocal sounds themselves, whether they are within words or simply as sounds, are richly meaningful in the sense that they affect our emotional state.

Vocalizing communicates states of our organism. Each particular vocal sound communicates/conveys a particular state. When we use these vocal sounds, each with its own effect/meaning, to refer to particular things, as we do when we speak with words, we bestow meaning upon the things to which we vocally refer, things that we would otherwise not perceive as we do if not for their names. The sounds of our language are by, for and of our body/emotions/feelings, while the things we name are relatively removed from our immediate experience. Naming things seems to render them understandable. This sense of knowing is created by associating our familiar body-made vocal sounds with them.

The perceived meaning-strength of our verbal utterances is greater than the perceived meaning-strength of the things named by them and thus, the affect on us of the sounds of our words pushes aside and replaces the affects on us of the things themselves. The symbol not only represents the symbolized in our consciousness, more profoundly, the effect of the symbol, (in this case, the word), on us subliminally, takes the place of the effect on us of the symbolized: the map replaces the territory. As we are beings who manipulate symbols to gain understanding, we live in a world of our own making, not because of deliberate design, but rather by the nature of language/culture.

In a world prior to the proliferation of technology, using language enhanced our survivability. However, in a world in which we are surrounded by the results of our own efforts, (our artifacts), as we are now, our language/culture may be a major cause of our difficulties. Culture is a living artifact, representing the mentality of our ancestors and instilling that mentality, (that world- view), in us.

I believe that once we understand the mechanism of culture, we will choose to create culture deliberately.

Some say that existing culture is natural and that to tinker with it would be risky and probably harmful. I say that we cannot afford to fear to experiment with new ways of seeing our world. After all, we are not in such a favorable position relative to our prognosis for survival as a species, -precisely because of the effect on us of our culture-, that we should adopt a passive attitude regarding our culture. “If we do not change our direction we will end up where we are headed.”

The meaning of any thing is the same as its affect on us and its affect on us is its meaning. It is the effect of a thing that we perceive and that perceiving informs us of the existence of the thing. It is only that which affects us that we perceive, and it is that effect on us that is its meaning. It defies logic and experience to hold that we are unaffected by our vocal sounds, either used as words or not. If we accept the premise that we are affected by our vocal sounds, that our vocal sounds communicate, we might ask ourselves what the affects upon us of those sounds are.

The sounds of words do not cease to be things themselves, when they are used in words to represent other things. On the scale of the evolution of the human species, the use of vocal sounds to represent things is a relatively recent development. Prior to that, our forbears’ vocalizing simply expressed immediate body-mind states.

We are affected subconsciously by the sound/sounds of any given word in the same way as our forbears were affected by the things that now the word represents. They reacted to things: the vocal part of that reaction later became words and we who use/hear those words, react to the sounds of those words as they reacted to those things. Experiencing the word replaces experiencing the thing the word represents. Culture is instilled in us in that way. The word acts as a transmitter of experience. The experience that caused the sounds to be uttered is represented in those who hear those sounds/words subsequently. By this means, our forbears’ experience of things becomes our experience of those things.

Thus, we are at once, informed and defined by our language/culture. Our culture is the real status quo, the actual law of the land. It rules us from our subconscious minds, beyond the reach of our deliberative processes. Since we cannot, in the final analysis, prove anything at all, it is by default that the values, the unquestioned assumptions, which reside in the subconscious mind, form our foundation.

Furthermore, while our own experiences are unique to each of us, it is our culturally/ linguistically created experiences that we share as a group. To be a part of the group, one must adopt the group’s consensus experience as one’s own. To be conventionally understood, one must speak the mother tongue.

Similar to an iceberg. the preponderance of the import of language occurs beneath the surface of awareness. One must consider the role of the subconscious mind in order to grasp the true function of language. Language is based on sound, sound made with the human voice. The sounds we produce vocally communicate our emotional conditions. When we vibrate that part of our body, specifically evolved as a vibration-making apparatus, (their vocal apparatuses), we show others what is going on with us, we cause others specialized vibration-receiving body parts, (the auditory apparatus), to vibrate in kind. The motion of the auditory apparatus mimics the motion of the vocal apparatus. After being vibrated by an other’s voice, we are able to reproduce those vocal sounds.

When we hear someone speak, at the same time that we are trying to understand what is being said, (what is meant by any particular words), our emotions/feelings are being informed by the effects on us of the sounds of the words we hear. We do not need to consciously try to apprehend the meanings/ effects of the vocal sounds themselves to perceive them. The meanings are the affects on us of the sounds. We do need to consciously try to understand the meanings/referential functions, of the words. Because of that, the focus of our conscious attention is removed from the effect of our vocal sounds and placed upon the relationship between the words and the things they signify. That type of meaning is peculiar to each language and is not necessarily intuitive unless one has adopted the world-view of that language.

As for the demand that the claim that vocal sounds are communicative, be proven; there is not a demand for proof that facial expression and body posture in general are communicative. Why does no one dispute the second claim while establishment linguists deny that vocal sounds convey meaning? Is it because they are so caught up with considerations of the referential function of words that they cannot experience the effects on themselves of the sounds that make up the words? Does it not stand to reason that vocal sounds must affect us? Is it not true that everything that we perceive affects us and that it is precisely that effect which we perceive? Can there be perception without being affected? And the meaning of anything must, in the final analysis, be simply its effect within us. lthough one may agree that we are affected by vocal sounds, one may not agree that we are affected emotionally by vocal sounds. We are accustomed to not reacting emotionally overtly to our vocal sounds.
What is language doing to us, that we don’t know about? What do these sounds that come forth from our bodies mean? What does anything mean? Is finding what anything means the same as discovering how it affects us? Is the meaning the same as the emotional/body effect? Could it be anything other than that? How do we know how anything emotionally affects us? Do things affect us? Are we emotionally affected by the sounds we produce vocally? If so, how are we affected? Are we emotionally affected more strongly by the sounds we vocally produce or by the things in our environment? Where do emotional reactions come from; the conscious or the subconscious, or both?

Do we obtain a sense of the meaning of a thing from deliberative thinking about it or from our subconscious reaction to our mental process regarding it? Emotions well up from the depths of our occult minds. Once we become aware of our reactions to a thing, we can question the reason for the reaction and reinform ourselves about how the thing affects us. With new information, our emotional reaction changes. What do the very words we use to describe a thing to ourselves do to our sense of the meaning of the thing? When we compare the thing in question to other things not in question, we are not really discovering its meaning. We are rather, assuming that the meaning of the things we use to clarify the meaning of our subject, are themselves clearly meaningful. What if they are not? Is it possible for them to be not? The only thing in this scenario of which we do not question the meaning is the sounds of the words we use to refer to the things. And, we normally, do not even consider our vocal sounds to be meaningful. Because their affect on us is through our subconscious, we are not aware of it and thus are affected more unalterably than if we were aware of the fact that we are being affected by the sounds of our words.

