Various Levels of Organisation in Language

Dec. 12, 2002


  • Language is a mental organisation in vital life.
  • Language is considered here preeminently as organisation.
  • Prior stages of organisation are force, energy and aspiration.
  • Here the aspiration is to relate by communication of thought and feelings, which comes out of the gregarious nature of man.
  • Man is gregarious because he is essentially collective. He is spiritually one body which separated into many individuals for the sake of play.
  • The play is between Being and Being, Consciousness and Consciousness and Ananda and Ananda.
  • Being is the body, Consciousness is feeling as well as thought. Ananda is Joy.
  • Language essentially communicates thoughts and feelings.
  • The energy behind language is the energy of aspiration to relate by communication.
  • This energy is released at first as sound, rather shouting.
  • The sound and shouts are sparked by the sight of another person or hearing of some sound or the touch of men or animals.
  • Every act of man makes every part of the exercise in co-ordination. The growth of brain, nervous systems, and jawbones to make speech possible are the zone of anthropologists.
  • To know language as an ORGANISATION as it exists today and how it grew to create great poets is our own field. Knowing this that well and seeing the structural adjustments in our physiognomy and anatomy is to be comprehensive and integral.
  • The energy for the creation of the language and its growth directly issues out of the social aspiration to relate with each other. The field taken in narrow confines is vast, immeasurably vast when traced on two lines. 1. widening human relationships in trade, travel, war, politics, etc. 2. intensifying intimacy in the family, work and personality.
  • Society in all these segments is growing in multi-dimensions. Energy thus released is the energy for our consideration.
  • We have to be selective, if we are to be realistic which makes our idea a random journey over scattered domains.
  • As elsewhere, any such exercise will do well to dwell on what is to be avoided rather than what is to be sought after.
  • Energy is released by every part of the being, through every part of the body.
  • The physical man WORKS, moving the body. His language will be confined to objects and HARD, crude, brutal movements. House, tree, water, stone are objects. Come, go, push, get out, strike are expressive of movements. It is natural that this man thinks with his body. It is equally natural that in the writings of modern man this element lingers. It happens when an idea or emotion is expressed as a fact or by its factual part. No linguistic progress can ever be made if in one's language this element persists.
  • Language moved from being a dialect to slang to good conversation and written language before becoming excellent in its idiom. The great writers have employed various ways by which they utterly weaned themselves from the above two aspects of the language. Thus grammar was born. Hence the importance of grammar. In any work like this where we seek growth at the higher end to express perfect ideas – Real-Idea – the very first necessity in a finished document is its flawlessness.
  • Mastery of language is Mastery of life is demonstrated so often. We seek Mastery as well as Perfection. We seek to express HIS thoughts, all of which are Real-Ideas.
  • Perfection in language is indicated by the tone that tunes in. It may be high or low but there must be harmony in the tone.
  • It is a study by itself to learn to distinguish between the language of the body, vital and mind. It will be a great exercise to learn to write one in terms of the other. As this is the area of our present concern as well as knowing how writers take the language to greater flights as evidenced in their writings, it is worthwhile carrying on our study in this area.
  • The scope of this study is divided into two 1. Thought, 2. Expression. Thought falls under the categories of Logic and Reason but a more attractive area is the generalisation called Abstraction.
    Logic is the right relationship between ideas.
    To qualify for being logical, this is an essential condition.
    It too can be subdivided into logic of the intellect and that of life. Of course, we can add Logic of the Infinite, Logic of Matter, etc.
    For us the logic that opens the insight and intuition is good.
    Reason means an explanation that is based on something that is.
    That every argument is reasonable is necessary. Though logic and reason have overlapping characteristics, they are distinctly different. To reconcile them, making logic reasonable and reason logical is mental exercise of the intellect.
  • Should one learn to arrange his arguments as above, he can turn to any chapter in The Life Divine and study that from this point of view. In the chapter on Conscious-Force He sets out to argue that the Force is conscious. In the previous chapter in the very last para He raises this question where Force is independent or a power of the Being. In an important sense, this question is a cornerstone of His philosophy. While the Upanishads, the materialist and the scientist argue Force is force, Sri Aurobindo postulates that the Force is a power of Being and therefore it is conscious. Hence HE called the chapter Conscious-Force. His arguments are as follows.
    • Phenomena resolve into material force.
    • Matter is the creation of material force.
    • The five elements of the Indian thinkers are the five extensions of Matter.
    • There are five corresponding senses to apprehend them.
    • Consciousness is created by things coming into contact with Soul which alone is conscious.
    • Force meeting Force creates Form.
    • Form meeting Form creates sensation which is consciousness for us.
    • Force is inherent in Existence.
    • Movement releases Force out of Existence.
    • Force can be conscious or unconscious.
    • Let us acquire another conception of consciousness which is awake in things that are asleep.
    • Thus consciousness is in plants, minerals and matter.
    • Force is anterior to the instrument.
    • We do see purpose and intelligence in Nature.
    • Therefore it is conscious.
    • To all these arguments, HE adds a crown in the form of an explanation of waste. There is NO waste in Nature as would be demanded in a conscious-force.
  • Sri Aurobindo raises the questions of why the force and after answering it again raises the further question of how it arises. He can as well simply say that birds have an intuition which is conscious. HE actually takes us through every step of logic, not necessary for our understanding, but important for logical consistency. Such a logical consistency is what we need. At least, in writing about His philosophy we can resort to His own logic. See, at every step HE takes care to begin His arguments on the basis of what is known to keep pace with reason. In The Pure Existent HE starts with the poet's vision to which we all can relate.
