dan b
 
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2009 10:54 pm
Using words to speak and to think thoughts was a big turning point in human history. in fact, it is the major factor that began the recording and documenting of our story as a human society living on this planet. The time period before 4000BC is considerd by historians and academics to be prehistoric.
Today human civilization is set apart from nature and the rest of the animals. This is because Mankind has a capacity of consciousness quite beyond the abilities and experience of the other creatures and life forms. This ability is the conceptualization of ideas and situations made possible by the use of words.
No other life form, plant or animal has this capacity to develop and use such a comlex yet convenient available memory through the use of the word. It is the single factor that differentiates and separates mankind from animals. Although animals also have memories they store them in picture form. Mankind also stores memories in picture forms but since about 4000BC he has developed another computer type operation that uses words, numbers, analogies, and catagories of many types for memory storage. All of this has been made possible only because of the abilities brought about by words and the use of gramatical language. dan b
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prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 12:02 am
@dan b,
Well language is a form of evolution and language has its own evolution
but
clearly there was a lot of evolution going on before language. and modern humans using tools and exhibiting other forms of adaptive and rational behavior predates evidence of language by tens of thousands of years. So in general I am not a fan of the equating of language and thought theory.
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 10:02 pm
@prothero,
Check out the British Museum when your' in London the next time and argue with them. Their oldest room contains it's majority of items from 3000 to 4000BC. I have to believe them. Encyclopedia Britannica has been read by me for days on end about this subject. They too say that back to 4000BC is considered history. Before is labeled as pre-historic. In Gen.2;20 Adam named the animals. They never had names before them. It looks like the bible is tying in the Beginning of historical Civilization and the beginning of using word with a good utilizable grammer. dan b
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 10:14 pm
@dan b,
Uh, Dan -- I think bacteria were around a wee bit before language was.

What do you think about the new Ardipithecus skeleton? What was it 3-4 million years old?

Human artwork has been dated to over 10,000 years old.

And the Bible is one of many relatively recent literary endeavors by modern man.
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 12:22 pm
@dan b,
I believe language developed by sound and signs. Now this is basic. Signs depicted an image, sound represented those signs.

If i close my eyes, and say 'mother' .....i see somehwre back in my mind/brain an image of my mothers face. One can take any such thing.....lets say big bang.... apart from the image of the words 'Big Bang' i also see a image drawn out inthe last sciece book i read which depicts a large ball of fire, sparkling white on th eperiphery racing away from centre.

Images makes language. words are mere sounds. The only problem with this theory is that how does the mind/brain process words as in propositions like is, was, the, etc.

Language definitely is a major factor in human growth, but comes in as the result of evolution, not as a factor.
0 Replies
 
TickTockMan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 01:56 pm
@dan b,
dan b;115782 wrote:
Gen.2;20 Adam named the animals. They never had names before them. It looks like the bible is tying in the Beginning of historical Civilization and the beginning of using word with a good utilizable grammer. dan b


This makes the assumption that there was a historical Adam.

A distinction needs to be made between symbolic language, spoken language, and written language.

This might prove to be an interesting read:
The History of Visual Communication - Caves and Rocks
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 02:59 pm
@TickTockMan,
Whenever I've mentioned that Mesopotamian Civilization may have been started with, or at least majorly acelerated with the use of words, people always say civilization began earlier. But I've studied the history books and encyclopedias of the 1960s. They generally point to the date 4000BC in Mesopotamia as the big bang of civilization often even calling Egypt and Mohindr dharo as "copy civilizations occuring 1000 years later." I didn't make this up. I have to trust the solid stable acheology that has developed over the last 200 years. I've been several times to the British Museum in London to study the same. Their oldest atifacts on display, which require only one large room, are all dated from 4000-3500BC.

Now what I'm imvestigating is that The Bible's ADam and Eve are just the story of the beginning of Civilization. And immediatly after Adam is "formed" and given the "breath of life" in Gen.2;7, he is brought each of the animals to give them names. Gen.2;19 Is this not an indication that the book of Genesis is trying to tell us that civilization really began in Mesopotamia around 4000BC with Adam and Eve's word power. It it then not therefore showing us how with word's and a practicle efficient grammer system thought in mankind can be stimulated to begin inventing?
TickTockMan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 03:22 pm
@dan b,
dan b;115937 wrote:
Whenever I've mentioned that Mesopotamian Civilization may have been started with, or at least majorly acelerated with the use of words, people always say civilization began earlier.


I wonder why that would be?

