- Words Beyond Language
What does it mean?
Osho defines an existence of silence, which is beyond words i.e. beyond the trappings of language. He calls language a trap because language, in essence, is an arbitrary system of signs and symbols developed to enable communication of the human species. Thus, words are nothing but mere symbols and signifiers (e.g. rose, love, lemon) for the symbolic and signified (e.g. the red, petalled and cup-shaped flower, the abstract emotion of love, a yellow, round fruit). The problem is that we equate symbols with the symbolic and start filling meaning into our lives with these signifiers rather than face the emptiness of the signified. Very soon we begin to live in a linguistic dream instead of in reality. According to Osho, “dreaming is always about what is lacking”.
How can it imply?
At work, at home, with colleagues or bosses, with siblings or spouses- we all live with a heavy reliance on words of appreciation, words of compliment. We hang on to those words like gospels that will give you nirvana for the day. What’s more we begin to vie and wait for these words to come our way. Perhaps a feel good factor doesn’t hurt. What begins to hurt however is the absence of these words. When they don’t come our way, we feel frustrated, unhappy with ourselves and with others. We desire these words because somewhere there exists a lack within us. The lack of belief that our actions are significant! The lack of conviction that our lives have meanings! The lack of faith that we have made a difference! Applying the signifier-signified principle, we should be able to feel this significance, meaning and difference even or in fact, due to the absence of words. As a lawyer if you have won a case, you have relieved a person of financial loss or infamy. As a teacher if you have taught a lesson, you have transpired knowledge. As a filmmaker if you have made a film, you have communicated a story and collaborated a pool of skills and talent. The emotional transaction here is undeniable, it is real, it exists…it is the signified. Now, why should we hang onto those words of appreciation? Or the real question is, why DO we hang onto those words of appreciation? Because these words, these symbols fuel our ego rather than fulfill our humility.
So, let us not be afraid of being humble. Let us not be afraid of embracing the signified. Let us not be afraid of admitting that we recognize the real without the words. Let us not be afraid of a language beyond words.