Can I think without Language?

That would be impossible. You can feel without a language but to think you would need some language.

If you are just experiencing then there is no thinking involved. To think you have to have objects; objects or labels created with some kind of language. If only there was no language and no time, it would have been so much obvious for human beings to get enlightened. With language we record our experience then from that experience we most of the time create our boundaries. Take a 3yr old kid for instance. Words - RadiolabThey are so open to things but then as they grow and accumulate experiences they imprison themselves. Sad when I THINK about it!!

After a long discussion about this topic on Facebook and so many friends saying we can think without language I decided I would visit one of my uncle on the web – yahoo answer.

Something that made me pause for a second was these two lines but then again it is more dependent on how you define language:
1. Does thought exist without language? -> Yes.
2. Does thought as we know it exist without language? -> No.

Now back to me: If you are going to think, you need something to think about and right there, at that very moment, some sort of language or name calling is involved. Talking about intuition; even that is based on experience (consciously or unconscious recorded with the help of language). Any information that we receive with our senses have to be labelled before they can be processed.

If you input a + b into computer and and if the computer does not have definition for ‘a’,’ b’ & ‘+’ sign then how can it add? Similarly, your brain which is involved in thinking is just like a computer, (your soul is not a tool though; brain or mind is a tool, the more quiet it is the more better for you) and when you have no language of any sort then how can you proceed the act of thinking??

Don’t talk about feeling now! It is totally a different thing. You don’t feel with your brain.

Dyl ThinkingIf this matter interests you then I recommend that you listen to this episode of RadioLab where one of the story involves this 27 year old man not knowing any words until the age of 27. For twenty-seven long years he did not know any language existed in the world? Was he able to think?

Well, no. When this lady, sweet lady, tried to teach him things he just copied her. She would have let him go like that but one day the river turned its way. I myself cried that moment. Do listen!!!

Listen to Words Episode from RadioLab

I would love to hear your take on this topic. Do you think it is possible to think without words or language? Please post your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “Can I think without Language?

    • You know Basu, from experience it has come to understanding that this me can think with brain and feel with heart. In the practice of meditation we often ask ourselves “How do I feel at this moment?” Then we don’t answer it, we try to feel only, take our attention towards our inner self. Unless I call my heart to be my brain, I cannot feel with it.


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