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DocHickory t1_jagbkc3 wrote

Language is imprecise in that each person weighs what a word means differently, so it is impossible that one person understands exactly what another wishes to convey. Usually 'close enough' will serve, but it is in the nuances between individuals where the train of communications jumps the rails.


Hehwoeatsgods t1_jahc5tg wrote

Math is the closest we come to true speech


abottomful t1_jahq8lo wrote

What's the equation for "that's the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard"?


ReadySouffle t1_jai57qq wrote

My knowledge of math is limited, so forgive me of any ignorance, but there is still some limitation on what math can convey. When it comes to quantity and magnitude math is quite the efficient communicator, but does math contain any structure for conveying feeling? Conveying feeling is something art may be able to do more effectively than mathematics alone. Maybe written language is the effective bridge then between the quantitative and the pictoral, at least where humans are concerned.


[deleted] t1_jaj9i4k wrote



ReaperX24 t1_jao8y3e wrote

Spot on. He's correct in that math is absolute in its precision, but it's still no more than an abstraction of what's actually going on. More importantly, our cognition is simply not good enough to intuitively comprehend a mathematical description of a highly complex entity or process. Like, it's totally possible to describe a table in purely mathematical terms, but even if you manage to compute that, good luck trying to convey it to other people without using language as a crutch.

And to take it a step further, our ability to use symantic languages is actually one of the main reasons why we're so good at maths. We wouldn't be able to handle anything more than basic algebra and geometry etc. if not for the fact that languages allow us to abstract complex concepts into very simple symbols. Remember that we developed written languages long before we ever considered using algebraic expressions as a mathematical notation. For the longest time, mathematicians relied almost entirely on geometry and vectors to describe mathematics, with a bit of help from symantic languages.


apostleofbadfang t1_jat6waa wrote

Another issue with math as precise language is that at that level of logic, only a few people would be able to untangle the symbolic logic. And it would take a long time for them to do, rendering the entire exercise useless as a language, albeit prefect in conveying info.


SvetlanaButosky t1_jagrxk2 wrote

This is why we must have Elon Musk's brain chip, it could give us direct telepathy, lol.

could also give us direct insanity. lol


thegoldengoober t1_jagsdll wrote

You're being down voted because you mentioned Elon Musk I'm sure, but brain computer interfacing will surely revolutionize communication.


snellickers t1_jah8gpd wrote

Oh totally. It’s an amazing idea to put your consciousness in the hands of plutocrats like Elon Musk. I can’t think of any downsides to this.


fenomenomsk t1_jah965a wrote

Brain to brain interface maybe, I can't imagine brain-computer giving anything but the data we already have (words)


Catatonic27 t1_jahawa2 wrote

But imagine that, but at the speed of thought instead of the speed of fingers or eyes.

Arguably we already do have brain-to-computer interfaces they're just high latency and low bandwidth.


fenomenomsk t1_jahkss8 wrote

I personally have huge concerns regarding man-in-the-middle that is computer. After all, the end goal of such a communication is transfering information from person to person. Having a computer in the middle will lead to such a massive array of problems like tampering with the input, data analysis (this reeks of never before-seen privacy issues), and maybe even mind control. All that simply because there is a programmable interface between two people. I see brain-computer interface only useful as a necessary evil and an intermediary step for brain-brain interface.


Catatonic27 t1_jahoxmk wrote

Your concerns are well-founded I think. But I think it's interesting to point out that most of those concerns are already playing out RIGHT NOW sans literal mind control. The difference between a cybernetic implant and carrying an internet-connected phone around all day is merely a difference in speed of access. It takes you a few seconds to pull out your phone and type in a query or respond to a notification, the implant would just do it faster.

And we are absolutely already seeing the issues you mention like tampering or interception of inputs and using massive data analysis to decide who sees which outputs, it's a mess. And the end result isn't exactly mind-control, but I think it's fair to say that human behavior has and almost certainly still is being shaped by our technology and algorithms for better or worse. The difference isn't one of kind, but one of scale.

So optimistically I hope you're right about the brain-to-brain interface being the end-goal, but realistically I really don't see that happening. There's too much to be "gained" by centralization, it's too enticing. It's like trying to get people to stick to walkie-talkies when they already know smartphones exist.


AceTrainerStorme t1_jah2hyo wrote

Don't want to be that guy, but I'm pretty sure Elon musk's brain chip has no chance of ever working (according to the founders who quit once it was bought) plus they are basically running out of monkeys to torture test on


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AceTrainerStorme t1_jch9i10 wrote

Yes I do know the hundreds claim is false, I do also know however that Elon musk company can no longer acquire more monkeys from the source they did and the company sited "ethical" reasons


Canilickyourfeet t1_jah4qoj wrote

I'm curious, was death a direct correlation between chip insertion and time of death? Or is it like Covid reporting, where if someone dies that happens to have the virus, it's deemed a covid death?