Although logically, it is impossible for us to not be affected by our vocal sounds, we do not dwell on that phenomenon and do not consider it an issue of moment. Supposing we are affected by vocal sounds: what would that mean? Would our perception of the things we refer to verbally be influenced? Would our sense of the meaning of named things be determined by the vocal sounds we use to refer to those things?

We all talk of culture. What do we mean by “culture”? In the New World Dictionary of the American Language, the definition number 6 of culture, is: ”The ideas, customs, skills, arts, etc. of a given people in a given period; civilization.” I define culture as, “The values/assumptions that are shared by the users/practitioners of any given language.”

The history of the human race is basically, the record of intra and intercultural “chemistry”. We have been, for the most part, passive recipients of whatever paradigm was dealt us by our cultures. Like passengers on a great ship, our fates were sealed by the course charted in advance by the directives mandated by our culture. Wouldn’t we rather be active participants in shaping our destiny? We can be if we understand how culture works. It is a simple and natural phenomena, and although we created it, we do not understand it. Until we do, we will be incidental and directed actors in a script not of our choosing. Just as understanding our biology liberates us from the chains of previously immutable law, so too, knowing what culture is and consequently, how to alter it, will free us from the destiny of carrying out the plan set in motion by the emergence of language/ culture.

We will invest in becoming aware of our culture when we realize the necessity of doing so. When we know that we cannot go on indefinitely with our current flight plan, unaware, on autopilot, we will look for a new understanding of our human behavior.

Through the years, centuries and millennia, our culture has served us in whatever way it has, for better or for worse. It seems that we now need to acknowledge that we are, “up against it”, and that we need to change our ways. Before technology and industrialization, we did not feel the heat of our cultural impasse nearly as much as we now do. The power to alter our environment given to us by our technology has brought the issue of our inappropriate behavior to the forefront. The results of our cultural inadequacy is right in our faces. However, we have not yet, as a society, identified the source of our problem. We have not yet realized how we are possessed by our culture or even what culture is. We sometimes question why we act in ways so antithetical to our professed beliefs/values. We go to church on Sunday and are back in the lurch on Monday. Our saints and prophets tell us The Truth and we nod our heads in agreement. Yet we continue to behave as we have, in ways characteristic of our culture, not in ways representative of our professed beliefs and values. This contradiction and dissonance between what we believe consciously and what seems to be truly motivating our behavior is the cause of much confusion and angst. We are passive recipients of the hands dealt us by our culture not the masters of our destiny. Let us become conscious of the nature of the relationship between ourselves and our culture.

How can any of us experience the effect on our emotions of the vocal sounds we utter/hear? I accomplished that by saying the sounds of our language, using the alphabet as a sequential guide, and sensitizing myself to the emotional effect of each sound in turn.

Our progenitors used to live in whatever shelters, such as caves or rock overhangs, they found already existing. Then they learned to make shelters where and when they wished. We have, until now, lived within and according to whatever culture in which we happened to be born. We can now attempt to make our culture one that instills in us the values we consciously hold, rather than the values we inherited from our distant ancestors.

When I was in school, I was taught that culture is things like classical music, opera, the fine arts, classic literature and theater. I sensed that culture was far deeper than that, that culture existed in each of us, deeply ingrained in our minds. Not until I discovered the mechanics of language did I clearly realize what culture is, what it does to us and how it does it.

Before I discovered how language works, I did not understand what culture is. The two, language and culture, are identical twins, each with a different name and apparent mission but with the same dna. Culture is an abstraction and language is the physical mechanism from whence it springs. Language uses emotionally evocative sounds to represent things, thereby suggesting the meanings of those things. The sense of the meaning of things derived from words, accompanied by our sense of self identity, directs us as to how to behave in relation to those things. The values etched in our culture by language long ago are instilled in us and direct our behavior today.

A body continues in its state of motion unless it is acted on by an outside force. Human culture remains fundamentally unchanged unless it is changed by those who sense a need to change it.

The subconscious mind is where culture resides within us. Culture resides without us in language. Culture remains unexamined and unchanged within the subconscious mind until we see a need to change it. Many others have spoken about the need to change the way we, as a society, think: some have tried, by using means, such as meditation, sleep deprivation, psychoactive substances and chanting to accomplish this change and have been more or less able to do so for themselves. However, it seems they were not able to lastingly infuse society at large with their newly found vision, due to not addressing this issue from the root. One must understand a process before one can intentionally and deliberately alter it. Understanding the “nuts and bolts” of language makes it possible to change our culture.

The idea that we are strongly influenced by a force invisible to us is strange and tends to be unsettling. The glue that binds us together as a society is so much an ingrained part of our lives, that we do not perceive it as a force. It operates automatically and therefore requires no attention in order to function as the organizing premise of society. The question of whether we approve of its values almost never arises. Rather, we act as automatons, driven by the invisible program instilled in us with the learning of our language. Just as features of our physical bodies evolve by natural processes, so culture evolves by natural processes without our conscious collaboration. Culture has served us tolerably well through most of our species’ history. However, since the emergence of mechanization, the contradictions between our professed values and our way of life have become increasingly obvious. This is due to the magnifying effect of technology on the impact of human actions. What we do today affects our shared environment far more than our actions did prior to industrial technology, while our culture is basically the same as it was then, before industrialization. This forces upon us the issue of the correctness of the values that underlie our assumptions about the nature of reality. We can no longer afford to forge ahead with no awareness of the reasons for our choices.

The tension caused by the contradiction between our professed beliefs and the beliefs implied/expressed by our actions is caused by the isolation from our conscious apprehension of the source of the values or even of the values that drive our actions. Our conscious beliefs derive from our intellectual workings while our actions are driven by our cultural conditioning, which resides in our subconscious minds. We all have different beliefs, depending on what mental roads we have traveled and we who share a given language, all have the same underlying, subliminal values. How we translate these common values into actions depends on our perception of what character we are, in the script of our society. In the script we are born into, we act the role we see ourselves as plausibly and convincingly being able to play. One’s assumed role in society must seem plausible to one given one’s assessment of oneself.

Our understanding of culture is vastly more incomplete than is our understanding of mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology or even psychology and sociology. The radio-telescope, electron microscope and other information gathering tools continue to enable us to conceive of that which we previously could grasp only metaphysically. We can likewise increase our awareness of the machinations of human culture by focusing our attention on it and bringing to bear, in our quest for understanding, whatever relevant knowledge we may have. If we widely saw that culture impacts our everyday life to the extent to which it does, we would feel a powerful motivation to discover its inner workings. Language is the body whose physics we must comprehend in order to understand the workings of culture.

