All Natural human languages spoken across the world, no matter how seemingly bizarre or exotic, entail a level of differentiation both from the reality of the events described and the nature of the environment in which they take place. This is generally agreed to be hard-wired into language at the cognitive level and in part arises due to language dividing perception into several classes of words - noun, verb, adjective, and so on. Additionally, language by its very nature takes the form of a 'stop-motion' interpretation of events. What form might a constructed language take if it lacked all these forms of 'differentiation'?
All languages contain as part of the grammar one or more of a selection of what are generally called 'modes', and these modes are an essential method used to allow language to function at its basest level. For example, the mode you are currently reading in this sentence is the declarative mode, which, as the name suggests, makes a declaration as to the reality or non-reality of an event or perception. English contains several such modes:
|Declarative Mode:||"My name is Bruce"||(statement)|
|Interrogative Mode:||"Is my name Bruce?"||(question)|
|Subjunctive Mode:||"If my name was Bruce..."||(conditional)|
|Negative Mode:||"My name is not Bruce"||(negation)|
Notice that in each case, a change in the general word order of the sentence, or the addition of an extra word ('if', 'not' - called mode markers) signifies the change in mode. These, then are the four most common modes in English. In addition to having these four, Japanese regularly employs a fifth mode:
|"My name is possibly/probably Bruce"|
Other, more remote languages contain more unusual and exotic modes, such as the frustrative mode ("I want my name to be Bruce, but it isn't"), the rhetorical mode ("Surely (it's obvious that) my name is Bruce"), the quotative mode ("(I say that) my name is Bruce") and even a mode to speak of mythical or ancient events when telling stories ("And Lo! Bruce is my name!"). But there is also an additional mode - initially created by David Bohm - which as yet has not been found in any natural language, and is possibly the most exotic linguistic mode yet invented. It is called the rheomode.
The ‘rheomode’ is a mode of language which aims to move the language away from a stop-motion image of reality, in which flows and processes are viewed only as a series of stages or pictures, to an image of reality which reflects a more flowing, continuous, process-related conceptualisation.
The implications for the thought processes of this mode are to bring one’s mind closer to a view of the world as continuously flowing from one scenario or reality to another. This is in contrast to natural language modes, which view reality in a series of stop-motion still images.
By way of an example, we could ask the age-old question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Natural languages are essentially unable to answer this, as their stop-motion function is largely unable to successfully parse the event implied in the question. Most people, who effortlessly speak their natural language(s), will therefore select either the chicken (who laid the egg), or the egg (which hatches the chicken) as the originator of the species and therefore the correct answer. The 'rheomode', however, provides us with a different view: The chicken and the egg are all aspects of the same being and evolved together slowly over time as part of a naturally selected process. At no point did a hypothetical 'non-chicken' become a 'chicken', but gradual infinitesimal gradations from one state to the other occurred. Therefore neither, strictly speaking came first. This, then, is the essence of the rheomode.
|The Rheomode:||"My name perceived: 'Bruce': as static abstract entity. "||(statement)|
The idea for this concept and method of perception came from David Bohm’s book 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order' in which he postulates that both quantum and macroscopic realities are nonlocal and unified by an implicate order. This implicate order is likened to an enfoldment (or series of enfoldments) of the fabric of reality in which matter, energy, space and time are expressed by the means of un-enfolding this order so that they become explicate.
Bohm likens this ‘explicating’ process to stirring a spot of ink in a viscous liquid like honey. One puts a spot of dark ink into the honey (and thus the spot of ink is a metaphor for a ‘particle’ such as an electron, or for a quantised area of space, time or energy), and beings stirring. The spot of ink is at first stretched out into a circle, then is slowly smeared across the whole of the honey. Thus the spot of ink can now be said to be nonlocally distributed across the honey, and can be said to be enfolded within the 'fabric' of the honey.
If one were hypothetically able to exactly retrace one’s steps and effectively ‘un-stir’ the honey, we would find that the distributed ink blur would become a circle, then finally a spot of ink, and in this way has become ‘explicate’:
In building up this theory, Bohm began by building up a mode of language (using English as the base) which expressed reality in terms of flows and nondifferentiation. This he called the rheomode, and he found that this mode was better suited than conventional modes of English for discussing nonlocal quantum realities and the implicate order of existence that he suspected. He also postulated that it would have a strong macroscopic function, if used, in such diverse realms as philosophy, psychology and metaphysics, and indeed in any conversation or literature where something of the nature of reality/realities was being discussed.
