Friday, May 27, 2016

Human history (II): Language like God's

Speech is an absolute marvel
Speech is an unmitigated miracle, something moderns often forget. It requires specialized bodily hardware and a brain that's capable of incredible abstractions. According to some models, speech began to become possible because of a mutation on the Y-chromosome (Crow, Tyler-Smith) and while some may wonder why, if men invented speech, women got so good at it, more serious investigators may not help notice the obvious parallel with Genesis 2:22.

Language (that which comes about from the ability to speak) is no less a miracle, because it is fundamentally based on agreement, vast agreement across vast areas and during vast amounts of time. Up until late in the 20th century, people were convinced that the various human languages were wholly separate things, and could only marvel at the amazing "coincidence" of the obvious similarities between languages of peoples who could never have met. More advanced linguistic theory, however, began to show that all human languages are in fact quite similar, and are all based on the same operating principle called syntax; all languages consist of things like nouns, verbs and adjectives and they all depend on the contextual relationship between the words.

As diverse as they may seem, the languages of peoples are as identical as their bodies.

Edward O. Wilson
Further amazing studies have revealed that DNA works in several distinct ways precisely like human language (Gariaev, Delrow). Some enthusiasts have concluded that extraterrestrials must have endowed all DNA of planet earth with a greeting in helpfully human language that we somehow managed to develop on our own, but the truth is obviously the reverse. Humans are not only forming their bodily cells according to their DNA, they also form their social bonding from it.

The biologist Edward O. Wilson once remarked that the individual ant does not exist -- ant DNA includes the social behavior that drives ants to build a highly complex ant hill and the same is true for humans and their language. Human languages are so alike because human DNA is so alike and both are so alike because they are really the same thing.

Human language resonates with DNA and DNA is not a boring "code" that we slavishly obey; it's exiting stories that we love to hear. Living things aren't machines that operate on software; they dance on genetic music.

Imagine how many factors must be just right to preserve a charcoal rock-painting for just a few years. The chance than one remains for millennia, let alone for tens of thousands of years, is minute and the very fact that we have found so many demonstrates that the old world was littered with human graffiti: sign posts, totems and probably a whole lot just for the prettiness of it.

Lascaux painting

All language writing evolved from pictures, and it may very well be that early art such as carvings and cave paintings was used primarily to stir up conversations, in order to find agreement on what to call things (Genesis 2:19). It's even likely that prior to speaking with words, people spoke melodically (they hummed, growled and clacked), and that music arose prior to language and primarily as a means of communication and social bonding (speech won from music probably because speech was more amusing).

Language is not an autonomous thing, just like DNA is not. But spoken language is an expression of DNA, and subsequently forms its own verbal biosphere. And just like, according to some models, the biosphere once consisted of a huge amount of different single cellular organisms, so must the realm of human proto-language once have consisted of a huge number of different proto-words (grunts, clacks).

In the biosphere, most single-cellular species died out (although even today, most of the biomass is represented by single cellular creatures) and some survivors began to huddle together in colonies. Likewise human speech began to polarize into languages, in which people of large areas began to represent the same concepts with the same sounds.

Language made it possible to describe and discuss things that weren't directly visible, and the art of story telling must have been a logical consequence. Stories gave people the ability to discuss and exchange abstractions. Stories were told and retold, reshaped and adjusted, like metal in a smithery (Psalm 12:6). Some versions were forgotten, others became campfire hits and became the archetypes that everybody recognized and personified with.

In the biosphere, complex colonies were surpassed in complexity by creatures that were in fact hyper-social colonies of single cellular creatures: multi-cellular creatures. In the realm of language, people began to compile their archetypal stories into the traditions that breathed like a collective soul through people's hearts.

In Hebrew the word for bee, deborah, is the feminine form of the word for 'Word', dabar
which is what we would call -logy in words like mythology.

Critics propose that religions came from fear and wishful thinking, but it's obvious that they don't. Mythologists marvel over the similarities between the various ancient myths of the old world, but the reason for this is that all of them reflect the same principles, namely the operating principles of DNA. All DNA contains code that drives a creature to reproduce this DNA. That's exactly what human language does too; it's a reproduction of DNA. On a genetic level, a bacterium is precisely as complex as a human being, just like on a linguistic level a freshly produced yarn is as complex as an established myth. But story telling follows the precise same kind of progression of complexity as life does.

Archaeologists wonder why after countless millennia of foraging, humans suddenly took up farming (which is a whole lot more work than foraging and yields little additional safety), and several enticing theories have been proposed. Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the mythologies of very old societies began to tell them that they should, simply because farming can feed more people and more people means more blather and more exchange of ideas.

It's still a scientific mystery where DNA might have come from because as a natural phenomenon it seems to violate the second law of thermodynamics. Energy fluctuations will eventually even out, and everything will eventually turn into dust; in other words: entropy will increase until the max. But since time is a legitimate dimension of the universe, the loss of entropy due to the initial formation of DNA may be paid for in full-and-then-some by the super-mess (transfinite entropy) living things make during their unpredictable lives.

In fact, the universe may reckon the rise of life as being in more than full agreement with this second law as long as living things move at will (Genesis 15:6).

In terms of a poetic approach to thermodynamics: human DNA is stiller than any other DNA, and the Torah is stiller than any other religious expression. The only possible outcome of evolution, called the New Jerusalem by John the Revelator, will somehow reflect DNA that reflects the universe that reflects God (Revelation 21-22).

... and you will be still

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