If a monkey dies as a result of environmental factors, stress, diet, etc, do they still count it as death brought on by chip insertion?


wow-signal t1_jah18pt wrote

not gonna happen. we have no clue how the mind works


DocHickory t1_jaobk1n wrote

The only chip I'd have any interest in is embedded in a cookie.


Nebu_chad_nezzarII t1_jaghh5c wrote

This was a great read. Beeing bilingual, I have often been asked by my friends if I think in english or my native language. I allways found it an odd question, because my thoughts are definitely not happening in word-format inside my head - If I had to describe them, I would say they are more “visual” than verbal in nature, and therefore I often say I think more visually than verbally - but this is not a fully accurate description either.

Thoughts are a unique experience and part of your conscious existence and that is an experience infinitely richer than words can convey. Of course, the broader your vocabulary, the greater the chance that you will be able to “translate” your thoughts to words at high fidelity - but much is “lost in translation” when two people speak - even if they are both fluent in a language and competent speakers.


Hazzman t1_jagn18t wrote

It reminds me of how some languages have words for emotions, concepts or scenarios that other languages don't have, but are emotions people can experience - just without the words to express them succinctly or even at all. Like Schadenfreude. We know what that means - and it is precise in its expression. Without that word, an English speaking person would have to deliberately express "Their failure, pain and or harm is satisfying to me" which is cumbersome.

But what about emotions we can feel that we don't have words for in any language. I'm sure there are many of these across different languages that aren't present in English but that we would understand if presented with them.

I also think of 1984's 'Newspeak' where the dictatorship of the future controls people's thoughts by eroding their language. Until the concept of revolution or rebellion no longer has a word or a phrase to describe it, and therefor doesn't exist as a possibility for the people.


MisterBilau t1_jahxtlm wrote

The fact that some languages have one word for something where others don't means nothing to me. What matters is if it's possible to describe or not, regardless of the number of words needed. Saying "Schadenfreude" or "Their failure, pain and or harm is satisfying to me" is the same - you can get the point across. Therefore, you can think it.

The real issue that matters is if it's possible to express a thought at all in a language but not in another, that's what's interesting. The idea of 1984 was just that, making certain thoughts impossible for lack of language. But that has nothing to do with everything being one unique word or not. As long as there is a string in a language, no matter how complex or how long, that can express it, it's fine.

Now, some languages can be more efficient or cumbersome than others, but that just doesn't matter nearly as much as being possible or not to express something.


Yessbutno t1_jags4kz wrote

> I would say they are more “visual” than verbal in nature, and therefore I often say I think more visually than verbally

I am the same way, for me it's that thoughts feel multidimensional in terms of structure as well as temporal ordering, while language/verbal communication is often linear and ordered in particular ways. So much is lost trying to put thoughts into words I often don't bother unless I have to.

Whereas visual languages feel more naturalistic.


BE3F t1_jagsney wrote

I started noticing my internal monologue changing to English within a year and now, 20 years on, it’s almost permanently in English unless I visit my home country in which case it starts changing back slowly and I pick up my accent again, I usually visit for a week at most.

This doesn’t apply when doing maths, counting especially always reverts back to my native language!


dunnowhattowriteM t1_jalk8k5 wrote

Great thought dude. I also think that emotions are something so unique and "spiritual" that no word will ever be able to figure em and describe em. Maybe, what comes closer to showing our feeling as purely as they are, is art, and music in particular.

All in all, words are the result of our experience, and we should never take our own experiences as the universal law.


Storque t1_jageegw wrote

Thoughts are an experience.

We use language to attempt to encode those experiences into a set of symbols.

Of course there is going to be a discrepancy between the richness and fullness of a lived experience and the words we would use to describe it.


gashmol t1_jag3zv6 wrote

Speaking is, like many of our functions, mostly authomatic. You don't need or want to consciously think about it all the time. Often you make mistakes but then you can use a conscious effort to fix those mistakes. Alot of times you don't even have to fix the mistakes since they are obvious or minor. I usually just lough it off when I open the fridge instead of the closet. I'm happy with this evulationary tradeoff.


garfield629 t1_jagqy8c wrote

I often feel frustrated that I can't seem to put my thoughts into the words that I would like to. Can anyone relate to that?

And this has me thinking about why small talk irritates me. I guess I understand that an exchange of words can have the purpose of just being friendly and building community, but words just for the sake of words can be kind of a bummer.


pwnagocha t1_jajjdsc wrote

I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older I’ve developed a better ways of educating myself, on all kinds of things. I’m a very curious person and I love to learn but I don’t have the vocabulary to match. It’s incredibly frustrating.