It was this aspect of the book in particular that intrigued me. Since I am also interested in the construction of languages - partly as a way of exploring neurolinguistic programming and create a kind of linguistic 'feedback loop' in my brain, partly as a kind of art and partly just to kill time in an idle way - I decided to use this idea as the basis for a hypothetical constructed language.
Bohm himself only used the rheomode to create and exploring four or five 'groups' of words based on certain Latin roots which chimed strongly in the English language. I have decided to use a different set of roots, largely taken from a mixture of Greek, Latin and Anglo-Saxon, and a more expanded vocabulary and grammar, working to what I feel are the limits of possibility (namely the perceivability of my own brain).
The 'language', if it may so be termed, was called Irsonos, and effectively constitued a neurolinguistic thought experiment. My aims were simple: to explore the rheomode and seek out and express notions of implication, nonlocality and undifferentiation that are commonly observed in quantum mechanical events. Thus, Irsonos could be said to be a vague attempt at a quantum language.
It was intended first to be a completely verbal language, that is, having no nouns, adjectives, pronouns or anything else except verbs. Since verbs most closely approach the notion of 'flow' and nondifferentation of event and perception, these seemed to be the best to use.
Additionally, being undifferentiated, it was necessary for Irsonos to express no distinction between concepts such as “I” and “other”, “self” or “nonself” in any perception or phrase. The implication for the thought processes of the language were to bring one’s mind closer to a view of the world as continuously flowing from one scenario or reality to another. More than that, Irsonos was designed so that it would be impossible to express reality in snapshots and to only view and express what might be termed the continual flow of reality.
Naturally, for a mind and a brain well-versed in the stop-motion snapshot expressions of natural languages, it was an extremely difficult task, and one which delivered only partially (some might say minimally) successful results...
The Name 'Irsonos'
The name of the language was derived from a combination of the verb ir “be a pronoun or thing, act, do” and verb root sonos “say, speak, hear, listen, perceive or create sound ”. Its name is not readily translatable into English, but expresses a range of meanings such as “our speech, that which is to be listened to (or can be listened to), things heard, my sayings, acting as a speaker, one creates sound, we hear, what is perceived as sound” and so on. Naturally no full 'text' in the natural language sense of the word, can exist in Irsonos - even simple sentences (in the nat-lang sense!) involve some real mental gymnastics.
More properly, full texts can exist, but they would be extremely difficult to translate into any natural human language, and be even more difficult to understand fully in the original Irsonos. Additionally, from a natural language point of view, there is an inherent (and huge) ambiguity in every Irsonos utterance, since the lack of differentation does not allow us to say who performs an action or perceives it, where such things take place or when, and what subsequent effects were. It only allows us to perceive and record the nature of the flow. This does rather reflect the ambiguities, probabilities and nonlocalities of quantum realities and is to be expected since Bohm's original inspiration for this type of language was the implications of quantum physical theory and his own postulation of enfolded implicate orders.
Thus, lacking definition in the everyday sense of the word, and requiring genuine mental leaps to perceive even short phrases, the construction of this language has been constantly limited by my own human perception and understanding to brief utterances and a disarmingly simple grammar system (verbs flow from one to the next...).
A complete reproduction of Irsonos’s grammar and vocabulary (such as it is)
1. The verb 'ir': There is no “person” in the sense of 1st, 2nd, 3rd person (I, you, he, she, it, etc) but a verb meaning “be an actor, a doer, item, a thing; act, do”:
|ir|| a) "I, you, he, she, it, they, we, us, me, him, her"
b) "Someone, something, to be all of the above."
