New Language

curly rose

When I imagine what I would like to explore at the Story Field conference next month many thoughts crowd their way to the surface; I’ll share one, to start.

I notice I am longing for a new language with which to tell my story and invite the stories of others … a language of the senses that evokes an visceral experience as our tales unveil themselves.

In one context this means I’m looking for a language that can ground internet discourse in the natural world. An earthy medium of exchange ala David Abram that draws on the ‘matter’ of our bodies and the world as we experience it directly through our senses. A language that will remind us of the ground beneath our feet, maybe even help us feel the grass between our toes and smell the faint sweetness of the air as we commune with each other in our ‘connected’ freedom from geographic boundaries and gross societal bias.

In another context it means helping my colleagues in the World Café global network find new ways to share their stories – illustrating where, how and with whom this wonderful conversational process is being used throughout the world. I want to co-evolve a language or format that covers our academic needs for analytic rigor but goes beyond that to impart a sense of the spirit in the room and the magic that arises in the middle of the conversation; a language that can impart the passions and dreams of the people that have gathered to listen to themselves and each other.

In still another context I am looking for the syntax and grammar of a language capable of weaving together the multi-media of my own story. I want to share my viewfinder and initiate others into the mysteries I intuit within sound and motion, image and word. I want to sound the poetic drumbeat and call the muse of rhythm to attend my utterances, to illuminate the soundless silence of world-wise eyes staring back naked, I want to carry my listeners into new worlds on waves of light and sound.

All this longing … the search for new forms; I suspect it goes far beyond my personal quest, and hope that I will meet many fellow seekers and co-creators of this new language at the Story Field gathering.

4 Responses to New Language

  1. Amy, I heartily support your call for new languages, although my needs for new languages is different from your needs. However, I would probably benefit greatly from the sensory based languages you propose. These are consistent with George Lakoff’s call to return body based metaphors as the foundation of our original languages.

    My interest in new languages is decades old, based on my realization that we humans are still embryonic and the best of our languages yet primitive to their future potentials. What is achieved by any “technology” is no measure of what potential development remains.

    We need new languages that account for the vast diversity of human cognitive functioning, our great individual differences – that give us complementary competencies to function viably as multi-celled social organisms.

    Personally, I have no imagination or memory in any sensory modality. Old research claimed that 3% of the human population lacked visual imagery, 7% lacked auditory imagery, etc. I have not yet found another person lacking mental imagery in all sensory modes, as I lack. I have perceptual imagery, so long as my sense organs are stimulated. But, among the human population there are many who lack or who are weak in some of the sensory modalities. Even with perception, there are many who, no matter the desire and effort, are unable to focus on a pattern embedded in a more complex background.

    More details are needed, involving more research. But, we need a system of new languages to facilitate communication and sharing between peoples with individual cognitive differences.

    Many of my friends have strong mental imagery, and life has been quite an adventure in attempting to share with them. As a college teacher I found that individual differences played a very significant role in what students perceived from both lectures and textbooks.

    I realize that many of the ideas I wish to share need languages that appeal to the primary senses. What I compose often disturbs the sensory expectations of readers. This is a very large domain, and I cannot be comprehensive in a short comment. Yet, I FEEL your need, although for different languages. I often use the metaphor that what I wish to share requires the equivalent of the invention of canvass, paint, brushes, etc. – while I have only stone to scratch on stone.

    With an evolutionary/emergent perspective, we can work to create the means of communication and sharing for the diversity of humanity.

    Larry Victor

  2. amylenzo says:

    Wonderful comment – thank you Larry!

    I’ve just started reading Lakoff’s book, Metaphors We Live By, which I’m finding fascinating. I didn’t know your reference to his work on body-based metaphor, and am hoping I’ll come across it in here.

    I look forward t meeting you at the conference!

  3. annemorgans says:

    Hi everyone! New languages for me is using the multi-sensory expression of ALL our intelligences, gifts that we can share playfully. Let’s have a party at Storyfield and play with expressing ourselves in formats that we’re exploring, rather than in formats we are used to!!

  4. amylenzo says:

    Yes! I’m looking forward to the play … warming up to the possibilities, sensing the field opening, catching the scent of something new, tasting emergence, touching something intangible, listening to the furthest sound, dancing to the rhythm of our collective song …

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