Simple Questions with Difficult Answers

Simple Questions with Difficult Answers

Let me start with a family story. It is about my daughter Satanieh. This is most likely unknown name to you. You start thinking with wonderment what it means. Your thoughts will have to crystallize out before you may describe how you feel about the name. If I tell you that the name means princess then you may have thoughts and expectations on the meaning of the name. This time you shall be encouraged to express your thoughts that Satanieh means a beautiful girl. If still interested, this reference gives the meanings of Satanieh.

Stretching the thoughts to Satanieh childhood opens new windows of thoughts. Satanieh had an amazing childhood as she could walk when she was only seven months old. Even before that she surprised us with uttering words while dancing. We couldn’t understand what she was saying. Few days later Satanieh was speaking more clearly. She was vibrating with the words of a song that her grandmother used to sing for her frequently. She must have thought that the singing of her mother coupled with her happy expressions meant that her grandmother was singing a song of love towards her. Her thoughts preceded her words.

My mind got engaged with a simple question, but its answer proved difficult. Which comes first words or thoughts? This resulted from my previous buzz in which I quoted Gandhi who mentioned that words come first. On the shared buzz on LI Magdalena-Maria GROSU wrote a comment that blew my head. In her comment she wrote “Sometimes words are even before thoughts and even more powerful than thoughts, due especially to the fact that we share them easier than thoughts... :–) Every time you say a Word there is an intention behind it which acts as a catalyst towards the response which you receive from the universe. Just like thoughts, words too formulate a conjuncture of high and low vibrations”.

Which comes first words or thoughts? My daughters’ story says it is thoughts. Magdalena says sometimes words and others thoughts. Gandhi says it is thoughts first. I started my search and was surprised how such simple questions generate so many different views. For example, Spelke and Susan Hespos, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., did some clever experiments to show that the idea of tight/loose fitting comes before the words that are used/not used to describe it. When babies see something new, they will look at it until they get bored. Similar views were expressed on Quora in which one comment expressed the view that “Thoughts are an array of ideas. It results due to thinking. They say 'Think before you speak'. That’s a false statement of sort. One never speaks without thinking. We all speak only when we have thoughts or think.

Piaget is also of the idea that thoughts precede language. However; there appeared researches that refute his idea. One example is Vygotsky, who advocated that thought and language are interdependent processes, from the beginning of life. The acquisition of language by the child modifies its higher mental functions: it gives a definite shape to thought, enables the emergence of imagination, the memory usage and the action planning. In this sense, language, unlike what Piaget postulates, systematizes the direct experience of children and therefore acquires a central role in cognitive development, reorganizing processes that are ongoing.

The question may be formulated differently. One example is the publication “Are we slaves to our language and does it shape our thoughts, or can we claim that our thoughts determine the way we speak”? . If language had come first, humanity would have hardly ever been able to invent new things and create new words by which to refer to them, because we would have been unable to perceive the new concepts. If our thoughts were limited by the language we speak, we would never have all the myriad languages that currently exist.

There are many more literature citations with support for both views that language comes before thoughts and others supporting the reverse order. For brevity, I shall stop here with the hope that you share your experiences and help us crack this issue.


thumb_up Relevant message Comment
Comments
Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#74
A very thoughtful comment Roberto De la Cruz Utria. I love your logic. I myself too tend to say that thoughts comes first and shape our words.

Liesbeth Leysen, MSc. beBee Global Brand Ambassador
Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#70
Thank you . I love your thinking and how you express it in words. Thank you also for sharing the buzz.

Liesbeth Leysen, MSc. beBee Global Brand Ambassador

A must read, Something to reflect on, Maybe you know the answers

Liesbeth Leysen, MSc. beBee Global Brand Ambassador

I tend to believe that language shapes our thoughts and more parts of our being. I watched a video on engrams and how language impacts those engrams. Language increases the effect of those engrams. Beautiful article Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee Satanieh is indeed a gorgeous name!

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#68
To play on words purposefully is the hard question to ask James Olcott

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#66
Agree with you and your perspective my friend mohammed khalaf

mohammed khalaf

mohammed khalaf

3 years ago #50

Language is our way of communicating meaning, then adaptation is linked with meaning. Adaptation can only be successful when we understand what it is we are adapting to,thank you for post my friend Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#64
Facial expressions are also a form of expression and revealing feelings inside. So, this way I tend to agree with you that thoughts precede language. A newly-born starts life crying and again is is a way of expressing feelings and thoughts . I agree with you my friend Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Meanwhile, back to your post Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee, IMO thoughts come before language because thinking can be expressed by colors, images, and scents. Also, isn't music an expression of thoughts without language? I've noticed some strange things happening with beBee while using my laptop. My profile picture disappears every now and then and then it returns. I assume this is a sign of WIP.

