Theorem of thought and language

No living being can think without knowing a language.

Whenever we think about something, we are merely having a conversation with ourselves. Conversation is a form of communication. The only way to communicate is through some sort of protocol which both communicating parties must understand. In this case, both parties are the same person and the protocol for communication is a language. More specifically, the language must not contain any basis in the physical world for it must have the ability to be carried out solely in the mind. The only way this is possible is via a natural language.

When we communicate with ourselves, we are carrying out a protocol using a series of words (commonly known to us simply as a “language”). Thinking is the process by which a series of thoughts are combined in a stream. A thought is the most basic unit of thinking, it is composed of a series of words in a stream. If we were to draw a sort of “linguistic class diagram” it would look something like this: Thinking –A-> Thought –B-> Words. The link A is what we subconsciously do when we think. The link B is consciously done by the use of a language.

It is impossible to think without communicating with ourselves and it is impossible to communicate without a language therefore it is impossible to think without a language. The only language which can be processed within our mind is a language containing words. One must be careful to not confuse “thought” with “imagination”.

If I ask you to think about a red elephant for example, you can maybe imagine and visualize this elephant without thinking about it. But if I asked you to think about what the last thing is your mother said to you, you will unavoidably start communicating with yourself by way of a language of words. Ergo, you are thinking by using a language. I want to stress that the kind of thinking I’m talking about is not reflex or instinct, but more of an internal reflection if you will. This can be anything from making a simple decision to thinking about a math problem. You are undoubtably going to speak to yourself in a language of words when you think about something. Perhaps this can more easily be proven by showing you that it’s impossible to think without speaking a language (whether it be orally or in your mind). As an experiment, close your eyes and think of something. Can you do it without speaking in a language? If your head is completely void of words, you are not thinking. The only way you can think is by way of speaking to yourself and the only way to speak to yourself is by way of a language.

Corollary 7.1. Regarding intelligence.
It’s not hard now to imagine that the more words you know, the more elaborately you can think about something. Furthermore, the more elaborately you can think about something, the more knowledgeable you are regarding that topic. One might even say that the more knowledgeable you are, the more intelligent you are, but these are fragile grounds and I won’t venture off there any further. Can there then be a link between knowledge of a language and intelligence? It is certainly true that the more intellectual people have a much more vast repertoire of words at their disposal.

Corollary 7.2 Regarding animals.
Another consequence of the theorem is that it makes it obvious that most animals can’t think. Most animals live by instinct and reflexes. I argue that this is because they haven’t the capacity required to create a language. The reason for this might be the limit in their ability to communicate with their “peers”, if you will. A dog can howl, bark and whine, that’s about it. Its thinking is therefore limited to these three “words”. They can react when they are called, they can obey commands but they don’t reflect on them like we do, they don’t “think”. It would be interesting to see why intelligent animals like dolphins and chimpanzees seem to have the ability to think. Chimpanzees, and in fact most primates, have the ability to communicate through sign language. Sign language, however, makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to communicate within the mind. I will regard this objection as false and say that primitive primates think by visualizing sign language in their head. Dolphins are an exceptional case and worth thinking about. I have yet to find an answer for this that holds with the theorem. Dolphins are a mysterious exception and contradiction to this theorem and have a unique ability to think when others cannot (much like philosophers). Most of the time it is physical attributes that limit the ability to communicate. For one to be able to communicate with himself, he must be able to communicate with others, otherwise the concept of a language is incomplete.

What is music?

Not an obvious question with an even less obvious answer. Another reasonable question would be “Does music exist?”. If some thing A doesn’t exist then asking “What is A?” should have no answer. Here, I propose an answer for when A=music, therefore music must exist (at least for the next few paragraphs).

I had a debate with some friends about this question and I think we all agreed in the end (maybe because it was getting late) that music is what you say it is. That’s a bit of a copout answer, I know, but it’s the only way to get everyone to agree. Let me try and elaborate.

We concluded that if you perceive something as music, then it is music, to you. Interesting little side note: this is how my second theorem came about. We were talking about how anything has the potential to be music, it must only be said to be so. The famously comical example used was our friend’s fart, who from now on shall be referred to as Kris to protect his identity. So the question was brought up a number of times: Can Kris’ fart be considered music? Well if you were passing by and had just joined our conversation you’d immediately make a weird face, similar to the one you’d make if you actually smelled the fart, and laugh at the question saying “of course not, that’s silly”. You might however decide to sit down and join us and after a while we would probably convince you that Kris’ fart can be music if someone says it is.