Are you saying there were no words prior to 4000 BC, or that people
didn't use them?
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2010 12:41 am
@TickTockMan,
I'm asking why Civilization began so quickly in Mesopotamia about 4000BC. I have looked into this thouroghly over many years even visiting the grand old British Museum in London England. In the oldest room in the museum the few arifacts all date from 4000 to 3500BC. That is the oldest stuff besides stone spearheads ect. So it's not my idea. Sure pre-historical life existed but why did civilization develop only there? Many historian call Egypt and the Indus civilization of Mojendro Darho as "copy civilizations." I"m not saying it. They say it. So did civilization begin and accelerate so fast because a good efficiant language began being used. This would enable people to think better, more organized and thats why they began inventing things so prolificly? Now I think thats a good question for the philosophy of Language. dan b
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2010 09:12 am
@dan b,
Historians admit that much of what they know through artifacts earlier than 4000BC can only lead to reasoned speculation about earlier events. Certainly there is evidence of some kind of civilisation as early as the mysterious cave paintings in France and Spain around 30,000BC.

What does seem obvious is that over time, the elements of civilisation came into being, either simultaneously or in some kind of order:
1. The rise of urban centers, beginning with villages and ending with cities, usually along rivers or at the side of the sea.
2. The beginning of commerce between groups that increased as inventions of transportation allowed.
3. Domestication of animals and permanent agriculture (Cain and Able) allowing permanent dwelling.
4. The division of labour making both technical advances and leisure time possible.
5. The use of language in which the spoken word (immediate communication, oral tradition leading to history and a sense of the past) lead to the written word.

Philology indicates, given the simularities of root words across many ancient languages, that these most likely have a single origin (Indo-European) from which dispersion and localisation separated the various Western languages. This would suggest a very early and probably lengthy development of spoken language developing alongside society and technology.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2010 11:10 am
@dan b,
I would say language has certainly contributed to the evolution of human society and culture and even the evolution of the human brain.
I would also say that reason and thought preceeded langauge and were necessary for its development.
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 01:14 am
@prothero,
Can you really think without words? I've been studying this since I was 14 years old and still don't think we can. Oh we see, experience and realize things but real indept thought and reasoning isn't done without language going on in our minds.
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 06:53 am
@dan b,
dan b;116240 wrote:
Can you really think without words? I've been studying this since I was 14 years old and still don't think we can. Oh we see, experience and realize things but real indept thought and reasoning isn't done without language going on in our minds.


Its very interesting philosophical question. With the handicap of not knowing neuro science, psychiatry, psychology or any detailed biological sciences, i would still hazard the following guesses.

Thought is an empty vessel in its initial stage. It is a mechanism to receive impulses or sense data (perhaps in electrical form). Let us take the example of ones mother. The image of ones mothers face, her smell, her sound, etc get impressed on the babies mind. The data which goes into memory is thought. This does not require any langauge.

Lets us suppose a baby is born dumb & deaf, and blind. However, the baby would be able to recognise his mother, not just by her fragrance but an in-built mechanism which i cannot describe in language, or for convenience lets call it the sixth sense. Certainly, the baby may be confused if many other female's are present in the same room, but eventually s/he would be able to sort it out.

It would thus mean that the baby does think, so as to be able to discriminate. The thought process happens without any dependence on language. But an ability to 'think' i scertainly there.

Language like the english word....'mother' is later impressed upon him or her after much tutoring. The sound 'ma', i suppose, is a natural physiologically emanation from the mouth to attract the attention of the Familiar ONE who has the food source in the form of the nipple.

That the 'familiar One' responds to the word 'ma' or in repetition 'ma-ma' is perhaps the first word, made out of two consonants, which the baby deduces as something worthwhile, apart from the sounds of his/her crying.

Logic, a tool of cognition, to which humans appears to succumb more, helps the baby memorise. Memory thus stores all the sounds and images, and fragrances, in a data-sensory form.

For this instance, as we discuss language, it is important to note, that the sound, which is shaped in a certain form, like ma-ma or da-da, is in regards to a relation or association which, the sound represents, only to be realised later in the suckling stage. The sound becomes the symbol of an image or a series of image or a relationship or association. This mechanism is applicable to all animals. Okay atleast all mammals, i guess.
For example, ma-ma may represent or symbolise 'food', or 'warmth', 'beauty' 'sensual feeling'. i dont know, but it should represent something, isn't it?

Today, meaning a child who has grown up, memory is filled with more sounds and images. The sounds are mostly in language concepts. The elephant, the dog, the owl etc and all those animals to whom humans atribute some form of intelligence do think in their own 'language'.

