Topic 7- The Tower of Babel
We come into this world without speech, but not without a mode of communication. We are creatures of perception—all life is being communicated to us through various sensing modes. The one we’re most familiar with involves our five senses which are receptive to energy, specific molecules or pressure, and forward their data to our brain for interpretation. But there is another mode of perception, one we leave gathering dust in the back of our communication closet. Let’s call that our intuitive sense.
The intuitive is not associated with any sense organ we’ve identified. Instead, it provides us with a “feeling” about a situation or person that seems to come from within us. When we employ it, we often refer to the results as a hunch or a gut feeling. How many times have you heard yourself say, “I just knew I should have….” What you experienced were the surface ripples of an enormous pool of non-interpretive knowledge which we can access at will, only we generally don’t because we aren’t informed of its nature or value.
The real wonder of us is not that we talk, but that we too have an intuitive faculty which permits us to tap into the world of direct knowledge. Yet, and this is the mysterious yet, somewhere along the way of human development, we opted to support our five senses and speech as our major mode of interaction and communication with the world, and that changed the course of our history as human beings. We know this because there have always been isolated pockets of human beings on this planet who did not make that choice, and their harmonious and uncanny awareness of the world around them confounds us.
Speech set up our present worldview—subject-object and nurtures our self-absorption with a mode of communication that is frustratingly relative and interpretive. But most costly, speech filled our minds with endless babel, effectively cutting us off from our intuitive nature which is a silent language of sensing and feeling. Our intuition binds us to the family of Life. Language is what sets us apart.
With each child born, we repeat this process. We take a highly intuitive being and as quickly as possible introduce speech, which takes them out of the warm ocean of belonging and isolates them on the shores of me, myself, and I. Wherever in our history we made this choice to value reason and speech almost to the exclusion of intuitive awareness, the outcome was a mode of communication rife with misinterpretation, defensiveness, and isolation.
The only seeming reference, in the Western world, to this shift away from the intuitive toward reason, thought, and speech, is a curious little story in the Bible—The Tower of Babel in Genesis. Religion has suggested it is a warning against the sin of pride. But to me, here lies the note in history suggesting when and why human beings shifted from the intuitive as their major form of communication to speech with the divisive results of that choice. In the story, the people say: we can make a name for ourselves. In my view, it wasn’t them becoming prideful, it was them desiring to identify themselves—name themselves as a race, as a people, as an individual. They wanted to experience the world of thoughts and words, something that was indeed ours to do. But the lopsided manner in which we did it gave rise to a new state of consciousness we now call ego, the worldview that divvyed the whole into parts, scattering us as a species into insular experiences of life, and drawing hard and firm personal and political boundaries. The Tao explains so beautifully the ramifications of this orientation we chose:
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao,
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.
The unnamable is the eternally real
Naming is the origin of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see
only the manifestation.
When we read the lore of aboriginal peoples, those for whom the intuitive remained active, we notice their lack of interest in naming, for they know that the wonder and majesty of Life is never known through a name. Instead they learn of their environment through observing while empty of interpretation, allowing their intuitive wisdom to inform them.
Had we retained a reasonable balance of intuitive to intellectual, had we not became captivated by words, we would not have ultimately named ourselves Outlander with all the confusion, isolation, and distrust that engendered.
Topic 8 – It’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It, will suggest how you came to be you and me, me.