Sitting by the river I watch as my dog, Bee, interacts with the environment around her. She’s sitting at the river’s edge on a rock observing some kayakers surfing the Ponderosa wave on the Animas. She seems extremely intrigued. She loves the water, also, but instead of swimming she simply plops herself in enough so that she is submerged about halfway, and then just lays there-in the water with the most blissful expression on her face. Anytime she hears a heightened sound her ears perk up and she becomes very focused, looking intently for any sign of danger. But this only lasts a short while because being a dog her attention span is fleeting. She interacts with her environment strongly through the sense of smell and it’s obvious when she picks up something because of the way she tilts her head up slightly.
Being the Golden she is, she loves people and attention, she will go up to anyone and greet them with the most loving presence! The minute another dog comes around though, she goes from holding herself openly, ears perked, and smiling…to hunched down, with a mean mug on her face.
Bee is very animated and in only a 10 minute span of time expresses several different facial movements and forms of body language. This is part of the reason I chose body language as my topic for the research project. It’s fascinating how every being holds themselves in a different way, their movements, gestures, sounds, are all unique!
I always knew the Google search engine was brilliant in the way of convenience to information and refinement of searching, a way of connecting with the rest of the world and the knowledge of others; but after meeting with Peekay, I have such a greater appreciation for what it has to offer! The “shortcuts” she showed me to access more specific and accurate information have already enhanced the way I research. I’m excited to use and put to practice what I learned in the short meeting with Peekay with the research project.
Which leads me to think about the word “research” again and how in the very beginning of this semester Bill asked us all what it means to research. When I look at the word itself and take it literally it means to search for information… and then re-search again… and again. Searching until new grounds are made and outcomes have been reached. An investigation, of sorts. So a research project is basically searching for the greater knowledge of a specific topic in order to become well rounded on the subject, looking at all the angles.
I think I’m ready to begin the project!
I mentioned in class a powerful video about the modern day school system which I’ve found to be very fascinating! Each individual has strengths and weaknesses and all are “intelligent” in their own way. This video presses on the issue in which schools are trying to educate kids as if they were all built the same way and learn the same way. Check it out, the link is below!
Changing Education Paradigms
“You become bored with things because they only exist as names to you, the dry concepts of the mind obscure your vision, you now see everything as a veil of associations about things, projected over a direct simple awareness.”
– “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman”
This quote is an argument of the value of aesthetic experience which connects back to the conversation of signs vs. symbols. I was discussing with my roommate the two this morning when he immediately pulls out a book he is reading called, “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.” He reads to me a section about how the author and his wise teacher and friend, Socrates, go to a huge botanical garden which brought up many memories for the author. He discusses the experience he had as a child in his grandparents garden, the beautiful colors, plants, and creatures in it. While in the present moment at the botanical garden, everything he was seeing were simply memories. They were all just symbols of something he once was very curious about because it was new to him. But now, he had seen flowers millions of times and is so comfortable and familiar with what a flower is, even just the word flower. The comfortableness and familiarity seems to create boredom. We perhaps rely on memories of things because of “boredom”, if we can’t be present with what is in front of us, our awareness of what actually is seems to be trapped in the mind which creates the feeling of being bored. Language has a way of manipulating the mind, by becoming familiar with the word “flower” the flower itself has become generalized and no longer as exciting and curious.
So often in different spiritual teachings we hear about the concept of returning back to our child-like nature which is authentic and curious. To see the world like a child. As we grow older there is a need to put a name on everything, to use symbols for the objects in front of us. These symbols seems to create a pattern that we fall into which again, perhaps bring up the experience of being bored. If the symbol represents a memory then I suppose we can say the sign is presently occurring.
Within the chapter on Multilingualism, there is a short section titled the “Power of Proverbs”. The example of the phrase, “Words are Wind” meaning actions speak louder than words, is used. Growing up I heard this phrase all the time! It’s a sound statement but perhaps I will try and play devil’s advocate with it. I think some people are much better communicators than others. Those who lack the confidence or ability to truly say what they want through words may do better expressing through actions, while others who are not confident to express through actions may do better expressing through words. Words can be very, very “loud” depending on the situation and the individual. Just like actions can be very, very “quiet” if the timing is off, or there is no reasoning behind the action itself. I’m curious to hear from others thoughts on times when “words” are louder than the “action”, or if that’s ever possible?
The section out of the 1st chapter that provoked much thought for me was the – “How Does Language Shape the Way We Think”? Language is ever changing, ever evolving, and has been a great tool to use in order to survive in this world. It’s extremely hard to imagine about what modern day society would be like without language. Inventions, new ideas, and businesses perhaps would not be as easily cultivated or well produced without language in order to share knowledge between others and expand the mind. Lora Boroditsky writes about the Russian language and how gender in language plays such a role in the way Russian speakers think about an object. It’s fascinating how vast of an impact words have on perception. This seems to be both a blessing and a curse because when we look at those in power and authority roles, it seems they know just what to tell us to create fear of something that perhaps we would have never thought to have feared before. Unfortunately, it’s evident those in power positions such as the government have the capability to control the masses through using their words to provoke the thoughts they wants us to have. This is psychological manipulation through words, alone.
The way I think of language Is almost like the way I think of infinity; it’s endless in it’s possibilities, and extremely hard to define. Language is by far the most ambiguous thing in existence. First of all, the fact that there are so many different languages make it that much more broad. Something to keep in mind is that language is not just formed through verbal communication; does a new born baby have a language just because he/she can’t express through words what it wants or another question- what is a deaf or blind person’s language without words? Here is something else to think about- one person may see a tree and know it by the word “tree”, to another person from let’s say the opposite side of the world, that tree in their mind is called the word “bushel”. Even though these two people have different words for the same object they are trying to explain, is the object still the same? The words in our language and the way we use them sometimes feel endless.
I began teaching Yoga classes about three years ago and that has forever changed and quite intensely expanded the way I view language. For example, when I’m teaching 30 people in a class and am trying to teach the same Yoga pose to all of them I realize how powerful words are and often how confusing they can be because if I tweak my words even slightly someone in the class could have a totally different understanding of the posture I’m trying to get them in.
I think a lot of what we are aiming to accomplish in speech and writing is to diminish the ambiguity of language. I’ve learned to be an effective and clear speaker it takes the ability to slow down and really think about what I’m trying to say. To me this is extremely exciting; the ability to manipulate my words in such a way that they are powerful enough to get those 30 people to move in unison and create the effect I want them to feel.