I’ll find the specifics of it later. But I was listening to an interview with Stephen Jenkinson this morning, and he said something that struck me. The interviewer asked him a question of some sort, and he said something along the lines of, “Your thinking is exposed through your language, through the words you use. From that I can see how you see the world.” I wanted to jump up and down when he said this. I was driving, though.
Our language is imbued with meanings. Meanings far beyond the words that we are using. It tells us so much about how we move through the world, what we believe. Not to mention what we feel — what are we afraid of? What are we avoiding? When we are talking about our experiences, we often use the word you instead of I. Tell me, what was it like being in that traffic accident? “Well, things begin to slow down and you can feel your heart beat. It’s like you have the ability to see into the future.” A basic and fictional example, but the power of the turn of attention from I to you can be seen.
I’ve just over-simplified something that was happening in this particular podcast, as Jenkinson sought to guide the interviewer toward something profound and deeply disruptive. There is a zero percent chance that I could duplicate what he did here, let alone anywhere. But the point remains: we’ve come to use our language to relay certain things about what we believe the world is, and how we see and experience it. What would it mean to interrigate this? What would it mean to question ourselves at that level? I want to suggest that we try.
One place to start is in using what in some circles is called I language. I suspect you can figure that out on your own.