The vocal sounds our pre-linguistic progenitors made conveyed feeling and emotion. We still make sounds and they convey feeling and emotion now as they did then. Using them as words, to refer to things, does not cause them to cease conveying emotion. The stronger affect on us of the sounds of words than the effect on us of the things which words label, the consensus regarding the meaning of things that words provide members of a group who speak a common language and a constancy of the sense of the meanings of things we name, all contribute to our subconscious acceptance of the affects on us of the sounds of words as representing the affects on us of the things which words represent. When we use words, we feel we have a sort of firsthand experience with the things named. This experience with the verbal representation of things named provides us with a sense of their meaning. The sound, which is rich with emotional affect, by default, informs us of the emotion associated with the thing. We associate the sound of a word for a thing with the thing; so we associate the effect of the sound as a thing, with the effect of the thing, for it is the effect of a thing and only the effect of a thing that lets us know that the thing is there and what it means. We have nothing else common, constant, and which affects us more strongly when the named thing itself is not there in front of us, and even when it is, than the sounds of words, (the sounds of our voice). The affects on us of the sounds of our own voice takes the place of the affects on us of the things themselves. We make our world familiar and handleable by using our bodily sounds to represent the things we encounter. We intuitively understand the meanings/effects of our vocal sounds while we do not as readily understand the affects on us of the things in our world. Our vocal sounds are of by and for us while the world-out-there is much less familiar and more difficult to relate to intuitively.

The sounds that a musical instrument makes are a result of the materials and construction of the instrument. When something vibrates, it makes sounds according to its physical structure. Whatever is doing the vibrating is what sounds. Mothers sing sweet lullabies to babies, not pirate drinking songs. Why? Because the sounds the mother makes cause the baby to vibrate in a similar manner. Entrainment is a word that may be used to describe this phenomena. There is the driver and the driven. The mother is the driver and the baby is the driven. The mother establishes a pattern of motion and the baby assumes motion in that pattern. If one wishes to calm another, one speaks calmly. Elemental states are being transmitted/communicated by the mother to the baby. Are elemental states communicated by phonemes? Is there a relationship between the vocal sounds we make and our emotive/feeling states? Do our vocal sounds correlate to our feelings/emotions? Are vocal sounds meaningful? Do they cause an effect in us? As a form of body language, are vocal sounds meaningful, as facial expressions are meaningful?
All animals that breathe make sounds when they breathe. The air passing into and out of the body makes sounds and those sounds are formed and shaped by whatever the condition of the body is. Think of The Star Wars character, Darth Vader, as he breathes. How communicative is the way he breathes! One may ask how does the sound of breathing communicate and what does it communicate? If simply breathing communicates, then does vocalizing communicate? Do the sounds that we produce, in order to form our words, communicate? If they do, then what is it that they communicate? There are some vocal sounds to which one may feel a reaction, such as the sound of the letter, “R”, or that of the “M”, or the “A”, or “E”, etc.. Are any vocal sounds meaningful to you?

Supposing that all the sounds we make communicate; would our feelings about a thing be affected by what the sounds we use to refer to it communicate to us? Many linguists and others maintain that the sounds we make when we speak, in and of themselves, have no meaning. By saying that they have no meaning one is holding that they do not communicate. But if Darth Vader’s breathing communicates, which it obviously does, then even breathing is meaningful, its meaning being the affect it causes in us. One may say that the affect on us of the sounds of breathing is an emotional affect and therefore has no meaning per se. At this point one would be separating the concept of emotional affect from the concept of meaning. If emotional affect is not meaningful, what is? One may say that the meanings of words are the things to which they refer. If this were true, we would have no clue of the meaning of any thing. We would know what the sounds of the words mean in terms of the things but we would have no sense of what the things mean. We need to know what the things mean: we already subconsciously know what the sounds of the words mean. And, can a sound mean a thing? Or does a sound have meaning of its own? Does the thing have meaning of its own? It seems likely that vocal sounds have effects/meanings and it seems questionable that things have particular meanings. After all, it is how any thing affects us that is its meaning. The way a thing affects us changes through time and is different for different folks, whereas the affects on us of the sounds of our own voices is the same through time and for all of us. However, if on the other hand, we derive our sense of the meaning of a thing from the sounds of the word for it, we do have a definite sense of its meaning because we are naturally affected emotionally by those sounds.

On one hand, we are affected deeply by the sounds made by our bodies and on the other hand, we are not consistently and uniformly affected by the things that make up our world. When the two things are associated with one another, the one with the strongest affect- pressure defines the one with the lesser affect-pressure.

No one that I have spoken with about the subject maintains that the sounds we make with our voices are non-communicative. Rather, people commonly report that they feel clearly affected in particular ways by different vocal sounds and a thread of commonality runs through their reports. So, if we know that we are affected by our voice sounds, why do we deny that we may be affected by the sounds of our words and that how we are affected by the sounds of our words may influence our perceptions of the things we name?´
There are conscious processes and subconscious processes And processes can migrate from one realm to the other. Driving a car or playing a piano are examples. When we talk, we are conscious of the things we are talking about. When we vocalize non-verbally, we are conscious of the sounds of our voice and, if we are on the lookout for it, we may be aware of the effects on us of those sounds.

What we suppose to be the reasons why we act as we do may not be the real or sole reasons. The quest for psychological self-discovery is about becoming aware of the real reasons for our behavior. Many of us use our rational minds to create plausible explanations for our behavior. Some of us who are more dedicated to the truth of the matter rather than to simply defending whatever we may do, use the rational mind to examine our behavior in the light of understanding. In the ultimate shakedown, do we really know why we do what we do? Can we prove it to anyone else: can we prove it to ourselves? Looking at what influences us seems to be useful in ascertaining exactly what motivates us. Since we are all about survival, whatever affects our survivability, obviously affects our behavior. Our relationship with our caregivers, if we are dependent on another, with our employer, if we are working for someone else, with the legal structures, if we live in civilization, with our perception of the affect on us of our actions, whether that perception is conscious or subconscious, and with our sense of morality, if we are so disposed, are all important to us. Whatever bears on our survival and metasurvival influences our behavior.
How do we ascertain the affects on us, (the meanings of), the myriad of things that make up our world? It is impossible to think our way through the question of how we will be affected by all the various choices we may make, as a chess player attempts to do. We would need to know the ultimate affect on us of all things and all actions relative to those things. This is not possible, at least for now. In the absence of any definitive proof of the meaning of anything, we feel the need to know what exactly things are, what each thing is. The final word on this issue is THE WORD itself. The word for a thing is what we have to go on for sensing what the thing means to us. Since the effect on us of a thing and the meaning for us of that thing are one and the same, and since the actual sound of the word affects us deeply, reliably and in the same way as it affects everyone else, we lean on this word-sound-affect thingy to inform us of what any particular thing means for us. It is the collection of word sounds called language that creates human culture. We have a world full of things, of which we know naught; and we have sounds we make with our body, the affects of which we experience subconsciously.

Spoken language tends to be quite stable through time and hence, culture is likewise stable.

