Before there was language, there was sound. An endless stream of noise that crashed and bubbled and whispered and sang to us every night before we went to sleep. Without language, our thoughts had no structure- all we could do was hear this cacophony of noise, earthy music, and revel in the sonic miasma that crept along in our minds. With no way to think about what we heard, we listened intently to what the world had to sing. The noise made us happy, the noise made us grin. We didn’t own a single atonal blip of it and didn’t see the need to. We lived in a dream, we looked at each other, and in the sonic miasma we listened.
It must have started with nouns. It must have, because in addition to hearing we also could see- and the moment we made the connection between something in that wild, unstructured sonic miasma and a something in front of our eyes was the moment we lost everything. “Fish,” we said. And the fish lost all of its quality as slipperybrightshiningslickbubblewaterjumpandswish…however we had been able to arrange the feeling of looking at a fish, of hearing it splash and watching it wiggle in the water…and became something we own. In our heads the sonic miasma began to reach across and connect with the line of our sight. Like a creeping web that reached across the insanity of our preexistence, connections were made.
Verbs came next- the tense of our muscles and the pull of our tendons and the sweetfastairhighgracelovehitrun feeling of jumping became nothing more than a smack of our primal lips. “Jump,” we said, and the joy of the jump was dampened.
Syntax was another creature- it was not enough for us to own and name and give place to the things we thought. It was not enough for our sight to dictate what we could say. We made grammar and rules and made it impossible to speak against the force of what we had been taught. Our sonic miasma, crippled and cruelly sculpted by the air in our throats, died. We had no more wild thoughtlings, no more unstructured feelingthoughtlifesightmusic lulling us as we tramped around the burning planet.
Kind of. There are THINGS in the world that are too good for language. There are feelings and wonders that we could never try to take with our teeth and our tongues. The last semblance of our sonic miasma is there, stirring and reaching out in the moment we see something so beautiful our brains almost short out in wonder, the second we feel a despair so deep and so dark that it presses like a force inside our chest, in the long lingering hours we spend with our lovers and see the stars plotted, aligned against the liquid shine of their eyes.
That’s when we go back to those green sylvan jungles of thoughtlessness- it’s then that the world we have built around us falls to pieces and we stop seeing fish or flowers or minutes and hours…
We lost that world when first we spoke. But sometimes, and only sometimes, we can rediscover it.