Language as Art

Part 2 of 2:

From the beginning, language has always acted as a medium of expression for arbitrarily complicated concepts; the universality of language allows this communication to happen across cultures.

Science has always sought to understand the fabric of reality in its most fundamental form, and yet it is unable to do so beyond the mathematic tools used to represent the current system.

So maybe, the only way to gain true perspective on the universe is through analogy.

In language, meanings are often derived from analogies; this mapping is then added to the mental symbolic representation of each word. And when the appropriate trigger is activated a whole sleuth of ‘analogies’ come flooding forth. Just think about how the word ‘hot’ can trigger concepts like summer, the beach, and maybe even a boy in your mind. This very rippled and web-like effect of semantic mapping is the reason we can understand abstract and complex concepts like thermodynamics and cognitive psychology.

But in science, analogies are often considered an oversimplification. I argue that they shouldn’t. Analogies, though themselves abstract in nature, are a tool that humans use to make abstract concepts more concrete (ironically enough).

Consider how we talk about man in terms of machine. We compare computational capacity to that of neural activity and define efficiency as being a well-oiled machine. In essence: man is the most extraordinary computer.

The more you try to deconstruct such statements the further away you will get from the point. Analogies are cultural linguistic representations used to understand abstract concepts. They are the top down approach to comprehending complexity.

I find it curious that we have the linguistic capacity to ponder abstract concepts. Everything we create in life is art: from the codes we write to the poetry we craft; art illustrates man. And through this illustrative imitation man tries to understand his own complexity. Language is one of the most powerful literary tools that we have at our disposal to begin understanding the objective world from a subjective perspective.

Maybe linguistic arts can act as the mirrors through which we begin to appreciate the most enthralling mystery of all: human life.


My inspiration to synthesize this piece came from my reading of Douglas Hofstadter’s Book: I Am a Strange Loop and Seed Magazine’s Article: The Future of Science is Art.

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