We can sense the meaning of things only in those ways that we can be affected by things. In order to sense, one must be affected. If one is not affected, one does not sense. In how many different ways can one be affected by things? How would we determine that? In how many different ways can we be affected by the sounds we make with our voice? How would we determine that? The way we are affected by things is different with different people and at different times with each person. The ways we are affected by our voices is the same for all people and at all times with each person. The effects on us of our voices is the currency we use in order to determine the effects on os of all other things. As we are affected by the sounds of any given word for any given thing is how we assume we are affected by that thing. The word acts as a kind of magical window through which we peer in order to seemingly gain a glimpse of the true nature of whatever it is we are considering. When we consider a thing, we have the thing itself in front of us. It is alien to us. It does not talk. It does not tell us what it is. It just exists mysteriously. However, we do have the word for the thing. The word speaks to us in our own language. It moves us literally with the motions of our bodies. And we are affected deeply by its presence. Which one informs us of the affect on us of any given thing, the thing itself or the word for the thing? The word is the handle we use to get a feeling of the meaning of the thing. We derive a sense of the meaning of any thing by hearing the word for that thing.

This sense of meaning we acquire from our language is not based on absolute knowledge of the ultimate affect on we humans of any thing. It is a product of our own particular language and different from the sense one acquires from using another language.

So, what does this matter? If our only sense of the meanings of things derives from our language, then what we subliminally assume to be the givens of our world are bestowed upon us, as a people, by our language. This sense of what our world means informs our decisions, be they consciously or subconsciously motivated, for underlying all conscious considerations is whatever resides in our subconscious. The contents of the subconscious sends compelling feelings and emotions which drive behavior, behavior which we rationalize by explaining why we do what we do. If one disobeys the emotional promptings/demands of one’s subconscious, one experiences a sense of disassociation and consequently anxiety. Anxiety is disabling and we strongly tend to avoid it. Therefore, we are held hostage by the contents of our subconscious minds. Our culture, which is the product of our language, is the most influential factor among those that contribute to the values we have stored beneath the surface of our awarenesses. We humans live in a sea of mystery. Non-cognitive creatures are informed of the import of the varied situations they encounter by their instincts, whereas we are mainly informed by culture. This provides us with greater adaptability and also creates the risk of us “falling off the apple cart” of the sense of knowing provided by culture. Culture is somewhat like an overcoat which we can remove, and instincts are more like fur, (permanent). If we remove our cultural coat we are then without our familiar input of information as to the meanings of the things that make up our world. Without our common culture, (a product of our common language), we have only our individual experiences, and nothing to provide a basis for society. Nonverbal species have instincts to guide their social behavior. Humans have culture. Xenophobia is a result of identification with the familiar. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, most humans have little time to question and to seek answers. We are geared up for a competitive, rat-racy way of life, in which “wars and rumors of war” are commonplace. We simply absorb our culture and then act out our role in it.

			   How Do We Know Anything?

We know when we need to pee. We know when we are hungry, tired or attracted to a potential mate. How do we know these fundamental things? We FEEL them. We don’t wonder if they are true or ponder how we know them. We just know. How could we prove that any of the things that we feel actually exist? We would not be able to prove their existence or the existence of any other given. We go by what is there. Our feelings inform us of how we are affected by whatever it is that is there that affects us. The subconscious rational mind accepts our feelings as givens and operates according to them as starting premises.

While our beliefs are in relation to our feelings, also our feelings are in relation to our beliefs. That is why we, as humans, are capable of heinous acts, acts that a non-idological person would recoil from. Whatever beliefs we adopt are part of the lens through which we gaze when we interpret more primary things. If we dare to abandon our beliefs and to simply allow ourselves to perceive our world as it is, without being interpreted according to beliefs, we then feel it as it is. If we realize that we really do not know what anything means separate from how we feel it is, that its ultimate meaning is a mystery, then we are able to perceive it without the intermediation of our cultural conditioning. Since we react emotionally to the emotive processes of others, to the sights and sounds of others’ emotional goings-on, the sounds of others’ words, as well as the sounds of our own words, affect us emotionally. We are affected by human vocal sounds as sounds separate from words and as components of words. When we use vocal sounds as words, the affects on us of the sounds stand as representing the affects on us of the things which we label with those words. The affect on us of the sounds of the word, “walrus”, is accepted by us as revealing the affect on us of the thing, “walrus”. The effect of the word replaces the effect of the thing; the material is superseded by the abstract; the map replaces the territory. In this way, we become creatures of our culture. Spoken language uses emotional feelings to represent the various things in our world.

Ever since language started, it has been informing us of how we are affected by things. This process of informing has taken place and continues to take place without our awareness. Among our distant forebears, those who realized that they uttered particular sounds in reaction to the presence of particular stimuli began the use of vocal sounds as words, thereby initiating culture. The vocal sounds that were initially emotional utterances, became tools with which to refer to things no matter whether those things were present at the time of the use of the word or not. Using vocal sounds to refer to or to bring to mind the things which they were uttered in reaction to, left unaltered the relationship between the vocal sounds and the emotions/ feelings they expressed. Using vocal sounds as words perpetuated the way of perceiving those things that was extant at the time of the transition between the use of vocal sounds as expressions of emotions and using vocal sounds as referential tools, (words). Once those reactive emotional sounds became words, that way of reacting to those things was effectively frozen in time. All those subsequently born in that society had to learn those words and therefore experienced those reactions to those things.

			       The culture made us do it.

In order to know why humans behave as they do, we must know about culture. And in order to know about culture, we must know about language. We must know how language creates culture and how culture informs our behavior.

Ordinarily we are aware that language is used to refer to things, things that already exist. We say that a particular word means a particular thing, that the meaning of any word is the thing to which it refers. We do not recognize that the sounds of words affect us. When we simply vocalize, we more readily notice that our sounds represent emotions/feelings. When we utter words with the same vocal sounds we associated with feelings when voiced not as words, we are not aware of any association of our sounds with our feelings. Why is that? If vocal sounds affect us emotionally when uttered simply as sounds, then could they cease to affect us that way when used as words? Perhaps, when we verbalize, we are preoccupied with that to which words refer and therefore lose our focus on the sound of the word as an effect-producing stimulus. If we are emotionally affected by the sounds of our words, how then is our perception of the things to which we refer with our words affected by the emotional effect of words?

	Our actions program our minds.

In the absence of conclusive knowledge of the meaning of our world, any clue we receive is embraced by us as a message in a bottle is by castaways.

Our vocal sounds reveal our emotional condition just as our bowel sounds reveal our gastronomical goings on.

If we accept the idea that our voice expresses our feelings/ emotions, then exactly what feelings/emotions are expressed by what vocal sounds?

In order for us to be conscious of that which our voice expresses, we must receive that expression: If we did not receive it, we would not be aware that it expresses anything.

In order to perceive, we must be affected: In order to be affected, a change must occur. It is the affect on us of that change, that we accept as being the meaning of the thing that changed us. The sounds of our words affect us more consistently and universally than do the things to which they refer.

	Language is a system of assigning meaning to things.