  • Let us turn to the language part. Here we need a language suited to philosophy. In the book on Internet we do need a logical, reasonable language but NOT philosophical. It should be a language suited to those who can take interest in a book on the Internet. Before that let us think about the various facets of language as we have witnessed in some writers like Jane Austen, Churchill or Martin Gilbert.
  • Jane Austen writes fiction. Her language has the benefit of the human emotion to elevate itself. Churchill's is history where he finds occasions to make his language expressive by his own eloquence. Martin tries neither but concentrates on facts. Mathew Arnold speaks of national glow of thought bringing in the brilliance of mental growth in the life of the collective. Shakespeare makes the language speak by making the personal experience a universal expression, putting the human phenomenon into the divine context, speaking the wonder of the individual elegance in the negative terms of the otherwise dull phenomenon of life or giving a humourous turn to human cupidity. Language has divine universality as well as Supreme infinite scope to render the commonplace event a sparkling miraculous moment. Here as elsewhere language has infinite scope, endless brilliance, and boundless energy. The secret lies in expressing the infinity of expressiveness in the finite garb. Picking out the greatness in these words is highlighted when we consider side by side what the normal expression is.
    • Age does not wither nor custom stale her infinite charms.
    • More observed in the breach than in the observance.
    • Whoever loved that loved not at first sight.
    • Leave her to her conscience.
    • It is invitation enough.
    • Received no inconsiderable pleasure.
    • Overcome by an immeasurable embarrassment.
    • Mixture of strange quick parts.
    • His amiable composure slid away from him.
    • Courtly bow.
    • That, gentleman, is the advantage of being in the secret.
    • Distinct disadvantage.
  • We know language is creative of creative phrases. It is not realised with equal readiness that language is creative of life or even thought. Mantra is the highest expression of language because it expresses spiritual power. But what is generally missed is the WORD itself creates POWER. When the immutable moves to be mutably creative it chooses to pass through three stages. At one stage, it becomes OM holding the entire creation in those two letters. Spelling it as AUM Sri Aurobindo says the letters express in turn the Transcendental, Universal and the Individual.
  • One who tries to raise his thoughts by means of language makes the language expressively creative. All great writers resort to it. To collect such expressions and study the process it has gone through and compare it with the commonplace version will be of interest.
  • Readers of Sri Aurobindo have the unique advantage of knowing the process of creation, the highest in the higher hemisphere. It is not given to others to see that process in ordinary events and render language divinely expressive. The Divine Delight emerges in that sound.
  • Music blends words and voice and has touched the celestial heights. It enables voice to reach heaven when it blends with words. To reach heaven is made more possible when the aspect allies with another. Integral yoga aims at ALL aspects integrating in supramental harmony to bring heaven on earth.
  • Shakespeare spoke of truths of life in his creative words. The thought element there is the idea of life, not pure conceptual thought. Sri Aurobindo in His overmental poetry of Savitri gave utterance to Supramental truths of life at the overmental level.
  • Conceptual thought of theory is dry. Language that stirs from inside language or her words enliven the dry words with divine thinking. Development is not a programme but is a process is a phrase where the static programme moves into its essential process. Theoretically, ALL the concepts of this theory can thus be made alive. It is alive to the writer, not to the reader. For the reader to capture the flavour of the thought the process should enter into his mental process of vital enthusiasm and reemerge as the poetry of a prosaic mind. The amplitude is ample. The scope is supramental.
  • We may say that what cannot be reached by the logic of thought can be reached by the poetry of language. One can be inspired to do so. He can also train himself to the task. To reach the final stage of intuition that is revelation one needs to start with suggestion and pass through discrimination and inspiration. The revelation to the winter is great. Should it reveal to the reader it becomes phenomenal. A great painter – a character in Browning's poetry – declared that he could draw one more line in Raphael's paintings and make them immortal. Discriminating readers often meet with an awkward line in an otherwise great writing. By removal of the offending word or replacing it or rearranging the order of words, the awkwardness changes into awesome beauty. We see often alliteration adorns. The same trick offends. To be able to convert the offence into an adornment is the prerogative of the inner potential of the future writer.
  • The life of the inner accumulating creative energy of the enlivening language should be saturated with lived experience. Normally in great minds this is over a lifetime. Centred in Mother, it can be less. Two things ensure its outcome. They are but one expressed as two parts.
    1. Self-forgetful enjoyment of the process of saturating the inner mind of intense experience.
    2. Incapacity of Timeless patience to consider results.
  • One man's perfection can still save the world if that is perfect perfection. The world knows thousands of men who have scaled the heights of fame by virtue of possessing ONE skill in perfection. In this book on Internet, such an endeavour can be in
    1. Pure thought of the theory of Internet.
    2. Language that touches the development sensitivity of the reader interested in Internet.
    3. The mere joy of writing.
    4. Rendering the writing a token act.
  • All the developmental accomplishments of the world are physical. Earning enormous wealth is the vital culmination of a mental idea. Language can offer that result at the lower end of the vital or the higher end of the mind or take the endeavour to its spiritual supramental super excellence.
  • One sure indication of its certain achievement is the inner joy that is ever increasing. Of course, the public reception of it is another sure indication either at the lower level of popularity or the higher level of greatness unknown to the world. It can combine both. When the ignorant person picks holes at the crux of writing, is the surest indication of its linguistic success.