The Tower of Babel by Pieter Breugel - courtesy
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The traditional representation of the Tower of Babel is that it depicts diverse nations, the multitude of races - in an apparently confused and futile attempt at cooperation to complete the tower itself.

he gigantic proportions of this construction always seem to hint at a degree of folly, the arrogance of the human race in trying to reach the heavens through any sort of achievement.

The generally accepted premise for the confusion being that all the nations of the world speak a different language.

Turris Babel by Athanasius Kircher - courtesy

I propose a subtle alternative - that the confusion is due to the constraints of language itself imposing a powerful influence upon the structuring of our thought patterns.

It will be obvious that language has developed from the ways in which we interact with our world, it is eminently human and is imprinted with our desire to communicate.

The faculty of language reveals the unconscious paradigm of ourselves and our world.

But this paradigm is an exclusively human view and is merely a layer, a purely mental construct, superimposed onto what is already there.

It is intrinsically the language of separation - subject and object.
Although language has room for words like "unity" & "holistic," they are nevertheless compartmentalised into merely being different concepts, alongside all the others.
Language confounds us even more with encyclopaedic lists of nouns - can you think of anything without a name?

Adjectives permit us to describe what we see or hear, allow us to attach shades of emotion to our experiences - and those emotions themselves come in such a wide variety of colours.

Verbs blinker our understanding into believing cause and effect, that actions actually occur involving subject and object.

As wonderful and necessary as the facility of language undoubtedly is, it is nevertheless only a tool.
A tool of creative, educational or habitual communication, but merely a tool.

In many ways it is not ideally equipped to communicate the absolute - having its roots and branches in the world of relativity, but as only a tool, we should not permit language to dictate to us how we think - inhabiting as often as we can, that other world, the world of silence, of the ineffable, the unspeakable - the miraculous world that simply speaks for itself, remembering that being is perhaps more profound than doing - and that the labels of Babel are useful, but not essential.

Tower of Babel by M.C.Escher - courtesy Jill Britton