Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

What did you say? And what did you mean by it?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

commonsense
Posts: 1862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by commonsense » Sat May 23, 2020 12:01 am

commonsense wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:57 pm
seeds wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:23 pm
commonsense wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:25 pm
Such a scenario as the one described can certainly be produced as a result of intentional control.
Not according to AlexW. I mean, if he has already made it quite clear that he dismisses the existence of a “controller” of thought, then what, pray tell, would be the source of “intention”?
I understand Alex’s position on a controller as well as yours on the mind as arena.

Respectfully I submit that there is a controller, the mind, which by my interpretation is an immaterial but functioning entity, which can form intent.

seeds
Posts: 861
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by seeds » Sat May 23, 2020 12:43 am

commonsense wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:57 pm
I understand Alex’s position on a controller as well as yours on the mind as arena.

Respectfully I submit that there is a controller, the mind, which by my interpretation is an immaterial but functioning entity.
Fair enough.

And if you tell me that the “immaterial but functioning entity” to which you are referring has a personal identity and is self-aware, then I completely agree with you. In which case, we only seem to be having a slight issue over semantics.

If not, then perhaps you could further explain what you mean.
_______

commonsense
Posts: 1862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by commonsense » Sat May 23, 2020 12:52 am

seeds wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:43 am
commonsense wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:57 pm
I understand Alex’s position on a controller as well as yours on the mind as arena.

Respectfully I submit that there is a controller, the mind, which by my interpretation is an immaterial but functioning entity.
Fair enough.

And if you tell me that the “immaterial but functioning entity” to which you are referring has a personal identity and is self-aware, then I completely agree with you. In which case, we only seem to be having a slight issue over semantics.

If not, then perhaps you could further explain what you mean.
_______
Semantics, exactly so. :)

AlexW
Posts: 545
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:53 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am

seeds wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:24 pm
For example, not only can I purposely create my own (personally autographed) mental image of a basketball, but I can also cover it in green Granny Smith apple skin.

I can then spin that green basketball on the tip of an inwardly created pinky finger just before I slam-dunk it (Michael Jordan style) after running and leaping from the free-throw line.

After that, I can then peel the apple skin from its surface to reveal what appears to be the color and texture of apple pulp, of which I immediately take a bite of, only to discover that it tastes like a banana,...

...to which the old “Chiquita Banana” commercial theme song begins playing in the background, accompanied by a suddenly appearing flash mob of animated bananas and apples who then hoist me up and pass me around like in a mosh pit of a rock concert.
That's quite a story - pretty funny :-)
seeds wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:24 pm
I, in turn, will insist that you are merely (and ironically) demonstrating how another “controller” of thoughts (you) is “making a decision” to use your own personal control over thoughts to convince yourself that there is no controller of thoughts.
I don't have to convince myself of anything - the situation is actually perfectly obvious:
Whatever one can directly experience - see, hear, smell, taste or touch - is actually real, whatever can only be thought of, but not actually experienced is at best a conceptual interpretation of experience or, at worst, simply made up / imagined.
As there is no direct experience of an entity controlling thought, but only thought arising (from "nowhere") I don't have to convince myself of it not existing - its rather the other way round: it needs convincing/imagination that this "controller of thoughts" exists even it is never actually experienced.

Also: If this controller would actually exist, it would have to have absolute control of thought - you would have to be able to decide which thoughts to think and which ones to avoid at all times - meaning: this control would have to be permanent, not just happening occasionally.
As I see it, you are either fully in control or not at all - the idea of being partially in control, sometimes and not at other times, is not more than an attempt of covering up the "unbelievable" fact that you are actually not in control at all - and the reason for this being so is actually very simple: it is due to the fact that there is no such controlling entity in the first place.

commonsense
Posts: 1862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by commonsense » Sat May 23, 2020 8:54 pm

AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
Whatever one can directly experience - see, hear, smell, taste or touch - is actually real, whatever can only be thought of, but not actually experienced is at best a conceptual interpretation of experience or, at worst, simply made up / imagined.

Agreed, with exception of the diminished valuation of concepts and imagination.

To say that there’s a kind of thought that can be at most/best a concept suggests that there is something of higher value than conceptual thinking.

I am suggesting that conceived thoughts are a wonderous characteristic of the human mind.

In like fashion, I hold that living is made so much less boring by the human ability to imagine.

AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
... there is no direct experience of an entity controlling thought, but only thought arising (from "nowhere")

Agreed, however there is acceptable indirect evidence that an entity exists to control thought.

An intentional thought is a controlled thought. A controlled thought is an intentional thought that is under the influence of a controller.

If there is at least one instance of a controlled thought, there is reason to believe, through indirect evidence, there is a controller.