So yes, thinking is processing of images, sounds, and other sensory data. Words, as particular sounds conveying specific meanings, does play an important role in modern human adults.
I am sorry for sounding so amateurish.
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 09:10 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Your not sounding amaturish at all Jack. Thanks for the good description and breakdown of thought. I think what you've said is correct.

This is a the point that has me thinking. Natives and Aboriginals didn't invent or develope the modern world. We did in the west with our specialized language skills. We use words in our minds to label, cattagorize and store information. This could never be done just by using our picture memories such as animals also have. Is'nt it the ability to store, and retrieve ideas using language the reason that we have progressed so far in the modern world. Thats how we made maps, set dates, practiced medicine, sent rockets to space. Without words in our minds it would'nt have happened. In the beginning of development was the word.Jn.1;1 God created the world with words, speaking. Gen.1;3 dan b
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 02:06 am
@dan b,
dan b;116540 wrote:


This is a the point that has me thinking. Natives and Aboriginals didn't invent or develope the modern world. We did in the west with our specialized language skills. We use words in our minds to label, cattagorize and store information. This could never be done just by using our picture memories such as animals also have. Is'nt it the ability to store, and retrieve ideas using language the reason that we have progressed so far in the modern world. Thats how we made maps, set dates, practiced medicine, sent rockets to space. Without words in our minds it would'nt have happened. dan b


Thanks

But, I am not sure where you are arriving at. But if you are hinting at langauge in script form, then even in that case, the west were no where near to what the Chinese, Assyrians, Mesopetamians and the Egyptians acheived in developing the scripts.

The west, to which you are referring to, is a post renaissance concept, and perhaps, more of an social phenomenon/construct of the industrial and technological age, has contributed the least in developing any language except Greek and Latin.

Language has a great functional role, as you suggest, which helped humans acheive goals and targets, communicate and eventually 'progress'.

But this so called 'progress' is a small part of human evolution. I gather, that language that the bees, and perhaps, ants too, use are quite sophisticated. Lets also consider, cockroaches who have survived anything and everything, without any perceptible reliance on language or its skills for that matter.

Your quote:.......... Without words in our minds it would'nt have happened........ It is very demanding sentence. It has set me thinking as it is worth pondering. I will try to philosophise the assertion. will be back. For the moment though, i hypothesise, out of a feeling, that that is a correct statement to make. thanks
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 04:13 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Without the west, which used the fully develpoled language that originated in Mesopotamia, the world today would not be modern. Cockroches and ants and such and aborigial peoples didn't invent it.
0 Replies
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 12:57 am
@dan b,
Please let know, what you mean by modern?

Yes the engine was invented by someone in the so -called west. What has engine making to do with language. It is to do with the mind.

The chinese invented so many things in the past, that the west is just realising.
Where do you think agriculture started. Where was wind power utilised,
where was paper used first for script writing. Where was iron used first.
Where was big structural buildings designed and made? Wher did arithmatics originate.

The matter here is not east versus west. But the notion that language of the west lead to modernity is an erroneous idea.

And what do you mean by a fully developed language?.....and which is that language?

edit:
Just to make it clear, it is not the case to suppress the fact that the west has an important role to play in the so-called modernity. The west has a major role to play in modern science and technology, no one can take away this fact. However, to say it is because of language is a way off the mark. language normally do contribute to human ideas, endeavour and cooperation. But it helps develop a society with laws, exchange of ideas, social interaction. This is true for all language, and not particular or peculiar to one region or its language.
0 Replies
 
memester
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 01:36 am
@jgweed,
I think that semiotics allows that it is the recognition of signs and their contextual meanings, that is the departure point...i.e. that an animal such as a dog recognizes a bite in play.

It's recognizing that a bite is not always a bite.

And that is the basis of humour, perhaps.
When it's not what it is; that is complex, and maybe shows that an animal such as a dog can conceptualize well.

The humour of a situation being that something is not what it is - that humour would escape a person of foreign tongue or low mental capacity or little experience.
It leaves foreigners feeling inadequate at times, feeling reduced to child status by social reactions to their incomprehension of the contextual nuances of signs which are taken for granted by others.
I'm reminded of a friend who upon hearing "Don't Look Back", on the radio, pointed to his back and repeated it with a questioning look.

