Exploring the Origins of Human Conceptual Reality
Language evolved from earlier forms of animal communication. How might it have transcended the analog pattern matching of stimulus-response animal calls to become the kind of symbolic meaning that is characteristic of human language? This piece explores our misty past to explore this question.
The tension between the messy, analog experience of life and the discrete, digital meanings we assign to words is what gives language its unusual role as a bridge between conceptual and physical reality.
We are constantly experiencing this tension between the digital and analog aspects of language. I tell you it’s cold out, but you feel it surprisingly warm for April. We treat our conceptual notions of cold and hot as polar opposites, when the reality is an analog continuum of temperature that seamlessly bridges both concepts.
We hold both truths in tension: our shared definitions and our own experienced reality; our digital and analog experiences of truth.
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