For one example, I can intentionally think that seeds’ flash mob of bananas is imaginable but unreal.

Accordingly, there exists a controller of thought.

AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
I don't have to convince myself of it not existing - its rather the other way round: it needs convincing/imagination that this "controller of thoughts" exists even it is never actually experienced.

qed

AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
Also: If this controller would actually exist, it would have to have absolute control of thought - you would have to be able to decide which thoughts to think and which ones to avoid at all times - meaning: this control would have to be permanent, not just happening occasionally.
As I see it, you are either fully in control or not at all - the idea of being partially in control, sometimes and not at other times, is not more than an attempt of covering up the "unbelievable" fact that you are actually not in control at all - and the reason for this being so is actually very simple: it is due to the fact that there is no such controlling entity in the first place.

No cover-up at all. It’s just that when something exists, it can exist without absolute power. A thought controller has power under the condition that the thought is intentional.

Think of breathing. When you think about your breathing you can control your breathing. When you don’t think about it, you’ll breathe anyway. Conditional control.

seeds
Posts: 861
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by seeds » Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am

AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
I don't have to convince myself of anything - the situation is actually perfectly obvious:
Whatever one can directly experience - see, hear, smell, taste or touch - is actually real, whatever can only be thought of, but not actually experienced is at best a conceptual interpretation of experience or, at worst, simply made up / imagined.
First of all, define “real” for me.

Secondly, one can also directly experience (as in see, hear, smell, taste, and touch) the three-dimensional structures that appear in a vivid dream, which means that your attempt to differentiate the inner from the outer doesn’t work so well.

In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that when we experience our dream phenomena it is even more “direct” than our experience of the so-called “real” phenomena we encounter outwardly.

And that’s because what we encounter inwardly...

(again, the mental image of a basketball, for example)

...is not subjected to the intermediary process of being filtered through a physical eye, or ear, or nose, or tongue, or skin. For the true locus and source of the five senses that those bodily features represent, lies within the mind, not the body.
AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
As there is no direct experience of an entity controlling thought, but only thought arising (from "nowhere") I don't have to convince myself of it not existing - its rather the other way round: it needs convincing/imagination that this "controller of thoughts" exists even it is never actually experienced.
I doubt that there can exist a more “direct” experience of a “thought controlling entity” than that of the entity you perpetually encounter in that which is expressed in the Cartesian idiom “I think, therefore I am.”

In other words, the very existence of your own self-awareness is the epitome of a “direct experience” (by you) of a thought controlling entity (again, you).

You’re just put-off by the fact that there is no mirror that the controller of thought can look into to see what it (your Cartesian “I-Am-ness”) actually looks like within the interior context of the mind itself.
AlexW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:51 am
Also: If this controller would actually exist, it would have to have absolute control of thought - you would have to be able to decide which thoughts to think and which ones to avoid at all times - meaning: this control would have to be permanent, not just happening occasionally.
That is a completely false and arbitrary assumption.

The following is a purely rhetorical question because I know it is antithetical to your belief system, but did it ever occur to you...

(assuming that you’re open to the possibility that your theory about ultimate reality might be wrong)

...that this partial control of thought might only be a temporary situation for us?

I mean, if there exists the remotest chance that our minds and souls may awaken into a higher level of being and consciousness after the death of the body, then is it not at least a possibility that we will acquire full consciousness and full control of the fabric of our thoughts at that time?
_______

AlexW
Posts: 545
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:53 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sun May 24, 2020 6:24 am

commonsense wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:54 pm
Agreed, with exception of the diminished valuation of concepts and imagination.

To say that there’s a kind of thought that can be at most/best a concept suggests that there is something of higher value than conceptual thinking.
I didn't really want to put a valuation on thought, I was only pointing out what thought can do (is actually good at) and what it cannot "do".
Thought is always limited to the dualistic, relativistic perspective of the world - or rather: thought IS the dualistic, objective world
Reality, on the other hand, is what is directly experienced before thought wraps it into good and bad, left and right, me and you.
Now, one could say that actual non-dual reality is more valuable than the conceptual reality that emerges from/as thought, but this is somehow incorrect - as reality has no value at all - its only thought that places value on certain experiences (and condemns others) - reality is perfectly indifferent to any valuation.
commonsense wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:54 pm
I am suggesting that conceived thoughts are a wonderous characteristic of the human mind.

In like fashion, I hold that living is made so much less boring by the human ability to imagine.
Agree thoughts are amazing, at times wonderful, but can equally be frightening and destructive.

To label something as "boring" is only a judgemental thought - and stating that reality (this moment minus conceptual thought) is boring is perfectly untrue. Its actually far beyond boring (but, yes, of course its boring for the separate self, as reality is not based on a story that contains "you")
commonsense wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:54 pm
Agreed, however there is acceptable indirect evidence that an entity exists to control thought.

