I speak therefore I am

The human being is discriminated among other mammals and primates as being able to ‘mirror’ the state of mind of other humans. We are also able to ‘look’ at our own state of mind. The ‘looking’ and ‘mirroring’ doesn’t come alone. It comes with responses at an habitual reflex level of our brain (immediate emotional responses due to cascades of neurohormones from well trained neural circuits) and a dialogue (our thoughts, really our speech centers describing for us what we are seeing, what we are feeling and then why?).

Ultimately we know we are humans because we speak to ourselves.

What is more interesting is that our speech revolves around our sensory perceptions. We have, by a synaesthetic effect caused by some ‘cross-over’ in our brain functions, been able to build words from generating sounds that sound like the look of the object we are talking about. For more detailed information hear Ramachandran’s 2003 Reith Lectures. So all our words reflect the metaphors of our sensory systems. All our descriptions both internal (spiritual, emotional) and external (science, art, religion), are guided by this limitation.

We have to live with this. But it does give me pause to reflect whether by so defining, we are also not really able to talk to ourselves and each other about many things. Does it therefore create in ourselves, blindspots for investigation of the reality around us?


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