Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I mentioned that I am of a particular epoch and place, so inevitably speak with language coloured by that origin. This can lead to misunderstandings, and this is a commonplace of human experience.

But that sort of misunderstanding is as nothing when faced with the problem of describing the indescribable.

Language’s terms and usages are based on the physical realities that are faced in daily life. Language uses approximations to hedge around new concepts where the language lacks direct terms, a bit like how sheep dogs gather together a flock.

All languages do this. English does it more than most due to its lack of specifics, rooted in its ‘basic-trading-language’ origins.

How much harder then it is to refer to non-concrete non-physical realities, even non-experiential realities, or the perfectly-obvious-but-invisible fact of truth.

There’s a few ways of dealing with this. One way is by grabbing loan-words from languages with more conceptual references to such things;  in the West these are often Indian or Tibetan or Japanese or Chinese words. 

This does not really work very well. It causes a concept to be developed, labelled by a ‘magic’ word, and a concept is a production of the mind.  ‘The mind’ is one of the things we will have to examine quite closely to see what is real in it…

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

So, what to do? How to “unscrew the inscrutable”? We will have to experiment…

The gnostics know, but what they know cannot be communicated. It is not in the power of the possessors of this most delightful station…to coin a word which would denote what they know. 

Ibn ‘Arabi 1165 – 1240