To understand words is not a walk in the park.
I should know, for I stumbled upon words back in 2016.
7 years and 10,000 hours later I’m still only just getting started.
If you’re anything like me, you must not only discover but then also accept that there is a difference between Before Words and After Words.
Next, you work hard to understand the difference between word and words.
If you’re anything like me one more time, the hardest part by a country mile is accepting that…
- “Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating.” – Patrick Rothfuss
- “What a word means, a sentence cannot say.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
And if that weren’t enough, you must also deal with word-users telling you without fail that trying to understand words is hopeless and forlorn.
I did it anyway.
But that’s not all.
I also wrote a book — in English — that will help you understand words beyond the shadow of a doubt.
As a special preview, the book’s introduction reads like this:
THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY, WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT, investigates and answers what everybody wants to know.
- How did it all begin?
- What existed before humanity?
- Why are we here and the wordless aren’t?
Origin can be denied only by confirming it, a word. The same applies to the beginning and to humanity.
Before words, words didn’t exist for self-evident reasons. After words, the only question on the table is when did words, the beginning, and humanity happen?
Have words been with us forever, or have they arrived only when mother Earth gave birth to herself 4.65 billion years ago? Or did the words appear 542 million years ago when the eyes appeared, or maybe 42 million years later, when the invention of the eyes was followed by the invention of the brain? Or did words happen perhaps only 300 million years ago when animals of the homo type first showed up? Could it have been on a Tuesday 6026 years ago when nothing happened?
To keep you from guessing, the first (spoken-only) words are estimated to have appeared between 9500 and 18000 years ago. When exactly doesn’t matter.
The 13750 years ago used in THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT) is the average between the low and the high estimates.
13750 years ago, the age was stone, the Sahara green, Northern Europe under 1-mile-thick ice, and writing hadn’t been invented yet.
Please feel free to estimate the exact date yourself. After all, that’s what words are for.
Much water has gone under the bridge since, with much other stuff too, some good and some bad.
The wordless remain as wordless as ever, but the wordy have climbed to the top of the food chain second to none. The self-declared crown of evolution, ready for breakfast on Mars, and with our sense of humor we can look at what has changed — the glorious, the fantastic, the absurd, and the non-sensical — and laugh about it, not sure if that’s scary or funny or how it benefits us.
Only one thing is certain beyond the shadow of a doubt. Without our sense of humor, we’d all go insane. If we haven’t already.
Everybody knows that nothing good will ever come from fighting the old. It takes a fresh perspective that makes the old obsolete.
For this and other reasons as well, THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT) invites you to look at words as an alien might.
As you read my book, new landscapes will unfold that everybody knows have been there all along.
But as you will notice, the unfolding is you.
Of course, my book can offend for other reasons as well.
But let’s begin in the beginning
I wanted to write a book that gives readers hope. I believe that’s why you are here, and if we begin with what we agree on, it’s easier to understand what THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT) is about.
We probably haven’t had the pleasure to meet in person yet, so let me briefly introduce myself to you.
My name is Beat Schindler. That I’m passionate about the origin of humanity is new even to me.
In my younger years, I used to believe the stories told to me by storytellers typically stronger and taller than me.
I believed not only that the world had been created, but also that I’m part of a family, community, nation, people, humanity, and brotherhood of man. On top of that, I believed I was born human and, therefore, that I’m separate from nature.
I’m not saying I was convinced, but over time I got used to it.
When I was older, in 2016, it suddenly occurred to me that humanity could be a word.
Six years and many doubters later, it turns out that humanity is indeed what can be denied only by confirming it.
Now I’m driven by what I feel and no longer see the point in tarting it up.
I’m passionate about the origin of humanity as well as about the origin of words, because the two events are identical.
If it wasn’t for words, humanity wouldn’t exist.
I no longer believe anything is separate from nature. Everything is part of the origin, including us, the word-users.
I reside in a country where writing about the origin doesn’t get me silenced, imprisoned, or cost me my life.
