To be Human is to have a Language

By: | Posted in: Be Expertise / Be Listening, Be Resource / Be Source | Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 - 10:24pm

Carly’s case is of course both unusual and extreme….but from what I see, her condition is not qualitatively different from yours or mine. No one knows what it’s like to be in our body, no one can see what we see or sense what we sense. Our reality is, by it’s nature, a private reality. (continued below the video)

A big part of our work as humans is to express this private reality, to bring into the world what only we can.

Most of us don’t have a language for this. I don’t mean the mechanics of language that we learn in school: the words and their pre-defined meanings and the rules for their proper usage. By language I mean a particular vehicle for expression, a medium through which we can manifest in the world whomever it is that we are.

The body is a means for carrying whoever it is we are around, but a language is required for us to actually bring who we are into existence. 

Some of us are fortunate enough to have found such a language: painting, a musical instrument, a particular sport, writing, cooking, teaching, etc. Each of these can of course be engaged with as a Skill, as an objective process with a particular set of rules and definitions. One can become quite technically proficient at these Skills and produce consistent, reliable results. Which is wonderful and useful…but in and of itself, it leaves the Self unexpressed. In fact, engaging with a Skill requires that the Self not be involved at all, that one focus exclusively on the efficient execution of the objective standards that define the Skill and produce the outcome that the Skill leads to. In this way, one’s Self doesn’t get expressed so much as it gets defined: “I am one who is good at ____.”

Engaging with a Language is a different thing altogether. To engage with teaching or violin playing or plumbing as a Language is to treat the components of that activity as a vehicle for ongoing, subjective expression; as a vehicle for creating – and exploring and evolving and recreating – Self in the world.

Skills leave us Authored, Language allows us to Author.

My sense is that much of the dysfunction we see in others – their equivalent of Carly’s banging her head on the ground – is a reflection of their lack of a Language with which to express/create/recreate who they are. Ultimately, I think this is much of what my work is about. Create results that are of financial and operational value to the client’s system? Sure, that’s valuable (and a price of admission that, if not met, eventually gets you fired). But I think what really keeps the phone ringing, what has clients value the work and refer it to others, is that somewhere in the process their relationship with their world changes. They discover the Language that is hidden in their Skills and they take on the work of Authoring.