I’ve been reading today about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which is basically the idea in linguistics that how a person relates to and behaves in the world around them comes from the language that they speak. I’m totally fascinated by this idea, and while I don’t think I’m so into it that I think that non-gender-specific language is going to eradicate sexism, it’s kind of a cool thing to think about.
Are our thoughts really rooted in our language? Sometimes I write things, and then think, “That’s not quite what I wanted to say.” But if what I want to say literally cannot be expressed in my language, can I even think it? Can people really be dumbstruck, speechless, or have no words left to say something?
It kind of makes all this poetry and prose seem so limiting, but at the same time, there are so many beautiful and wonderful words with which to say things. And there are also so many sights and sounds and emotions that I don’t know if I would want to encapsulate in language.
I was reading yesterday about Martin Luther’s ideas about God’s grace, and how it’s given so freely to all people. And yet, there’s no explanation over why people go to hell, or whether people go to hell, or if there is a hell. But the article I was reading said something to the effect of Luther simply saying it was a mystery, and something that we as humans shouldn’t even attempt to explain.
Perhaps a paradox really can exist, and while our thoughts may be limited by words, our emotions and our faith can accept things without having to explain them to ourselves or to anyone else.