Think of the unspoken prohibition against vocalizing nonverbally in public. The only forum where doing so is somewhat acceptable is in certain churches where it is labeled, “talking in tongues”, and thought of by its practitioners as being divinely inspired, and therefore, sanctified, and when done by scat singers. That shows that we feel a need to explain and permit nonverbal vocalizing. And even within that context, glossolalia is thought of as being weird by most. How uncomfortable would most of us become if, in our immediate presence, someone we did not know well commenced vocalizing non- verbally. In polite society, speaking is reserved for the practice of formalized language in order to preserve our sense of the meanings of things. One would be feared and ostracized for crossing the line that defines the frontiers of normal speech. I am not referring to what we say about whatever subject which we may be discussing, but only to whether the sounds we make with our voice constitute normal identifiable words and syntax.

In the rush and shuffle of daily human life, what we hold true as our highest values are often left by the wayside and our decisions are informed by the underlying values of our culture.

There is a rift between what we want to think of as our motivating principles and what the real driving assumptions/givens that govern our decisions are. We have a starting set of what-ises that we acquire from our culture/language, and then some of us, the questioning, seeking ones, acquire a consciously/deliberately acquired set of guiding principles which we identify with. We, who are not in harmony with the mass view of what it is that is, look for support for our own view. We find religion, books, music and art, which resonates with our deliberate identity in order to support our more humanitarian, more well thought out perspective. What brought about the mass culture that many of the more thoughtful of us recoil from? If the mass culture is so odious to so many of our best minds, then why is it predominant? Why is it there at all? Whence does it come?

Obviously, we can and do disagree with one another on the meaning of this or of that, but we agree on the words for those things. We all adhere carefully to the vocabulary of our language, our “mother tongue”. When all is said and done, it is the sounds of our words which have the “final word” on how we perceive the effects of things, and therefore on what things seem to mean.

We all experience our nonverbal environment as individuals, each in our own way, while all of us who speak any particular language, experience our linguistic environment similarly. When we relate to the world through our words, we eliminate individual differences of how we perceive things since we all perceive the sounds of our words in much the same way. Our vocal sounds are of, by and for us. We intuitively “grok” the meaning of vocal utterances due to our being affected primally by those sounds. Without language, how we would react to things external to us would depend on our own unique experiences with those things, while our reactions to our own vocal sounds is central to our emotional structure and are not dependent upon our individual experiences with the things they represent. If we were to hear an unfamiliar language being spoken, we would react to the vocal sounds without knowing what the words refer to. When we hear a known language, we react to the sounds as well and then also to our thoughts of the things referred to by those sounds. Each individual’s reaction to the thoughts of the things referred to is unique while each person’s reaction to the sounds of words is much closer to being identical.
Language tells us what things are. It does this by giving us something that affects us deeply, (the sounds of the names for things), to represent things that do not affect us consistently nearly as deeply.

While it is true that everything we perceive affects us, things we resonate with more, in this case, sounds we make with our voices, affect us more than things less relevant to us.

With words, we have the abstract concept of the affect on us of the things to which words refers, and we have the physical, tactile, visceral affects on us of the sounds of the words. Which one is more informative as to the affects on us of the named things? If we find something just lying on the ground, something we have never seen before and the function of it is not apparent, we typically would ask someone, “What is this thing?” Whereupon, if they knew, they would mention its name and then perhaps describe its function. Upon hearing its name, we derive a sense of what it IS, even if the name is totally unfamiliar. The description of its function adds to our sense of knowing what it is. Somehow, the sounds we produce with our voice and receive with our ears provide us with information of the nature of a previously mysterious thing. Without the name for it, we seem to be unsure of what it is. But after we hear its tag, its vocal representative, we feel that we have the official word on its nature. If it has a name, it must be included within the circle of the known, the familiar.

We acquire a sense of the meanings of things by some sort of experience with them. Firsthand experience with things is unique to each of us and is not reliably the same each time we encounter those things. We are already intimately familiar with the sounds of our words. They are the sounds we voiced since before we were toddlers, at which time we experienced more fully the emotional-feeling effects of our vocalizations. Once we began using our vocal sounds as labels for things out there in our environment, we ceased paying attention to the affects on us of the vocal sounds and started paying attention to the logic of the relationships between and among the things to which we were referring. In that way, our focus and awareness was redirected from the concrete to the seemingly, though not actually, abstract. Once we crossed that Rubicon from tactile experience of things to tactile experience of words, we continued to be affected, as we were before, by the sounds of our vocalizations, but subliminally affected rather than consciously affected. At that juncture, we became cultural beings, affected from our subconscious.

Throughout our species’ journey from acultural beings, who used vocalizations only to express instant emotional states, to modern civilized humans, who use vocal sounds as words to make every important decision, and most others, (ever since we began using words), we have been creatures of our culture. In order to perceive our real world we need to free ourselves from that bondage. We must not continue to be passive passengers on a doomed ship, but rather we must storm the wheel-house and take charge from the robotic, indifferent captain, “Captain Culture”.
Our culture, along with all the major cultures of this world, embraces war as a solution to human conflict. As long as we consider war to be a viable, acceptable way to deal with problems, we are on a path to self-destruction. The assumption of the acceptability of war puts us into a mode in which any sort of action, no matter how environmentally of socially destructive, is justified by the premise that it is necessary for our survival. The destruction of other human beings becomes rationalizable when our own survival seems to be in the balance. We must create a culture in which getting along with each other is more important than having things our own way. We are not living in an ecologically sound way because to do so as a society requires a world free from the threat of war. When war is included in the picture as a possibility, anything goes because our immediate survival is threatened.

My goal is to help to create culture which fosters appreciation, cooperation and peace.

What started out as sounds made by the body, as a consequence of breathing through a throat, the emotional condition of which modulated the sounds produced, later became a relatively complex system of communicating the emotional goings-on of social species and then evolved into a system of deliberately bringing to mind things whether present or not and finally into a formalized system of recording these sounds through writing. We all know that our vocal sounds, when words, refer to things, ideas, feelings, concepts, etc., all of which are referred to as “things” by linguists and philosophers. Anything identified as existing separately from all the other separable things is thought of as a “thing”. There is nothing that is not a thing, or so the analytical process seems to reveal. What we don’t know is that the primal building blocks of words, the individual vocal sounds which make them up, each resonate with a distinct and particular emotion-feeling. It was precisely because of this connection between vocal sounds and emotions that species evolved their ability to vocalize in the varied and highly developed way that they do. If vocal sounds were not evocative of emotional reaction, they would not be communicative and therefore would be useless. Simply because our attention has been redirected from the emotional effect of vocal communication to the referential, denotative role, we have not ceased being affected emotionally by our vocal sounds. We are not supposed to make our decisions based on the emotional effects of our utterances but rather on the strength of the consideration of that which is signified by them. Of course, we are affected emotionally by our utterances on the primal level as sounds, and, since we do not consciously grapple with that emotional effect, we are influenced by it from where it resides, our subconscious. Because it comes to us from beneath the surface of awareness, we are affected by it without the chance to examine and dialog with it. This information, passed along to us by our predecessors, is our culture. The distillation of the interaction with the world, of those who experienced it before we were here, as represented by our language, is the core of our cultural heritage. It is the primary d.n.a. from which all our social institutions are formed. It is primal: it is simple: it influences us from the subconscious and therefore is out of reach of examining and/or questioning.