Language might be for humans something that we attach special importance to as a distinguishing feature of conceptualization...certainly intelligence.

but cannot a parrot understand our language to some extent ? as much as some foreigner might, understanding on one level only, not sensing semantic humour.
We could say that a parrot understands our language enough to make decisions, to reply in context as to the parrot's internal state, understands play, or "what is not what it is", and we could also say that we do not really know if it does or does not understand humour in dialogue with it's conspecifics.

The question I would ask is this: is development of language the "jumping off" point, or is the development of understanding that a sign may have more than one meaning, or the development of the ability to discern that something is not what it is, to discern the "not", is that the "jumping off" point ?

It might even be reasonable to look at whether or not sentient beings may pass through stages in our individual ontogenies similar to a species' ontogeny.

Does a child go through stages where he is the equivalent ...or shows vestiges in some ways, of a fish development, and on to our most recent ancestor before becoming a fully capacitated human ?

and what is the value-added that comes from play ? It's important, it seems, eh ? it's considered quite a burden to not be allowed to inject humour or enjoy it visibly..it's almost impossible to keep humans from doing it as subtly as it takes...again a mark of intelligence that one could do it or recognise it.. seen as more intelligent, the more subtle humour becomes. This recognition is one of the surest means of our knowing intelligence in others - more sureness in knowing, than any rhyming off of technical data in context, by the other person, would offer.
dan b
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 05:02 pm
@memester,
You can always tell which people arn't capable of understanding because they resist it before they fathom it. When I get answers to the idea that we in the Christian west by and large invented the modern world and challange that, then I know it would't be going anywhere.

So when you get up in the morning in your modern electic home, drive in your car, go to the modern dentist or have surgery in the modern hospital you think that Christinandom didn't invent it. When you fly in planes, turn on the microwave or talk on the phone or computer you don't think that this is truly the most amazing and almost supernatural modern world. You think that other religious cultures invented it. All the other peoples of the world are trying to get our stuff. I've travelle much and see our inventions being coppied in other lands. I'm now trying to acertain why we invented everything modern? But people tell me no, Chineese invented good stuff. Africans are quite innovative. South America exports the new tecknologeys that made airplanes and refrigerators. No, I can't go anywhere with this type of diversion. I've got to get on with examing why we Christian Europeans got so ahead. Not foolishness. I'm not racist. I love all cultures. I hate the modern world and live in Canada in a primitve livestyle without electicity. I'm only down here for a couple of months and then I'll go cut firewood by hand and listen to nature in the mountains without cars, electricity, phones or computers. I never knew that everybody down here in the city was so messmerized they can't see that modernity is a big invention. It was invented by the west. I know what the others invented. I've been to India, Arabia, ect. They all want to use our stuff. This was going to be a discussion about why we in the Christian west surpassed all other cultures and invented the modern world. But for some weird reason everybody down here can't even see that. I'm glad I woun't be here long. Even the people in India, and Africa tell me that we invented everything modern. But my own people fight tooth and nail to say something else. funny funny people. Boring for me, no one to talk to. fine , go ahead and continue as you are. I'm not here to convince. i thought you all could see the obvious. The Bible says a false prophet would hypnotise and mist the minds of men in the modern age. Now I see it has happened. Whats there then to talk about? dan b
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 06:04 pm
@dan b,
dan b;115457 wrote:
Using words to speak and to think thoughts was a big turning point in human history. in fact, it is the major factor that began the recording and documenting of our story as a human society living on this planet. The time period before 4000BC is considerd by historians and academics to be prehistoric.
Today human civilization is set apart from nature and the rest of the animals. This is because Mankind has a capacity of consciousness quite beyond the abilities and experience of the other creatures and life forms. This ability is the conceptualization of ideas and situations made possible by the use of words.
No other life form, plant or animal has this capacity to develop and use such a comlex yet convenient available memory through the use of the word. It is the single factor that differentiates and separates mankind from animals. Although animals also have memories they store them in picture form. Mankind also stores memories in picture forms but since about 4000BC he has developed another computer type operation that uses words, numbers, analogies, and catagories of many types for memory storage. All of this has been made possible only because of the abilities brought about by words and the use of gramatical language. dan b

I think your major premise is incorrect...Evolution ended for all practical purposes with language because with concepts, as words are, adaptation began... Humanity has progressed through its forms, and as it has improved its forms it has improved its material condition, and taken over the earth... The die off essential to evolution has become formalized itself as War...Now war kills the fittest, and the unfittest survive...

Concepts precede words or we would have nothing to say...Number is an older form of concept, but kind as well as number would be essential to survival......Concepts fix consciouness, and they allow consciouness to be directed, and concepts store knowledge, culturally; so what is learned by one is not forgotten by others...
 

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