Can we really say that something exists objectively if it is only defined to exist subjectively and no human on the planet ever perceives it as such. Another important question is: If person A perceives something as music, does it mean it’s music to A only or to everyone else as well?

To put this in context, if nobody ever perceives Kris’ fart as music, then we can say that it objectively is not music and that its being music does not exist. Right about now a light bulb should have gone off in your head. In a sense, if you think about it, music doesn’t exist unless humans exist. This is true of a lot of things I suppose. The difference with music is that the same physical thing which can exist independent of humans yields a nonphysical thing which may or may not exist. This is why this question is so fascinating to me. The self, freedom, and all that good stuff is only relevant if humans exist and no form (not the platonic kind) of physical evidence can be shown for their existence without humans, or with humans for that matter. The existence of music on the other hand is very interesting. Physical existence can be there and there need not be any physical change (apart from the neural connections in the brain) from its existing and not.

The same pressure change in the air can suddenly exist as music where it hasn’t before. A new spontaneous birth has been given. This holds true for other things like beauty. All this to say, the answer to the title question is that music is everything and anything you want it to be.

In some ways, music can be said to not exist at all in the case where no human ever perceived anything as music.

The genius duality

What do we mean when we say someone is a genius? I’ve thought about this a lot and it seems to hold true in all fields.

There are two conditions which, when met independently, make us say that something anthropogenic is “good”:

  1. It must impress us technically.
  2. It must move us emotionally.

Most things we encounter and judge as “good” will be a result of one, and only one, of the aforementioned conditions being met. There are, however, rare cases where both conditions are met such that their meeting is simultaneous (or with negligible delay). The being that made the thing, whose condition-meeting was twofold, exist, is who I consider to be a genius. To put it in lighter terms, a genius is someone who can create something which will be perceived as “good” both because it moves someone emotionally and impresses that same someone technically at the same time. This works both directly for the persons themselves and for the things they create.

Think about someone you think is a genius. Now think of something that s/he created. Next, try to think about why you think this created thing is a work of a genius. You will eventually be impressed with the work’s technical achievement and the thing will trigger some kind of emotion in you, thus both conditions will be satisfied. I argue that this, and this alone, is the reason why you brand that thing as “genius”. Of course you can apply the conditions on the person directly. Whether the conditions hold on the person directly or on the thing they create, it is enough to call that person a “genius”.

Theorem on beauty

Beauty is in the mind of the beholder and doesn’t exist objectively.

Under certain conditions something can be beautiful but when those conditions are changed, it is not considered beautiful anymore. All humans can agree or disagree on beauty based on the conditions they’re in. Moreover they can change their opinion of the fact, and so beauty does not exist objectively (see my third theorem). If it does not exist objectively and it exists, then it must exist only subjectively. I extend this using my second theorem. If no human considers a given thing beautiful, then its beauty does not exist objectively. If no human considers anything beautiful, then beauty doesn’t exist objectively, period.

I will now elaborate on what I mean by “conditions”. We often say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” when we want to answer the question of what or where beauty is. If taken literally, this sentence is absurd. Beauty really is something that must be perceived by more than one of our senses, if not all. A more appropriate statement would be that beauty is in the mind of the beholder, not just in the eye. I don’t mean to merely play with words here, just to emphasize that for something to be beautiful there must be an interaction between senses and this interaction is highly dependent on the conditions surrounding us, that is, our state of mind at the time of perception.

If you look at a painting for example, and you find it beautiful, I don’t think that this is a conclusion you make purely on what you see but rather it is a biased perception due to the state of your mind at the time. Maybe the room you’re in has an effect on your perceptions. Maybe you know something about the history behind the painting. Maybe your mind is in a state where you’re more prone to thinking of that painting as beautiful. If you’re sad, you are more likely to find beauty in sadness and vice versa. Perhaps the opposite is true. The point is that if the mind’s state so greatly dictates our perception of beauty, then beauty must not exist objectively for it will never be discovered by a biased observational tool (the mind). If beauty is perceived by the mind and the mind can change states, then our perceptions will change and if our statement of something yields a paradox, then it must be a subjective thing, according to my third theorem.

