Nazaudy, a spark in your curious mind

Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind

This article Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind was originally an integral part of the parent article "Why are we here?", but given the fact the parent article was growing extremely huge, I decided for the sake of simplicity to have the section "Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind" on a separate thread for simplicity and easy reading. See below the summary of the main article "Why are we here?" and the location of Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind, in section 3 article 2. I recommend and encourage you to read all these articles in order (after all, they follow the chronological order of our creation) so that you get the whole picture of really why are we here

Section 1, our star the Sun, without it nothing will be possible

  1. The Primeval Atom
  2. The grapefruit fluctuations at quantum level
  3. The inflation period
  4. Floating in the magic of hydrogen
  5. The Helios nebula

Section 2, the perfect position of planet Earth in the Universe, and the chain of random accidents that caused your existence

  1. The kiss of planet Theia
  2. Diving into the origins of Water
  3. The spark of Life
  4. Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
  5. In the wrong side of the Congo

Section 3, the abstract of your thoughts and the illusion of control

  1. Ancient Civilizations, our roots
  2. Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind
  3. Religion and believes, the intangible reality
  4. Our brains, the biggest mystery
  5. Conclusion


2. Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind

Our desire to communicate is one of the key components that make us humans, that leads to the expression of our creativity, let it be in the arts, literature, music or architecture. There is a need deep within us to express ourselves individually as well as collectively, by the means of creating something on this planet (having children, giving birth of books, arts, songs, designs, etc) or by being part of a community (football team, clubs, an obscure association that makes you feel connected to other people even though you might never know them, etc). In this behaviour we are very much similar to the bacteria that colonized our planet (their planet too!) 3.8 billion years ago, when a sense of community and creation where developed, leading to the constructions of the first stromatolite structures. Bacteria, just like us it seems (no wonder we are their descendents), wanted to express in whichever way they could a higher level of themselves, to reach a higher frequency in their existence. They could only associated in colonies but we (a much more complex and sophisticated creature) associate ourselves in intricate communities called cities, countries and such. Is this tendency to associate in groups a force in Life? After all, particles join themselves too to become atoms, and atoms do likewise raise to molecules

And what are languages? There are over 7,000 languages in the world. All of them have been invented and all of them are different, but.....they all have in common one single thing, the objective to fulfil one single purpose: communication, in particular communication within a community. Language is a tool that allow us to understand and describe our reality, our perceived reality and the way we sense our Universe. The old popular saying of "What came first, the egg or the chicken?", takes a sinister meaning when we formulate the same question but about language versus thoughts, which one of those came first? Do we think because we have a language to formulate a thought? The answer seems to be that thoughts came first, as there are some thoughts which we cannot express through language. To express a thought you indeed new to have a language to formalise that thought, so we might argue that thoughts are there first, and that the invention of languages is what has enable us to create complex and elaborated thoughts. This magnificent TED Talk of the charming Professor Lera Boroditsky gives an insight about the critical influence and impact of the languages that we have mastered have on our minds. I love her ending of the video: what thoughts do you wish to create?

How languages shape the way we think


And indeed she is right: thoughts are the baseline of creations. Everything that you see around you, that have been made by the human race, the chair, a car, your computer screen, the window. All of it, all of our fabricated reality, had existed before on someone's mind. Absolutely everything is a product of the mind, for thoughts have to exist first before any creation is conceived. That bring us to the question: if all creations of men have existed before in the mind (as thoughts), do we also existed on someone's mind as thoughts? That of God or a Creator? Did mother nature thought of a tree before it actually created it? In order to create a human being the cells have to know where to place themselves, who is gonna be part of the heart and who will be part of an ear or a blood cell, etc. Therefore there must be some kind of understanding before, some sort of communication through a language (DNA) that we don't yet fully understand, else, how do the cells of your body have organised themselves to form what you are?

Leaving behind now my own thoughts, and regarding the concept of Languages, scientists have come up with two ideas as to explain where they came form, and these two ideas have lead to the creation of two different blocks or positions:

  • Linguistic Relativity, is when thoughts varies with languages; this approach is not very popular but it has some weight: for example, German speakers are potentially better at Maths because their language is more structure than others
  • Linguistic Determinism, is when language determines the thought, for example in Spain have the risk of being "male chauvinist" because The Kitchen (La Cocina) is a female word, and therefore should be a place for females only

The above dilemma strengths the fact that languages, or at least our current level of languages, are imperfect at the time of expressing our thoughts. We still need to develop higher level of communications in order to understand the Universe that goes around us. Animals who don't seem to have languages but yet communicate, like ants, do they have thoughts? How can bees create complex structures likes hives without thoughts, when we know they can differentiate between "same" and "different"? And how ants can possibly count their steps, without having a thought of the intention of doing so? And let's better not mention the puffer fish and its amazing creation (see picture below). Maybe in the future our species will develop a type of language and thoughts able to pierce into the true nature of the modular reality that is around and within us. Maybe we are limited in our understanding of the Universe because of our language, and hence unable to address yet the question of why are we here

The incredible pufferfish

Can the Puffer Fish designs and creates his structure without a patten of thought first? Credit: Puffer Fish Constructs A Masterpiece of Love - BBC Earth

And there it comes Mathematics to helps us. Maybe that is the language we have been waiting for to understand our Universe. Given the fact that other animals can also count and even create complex structures like we do, mathematics is indeed embedded in the Universe. We write letters and numbers, and somehow we know there is a distinction between them two, for example you can pronounce the number 3 on different languages, but the meaning is exactly the same across the globe, no matter what language you use. We can say that languages have been invented (I can call a "square" a cuadrado or invent a new word like ahjiur8y), but what about mathematics? Did they ever exist? If 1 + 1 equals 2, does this rule always exist even when we don't have the language to express it? The invention of the numbers is just a language that express Mathematics, so we may argue that Languages are there to help us describe reality (our surrounds, which will exist even if we don't) and that numbers and arithmetic are a special type of language that help us describe the connections that very subtly underline our reality

The irrefutable existence of the Fibonacci sequence in nature as well as the obvious existence of fractals (similar to that of the Mandelbrot) all over in nature, are an indication that mathematics are indeed the key to an intimate knowledge of the Universe. There is an order around us, and order that must have existed somehow at the point of creation, or does mathematics only exist in our realm of understanding, of human thoughts and consciousness? The Romans were able to built its civilizations, roads and marvel buildings, without the concept of "zero", yet Babylonians and Egyptians they both were aware of the constant number Pi (3.1418), and it seems to me that the deeper a civilisation's knowledge is of maths, the closer it is of obtaining a clearer understanding of the Universe and its mechanics of working

Golden ratio in Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind

Fibonacci Sequence appears in Sunflowers, Nautilus shells, pineapples, the human ear and many more places.   Credit: Golden Spiral Symbol

 Golden Spiral Symbol

 Mandelbrot fractals appear in trees, clouds in the sky, snow flakes, broccoli and many more places. Credit: How Mandelbrot's fractals changed the world


The precision by which mathematics can describe our reality are extraordinary, and the fundamental key to tap into the hidden dimension that holds the answer of why are we here