It was at the beginning of the 90’s and I was working as an instructor for tv graphics in Baden Baden. For some reason the hotels in which I would usually stay were all booked and so I was sent to spend the night in a small bed and breakfast somewhere on the outskirts. I remember that night because it was one of the most quiet experienced moments of my life. I have been to quiet places, but the inside of that bedroom in Baden Baden was different. I do not remember actually hearing my heart or hearing anything.
When I was a child I would often hear my heart or the sound of blood flowing in rhythmic bursts somewhere near my ears. I would often just sit there and listen. What was that force that was keeping this going? How could it be happening? Where was it coming from and where was it going.
That was probably before I knew the word for tomorrow.
The other instance of complete silence was a few kilometers away from Furnace Creek, in Death Valley. It was a very early morning and I drove to a place that seemed okay for walking. I stepped out of the car and once the sounds of the cooling engine stopped, I seemed to be in complete silence.
But then I heard something beneath my feet. A reoccurring sound of moving something.
It took me a few moments to realize that these were my toes, moving inside of my shoes. I was moving them in order to keep my balance.
In all of these moments I was not quite able to escape the voice in my head explaining what was happening or questioning it. And the voice spoke to me in different languages of course, but all with their incredibly complex journey. For every word to emerge in my head it took generations and generations, telling each other things and questioning each other and building a construct that we often use to understand the world around us and within us.
Most of our ancestors worked with these voices and messages and interpretations of what’s around them. And it is not just sounds that have been passed on, it is the meaning and the structure it is an alternative universe that exists for us to understand the other universe within it all exists.
And the language has evolved in us to adapt us to the ever changing circumstances. As the world shifted underneath our feet, so did the expression of it in language.
Not so long ago there would not be shoes on someone listening to their toes. Not so long ago the person would have trouble understanding the flow of blood or what Baden Baden is.
And this is not the peak of development. The voices in us will shift as the world shifts. Their logic used to be influenced by a small group from the same tribe in something that must have been very connected to nature.
Now we are finding ourselves in an overall environment that is more and more removed from nature. This maybe teaches us to not trust nature? The messages from other humans, reduced to a form that can be carried to us easily by data devices is what we love to consume most. And books would be part of that too?
But now more and more of that information will be interpretations of the human experience into an even faster evolving artificial observation of information. As we teach machines to appear more and more human to us, we are learning from their view, even if it is not one equipped with consciousness. In the process we are training ourselves to be like primitive machines ourselves.
Once the voices in our heads describe the world a bit more how a machine would. And once these processes become more and more optimized. We will begin to see less and less of what machines do not see or are able to translate into language?
Or perhaps this model in general is flawed. The idea that we are characters in a book and that our perception of the world is similar to the characters on the pages of a novel might be flawed.
There is a wave inside of me. And it is constantly shifting, moving in a spiral. It appears steady but it is billions of particles of something, traveling towards an ever evolving something else.
The way our planetary system falls towards some black hole with enough power to attract our sun and all of the attached bodies. The way the water on Niagara Falls appears to be soft jelly sweetly moving just gently and friendly. The way a single pollen of a tree finds me inside of a house in a city that no longer seems to have birds.
It was a very quiet room. I can’t really describe how quiet. So quiet perhaps that not jut the voice in my head was telling me that it was the quietest I have ever experienced. My entire body felt as if it needed some kind of reference and had to call out into the void and like a bat look for insects or other living things.
Once the majority of our experiences will be brought to us by machines, we will maybe not miss the birds. But we could not have ways to describe to ourselves how we are falling towards a completely new chapter in where we are.
Perhaps this point has been reached. I might be thinking inside of a box that is inside of a box that will soon be crushed by the pressure of progress.
This passage reflects on the importance of language and how it evolves to adapt to the changing world around us. The writer shares two moments of complete silence that they experienced, one in a small bed and breakfast in Baden Baden and the other in Death Valley. In both instances, they were struck by the complexity and evolution of language that allowed them to understand and interpret their experiences.
The writer reflects on how our perception of the world is shaped by language and how it has evolved to adapt to the changing environment around us. As we increasingly rely on machines and technology to interpret the world for us, the writer questions whether we will lose our connection to nature and our ability to interpret the world for ourselves.
The writer concludes by acknowledging that we may have reached a point where our understanding of the world is about to shift dramatically, and that our current way of thinking may be inadequate to describe the changes that are coming.
Overall, this passage is a thought-provoking reflection on the importance of language and how it shapes our understanding of the world. It encourages readers to consider the ways in which language is constantly evolving and adapting to new environments, and to think critically about the role that technology plays in shaping our understanding of the world.