Does ragged sound like what it signifies? Does smooth sound like what it signifies? How about “huge” and “tiny”, “loud” and “soft”, “bright” and “dim”? Those who maintain that there is no connection between the sounds that make up words and their meanings must be not only deaf but also blind. If we admit that vocal sounds exert emotional affect then wouldn’t it stand to reason that we would use sounds that were somehow related to the things to which they refer, rather than sounds that were not related? Then the question arises, “How can a vocal sound be related to a thing?” In order to comprehend this relationship, let us consider that we are affected by all things that we perceive. Every thing perceived affects the perceiver. Without affect there is no perception. In order for perception to happen, there must be a change wrought in the perceiver. Something must be sensed. Our senses work by comparing one state to another. If there is no change, there is nothing to compare with. It is the change that is perceived. How something affects us is what we perceive it to be. It is the affect that we perceive. How something affects us is its meaning.

Knowing this, it makes sense that we would tend to make vocal sounds related to the way we are affected by whatever is affecting us. These reactive sounds, at first uttered, driven by emotion, later become words, words which we learn as babies. This is how we learn our culture.

The transition between emotionally driven vocal utterances and words happened when proto-people became aware that they were vocalizing in a certain way in relation to a particular thing/stimulus. Once they knew that, they could manipulate their mental process by uttering the sound associated with a thing in order to bring the thing to mind whether it was there or not. Their vocal reactions became institutionalized as referential symbols. This formalization and standardization of the relationship between emotions and things was the inception of culture. Ever since that crucial event, we humans have been relating to our world through the guidance of spoken language, thereby receiving information as to the meaning of our world as a consequence of our practice of language.

I have heard many multilingual people report that their feeling and thinking changes with the language they are using. This phenomenon shows that our perception of reality changes with our language. The sounds we use to refer to things suggests to us what those things are.

When trying to figure out how language works, we typically consider the tangible sounds of the words and the tangible things to which the words refer. Consequently, we look for a relationship between the two and conclude that there is none and therefore that there is no connection between sound and meaning. The missing third element in this consideration is the consideration of the way we are affected by our vocal utterances. If we accept that we are affected by the sounds we make vocally, - an idea not so far-fetched -, we can comprehend that the relationship between our utterances and our emotions/ feelings is primary and that the relationship between our words and the things to which they refer is secondary. This harmonizes with the fact that the use of vocalizations for emotional expression is primary and the use of vocalizations for referring to things is secondary.

We are not supposed, by those who wish to perpetuate the status quo, to break free from the adherence to the association of the utterances of our language with the things to which we refer to with those sounds. The rules of social behavior prohibit babbling. We feel uncomfortable if people simply make nonverbal sounds. It disorients us. We experience the loss of the function of language as a familiarizing tool. What we felt as a reliable proclamation of the meaning of all things named, is revealed as merely sounds that anyone can make and remake as they desire. Some are horrified by that vision; some are liberated. Our native language is not the final word regarding the nature of our world, but rather one story among others.
Abstract reasoning must ultimately be connected to material, physical experience. Firsthand experience is the raw material, the grist for the mill of thought. Somewhere, “the rubber must meet the road”. Spoken language is that place where we, as cultural beings, experience our visceral connection to our world. All those who speak the same language can connect similarly, via their language, to their world. In that way, they experience a shared world-view. The vocal sounds of language are emotionally affective and because of that, provide us with a sense of the affect on us of the things we refer to with our words. The relationship between the feelings of our vocal sounds and our things is the foundation upon which culture rests.

Experiencing the effects on one of vocal sounds, seems to facilitate the realization that one is, in fact, affected by them. This is not surprising. We relate best to that which we physically experience compared to that which we grasp only theoretically.

We can more easily experience the emotional-feeling effects of vocal sounds if we experience them separate from words. Saying out loud the sound of a word over and over many times, seems to reveal the visceral effect of the sound of that word. This over and over repeating tends to strip words of their referential function and to reveal to our conscious minds how we are affected by them simply as vocal utterances. Furthermore, uttering vocal sounds which are not recognizable words is more revealing of the effects on us of the sounds than is uttering words that we know. If we are not busy processing the sounds as words, (sounds that refer to things), we tend to more easily notice the emotional-feeling affects on us of the sounds themselves. There are some vocal utterances that we commonly recognize as having a feeling affect. Examples of these vocal sounds are the sounds of the letters r, m, and e. Although we may not be aware of the affect on us of a stimulus, we know that we are affected by anything that we perceive. In order to perceive, we must be affected by that which we perceive. Abstract visual art, music and dance are appreciated because of the effect they create within us. Some may say they are unaffected by any of those forms of expression. Some claim to be unmoved by anything. One must be able to resonate with a thing in order to perceive it. The tuner of a radio must resonate at whatever frequency a signal is being broadcast in order to receive it. If one attempts to relate wholly abstractly one tends to lose one’s connection to one’s own feelings, and consequently loses a sense of the meaning of what they experience. The analytical mind works with the raw material of visceral experience. The givens we accept as “just being”, are the assumptions upon which we base our assessment of what things mean to us. If we accept nothing as given, we have no basis for action. The meaning of things cannot be figured out “objectively”. We can think about something till we’re blue in the face and still not arrive any closer to a final understanding of its meaning. At some point, one must simply go with what seems to work. In the context of this absence of any provable meaning of things, our spoken language supplies us with a sense of how we are affected by whatever we have a word for. The feeling effects of words as sounds informs us subliminally of their meanings and consequently of the effects/meanings of those things to which they refer.
We must accept our culture as the valuable asset that it is, the valuable and precious treasure bestowed on us by our predecessors; but not be content with it. Rather, we must use it as a launching pad for our next adventure in our awareness building and bravely create a culture deliberately, knowing how culture functions. Up until now, we have had to accept the culture we were born into; but now we can make a culture to suit our specifications. Just knowing how culture works will go far in the liberation of our emotions and awareness. Knowing how incomplete our coping skills are, we must also add our contribution to that trove of treasure that is our culture.

We really do not know what anything means. We can only contribute our best guess to the existing version of what it is all about, which is embodied by our culture.

With spoken language, we are using body language to refer to, (to represent), things. Often, the uttered word is the only physical connection we have to the things of which we speak. The spoken word is also the only shared physical connection we have to the thing and, unlike our direct relationship with the thing, is constant through time. With spoken language we are using “pieces of ourselves” to represent the things of our world. By doing this, we make the world seem familiar, predictable and understandable.

