Google Translate, the Qualia and Human Consciousness Pt. 2: Words, Thoughts and… Nothingness?

4 min read

Our second stop where I attempt to capture my thoughts about ‘words’, ‘thoughts’ and ‘their absence’.

When I say, “Mom, I am hungry,” what usually happens is that my auditory receivers get a signal that my mind translates to “Okay, daughter.” And in no time, my olifactory receptors translate some chemical shit into the idea that a delicious dish of misirwot is infront of me. (No, this is a total lie. My auditory receivers do not get any signals to be translated. I just scream into thin air and my voice just echoes back at me and I just cry, because of that God-forsaken Kana TV. But, for the sake of this essay, let’s pretend that I have the liberty to eat misirwot whenever I like.)

So, in this imaginary scenario where my mom immediately replies, we can see that my mother had understood that my body is in need of ingesting something by those four words. Now, this makes me wonder: Would those words really capture the hunger that I felt? Do these words that we had conventionally agreed with do really stand for what our mind processes? Or are words independently more powerful and living than the thoughts in our brain? Is there a word for everything? And the last one which keeps me up, How and why does the word “nothing” exist?

Most of the words we use don’t capture the essence of the word, but we somehow get the idea. For instance, take “soon”. It’s a vague expression that tells us something won’t happen now. Is it in few minutes or in few years? It doesn’t give us information on that. And that’s where our other receptors work—reading body language, eye contact etc. So, you get the idea. Most words in the dictionary are ambiguous, but we somehow get the idea through other clues. Most words but “nothing”.

Of course, I am not saying one won’t understand what “It’s nothing. I am fine” means. I meant its ambiguity, sort of, exceeds the ambiguity of the other words. The concept of nothingness is usually a lazy definition of something that our eyes cannot detect. I also see it sometimes tied somehow with the concept of meaninglessness. However, for something to be meaningless (taking this chance to entertain my existential nihilism) I think something should exist to contain a possible meaning. A smart cookie once said, “Meaning is a jumper you knit for yourself.” Hence, what I am trying to convey here is, for something to be meaningless, it has to be something itself; for an answer to exist and be written on some blankspace, a blankspace must exist. Thus, what we are talking to be meaningless is something and isn’t nothing.

Nothing, I believe, is this—

The pause you just experienced. The not-entertaining any idea in your mind. Something not definable and not imaginable. Because right when you try to imagine nothing, you make it something.

Where is this essay ending and where are you going with this, one might ask… Well, as I had put it in the first part of this three-part essay, I am simply taking you on my train of thoughts. We’ve so far stopped by ‘the limitation of language and words’, here touched few things on ‘words, thoughts and their absence’ and the next stop is ‘knowledge, the qualia and coughs hard that she almost dies human consciousness’.

Anyways, let me close this rather odd piece with a quote from someone with a long beard and sod off.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

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