Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Speakers to Thinkers

Kabbalah recognizes four basic levels of life: mineral, plant, animated and human. Each of these four, has a special Hebrew name which conveys something of it's essence. In the case of the human level, the special name is "mih-dah-ber", which literally translates into English as "speaker". Until today, I wondered why humans are referred to as "speakers" and not as "thinkers".

Then today, I heard a science radio program which presented studies on speech. It turns out that without speech, there's no real thinking as we know it. Now, this does not necessarily have to be verbal speech. The studies showed that there was a marked improvement in thinking among deaf people as they develop in their understanding and usage of sign language. So any style of speech supports the whole thinking process and builds it up.

Now I understand why we're referred to as "speakers". It's obvious that we could never become "thinkers" if we weren't first "speakers".

1 comment:

  1. Comments from the FB posting:

    Choni: In fact, here's the science program I listened to: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

    Ruth: You reminded me of the 'Fish Speakers' in the Dune series of books!

    Choni: I never read the book series, who are they Ruth?

    Avraham: My thoughts exactly, I heard that program yesterday also.

    Ruth:The guards to the emperor, all female. I forget who the writer is but the series makes great use of words that are familiar but used in a different contest.....its v. futuristic. For instance, the housekeeper is called the 'Shadout Mapes' and there is something called the 'Butlerian Jihad'. I loved the books when I was younger but haven't read one for years. Despite these meanderings, I was very interested in your original thoughts!