An intentional thought is a controlled thought. A controlled thought is an intentional thought that is under the influence of a controller.
What is an "intentional thought"? Where does this intention come from?
As far as I can tell, and I have looked at this a lot, an intention is simply another thought stating "Now lets think about apples" (or something similar).
This intention again arises from "nowhere" - can of course be linked to all sorts of previous events - maybe an apple fell from the tree and hit me on the head. It doesn't really matter, at the end, no matter how hard you look, there is no controller initiating an intentional chain of thought.
Each and every such "intentional" chain is actually interspersed with referencers to "me" the "thinker", asking itself about "what next..?" etc etc... but these are simply again thoughts, no magical, hidden controller anywhere to be found...

But, yes, sure, if you prefer to believe in "acceptable indirect evidence that an entity exists to control thought" - be my guest... All I am saying is that there is no proof and all you actually do is believe (like people believe in a God or whatever else... its not a problem, just most likely not true)
commonsense wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:54 pm
No cover-up at all. It’s just that when something exists, it can exist without absolute power.
That is, ultimately, not true.
It is of course true for the dualistic, relativistic universe that we have thought up - but not for reality.
There is a good reason behind the saying "God is omnipotent" (and as God=Reality --> whatever is real is omnipotent).

AlexW
Posts: 545
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:53 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sun May 24, 2020 6:52 am

seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
First of all, define “real” for me.
This moment/now, this direct experience minus all the conceptual interpretations that thought conjures up.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
Secondly, one can also directly experience (as in see, hear, smell, taste, and touch) the three-dimensional structures that appear in a vivid dream, which means that your attempt to differentiate the inner from the outer doesn’t work so well.
I have never said that there is an "inner or an outer" - inside and outside are concepts, there is no inner or outer in reality.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that when we experience our dream phenomena it is even more “direct” than our experience of the so-called “real” phenomena we encounter outwardly.
It depends on how you define reality... what is reality to you?

By the way, I am not saying that dream experiences are more or less real than experiences of the waking state - the reality in both is the same.
Its just the case that the conceptual reality that thought creates is more "connected" (mentally real / apparently continuous) in the waking state.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
I doubt that there can exist a more “direct” experience of a “thought controlling entity” than that of the entity you perpetually encounter in that which is expressed in the Cartesian idiom “I think, therefore I am.”
I have never encountered this entity - yes, the thought has arisen, but it wasn't created by some sort of controlling entity.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
In other words, the very existence of your own self-awareness is the epitome of a “direct experience” (by you) of a thought controlling entity (again, you).
You are mixing up thought with awareness/consciousness...
To be self-aware you would have to be able to separate your self from the self of others - thought attempts to do this by introducing a relativistic universe - awareness/consciousness on the other hand has no identity, it knows nothing of separation - it is what is - this here/now.
You could actually say "it" is only aware of itself (and never of "other") - but this somehow defeats the purpose of self-awareness, doesn't it?
The only "thing" that claims it is self aware is thought (at least there is such a belief) but stating that awareness is self-aware is a misnomer.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
I mean, if there exists the remotest chance that our minds and souls may awaken into a higher level of being and consciousness after the death of the body, then is it not at least a possibility that we will acquire full consciousness and full control of the fabric of our thoughts at that time?
See, the problem is that "you" (thought) believe that control over something can be achieved or is actually necessary.
The next problem is that you think that you actually can "awaken into a higher level of being and consciousness" after death or whatever other event ... while, in reality, you ARE this reality already and there is really nowhere at all for "you" to go or climb to where you not already are.

commonsense
Posts: 1862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by commonsense » Sun May 24, 2020 1:22 pm

AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:24 am

As far as I can tell, and I have looked at this a lot, an intention is simply another thought stating "Now lets think about apples" (or something similar).
This intention again arises from "nowhere" - can of course be linked to all sorts of previous events - maybe an apple fell from the tree and hit me on the head. It doesn't really matter, at the end, no matter how hard you look, there is no controller initiating an intentional chain of thought.
Each and every such "intentional" chain is actually interspersed with referencers to "me" the "thinker", asking itself about "what next..?" etc etc... but these are simply again thoughts, no magical, hidden controller anywhere to be found...
Alex, perhaps we’re both asserting that the first thought in a chain is random/uncontrolled, but then leads to/causes/controls the next, and so on. If so, the differences in our remarks become trivial.