Let me clarify by way of a few examples. Let us take an extreme, somewhat comical, case to illustrate the point. If you saw Brad Pitt kill your parents right in front of your eyes, you will not find him beautiful anymore, if you are a normal human being. There are a few assumptions here but they are easy to substitute. One is that you found Brad Pitt beautiful before the incident and the other is that you didn’t resent your parents. You can easily replace Brad Pitt with someone you find beautiful and parents with someone your really love and care about. This can be extended even further to material things. The point is that we are able to change our minds on whether something is beautiful or not and this ability is what makes it impossible to think of beauty as something objective. Therefore beauty does not exist objectively and if it is said to exist, then it must only exist subjectively.

Theorem of the paradox that yields non-existence

If a large sample of predicates of perception yield a paradox then the institution governing these predicates does not exist objectively. Furthermore, if it is said to exist, then it must only exist subjectively.

Let me define some terms first. A predicate of perception under an institution is simply a statement about our opinion on something given something we perceive. The institutions are the laws governing the subject that is in question.

For example, saying “I think that the apple will fall when I drop it” is a tautological predicate under the institution of gravity or more broadly the science of physics. If predicates are stated by a large sample of poorly continuous and connected people (either your “self” in the future or another person in the present (See Parfit)) and those predicates yield a collective paradox, then the institution which governs them does not exist objectively. Here I assume that a predicate is stated with the intention of truth and that all perceptive mechanisms are equal between the persons making the claims.

For example if I say now that “I think I love apples” and you say “I think I don’t love apples” then this yields a paradox under the institution of loving apples. Therefore loving apples does not exist objectively. And if it is said to exist, as it here does because both claims are true to their respective originators, then it only exists subjectively. There is no truth about whether apples are loved, only subjective claims can be made.

Two people are not enough to form a norm given the population. It is important to focus on a “large” sample by which I mean more than half of the population. If I say “I think the apple will fall when I drop it” and you say “I don’t think the apple will fall when I drop it” then it would cause us to believe that the institution of physics does no exist objectively, this is obviously absurd. If, on the other hand, 3 billion people made a claim similar to mine and 3 billion people made a claim similar to yours (assuming a population of 6 billion) then it would be arguable that physics does not exist objectively and the laws of gravity would only be opinions.

Ergo, if a larger sample of the population states a predicate which is not consistent with the rest of the population, then it must mean that the institution which governs these claims does not exist objectively. Furthermore, if it is said to exist, it must only exist subjectively.

Is there a God?

There are many abstract concepts which cannot be described by science. The meaning of life, the self, freedom, beauty, etc. For me, the concept of a God is no different. These concepts leave a lot of room for discussion. Ultimately I believe that the question is not about whether these things exist objectively (see my second theorem) but about how we individually choose to believe in them.

What is the meaning of life? What is the self? I don’t know. Nobody knows. That’s because we’re not supposed to know. It only makes sense to think about these things in terms of what the meaning of life or the self are to you. This forces us to give up the original questions which seems to be the only rational thing to do (at least until science can branch out onto this area). Even if it does, it won’t really matter. Having an objective definition of something that is almost defined to be exclusively subjective does not change our opinions and thoughts about it. In fact, according to my second theorem, these things wouldn’t exist if we didn’t exist and therefore there would be no objective answers to these questions or reasons for their existence.

All this to say that I don’t believe in “God” in the traditional sense but I do feel there are people who I believe are Gods to me. Chopin is my God of sadness, melancholy, darkness, longing and desire. Ray Lamontagne is my God of happiness, forgiveness, memory, passion and love, etc. Bach is my God of mystery, entanglement, confusion and courtship. All are, to me, Gods in the domain of music. This does not necessarily imply any kind of underlying religion. Although given the loose definition of religion, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that music is my polytheistic religion.

Gods, to me, are more than just people, things or concepts I idolize, but rather that by which I choose to live my life, or at least part of it. They are entities that have left a permanent scar in my soul, mind and body and which I feel have shaped me in some way. In this respect, one can say that his parents are his Gods. I’m not a religious person, but I do believe we can all believe in a concept of God or gods.

