Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fighting and language?

I was reading a booklet by Don Cupitt talking about "Solar Ethics". He quoted Plato and talked about language and how our outer world, where we learn language, dictates how we think. He went on to question the whole concept of "outer" and "inner" lives. My mind went off on a tangent and I was reminded of stuff I had forgotten. If my language dictates how I think, and if my language is limited in some areas and I cannot name feelings and articulate what I am experiencing, I am more likely to slide into destructive ways of asserting myself. I went on to have a little bit more of an insight into some of our drop-in centre peoples' behaviour. Also I was reminded that we males, I suspect, are often not good at naming and defining feelings. "Sad", "frustrated", "depressed", "lonely", "disappointed" etc. all get lumped together in our mind as "anger" and so we express these feelings in inappropriate ways. One of the tasks we have if we are to help mediate is to assist people in naming, thinking through and communicating where they are at. It makes teaching children language and how to think and express their thoughts so very important. It is not just for academic skills, but also about how to get along in life's relationships. It also makes it important to encourage children to experience, reflect on and express different aspects of life's experience. We need language to adequately describe and deal with the full breadth of human experience. I quite like that "Bones" TV program, where you have a very articulate, scientifically knowledgeable woman forensic worker relating to a less articulate, more spontaneous male FBI agent. She teaches him the science of the world about them and the events they are experiencing. He, however, teaches her about emotions, spirituality and experiencing and expressing feelings, a side of life she is not good at reflecting on. Anyway, following on from my last blog, one reason we get into fights is that we struggle with expressing and hearing thoughts and feelings. It makes the old "count to ten" advice quite sensible, - time to step back and think. Just thinking aloud...

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