Body language communicates goings-on of the body. The use of existing body language capabilities for referring to things happened long after body language’s inception. Vocal capability evolved prior to its being used as words to represent the things of our world. Many species communicate vocally: how many verbalize? It takes cognitive ability to use vocal utterances deliberately as words. The ability to vocalize is a prime requisite for the ability to verbalize.
To attribute humans’ untoward behavior to “human nature” is erronious and tends to generate cynacism and apathy. If our problems are the result of our nature, then there is notning we can do to fix them except to wage a never-ending battle against our own nature. That is a gloomy and unwinable mission. The fact is that our behavior is a result of our culture and there is something we can do to remedy it.

If we accept the premise that we are naturally “selfish” and unmotivated by what is in the best interest of all of human society, and that war is inevitable, then all war-making and preparing for war- making becomes inevitable and, by necessity, acceptable. In that context, there is no way to protect ourselves from harm by either our own human hand or as a result of environmental destruction. When one’s life hangs in the ballance, considerations of “the environment” become less important than moment-by-moment survival. Who cares if we mess up the rain forest if we must, in order to out-produce those fill-in-the-blank people?! We must be able to live in peace with one another in order to survive as a species. Love is not an option, t is a necessity. We all believe in LOVE: We need to accept our spiritual beliefs as being actually true. It is because of the dissonance between our sprirtual knowledge and our cultural program that we seem to be unable to act in accordance with that knowledge. What is in our conscious mind is conflicting with what is in our subconscious mind. The “Devil” is whispering in one ear while “God” is talking into the other ear. Some of those who would rather join than fight seem to have accepted the premise that the whisperings of the subconscious are the words of either “God” or “the devil”, and that what we, conventionally, say we believe to be true, is whisfull thinking and deceptive. Those ones are easily led by charasmatics into heinous behavior.

Although we can think of culture as prosthetic and separate from our body, we function with it as though it were part of our body. we must understand what culture is and how it works in order to understand human behavior.
On Jul 21, 2010, at 1:54 AM, Carol Macdonald wrote:

I think there is a problem with terminology. What you describe are sounds, not phonemes. Phonemes are specific to a language and each language has a
set of phonemes which form a system.  For example, in English, /p/ is
contrasted with /b/ meaning they help to contrast words e.g. "pig" vs.
"big". In Arabic this distinction does not hold.

By all means send me what you have, as we may be talking at cross purposes.


On 21 July 2010 10:33, Joseph Gilbert <joeg4us@roadrunner.com> wrote:


Are there no phonemes that you feel, or associate with a feeling? How about the sound of the "m"?: Or the "r"? Why does our alphabet begin with the
"a" sound and end with the"z" sound. Does the "a" suggest awakening,
(beholding something for the first time),? Does the "z" suggest sleeping? Why are the letters/sounds arranged in the sequence in which they are? When I experimented with this phenomenon be voicing the phonemes repeatedly, I noticed that their sound generated, within my emotional body, distinct,
specific reactions/feelings. There is a connection between how we are
affected by our vocal sounds and how we use them to label things. If you
would like, I will email you more on this issue.


On Jul 21, 2010, at 12:20 AM, Carol Macdonald wrote:


We don't feel phonemes. If we did, the whole field of phonology would be
rendered redundant. We, as linguists,  have to scour the evidence of
speech for the rules governing phonemes in any particular language.

In contrast, vocal speech, like groans, or for that matter groans of
delight, "um" to hold our turn in conversation (perhaps too) have meaning
themselves and we can identify these.


On 20 July 2010 23:55, Joseph Gilbert <joeg4us@roadrunner.com> wrote:

 Dear David Kellogg:
Back to fundamentals: When you voice the phonemes, any of them, do you
or does the sound suggest to you a feeling/emotion? If you were to
experience the effect of vocal sounds on your feeling/emotional state, it seems you would comprehend, in its most basic manifestation, how spoken language works. The foundation of spoken language is as simple and as primal as it can be; and that foundation must be understood clearly and unequivocally in order to understand language at all. If one ignores language's deepest structure, one will be sent on a "wild-goose- chase", fruitlessly and interminably pursuing all sorts of vague and pointless minutia of who said what when about what someone else said about this and that! Just start from the beginning with a fresh slate
with the knowledge that you, as an intelligent human being, can
what is already there in front of you, staring you in the face. Truth
not hide from people, people hide from truth. When we no longer opt for
ignorance and choose to look at what is there, we will then understand. Spoken language is first and foremost sound, sound make by the
Sound made by the body is inherently expressive of what is happening in
body. The bodily happenings behind those body-made sounds are experienced
bodily happenings in those who perceive those sounds. This is how vocal communication works. Verbal communication is a special case of vocal
communication, the only difference being that in the case of verbal
communication, we use inherently emotionally loaded, body-made sounds, to
refer to things external to us.
      So far, so good? Do I hear an "amen"?
      If you get to this point, the rest is easy sailing.

              Joseph Gilbert

On Jul 20, 2010, at 1:52 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

 Dear Joseph Gilbert:

There is a bookstore in Paris which played a much more important role in my education than the university I nominally attended (from which I
graduated). The name of the bookstore is Joseph Gilbert.

This entirely defines the way I mentally pronounce your name: it is pronounced the French way, stress on the last syllable, and the “-bert” rhymes with pear and ends in a Parisian growl; I can’t really think the
in any other way.

Now, this personal reaction is probably wrong, and more importantly, it
probably on this list entirely idiosyncratic; it is part of “theme”
than “meaning”, of “sense” rather than “signification”, and “smysl”
than “znachenie”. It is easy to trivialize it, and in fact Paulhan does
that when he remarks, in the paper “Qu’est-ce que la signification des mots?” which so influenced Vygotsky, that he has a friend whose name
him of scrambled eggs, but this cannot be said to be the “meaning” of

What I want to argue is that acts of thinking, including the teaching of concepts to children, are precisely idiosyncratic in this nature; the “thinking” part of word meaning, the generalizing part, the abstracting part, is precisely theme, not meaning, sense rather than signification,
smysl rather than znachenie.

My professor (because after I dropped out of university my education was taken in hand by people like Henry Widdowson and not simply bookstores
Joseph Gilbert) would say it is pragmatic and not semantic meaning, the
of meanng that must be endless compared with the world and endlessly renegotiated, and not the part you look up in dictionaries and then
And it is from billions of such pragmatic acts that semantic meaning
arises and is codified sometime in the eighteenth century: not the other
around, which is the way we experience it today.

It seems to me that two points emerge from this, and one belongs to you and the other to Professor Kotik-Friedgut. The first is that it’s not
the case that kids are somehow “more concrete” or “more inductive” than adults. If anything, kids tend to be MORE abstract, because they have
vocabularies (e.g. the verb “like”) and this constantly pushes them
metonymy, metaphor, and polysemy. However, they are more inclined to
and remember what I called (in an off-list letter to Carol) the SENSUOUS
aspects of communication, including the idiosyncratic elements of
pronunciation, facial expression, gesture, and contextual reference.
More on
this, with respect to the context-embeddedness of chimpanzees, from
and Chapter Four of Thinking and Speech.