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#59
Please, as I have indicated, send everything by email to falvarez@bebee.com. Thank you very much.

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#58
You can use the mobile browser version.

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#57
All detected in the tests and will be corrected. Thanks for the feedback.

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#56
As I said, they are in the development and improvement stage

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#53
You can already use it on Android

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#52
Thanks for the feedback. It will be solved soon

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

But what about wrong sharing data on desktop Federico \ud83d\udc1d \u00c1lvarez San Mart\u00edn? I get wrong information on the number of shares. I don't know then who shared to thank them.

Federico Álvarez San Martín

Progressive improvements. The iteration will be improved little by little, this is our work system https://www.bebee.com/producer/@fedealvarezsm/2018-will-be-a-big-year-for-bebee

Federico Álvarez San Martín

Of course! We will progressively communicate the improvements included in beBee.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee
Federico Álvarez San Martín

#40
beBee in Android app is now available the new version. But in a phase of continuous improvement, debugging bugs and functionalities progressively. If you detect an error, you can send it to falvarez@bebee.com. Thanks for the feedback.

Federico Álvarez San Martín

#36
Hi Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee. In Android App notifications are in the implementation phase. Currently they have certain bugs. In a few days it will be solved. Thank you.

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

3 years ago #35

#42
I am using my Chrome browser on my mobile to access bebee :)

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#40
Actions like sharing and commenting . No, I am on my desktop. Thank you

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#37
I forgot to mention too that are are still some obvious anomalies. For example, I have on the home page of this buzz the following info: In Professions, Workers, Careers and 1 more hive 2 h However; the buzz actually has been shared 9 times. I fail therefore to acknowledge those readers who shared it. This issue has been repeating lately. The shares reads correctly for two days and then something wrong goes.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#37
Not at all dear . I appreciate your gratitude to commenters. At least I know what is happening. Thank you again.

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

3 years ago #31

#36
Dear Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee I guess me liking all the comments on this post may have triggered that :) Sorry if that caused any inconvenience :)

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

I received two notifications. One stated that I have 15 actions on my buzz. A few minutes later another notification stating that I have five actions. I couldn't find any action. I apologize and it is not my intention to ignore any action. Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee- is this an issue? Thank you

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Very interesting point Preston \ud83d\udc1d Vander Ven. SO, it is not this or this- it is both together. Worthy of further consideration

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#32
No wonder in English patient has two meanings- with patience we conquer our illness. Thank you Edward and I enjoyed immensely reading your buzz. I left a longer comment there.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#30
I agree in full with your comment Joyce \ud83d\udc1d Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee. It amazes me that some people have meaningful names and still dislike them. Yes, your classification of verbal and abstract processes is also meaningful.

Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee

I certainly agree with some of what you said. I think there is a verbal process and an abstract process. some of us think verbally some of us dwell in the abstract. Your daughter's name is beautiful. I once met a young woman here in the US whose name was actually princess. It is an unusual name. She looked dismayed when she told me her name. I immediately replied that her parents must have loved her very much.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#28
I am mesmerized by your comments. I feel the urge to build on this comments and the analogous precious ones. Digital camera versus analog camera and to relate this to your glorifying comments here. I am really urged to do so.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #24

#27
I dont believe we need wonder as we are seeing what digital does to illusion Illusion is where learn and experience syncretic thoughts of what could be. In a digital world we must declare what is and write the code to deal with outcomes. A fuzzy analog picture offers many to move the rabbit ear antenna to get a better picture. Unlike digital where it is what it is and can’t be adjusted by the end user

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#26
Your response is amazing. Our brains are analogs, but we live in digital times. This is a paradox that we need to resolve. Are we better of to swing between the two? The analog brain has its limitations when it forms a perspective based on illusions. Digital brains quickly stagnate and die. How can we use our brain analogs in a digital world. May be this is what causing education to fall short and we witness the new generations and how their mode of thinking differs from us. As you wrote "These thoughts indicate the need for child development in trust and love to establish that bedrock where the analog brain can test and build itself as change occurs". With so many distractions of parents from paying enough attention to their children the analog mind is shrinking and the tendency to use the digital brain is increasing. I wonder what will happen next!