Pezotecom t1_jagk8mu wrote

I believe that when we play games we can actually say meaningful and complete things trough math/words


EZmacilx t1_jah2eor wrote

This is basically the point that I think was one step beyond the one Plato was making in the Phaedrus when Socrates recounts the Egyptian story of writing. Theuth, the god of writing, touts the benefits of writing as a superior means of communicating ideas, but Thamus gives a few faults that writing has as a means of communication, one of which being that a reader can only infer what the meaning of the words might be based on what they understand those words to represent, which may differ from the meaning that the writer intended. This is true of the spoken word as well, although in the case of conversation, you have the benefit of being able to ask for clarification unlike the usual case with writing


SnooSquirrels2481 t1_jaivkko wrote

Yes exactly words are just a representation of thoughts. The meaning of your thoughts is abstracted


alkimiadev t1_jaotvrz wrote

From my experience language is read and written in a linear way but thoughts aren't linear. We've habituated ourselves to linear expressions since it is an effective strategy for conveying meaning in a common way. Still our thoughts aren't linear and the first time I realized this was when I reached a moderate level of fluency in a second language. I started noticing that the second language had a different kind of shape to it. I had a big leap in progress once I started thinking in terms of the shape of a thought and now I can think in that second language.


Professor_Seven t1_jags9c1 wrote

"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen."


TimelessGlassGallery t1_jahm09x wrote

Someone hasn’t read Wittgenstein, or anything related to linguistics for that matter


redditaccount003 t1_jai07ay wrote

Both Freud and Lacan have stuff related to it too. It’s okay though, people shouldn’t have to have read the canon before being allowed to write essays and have opinions


TimelessGlassGallery t1_jai0ywg wrote

They should’ve thought and researched a bit harder before presenting that essay to a bunch of philosophy enthusiasts though…


Nebu_chad_nezzarII t1_jalh8g5 wrote

This is a very elitist and non-inclusive attitude - I’d argue the exact opposite. Philosophy should be open to all, esp. In an amateur forum such as this. If the barriers to entry is to have read all relevant philosophical works to date, it would disqualify 99.9% of posters.


TimelessGlassGallery t1_jalhi8j wrote

I wouldn’t call my criticism “a barrier to entry,” and I’m not gonna praise an essay that’s clearly not well thought out and under-researched lol. I’m sure more than .1% of this subreddit has read Wittgenstein’s work or something similar…


Nebu_chad_nezzarII t1_jalifte wrote

While i agree that writing an essay on a philosophical topic, it’s useful to reference the big ideas and their historical proponents and their arguments, philosophy should also be emergent and creative and that People are taking the leap to actually do philosophy themselves i find commendable.

If you find the essay lacking that’s totally fair but you did actually not present an argument on why it was lacking - you just made a snide and elitist remark that did not further the discussion at all.


BernardJOrtcutt t1_jaotzz8 wrote

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vestigina t1_jav91cq wrote

Language and that inner voice have become an integral part of humans. But I sometimes can enforce a "voiceless" sequence of thoughts if I am thinking about visual problems that are on the abstract side. The interesting thing is, I find it not to be an inferior form of thinking, it helps me get to the important picture and mechanics better than "word-based" thinking, which tends to get bog down in detail.


danila_medvedev t1_jaih6vu wrote

The model of the author is incorrect/weak. It's more useful to consider a conversation to be a synchronisation process between two persons (or more than two, or one/several persons and a boundary object, i.e. interface).

Thoughts are not encoded as words. Words are generated essentially as GPT does it. There is a % probability of using a particular word, you can go into many directions. There is only a weak correlation between a resulting text and what the person wants to convey. Also, it's not like there is a single goal - to convey a particular fact. It's easy to assume that and it may be useful in a theoretization context, but in reality there are many motivations. Even just to avoid the akward silence.

One can use sentences to encode information formatlly. However, usually we do not do that. Examples of when we do - google Object−Process Methodology. But normal language is not like that. There is more structure and intent to a long text/conversation than to a particular sentence. We can analyse a sentence, we can't have a similar understanding of a long text.

I believe it's much better to think about conversations in a new way. Imagine each participant (and the interface) has a mental model. A mental model can be (for simplicity) assumed to have form of objects + relations. Relations can be processes, btw. So different participants have different graphs in their minds. Then they exchange pieces of conversation (which can take many forms) to sync parts of the model. The participants may not realise they are doing that, the process is more akin to syncing of metronomes on the same surface or of people clapping together. If mental models of different participants are too different (because "domains of discourse" are two different or for other reasons), then there is no sync. If, however, there are some shared concepts or ideas, sync may happen. If people converge, then they may get to a shared mental model.

When this happens through spoken language, this basically doesn't work or barely works, because executive memory is very small and people can keep just 3-4 objects in the focus of their attention. Using boundary objects (interfaces, exocortex) is potentially much more effecitve. Using special methods of discourse (protocols) can be very powerful too. Finding a way to avoid emotional and social traps is a great enhancer as well.


tomriddlegiggles t1_jagnz0k wrote

the unconscious is the discourse of the other especially when examining the signifier and unconscious.

  • taken from j lacan

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