The Grinding Sound of Human Language-Thought

I have a metaphor for you. For me, this goes back to my childhood, when I had a computer with a tape-cassette drive. I would put normal audio-cassettes into the drive (which looked just like a tape player), and type commands into the computer. The computer would then silently roll the tape and either record data to the tape, or transfer data from it into the computer’s memory.

One time I decided to play one of the data-bearing audio-cassettes on an audio tape player. As soon as I pressed play, an amusing but simultaneously distressingly unpleasant grinding, banging, bleeping sound came out of the speakers, as if an electronic kitchen full of pots and pans had just rolled down a hill. Years later, while using modems, I realized they made the same sound when connecting to the internet.

This to me, puts the contrast well; Original Language, the language of immersive body experiences, of dream reason (sometimes called metaphor), sounds to the rest of the community of life like an audio cassette (with music on it) in an audio player. The music it plays determines their reaction; predatory, aggressive music will have certain effects, soothing melodic music otherwise. But putting in the data-cassette will always produce the cacophony of assaultive machine sounds, however sublimely ordered and sensibly coded, causing other-than-humans to flatten their ears against their skulls unpleasantly.

Certainly a coyote howling will speak to a deer that a radically different mind prowls somewhere out there; humans need not feel guilty for speaking like humans to each other, however much it offends other animals. We only need think about this issue in two cases:

One, when we want to speak to other-than-humans.

Two, when human language, as we experience it, has wandered down roads so toxic, polluted, and domesticated, that we no longer know what it means to speak a truly human language.

I believe both of these cases have come to front and center now. Both of them require us to stand up and pay attention. Our continued participation in the living world demands it of us.

We must return to the Original Language, bring our waking selves to a fluency in it, so that we can rebirth our ability to speak sanely, as adults who live in a community of life. So that we can join the Rewilding Renaissance, a rebirthing of belonging and meaning.

Perhaps “meaning” really signifies “belonging”. Perhaps the modern narcissistic quest for “meaning” really indicates a quest for “belonging”. Well, we didn’t come from anywhere else, regardless of what civilized myths tell us. If we want to have a relationship of belonging to our Land (before we not only cease to belong, but cease to fit into whatever habitat remains), we must choose it.

As children of the Original Dreaming Land, we always belonged. As abused children of civilization, we have tested the bonds of family to the limit.

They haven’t broken.


Written by Willem