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Explain the meaning of the Chinese proverb: Some truths can be sensed, but not said.

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Communication of the Soul Joyce Xie Block A Explain the meaning of the Chinese proverb: Some truths can be sensed, but not said. Is language omnipotent as a means of communication? We may have the feeling that it is, because we live in a world inundated by words, and we rely almost entirely on language to convey ideas and express feelings. We communicate with others via speaking, writing, reading, and listening, and with ourselves via thinking. When we read literary works, we are often astonished by the striking grace, precision, and delicacy of language in the hands of great writers, as if language has reached the ultimate summit of expressing everything. However, human beings are highly intelligent, complex, and emotional and language is only a tool or one method that they use to transmit simple and plain information. Although we use language everyday, we may not be able to answer this simple question: What is language? To begin with, language is the use by human beings of speech sounds, as well as written symbols representing these sounds, in organized combinations and patterns in order to express and communicate thoughts and feelings1. ...read more.


I speculate that the ape-men, human beings' ancestors, had thoughts first because it was impossible to have language first if they did not know what to say. These thoughts were primitive, non-verbal language. In their primitive conditions, the ape men had to be gregarious in order to survive; thus, communication was unavoidable and the tool to communicate, verbal language, was instinctively created. Thus, we may further conjecture that the strong will of human beings to create externalized verbal language for communication was greatly aided by an innate capability. Subsequently, some classifications regarding language are necessary. There are two types of language: verbal and non-verbal. Verbal language is used to communicate with others and ourselves, whereas non-verbal language is in large part not communicable through verbal signals. Non-verbal language serves to convey the ultimate spiritual sensations or sentiments of human beings. Just as the will to achieve verbal communication produced verbal language, so the will to effect sentimental communication urged humankind to look for another kind of language. Eventually, human beings favored art to be the language. ...read more.


The experience of this person enables him to recall the memory which leads to the sensation of fear. Similarly, what each different individual senses may arise from various feelings based upon their experience and perception. For instance, the colour black may connote grandeur, heavenliness, and royalty to some people, and death, terror, and hell to others. Thus different people have different sets of experience and perception and what they sense are the truths to them. Therefore, one can only sense one's own sentiments in dealing with a given matter, and such sentiments are not susceptible to translation into any verbal language. In conclusion, verbal language is familiar and yet mysterious; it is indispensable though not omnipotent. The human mind is extremely complex and the intricate innermost feelings are intriguing and for the most part inexpressible. Moreover, there are truths about the universe and truths about ourselves that human language is simply too blunt a tool to reveal. But happily, verbal language and non-verbal language complement each other to offset their respective deficiencies, which our mental faculties have to handle as best they can, if only to make our daily lives reasonably livable. ...read more.

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