Theorem of the existence of the objective

If something is defined as existing only subjectively and no human being has a subjective view of said thing (what I here call “perception”), it can be said to not exist objectively and therefore not exist at all.

If something only exists in human thought and no human mind (however you wish to define it) has ever been infected with this thought, then we can say that this thing does not exist objectively.

Let S% represent a statement which is defined to only exist subjectively. By this I mean that the very definition of existence of this thing is our perceiving its existence. Let n be the total number of humans in existence in all of space-time for all of eternity. If n=1 (that is, only one human has, is and will ever exist) and this sole human does not ever perceive S%, then S% can be said to not exist objectively in all of space-time for all eternity. Humans are the only beings which we’re concerned with here because it is our subjective mind that is in question. Therefore we can conclude that in the case of n=1, if something doesn’t exist objectively, it doesn’t exist, period.

Now let n>1 (that is, more than one human has, is, and will ever exist), then we can easily expand the n=1 case to take this into account. Let Hk represent the k‘th human. Here k runs from 1 to n. Let Hk.S% mean that the k‘th human perceives S%. The statement Hk.S% can be applied to Hk for all k from 1 to n. For example, let’s assume S% is the concept of music (which means that the concept of music is something that is said to only exist subjectively). If Bob perceives music and Bob is human #253 then we can write H253.S%=T where S% here is bound by definition and T is true. This can easily be written about all similar statements S% and all humans from 1 to n. Let S%.O mean that the statement S% doesn’t exist objectively. It then follows that S%.O <-> \/Hk.S% FORALL k from 1 to n for a given S%. In words, if not one single human that has, is or will ever exist perceives something that is defined to only exist subjectively, then it can be said to not exist objectively and therefore not exist at all. Once a single human perceives a statement S%, it can be said to exist objectively but it does not necessarily guarantee its existence.

Theorem of unhappiness

In general, humans can never be truly happy.

First let me state that true happiness is in this case defined as happiness that lasts more than two thirds of the person’s lifespan after age 20. This is to eliminate a child’s ignorance of all the miseries of life. This means that if you live 40 years and are happy for at least 13 and a third of those ((40 – 20) x 2 / 3) then you have experienced what I call true happiness. This is an arbitrary choice and reflects what I think would be a significant time to be happy.

I now define happiness. Happiness is that which makes us feel what we consider to be happy, regardless of the case. Happiness is expressed when we acquire something we want, regardless of what it is. This can be love, shoes, a car or even quietness. This cannot be defined as it is purely subjective in this context. We are all – unless we’re abnormal – thought to associate the word “happy” to a feeling. This feeling is then bound to the word and vice versa. Therefore if we consider ourselves to be happy, then we are happy by definition, under the previous stated condition.

I now elaborate on happiness. It is in our nature to always want and desire certain things. Let me state that in this case a “thing” is anything that can cross our minds in any shape or form or lack thereof. If we did not want or desire things, we would live meaningless lives with no goals or progress. Desires can range from explicitly wanting nothing to wanting everything and anything in between. Here I exclude instincts of hunger, etc. as explicit desires. These things that we desire which are the only links to happiness are never in our possession because it is this longing that primarily contributes to the fact of it being happiness and that without it, it wouldn’t be considered as such. Once these things are obtained, they are no longer desired or longed for because we do not long for something which is in our possession, otherwise it wouldn’t be longing or desire.

I now define true happiness. True happiness is a continuous set of events of happiness. Whenever discontinuity occurs, the set is emptied and true happiness is ignored. A discontinuity occurs when an event of unhappiness is present in the set. If the cardinality of the set in which every element represents a time step of happiness is equal to the required time steps for true happiness then true happiness is obtained. We long for things on a regular basis. Regardless of the time interval between longings, if no happiness can be achieved consecutively, then there is bound to be a discontinuity in the set of happiness by probability, in a normal sense. I do not wish to deny possibility for extreme cases but only for the normal case of a normal human being. If happiness can only be achieved by our obtaining that which once obtained is no longer desired but instead is replaced by another then we can say that no human being will ever truly be happy due to the unavoidable discontinuity that is bound to occur. Therefore, in general, no human will ever be truly happy.