c) "Be a thing, an item, an abstract concept, to abstract"
d) "Be an actor, a doer, agent, object, interacting item"
e) "To act, to do"
f) "To interact, react"
2. Relevancy-Perceptive prefixes: Numerous prefixes can be attaches to this verb and modify the meaning as to levels of perception, relevance and flow:
|a)||0-||(zero)||Prefix denoting that it is relevant to accept what follows or occurs.|
|b)||re-||Prefix denoting awareness of what follows or occurs.|
|reir||"aware of ir, ir is self-aware, self-aware ir" – an abstract concept and thus is simultaneously identified with ir: reir = ir.|
|c)||per-||Prefix denoting perception of what follows or occurs.|
|perir||"perceiving ir, ir perceives, perceived ir – an abstract concept and so identified with ir|
|perre-||"perception of awareness"|
|reper-||"awareness of perception"|
|d)||il-||Prefix denoting that what follows or occurs is illusory in nature or form. Note that ilir = ir|
|ilre- (irre-)||aware that what follows is illusory|
|ilper-||perceiving that what follows is illusory|
|reil-||aware of the unreality of what follows|
|peril-||perceive the unreality of what follows|
|ilperre-, perilre- (perirre-), preeil-, ilreper-, reilper- and reperil-|
|e)||an-||Prefix denoting that it is relevant to negate what follows or to call it irrelevant|
|anir||ir is irrelevant, ir has no basis for discussion in what follows|
|anre-||not aware of what follows, awareness is irrelevant|
|anil-||aware of the unreality of what follows|
|ilan-||negation or irrelevance is illusory (= 0-)|
|...plus numerous permutations and combinations with the other prefixes.|
These prefixes can also be used as stand-alone as verbs also, especially when ir or other verbs are irrelevant in the utterance:
|anperilir||"illusory nature of ir is not percieved (ir is perceived as real, ir is)"|
|anperil||"be an unperceived illusion (the illusion is not...)"|
3. Existentials: These are expanded ways of ooking at being and doing in an undifferentiated way and are based largely on Latin and Greek roots so as to appear vaguely familiar but not to have a definite conrete meaning (other than the ones given here) in the mind of the reader:
|a)||fluxas||('flux')||"to flow, transform, change, be, be in flux, exist in an unclassified or 'unpigeonhold' or transitory state or notion, to move, go come"|
|"to halt, stop, be unmoving, exist in a defined or named or unchanging state or notion, to transform fluxas ir into a named state (either abstract or concrete, permanent or temporary), to block, divert, divert fluxas flow into an unchanging, or unchanged entity"|
|c)||limis||('limited')||"to take a limited standpoint, a filtered standpoint, an unflowing position or opinion in which the process of arestas can be or is taken as real or relelvant"|
|d)||liminis||('liminal')||"to take a limited standpoint, a filtered viewpoint, a flowing position in which the process of arestas can be understood as changing or transforming (fluxas), either into another arestas position or fluxas process"|
|e)||transis||('transcend')||"to take a limited standpoint, a filtered viewpoint, an unflowing position or opinion in which the process of fluxas can be taken as real or relevant"|
|f)||transinis||('transit')||"to take a limited standpoint, a filtered viewpoint, a flowing position in which the process of fluxas can be understood as changing or transforming (fluxas), either into another fluxas process or an arestas position"|
|g)||simulis||('simultaneous')||"pprehend both fluxas and arestas simultaneously, where they are both real or relevant and unchanging"|
|h)||simulinis||('simultaneous')||"apprehend both fluxas and arestas simultaneously, where they are both real or relevant and with one or both changing or transforming"|
4. Infix and Suffix: From the preceding it can be seen that we have one infix and two suffixes:
|a)||-in-||('in-' - neg)||denotes that a process can no longer be seen as real or relevant due to a change of state or notion, and that it is now the transformation which is relevant|
|b)||-as||('-(e)s' --> 3.pl. person)||denotes a function process of relevant flow/non-flow|
|c)||-is||('-(e)s' --> 3.pl. person)||denotes a function process of relevant change/non-change between flow/non-flow|
5. The reality of flux and relevance: The flow/non-flow processes can thus be modified by the infix -in-:
|a)||fluxinas||"apprehend or perceive transformation of flow between fluxas and arestas via the methods of trans(in)is and lim(in)is"|
|b)||arestinas||"apprehend or perceive the stopped forms of flow transformation between fluxas and arestas via the methods of trans(in)is and lim(in)is"|
6. Verbals: These are nondifferentiated verbals which bring the language closer into a 'human' sphere. All of these verbals are a function of the prefix per-, that is to say, they are ALL to a greater or lesser extent, perceptions of human activities and have no relevance (anir) outside that sphere.
|a)||sonos||"say, speak, talk, make a sound, hear, listen, learn, pay attention, call for attention "|
|b)||visas||"see, look, watch, show, be visible, display, be in sight, be seen, appear"|
|c)||faviris||"taste, have a flavour"|
|d)||tactis||"touch, be touched, have a texture or quality that can be felt by touching"|
|e)||quanser||"ask, enquire, give an answer, seek, search, find"|
|f)||levar||"think, (thoughts) rise up or appear, cause thoughts in another, react by or with thoughts"|
|g)||emotar||"feel, emotions rise up, cause feelings in another, react with emotions"|
|h)||tuitar||"intuit, sense, have a hunch, senses or intuition rises up, cause intuition or sensing in another, react by intuition rising up"|
7. Conjunctions and connections: There are no words for ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, or ‘nor’ – these cause differentiation (between what is included and what is not, for example) and thus break the pattern and flow of the language.
