The Psychology of Language

Painting THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LANGUAGE I — III (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, each 40 x 40 cm)

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LANGUAGE

Having learned English, French, and Japanese while living and working in different cultures, and as a global citizen, psychologist, and artist, languages (words, images, and the heart) are vital for me every day. Research into the psychology of language, or psycholinguistics, has helped better understand the mental aspects of language and speech with new and innovative implications on how we approach learning from a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral level.

Language organizes thoughts

You can perceive the world with your five senses and experience feelings and emotions without words. However, Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed that “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” which I find accurate. What if everything is just “cool?” Reports from people losing language as a result, for example, of brain tumors, evidence that when they cannot describe the world with words anymore, it essentially remains unchanged and, for that matter, unchangeable. Grasping, developing, and changing concepts requires analysis and interpretation of reality, which is accomplished through structured language. Only through organizing one’s thoughts can we fix ideas, reflect on, and monitor them. This inner, explicitly linguistic thinking enables consciousness to become awareness (for my differentiation between consciousness and awareness, see https://mathias-sager.com/2021/05/02/soulfires-flames/). Unfortunately, blissful quitting of thinking in meditation or distractions seems to be more in vogue than thinking critically about one’s thinking; for me, the main challenge of humanity. Again, we may think without language, but language lets us know that we are thinking.

The language of images

There are around 7000 languages spoken in the world today. However, there are many more different languages like specialty languages (e.g., computer languages), sign languages, even smell, and the language of images and music. As an artist, I have a visual vocabulary, which sometimes is not translatable to any words that I’d know. My inner speech while painting often isn’t either in German or English, but purely of images. I love to switch to the mode where I utter thoughts with colors. As my paintings and accompanying texts illustrate, the artistic language of colors, forms, and textures is more direct, compact, shorter, and faster than the concepts described in words.

I like that my artistic language for me is more independent from socio-cultural conventions. Although language helps to connect and build communities, it is used to exclude and manipulate. For example, my daughter and I are told not to use German anymore, which constitutes a strategy of maternal gatekeeping and parental alienation. [-> I love you, Natalie! As always, this work is for you!]

The ambiguity of language

The ambiguity of language can easily cause erroneous thinking. That is probably why many of us discover that life hadn’t turned out as we were told and had planned when we were younger. For example, all the promises about happiness primarily addressing only the hedonistic aspects of the term. The same with love; are we always clear what we mean by it: romantic, affectionate, familiar, playful, or selflessly compassionate?

Any language is possibly imperfect, so we all need to find the combinations of levels of perceptions, spoken words, and expressive means that serve us well.

What are your preferred languages?

#art #artist #painting #painter #acrylic #modernart #abstract #modernabstract #contemporaryart #psychology #psycholinguistics #language #philosophy #Bewusstseinsintelligenz #awarenessintelligence

www.mathias-sager.com

Awareness Intelligence research and application since 1975. It’s humantime. www.mathias-sager.com, goodthings@mathias-sager.com. Thanks and all the best!

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

A Short Guide to Ego Defense Mechanisms

Do You Really Want to Have an Impact?

Children who are raised with a dog have lower blood pressure

Want To Control A Friends Arm With Your Brain?

Introduction to Behavioral Finance

Introduction to Behavioral Finance

Glimpse Beyond This Illusion

Embodied perception in the age of the attention economy

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mathias Sager

Mathias Sager

Awareness Intelligence research and application since 1975. It’s humantime. www.mathias-sager.com, goodthings@mathias-sager.com. Thanks and all the best!

More from Medium

The Godfather — How to Introduce Power

Bring Humor to Your Class With These Hilarious Reads

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt (my karmic companions)

Stages and Curtain Calls