The second point is that the way in which sense is going to be actually, physically, sensually stored in the brain (as opposed to the mind; I
that one thing we HAVE to accept if we accept Luria’s idea of an
inter-cortical mind is that the mind and the brain are NOT the
consists of connections which will vary wildly. It will be more like the
in which information is stored on a hard drive in a computer before your
the defragmenter than the models we’ve been working with, which all
that the brain is something like a suitcase or a large company: either
in last out, or first in first out. I think I might go even farther than Professor Kotik-Friedgut (though of course I lack her cred on this): I’m
even sure that the right hemisphere is always implicated in all

In the first section of Chapter Four in Thinking and Speech, Vygotsky is responding the work of Yerkes. Yerkes was a very nasty piece of work; he
involved in research which led to the Army learning proficiency tests
determined the recruits who were most suitable for clearing minefields), racial IQ, and so on, and so it is with some unease we look at his many
enthusiastic attempts to show that chimpanzees were capable of
just like “negroes”.

Nevertheless, as Steve points out, Yerkes was the man to go to for
attempts to teach chimpanzees how to talk in those days (and for some
thereafter—von Glasersfeld and Savage-Rumbaugh, who eventually cracked
particular nut, named their first chimp language—Yerkish—after him). We
sum up this section, using Steve’s method, like so:

a) Vygotsky remarked that Yerkes attributes “ideation” to man by a
FUNCTIONAL ANALOGY between the apparently intelligent, imaginative
of apes (orangutans and chimpanzees) and similar behavior in man. Both
solve problems using simple tools and detours, ergo (reasons Yerkes)
can imagine solutions as workplans and carry them out. Vygotsky
this purely functional viewpoint, both because the analogy is coarse and because it is functionalist, but his method of criticism is to adopt it
then see where it leads.

b) This “ideation” is the NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT criterion for
human-like speech, because the main purpose of speech is to imagine solutions to problems as workplans and carry them out. Again, Vygotsky
criticized this idea of a single genetic root for speech (and an
one at that) but his method of criticism is to adopt it and then see
it leads.

c) If, Vygotsky says, an ALTERNATIVE explanation for the apparently intelligent and imaginative behavior of the ape can be found, that is,
explanation which does NOT involve mental representations, then the
put forward by Yerkes will entirely lose its single foundation, which
that ideation exists in the ape and ideation is necessary and sufficient
speech. If an alternative explanation for the apparently intelligent and imaginative behavior does not include ideation, then even if a) and b)
true (which is very doubtful) there may be no human like speech in apes.

d) Alas, this alternative explanation DOES exist: it is in Kohler’s observation that a good deal of the ape’s practical intelligence is a
immediate, verbal intelligence, and it only operates when the solution
the problem are both present in the visual field. It's pretty clear (at least to me) how this might apply to teaching children: we are dealing
two very different systems when we talk about perceptual meaning and
when we
talk about semantic meaning, and the link between the two must be first
formed outside the child and only later internalized.

Of course, the experimentum crucis remains to be done. The experimentum crucis is, as Vygotsky says, to teach the chimpanzee a form of speech
does not involve vocal imitation, but which does involve ideation.

Today, this experiment HAS been done, and the result turns out to be rather more interesting than even Vygotsky expected: chimpanzees DO
speech, including quite complex grammar (e.g. “Take the orange outside
give it an injection with a syringe and then place it in the potty.”)

But they do NOT do this in the wild, and they don’t even do it in
experiments dedicated to the direct teaching of language. They do it
they are raised in an “zone of proximal development” in proximity with

Now, of course, one way to look at this result (Savage- Rumbaugh) is to
that it refutes what Vygotsky has claimed about ideation in the ape.
Apes do
have ideation, and the experimentum crucis shows this.

But there is another way to consider Savage-Rumbaugh’s result.
main contention is not that the ape can never acquire speech under any conditions at all, and in fact he at several points suggests that this
indeed happen although it has not happened yet. Vygotsky’s MAIN
is that there is a distinction between cultural and natural lines of

The key result of the experimentum crucis, then, is this: human language is always and everywhere linked to human culture. But human culture is
necessarily confined to man.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Tue, 7/20/10, Bella Kotik-Friedgut <bella.kotik@gmail.com>

From: Bella Kotik-Friedgut <bella.kotik@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] The Genetic Belly Button and the Functional Belly
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 5:29 AM

Just to remind of the role of the RH in speech perception and production
(prosody) - so all our verbal communication is a result of
Bella Kotik
On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 12:32 AM, Joseph Gilbert <


Do we acknowledge that we are affected by the sounds of the human

voice? Do the sounds of the phonemes cause reactions in our body-mind?
are, and if they do, then do our reactions to the sounds of our voice
our perceptions of the things to which we verbally refer? If so, what
nature of that effect?  What say ye?

              Joseph Gilbert

On Jul 19, 2010, at 2:23 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

We have a problem here in Korea. In order to teach children polite

language, which is what they need to communicate with adult strangers,
teachers tend to use the polite register in class. That is, instead of

T: What is this?

They tend to say things like:

T: Can you tell me what this is?

Now this is quite puzzling from a learner's point of view. First of
it seems otious, almost fatuous, in its complexity (which is, of
form of discourse complexity because it suggests a complex discourse sequence, where the questioner first ascertains whether the hearer can
answer and then attempts to find the answer).

Secondly, the intonation, which is often the learner's best clue as to
speaker's intention, is not the normal way in which we ask for
using a wh-question in English. Wh-questions normally come DOWN,
are asking for old informatoin ("What did you say this was?").

Thirdly, the word order seems wrong and if the learner attempts to
the sentence into usable bits, it will produce wrong question forms
this is?"). As we say in Korean, the belly button of genetic origins
overpowering the belly of functional use.

Carol remarked that chimps seem to be unable to deal with hypotaxis,
of course we can easily imagine that chimps might be puzzled in
way without drawing any conclusions about the language learning
the chimp as opposed to that of the (equally puzzled) Korean child.

But her remark raises the interesting question of WHY, in English, wh-questions are bi-functional in precisely this way: they serve on
hand to mark intra-mental relations by showing how discourse sequences
collapse into grammatical ones:

T: Is this hat red?
S: Yes, it is.
T: Is it yours?
S: Yes.
T: So the had that is red is yours?
S: Yes, the hat that is red is mine.

(This is the very sentence that Chomsky used as evidence that
dependency could not be learned!)

T: Can you tell me about this?
S: Yes.
T: What is it?
S: It's an apple.
T: So you can tell me what this is?

I think the answer to this question is easily found in Tomasello, who found it in Vygotsky. Every human function, including complex grammar, appears in the course of human development twice, the first time as
tragedy of complex discouse, and the second time as the comedy of

So, to let the cat out of the bag: hypotaxis is indeed more
than parataxis as a speech form, in much the same way that
more scientific than "six". But this is merely because as a thinking
form it
is reconstrues an IDENTICAL intellectual content in a more
internally complex, and system-related form.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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