Due to the vast differences in lexical and conceptual space between Irsonos and English, the English translations are very limited when compared to the Irsonos equivalents. Only one of several translations has been selected to give a flavour of the language, or some of the Irsonos words have been retained in the translations, especially the word 'ir'.
|ir sonos arestas 'ir'||"we discuss the nature of 'ir' as a static concept (ie, as 'him, her, me, action, etc)"|
|reir fluxas reanir anreir arestas reir reanir anreir ir anir||"reir flows as reanir [and] anreir [and] can be understood as reir, reanir, anreir, ir [and] anir - ie that these things are all the same regardless of flow or stoppage"|
|perir fluxas ir arestas ir arestas ir perir||"perir flows as ir [and] stops as ir [and] can be named ir [and perir - ie that perception of ir becomes ir and can be named as such"|
|ir perarestas ir perir||"ir perceives naming perir [and so] can be named ir [or] perir - namely that the perception of the above can also be named as well as ir itself"|
|ir sonos, ir visas, ir faviris, ir tactis||"ir hears/talks, ir sees/is visible/shows itself/ ir has flavour/tastes, ir touches/is touched"|
|ir personos||"ir perceives sonos, ir perceives (itself or another) hearing/talking"|
|ir revisas||"ir aware of visas, ir is aware of the notion of seeing/being visible"|
|ir ilperanretactis||"ir [understands] the illusory nature of perception [or] irrelevance of being aware of touching or being touched"|
|ir arestas 'cat',
ir fluxas arestas 'cat'
|"this is a cat, it persists from moment to moment in being a cat"|
|ir limis 'cat'||"this entity limits itself to being a cat-stopped flow"|
|ir ilperarestas 'cat' ilperlimis||"I am aware of the illusory perception of the cat, also I am aware of my illusory perception in taking the position in naming it 'cat'"|
ir ilperarestas quanser
|"to be or not to be,
that is the question"
|(to be aware of flowing in flux, or to be unaware it is the illusory perceiving of the question-answer)|
A quanser is a question in which the answer is given - from a quantum, irsonos perspectiove, all questions inherently contain their answer since they suggest an observation, awareness or perception which thus changes the nature of the answer when sought ('that which is observed is changed by the act of observation' - standard quantum adage). An example might be: “Bruce, what is your name?” but this is still a little far from the concept of quanser.
A better example might be a paraphrase of a quote from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake: "Basqueesh, Hungulash and Finnican's curses are the only way to work?" for which the answer, inherent in the question, would be 'Basque, Hungarian or Finnish'. Similarly: Wa canis maiorizen, ha? an utterance I heard in a dream from the mouth of a particularly strange-looking visitor. In this multi-lingual pun, the question was "What (or where) are my origins?" or indeed "Who knows my origins?" (canis standing for 'know' and maiorizen being a corruption of 'my origins') and the answer was infixed into the question as canis maior – “Canis Major star constellation.”
Irsonos questions necessarily contain their answers - an example will illustrate this: perquanser quanser sonos? “I am aware of a question, was it asked and given sound?” Since being aware of a question necessarily brings it into your ‘reality’, it must have been asked at some level, either in the speaker’s or listener’s mind, or out loud. Since it has come into your mind, it will inevitably affect your actions and speech in some way and thus might well be considered to inevitably, in some form or another, be given sound. We might also spend some time exploring the full meaning of the translation 'sound': is 'sound' a movement of air molecules or, a perception of such and can an imagined (but perceived) sound constitute a 'sound'? The quanser thus already contains the ‘answer’ to the ‘question’: since you are aware of the question, it is affecting your reality already and thus is being asked on some level and being given sound on another, and so the answer is: 'YES'.
Final Note (2010)
The preceding, then, is a rough sketch, which builds on the work of David Bohm and attempts to begin to take the first couple of steps on the road to the creation of a nondifferentiated quantum language. Others more well-versed in these kind of philosophical concepts are liklely to see this thought experiment as somewhat naive, but it is hoped that others may be able to use something of this to build onwards to the next stage. Actually in some senses this is an attempt to 'hack reality', and over come the stop-motion obsession that natural human languages display and which tends to cloud our human perception of reality/realities. After a few years' hindsight, I no longer feel this attempt has been entirely successful, and a new attempt may be made, using simpler morpheme construction and a view to breaking open the Aristotlean ideal-forms-behind-phenomena that natural languages also encode, something which tends to fool humans into believing there is some kind of Ideal or Absolute that modern udnerstandings of quantum realities cannot justify or support.
Bruce Rimell, August 2004
David Bohm - 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order' - 1980, Routledge
James Joyce - 'Finnegan's Wake'