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Language and Perception

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Language is something that we are required to use in our everyday lives. We use it in many ways to describe things that we do in life, or things that have happened to us. When we use language though, we are presented with a problem. If we are able to describe everything that we do, we face the risk of generalizing it with language. Since describing an experience to someone is always a second-hand description is they were not there to experience this thing for themselves, the occurrence becomes generalized in our language. For most cases in our existence, language generalizes experience, but for some instances, it eludes the ability to even give a description. This argument can be taken many ways. To start out with, what do we mean when we say experience? In this context, experiences are the occurrences that happen in your life. To be a personal experience, three criteria must be met. First, it must have happened to you. You cannot expect something to be a personal experience if it has never happened to you. Second, you must have perceived it. ...read more.


Many times, an experience might seem like it is personal only to you. But when you check your facts, you see that many other people have done the same exact thing you have done. This method of generalization diminishes the amount of personality behind your own experiences. It makes certain experiences lose their personal touch because you realize that so many other people have done the same exact thing in their lives as well. The second method is compression. Let's say that Johnny went to his search engine and instead of typing "1001 jumps with a jump rope", he typed in "most jumps with a jump rope". What he saw there would dishearten him even more. On the new page, he sees results that describe people's personal experience of jumping over one million times. This is the compression method. Language can compress and diminish the value of our personal experiences. It makes it as if when we do something, we can never fully be recognized for it because there is always someone who has done it better or for twice as long. ...read more.


There are also the universal experiences. These are the experiences that involve God and his abilities. For example, a vision from God is a universal experience. You can verbalize what you saw in the vision, but you cannot really explain what happened or how it happened. Your only option is to say that it is a universal experience and that God had a hand in what just happened to you. Language works, in many ways, against the "personal experience". When someone feels like they have accomplished something great and something that made them feel like they were the king of the world, there is always another personal experience that shows that it has been done before or even that someone has done it better. In this way, language generalizes ideas and experiences. There are those that cannot be generalized or retold in a manner that suits the way that the experience happened. If this is the case though, how can we be certain that they even occurred? We can only base our opinion on the feelings and limited expressions of language that people use to describe it. Language can be seen as a very ambiguous topic in this manner. ...read more.

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