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #22

#25
Your question is a great one. If i could view your question from an analog vs digital perspective. Our brain is analog. It displays the picture of the world in action with the confidence of 100% accuracy. Until the brain understands that maybe it it is missing some pieces. This is usually discovered through words. Unfortunately we are now looking at the brain as digital. In our communications we see each other as bad code in lieu of a brain testing analog theories in public. If any person reviews themselves critically within the past 5 years they would find that not only have they changed but old opinions were juvenile. Many illusions dont make the journey forward. This is the natural progression of our analog brain. We must sense that we know everything we need to know to move forward. Doesn’t mean we do. A world of digital brains operating would quickly stagnate and die because no faith would ever exist. Without all the information we could never form a “acuarate” view. The dimensions of time will always pressurize our digital thoughts into analog action. These thoughts indicate the need for child development in trust and love to establsih that bedrock where the analog brain can test and build itself as change occurs.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#24
SO glad to read your comments again Harvey Lloyd. Your absence was strongly felt. Your comment is a starry one. It entertains the mind. I love the idea that trust and love allow for our thoughts to expand. Likewise; mistrust and fear/hate and grudge make our thoughts shrink. The more our thoughts expand, the more we search for words to express them in public. This is true. The roots of our behaviors are grown from our babyhood. I paused for a minute while reading your lines "For me thoughts come first. Specifically as the the thoughts are a gathering of sensory data into a schema of self". I refer here to visual illusions when we see things different from what they are in reality and how they would change our thoughts.I aim to tackle this issue soon. Do illusions change our thoughts and how? Sometimes reality isn't what we see by the naked eye.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #20

Reading the ideas of thoughts and words was compelling as we discuss children. It is difficult to discuss these ideas without considering the architypes promoted within the trust/fear paradigm. Working with students with disabilities for some years you begin to get a sense that thoughts emanate from childhood experiences of trust/fear. Amazingly i have discovered that the actual fear event also has leading indicators that attach. When these indicators are experienced again later in life our words express the actaual event and its inevitability. Children experiencing a home where trust and love are promoted are free from this limiting belief system and exhibit courage to explore thoughts through words within their social groups. For me thoughts come first. Specifically as the the thoughts are a gathering of sensory data into a schema of self. A reflection of who am i in this environment. Trust and love are the two componants that allow these thoughts to expand. Words and actions at the child development level is an attempt to either reflect what is known and pleasing or suggest that information is missing. The first 18 months of the brain can only be described as the speed of light. In this time language, social bonds and the balance between fear and love is pretty much set. Certainly there is much more to development overtime. I believe today though we can look at the first 18 months as the bedrock that much is built. Great discussion as always Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#22
Great questions John Rylance. I recall drawing one of my dreams on a slip of paper before sleeping again. Sometimes I show my thoughts pictorially and others in words. SO, I don't know if I am an artist or author.

John Rylance

John Rylance

3 years ago #18

Thank you for your kind thoughts. I say thoughts rather than words, as so often when someone writes/e-mails us particularly when its condolences we thank people for their thoughts. A thought put into words if like dreams our thoughts are pictorial should we draw them, verbalise them or both? Do authors think purely/mainly in words, while artists think mainly pictorially?.#14

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#20
You are a determined man with a heart of gold my friend Tausif Mundrawala. I do appreciate your words and I am blessed to be connected with people of your caliber.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#18
+As you notice from the great discussions dear Tausif Mundrawala is that I am unable to give a firm answer to a simple question. Let me explain by a recent example. The word fractal was coined less than forty years ago. No one thought of them until Mandelbrot noticed them from the history of cotton prices. SO, both the thought and the word fractal were not in existence. Having seen the fractal pattern the thought led to the coining of the word fractal. I believe here the thought came before the word. There are cases in which the reverse is true. Again, I thank you and I am getting more curious because of the great comments here such as yours.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#13
I believe the comments of this buzz on LinkedIn addresses your comment very favorably my dear . Again I refer to one of the comments of Magdalena-Maria GROSU in which she wrote similar ideas.She wrote "Shakespeare said that a rose smells as sweet, no matter what one calls it. But interestingly enough Shakespeare was wrong. There's quite a bit of evidence that if you blindfold people and ask them to smell an aroma, what you call that aroma has a big effect on how pleasant they find it. If you call it a rose, they’ll probably like it. If you just call it a flower, they’ll like it, but maybe not as much. If you just call it a plant, even less so. And so on. Often the way we describe things affects how we encode the memories of them. When we remember passively-described events, we're much less good at remembering who was responsible. And people whose language prefers reflexive verbs are less likely to recall the responsible parties. Nearly everyone who is multilingual talks about languages changing the way they think. Each language is another personality". What do you think of this comment?

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#12
Zacharias \ud83d\udc1d Voulgaris- very interesting comment. In a way your comment reminds me of the extended dialogue of this buzz on LinkedIn, and in particular the comments of Magdalena-Maria GROSU. In one of her comments she wrote "Each language has its own distinctive way of expressing ideas. Varying grammar structures force the speaker to rethink how they emphasis certain ideas, and words can have different etymologies which, even if only on a subconscious level, affects the associations you have with them. As a result, an important part of language learning is embracing these personality changes and being comfortable with them. In general people who are ‘fluent’ in a language are generally those that don’t shy away from this. If they adopt the mannerisms and mentality of a speaker of a different language, their delivery improves, along with their grammar, pronunciation, and of course confidence". I hope you find in this comment a timely response to your eloquent comment.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#11
Thank you dear Tausif Mundrawala would respond to your comment. May be if we consider thoughts are sequence of sentences and words form sentences then we would say words come first. I am not less puzzled than you are.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#10
Thank you John Rylance and I enjoyed your thinking that we You can't have words without thoughts. This is a new thinking. I reviewed the literature and I could write a book on opposing ideas that say either thoughts come before words and the reverse order. None mentioned to my best knowledge that they are part and parcel. So, this is a fresh thinking.

