Within the history of mankind most would point to the emergence of language as the event that gives humanity its dignity and indeed its lofty position on the evolutionary tree. It is obvious that as human history has advanced, language has come to be the central focus of all activity. In the new digital world in which we all live, the refrain is often heard “content is king.” What do you suppose is the basic building block of all content? Why of course, language.
But as in all things held in a state of adulation, often times there is the proverbial “other side of the coin.” It is here that we might want to pay attention to our good friend, language.
In our previous discussions we have spoken about such things as concept, belief, ego, and the assumptive state from which arises conditioning and reactivity. All of this of course, is wrapped up in our own unconsciousness creating a state of separation. Now, all of these things are not bad in and of themselves. But, it is the stubborn belief or identification to each of these things as though they were real that creates an outcome of misery and bondage. Within the developmental approach to leadership, this glue of identification is what holds us in a reactive state and forces all leaders to attempt to manage that which is unmanageable.
So what does language have to do with all of this? If you look carefully, the function of language is principally to establish a connective pathway between two separate speakers. And within this connective pathway there is no doubt that an amazing level of efficiency arises that we all depend on for productive output. But is there a byproduct of this constant stance within the functioning of language? The answer to this, I believe is “yes”.
Language you see, is based on the idea that the world is constituted of subjects and objects. Each word has its role within the system. Due to the fact that we cannot communicate in single finished ideas, we are reduced to building concepts one word at a time. Within this structure, every idea is constantly changed by the addition of each new word. The very basis of language is rooted in the sense that understanding can be developed through the utilization of separate pieces and parts. And within the separate pieces and parts lives the notions of “you” and “I”. Through the usage of all these separate pieces, the terms that most often appear within language are that of “you” and “I”.
So what is the toll exacted by the system of separate construction? It is the energetic imprint that every time a “you” or and “I” is pronounced we mentally assign it to a separate object that we assume to be the fullness of who we are. For, as human beings, we have taken words that otherwise might be dead symbols on a screen or a page and breathed into them our life energy. In so doing, we have never considered the idea that the way that language separates you and I into separate buckets might contribute to the sense that we are indeed separate from all else around us.
Now this is a difficult concept for many to entertain. But let me give you one little exercise that might begin to shed light on how language creates our reality: For the next few days as you listen and speak, begin to notice how often the term “you” or “I” is utilized. As you notice the use of each of these terms, look inside and see, does this usage create a sense within you? By simply noticing that we impose self-separation through the use of our own language we become aware that this is happening on its own. And it is this awareness in the development of adult leaders that gives us a doorway to a new freedom – the seeing of ourselves as separate placeholders for the functioning of leadership rather than the absolute identification of ourselves as a separate object.
So tell me, what are your thoughts on this idea of language? How does it effect your leadership? I welcome comments below.