Home Info-Feed Rough Draft Index Discussion Contact

The Use Of Language - Notes Towards Subversive Communication

One thing that language has is a level of generality. Language can speak about bob’s thing-inch bolt or about “things”.

Naturally, the level of generality of language should be chosen according to the purpose intended. This is not simply because certain detail might not be necessary, it is because it may be better to leave the listener to create those details themselves.

And this relates to the rough ordering that divides a person into conscious and unconscious process. A particular statement would be intended to give the conscious, language-using “part” of a person those direction which it needs while simultaneously allowing the unconscious “part” to directly determine what it is that needs to be done. Essentially, language should be structured to allow the proper hierarchical ordering of the self to accomplish a particular task.

Just as much, any language utterance contains a range of assumptions, questions and commands. These structures are altogether quite complex. Yet a human being is quite capable of using language without any training in the science of those structures, without knowing grammar or Chompskian linguistics (Still, It is interesting learning the “nuts and bolts” of these things). At the same time, in the use of language, we can see a pattern similar to the use of the self. When a person has taken in various beliefs and assumptions, their language will reflect those frameworks. Indeed, this indirect method is much more effective for conveying nuance than any word-by-word calculation for the effect of an utterance.

Language also has a logical structure. If we can say is A is true and we can say B is true, then we can say A and B are true together. Yet, while the rules of formal logic are absolute, the realities which particular utterance are intended to reflect may be rather indefinite. On the one hand, logic can then serve to blow out musty thinking and not-useful frameworks that a person can fall into. On the other hand, logic may lead us to treat the surface meaning of a word rather than focusing on a deeper, organizing principle that may be behind the word. Using symbolic logic to dissect the statement “allow your head to move forward and up” would be hopeless.

F.M. Alexander had the practice of not using and not entertaining the terminology of those concepts who truth and usefulness he questioned. This practice qualifies as a language strategy though Alexander did not give a complete description of how one might use nouns, verbs and adjectives. Rather, Alexander is pointing a teacher’s already existing linguistic facility in a particular direction. Walter Carrington similarly gives us an idea why direction is a good idea, yet he also does not give us a lecture on linguistics. Similarly, the Alexander technique teacher may study physiology yet they do make their general actions don’t involve considering each muscles’ moves directly – instead the basic direction serve them.

When a child rides a bike using “training wheels”, the wheels provide a concrete direction for action. The direction is implicitly to be balanced on one and then the other wheel, eventually obtaining the natural balance needed If a child has faith in own abilities or has some adult encouragement, training wheels can be entirely unnecessary for learning to ride a bike. And indeed, the training wheel process can slow down a child’s learning of the skill of cycling. But they can also allow a child who doesn’t otherwise have either an adult or confidence to be able to eventually ride. The cycling process involves transferring the balance skill of running/walking to a different context. Under ideal circumstances, this can happen very quickly.

And ultimately, we can see how indirect methods lie at the heart of many effective practices, many effective ways to allow another person to do something they might not be able to by simply willing. Many things work best when the conscious focuses only those aspects, and those aspect only, which is does appropriately – and thereby allow the innate or unconscious processes within a person to act with their natural, correct impulses. This is an aspect of the use of the self.

And interestingly, this approach comes back to the use of language.  Following Alexander, we the use of language is a part of the use of the self.

Now, following Neurolinguistic Programming, we can classify various practices into different levels. We are ordering how our language frames something, not how things are in the absolute. We go up a level based on a method being more innate or more indirect. Indirectness can explicit – the NLP constructs like embedded command are explicit instructions on how to be indirect. Indirect can implicit. Being in a confident state to convince someone is implicit, there are no instructions about how your confidence will manifest itself.

If we look at this ordering and decide that is represents an order of increasingly desirability, then we must think how a person attains reaches this higher level.

The “unconscious part” which we would like to have handle our tough tasks does not initially know a task, how are we to teach. Alexander often works by direct touch. But any such process to an extent involves starting at our conscious process and moving inward. And this is often particular to the activity involves. Mathematics and chess certainly involves an eventually hand-off of calculation to unconscious processes but by a different sequence than race car driving. If we think back to the adult guiding a child towards balance on two wheels, we notice how the bodily motions of the adult can work along with conscious spoken directions, to transfer the needed skills. Essentially, you have a guide liftoff into the unknown. In highly “conscious mind” activity, we still see points where exquisite performances happen using a total concentration characteristic of the unconscious.

NLP describes a learning situation where a person passes from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence to conscience competence to unconscious incompetence. In passing between each of these steps, in each of these stages, the conscious mind must adjust it’s relation with the unconscious.

And spoken words can serve both direct and indirect learning. A statement like “let go” is a clue to allow the conscious mind not act and thus allow the unconscious to act. But in practice, it should noted that, by the principle of elegance, statements that allow indirect action would be better than an direct reference to an entity “the unconscious”. Having an over-all direction is a more complete approach than a series of unrelated instructions.