Everybody wished that the governments all over the world loved their children, too, but everybody also knows the state the world is in.
I hear you, what in the world have words got to do with the origin of humanity?
All kinds of things are being said about words, depending on who is saying them, and what to believe is a question of character and personal preference, to each their own.
There’s nothing new about it.
In the beginning are the wordless — fire, air, earth, water, cells, plants, animals, eyes, and brains.
Who’s telling the story doesn’t make any difference.
13750 years ago, when words arrived, though they did nothing but divide the time on Earth into the Before Words and the After Words, they also changed the world more than any other event before or since.
I think it is no exaggeration to say words are the origin of humanity.
I’m not one to make new opinions or to invent anything. Everybody knows the word is a gift we’re meant to keep.
I think it is no exaggeration to say that the word is also the origin of you.
For without words, you doesn’t exist, and the reason we’re here and the wordless aren’t, is because we have words and the wordless haven’t.
- “Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself.” – Patrick Rothfuss
- “What a word means, a sentence cannot say.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
I agree with the above quotes 100%.
Nevertheless, in THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT) I will do just that, talk of words the best I can to let you discover for yourself what words are, do, and have, how we respond to them, and what that says about us.
To produce the numbers, tables, and graphs in this book, I’ve worked with the help of the internet. I trust they will let you see what happened in liberating new ways.
Understanding words is never a question of quantity. There are always those who understand and those who don’t.
But on one thing, my friend, I give you my word.
When you change the way you look at words, the world changes.
Limits and truths
The truths and limits of your world have got nothing to do with what’s out there.
The limits and truths of your world have got everything to do with your meaning of words.
No word can have your limits for you.
There’s no candle in the window.
It’s all up to you and artificial intelligence, whatever that’s supposed to be, doesn’t help.
What in the world have you, of all things, got to do with words?
Well, what you can feel, hear, smell, taste, touch, or see, or if you have a word for it, or if you have another word for it, it’s a word.
For this and other reasons as well, you is also part of THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT) — what you are, do, can, and have, how you respond, and what that says about you.
I’m a storyteller, not a philosopher, so what has philosophy, of all things, got to do with the origin of humanity?
Above marked in red, “Why?” is the basis of not only storytelling, but also of every philosophical pursuit.
I do read of philosophers whenever the time is right, most recently when I enrolled at the local “Journées philosophiques” earlier this year.
Among the speakers was Markus Gabriel, “a philosopher” according to Wikipedia (the world’s most-read reference work), “the thinker of the hour”, according to DIE ZEIT (over 270,000 subscribers use the digital ZEIT), and chair of epistemology and of modern- and present-day philosophy at the University of Bonn, Germany. For context only, a few of Markus Gabriel’s quotes.
- “It would be better if man would learn to understand himself as an animal again.”
- “We will never know everything.”
- “Society will always have to come to terms with man’s susceptibility to error.”
- “We need an ethics of not knowing.”
A favorite of mine is Ludwig Wittgenstein, “considered by some to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century”, according to Wikipedia. For context only, below a few of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s quotes.
- “All I know is what I have words for.”
- “What a word means, a sentence cannot say.”
- “Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.”
- “A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion.”
- “Call it a dream, it does not change anything.”
- “What one cannot speak of, one must remain silent about.”
- “Death is not an event in life.”
- “If a question can be asked, then it can also be answered.”
- “Everything that can be thought and said at all, can be thought and said clearly.”
- “To say of two things that they are identical is nonsense. And to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing.”
- “I won’t say ‘See you tomorrow’ because that would be like predicting the future, and I’m pretty sure I can’t do that.”
- “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.”
In THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT), simply look for what is useful, ignore the rest, or reach out to say hello.
Systemic change requires sharing the information.
If the information in this introduction is useful to you and maybe to others, please feel free to share it lock, stock, and barrel.
You can purchase THE ORIGIN OF HUMANITY (WHAT CAN BE DENIED ONLY BY CONFIRMING IT) from my publisher, Books on Demand, from Amazon worldwide, or from any local book stores (on stock or by order).