AlexW
Posts: 545
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:53 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by AlexW » Sun May 24, 2020 1:45 pm

commonsense wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:22 pm
Alex, perhaps we’re both asserting that the first thought in a chain is random/uncontrolled, but then leads to/causes/controls the next, and so on. If so, the differences in our remarks become trivial.
Not sure... depends on how we define “ leads to/causes/controls”... to me, these are very different concepts.
Leads to: one link in a chain is followed by the next, but it doesn’t cause or control the next
Causes: low temperatures cause water to freeze, but this doesn’t mean it controls it
Control: a policeman controls traffic
Which one would you apply to thought?

commonsense
Posts: 1862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by commonsense » Sun May 24, 2020 2:29 pm

AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:45 pm
commonsense wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:22 pm
Alex, perhaps we’re both asserting that the first thought in a chain is random/uncontrolled, but then leads to/causes/controls the next, and so on. If so, the differences in our remarks become trivial.
Not sure... depends on how we define “ leads to/causes/controls”... to me, these are very different concepts.
Leads to: one link in a chain is followed by the next, but it doesn’t cause or control the next
Causes: low temperatures cause water to freeze, but this doesn’t mean it controls it
Control: a policeman controls traffic
Which one would you apply to thought?
Actually, I would prefer the term, “influence”, to “control”. We may simply be getting into semantics here.

To me, the next link is influenced by its predecessor; the state of water is influenced by the temperature; the cop influences the traffic.

Another suitable substitution would be “determine”. Both “influence” and “determine” are more generalized, more non-specific, than control, and more representative of my thinking.

seeds
Posts: 861
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by seeds » Sun May 24, 2020 5:59 pm

seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
I doubt that there can exist a more “direct” experience of a “thought controlling entity” than that of the entity you perpetually encounter in that which is expressed in the Cartesian idiom “I think, therefore I am.”
AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:52 am
I have never encountered this entity - yes, the thought has arisen, but it wasn't created by some sort of controlling entity.
The fact of you saying that you have never encountered this entity is like the sun saying that it has never encountered heat or light. It’s like the ocean saying it has never encountered wetness.

Now it may indeed be true that from the perspective of those two entities they are telling the truth about the lack of such encounters, however, it still does not negate the existence of their own hotness or wetness.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
In other words, the very existence of your own self-awareness is the epitome of a “direct experience” (by you) of a thought controlling entity (again, you).
AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:52 am
You are mixing up thought with awareness/consciousness...
No, AlexW, it is you who are (literally) “mixing up” thought...

(i.e., the infinitely malleable essence from which the three-dimensional phenomena of both objective and subjective realities are created)

...with that of awareness/consciousness...

(i.e., the controller of the infinitely malleable essence of thought)

...because you refuse to recognize their complementary (albeit dualistic) relationship with each other.
seeds wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:01 am
I mean, if there exists the remotest chance that our minds and souls may awaken into a higher level of being and consciousness after the death of the body, then is it not at least a possibility that we will acquire full consciousness and full control of the fabric of our thoughts at that time?
AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:52 am
See, the problem is that "you" (thought) believe that control over something can be achieved or is actually necessary.
No, AlexW, the “problem” is that “you” (the controller of thought) are calling the “you” a thought, as opposed to the possibility of it (the “you”) being something of a more refined and ethereal nature.

Furthermore, you don’t even seem to be aware of the problems inherent in your own arguments. For example, how can a thought “believe” something?

Speaking in the highly metaphorical terms I used earlier, I honestly don’t know how to convince the sun that it is a very hot entity when the sun itself absolutely refuses to accept the existence of hotness because it has never encountered such a thing.
_______

Atla
Posts: 2630
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Atla » Sun May 24, 2020 6:18 pm

Alex, I don't think you can get through to people who have already decided that they are Beautiful Transcendental Beings, and came up with an entire philosophy based on that. Although it's certainly interesting to try.

Skepdick
Posts: 3776
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by Skepdick » Sun May 24, 2020 6:29 pm

AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:52 am
This moment/now
Define "now" and claim your Nobel Prize in physics!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28789699-now
AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:52 am
See, the problem is that "you" (thought) believe that control over something can be achieved or is actually necessary.
The concept of "control" emerges from the concept of choice/decision-making. You can't dismiss control without giving up your free will also.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_flow

Within an imperative programming language, a control flow statement is a statement that results in a choice being made as to which of two or more paths to follow.
AlexW wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:24 am
What is an "intentional thought"? Where does this intention come from?
You tell us. Did you not intend to say this sentence?

commonsense
Posts: 1862
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Is It Possible To Think Without Language?

Post by commonsense » Sun May 24, 2020 7:25 pm

Atla wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:18 pm
Alex, I don't think you can get through to people who have already decided that they are Beautiful Transcendental Beings, and came up with an entire philosophy based on that. Although it's certainly interesting to try.
Transcendentalism does not appeal to me. I apologize if I have given you the wrong impression.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests