When a cat from one side of the earth is introduced to the other side of the planet, it can still very well communicate with cats there. It can express its annoyance, pleasure, needs, and displeasure with the ‘local’ cats as easily as it was a native there. So can dogs, birds, rats, monkeys, and probably all creatures on this planet – all except humans.
Humans are the only creatures on this planet that have a difficulty communicating in distant lands. With our language barriers we have truly made most parts of the earth ‘foreign’ to us. This raises so many questions. Why is this so with the most intelligent beings on the earth? Does that actually prove we are, after all, not as intelligent as we believe? And what then, is the true human language? And is there one?
Let us imagine ourselves in a past where humans were yet to invent spoken language. What do you think have been our mode of communication then? We probably used our bodies and the small range of sounds our throats could reproduce then. Have you ever tried communicating with just your body and ‘unintelligible’ sounds? (The reason why I put ‘unintelligible’ in quotes is because they aren’t actually unintelligible like we are led to believe). Try this out as an experiment.
The truth is we all communicate more with our bodies and ‘unintelligible’ sounds than with spoken language. But we have only consciously trained ourselves to listen and respond to constructed language. How often do you find an impression forming in your mind about a person as soon as you saw the person? Very often, if not, always. How are you able to do that?
Today this innate ability to communicate is largely ignored and a fraction of it is categorized under a topic called non-verbal communication and is taught in workshops. Most such trainings tell us about how to manipulate and create false impressions through use of body language in business and relationships space.
So why is it so important to tap into this innate communication ability? Because at the subconscious level our mind doesn’t think in English, or any of our native constructed languages! In fact, at a deeper level thoughts and actions (the execution of those thoughts) happen simultaneously. There is no inherent difference between them. Such a difference is only apparent at a conscious thought level.
We are constantly communicating our intentions, thoughts, and emotions through our bodies and other subtler means of communication and we are missing out on that large chunk of human communication. Animals, on the other hand, survive and thrive on that natural language system. And that is not an area where we can proudly boast of our superiority over other known creatures on earth. It makes us deeply disconnected with each other as well as our connection with the rest of the natural world around us.
How many times relationships go sour just because they people involved didn’t have an ‘open communication’? They didn’t ‘talk’ about it. How come there are no betrayals and heartbreaks in the animal world? That animals cannot feel love is not an acceptable answer. I am not saying constructed language is the problem. In fact it can even be a better solution. Would I be able to communicate all of this without a constructed language? One major problem is the neglect of our natural language of body and mind.
Today speaking through a constructed language seems natural. But think of it for a moment. Unless you learn the meaning of a word in a particular language can you understand when it is being used. How many times you found a language funny or ridiculous because you don’t understand the meaning of the words? Because stripped of its given meaning, it is just another random sound that the vocal chords have produced.
But how many times have you noticed a friend’s or family member’s face and immediately understood they weren’t feeling good? Natural communication is built into us that we often grossly neglect or misuse. I do not want to call this body language or non-verbal communication (though sometimes I do that for the sake of avoiding lengthy explanations). That sort of makes it sound secondary to primary communication. Of course that is true in today’s world of verbal communication.
The primary reason why I don’t want to use those terms is because what we teach or learn in the name of body language or non-verbal communication is barely a fraction of the natural communication ability we possess. Some of our communication systems are so disused that it needs a certain amount of working on them to bring them back to their full capacity.
Have you noticed that a lot of ego clashes in economic and social situations occur even before any words are spoken by the parties involved?
Think of this – how does a wild monkey know when to supplement its largely vegetarian diet with insects and rodents to maintain an adequate protein levels in its system? And how come we need a specialist using special equipment to tell us that same thing? How does a monkey or any other creature listen to and follow those signals within? This too is an area of communication – of body to conscious mind. This area of natural communication has been pushed into an area of intuition or spirituality and we stress the importance of outward learning through constructed language as the primary.
So is our true language is of the body and the mind? Probably. When you explore your mind and body systems deeper through observation of self, we find silence, strange as it might sound, is probably our natural communication system. Not the kind of pregnant silence that we find in embarrassing situations but a pure and absolute silence devoid of any meaning. They say the most successful communication happens when you listen. In absolute silence we gain an ability to really know what our bodies are telling us, and even what others are going through. This is also the space which spiritual saints say reveals our true nature to us, but that is another topic altogether.
Though all may not definitively accept the impact of natural language of body and mind over spoken and written language, none of us can deny its presence. And unless we learn to ‘tune’ into it and learn to understand its impact, we are losing out on a significant part of human communication and connection.