Everything in life is both reality and a symbol (at least inside my version of what defines reality)—meaning that this very persistent and tangible reality is also subject to dream interpretation. “Row, row, row your boat….” and all that.
So when I made the decision this week to get a Mac after decades of working on a PC and started investigating the new operating system (OS) I will have to learn, I also started shifting my personal OS, whether by inference, coincidence, synchronicity or design. Mentally and emotionally, I am just not thinking and feeling the way I was just a short time ago.
Maybe it’s because I just celebrated a significant birthday—but, frankly, I don’t think it’s that. Maybe it’s because I visited the sacred site of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico a couple of weeks ago and somehow was imbued with its spirit. Certainly the ancient Pueblan culture understood the importance of transitions as evidenced by this photo of their architecture. (Interestingly, I found that the same kind of doorways through doorways through doorways was a common aspect in old Chinese architecture as well when I visited there some years ago).
So, as I make a transition from one OS to another, I find that everything seems a bit different, as if I’ve passed through some kind of threshold into an unfamiliar domain.
That brings me in a roundabout way back to the unfamiliar domain of the MAC operating system. To give some background on an OS—it is a unique type of computer program that is, essentially and importantly, a syntactic language that completely confines (delineates, constrains, defines, and makes possible) all the programs that can run on a particular computer. Its purpose is to store and retrieve information and is programmed by the specific syntactic computer language to run hardware systems that interpret that language and in turn run the OS that runs the software. To put it in human terms—my OS runs my bio-identity for itself (physiology, chemistry, biology, neurology and lower personality that identifies itself only with the body) and my bio-identity runs my OS which runs everything else.
My OS—the way I’ve represented the world to myself (or the ‘language’ of my reality) has filtered my experiences and constructed my neurology/neurophysiology (how the brain is structured and how it functions), my perceptions of reality, my attitudes, beliefs, habits, et.
This is so because an OS is a language, and languages conform to rules. The rules are unique to the specific language.
According to an article that appeared in the New York Times, “…..in the last few years, new research has revealed that when we learn our mother tongue, we do after all acquire certain habits of thought that shape our experience in significant and often surprising ways……if different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not because of what our language allows us to think but rather because of what it habitually obliges us to think about….it forces you to be attentive to certain details in the world and to certain aspects of experience that speakers of other languages may not be required to think about all the time. And since such habits of speech are cultivated from the earliest age, it is only natural that they can settle into habits of mind that go beyond language itself, affecting your experiences, perceptions, associations, feelings, memories and orientation in the world…..”
The most striking evidence cited in the article is language’s affect on “the orientation of the world around us.” The article continues to say that, “…..we even perceive colors through the lens of our mother tongue,” and that, “As strange as it may sound, our experience of a Chagall painting actually depends to some extent on whether our language has a word for blue.”
There’s much to be said for learning other languages. They do give us new windows (or should I say doorways) into perceiving the world in new ways. Think of it this way. You are seated along with 359 other people on a circle (one person for each degree). You have been sitting in the same spot for your entire life. Then, one day, you are asked to shift over to another spot. Even if it’s only by one degree, your view of reality is different from the new location. That awakens you to the possibility that every degree of the circle has a different perspective. You may even be inspired to lookr outward from the circle.
Plato presents this idea in the Allegory of the Cave in which he describes people living, chained since birth, deep within a cave. They can only look straight ahead see only shadows projected on the wall by people and objects in front of a fire behind the prisoners. The shadows are the prisoners’ only view of ‘reality’. One prisoner becomes free, able finally to see the real objects of the world; and “….when the prisoner’s eyes have fully adjusted to the brightness, he lifts his sights toward the heavens and looks at the sun. He understands that the sun is the cause of everything he sees around him—of the light, of his capacity for sight, of the existence of flowers, trees, and all other objects.”
Uploaded: bullheadent on Apr 18, 2008
By willingly letting go of my habitual interpretation of the world—of the conscious and subconscious representations I make of it to myself—and allowing myself to be ‘blinded by the light’ (at least temporarily), I open myself to the possibility of an awareness of something far greater than I have ever known. So bring on the new OS. I’m ready to learn.