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

3 years ago #11

Yet another interesting buzz dear Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee I love Gert's comment as he beautifully draws a picture. I believe that thoughts come before words but not all words that are spoken are a result of our thoughts. We sometimes speak without thinking and this may or may not result in chaos. However, words are not a necessity to express our thoughts. Glenn Stok says, "Language is important for developing extensive concepts and for abstract thinking, something humans have evolved into doing. Language provides a set of rules that helps us organize our thoughts and construct logical meaning with our thoughts. He also says "Awareness or consciousness does not require words but there is a certain amount of thoughts involved" He shares some great thoughts on thoughts and words :) Here's the link I found interesting from which I quoted above - https://owlcation.com/humanities/thinking-thoughts-without-language

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

3 years ago #10

I don't know much about languages, but the few languages I know have definitely expanded my understanding of the world. After all, different peoples express different viewpoints, which gradually shape each people's language (or dialect). So, by expanding the frameworks of our words (and our vocabularies), we can certainly expand the breadth of our thoughts, and perhaps even the depth. The reverse is also valid. By expanding our thoughts, we seek new words to express ourselves and sometimes even make up words to fit these meanings. That's probably why language is always evolving. As for ideas, I have no idea about them! I'm a scientist, not an idealist :-)

John Rylance

John Rylance

3 years ago #9

Thoughts are unspoken words, that can become spoken words or verbalised thoughts, which in turn start further thoughts and the process starts again. You can't have one without the other. The thoughts all this brings to mind are chickens and eggs, which verbalised is which comes first. There is a lyric in a song which sums all this "There are more questions than answers"

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#4
This is an intriguing comment dear Debasish Majumder. Yes, several factors shape up our thinking modes. However; a second question arises in my head. When we say does thinking come before words is it then true regardless of the mode of thinking a person has? For example, does a strategic thinker differ from an analytical thinker? Does an extrovert behave the same way like an introvert? Is thoughts-words relationship the same for these people? Truly, you make me think deeper.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#3
I do thank you for a very clear and concise response Gert Scholtz. You are spot on to write "Such thoughts may or may not be distilled into a medium of communication which is language". I tend to say the same and that we form a concept as children, even though vague ones, before we may communicate them. You reinforce my convention.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#2
My response posted prematurely. I wanted to say This time your analogy is super. Our bodies are transducers of emotions, words, body movements and the transducer transform them into understanding. You remind me of optical illusions and how we all receive the same information, yet our transducers explain them differently. Great thoughts here. You make me think deeply and I thank you Bill King

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#2
I always enjoy your scientific analogies Bill King.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#1
Jerry your question is valid. Same I experienced as a grown up during my first trip to a country- Turkey. I couldn't then speak one Turkish word. I walked in a restaurant and the waiter couldn't understand English or my native language. I drew chicken for him and he understood. May be we need first thoughts to communicate.

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #3

Great insight sir Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee! we perhaps cannot rule out how our hereditary creates a prolific impact on our faculty. it is our predecessor who perhaps shaped our faculty and mode of thinking. though it is harsh, but we cannot rule that a progeny of a labor can perceive the concept of time and space. and most importantly, i must acknowledge that it is hard to become a father, who actually ingrained by virtue of his values to become indispensable to a kid and the most appealing place of safety. however, great buzz sir. enjoyed reading and shared. indeed you are a great father too sir! thank you for the buzz sir.

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

3 years ago #2

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee An intriguing question. Here is how I see it. Thought in itself is wider than language. Young babies can perceive objects and people around them – they are aware of others, forms, shapes and sounds – but they cannot (yet) express it in language. As adults thought can include images, a melody, spatial awareness, imaginative impressions and unformed figments of clarity – to name but a few. Such thoughts may or may not be distilled into a medium of communication which is language. I think language cannot exist without thought, but thought can exist without language. So it would appear that thought comes before language. Yet I think the brain works in more complex ways: thought and language can be iterative and synergistic – more thought can create more language (speaking, writing and song), and more language can prompt further thought. Also, thought shapes language, just as the language we use shapes our thoughts. Thank you for a very interesting post Ali.

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #1

Ali, Fascinating question. Does a child born without hearing need language in order to think? I think not. That child will need some form of language to convey her/his thoughts however, I believe. The question is what form that communication will take.

More articles from Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

View blog