Once you understand that the sounds of language have universal sound-meanings which arise somewhat independently from reference (word-meanings), you recognize a tremendous pluralism of voices and values articulated by the letters themselves. You may even exclaim boldly, as the linguist Margaret Magnus has done, that there are in a manner of speaking gods in the words and archetypes in the consonants, waging wars with each other and forging alliances not unlike the Greek gods of old! Only upon coming to an understanding which enfolds these truths may you fully realize the philosopher’s dilemma in our day: the quest to harmonize the sound-meanings of language as such, not just one particular language, but actually the object of the linguist’s fascination: language in general; not just any arbitrary list of sounds, but the whole catalog of sounds recorded in the International Phonetic Alphabet’s standard table (see diagram for the IPA’s consonant list).
Of course, there will be philosophers and linguists who do not accept the premise that sound-meanings exist at all. They hold to a rigid and false understanding of the linguist’s maxim that the sign is arbitrary, an unproven and in fact disproven statement. There is an uninteresting way of putting the notion that “the sign is arbitrary” that basically expresses the wisdom obvious to a 3-year-old, as Margaret Magnus has written. Yes, different languages exist and they use different sounds to represent different word-meanings. But linguists don’t generally admit that that’s ALL they believe. In fact, most mainstream linguists have imported a hardcore postmodern pluralistic relativism into their philosophies in practice. The Integral philosopher Ken Wilber, for all the beauty and sophistication of his Integral Semiotics, doesn’t bother to question this maxim; he repeats it; and his essay seems to confuse the entire realm of sound-meaning with its most simple form, onomatopoeia.
Integral Renewal, the brand of trans-modernist philosophy that I am developing and advocating, does not make these mistakes. So that is a good thing, insofar as it opens the door to new potential ways of meaning-making and exploring human nature. But simply avoiding a pitfall does not necessarily take us to useful and impactful findings in itself. It could well be, for instance, that sound-meanings exist in a pluralism that is irreducible and cannot be ordered coherently; or that an ordering of sound-meanings is possible, but it does not seem interesting from a practical point-of-view. That is why for all my enthusiasm for Lingua-U, one of the major technologies of Integral Renewal which is currently under development, I must qualify my expectations severely. The importance of the work I have chosen still needs to be demonstrated; the burden is on the advocate to prove its value and helpfulness.
And so I humbly begin work on a potential breakthrough in human technology. If Lingua-U tames the unruly and pluralistic angels of the consonants and deities of the vowels into a new harmony, then the nature of what people can say and think could be radically altered. Every letter of every alphabet in every language might become a beacon to the divine calling, fulfilling its unique role, orienting in a similar and structured fashion, the essential truths of human nature and spiritual processes. The order of letters in the universal alphabet and the order of evolutionary development must be connected, not in a random fashion but in a way that optimally helps us to make sense of the human condition and improve it.
That is what I imagine is at stake in articulating a new meta-language at this point in our history, and why I have set out to do so, despite the fact that I am not a professionally trained linguist. In my studies over the past decade, I have reached the belief that language itself is a guide to happiness and health and enlightenment and peace; not any one language in particular, but all languages, the universal essence of them. We can know this if we are willing to listen with the ears of a child, and with a little help from Lingua-U. The secrets of language are the secrets of human nature; unraveling one gives us novel access to wisdom about the other. These are remarkable conclusions if true, so I now set out to show you, step by step. I hope you will stay tuned on this blog and my forthcoming and future books to follow along with me on this journey.