Could it be that every language game played by humans belongs to one of two basic types? Let’s start exploring this idea by labeling the categories:
- Technical language is precise and scientific. As the language of facts, it requires coherence.
- Sentimental language is neither precise nor scientific. As the language of feelings, it requires valence.
I reckon that much of human misunderstanding, including dissents on the nature of truth, stems from the confusion of these two kinds of language. To clear things up a bit, consider the following old philosophical questions:
- Who are you? Technically and roughly speaking, you are your brain because that is the only organ you cannot replace without becoming a different person; sentimentally speaking, you are your body (mild spirituality) or God qua pantheistic oneness (strong spirituality).
- Does God exist? Although this question is nonsense from a technical perspective, it does make sense insofar as it relates to mystical or psychedelic experiences, that is, insofar as it is asked in a sentimental context.
- What is love? It can be anything from a pattern of neurochemical activation (technical sense) to the fabric of life itself (sentimental sense).
- Can truth be personal? Yes, if one is playing a sentimental language game, but otherwise it is objective or, depending on the definition of objectivity, at least intersubjective.
- What is the meaning of life? Technically, life has no physical or biological purpose and is thus meaningless; sentimentally, meaning in life is created through belonging and the process of personal development.
But answering stale philosophical questions was not my objective here. Rather, I wanted to delineate two very different types of human language, and I shall lastly stress that neither of them is “better” than the other, because each serves its own purpose: one is useful for building things and understanding nature, whereas the other is useful for socializing with others and expressing the richness of human experience.
- Extending the Map Metaphor of Truth
- Rationality Vs. Irrationality Vs. Spirituality
- When Reason Needs Emotion: The Problem of Rational Foresight